Ocean: An Ode. Concluding with A wish.*
Sweet rural scene!
Of flocks and green!
At careless ease my limbs are spread;
All nature still
But yonder rill;
And listening pines not o'er my head:
In prospect wide,
The boundless tide!
Waves cease to foam, and winds to roar;
Without a breeze,
The curling seas
Dance on, in measure, to the shore.
Who sings the source
Of wealth and force?
Vast field of commerce and big war:
Where wonders dwell!
Where terrors swell!
And Neptune thunders from his car?
Where? where are they,
Whom Pean's ray
Has touch'd, and bid divinely rave?
What, none aspire?
I snatch the lyre,
And plunge into the foaming wave.
The wave resounds!
The rock rebounds!
The Nereids to my song reply!
I lead the choir,
And they conspire
With voice and shell to lift it high;
They spread in air
Their bosoms fair;
Their verdant tresses pour behind.
The billows beat
With nimble feet,
With notes triumphant swell the wind.
Who love the shore,
And they conspire
With voice and shell to lift it high;
Let those adore
The God Apollo, and his Nine,
And Orpheus' skill;
But let Arion's harp be mine.
The main! the main!
Is Britain's reign;
Her strength, her glory, is her fleet;
The main! the main!
Be Briton's strain;
As Triton's strong, as Syren's sweet.
Through nature wide,
Is nought descry'd
So rich in pleasure, or surprize;
How sweet the scene!
How dreadful, when the billows rise.
And storms deface
The fluid glass
In which ere-while Britannia fair
Look'd down with pride,
Like Ocean's bride,
Adjusting her majestic air.
When tempests cease,
And hush'd in peace
The flatten'd surges smoothly spread
Deep silence keep,
And seem to sleep
Recumbent on their oozy bed;
With what a trance
The level glance,
Unbroken, shoots along the seas!
Whichtempt from shore
the painted oar;
And every canvas courts the breeze!
When rushes forth
The frowning North
On blackening billows, with what dread
My shuddering soul
Beholds them roll,
And hears their roarings o'er my head!
With terror mark
Yon flying bark!
Now, center-deep descend the brave;
Now, toss'd on high
It takes the sky,
A feather on the towering wave!
Now, spins around
In whirls profound;
Now, whelm'd; now, pendant near the clouds;
Now, stunn'd, it reels
Midst thunder's peals;
And, now, fierce lightening fires the shrouds.
All aether burns!
And blends once more the seas and skies;
No space between
Thy bosom green,
O Deep! and the blue concave, lies.
The northern blast,
The shatter'd mast,
The fyrt, the whirlpool, and the rock,
The breaking spout,
the stars gone out,
The boiling sreight, the monsters shock.
Let others fear;
To Britain dear
What'er promotes her daring claim;
Those terrors charm,
Which keep her warm
In chace of honest gain or fame.
The stars are bright
To chear the night,
And shed, through shadows, temper'd fire;
And Phoebus flames
With burnish'd beams,
Which some adore, and all admire.
Are then the seas
Outshone by these?
Bright Thetys! thou art not outshone;
With kinder beams
And softer gleams,
Thy bosom wears them as thy own
There, set in green,
Gold-stars are seen,
A mantle rich! thy charms to wrap;
And when the sun
His race has run
He falls enamour'd in thy lap.
Those clouds, whose dyes
Adorn the skies,
That silver snow, that pearly rain;
Has Phoebus stole
To grace the pole,
The plunder of th' invaded main!
The gaudy bow,
Whose colours glow,
Whose arch with so much skill is bent,
To Phoebus' ray
Which paints so gay,
By thee the watery woof was lent.
In chambers deep,
Where waters sleep,
What unknown treasures pave the floor!
The pearl in rows
Pale lustre throws;
The wealth immense, which storms devour.
From Indian mines,
With proud designs,
the merchant, swoin, digs golden ore.
The tempests rise,
And seize the prize,
And toss him breathless on the shore.
His son complains
In pious strains
"Ah! cruel thirst of gold!" he cries;
Then ploughs the main,
In zeal for gain,
The tears yet swelling in his eyes.
Thou watery vast!
What mounds are cast
To bar thy dreadful flowings-o'er?
Thy proudest foam
Must know its home;
But rage of gold disdains a shore.
Gold Pleasure buys;
But Pleasure dies,
Too soon the tross fruition cloys:
Though raptures court,
The sense is short;
But Virtue kindles living joys;
Joys felt alone!
Joys ask'd of none!
Which Time's and Fortune's arrows miss;
Joys that subsist,
Though Fates resist,
And unprecarious endless bliss!
