Thomas Cary, Abrams Plains: A Poem. Quebec, 1789. Ed. D.M.R. Bentley
(London: Canadian Poetry Press, 1986).
Abrams Plains : a Poem
Hc studia adolescentiam alunt, senectutem oblectant, secundas res
ornant, adversis perfugium ac solacium prbent; delectant domi, non impediunt foris;
pernoctant nobiscum, peregrinantur, rusticantur. TULL.
At a time when literature seems to be emerging from the closet to
illuminate our horizon, I venture to usher into day the following little poem, the
offspring of a few leisure hours; which I hope will not be unpleasing to the lovers of
If I may be allowed to judge from experience,
I must pronounce descriptive poetry, that exhibits a picture of the real scenes of nature,
to be the most difficult to excel in. To vary, harmonize, soften and add the necessary
graces to description to make it palatable to a judicious and poetical reader requires no
small genius and skill. I think far more than are requisite to any thing of the fabulous
kind, whose fabric is the sole work of imagination and where the fancy has full play.
Convinced of this difficulty, I cannot enough
admire those writers who have excelled in this kind of writing. At the head of whom,
amongst the moderns, Thomson, the harmonious Thomson stands unrivalled. Much as I admire
that great refiner of English verse Pope, I cannot help feeling a preference for Thomson,
so strikingly unparalleled and inimitable are the beauties of his numbers. It must be
observed that it is only Popes descriptive poetry, such as his Windsor-Forest, that
I here bring into comparison, Thomson having wrote nothing of the nature of his ethics or
satires. It may be said that their comparative merits, even in description, cannot but
with difficulty be ascertained, the one having wrote in blank verse the other in rime. It
is true that Thomson has the advantage of not being fettered by rime, but to excel in
blank verse, in my opinion, requires a far more poetical fancy as well as greater strength
of imagination than are requisite to please in rime, where correctness of numbers often
passes on the generality of readers for every thing. I cannot avoid making this avowal
however it may operate against myself.
Before I began this Poem I read Popes Windsor-Forest
and Dr. Goldsmiths Deserted Village, with the view of endeavouring, in some
degree, to catch their manner of writing; as singers in country-churches in England, to
use a simple musical comparison, modulate their tones by the prelusive sound of a
pitch-pipe. How far I have succeeded I must leave to my readers to determine; trusting,
however, for a favourable decision more to their good-nature than to my deserts.
|Thy Plains, O Abram! and thy pleasing views,
Where, hid in shades, I sit and court the muse,
Grateful I sing. For there, from care and noise,
Oft have I fled to taste thy silent joys:
There, lost in thought, my musing passion fed,
|Or held blest converse with the learned dead.
Else, like a steed, unbroke to bit or rein,
Courting fair health, I drive across the plain;
The balmy breeze of Zephyrus inhale,
Or bare my breast to the bleak northern gale.
|Oft, on the green sod lolling as I lay,
Heedless, the grazing herds around me stray:
Close by my side shy songsters fearless hop,
And shyer squirrels the young verdure crop:
All take me for some native of the wood,
|Or else some senseless block thrown from the flood.
Thy flood Saint Lawrence, in whose copious wave
The Naiades of a thousand rivlets lave:
Through whom, fresh seas, from mighty urns descend,
And, in one stream, their many waters blend.
|Thee, first of lakes1! as Asias
Where congregated streams hold icy state.
Huron, distinguishd by its thundring bay,
Where full-chargd clouds heavns ordnance ceaseless play.
Thee Michigan, where learned beavers lave,
|And two great tribes divided hold thy wave.
Erie for serpents famd, whose noisome breath,
By man inhald, conveys the venomd death.
The streams thence rushing with tremendous roar,
Down thy dread fall, Niagara, prone pour;
|Back foaming, in thick hoary mists, they bound,
The thundring noise deafens the country round,
Whilst echo, from her caves, redoubling sends the sound.
Twixt awe and pleasure, rapt in wild suspense,
Giddy, the gazer yields up evry sense.
|So have I felt when Handels heavenly strains,
Choral, announce the great Messiah reigns:
Caught up by sound, I leave my earthly part,
And into something more than mortal start.
