Erasmus Darwin

The Botanic Garden( Part I)

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The Economy Of Vegetation

Canto I

STAY YOUR RUDE STEPS! whose throbbing breasts infold
The legion-fiends of Glory, or of Gold!
Stay! whose false lips seductive simpers part,
While Cunning nestles in the harlot-heart!--
For you no Dryads dress the roseate bower,
For you no Nymphs their sparkling vases pour;
Unmark'd by you, light Graces swim the green,
And hovering Cupids aim their shafts, unseen.
"But THOU! whose mind the well-attemper'd ray
Of Taste and Virtue lights with purer day;
Whose finer sense each soft vibration owns
With sweet responsive sympathy of tones;
So the fair flower expands it's lucid form
To meet the sun, and shuts it to the storm;--
For thee my borders nurse the fragrant wreath,
My fountains murmur, and my zephyrs breathe;
Slow slides the painted snail, the gilded fly
Smooths his fine down, to charm thy curious eye;
On twinkling fins my pearly nations play,
Or win with sinuous train their trackless way;
My plumy pairs in gay embroidery dress'd
Form with ingenious bill the pensile nest,
To Love's sweet notes attune the listening dell,
And Echo sounds her soft symphonious shell.
"And, if with Thee some hapless Maid should stray,
Disasterous Love companion of her way,
Oh, lead her timid steps to yonder glade,
Whose arching cliffs depending alders shade;
There, as meek Evening wakes her temperate breeze,
And moon-beams glimmer through the trembling trees,
The rills, that gurgle round, shall soothe her ear,
The weeping rocks shall number tear for tear;
There as sad Philomel, alike forlorn,
Sings to the Night from her accustomed thorn;
While at sweet intervals each falling note
Sighs in the gale, and whispers round the grot;
The sister-woe shall calm her aching breast,
And softer slumbers steal her cares to rest.--
"Winds of the North! restrain your icy gales,
Nor chill the bosom of these happy vales!
Hence in dark heaps, ye gathering Clouds, revolve!
Disperse, ye Lightnings! and, ye Mists, dissolve!
--Hither, emerging from yon orient skies,
BOTANIC GODDESS! bend thy radiant eyes;
O'er these soft scenes assume thy gentle reign,
Pomona, Ceres, Flora in thy train;
O'er the still dawn thy placid smile effuse,
And with thy silver sandals print the dews;
In noon's bright blaze thy vermil vest unfold,
And wave thy emerald banner star'd with gold."
Thus spoke the GENIUS, as He stept along,
And bade these lawns to Peace and Truth belong;
Down the steep slopes He led with modest skill
The willing pathway, and the truant rill,
Stretch'd o'er the marshy vale yon willowy mound,
Where shines the lake amid the tufted ground,
Raised the young woodland, smooth'd the wavy green,
And gave to Beauty all the quiet scene.--
She comes!--the GODDESS!--through the whispering air,
Bright as the morn, descends her blushing car;
Each circling wheel a wreath of flowers intwines,
And gem'd with flowers the silken harness shines;
The golden bits with flowery studs are deck'd,
And knots of flowers the crimson reins connect.--
And now on earth the silver axle rings,
And the shell sinks upon its slender springs;
Light from her airy seat the Goddess bounds,
And steps celestial press the pansied grounds.
Fair Spring advancing calls her feather'd quire,
And tunes to softer notes her laughing lyre;
Bids her gay hours on purple pinions move,
And arms her Zephyrs with the shafts of Love,
Pleased GNOMES, ascending from their earthy beds,
Play round her graceful footsteps, as she treads;
Gay SYLPHS attendant beat the fragrant air
On winnowing wings, and waft her golden hair;
Blue NYMPHS emerging leave their sparkling streams,
And FIERY FORMS alight from orient beams;
Musk'd in the rose's lap fresh dews they shed,
Or breathe celestial lustres round her head.
First the fine Forms her dulcet voice requires,
Which bathe or bask in elemental fires;
From each bright gem of Day's refulgent car,
From the pale sphere of every twinkling star,
From each nice pore of ocean, earth, and air,
With eye of flame the sparkling hosts repair,
Mix their gay hues, in changeful circles play,
Like motes, that tenant the meridian ray.--
So the clear Lens collects with magic power
The countless glories of the midnight hour;
Stars after stars with quivering lustre fall,
And twinkling glide along the whiten'd wall.--
Pleased, as they pass, she counts the glittering bands,
And stills their murmur with her waving hands;
Each listening tribe with fond expectance burns,
And now to these, and now to those, she turns.

