Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FLEECE: BOOK 2, by JOHN DYER



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THE FLEECE: BOOK 2, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Now of the severed lock begin the song
Last Line: Who toil and wealth exchange for sloth and pride.
Subject(s): Animal Rights; Clothing & Dress; Hunting; Labor & Laborers; Sheep; Trade; Animal Abuse; Vivisection; Hunters; Work; Workers


THE ARGUMENT.

Introduction. Recommendation of mercifulness to animals. Of the winding of wool.
Diversity of wool in the fleece: skill in the assorting of it; particularly
among the Dutch. The uses of each sort. Severe winters pernicious to the fleece.
Directions to prevent their effects. Wool lightest in common fields:
inconveniencies of common fields. Vulgar errors concerning the wool of England:
its real excellencies; and directions in the choice. No good wool in cold or wet
pastures: yet all pastures improvable; exemplified in the drainage of Bedford
level. Britain in ancient times not esteemed for wool. Countries esteemed for
wool before the Argonautic expedition. Of that expedition, and its consequences.
Countries afterwards esteemed for wool. The decay of arts and sciences in the
barbarous ages: the revival, first at Venice. Countries noted for wool in the
present times. Wool the best of all the various materials for clothing. The wool
of our island, peculiarly excellent, is the combing wool. Methods to prevent its
exportation. Apology of the author for treating this subject. Bishop Blaise, the
inventor of wool-combing. Of the dyeing of wool. Few dyes the natural product of
England: necessity of trade for importing them. The advantages of trade, and its
utility in the moral world; exemplified in the prosperity and ruin of the elder
Tyre.

Now of the severed lock begin the song,
With various numbers, through the simple theme
To win attention: this, ye shepherd swains,
This is a labour. Yet, O Wray, if thou
Cease not with skilful hand to point her way,
The lark-winged muse, above the grassy vale,
And hills, and woods, shall, singing, soar aloft;
And he, whom learning, wisdom, candour, grace,
Who glows with all the virtues of his sire,
Royston, approve, and patronise the strain.
Through all the brute creation, none, as sheep,
To lordly man such ample tribute pay.
For him their udders yield nectareous streams;
For him the downy vestures they resign;
For him they spread the feast: ah! ne'er may he
Glory in wants which doom to pain and death
His blameless fellow creatures. Let disease,
Let wasted hunger, by destroying live;
And the permission use with trembling thanks,
Meekly reluctant: 'tis the brute beyond:
And gluttons ever murder, when they kill.
Even to the reptile every cruel deed
Is high impiety. Howe'er not all,
Not of the sanguinary tribe are all;
All are not savage. Come, ye gentle swains,
Like Brahma's healthy sons on Indus' bank,
Whom the pure stream and garden fruits sustain,
Ye are the sons of nature; your mild hands
Are innocent: ye, when ye shear, relieve.
Come, gentle swains, the bright unsullied locks
Collect; alternate songs shall soothe your cares,
And warbling music break from every spray.
Be faithful, and the genuine locks alone
Wrap round, nor alien flake, nor pitch enfold;
Stain not your stores with base desire to add
Fallacious weight; nor yet, to mimic those,
Minute and light, of sandy Urchinfield,
Lessen, with subtle artifice, the fleece:
Equal the fraud. Nor interpose delay,
Lest busy ether through the open wool
Debilitating pass, and every film
Ruffle and sully with the valley's dust.
Guard too from moisture and the fretting moth
Pernicious: she, in gloomy shade concealed,
Her labyrinth cuts, and mocks the comber's care.
But in loose locks of fells she most delights,
And feeble fleeces of distempered sheep,
Whither she hastens, by the morbid scent
Allured; as the swift eagle to the fields
Of slaughtering war or carnage: such apart
Keep for their proper use. Our ancestors
Selected such, for hospitable beds
To rest the stranger, or the gory chief,
From battle or the chase of wolves returned.
When many-coloured evening sinks behind
The purple woods and hills, and opposite
Rises, full-orbed, the silver harvest-moon,
To light the unwearied farmer, late afield
His scattered sheaves collecting; then expect
The artists, bent on speed, from populous Leeds,
Norwich, or Froome: they traverse every plain,
And every dale, where farm or cottage smokes:
Reject them not; and let the season's price
Win thy soft treasures: let the bulky wain
Through dusty roads roll nodding; or the bark,
That silently adown the cerule stream
Glides with white sails, dispense the downy freight
To copsy villages on either side,
And spiry towns, where ready Diligence,
The grateful burden to receive, awaits,
Like strong Briareus, with his hundred hands.