Now, in Ontarios urn, spacious they spread,
|By added waters, from Oswego, fed;
Thence down the Cataraqui rolling on,
Or gliding gently to the Naiades song;
Who, in full chorus, vocal, join their lays,
To chant, in chearful carols, Ceres praise:
|Whose yellow harvests, nodding, glad the shore,
Where Dryades, midst wild deserts, reignd before.
Where prowld the wolf, the bear and fox obscene,
Now grateful kine, loud lowing, graze the green.
Such are thy blessings peace! superior far
|To specious conquests of wild-wasting war.
Destructive war! at best the good of few,
Its dire effects whilst millions dearly rue.
How blest the task, to tame the savage soil,
And, from the waters, bid the woods recoil!
|But oh! a task of more exalted kind,
To arts of peace, to tame the savage mind;
The thirst of blood, in human breasts, to shame,
To wrest, from barbrous vice, fair virtues name;
Bid tomahawks to ploughshares yield the sway,
|And skalping-knives to pruning hooks give way;
In Circes glass bid moderation reign,
And moral virtues humanize the plain!
Here, shelterd from the storm of civil broils,
The loyal sufferer renews his toils:
|Again, from the unclogd responsive earth,
Calls a new patrimony into birth.
By British magnanimity repaid,
The foe triumphant dare no more upbraid:
But wish he had so lost so to have gaind,
|Pleasd with the now, the past no more had paind.
Thus mariners wreckd on some distant shore
Their homes, their all, sunk in the deep, deplore;
Till with sad step, they inland bend their way
Where mines of gold their loss amply repay.
| Now, oer rude rocks, rapidly rushing hoarse,
Or through some pent-up pass they speed their course:
Then to the Utawas in wedlock bound,
Thy city Montreal, the streams surround.
Great mart! where center all the forests spoils,
|The furry treasures of the hunters toils:
Within thy walls the painted nations pour,
And smiling wealth on thy blest traders showr.
And now the wedded streams, with blended force,
First canonizd, downward direct their course.
|Thy waters Champlain, next augment the floods,
Champlain, renownd for high aspiring woods
Down thy wide stream the naked sylvans glide,
And, in tall masts, of navies swell the pride:
Thy navies Britain, who bid discord cease,
|And awe ambitious monarchs into peace.
Next Masquinongi tyrant pikes rolls down,
To please the haut-gout of the high-fed town.
Now, spreading to a lake, they drown the soil,
Then to their wonted deep-worn bed recoil.
|With added streams, still gathring as they run,
Their course directing to the rising sun,
Till thy strong base, Quebec, they rapid lave,
Where British spirits, bold, oppose the wave:
For here the swelling far-projected quay,
|Gains daily on the waves extended way:
Such is the ardour of the British breast,
If of that liberty it loves possessd,
At their command floods back their billows heave,
And a bold shore their oozy bottom leave:
|High flinty rocks descend to level plains,
Whence, on both sides, commerce a footing gains.
Tall forests their high-waving branches bow,
And yield, submiss, to lay their honors low;
The plowing keel the builder artist lays,
|Her ribs of oak the rising ship displays;
Now, grown mature, she glides with forward pace,
And eager rushes to the saints2 embrace.
Then rising, Venus like, with gay parade,
Strait turns kept-mistress to the god of trade.
|Thick-matted woods, where rank luxuriance shoots,
Where branch entwines with branch and roots with roots;
Where flies, in myriads, borne on filmy wings,
Unceasing teaze, with tumefying stings.
Where the dark adder and envenomd snake,
|In curling folds, lurk in the sheltring brake.
There, guileful, charm with fascinating eyes,
Or, fird to wrathful vengeance, rattling rise;
With crest erect, quick darting on the prey,
Swift as through ether speeds the solar ray.
|Shocking to thought! but nature good and wise,
Where poison shoots its antidote3 supplies.
Deep hid in mists, eternal glooms where reign,
Nor once light enters but with utmost pain:
Tho hard the task, yet bare the soil shall lay,
|And, unobstructed, shine the lamp of day.
Here sleepy Saint Charles, scarcely seen to flow,
His mazy current solemn yields and slow;
Whilst, a strong contrast strikingly to form,
His stream Montmorenci sends down in storm:
|From the dread precipice foaming it pours,
High smoking round in clouds of silver showrs.