I. "NYMPHS OF PRIMEVAL FIRE! YOUR vestal train
Hung with gold-tresses o'er the vast inane,
Pierced with your silver shafts the throne of Night,
And charm'd young Nature's opening eyes with light;
When LOVE DIVINE, with brooding wings unfurl'd,
Call'd from the rude abyss the living world.
"--LET THERE BE LIGHT!" proclaim'd the ALMIGHTY LORD,
Astonish'd Chaos heard the potent word;--
Through all his realms the kindling Ether runs,
And the mass starts into a million suns;
Earths round each sun with quick explosions burst,
And second planets issue from the first;
Bend, as they journey with projectile force,
In bright ellipses their reluctant course;
Orbs wheel in orbs, round centres centres roll,
And form, self-balanced, one revolving Whole.
--Onward they move amid their bright abode,
Space without bound, THE BOSOM OF THEIR GOD!

II. "ETHEREAL POWERS! YOU chase the shooting stars,
Or yoke the vollied lightenings to your cars,
Cling round the aërial bow with prisms bright,
And pleased untwist the sevenfold threads of light;
Eve's silken couch with gorgeous tints adorn,
And fire the arrowy throne of rising Morn.
--OR, plum'd with flame, in gay battalion's spring
To brighter regions borne on broader wing;
Where lighter gases, circumfused on high,
Form the vast concave of exterior sky;
With airy lens the scatter'd rays assault,
And bend the twilight round the dusky vault;
Ride, with broad eye and scintillating hair,
The rapid Fire-ball through the midnight air;
Dart from the North on pale electric streams,
Fringing Night's sable robe with transient beams.
--OR rein the Planets in their swift careers,
Gilding with borrow'd light their twinkling spheres;
Alarm with comet-blaze the sapphire plain,
The wan stars glimmering through its silver train;
Gem the bright Zodiac, stud the glowing pole,
Or give the Sun's phlogistic orb to roll.

III. NYMPHS! YOUR fine forms with steps impassive mock
Earth's vaulted roofs of adamantine rock;
Round her still centre tread the burning soil,
And watch the billowy Lavas, as they boil;
Where, in basaltic caves imprison'd deep,
Reluctant fires in dread suspension sleep;
Or sphere on sphere in widening waves expand,
And glad with genial warmth the incumbent land.
So when the Mother-bird selects their food
With curious bill, and feeds her callow brood;
Warmth from her tender heart eternal springs,
And pleased she clasps them with extended wings.
"YOU from deep cauldrons and unmeasured caves
Blow flaming airs, or pour vitrescent waves;
O'er shining oceans ray volcanic light,
Or hurl innocuous embers to the night.--
While with loud shouts to Etna Heccla calls,
And Andes answers from his beacon'd walls;
Sea-wilder'd crews the mountain-stars admire,
And Beauty beams amid tremendous fire.
"Thus when of old, as mystic bards presume,
Huge CYCLOPS dwelt in Etna's rocky womb,
On thundering anvils rung their loud alarms,
And leagued with VULCAN forged immortal arms;
Descending VENUS sought the dark abode,
And sooth'd the labours of the grisly God.--
While frowning Loves the threatening falchion wield,
And tittering Graces peep behind the shield,
With jointed mail their fairy limbs o'erwhelm,
Or nod with pausing step the plumed helm;
With radiant eye She view'd the boiling ore,
Heard undismay'd the breathing bellows roar,
Admired their sinewy arms, and shoulders bare,
And ponderous hammers lifted high in air,
With smiles celestial bless'd their dazzled sight,
And Beauty blazed amid infernal night.