In the same fleece diversity of wool
Grows intermingled, and excites the care
Of curious skill to sort the several kinds.
But in this subtle science none exceed
The industrious Belgians, to the work who guide
Each feeble hand of want: their spacious domes
With boundless hospitality receive
Each nation's outcasts: there the tender eye
May view the maimed, the blind, the lame, employed,
And unrejected age; even childhood there
Its little fingers turning to the toil
Delighted: nimbly, with habitual speed,
They sever lock from lock, and long, and short,
And soft, and rigid, pile in several heaps.
This the dusk hatter asks; another shines,
Tempting the clothier; that the hosier seeks;
The long bright lock is apt for airy stuffs;
But often it deceives the artist's care,
Breaking unuseful in the steely comb:
For this long spongy wool no more increase
Receives, while Winter petrifies the fields:
The growth of Autumn stops: and what though Spring
Succeeds with rosy finger, and spins on
The texture? yet in vain she strives to link
The silver twine to that of Autumn's hand.
Be then the swain advised to shield his flocks
From Winter's deadening frosts and whelming snows:
Let the loud tempest rattle on the roof,
While they, secure within, warm cribs enjoy,
And swell their fleeces, equal to the worth
Of clothed Apulian, by soft warmth improved:
Or let them inward heat and vigour find,
By food of cole or turnip, hardy plants.
Besides, the lock of one continued growth
Imbibes a clearer and more equal dye.
But lightest wool is theirs, who poorly toil,
Through a dull round, in unimproving farms
Of common-field: enclose, enclose, ye swains;
Why will you joy in common-field, where pitch,
Noxious to wool, must stain your motley flock,
To mark your property? The mark dilates,
Enters the flake depreciated, defiled,
Unfit for beauteous tint: besides, in fields
Promiscuous held, all culture languishes;
The glebe, exhausted, thin supply receives;
Dull waters rest upon the rushy flats
And barren furrows: none the rising grove
There plants for late posterity, nor hedge
To shield the flock, nor copse for cheering fire;
And, in the distant village, every hearth
Devours the grassy sward, the verdant food
Of injured herds and flocks, or what the plough
Should turn and moulder for the bearded grain;
Pernicious habit, drawing gradual on
Increasing beggary and Nature's frowns.
Add too, the idle pilferer easier there
Eludes detection, when a lamb or ewe
From intermingling flocks he steals; or when,
With loosened tether of his horse or cow,
The milky stalk of the tall green-eared corn,
The year's slow-ripening fruit, the anxious hope
Of his laborious neighbour, he destroys.
There are, who over-rate our spongy stores,
Who deem that Nature grants no clime but ours,
To spread upon its fields the dews of heaven,
And feed the silky fleece; that card, nor comb,
The hairy wool of Gaul can e'er subdue,
To form the thread, and mingle in the loom,
Unless a thread from Britain swell the heap:
Illusion all; though of our sun and air
Not trivial is the virtue; nor their fruit,
Upon our snowy flocks, of small esteem:
The grain of brightest tincture none so well
Imbibes: the wealthy Gobelins must to this
Bear witness, and the costliest of their looms.
And though, with hue of crocus or of rose,
No power of subtle food, or air, or soil,
Can dye the living fleece; yet 'twill avail
To note their influence in the tinging vase.
Therefore from herbage of old-pastured plains,
Chief from the matted turf of azure marl,
Where grow the whitest locks, collect thy stores.
Those fields regard not, through whose recent turf
The miry soil appears: not even the streams
Of Yare, or silver Stroud, can purify
Their frequent-sullied fleece; nor what rough winds,
Keen-biting on tempestuous hills, imbrown.
Yet much may be performed to check the force
Of Nature's rigour: the high heath, by trees
Warm sheltered, may despise the rage of storms:
Moors, bogs, and weeping fens, may learn to smile,
And leave in dykes their soon-forgotten tears.
Labour and art will every aim achieve
Of noble bosoms. Bedford Level, erst
A dreary pathless waste, the coughing flock
Was wont with hairy fleeces to deform;
And, smiling with her lure of summer flowers,
The heavy ox, vain-struggling, to ingulph;
Till one, of that high-honoured patriot name,
Russel, arose, who drained the rushy fen,
Confined the waves, bid groves and gardens bloom,
And through his new creation led the Ouze,
And gentle Camus, silver-winding streams:
Godlike beneficence; from chaos drear
To raise the garden and the shady grove.

