WHEN Nature first at Heaven's almighty word
|Smiling from chaos sprang, with sweet accord|
|Through every nerve a secret influence stole,|
|And Genius triumph'd o'er her inmost soul.|
|From her, untortur'd by maternal throes,||
|Their eldest-born immortal SCIENCE rose.|
|Propitious horoscopes announc'd his birth.|
|And gratulation rang through all the earth.|
Cradled in forests, rocking tempests soothe
|The wild ambition of his earliest youth.||
|His eyes pursue the planets as they roll,|
|Or with the lightening dart from pole to pole.|
|As riper years confer more vigorous power|
|His busy thoughts to loftiest darings tower,|
|And while almighty wisdom he adores,||
|The vast out-stretch'd creation he explores,|
|Through all the elements adventurous goes,|
|Though Air, Sea, Earth, and Fire his search oppose.|
Now with the juvenile whim of gallant skill,
|(Yet bent some useful purpose to fulfill,)||
|Sportive the carrier-pigeon's neck he strides,|
|And cleaves with rapid wing th'äerial tides,|
|From Bagdadt to Aleppo speeds the scroll|
|That fans the passions, or informs the soul.|
|Or, with Montgolfier dares cœlestial height,||
|And emulates Elijah's fiery flight,|
|Sees cities dwindle, mightiest states grow small,|
|And spies in miniature the whole terrestrial ball.|
Now, with less bold, yet more ennobling plans,
|The telegraphs of naval tactics scans,||
|Displays the colours, that, like Iris, fly,|
|Or whirls commanding rockets thro' the sky;|
|Informs the mighty soul of gallant Howe,|
|'Till Glory rides on his victorious prow;|
|Jarvis inspires, while with address divine||
|He breaks and triumphs o'er th'Iberian line;|
|With all the magnanimity of Duncan blends;|
|And succour to heroic Nelson lends.|
Aye! let vain France, despoil'd of every flag,
|Still Babel schemes, still impious cunning brag,||
|Still foully hug the meretricious art|
|That blinds the judgment, and pollutes the heart,|
|While Britain's guardian Genius towers sublime,|
|And walks with SCIENCE in the starry clime.|
Now, with the dread Monsoon see SCIENCE sweep,
|O'er the tempestuous bosom of the deep;|
|Now lightly skim the phosphorescent waves,|
|And now plunge down to Ocean's darkest caves.|
|Condemn'd Leviathan starts in despair,|
|While prison'd pearls burst forth to gem his hair,||
|As from Heràclea he the magnet tears,|
|And the rich gift to favour'd Florio bears.|
Full of stupendous projects, SCIENCE goes
|Fearless o'er Arab's sands, o'er Zembla's snows;|
|Surprises Nature in her loneliest haunts,||
|And a gay requiem over Ignorance chaunts,|
|Now with Linnæus treads th'ennamell'd meads,|
|Where wily Love botanic sageness leads.|
|And lo! each vegetable breast suspires,|
|Breathing in odorous plaints Idalian fires;||
|The genial magic steals from flower to flower,|
|And SCIENCE smiles at Love's transcendent power.|
Now with severer brow, and piercing ken,
|He storms the tangled brake, the cavern'd den;|
|Scaffolds the elephant's enormous sides,||
|Till castles move as warrior Wisdom guides.|
|Anon, of lonely contemplation fond,|
|Surveys the fabrics of the beaver pond;|
|Or Nature's policy delights to see|
|In the well ordered kingdom of the bee.||
There no licentious demagogues declaim,
|(For self and social interest are the same,)|
|No forc'd equality insults the laws|
|Of various worth and rank that Nature draws;|
|In every breast a love of order glows,||
|The bond of patriots, and the scourge of foes;|
|Though rich industrious, though loyal free,|
|And such, O Britain! as thou still may'st be.|
Nor clogg'd by earth, nor bounded by the skies,
|Undaunted SCIENCE raging fire defies:||
