Henry James Pye Poems >>
Faringdon Hill. Book II

The sultry hours are past, and Phobus now
Spreads yellower rays along the mountain's brow:
The broken clouds unnumber'd tints display,
Drinking the effulgence of departing day;
And to our eyes present a radiant view,
Italia's purpled ether never knew.
The eastern prospect now attracts the sight
Where every shrub reflects the setting light:
With ruddy flash the cottage casement gleams,
And shines the waving wood with golden beams.

Where Isis stream divides yon distant glade,
Lo Nuneham rises 'midst the sombre shade;
While at her feet, as the clear current bends,
The lofty spire of Abingdon ascends.
Hygeia and her Oread train inhale
On Radley's site the pure ethereal gale.
On Cherbury's ramparts, urg'd by peaceful toil,
The shining plowshare turns the fruitful soil,
Where erst the peasant saw with anxious fear
The gleaming falchion and protended spear.
On Hinton's verdant brow the lofty trees
Tremble obedient to the evening breeze:
And Pusey her inverted dome surveys,
In the smooth stream that through her meadows strays.
See Buckland here her lovely scenes display,
Which rude e'er while in rich disorder lay,
Till Taste and Genius with corrective hand
Spread culture's nicest vesture o'er the land,
Rang'd every object in it's fairest light,
And call'd each latent beauty to the sight;
Cloth'd the declining slope with pendant wood,
And o'er the sedge-grown meadow pour'd the flood,
While manly Execution's active arm
Wakes to existence each ideal charm.
In the deep gloom of yon impervious bowers,
There Carswell hides her hospitable towers:
And at our feet where the rich pastures spread,
Lo Wadley rears her renovated head,
As art and active labor, join'd, improve
Each fair extended lawn and rising grove,
New scenes unfolding still on every side
Declare the affluence industry supply'd.

Blush! blush, ye sons of power! who proudly stand
Rich in the ruins of your native land;
Who every virtue, every right have sold,
For royal smiles, or ministerial gold;
Proud on your breasts a glittering badge to bear,
True honor hates, and freedom scorns to wear,
If worth, or shewn in peace, or prov'd in war,
Shed not a livelier lustre than the star?
Blush, ye fell race! who cross'd the briny flood,
Foes to mankind! and prodigal of blood!
With wanton rage to waft pale famine o'er
From Albion's cliffs to sad Bengala's shore:
Where starving myriads on the cruel train
Call'd Justice' awful sword, but call'd in vain;
Till Britain's senate, fir'd with patriot flame,
Resolv'd to vindicate her country's fame,
Bade England's laws to Ganges' banks extend,
And equal rule the Indian's life defend.
Though Grecia's orders grace your marble dome,
Though blooms the fairest landscape where ye roam,
Yet sacred Justice shall your seats pervade,
And Conscience haunt you through the deepest shade:
Whilst him whose wealth the arts of Commerce raise,
Mankind shall honor, and the Muse shall praise.
But if like thine, O Charles! his generous heart,
The smiles of fortune to his friends impart;
If heaven, that gave him affluence, gave him too
A soul to every social duty true;
Virtue with joy shall chant his favor'd name,
And give a wreath beyond the power of fame;
While all who know his worth exulting find
That fortune, blessing him, has blest mankind.

Lo Shellingford, an Stanford, 'midst the train
Of hoary trees that skirt yon level plain,
The lofty tower and pointed spire display
Conspicuous, glittering in the western ray:
And on yon hill it's distant head that rears,
Lockinge aloft thy shining dome appears!
Beneath, what woodland nymph with artful hand
The vaulted grotto's sparry roof has plann'd,
Taught the rude arch with pendant ore to shine,
And rang'd each bright production of the mine?
No sylvan Goddess this retreat can claim,
Form'd by the fancy of a mortal dame;
Who from yon humble vale's irriguous bed
To the high cliff the crystal fountain led;
Thence bade in murmurs soft the lucid wave
Pour it's fair current through the craggy cave;
Where every Naiad 'midst the rocks reclin'd,
Approves what Taste and Wymondesold design'd.

Ye envious trees! why does your leafy pride,
Stretch'd o'er the bending valley, Wantage hide?-
Sure every Muse and every Grace will join
With votive hands the fairest wreath to twine;
Cull with assiduous toil the choicest flowers,
And hang the brightest garland on her towers:
While grateful Liberty shall love the shade,
Her guardian chief where fostering Virtue laid;
And Britain's Genius bless the hallow'd earth
Which gave her patriot king, her Alfred, birth.