But see Ierne's moors and hideous bogs,
Immeasurable tract. The traveller
Slow tries his mazy step on the yielding tuft,
Shuddering with fear: even such perfidious wilds,
By labour won, have yielded to the comb
The fairest length of wool. See Deeping fens,
And the long lawns of Bourn. 'Tis art and toil
Gives Nature value, multiplies her stores,
Varies, improves, creates: 'tis art and toil
Teaches her woody hills with fruits to shine,
The pear and tasteful apple; decks with flowers
And foodful pulse the fields, that often rise,
Admiring to behold their furrows wave
With yellow corn. What changes cannot toil,
With patient art, effect? There was a time,
When other regions were the swains' delight,
And shepherdless Britannia's rushy vales,
Inglorious, neither trade nor labour knew,
But of rude baskets, homely rustic gear,
Woven of the flexile willow; till, at length,
The plains of Sarum opened to the hand
Of patient culture, and, o'er sinking woods,
High Cotswold showed her summits. Urchinfield,
And Lemster's crofts, beneath the pheasant's brake,
Long lay unnoted. Toil new pasture gives;
And, in the regions oft of active Gaul,
O'er lessening vineyards spreads the growing turf.
In eldest times, when kings and hardy chiefs
In bleating sheepfolds met, for purest wool
Phœnicia's hilly tracts were most renowned,
And fertile Syria's and Judæa's land,
Hermon, and Seir, and Hebron's brooky sides:
Twice with the murex, crimson hue, they tinged,
The shining fleeces: hence their gorgeous wealth;
And hence arose the walls of ancient Tyre.
Next busy Colchis, bless'd with frequent rains,
And lively verdure (who the lucid stream
Of Phasis boasted, and a portly race
Of fair inhabitants) improved the fleece;
When, o'er the deep by flying Phryxus brought,
The famed Thessalian ram enriched her plains.
This rising Greece with indignation viewed,
And youthful Jason an attempt conceived
Lofty and bold: along Peneus' banks,
Around Olympus' brows, the Muses' haunts,
He roused the brave to redemand the fleece.
Attend, ye British swains, the ancient song.
From every region of Ægea's shore
The brave assembled; those illustrious twins,
Castor and Pollux; Orpheus, tuneful bard!
Zetes and Calais, as the wind in speed;
Strong Hercules; and many a chief renown'd.
On deep Iolcos' sandy shore they throng'd,
Gleaming in armour, ardent of exploits;
And soon, the laurel cord and the huge stone
Up-lifting to the deck, unmoored the bark;
Whose keel, of wondrous length, the skilful hand
Of Argus fashioned for the proud attempt;
And in the extended keel a lofty mast
Up-raised, and sails full-swelling; to the chiefs
Unwonted objects; now first, now they learned
Their bolder steerage over ocean wave,
Led by the golden stars, as Chiron's art
Had marked the sphere celestial. Wide abroad
Expands the purple deep: the cloudy isles,
Scyros and Scopelos and Icos rise,
And Halonesos: soon huge Lemnos heaves
Her azure head above the level brine,
Shakes off her mists, and brightens all her cliffs:
While they, her flattering creeks and opening bowers
Cautious approaching, in Myrina's port
Cast out the cabled stone upon the strand.
Next to the Mysian shore they shape their course,
But with too eager haste: in the white foam
His oar Alcides breaks; howe'er, not long
The chase detains; he springs upon the shore,
And, rifting from the roots a tapering pine,
Renews his stroke. Between the threatening towers
Of Hellespont they ply the rugged surge,
Of Hero's and Leander's ardent love
Fatal: then smooth Propontis' widening wave,
That like a glassy lake expands, with hills;
Hills above hills, and gloomy woods, begirt.
And now the Thracian Bosphorus they dare,
Till the Symplegades, tremendous rocks,
Threaten approach; but they, unterrified,
Through the sharp-pointed cliffs and thundering floods
Cleave their bold passage: nathless by the crags
And torrents sorely shattered: as the strong
Eagle or vulture, in the entangling net
Involved, breaks through, yet leaves his plumes behind.