|The burst volcano to the crater mounts,|
|And springs refresh'd from Hecla's boiling founts.|
|When lurid lightenings spread dismay around,|
|And thunder rolls the death-denouncing sound,|
|He calmly views the elemental jar,||
|And rears the magic rod that stills the heavenly war.|
With not less ease he wields terrestrial rays,
|Constructs the furnace, and confines the blaze,|
|Flings to the furious blast the shapeless ore,|
|And strait redeems the bright metallic store:||
|The sordid world admire the glittering prize,|
|And gaze on SCIENCE with converted eyes.|
|So, when the captive Israelites, consign'd|
|To bigot flames, appear'd unhurt, refin'd;|
|Their radiant forms bespoke their mighty Lord,||
|And impious heathens trembled and ador'd.|
Such was the youth whose meritorious prime,
|(Years of proud promise and attempts sublime!)|
|From Honour's sacred lips drew pure acclaim,|
|And fill'd the trumpet of eternal Fame.||
At length his praises reach'd the modest ears
|Of TASTE; a lovely nymph of tender years,|
|Daughter of Beauty by a reverend sire,|
|What time declining years and milder fire|
|Still possess'd charms to fascinate the fair,||
|And Virtue sought a solace of his care.|
Nurs'd in the lap of Elegance, the maid
|In early childhood with the Graces play'd.|
|Oft twining sprigs of bay and fragrant flowers|
|In gay festoons, she chain'd the smiling Hours:||
|Delighted Fancy hover'd round her head,|
|And flew obsequious where the virgin led.|
Yet most she mild Simplicity approv'd,
|Her converse courted, and her pleasures lov'd.|
|With her she oft has risen at earliest dawn,||
|And saunter'd on the dew-bespangled lawn,|
|Greeting the orient Sun's inspiring beams,|
|That tune the groves, and animate the streams.|
|With her she oft has climb'd the mountain brow|
|To sketch new landscapes in the scene below;||
|For, at her bidding magic Fancy flew,|
|And still created as her mistress drew.|
|From yonder hill she par'd a shapeless hump;|
|That lawn embellish'd with its tufted clump;|
|Yon mouldering Priory that naked stood,||
|Emboss'd with ivy, and o'erhung with wood;
||There thro' a lazy streamlet's oozy bed
||The lively current in meanders led;
||Swell'd the light convex of that bordering
||Yet gave the distant scenery to our sight.
But not by rural forms was TASTE engross'd;
|Each imitative Art her aid could boast.
||She govern'd Angelo's impetuous soul,
||And raptur'd Raphael own'd her soft
||Seductive Titian's glowing colours live
|With all the vivid charms her soul could
When mighty Handel's comprehensive mind
|Each congruous element of sound combin'd,
||Exalted TASTE rehears'd
the choral lays,
||And peal'd with Angels the Messiah's
|Yet oft she lov'd to seek the secret haunts
||Where the mild anchorite his vesper chaunts;
||Or list, as in the faintly-floating wind
||Romantic Melody with sorrow pin'd.
||In love-lorn grief did Philomela plain;
|Recording all the sadly pleasing strain,
||At evening to the Leasowes she repair'd,
||And sooth'd her Shenstone, as his woes she
||Hark! how as thrills the sweet Storace's
||Responsive warblings in the æther float!
|Soft Zephyrs waft them to the distant
||And wondering Wildness owns the power of TASTE.
But now, (as Fate ordains that heavenly Love
|Shall every heaven-descended spirit move,)
||Her tender breast dilates with new desire,
|And the pure flame is sanction'd by her
||For lo! commission'd from th'empyreal sky
||Young SCIENCE beams
all-glorious to her eye,
||As achromatic Truth his form displays
||In the bright focus of cœlestial
|The nymph enamour'd smiles him to her arms,
||And SCIENCE pants
entrammell'd by her charms.