Here might secure Britannias navy ride,
Nor danger dread from wind or swelling tide:
Here, like the ant, commerce, with pregnant sails,
|Busy, of summer-months herself avails;
For long, too long, here dreary winter reigns,
And bars the liquid way with icy chains.
Hence, as they flow, they stretch their spacious bed,
And, here and there, an isle uplifts its head;
|Whilst from Malbay, the mills remorseless sound,
And piteous groans of rending firrs, resound;
Within whose rind, I shudder while I tell,
Spirits of warriors close imprisond dwell,
Who in cold blood, butcherd a valiant foe,
|For which, transformd to weeping firrs, they grow:
Down their tall trunks trickling the tears distill,
Till last the ax and saw groaning they feel.
Next the rough Saguenay, tween rosy4
From plenteous urns, his waters roaring pours;
|The current of the master flood impedes,
Whilst Taddusacs rich spoils he grateful cedes,
Where rules, gainsay it envy, if you can,
The best of natures worksan honest man.
Thence coursing on, the wide-spread Gulph they gain,
Till lost, at length, they swell the distant main.
|First laving on their way the fattend shore,
That butchery of seals, bleak Labradore;
Where dwar?sh Esquimaux, with small pigs eyes,
At cookry sick, raw seal and rank oil prize.
|Let city epicures their sauces boast,
And fancy excellence in boild and roast:
His culinary art let Dillon try,
In soupes and jellies with famd Horton vie;
Let, on the board, Le Moines ragouts high smoke,
|Believe me friends, at best, tis all a joke.
Judgment in eating! wheres the standard placd?
Where but in each mans fickle froward taste.
What then is luxury, ye libral say,
What but to pamper each his seprate way?
|Let cits on turtle gormandize and cloy,
The courtier ortolans and creams enjoy;
The first with heavy port crown his repast,
Whilst light champagne exhilarates the last:
Not with more gout dines citizen or beau,
|Than on his seal and oil, our Esquimaux;
Nor less his stomach at their dainties turns,
Than each, with loathing, his strong viands spurns.
Habit forms all, taste, gesture, action, thought,
The man ripe rises as the striplings taught;
|Ductile as softend wax the human soul,
Twig-like, insensibly stoops to controul:
By rules, but more by great example, led,
He rises Jew, Turk, Christian, as hes bred.
Since then, we own, man is but moulded clay,
|Lifes journey let each travel his own way.
And since heavens roofs beyond all limits rise,
And a free passage opens through the skies;
Why not suppose theres ample room for all,
Be life resignd with or without a call?
| What tho no mines their gold pour through
Nor shining silver from thy waters gleam;
Equal to these, the forests yield their spoils,
And richly pay the skilful hunters toils.
The beavers silken fur to grace the head,
|And, on the soldiers front assurance spread;
The martins sables to adorn the fair,
And aid the silk-worm to set off her air.
Gems of Golconda or Potosis mines,
Than these not more assist her eyes designs.
|The jetty fox to majesty adds grace,
And of grave justice dignifies the place;
The bulky buffalo, tall elk, the shaggy bear,
Huge carriboo, fleet moose, the swift-foot deer,
Gaunt wolf, amphibious otter, have their use,
|And to thy worth, O first of floods! conduce.
For thee the sylvans of the forest bleed,
And, to the ax, their long-worn honors cede.
The sturdy oak, the lofty mountain-pine,
Their branching limbs and trunks mature resign;
|Whilst Ceres, bounteous, from her granries pours,
On craving realms, her grain in golden showers.
Nor is it want of climate or of soil
Thy shores not more the Muscovites yet foil:
Our infant world asks but times fostring hand,
|Its faculties must by degrees expand.
Nor must thy own resources be past by,
Resources that within thy bosom lie;
The heavy porpus and the silly seal,
Their forfeit lives yield to the club or steel;
|Soon of their skins and fat, reducd to oil,
The skilful fishers the dead victims spoil.