IV. "EFFULGENT MAIDS! YOU round deciduous day,
Tressed with soft beams, your glittering bands array;
On Earth's cold bosom, as the Sun retires,
Confine with folds of air the lingering fires;
O'er Eve's pale forms diffuse phosphoric light,
And deck with lambent flames the shrine of Night.
So, warm'd and kindled by meridian skies,
And view'd in darkness with dilated eyes,
BOLOGNA'S chalks with faint ignition blaze,
BECCARI'S shells emit prismatic rays.
So to the sacred Sun in MEMNON's fane,
Spontaneous concords quired the matin strain;
--Touch'd by his orient beam, responsive rings
The living lyre, and vibrates all it's strings;
Accordant ailes the tender tones prolong,
And holy echoes swell the adoring song.
"YOU with light Gas the lamps nocturnal feed,
Which dance and glimmer o'er the marshy mead;
Shine round Calendula at twilight hours,
And tip with silver all her saffron flowers;
Warm on her mossy couch the radiant Worm,
Guard from cold dews her love-illumin'd form,
From leaf to leaf conduct the virgin light,
Star of the earth, and diamond of the night.
You bid in air the tropic Beetle burn,
And fill with golden flame his winged urn;
Or gild the surge with insect-sparks, that swarm
Round the bright oar, the kindling prow alarm;
Or arm in waves, electric in his ire,
The dread Gymnotus with ethereal fire.--
Onward his course with waving tail he helms,
And mimic lightenings scare the watery realms,
So, when with bristling plumes the Bird of JOVE
Vindictive leaves the argent fields above,
Borne on broad wings the guilty world he awes,
And grasps the lightening in his shining claws.

V. 1. "NYMPHS! Your soft smiles uncultur'd man subdued,
And charm'd the Savage from his native wood;
You, while amazed his hurrying Hords retire
From the fell havoc of devouring FIRE,
Taught, the first Art! with piny rods to raise
By quick attrition the domestic blaze,
Fan with soft breath, with kindling leaves provide,
And lift the dread Destroyer on his side.
So, with bright wreath of serpent-tresses crown'd,
Severe in beauty, young MEDUSA frown'd;
Erewhile subdued, round WISDOM'S Aegis roll'd
Hiss'd the dread snakes, and flam'd in burnish'd gold;
Flash'd on her brandish'd arm the immortal shield,
And Terror lighten'd o'er the dazzled field.
2. NYMPHS! YOU disjoin, unite, condense, expand,
And give new wonders to the Chemist's hand;
On tepid clouds of rising steam aspire,
Or fix in sulphur all it's solid fire;
With boundless spring elastic airs unfold,
Or fill the fine vacuities of gold;
With sudden flash vitrescent sparks reveal,
By fierce collision from the flint and steel;
Or mark with shining letter KUNKEL's name
In the pale Phosphor's self-consuming flame.
So the chaste heart of some enchanted Maid
Shines with insidious light, by Love betray'd;
Round her pale bosom plays the young Desire,
And slow she wastes by self-consuming fire.
3. "YOU taught mysterious BACON to explore
Metallic veins, and part the dross from ore;
With sylvan coal in whirling mills combine
The crystal'd nitre, and the sulphurous mine;
Through wiry nets the black diffusion strain,
And close an airy ocean in a grain.--
Pent in dark chambers of cylindric brass
Slumbers in grim repose the sooty mass;
Lit by the brilliant spark, from grain to grain
Runs the quick fire along the kindling train;
On the pain'd ear-drum bursts the sudden crash,
Starts the red flame, and Death pursues the flash.--
Fear's feeble hand directs the fiery darts,
And Strength and Courage yield to chemic arts;
Guilt with pale brow the mimic thunder owns,
And Tyrants tremble on their blood-stain'd thrones.

VI. NYMPHS! You erewhile on simmering cauldrons play'd,
And call'd delighted SAVERY to your aid;
Bade round the youth explosive STEAM aspire
In gathering clouds, and wing'd the wave with fire;
Bade with cold streams the quick expansion stop,
And sunk the immense of vapour to a drop.--
Press'd by the ponderous air the Piston falls
Resistless, sliding through it's iron walls;
Quick moves the balanced beam, of giant-birth,
Wields his large limbs, and nodding shakes the earth.
"The Giant-Power from earth's remotest caves
Lifts with strong arm her dark reluctant waves;
Each cavern'd rock, and hidden den explores,
Drags her dark coals, and digs her shining ores.--
Next, in close cells of ribbed oak confined,
Gale after gale, He crowds the struggling wind;
The imprison'd storms through brazen nostrils roar,
Fan the white flame, and fuse the sparkling ore.
Here high in air the rising stream He pours
To clay-built cisterns, or to lead-lined towers;
Fresh through a thousand pipes the wave distils,
And thirsty cities drink the exuberant rills.--
There the vast mill-stone with inebriate whirl
On trembling floors his forceful fingers twirl.
Whose flinty teeth the golden harvests grind,
Feast without blood! and nourish human-kind.
"Now his hard hands on Mona's rifted crest,
Bosom'd in rock, her azure ores arrest;
With iron lips his rapid rollers seize
The lengthening bars, in thin expansion squeeze;
Descending screws with ponderous fly-wheels wound
The tawny plates, the new medallions round;
Hard dyes of steel the cupreous circles cramp,
And with quick fall his massy hammers stamp.
The Harp, the Lily and the Lion join,
And GEORGE and BRITAIN guard the sterling coin.
"Soon shall thy arm, UNCONQUER'D STEAM! afar
Drag the slow barge, or drive the rapid car;
Or on wide-waving wings expanded bear
The flying-chariot through the fields of air.
--Fair crews triumphant, leaning from above,
Shall wave their fluttering kerchiefs as they move;
Or warrior-bands alarm the gaping crowd,
And armies shrink beneath the shadowy cloud.
"So mighty HERCULES o'er many a clime
Waved his vast mace in Virtue's cause sublime,
Unmeasured strength with early art combined,
Awed, served, protected, and amazed mankind.--
First two dread Snakes at JUNO'S vengeful nod
Climb'd round the cradle of the sleeping God;
Waked by the shrilling hiss, and rustling sound,
And shrieks of fair attendants trembling round,
Their gasping throats with clenching hands he holds;
And Death untwists their convoluted folds.
Next in red torrents from her sevenfold heads
Fell HYDRA'S blood on Lerna's lake he sheds;
Grasps ACHELOUS with resistless force,
And drags the roaring River to his course;
Binds with loud bellowing and with hideous yell
The monster Bull, and threefold Dog of Hell.
"Then, where Nemea's howling forests wave,
He drives the Lion to his dusky cave;
Seized by the throat the growling fiend disarms,
And tears his gaping jaws with sinewy arms;
Lifts proud ANTEUS from his mother-plains,
And with strong grasp the struggling Giant strains;
Back falls his fainting head, and clammy hair,
Writhe his weak limbs, and flits his life in air;--
By steps reverted o'er the blood-dropp'd fen
He tracks huge CACUS to his murderous den;
Where breathing flames through brazen lips he fled,
And shakes the rock-roof'd cavern o'er his head.
"Last with wide arms the solid earth He tears,
Piles rock on rock, on mountain mountain rears;
Heaves up huge ABYLA on Afric's sand,
Crowns with high CALPÈ Europe's saliant strand,
Crests with opposing towers the splendid scene,
And pours from urns immense the sea between.--
--Loud o'er her whirling flood Charybdis roars,
Affrighted Scylla bellows round his shores,
Vesuvio groans through all his echoing caves,
And Etna thunders o'er the insurgent waves.

