[THE SPLENDOUR OF INSECTS]
Gemmed o’er their heads the mines
of India gleam,
And heaven’s own wardrobe has arrayed their frame;
Each spangled back bright sprinkling specks adorn,
Each plume imbibes the rosy-tinctured morn;
Spread on each wing, the florid seasons glow,
Shaded and verged with the celestial bow,
Where colours blend an ever-varying dye,
And wanton in their gay exchanges vie.
Not all the glitter fops and fair ones prize,
The pride of fools, and pity of the wise;
Not all the show and mockery of state,
The little, low, fine follies of the great;
Not all the wealth which eastern pageants wore,
What still our idolizing worlds adore;
Can boast the least inimitable grace
Which decks profusive this illustrious race.
[MORAL LESSONS FROM ANIMAL LIFE]
Ye self-sufficient sons of reasoning pride,
Too wise to take Omniscience for your guide,
Those rules from insects, birds, and brutes discern
Which from the Maker you disdain to learn!
The social friendship, and the firm ally,
The filial sanctitude, and nuptial tie,
Patience in want, and faith to persevere,
Th’ endearing sentiment, and tender care,
Courage o’er private interest to prevail,
And die all Decii for the public weal.
[PROMPTINGS OF DIVINE INSTINCT]
Dispersed through every copse or marshy
Where hunts the woodcock or the annual crane,
Where else encamped the feathered legions spread
Or bathe incumbent on their oozy bed,
The brimming lake thy smiling presence fills,
And waves the banners of a thousand hills.
Thou speed’st the summons of thy warning voice:
Winged at thy word, the distant troops rejoice,
From every quarter scour the fields of air,
And to the general rendezvous repair;
Each from the mingled rout disporting turns,
And with the love of kindred plumage burns.
Thy potent will instinctive bosoms feel,
And here arranging semilunar, wheel;
Or marshalled here the painted rhomb display
Or point the wedge that cleaves th’ aerial way:
Uplifted on thy wafting breath they rise;
Thou pav’st the regions of the pathless skies,
Through boundless tracts support’st the journeyed host
And point’st the voyage to the certain coast,—
Thou the sure compass and the sea they sail,
The chart, the port, the steerage, and the gale!
PROLOGUE TO ‘GUSTAVUS VASA’
Britons! this night presents a state distressed:
Though brave, yet vanquished; and though great, oppressed.
Vice, ravening vulture, on her vitals preyed;
Her peers, her prelates, fell corruption swayed:
Their rights, for power, the ambitious weakly sold:
The wealthy, poorly, for superfluous gold,