That equal laws these happy regions share
Springs, Prince benign! from thy paternal care.
Through the dark mists which Error o'er mankind
Tenfold had spread, and wrap'd the human mind;
At thy command fair Science shot her light,
And chas'd the horrid gloom of Gothic night;
To Isis' brink the wandering Muses led,
And taught each drooping art to lift her head:
Hence with the warrior laurel's blood-stain'd bough
That binds with sacred wreath thy conquering brow,
Wisdom's illustrious Goddess interweaves
With mystic hand her olive's peaceful leaves.
Thine is the gift that here no alien crew,
To venal interest more than justice true,
Judge with unpitying eye misfortune's cause,
With cruel power enforcing cruel laws;
But watchful Themis o'er each freeman rears
That sacred shield, the judgment of his peers,
By which protected Britain's dauntless train
See factions rage, and tyrants frown, in vain.
O dear-bought Freedom! if thy holy flame
Burns in our souls, nor rests an empty name;
If for thy sake the kindling warmth we feel
Unwarp'd by selfish views or party zeal;
May we with wakeful, nay with jealous, eye
Regard this hallow'd source of Liberty;
This once attack'd, on which her rights depend,
May every breast the guardian power defend;
Each patriot tongue assert our injur'd laws,
And pour resistless sounds in Freedom's cause;
Each patriot arm, should eloquence be vain,
Lift the dread falchion on the embattled plain;
May we with more than ancient zeal pursue
Rights, Rome and boasted Athens never knew;
Guard this Palladium with our latest breath,
Or perish with it in a glorious death!

Where from the fertile plains yon hills arise,
Quit the low vales and shoot into the skies,
Carv'd rudely on the pendant sod, is seen
The snow-white courser stretching o'er the green:
The antique figure scan with curious eye,
The glorious monument of victory!
There England rear'd her long dejected head,
There Alfred triumph'd, and invasion bled.
Long had proud Denmark stretch'd the iron hand
Of harsh oppression o'er the groaning land;
The freeborn swains, to mean subjection broke,
In silent sorrow bore the opprobrious yoke:
Their virtuous prince to wilds and forests driven,
No shed to screen him from the inclement heaven,
Hears all around his subjects cries ascend,
And sees them sink unable to defend;
Chas'd by his foes disguis'd he treads the plain,
A wretched exile in his own domain!
Much hardship borne, and many dangers past,
On suffering Virtue Fortune smiles at last:
Arous'd to vengeance by his people's woe
He frowns defiance on the insulting foe;
Leaves every fear and every doubt behind.-
High waves the Saxon banner to the wind!
Fir'd at the sight, the country far and wide
Pours forth her veteran sons on every side;
His trusty bow each hardy yeoman draws,
Or lifts his shining brand in Freedom's cause:
Freedom resounds from each determin'd voice,
Freedom the first, and death the second, choice;
Courage and Conquest o'er their helmets play;
The invader trembled at the dread array;
Onward resistless march'd the impetuous host;
And fell Oppression fled the hostile coast:
The exulting steed in conquering standards flies,
While Denmark's raven screaming quits the skies;
And hence the Victor's jocund hands portray'd
The Saxon ensign on yon verdant glade.

His country freed, discerning Alfred saw
How vain the civil bond of social law;
Of crowds untrain'd how weak the hasty aid,
When force prevails, and barbarous hosts invade.
That policy which guards each modern throne
Was then to Europe's bounded kings unknown;
No artful statesman then with treacherous breast
Arm'd half a people to enslave the rest.
With wiser care a rampart firm he plann'd,
To guard from future foes the happy land,
Bade Liberty her rash assailants brave,
And Freemen vindicate what Freedom gave.
He taught each sturdy laborer of the field
The sickle and the sword by turns to wield:
With chearful industry the generous swains
Till for their wealthy lords the peaceful plains;
Or, rous'd from rural toil by war's alarms,
Beneath their well-known banners rush to arms.
Let other realms where Freedom never smil'd,
O'eraw'd by rigor, or by fraud beguil'd,
See mercenary bands surround the throne,
Or safety seek from alien arms alone:
But shall not England blush for every son
Too proud to guard the rights his sires have won?
Rights, in whose cause full many a warrior stood,
By toil obtain'd, and seal'd with patriot blood!
Though envy frown, though venal millions blame,
Shall she not ever love her Chatham's name,
Who while on distant climes her rage he pour'd,
Prudent at home this best defence restor'd;
Her manly sons array'd with parent care,
Arous'd once more her manly youth to war,
And bade her breezy hills, and fruitful plains,
Send forth in arms again their native swains.
Lives there a man in this exulting isle,
Who sees our orchards bloom, our harvests smile,
Who every breath in perfect freedom draws,
His rights protected by the noblest laws;
Would wish to break the fence by wisdom plann'd,
And wrest the sword from every freeman's hand,
Wish to behold our bare defenceless coasts
Unarm'd, or guarded but by foreign hosts?
Dare thy strong powers O Eloquence employ!
This best internal bulwark to destroy?-
Though every guile of specious Fraud he use,
'Mid listening crowds his Poison to infuse;
Try every Wile his curs'd Designs to hide:-
Superior Truth his Cunning shall deride,
Shall tear each paltry mean Disguise away,
Expose his Rancor to the face of day;
His selfish Views to all mankind impart,
And shew the Traitor graven on his heart.