VII. 1. NYMPHS! YOUR fine hands ethereal floods amass
From the warm cushion, and the whirling glass;
Beard the bright cylinder with golden wire,
And circumfuse the gravitating fire.
Cold from each point cerulean lustres gleam,
Or shoot in air the scintillating stream.
So, borne on brazen talons, watch'd of old
The sleepless dragon o'er his fruits of gold;
Bright beam'd his scales, his eye-balls blazed with ire,
And his wide nostrils breath'd inchanted fire.
"YOU bid gold-leaves, in crystal lantherns held,
Approach attracted, and recede repel'd;
While paper-nymphs instinct with motion rife,
And dancing fauns the admiring Sage surprize.
OR, if on wax some fearless Beauty stand,
And touch the sparkling rod with graceful hand;
Through her fine limbs the mimic lightnings dart,
And flames innocuous eddy round her heart;
O'er her fair brow the kindling lustres glare,
Blue rays diverging from her bristling hair;
While some fond Youth the kiss ethereal sips.
And soft fires issue from their meeting lips.
So round the virgin Saint in silver streams
The holy Halo shoots it's arrowy beams.
"YOU crowd in coated jars the denser fire,
Pierce the thin glass, and fuse the blazing wire;
Or dart the red flash through the circling band
Of youths and timorous damsels, hand in hand.
--Starts the quick Ether through the fibre-trains
Of dancing arteries, and of tingling veins,
Goads each fine nerve, with new sensation thrill'd,
Bends the reluctant limbs with power unwill'd;
Palsy's cold hands the fierce concussion own,
And Life clings trembling on her tottering throne.--
So from dark clouds the playful lightning springs,
Rives the firm oak, or prints the Fairy-rings.
2. NYMPHS! on that day YE shed from lucid eyes.
Celestial tears, and breathed ethereal sighs!
When RICHMAN rear'd, by fearless haste betrayed,
The wiry rod in Nieva's fatal shade;--
Clouds o'er the Sage, with fringed skirts succeed,
Flash follows flash, the warning corks recede;
Near and more near He ey'd with fond amaze
The silver streams, and watch'd the saphire blaze;
Then burst the steel, the dart electric sped,
And the bold Sage lay number'd with the dead!--
NYMPHS! on that day YE shed from lucid eyes
Celestial tears, and breathed ethereal sighs!
3. "YOU led your FRANKLIN to your glazed retreats,
Your air-built castles, and your silken seats;
Bade his bold arm invade the lowering sky,
And seize the tiptoe lightnings, ere they fly;
O'er the young Sage your mystic mantle spread,
And wreath'd the crown electric round his head.--
Thus when on wanton wing intrepid LOVE
Snatch'd the raised lightning from the arm of JOVE;
Quick o'er his knee the triple bolt He bent,
The cluster'd darts and forky arrows rent,
Snapp'd with illumin'd hands each flaming shaft,
His tingling fingers shook, and stamp'd, and laugh'd;
Bright o'er the floor the scatter'd fragments blaz'd,
And Gods retreating trembled as they gaz'd;
The immortal Sire, indulgent to his child,
Bow'd his ambrosial locks, and Heaven relenting smiled.

VIII. "When Air's pure essence joins the vital flood,
And with phosphoric Acid dyes the blood,
YOUR VIRGIN TRAINS the transient HEAT dispart,
And lead the soft combustion round the heart;
Life's holy lamp with fires successive feed,
From the crown'd forehead to the prostrate weed,
From Earth's proud realms to all that swim or sweep
The yielding ether or tumultuous deep.
You swell the bulb beneath the heaving lawn,
Brood the live seed, unfold the bursting spawn;
Nurse with soft lap, and warm with fragrant breath
The embryon panting in the arms of Death;
Youth's vivid eye with living light adorn,
And fire the rising blush of Beauty's golden morn.
"Thus when the Egg of Night, on Chaos hurl'd,
Burst, and disclosed the cradle of the world;
First from the gaping shell refulgent sprung
IMMORTAL LOVE, his bow celestial strung;--
O'er the wide waste his gaudy wings unfold,
Beam his soft smiles, and wave his curls of gold;--
With silver darts He pierced the kindling frame,
And lit with torch divine the ever-living flame."

