« EelmineJätka »
The people's actions will their thoughts declare;
All their hearts tremble, and beat thick with war;
Hoarse broken sounds, like trumpets' harsh alarms,
Run thro' the hive, and call 'em to their arms;
All in a hurry spread their shiv'ring wings,
And fit their claws, and point their angry stings:
In crowds before the king's pavilion meet,
And boldly challenge out the foe to fight:
At last, when all the heav'ns are warm and fair,
They rush together out, and join; the air
Swarms thick, and echoes with the humming war.
All in a firm round cluster mix, and strow
With heaps of little corps the earth below;
As thick as hail-stones from the floor rebound,
Or shaken acorns rattle on the ground.
No sense of danger can their kings controul,
Their little bodies lodge a mighty soul:
Each obstinate in arms pursues his blow,
'Till shameful flight secures the routed foe.
This hot dispute and all this mighty fray
A little dust flung upward will allay.
But when both kings are settled in their hive, Mark him who looks the worst, and lest he live Idle at home in ease and luxury,
The lazy monarch must be doom'd to die;
So let the royal insect rule alone,
And reign without a rival in his throne.
The kings are different; one of better note
All speckt with gold, and many a shining spot,
Looks gay, and glistens in a gilded coat;
But love of ease, and sloth, in one prevails,
That scarce his hanging paunch behind him trails :
The people's looks are different as their king's,
Some sparkle bright, and glitter in their wings;
Others look loathsome and diseas'd with sloth,
Like a faint traveller, whose dusty mouth
Grows dry with heat, and spits a maukish froth.
The first are best-
From their o'erflowing combs, you'll often press
Pure luscious sweets, that mingling in the glass
Correct the harshness of the racy juice,
And a rich flavour through the wine diffuse.
But when they sport abroad, and rove from home,
And leave the cooling hive, and quit th' unfinish'd comb;
Their airy ramblings are with ease confin'd,
Clip their king's wings, and if they stay behind
No bold usurper dares invade their right,
Nor sound a march, nor give the sign for flight.
Let flow'ry banks entice 'em to their cells,
And gardens all perfum'd with native smells;
Where carv'd Priapus has his fix'd abode,
The robber's terror, and the scare-crow god.
Wild thyme and pine-trees from their barren hill
Transplant, and nurse 'em in the neighbouring soil,
Set fruit-trees round, nor e'er indulge thy sloth,
But water 'em, and urge their shady growth.
And here, perhaps, were I not giving o'er,
And striking sail, and making to the shore,
I'd show what art the gardener's toils require,
Why rosy pæstum blushes twice a year;
What streams the verdant succory supply,
And how the thirsty plant drinks rivers dry;
With what a cheerful green does parsley grace,
And writhes the bellying cucumber along the twisted grass ·
Nor wou'd I pass the soft Acanthus o'er,
Ivy nor myrtle-trees that love the shore;
Nor daffodils, that late from earth's slow womb
Unrumple their swoln buds, and show their yellow bloom.
For once I saw in the Tarentine vale,
Where slow Galesus drencht the washy soil,
An old Corician yeoman who had got
A few neglected acres to his lot,
Where neither corn nor pasture grac'd the field,
Nor would the vine her purple harvest yield;
But sav'ry herbs among the thorns were found,
Vervain and poppy-flowers his garden crown'd,
And drooping lilies whiten'd all the ground.
Blest with these riches he could empires slight,
And when he rested from his toils at night,
The earth unpurchas'd dainties wou'd afford,
And his own garden furnish'd out his board:
The spring did first his opening roses blow,a
First ripening autumn bent his fruitful bough.
When piercing colds had burst the brittle stone,
And freezing rivers stiffen'd as they run,
He then would prune the tend'rest of his trees,
Chide the late spring, and lingring western breeze :
His bees first swarm'd, and made his vessels foam
With the rich squeezing of the juicy comb.
Here lindons and the sappy pine increas'd;
Here, when gay flow'rs his smiling orchard drest,
a Roses blow. Not usual or exact to use the word blow actively. Yet Milton speaks of banks that blow flowers, (Mask at Ludlow Castle, page 993.) And, indeed, it is not easy to say, how far this licentious construction, if sparingly used, si sumpta pudentèr, may be allowed, especially in the higher poetry. The reason is, that it takes the expression out of the tameness of prose, and pleases by its novelty, more than it disgusts by its irregularity and whatever pleases in this degree, is poetical.
As many blossoms as the spring could show,
many dangling apples mellow'd on the bough.
In rows his elm and knotty pear-trees bloom,
And thorns ennobled now to bear a plumb,
And spreading plane-trees, where supinely laid
He now enjoys the cool, and quaffs beneath the shade.
But these, for want of room I must omit,
And leave for future poets to recite.
Now I'll proceed their natures to declare,
Which Jove himself did on the bees confer;
Because, invited by the timbrel's sound,
Lodg'd in a cave, th' almighty babe they found,
And the young god nurst kindly under ground.
Of all the wing'd inhabitants of air,
These only make their young the publick care;
In well-disposed societies they live,
And laws and statutes regulate their hive;
Nor stray like others, unconfin'd abroad,
But know set stations, and a fix'd abode:
Each provident of cold in summer flies
Thro' fields, and woods, to seek for new supplies,
And in the common stock unlades his thighs.
Some watch the food, some in the meadows ply,
Taste ev'ry bud, and suck each blossom dry;
Whilst others, lab'ring in their cells at home,
Temper Narcissus' clammy tears with gum,
For the first ground-work of the golden comb;
On this they found their waxen works, and raise
The yellow fabrick on its glewy base.
Some educate the young, or hatch the seed
With vital warmth, and future nations breed;
Whilst others thicken all the slimy dews,
And into purest honey work the juice;
Then fill the hollows of the comb, and swell
With luscious nectar ev'ry flowing cell.
By turns they watch, by turns with curious eyes
Survey the heav'ns, and search the clouded skies
To find out breeding storms, and tell what tempests rise.
By turns they ease the loaden swarms, or drive,
The drone, a lazy insect, from their hive.
The work is warmly ply'd through all the cells,
And strong with thyme the new-made honey smells.
So in their caves the brawny Cyclops sweat,
When with huge strokes the stubborn wedge they beat,
And all th' unshapen thunder-bolt compleat;
Alternately their hammers rise and fall;
Whilst griping tongs turn round the glowing ball.
With puffing bellows some the flames increase,
And some in waters dip the hissing mass;
Their beaten anvils dreadfully resound,
And Ætna shakes all o'er, and thunders under ground.
Thus, if great things we may with small compare,
The busie swarms their different labours share.
Desire of profit urges all degrees;
The aged insects by experience wise,
Attend the comb, and fashion ev'ry part,
And shape the waxen fret-work out with art:
The young at night, returning from their toils,
Bring home their thighs clog'd with the meadows' spoils
On lavender, and saffron buds they feed,
On bending osiers, and the balmy reed,
From purple violets and the teile they bring
Their gather'd sweets, and rifle all the spring.