Here too the whale rolls his unwieldy form,
Laughs at the blustring winds and mocks the storm;
Gamesome, the billows far behind him throws,
|And from his nostrils, a salt tempest blows:
Till, close beset, swift flies the barbed dart,
Down prone the monster dives to shun the smart;
The fishers, active, yield the smoking line,
The boats, like lightning, cut the liquid brine;
|Oft-times borne down beneath the briny wave,
Both boats and men share one wide watry grave:
His onward way, his doubles they pursue,
Till, spent his strength, he panting floats in view;
Midst seas of blood wrathful his nostrils smoke,
|An isle, his bare broad back lies to the stroke.
Now strong harpooners dart the iron death,
The monster force to yield his forfeit breath:
Een while the waves he lashes into storm,
A monstrous mass floats motionless his form.
|The grampus, of less bulk, stays his swift course,
Arrested on his way by iron force.
The fierce sea-cow, tho clothd in stoutest mail,
Finds, gainst mans arts, his strength of small avail.
The salmon, cod, thy wave in myriads pours,
|And, on far worlds, plenty redundant showrs.
Next these the Naiades yield, for home supply,
Numbers, of various name and various dye.
The bass, rich flavord, high to pamper lust,
The pout or cat of no less luscious gust;
|The speckled trout choice native of the lake,
Tis thine the skilful anglers art to wake.
Thee silver white,and thou bedropt with gold,5
The dusky eel, in circling volumes rolld;
The bony shad, the poor mans bounteous friend,
|Eer summer-suns dry roads and plenty send.
The weighty sturgeon, rank with native oil,
High fed from the fat rivers slimy soil;
The autumn smelt, whose constant bite, tho small,
Eer fixd the ice, relief affords to all;
|The winter tomi-codwhen with feeble blaze,
From the bleak archer, Sol shoots oblique rays;
Then, from the ice-cot, on the frozen stream,
Through murky night, like meteors, fires gleam;
There, gatherd crouds, from the piercd solid flood,
|With fleshy baits, attract the finny brood.
Here hill and dale diversify the scene,
There pensile woods clothd with eternal green;
The russet plain with thorny brambles spread,
Where clustring haws deep blush a ruddy red;
|The distant wood, wide-waving to the breeze,
Where shining villas peep through crowded trees;
Here babbling brooks gurgle adown the glade,
There rise mementos of the soldiers spade;
Where on the green-sward oft incampd they lay,
|Seen by the rising and the setting ray.
Here, in lifes vigour, Wolfe resignd his breath,
And, conquring, sunk to the dark shades of death:
When threatning Gallia, with incroaching sway,
With frowning forts, dard bar th Ohios way;
|Hoping, alone, the chrystal nymphs to share,
And from their smiles the sons of Britain tear.
Presumptuous Gallia! rash was the design,
Britons not easily the fair6 resign.
This truth, Lake George, loudly thy shores resound,
|When the brave Johnson7
was with laurels crownd;
When smiling conquest haild him not less great
In fighting fields than in his peaceful seat:
That seat where Eden, transplanted arose,
Scene of the heros glorious repose.
|His fame, in arms, let Dieskaus ghost tell,
Who, to his sword, a bleeding captive fell.
Is worth hereditary? ask his heir
Soft, musethe cheek of conscious virtue spare.
But chiefly here presumptions price she paid,
|And, in the dust, her faded honors laid;
When up the heights, great Wolfe his vetrans led,
Panting, the level lawn they dauntless tread:
As bold they rise the broad battalion forms,
The gaind ascent, for fight, their bosom warms;
|When soon, in view, appears the numrous foe,
With arms bright-flashing from the plains below:
With ardour glowing in his countrys cause,
His hostile sword the chief intrepid draws;
The troops, to conquest, now inspiring cheers,
|High beat their breasts, strangers to abject fears:
A chief no more he leads on foot the line,
Thus, with his soldiers fate, his hopes combine.
The deafning drums the charge loud rattling sound,
The charge th opposing cliffs thundring rebound.
|The battle rages, bullets, chargd with fate,
The hungry soil, with human victims, sate.
Attending fate, grim death, with hasty stride,
Triumphs a victor over either side.
Too sure, alas! the leaden vengeance flies,
|And on the chief its force repeated tries.