IX. The GODDESS paused, admired with conscious pride
The effulgent legions marshal'd by her side,
Forms sphered in fire with trembling light array'd,
Ens without weight, and substance without shade;
And, while tumultuous joy her bosom warms,
Waves her white hand, and calls her hosts to arms,
"Unite, ILLUSTRIOUS NYMPHS! your radiant powers,
Call from their long repose the VERNAL HOURS.
Wake with soft touch, with rosy hands unbind
The struggling pinions of the WESTERN WIND;
Chafe his wan cheeks, his ruffled plumes repair,
And wring the rain-drops from his tangled hair.
Blaze round each frosted rill, or stagnant wave,
And charm the NAIAD from her silent cave;
Where, shrined in ice, like NIOBE she mourns,
And clasps with hoary arms her empty urns.
Call your bright myriads, trooping from afar,
With beamy helms, and glittering shafts of war;
In phalanx firm the FIEND OF FROST assail,
Break his white towers, and pierce his crystal mail;
To Zembla's moon-bright coasts the Tyrant bear,
And chain him howling to the Northern Bear.
"So when enormous GRAMPUS, issuing forth
From the pale regions of the icy North;
Waves his broad tail, and opes his ribbed mouth,
And seeks on winnowing fin the breezy South;
From towns deserted rush the breathless hosts,
Swarm round the hills, and darken all the coasts;
Boats follow boats along the shouting tides,
And spears and javelins pierce his blubbery sides;
Now the bold Sailor, raised on pointed toe,
Whirls the wing'd harpoon on the slimy foe;
Quick sinks the monster in his oozy bed,
The blood-stain'd surges circling o'er his head,
Steers to the frozen pole his wonted track,
And bears the iron tempest on his back.

X. "On wings of flame, ETHEREAL VIRGINS! sweep
O'er Earth's fair bosom, and complacent deep;
Where dwell my vegetative realms benumb'd,
In buds imprison'd, or in bulbs intomb'd,
Pervade, PELLUCID FORMS! their cold retreat,
Ray from bright urns your viewless floods of heat;
From earth's deep wastes electric torrents pour,
Or shed from heaven the scintillating shower;
Pierce the dull root, relax its fibre-trains,
Thaw the thick blood, which lingers in its veins;
Melt with warm breath the fragrant gums, that bind
The expanding foliage in its scaly rind;
And as in air the laughing leaflets play,
And turn their shining bosoms to the ray,
NYMPHS! with sweet smile each opening glower invite,
And on its damask eyelids pour the light.
"So shall my pines, Canadian wilds that shade,
Where no bold step has pierc'd the tangled glade,
High-towering palms, that part the Southern flood
With shadowy isles and continents of wood,
Oaks, whose broad antlers crest Britannia's plain,
Or bear her thunders o'er the conquer'd main,
Shout, as you pass, inhale the genial skies,
And bask and brighten in your beamy eyes;
Bow their white heads, admire the changing clime,
Shake from their candied trunks the tinkling rime;
With bursting buds their wrinkled barks adorn,
And wed the timorous floret to her thorn;
Deep strike their roots, their lengthening tops revive,
And all my world of foliage wave, alive.
"Thus with Hermetic art the ADEPT combines
The royal acid with cobaltic mines;
Marks with quick pen, in lines unseen portrayed,
The blushing mead, green dell, and dusky glade;
Shades with pellucid clouds the tintless field,
And all the future Group exists conceal'd;
Till waked by fire the dawning tablet glows,
Green springs the herb, the purple floret blows,
Hills vales and woods in bright succession rise,
And all the living landscape charms his eyes.

