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adventurous eccentricities. T'he conclusion of this address to the Nymphs of Fire is also very high-wrought :
“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 mourned,
And clad in glory to the fair returned ;
While Loves at forky bolts their torches light,
And resting lightnings gild the car of night;
His blazing form the dazzled maid admired,
Met with fond lips, and in his arms expired ;-
-Nymphs ! on light pinions lead your bannered hosts
High o'er the cliffs of Orkney's gulfy coasts ;
Leave on your left the red volcanic light
Which Hecla 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 sceptred 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 footsteps 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 moonbeams 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 icebuilt 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 crowd the sultry coast,
Drink the fresh breeze, and hail the floating frost ;
Nymphs ! veiled 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 darkened heaven;
Wild wastes of sand the gelid gales pervade,
And ocean cools beneath the moving shade.
“Should Solstice, stalking through the sickening bowers,
Suck the warm dewdrops, lap the falling showers ;
Kneel with parched lip, and, bending from its 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 aërial quaff,
Bow her sweet head, and infant harvest laugh.
• Thus, when Elijah marked from Carmel's brow
In bright expanse the briny flood below;
Rolled 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 slaughtered offerings pressed the piles of wood;
While Israel's chiefs the sacred hill surround,
And famished armies crowd the dusty ground;
While proud Idolatry was leagued with dearth,
And withered Famine swept the desert earth :-
‘Oh! mighty Lord! thy wo-worn servant hear,
Who calls thy name in agony of prayer ;
Thy fanes dishonoured, and thy prophets slain,
Lo! I alone survive of all thy train ! -
Oh! send from heaven thy sacred fire, and pour
O'er the parched land the salutary shower ;-
So shall thy priest thy erring flock recall -
And speak in thunder, thou art Lord of all.'
He cried, and, kneeling on the mountain sands,
Stretched high in air his supplicating hands.
Descending flames the dusky shrine illume,
Fire the wet wood, the sacred bull consume;
Winged 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.” A passage from the intermediate part of this address has been made interesting by the progress of discovery since it was written. In a note Darwin expresses his opinion that steam may
probably “in time be applied to the rowing of barges, and the moving of carriages along the road;" and he adds, “ As the specific levity of air is too great for the support of great burdens by balloons, there seems no probable method of flying conveniently but by the power of steam, or some other explosive material, which another half century may probably discover." The most recent great achievement of steam-power as commemorated in the lines that follow was its application in the apparatus for coining copper erected by Watt for Mr. Boulton at Soho:“ Nymphs !
erewhile on simmering cauldrons played,
And called delighted Savery to your aid;
Bade round the youth explosive steam aspire,
In gathering clouds, and winged the wave with fire;
Bade with cold streams the quick expansion stop,
And sunk the immense of vapours to a drop.
Pressed by the ponderous air the piston falls
Resistless, sliding through its 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 caverned 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 imprisoned 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 millstone, with inebriate whirl,
On trembling floors his forceful fingers twirl,
Whose flinty teeth the golden harvests grind,-
Feast without blood !-and nourish human kind.
“Soon shall thy arm, unconquered 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 sink 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,
Climbed 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 entwists their convoluted folds.
Next in red torrents from her seven-fold 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 three-fold god 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 Antæus 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-dropped fen
He tracks huge Cacus to his murderous den;
Where, breathing flames through brazen lips, he fled,
And shakes the rock-roofed 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 Calpe Europe's salient 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 her shores,
Vesuvio groans through all his echoing caves,
And Etna thunders o'er the insurgent waves.”
From the address to the Gnomes, or earth-nymphs, which
occupies the second canto, we will extract our author's explanation, or theory, of “ the fine forms on Portland's mystic vase "—the beautiful and world-renowned vase
now in the British Museum :
“Here, by fallen columns and disjoined arcades,
On mouldering stones, beneath deciduous shades,
Sits human-kind, in hieroglyphic state,
Serious, and pondering on their changeful fate;
While, with inverted torch and swimming eyes,
Sinks the fair shade of mortal life, and dies.
There, the pale ghost through death's wide portal bends
His timid feet, the dusky steep descends :
With smiles assuasive love divine invites,
Guides on broad wing, with torch-uplifted lights ;
Immortal life, her hand extending, courts
The lingering form, his tottering step supports ;
Leads on to Pluto's realms the dreary way,
And gives him trembling to Elysian day.
Beneath, in sacred robes the priestess dressed,
The coif close-hooded, and the fluttering vest,
With pointed finger guides the initiate youth,
Unweaves the many-coloured veil of truth,
Drives the profane from mystery's bolted door,
And silence guards the Eleusinian lore.” As a specimen of Darwin's skill in the description of material phenomena in verse, we will give the passage on weaving and spinning, including Arkwright's then novel invention of mechanical cotton-spinning, from the second canto of the Loves of the Plants :
Inventress of the woof, fair Lina' flings
The flying shuttle through the dancing strings ;
Inlays the broidered weft with flowery dyes ;
Quick beat the reeds, the pedals fall and rise ;
Slow from the beam the lengths of warp unwind,
And dance and nod the massy weights behind.
Taught by her labours, from the fertile soil
Immortal Isis clothed the banks of Nile ;
And fair Arachne with her rival loom
Found undeserved a melancholy doom.
Five ? sister nymphs with dewy fingers twine
The beamy flax, and stretch the fibre-line;