Abrupt—the clangor of impetuous war
|Rouses his soul some God-like deed to dare;
||He flies the scenes where Love and Pleasure
|And hurls Britannia's thunder o'er the
But who can tell how gentle TASTE deplor'd
|The fate that sever'd all her soul ador'd!
||For oft, though many a fond and pleasing art
||Play'd 'round her fancy, none e'er touch'd her heart:
||Like the smooth ice reflecting lunar rays,
||Her breast was cold amid the glittering
|But when the fervid sun of SCIENCE
||He swell'd her bosom, and unloos'd her
From court to court she flew with anxious haste,
|And the gay footsteps of her childhood
||The solemn pile, the gay arcade explor'd,
|The polish'd drawing-room, the festive
||Now, all seem'd pompous pride, or gaudy
||Or flippant folly, or voluptuous snare.
||When Memory, (to grief as kind as dear,)
||Whispers reviving counsel in her ear,
|And proudly points to the sequester'd scene
||Where Canada enjoys her lov'd Vice-Queen.
||"Ah! there," with transport,
"there," exclaims the maid.
||"How oft with PRESCOTT
have I fondly stray'd;
||"Caught from her lips the precepts
|"And stamp'd a value on my opening
||"There from the wife, the mother, and
||"Learn'd Elegance and Love with
Dignity to blend!"
||Then bright and rapid as the
||Across the vast atlantic sped her flight.
|The skiff Velella crowded every sail
||To catch the convoy and enjoy the gale;
||The pilot Phaëton stooping flew before;
||And fluttering Halcyon hail'd her from the
||Dione 'spied her 'mid the joyous groupe,
|And flew to launch her elegant chaloupe,
||That matchless conch in which young Venus
||When first she sprang from the Ægean
||Scarce the light form of TASTE
the barque had press'd,
||When in the Chateau shone the much lov'd
Here, as invisible to vulgar eyes
|From room to room with rapid glance she
||Amaz'd she sees, while rapture thrills her
||The genuine soul of SCIENCE
The veteran warrior, o'er whose laurel'd brow
|The olive loves to shoot its foliage now,
||Had rais'd the veil that hangs o'er future
||Where SCIENCE fostering
||Then with his Consort lent a willing hand
||To honour TASTE and
SCIENCE through the land.
|Plain, proud encomium! worthy those to
||Who make a people's happiness their care!
||For not to arid land more vigour brings
||The confluent bounty of redundant springs,
||Not to the lingering germs that frost
|Breathe more auspicious spring's etesian
||Than TASTE and
SCIENCE o'er th'untutor'd
||Shed the best benefits of human-kind.
And lo! the grateful ministers prepare
|Whatever exquisite, whatever rare
|The tributary elements supply
||From vasty ocean, from encircling sky,
||From teeming earth, or from transmuting
||The sage solicits and the world admire.
||The curious ark, by labouring SCIENCE
|Enamour'd TASTE delights
with charms to gild.
There in their native garb obscurely shine
|The rugged treasures of the unwrought mine:
||Like the first natives of our hardy climes
||Who scorn'd the polish of refining times.
|Here, where the sun descends in mid-day
||Prismatic crystals put to rout his rays;
||The scatter'd host, as in bright troops
||Arrest, and dazzle, and enchant the eye.
||Ah! were to it alone the power confin'd!
|Did the gay brilliant ne'er seduce the
||Then e'en on earth had Virtue founded
||On the bright pediment of precious stones.
||As, yet, when worldly time shall pass away,
||And sun and moon be lost in endless day,
|A wondrous city shall the blest infold,
||Its walls of jasper, and its streets of
||Its bright foundations evermore to last
||With ruby, sapphire, and sardonyx grac'd,
||While every gem through the sublime abode
|Shall multiply the glorious light of God.
But 'till the soul fling off this nymphal coil
|And rise transform'd, like Psyche, from the
||Let humble Prudence from Temptation run,
||And even the extremes of Virtue shun.
|This sage advice, that suits Religion best,
||Has modest TASTE by
emblem here express'd.
||For though no diamond glitter from afar,
||Yet not excluded is the ponderous spar,
||Magnesian daze, calcareous stalactite,
|Or mild Argilla's boasted zeolite.
||Here from the causeway fabled giants rear'd
||The proud Basalt his tribute has preferr'd;
||And wild Niagara her foam return'd,
||Like weeping Niobe to stone transform'd.