XI. "With crest of gold should sultry SIRIUS glare,
And with his kindling tresses scorch the air;
With points of flame the shafts of Summer arm,
And burn the beauties he designs to warm;--
--So erst when JOVE his oath extorted mourn'd,
And clad in glory to the Fair return'd;
While Loves at forky bolts their torches light,
And resting lightnings gild the car of Night;
His blazing form the dazzled Maid admir'd,
Met with fond lips, and in his arms expir'd;--
NYMPHS! on light pinion lead your banner'd hosts
High o'er the cliffs of ORKNEY'S gulphy coasts;
Leave on your left the red volcanic light,
Which HECCLA lifts amid the dusky night;
Mark on the right the DOFRINE'S snow-capt brow,
Where whirling MAELSTROME roars and foams below;
Watch with unmoving eye, where CEPHEUS bends
His triple crown, his scepter'd hand extends;
Where studs CASSIOPE with stars unknown
Her golden chair, and gems her sapphire zone;
Where with vast convolution DRACO holds
The ecliptic axis in his scaly folds,
O'er half the skies his neck enormous rears,
And with immense meanders parts the BEARS;
Onward, the kindred BEARS with footstep rude
Dance round the Pole, pursuing and pursued.
"There in her azure coif and starry stole,
Grey TWILIGHT sits, and rules the slumbering Pole;
Bends the pale moon-beams round the sparkling coast,
And strews with livid hands eternal frost.
There, NYMPHS! alight, array your dazzling powers,
With sudden march alarm the torpid Hours;
On ice-built isles expand a thousand sails,
Hinge the strong helms, and catch the frozen gales;
The winged rocks to feverish climates guide,
Where fainting Zephyrs pant upon the tide;
Pass, where to CEUTA CALPE'S thunder roars,
And answering echoes shake the kindred shores;
Pass, where with palmy plumes CANARY smiles,
And in her silver girdle binds her isles;
Onward, where NIGER'S dusky Naiad laves
A thousand kingdoms with prolific waves,
Or leads o'er golden sands her threefold train
In steamy channels to the fervid main,
While swarthy nations croud the sultry coast,
Drink the fresh breeze, and hail the floating Frost,
NYMPHS! veil'd in mist, the melting treasures steer,
And cool with arctic snows the tropic year.
So from the burning Line by Monsoons driven
Clouds sail in squadrons o'er the darken'd heaven;
Wide wastes of sand the gelid gales pervade,
And ocean cools beneath the moving shade.

XII. Should SOLSTICE, stalking through the sickening bowers,
Suck the warm dew-drops, lap the falling showers;
Kneel with parch'd lip, and bending from it's brink
From dripping palm the scanty river drink;
NYMPHS! o'er the soil ten thousand points erect,
And high in air the electric flame collect.
Soon shall dark mists with self-attraction shroud
The blazing day, and sail in wilds of cloud;
Each silvery Flower the streams aerial quaff,
Bow her sweet head, and infant Harvest laugh.
"Thus when ELIJA mark'd from Carmel's brow
In bright expanse the briny flood below;
Roll'd his red eyes amid the scorching air,
Smote his firm breast, and breathed his ardent prayer;
High in the midst a massy altar stood,
And slaughter'd offerings press'd the piles of wood;
While ISRAEL'S chiefs the sacred hill surround,
And famish'd armies crowd the dusty ground;
While proud Idolatry was leagued with dearth,
And wither'd famine swept the desert earth.--
"OH, MIGHTY LORD! thy woe-worn servant hear,
"Who calls thy name in agony of prayer;
"Thy fanes dishonour'd, and thy prophets slain,
"Lo! I alone survive of all thy train!--
"Oh send from heaven thy sacred fire,--and pour
"O'er the parch'd land the salutary shower,--
"So shall thy Priest thy erring flock recal,--
"And speak in thunder, "THOU ART LORD OF ALL."--
He cried, and kneeling on the mountain-sands,
Stretch'd high in air his supplicating hands.
--Descending flames the dusky shrine illume;
Fire the wet wood, the sacred bull consume;
Wing'd from the sea the gathering mists arise,
And floating waters darken all the skies;
The King with shifted reins his chariot bends,
And wide o'er earth the airy flood descends;
With mingling cries dispersing hosts applaud,
And shouting nations own THE LIVING GOD."
The GODDESS ceased,--the exulting tribes obey,
Start from the soil, and win their airy way;
The vaulted skies with streams of transient rays
Shine, as they pass, and earth and ocean blaze.
So from fierce wars when lawless Monarch's cease,
Or Liberty returns with laurel'd Peace;
Bright fly the sparks, the colour'd lustres burn,
Flash follows f
Blue serpents sweep along the dusky air,
Imp'd by long trains of scintillating hair;
Red rockets rise, loud cracks are heard on high,
And showers of stars rush headlong from the sky,
Burst, as in silver lines they hiss along,
And the quick flash unfolds the gazing throng.

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Erasmus Darwin