The soul refin'd
Is most inclin'd
To every moral excellence;
All Vice is dull,
A knave's a fool;
And Virtue is the child of Sense
The virtuous mind
Nor wave, nor wind,
Nor civil rage, nor tyrant's frown,
The shaken ball
Nor planets fall,
From its firm basis can dethrone.
This Britain knows,
And therefore glows
With generous passions, and expends
Her wealth and zeal
On public weal,
And brightens both by godlike ends.
What end so great,
As that which late
Awoke the Genius of the main,
Which towering rose
With George to close,
And rival great Eliza's reign?
A voice has flown
From Britain's throne
To reinflame a grand design;
That voice shall rear
Yon fabrick fair,1
As Nature's rose at the divine.
When nature sprung,
Blest angels sung,
And shouted o'er the rising balll;
For strains as high
As main's can fly,
These sea-devoted honours call.
From boisterous seas,
The lap of ease
Receives our wounded and our old;
High domes ascend!
Stretc'd arches bend!
Proud columns swell! wide gates unfold!
So sleeps the grain,
In fostering rain,
And vital beams, till Jove descend;
Then bursts the root!
the verdures shoot!
And earth enrich, adorn, defend!
From wave, from wind,
And Fortune's tempest safe ashore,
To cheat their care,
Of former war
They talk the pleasing shadows o'er.
In lengthen'd tales,
Our fleet prevails;
In tales the lenitives of age!
And, o'er the bowl,
They fire the soul
Of listening youth, to martial rage.
The story done,
Their setting sun,
Serenely smiling down the West,
In soft decay,
They drop away;
And Honour leads them to their rest.
And falsely gay!
Who bask for ever in success;
A constant feast
Quite palls the taste,
And long enjoyment is distress.
What charms us most,
Our joy, our boast,
Familiar, loses all its bloss;
And gold refin'd
The fated mind
Fastidious turns to perfect dross.
When, after toil,
His native soil
The panting mariner regains
What transport flows
From bare repose!
We reap our pleasure from our pains.
Ye warlike slain!
Beneath the main,
Wrapt in a watery winding sheet;
Who bought with blood
Your country's good,
Your country's full-blown glorys greet.
What powerful charm
Can death disarm?
Your long, your iron slumbers break?
By Jove, by Fame,
By George's name,
Awake! awake! awake!
Our joy so proud,
Our shout so loud,
Without a charm the dead might hear:
And see, they rouze!
Their awful brows,
Deep-scar'd, froomm oozy pillows rear!
With spiral shell,
That all your watery realms should sing;
Should echo theirs, and Britain's king.
As long as stars
As Carolina's virtues please,
Or suns invite
The ravish'd sight,
The British flag shall sweep the seas.
Our soil's strong growth,
And our bold natives hardy mind;
Sure Heaven bespoke
Our hearts, and oak,
To give a master to minkind.
That noblest birth
Of teaming earth,
Of forests fair that daughter proud,
To foreign coasts
Our grandeur boasts
And Britain's pleasure speaks aloud.
Now big with war
Sends Fate from far,
If rebel realms their Fate demand;
Now, sumptuous spoils
Of foreign soils
Pours in the bottom of our land.
Hence, Britain lays
In scales, and weighs
The fates of kingdoms and of kings;
And as she frowns
Or smiles, on crown
A night or day of glory springs.
Thus Ocean swells
The streams and rills,
And to their borders lifts them high;
Or else withdraws
The mighty cause,
And leaves their famish'd channels dry.
How mixt, how frail,
How sure to fail,
Is every pleasure of mankind!
A damp destroys
My blooming joys,
While Britain's glory fires my mind.
For who can gaze
On restless seas,
Unstruck with life's more restless state?
Where all are toss'd,
And most are lost
By tides of passion, blasts of fate?
The world's the main,
How vext! how vain!
Ambition swells, and Anger foams;
May good men find,
Beneath the wind,
A noiseless shore, unruffled homes!
The public scene
Of harden'd men
Teach me, O teach me to despise!
The world few know
But to their woe,
Our crimes with our experience rise;
All tender sense
Is banish'd thence,.
All maiden nature's first alarms;
What shock'd before
Disgusts no more,
And what disgusted has its charms
In landskips green
True Bliss is seen,
With Innocence, in shades, the sports;
In wealthy towns
Proud labour frowns,
And painted Sorrow smiles in courts.
These scenes untry'd
Seduc'd my pride,
To Fortune's arrows bar'd my breast;
Till Wisdom came,
A hoary dame!
And told me pleasure was in rest.
"O may I steal
"Along the vale
"Of humble life, secure from foes!
"My friend sincere!
"My judgment clear!
"And gentle business my repose!
Edward Young's Other Poems
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