Thus, through the wide waves, their slow way they force
To Thynia's hospitable isle. The brave
Pass many perils, and to fame by such
Experience rise. Refreshed, again they speed
From cape to cape, and view unnumbered streams,
Harys, with hoary Lycus, and the mouths
Of Asparus and Glaucus, rolling swift
To the broad deep their tributary waves;
Till in the long-sought harbour they arrive
Of golden Phasis. Foremost on the strand
Jason advanced: the deep capacious bay,
The crumbling terrace of the marble port,
Wondering he viewed, and stately palace-domes,
Pavilions proud of luxury: around,
In every glittering hall, within, without,
O'er all the timbrel-sounding squares and streets,
Nothing appeared but luxury, and crowds
Sunk deep in riot. To the public weal
Attentive none he found: for he, their chief
Of shepherds, proud Æetes, by the name
Sometimes of king distinguished, 'gan to slight
The shepherd's trade, and turn to song and dance:
Even Hydrus ceased to watch; Medea's songs
Of joy and rosy youth and beauty's charms,
With magic sweetness lulled his cares asleep,
Till the bold heroes grasped the golden fleece.
Nimbly they winged the bark, surrounded soon
By Neptune's friendly waves: secure they speed
O'er the known seas, by every guiding cape,
With prosperous return. The myrtle shores,
And glassy mirror of Iolcos' lake,
With loud acclaim received them. Every vale,
And every hillock, touched the tuneful stops
Of pipes unnumbered, for the ram regained.
Thus Phasis lost his pride: his slighted nymphs
Along the withering dales and pastures mourned;
The trade-ship left his streams; the merchant shunned
His desert borders; each ingenious art,
Trade, liberty, and affluence, all retired,
And left to want and servitude their seats;
Vile successors! and gloomy ignorance
Following, like dreary night, whose sable hand
Hangs on the purple skirts of flying day.

Sithence, the fleeces of Arcadian plains,
And Attic, and Thessalian, bore esteem;
And those in Grecian colonies dispersed,
Caria, and Doris, and Ionia's coast,
And famed Tarentum, where Galesus' tide,
Rolling by ruins hoar of ancient towns,
Through solitary valleys seeks the sea.
Or green Altinum, by an hundred Alps
High-crowned, whose woods and snowy peaks aloft,
Shield her low plains from the rough northern blast.
Those too of Bætica's delicious fields,
With golden fruitage bless'd of highest taste,
What need I name? The Turdetanian tract,
Or rich Coraxus, whose wide looms unrolled
The finest webs? where scarce a talent weighed
A ram's equivalent. Then only tin
To late-improved Brittania gave renown.
Lo! the revolving course of mighty Time,
Who loftiness abases, tumbles down
Olympus' brow, and lifts the lowly vale.
Where is the majesty of ancient Rome,
The throng of heroes in her splendid streets,
The snowy vest of peace, or purple robe,
Slow trailed triumphal? Where the Attic fleece,
And Tarentine, in warmest littered cotes,
Or sunny meadows, clothed with costly care?
All in the solitude of ruin lost,
War's horrid carnage, vain ambition's dust.
Long lay the mournful realms of elder fame
In gloomy desolation, till appeared
Beauteous Venetia, first of all the nymphs,
Who from the melancholy waste emerged:
In Adria's gulf her clotted locks she laved,
And rose another Venus: each soft joy,
Each aid of life, her busy wit restored;
Science revived, with all the lovely arts,
And all the graces. Restituted trade
To every virtue lent his helping stores,
And cheered the vales around; again the pipe,
And bleating flocks, awaked the cheerful lawn.
The glossy fleeces now of prime esteem
Soft Asia boasts, where lovely Casimere
Within a lofty mound of circling hills,
Spreads her delicious stores; woods, rocks, caves, lakes,
Hills, lawns, and winding streams; a region termed
The paradise of Indus. Next, the plains
Of Lahor, by that arbour stretched immense,
Through many a realm, to Agra, the proud throne
Of India's worshipped prince, whose lust is law:
Remote dominions; nor to ancient fame
Nor modern known, till public-hearted Roe,
Faithful, sagacious, active, patient, brave,
Led to their distant climes adventurous trade.
Add too the silky wool of Lybian lands,
Of Caza's bowery dales, and brooky Caus,
Where lofty Atlas spreads his verdant feet,
While in the clouds his hoary shoulders bend.
Next proud Iberia glories in the growth
Of high Castile, and mild Segovian glades.
And beauteous Albion, since great Edgar chased
The prowling wolf, with many a lock appears
Of silky lustre; chief, Siluria, thine;
Thine, Vaga, favoured stream; from sheep minute
On Cambria bred: a pound o'erweighs a fleece.