Heedless of wounds, he hides the purple flood,
His courage kindling with the loss of blood;
Till spent, at length, natures obligd to yield,
He falls ere fixd the fortune of the field.
|Whilst, oer his sight, spreads the thick veil of death,
And life suspended stays the struggling breath,
Anxious, he hears the shout they fly, they fly,
Who fly? The foe contented then I die.
Whilst death exulting triumphs oer his clay,
|His name fame echoes through the realms of day.
If so much praise to conquest then be due,
Can man less honor saving wisdom shew?
When here his tatterd troops Montgomry led,
Of glorious spoils by hopes delusive fed;
|Whose prudence, without rashness, wise maintaind
What Wolfe, with loss of life, so bravely gaind?
Praise, double praise, surely to him is due,
Who, tender, saves mans blood and conquers too.
O never more may hostile arms distain,
|With human gore, the verdure of the plain!
False is the fame on mans destruction raisd,
As well might famines, plagues, or storms be praisd.
Not that I wish the patriot to restrain
The noble ardour of his boiling vein,
|When rash ambition, soaring with high flight,
Studious alone of greatness, not of right;
By artifice, big threats, or thundring arm,
His bosom for his country, dares alarm:
Far, far be from me the degrading thought,
|Twere virtue, principle, to set at naught.
No, be of heavn, of man, the wretch accursd,
Of grovling reptiles, void of soul, the worst,
Who his best blood, defensive, would not showr,
To stay the torrent of incroaching powr!
| Lo! mortars, cannons, by the gallows side,
Jointly to do the work of death allied.
The last, tis true, of villains rids the world,
Whilst from the first on all destructions hurld:
Where flies the flaming shell or hissing ball,
|Guiltless and guilty, undistinguishd fall.
South of the flood, lo! lonely cots arise,
Where unkind soils, thrifty, hard yield supplies.
The church, just peeping oer the pointed shore,
Great lessner of the little of the poor.
| The cross, erected by the highway side,
With all the passions implements supplyd;
The cock, the spunge, the crown of thorns, the spear,
The hammer, pincers, nails and other geer.
Here, hat in hand, the peasant humbly bows,
|Persuaded wood and marble hear his vows.
The hospital, kind shelter of disease,
When fevers burn or shivering agues freeze;
Sequesterd vestals humbly here attend,
And cordial comfort to affliction lend.
|Poor compensation to their injurd kind,
From mans embrace, by oath, for life con_nd;
Thwarting the impulse of great natures law,
Where sex to sex, by passion wisely draw.
Strange being, man! of contradictions made,
|Gainst heady will how weak is reasons aid!
Hear him, this moment, solemnly award
Shedders of blood to the avenging cord;
His plea great natures lawwho sheds mans blood,
Man to shed his is with the right indud.
|The next, behold him instituting laws
To bar fruition, lifes immediate cause.
Less sacred is the law that being gives,
Than that meant to preserve who actual lives?
Is it less criminal life to prevent,
|Than to destroy, the blessing being sent?
To male and female God gives passions, powrs,
And on the contact mutual pleasures showrs;
A stimulus, by all-wise heavn designd,
To all that live, to propagate their kind.
|Presumptuous man, to thwart thy Makers will!
Equals the guilt life to prevent or kill.
There, on thy banks, Saint Charles, rich meadows vie,
In vivid green, to ease the dazzled eye.
The slow meandring stream that tardy moves,
|Dispenses fatness through the meads and groves:
Whilst rushing floods that downward eager drive,
The meadows of their needful dews deprive.
So, in lifes course, who with wise caution treads,
Tho slow, yet sure his influence widely spreads:
|Whilst him who headstrong, thoughtless whirls away,
Of cheated views, useless, becomes a prey.
Here milch-kine lowing leave the grazing field,
And glad to man their milky homage yield;
The featherd game oft feel the leaden death,
|And in the spaniels jaws resign their breath.
Thence, further left, as I incline my eyes,
Thy cottages, Lorette, to view arise;
Here, of the copper-tribes, an half tamd race,
As villagers take up their resting place;
|Here fixd, their houshold gods lay peaceful down,
To learn the manners of the polishd town.
Next Charlebourg, blest in a bounteous soil,
Where plenteous harvests pay the labrors toil.