Now turn your eyes and from the mountain's brow
Direct them to the cultur'd vale below;
How rich the spacious plains that stretch between!
How ripe the harvests, and the meads how green!
The herds in myriads o'er the pastures throng;
And mingled lowings break each rural song.
Where e'er with patient care the laborer's hand
Guides the sharp plow-share through the fertile land,
The farmers see the produce crown their toil,
Eye the rich scene, and bless the happy soil.

Soon shall the yellow wealth whose swelling grains
The stalk low bending hardly now sustains,
Stor'd in the barn with jocund labor, yield
To every rural sport the uncumber'd field.
The pointer then shall o'er the stubbled vale
Range unconfin'd, and catch the tainted gale:
The hound's quick scent, or greyhound's eager view,
O'er the smooth plain the timid hare pursue;
Then swelling on the burthen'd breeze afar,
Shall burst the tumult of the woodland war;
While rush the daring youth with breathless speed
To see the wily fox unpity'd bleed.
Let not the Muse the active toil despise,
Or from the chace avert her angry eyes:
Though gentle Shenstone deem'd the hunter's throat
Drown'd with it's clamorous strain the lyric note:
Though pensive Thomson, indolently laid
Beneath the silver willows trembling shade,
Baiting with cruel art the treacherous hook,
To lure the guiltless inmates of the brook,
Blame, as his hands the barbed weapon draw
From the mute wretches agonizing jaw,
Those, who in manly sport with frantic joy
The rapid tenants of the wood destroy:
Yet has the warbling lyre in many a strain
Describ'd the active pleasures of the plain.
The moral bard of Windsor's royal groves
Sings of the hunter, and his toil approves;
Even he, whose verse to mortal eyes has given
The wrath of angels, and the wars of heaven,
Joyful has listen'd to the hounds, and horn,
Rousing with chearful peal the slumbering morn:
Nor shall with brow averse the rural Muse
To Somerville the Poet's meed refuse,
Whose skilful notes each sylvan pastime trace,
And teach the various mazes of the chace;
Whence livelier thoughts and lighter spirits rise,
Strength knits the limbs and courage fires the eyes,
Glows in the ruddy cheek a purer blood,
And rolls the tide of life a sprightlier flood.

Propitious now on Britain's favor'd isle
Though white-rob'd Peace and jocund Plenty smile;
Though while her wrath on hostile shores is hurl'd,
Unhurt she sits amidst a warring world;
Say, have the tranquil scenes which now we see
Been ever such, and must they ever be?
Ah! may not Civil Discord stalk again
With bloody footsteps o'er her ravag'd plain?
Or fell invasion waste her fenceless coast,
Her guardian Fleet by adverse tempests toss'd?
Then, if our country's bleeding breast demands
The aid of dauntless breasts, and ready hands,
To the stout race who haunt the hill and dale
Will nothing then the hunter's toil avail?-
While round her feeble votary's drooping brow
What verdant wreaths shall letter'd sloth bestow?
In vain may Patriot Zeal the bosom warm,
If pale disease unnerve the willing arm:
While the bold youth whose hardy frame defies
The force of fighting winds and angry skies;
Who braving winter's rage pursues the chace,
The sleety tempest rattling in his face;
Or when the dog-star shoots his sultry rays,
Rages unconquer'd by the scorching blaze;
Shall, if he lead Britannia's rustic train,
To the dread conflict of some bloody plain,
Shrink not, though summer suns their beams unfold,
Or biting frosts intensely pierce with cold,
But Freedom's call with stedfast march pursue
Through noontide's sultry heat, or midnight's chilling dew.

Too much the enervate bards of modern days
Attune to slothful ease their moral lays;
The seats of ancient lore their favorite theme,
Lyceum's shade, and hoary Academe;
Forgetful that the stadium's hardy toil,
The boxer's c