The Wanderer: A Vision: Canto IV

Still o'er my mind wild Fancy holds her sway,
Still on strange visionary land I stray.
Now scenes crowd thick! now indistinct appear!
Swift glide the months, and turn the varying year!

Near the Bull's horn light's rising monarch draws;
Now on its back the Pleiades he thaws
From vernal heat pale winter forc'd to fly,
Northward retires, yet turns a wat'ry eye:
Then with an aguish breath nips infant blooms,
Deprives unfolding spring of rich perfumes,
Shakes the slow-circling blood of human race,
And in sharp, livid looks contracts the face.
Now o'er Norwegian hills he strides away:
Such slipp'ry paths Ambition's steps betray.
Turning, with sighs, far spiral firs he sees,
Which bow obedient to the southern breeze.
Now from yon Zemblan rock his crest he shrouds,
Like Fame's, obscur'd amid the whitening clouds;
Thence his lost empire is with tears deplor'd:
Such tyrants shed o'er liberty restor'd.
Beneath his eye (that throws malignant light
Ten times the measur'd round of mortal sight)
A waste, pale-glimm'ring, like a moon, that wanes
A wild expanse of frozen sea contains.
It cracks! vast floating mountains beat the shore;
Far off he hears those icy ruins roar,
And from the hideous crash distracted flies,
Like one who feels his dying infant's cries.
Near, and more near the rushing torrents sound,
And one great rift runs thro' the vast profound,
Swift as a shooting meteor; groaning loud,
Like deep-roll'd thunder thro' a rending cloud.
The late-dark Pole now feels unsetting day;
In hurricanes of wrath he whirls his way;
O'er many a polar Alp to Frost he goes,
O'er crackling vales, embrown'd with melting snows;
Here bears stalk tenants of the barren space,
Few men! unsocial those!-a barb'rous race!
At length the cave appears! the race is run:
Now he recounts vast conquests lost, and won,
And taleful in th' embrace of Frost remains,
Barr'd from our climes, and bound in icy chains.

Meanwhile the sun his beams on Cancer throws,
Which now beneath his warmest influence glows.
From glowing Cancer fall'n, the King of day,
Red thro' the kindling Lion shoots his ray.
The tawny harvest pays the earlier plough,
And mellowing fruitage loads the bending bough.
'Tis day-spring. Now green lab'rinths I frequent,
Where Wisdom oft retires to meet Content.

The mounting lark her warbling anthem lends,
From note to note the ravish'd soul ascends;
As thus it would the patriarch's ladder climb,
By some good angel led to worlds sublime:
Oft (legends say) the snake, with waken'd ire,
Like Envy rears in many a scaly spire;
Then songsters droop, then yield their vital gore,
And innocence and music are no more.

Mild rides the morn in orient beauty drest,
An azure mantle, and a purple vest,
Which, blown by gales, her gemmy feet display,
Her amber tresses negligently gay.
Collected now her rosy hand they fill,
And, gently wrung, the pearly dew distil.
The songful zephyrs, and the laughing hours,
Breathe sweet; and strew her op'ning way with flow'rs

The chatt'ring swallows leave their nested care,
Each promising return with plenteous fare.
So the fond swain, who to the market hies,
Stills, with big hopes, his infant's tender cries.

Yonder two turtles, o'er their callow brood,
Hang hov'ring, ere they seek their guiltless food.
Fondly they bill. Now to their morning care,
Like our first parents, part the am'rous pair:
But ah!-a pair no more!-With spreading wings,
From the high-sounding cliff a vulture springs;
Steady he sails along th' aerial grey,
Swoops down, and bears yon tim'rous dove away.
Start we, who worse than vultures, Nimrods find,
Men meditating prey on human-kind?

Wild beasts to gloomy dens repace their way,
Where their couch'd young demand the slaughter'd prey.
Rooks, from their nodding nests, black-swarming fly,
And, in hoarse uproar, tell the fowler nigh.

Now, in his tabernacle rous'd, the sun
Is warn'd the blue etherial steep to run;
While on his couch of floating jasper laid,
From his bright eye Sleep calls the dewy shade.
The crystal dome transparent pillars raise,
Whence, beam'd from saphires, living azure plays;
The liquid floor, in-wrought with pearls divine,
Where all his labours in mosaic shine.
His coronet, a cloud of silver-white:
His robe with unconsuming crimson bright,
Varied with gems, all heaven's collected store!
While his loose locks descend, a golden show'r.
If to his steps compar'd, we tardy find
The Grecian racers, who out-strip the wind,
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"The Wanderer: A Vision: Canto IV" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 21 Nov. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/30296/the-wanderer:-a-vision:-canto-iv>.

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