Thy beauties, Beauport, open on mine eyes,
|There fertile fields and breezy lawns arise;
Far as Montmorenci, thy pleasing stream,
Romantic as a love-sick virgins dream.
Beyond the vales, still stretching on my view,
Hills, behind hills, my aching eyes pursue.
|Till, in surrounding skies, I lose my way,
Where the long landscape fading dies away.
Now cross the flood, Muse, stretch thy roving flight,
And with green Orleans regale thy sight:
Orleans, the garden of the blue-eyed train,
|Who wanton sport here eer they seek the main.
Here corn and fruits, here herbage, roots, and flowrs,
Plenty, from her rich cornucopia, pours.
Be thankful swains, Britannias conquring sword,
Releasd you from your ancient sovreign lord,
|Beneath whose sway small tyrants held the rod,
Each, in conceit, swelld to some little god.
Then the poor pittance of the scanty soil,
Hard earnd, became the prowling tyrants spoil.
The tawdry lord lawless the lash proud wields,
|Lowly his back the peasant patient yields:
Such scenes no more disgrace the yielding soil,
Safe is the product of the peasants toil
Protecting laws alike to all extend,
Not less the poor-mans than the rich-mans friend;
|Tenant and lord, noble and peasant, all,
Within their influence undistinguishd fall.
Hence smiling peace and laughing plenty reign,
And gay content, festive delights the plain.
Grateful, ye peasants, own your mended state,
|And bless, beneath a GEORGE,
your better fate.
The peopled town next calls my wandring sight,
Whose cross-crownd spires the distant eye invite;
But eer the muse thy arched gates pass through,
Without the walls, still let her please her view;
|There make a lodgment on the covert-way,
But let no secret mine her steps betray;
She comes no foe thy streets with blood to fill,
Her only weapon is a grey-goose quill:
With that her peaceful parallels she draws,
|Or if she fights, perhaps some Trojans cause;
Or else some heros of renowned Rome,
Eer sunk to slavry, Cæsar seald her doom.
Be silent bastions, ye battries then keep peace!
From the spread curtain, let the small arms cease:
|For should she leap the wide-surrounding ditch,
She seeks not in thy walls to make a breach.
Tho thy extended works she curious scan,
She comes no spy to draw the secret plan.
See where reposes, in its rocky bed,
|The sleepy pool, with a green mantle spread;
Beneath whose shade, prescient, the croaking race
The future drought or rains unerring trace.
When spumy spawn round the pools borders lie,
For dropping clouds then trust the bounteous sky:
|But if mid-way the green scum settled swim,
Fearful t approach the waters lessning brim,
Then dread the blaze of Sirius scorching ray
Then, husbandmen, for rain devoutly pray.
Led by the muse, whilst here my course I shape,
|Let me steep Dimond, mount thy rocky cape;
There listning hear the troubled waves wild roar,
That wrathful lash Cape-Rouge, thy sanguine shore.
There, stretching to the right, with oblique eye,
The villa of fair Dorchester I spy;
|Where, from parade and crowds, she chearful flies,
The false, by royalty, taught to despise:
There, tranquil, tastes the tender sweets of life
That in the mother center and the wife:
There simple treads the breeze-inviting plains,
|And all the glare of equipage disdains.
Thence glancing round with comprehensive view,
The varied landscape pleasd my eyes pursue.
There waving woods from cloud-topt mountains rise,
And hide their green heads in surrounding skies;
|First link of whose long chain is Torments cape,
Where pendent mists, sportive, oft change their shape.
Lawns, meadows, plains, a vivid verdure wear,
Flushd with the spirit of the rising year;
When vigrous suns compress the teeming earth,
|A verdant world bursts into instant birth.
Delightful change! from scenes of endless snows,
When, with rude hand, his frosts bleak winter throws;
When, from far seas, Eurus with fleecy wings,
Fleak following fleak, his virgin nitre flings;
|Or blustring Boreas, blowing from the pole,
Commands the floods no more their streams to roll:
Or more when Zephyrus, severely keen,
When not a cloud to skirt the sky is seen,
From Apalachian hills dry blows the breeze,
|Fly, fly far south ye children of disease
Then solid knit the yet disjointed parts,
And the fixd flood into a plain _rm starts.