But say, what trophies from the vast profound
|With various magic ravish or astound?
||The scor'd volute, Amphion's favourite
||The virgin Bulla, Thetis lov'd so well;
||The coral house, where polypes yet adhere;
|The leopard-cowry, to the Gnidians dear:
||And justly dear, who Periander wreck'd
||When the proud foe their liberties attack'd.
With these contrasted, how we smile to see
|The cataphracted fish in panoply;
|Or the huge Echinus, whose hedge-hog spines
||Must choak the whale who on such dainties
But vain th' inadequate description, vain
|The skimming comment of the Muse's strain.
||How can she body forth her rainbow words
|To paint the living colours of the birds?
||How conjure up each floweret to the eye
|Its form delineate, and revive its dye?
||How, most of all, the witching Grace convene
||That breathes a matchless magic o'er the scene
||Where mingling Pleasure and Instruction lurk,
||While TASTE and SCIENCE
own it as their work?
|By Virtue favour'd, as by Wisdom plann'd,
||Long may the honour'd union bless the land
||Of TASTE and SCIENCE!
wide may they impart
||The influence that refines and cheers the heart,
||Yet nerves the soul t'establish as to feel
|The public glory, and the public weal!
||And long may Canada exulting own
lustre to the throne.|
FROM the nature of the foregoing poëm, some allusions necessarily arose which may not be generally obvious. To elucidate these the author has subjoined a few notes, for which if he should receive the slightest thanks from any of his fair readers, he will be amply satisfied. The learned philosopher, for whom they are not intended, should pass them by without spleen, as he does the toy-shop, or the perfume warehouse.
Line 21—Carrier-Pigeon.] These pigeons used to arrive at Aleppo with expresses from Bagdadt, or from Babylon, (30 days journey,) in 48 hours. Within these few years past, this rapid post has been broken up; the Curds having learned to rob the mail, and kill the couriers.
L. 25.—Montgolfier.] The balloon of Montgolfier, (the first mere mortal who explored the skies,) was elevated by fire. Since his time balloons have been generally constructed with inflammable air, which is about twelve times lighter than an equal bulk of the atmosphere.
L. 31.—Iris.] The rainbow; the messenger of the Gods, and generally employed on hostile occasions.
L. 47.—Phosphorescent.] The beautiful and astonishing brightness which the agitated ocean sometimes exhibits is known to derive its origin from the phosphoric light of myriads of minute animals who inhabit its waves.
L. 62.—Science smiles.] Every one knows that "the Loves of the Plants," as gravely expounded by Linnæus, constitute the foundation of modern botany; and under this title Dr. Darwin has favoured the world with an elegant, philosophic poem. All this is very imposing, nay fascinating; still however Science does smile.
L. 70.—Kingdom of the Bee.] Those modern philosophers who so sagely tell us that monarchy is a state of society not conformable to nature, have unluckily, (I suppose,) never had the opportunity of peeping into a bee-hive.
L. 86.—Magic rod.] The electrical conductor silently disarms the thunder-cloud.
L. 159.—Achromatic.] The achromatic glass, (familiar to astronomers,) corrects the false colours, or aberration of light occasioned by others.
L. 196.—The skiff Velella.] This elegant and curious little animal, (a species of Medusa,) has an oval, light-blue body, from the lower part of which, on each side, issue a number of small processes, like oars: From the upper part arises obliquely a transparent membrane that resembles, and actually serves as a tail. Thus equipped its is frequently seen cruising on the atlantic ocean.
L. 198.—The pilot Phaëton.] Phaëton æthereus, so called from the prodigious height to which it soars, is styled in english, the tropic-bird, from its being mostly seen within the tropic circles. Upon some extraordinary occasions, however, this bird has gone beyond its usual limits. Thus, to Kalm, when sailing under the auspices of SCIENCE to Canada, it presented itself on the atlantic in 40º. north latitude. Thus also Latham mentions one having been seen on the same ocean in 47½º north latitude; and this was probably the very pilot here commemorated. The appearance of this bird indicates to sailors that land is at no great distance.
