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Portentous, unexampled, unexplained,
Have kindled beacons in the skies; and the old
And crazy earth has had her shaking fits
More frequent, and foregone her usual rest.
Is it a time to wrangle, when the props
And pillars of our planet seem to fail,
And Nature * with a dim and sickly eye
To wait the close of all? But grant her end
More distant, and that prophecy demands
A longer refpite, unaccomplished yet;
Still they are frowning signals, and bespeak
Displeasure in his breaft, who smites the earth
Or heals it, makes it languish or rejoice.
And 'tis but seemly, that, where all deserve
And stand exposed by common peccancy
To what no few have felt, there should be peace,
And brethren in calamity thould love.
Alas for Sicily! rude fragments now Lie scattered, where the shapely column stood. Her palaces are duft. In all her streets The voice of singing and the sprightly chord
* Alluding to the fog that covered both Europe and Area during the whole summer of 1783.
Are filent. Revelry, and dance, and show
Suffer a syncope and solemn pause;
While God performs upon the trembling stage
Of his own works his dreadful part alone.
How does the earth receive him?-With what figns
Of gratulation and delight her king ?
Pours she not all her choicest fruits abroad,
Her sweetest fowers, her aromatic gums,
Disclosing paradise wherever he treads ?
She quakes at his approach. Her hollow womb,
Conceiving thunders, through a thousand deeps
And fiery caverns, roars beneath his foot.
The hills move lightly, and the mountains smoke,
For he has touched them. From the extremest point
Of elevation down into the abyss
His wrath is busy, and his frown is felt.
The rocks fall headlong, and the vallies rise,
The rivers die into offensive pools,
And, charged with putrid verdure, breathe a gross
And mortal nuisance into all the air.
What solid was, by transformation strange,
Grows fuid ; and the fix'd and rooted earth,
Tormented ipto billows, heaves and swells,
Or with vortiginous and hideous whirl
Sucks down its prey insatiable. Immense
The tumult and the overthrow, the pangs
And agonies of human and of brute
Multitudes, fugitive on every fide,
And fugitive in vain. The fylvan scene
Migrates uplifted ; and, with all its foil
Alighting in far distant fields, finds out
A new poffeffor, and survives the change.
Ocean has caught the frenzy, and, upwrought
To an enormous and overbearing height,
Not by a mighty wind, but by that voice,
Which winds and waves obey, invades the shore
Refiftless. Never such a sudden flood,
['pridged so high, and sent on such a charge,
Poffessed an inland scene. Where now the throng,
That pressed the beach, and, hasty to depart,
Looked to the sea for safety? They are gone,
Gone with the refluent wave into the deep-
A prince with half his people! Ancient towers,
And roofs embattled high, the gloomy scenes,
Where beauty oft and lettered worth consume
Life in the unproductive shades of death,
Fall prone: the pale inhabitants come forth,
And, happy in their unforeseen release
From all the rigours of restraint, enjoy
The terrors of the day, that sets them free.
Who then that has thee, would not hold thee fast,
Freedom ! whom they that lose thee so regret,
That even a judgment, making way for thee,
Seems in their eyes a mercy for thy lake.
Such evil fin hath wrought; and such a flame Kindled in heaven, that it burns down to earth, And in the furious inquest, that it makes On God's behalf, lays waste his fairest works. The very elements, though each be meant The minister of man, to serve his wants, Conspire against him. With his breath he draws A plague into his blood; and cannot use Life's neceifary means, but he must die. Storms rise to overwhelm. him: or, if stormy
winds , Rise not, the waters of the deep shall rise, And, needing none assistance of the storm, Shall roll themselves ashore, and reach him there. The earth shall Thake him out of all his holds, Or make his house his grave: nor so content, Shall counterfeit the motions of the flood,
And drown him in her dry and dusty gulphs.
What then !-were they the wicked above all,
And we the righteous, whose fast anchored isle
Moved not, while their's was rocked, likealight skiff,
The sport of every wave ? No: none are clear,
And none than we more guilty. But, where all
Stand chargeable with guilt, and to the shafts
Of wrath obnoxious, God may choose his mark:
May punish, if he please, the less, to warn
The more malignant. If he spared not them,
Tremble and be amazed at thine escape,
Far guiltier England, left he spare not thee!
Happy the man, who sees a God employed
In all the good and ill, that chequer life!
Resolving all events, with their effects
And manifold results, into the will
And arbitration wise of the Supreme.
Did not his eye rule all things, and intend
The least of our concerns (fince from the leaft-
The greatest oft originate); could chance
Find place in his dominion, or dispose
One lawless particle to thwart his plan;
Then God might be surprised, and unforeseen: