Mean As Custard (calico_pye) wrote,
Mean As Custard
calico_pye

Anna Barbauld - The Prologue

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A FRAGMENT

Farewell the softer hours, Spring's opening blush
And Summer's deeper glow, the shepherd's pipe
Tuned to the murmurs of a weeping spring,
And song of birds, and gay enameled fields,—
Farewell! 'T is now the sickness of the year,
Not to be medicined by the skillful hand.
Pale suns arise that like weak kings behold
Their predecessor's empire moulder from them;
While swift-increasing spreads the black domain
Of melancholy Night;—no more content
With equal sway, her stretching shadows gain
On the bright morn, and cloud the evening sky.
Farewell the careless lingering walk at eve,
Sweet with the breath of kine and new-spread hay;
And slumber on a bank, where the lulled youth,
His head on flowers, delicious languor feels
Creep in the blood. A different season now
Invites a different song. The naked trees
Admit the tempest; rent is Nature's robe;
Fast, fast, the blush of Summer fades away
From her wan cheek, and scarce a flower remains
To deck her bosom; Winter follows close,
Pressing impatient on, and with rude breath
Fans her discoloured tresses. Yet not all
Of grace and beauty from the falling year
Is torn ungenial. Still the taper fir
Lifts its green spire, and the dark holly edged
With gold, and many a strong perennial plant,
Yet cheer the waste: nor does yon knot of oaks
Resign its honours to the infant blast.
This is the time, and these the solemn walks,
When inspiration rushes o'er the soul
Sudden, as through the grove the rustling breeze.






Observe the insect race, ordain'd to keep
The lazy Sabbath of a half-year's sleep.
Entomb'd beneath the filmy web they lie,
And wait the influence of a kinder sky.
When vernal sunbeams pierce their dark retreat,
The heaving tomb distends with vital heat;
The full-form'd brood, impatient of their cell,
Start from their trance, and burst their silken shell
Trembling awhile they stand, and scarcely dare
To launch at once upon the untried air.
At length assured, they catch the favouring gale,
And leave their sordid spoils and high in ether sail.

Lo! the bright train their radiant wings unfold,
With silver fringed, and freckled o'er with gold.
On the gay bosom of some fragrant flower,
They, idly fluttering, live their little hour;
Their life all pleasure, and their task all play,
All spring their age, and sunshine all their day.
Not so the child of sorrow, wretched man;
His course with toil concludes, with pain began,
That his high destiny he might discern,
And in misfortune's school this lesson learn -
Pleasure's the portion of the inferior kind;
But glory, virtue, heaven for man design'd.

What atom forms of insect life appear!
And who can follow nature's pencil here?
Their wings with azure, green, and purple gloss'd,
Studded with colour'd eyes, with gems emboss'd,
Inlaid with pearl, and mark'd with various stains
Of lively crimson, through their dusky veins.
Some shoot like living stars athwart the night,
And scatter from their wings a vivid light,
To guide the Indian to his tawny loves,
As through the woods with cautious step he moves.
See the proud giant of the beetle race,
With shining arms his polish'd limbs enchase!
Like some stern warrior formidably bright,
His steely sides reflect a gleaming light;
On his large forehead spreading horns he wears,
And high in air the branching antlers bears;
O'er many an inch extends his wide domain,
And his rich treasury swells with hoarded grain.
Tags: anna barbauld, fda english y2, grindstone files - year 2, the romantics
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