Then noisy Chaudiere, thy foaming fall,
Midway arrested, forms a chrystal wall.
|Twas by thy drear inhospitable stream,
Where neer, from cheering roofs, long fires gleam;
Far-beaming hope on the desponding wight,
Lost in deep glooms amidst the shades of night,
The hardy Arnold led his chosen few,
|Who, braving hunger, dard their point pursue,
Through the long lonesome unfrequented way,
Midst thickest woods, where only wild beasts stray;
But all their efforts of how small avail!
Their object conquest, but their fate a gaol.
|The statesman thus builds high his golden hope,
But finds his schemes end in an ax or rope.
Thus too the merchant grasps his fancyd plumb,
But to a whereas lo! his prospects come.
The soldier, statesman, merchant, wheres the state
|Exempt from the vicissitudes of fate?
Ye great, ye rich, by heart this lesson learn,
Nor, in the pride of powr, the wretched spurn:
Blind fortunes fickle wheel perpetual whirls,
Those under lifts, those from the top low hurls.
| Ere from the lungs, in air, the breath is
Tis firmly fixd a palpable hoar frost.
Of Icelanders hence travellers declare,
Their words, in winter utterd, fix in air,
Till springs warm sun the atmosphere unbinds,
|Then bursts the jargon of a thousand minds.
The smooth firm flood Hyde-parks gay scene supplies,
Where, hid in fur, the beau triumphant flies:
The mettled steed pants to the distant goal,
Whilst thundring follows the shod cariole.
|In furrows the poisd skater plows the ice,
In circles glides or onward swiftly flies.
But if, unhingd, broad floating fields of glass,
In contest joind, stubborn dispute the pass;
From the collision soar, with rattling crash,
|Fragments that back the solar beams bright flash:
Oer the plougd plain rough ridges rudely rise,
Vanishd the skaters scene of action flies.
So when the hurricanes destructive blast,
With rage relentless, oer the shores has past,
|Roof, rafters, trees, torn by the furious storm,
The level surface of the meads deform.
Fearless, amidst the fragments, as they flow,
The skilful peasant guides his long canoe.
The travller dauntless the snows depths disdains,
|He stalks secure oer hills, oer vales and plains;
On the spread racket, whilst he safely strides,
Tales of Europeans lost in snow derides.
Here, (blush ye London fops emboxd in chair,
Who fear, tho mild your clime, to face the air)
|Scorning to shrink at every breeze that blows,
Unawd, the fair brave frosts and driving snows.
But see, far down the west, the God of day
Behind yon mountains brow, low sinks his ray:
The fleecy clouds, deep-fringd with blushing red,
|Calm on the soul, mild as their lustre, shed.
True emblem of lifes happy middle scene,
Where neither glare nor gloom once intervene:
Beneath the blaze of mad ambitions fire,
Yet above want, where all our joys expire.
|There easy labour keeps the soul serene,
Nor raisd by vanity nor sunk by spleen;
Lifes clear smooth stream unruffled gently flows,
Nor one rude breeze to hurt its quiet blows.
Now shade oer shade steals gradual on the sight,
|Darkness shuts up the scene and all is night.
Except, where darting cross the swampy marsh,
From shining fire-flies lucid lightnings flash.
When, from black sultry skies, long silver streams
Send through the atmosphere their forked beams;
|With brighter glow then shoot the mimic fires,
Each insect, Cæsar8 like, to rival Jove aspires.
Lake Superiour. One quality of whose waters is to be remarkably cold
under the surface.[back]
A striking instance of this, is the Rattle-snake plaintain; which grows where those
reptiles abound. When the bite of the snake is most venemous, which is in the
dog-days, the plant is in its greatest perfection. The person bit has but to chew
the leaf and apply it to the wound, at the same time swallowing some of the juice.
This seldom fails of preventing every dangerous symptom.[back]
A great number of wild roses grow on its banks.[back]
The White-fish, and what the Canadians call the Poisson-doré or Gold-fish.[back]
Besides the allusion to the water-nymphs the reader will recollect that the Ohio is
called in English the Fair River.[back]
Sir William Johnson[back]
One of the Cæsars so constructed a bridge, that when his chariot passed over it,
its noise might resemble thunder.[back]