A View of the fields in Summer.—A thunder-storm.—Reflections suggested by it.




Dwells there on earth with heart of sullen mould
Who scorns the flow’ry charms of Spring to share;
Joyless can see the vernal blooms unfold,
Tread the green vales, and breathe the balmy air;
Or when her sweet but transient reign is o’er,

And bright-eyed Summer, empress of the plain,
Decks her rich zone with many a glowing flower,
The lovely symbols of her radiant reign,
Can view the changing scene with listless dull disdain?


Dwells there on earth whose cold unfeeling pride,

Secured by wealth from want and selfish fear,
Unmoved can view the green fields waving wide,
With the rich promise of a plenteous year?
Go, and the fond enthusiast’s bliss deride;
Go, and pursue Ambition’s emptier toy;
But, child of Nature, turn thee not to chide,
Now while she breathes benevolence and joy,
Oh! let no ruder thought the hallow’d thrill destroy!


Gay o’er the gentle slope and spreading vales,
In green luxuriance waves the bending grain,

The op’ning beanflower scents the murm’ring gales,
The drooping pea-bloom blossoms o’er the plain;
Its flower-crown’d stem the dark potatoe rears,
Deep in the drill the roots increasing store;
A gayer green the springing buckwheat wears,
In August’s sun to spread her milky flower,
And yield her rich increase at harvest’s latest hour.


Plant of the East! when Rome with thund’ring arm,
Pour’d on thy native plains the fierce crusade,
Some friend to culture stole thy dark-brown germ,

And bade its blossom grace th’ Italian glade
Thence spreading fast the small prolific grains,
Once more Improvement’s genius bore away;
And well the product suits those western plains,
Where Winter ling’ring chills the vernal day,
And April’s gentle showers fall in the lap of May.


In towering ranks the loftier maize enfoldsI
Her swelling grain the verdant husk below,
And bright beneath with flowers of orient gold,
The broad-leaved pompkin creeps from row to row;

Wide o’er the mead beneath the scorching ray,
A jocund band its fading fragrance spread,
The new-fall’n flowers, that drunk the dew to-day,
Ere evening tinge yon western sky with red,
Borne from their parent field may strew th’ inclosing shed.


Faint o’er th’ unshelter’d plains the zephyr blows,
Yet whisp’ring welcome waves yon verdant shade,
Where rich around the juicy wild rasp glows,
And creeping vines th’ unripen’d cluster spread;
Ah! there a thousand puny darts invade;

His shrill trump sounding the musquito flies,
In restless myriads swarming through the glade,
From bush and fen the insect armies rise,
And still the thirsty lance the tiny warrior plies.


The shrinking stream in fainter murmurs flows,

Droops the green blade and fades the sick’ning flower.
O’er panting life the tide of splendour glows,
And still and sultry rolls the noontide hour.
But lo! dark louring o’er the changing sky,
Yon livid cloud the coming storm foretells;
The vivid lightnings bluely flash on high,
The rattling hail-shower sweeps along the vales,
And frequent, deep, and loud the rolling thunder peals.


No more embattled hosts, in chill amaze,
Shrink at the sound—pale Omen’s spell-bound prey;

Calmly the sage can view the meteor blaze,
Shoot through the ambient gloom its forky ray;
Yet fate may mark its course;—but now remote
The echoing thunder rolls along the sky,
Still the deep murmur soothes to sober thought,
And solemn awe,—from Contemplation’s eye,
Afar the frolic train of mirth and fancy fly.


Impending vapours robe, in sombrous hue,
The shrouded summit of yon rising hill;
And, veiling still the bright etherial blue,

O’ershadowing clouds their liquid store distil;
And darker glooms may hide from mortal view
The secret purpose of Almighty Power;
Yet He who spreads the lucid pearls of dew,
Wings the dread bolt, and bids the torrent pour,
Nor vainly gleams the flash, nor idly falls the shower.


And say, has Science ranged through Nature’s store,
Found in the mossy shore, or stormy main,
Still brighter proofs of Wisdom, Love, and Power,
Still closer links of Being’s wondrous chain?

And yet athwart the soul-ennobling ray,
Shall sceptic Pride invidious darkness fling,
Does self-bewilder’d Reason frame the lay,
That suits no chord in Nature’s tuneful string,
Or blinded Folly list and wild Presumption sing?


"The vapour, wafted from the billowy deep,
Shall seek once more the bosom of the main;
The leaves that mould’ring in the forest sleep
May rise to vegetable life again;
But the bright beam of thought, th’ inquiring mind,

Intent to mark, and eager to unfold
The laws to matter’s varying forms assign’d,
Since first the great creative mandate roll’d
Earth through the vast expanse, and hung yon lamps of gold;


"Which still, on bolder wing, with nobler aim,

Can seek the Sire of Being’s awful shrine;
And bending there, with filial rev’rence, claim
Its Maker’s care, and trust his power benign;
That soul which, pausing at th’ extent of space,
Still sighs new worlds, new wonders, to explore,
Extinct at once shall sink in Death’s embrace,
Lost in oblivious gloom to rise no more;
’Tis but a transient spark, the meteor of an hour.


"Lo! in the caves where Ocean’s waters ooze,
The struggling lobster bursts his pris’ning shell,

Not vainly taught; creative power renews
O’er all his swelling form its shelt’ring mail;
See the green insect seek its slumb’ring cell,
Then drop the shroud and spring to life again;
Mark but the meanest reptile of the vale,
The feath’ry race, the tenants of the main,
All in their sphere are blest, no instinct given in vain.


"But thou who o’er this nether world supreme,
May’st gaze on Nature with a monarch’s eye!
Thou in whose loneliest cave, and wildest dream,

Floats some bright form of Immortality!
Yet fated from the cradle to the tomb,
The sport of care, and disappointment’s prey;
Th’ aspiring hope that shines through sorrow’s gloom,
To light thy view to climes of happier day,
Is but a fev’rish dream—an ignis fatuus ray."


And yet if Wisdom rule, and earth its care,
Where is the reign of Virtue, Joy, and Love?
Ah! why should Vice corrupt, or Grief or Care
With painful throb the anguish’d bosom move?

Mark but the haughty tyrant’s dread decree,
The treach’rous smile, th’ assassin’s cowardly arm!
Deceit more faithless than the summer sea,
And passion wilder than its wintry storm,
Rise in the human soul, and all its charms deform.


Still the blest tenant of a happier sphere
(Should such the haunts of Adam’s race explore),
Might say, " the lofty ruin once was fair,"
The voice of Mercy has unfolded more.
And thou who lovest to trace the guiding clue,

And mark how Nature’s poison guilt began,
If e’er the sacred volume to thy view
Display’d the birth, the fall, the fate of man;
Go, and with angels muse on Heaven’s eternal plan!