L. 199. Halcyon.] The king-fisher, a beautiful and brilliant bird, tho' of a retired disposition, and chiefly haunting the banks of rivers, is supposed to be the true halcyon of the ancients, proverbally the type of happy days.
L. 200. Dione.] Venus Dione, so called after the supposed mother of Venus, is a native of the american seas. This exquisite bivalve, moored in the Chateau by the hand of TASTE, still experiences the shelter of its hospitable roof. The curiosity of such as have not seen it may probably be inflamed by the following encomium of the celebrated naturalist Dr. Shaw.—"This rare and curious shell is numbered amongst the most valuable articles of the conchyliological cabinet; and is indeed considered, when in its complete and unblemished state, as one of the cimelia of modern museums."
L. 224.—As, yet,] This alludes to a wonderfully splendid and sublime description by St. John, Rev. XXI.—
L. 252.—Nymphal coil.] The greek Psyche originally signified a butterfly. The ancients, observing the surprising transformation of this insect from its coiled and torpid state of nymph or chrysalis to that of a bright aërial being which soon vanished from their sight, employed the same name metaphorically to denote the soul. The general idea was figured, according to the principles of their mythology, under the representation of a beautiful young female, from whose shoulders issued the wings of the butterfly; and of whom they feigned that Cupid, who swayed all the rest of the world, was himself enamoured.
L. 258.—Diamond.] Of the five principal kinds of earth, the diamond and almost all the precious stones belong to the siliceous tribe.
L. 259.—Ponderous spar.] Clusters of regularly figured spars of the barytic order.
L. 260.—Magnesian daze.] The transparent muscovy or pure mica, one of the most elegant forms under which the magnesian earth presents itself.
L. 260.—Calcareous stalactite.] The stone icicle, or drop-stone.
L. 261.—Argilla's boasted zeolite.] The azure stone, or lapis lazuli. This beautiful mineral is composed principally of argillaceous earth, with some silver and iron.
L. 262.—The causeway fabled giants rear'd.] The celebrated basaltic columns in the north of Ireland, the noblest productions of this kind in the world, are commonly called the giant's causeway.
L. 268.—The scor'd volute.] It requires but little aid from Fancy to discover the musical notes on this nice little marine rarity. The shells generally called volutes, Linnæus has distinguished by the title conus or cone.
L. 269.—The virgin Bulla.] This marine production (called also buccinium virgineum by Linnæus) distinguished by parti-coloured, double bands, and its purple, truncated column, is considered as one of the most elegant of the single-valved, convoluted shells.
L. 270.—The coral house.] It is now established that the various species of corals owe their existence to certain marine animals termed polypes, by whom they are inhabited.
L. 271.—The leopard-cowry.] The cypræa tigris of Linnæus is also called cypræa pardalis or leopard cowry, from the dark-brown spots with which it is so strikingly diversified. Though not uncommon it is extremely handsome, and derives from nature its singularly high polish. It was formerly honoured with the title of Venus's shell, for the story ran that the tyrant Periander having attacked her favourite votaries in the isle of Gnidos, Venus issued her commands to these trusty agents, who assembled in considerable numbers, and wrecked his vessel.
L. 275.—Cataphracted fish.] So called by Ichthyologists, from its being clad in a complete coat of mail, which this truly hard word implies.
L. 276.—Echinus.] The sea-urchin: that here alluded to is uncommonly large, and formidable.
L. 280.—Marble boasts the bacon-flitch.] This alludes to a specimen which bears a whimsical resemblance to that far-fam'd prize of conjugal good-humour.
L. 282.—The skimming comment of the Muse's strain] Superficially indeed has she touched upon a few, a very few of the curious and valuable articles of this elegant cabinet, which adorns, like a wreath of amaranth, the rugged brow of the gigantic rock of Quebec.