Gay Epsom's too, and Banstead's, and what gleams
On Vecta's isle, that shelters Albion's fleet,
With all its thunders: or Salopian stores,
Those which are gathered in the fields of Clun:
High Cotswold also 'mong the shepherd swains
Is oft remembered, though the greedy plough
Preys on its carpet: he, whose rustic Muse
O'er heath and craggy holt her wing displayed,
And sung the bosky bourns of Alfred's shrines,
Has favoured Cotswold with luxuriant praise.
Need we the levels green of Lincoln note,
Or rich Leicestria's marly plains, for length
Of whitest locks and magnitude of fleece
Peculiar, envy of the neighbouring realms?
But why recount our grassy lawns alone,
While even the tillage of our cultured plains,
With bossy turnip, and luxuriant cole,
Learns through the circling year their flocks to feed?
Ingenious trade, to clothe the naked world,
Her soft materials, not from sheep alone,
From various animals, reeds, trees, and stones,
Collects sagacious: in Eubœa's isle
A wondrous rock is found, of which are woven
Vests incombustible: Batavia, flax;
Siam's warm marish yields the fissile cane;
Soft Persia, silk; Balasor's shady hills,
Tough bark of trees; Peruvian Pito, grass;
And every sultry clime the snowy down
Of cotton, bursting from its stubborn shell
To gleam amid the verdure of the grove.
With glossy hair of Thibet's shagged goat
Are light tiaras woven, that wreath the head,
And airy float behind: the beaver's flix
Gives kindliest warmth to weak enervate limbs,
When the pale blood slow rises through the veins.
Still shall o'er all prevail the shepherd's stores,
For numerous uses known: none yield such warmth,
Such beauteous hues receive, so long endure;
So pliant to the loom, so various, none.
Wild rove the flocks, no burdening fleece they bear,
In fervid climes: Nature gives nought in vain.
Carmenian wool on the broad tail alone
Resplendent swells, enormous in its growth:
As the sleek ram from green to green removes,
On aiding wheels his heavy pride he draws,
And glad resigns it for the hatter's use.
Even in the new Columbian world appears
The woolly covering: Apacheria's glades,
And Canses', echo to the pipes and flocks
Of foreign swains. While Time shakes down his sands,
And works continual change, be none secure:
Quicken your labours, brace your slackening nerves,
Ye Britons; nor sleep careless on the lap
Of bounteous Nature; she is elsewhere kind.
See Mississippi lengthen-on her lawns,
Propitious to the shepherds: see the sheep
Of fertile Arica, like camels formed,
Which bear huge burdens to the sea-beat shore,
And shine with fleeces soft as feathery down.
Coarse Bothnic locks are not devoid of use;
They clothe the mountain carl, or mariner
Lab'ring at the wet shrouds, or stubborn helm,
While the loud billows dash the groaning deck.
All may not Stroud's or Taunton's vestures wear;
Nor what, from fleece Ratæan, mimic flower
Of rich Damascus: many a texture bright
Of that material in Prætorium woven,
Or in Norvicum, cheats the curious eye.
If any wool peculiar to our isle
Is given by Nature, 'tis the comber's lock,
The soft, the snow-white, and the long-grown flake.
Hither be turned the public's wakeful eye,
This golden fleece to guard with strictest watch
From the dark hand of pilfering avarice,
Who, like a spectre, haunts the midnight hour
When Nature wide around him lies supine
And silent, in the tangles soft involved
Of death-like sleep: he then the moment marks,
While the pale moon illumes the trembling tide,
Speedy to lift the canvas, bend the oar,
And waft his thefts to the perfidious foe.
Happy the patriot, who can teach the means
To check his frauds, and yet untroubled leave
Trade's open channels. Would a generous aid
To honest toil, in Cambria's hilly tracts,
Or where the Lune or Coker wind their streams,
Be found sufficient? Far, their airy fields,
Far from infectious luxury arise.
O might their mazy dales, and mountain sides,
With copious fleeces of Ierne shine,
And gulfy Caledonia, wisely bent
On wealthy fisheries and flaxen webs!
Then would the sister realms amid their seas,
Like the three Graces in harmonious fold,
By mutual aid enhance their various charms,
And bless remotest climes —— To this loved end
Awake, Benevolence; to this loved end,
Strain all thy nerves, and every thought explore.
Far, far away, whose passions would immure,
In your own little hearts, the joys of life;
(Ye worms of pride) for your repast alone,
Who claim all Nature's stores, woods, waters, meads,
All her profusion; whose vile hands would grasp
The peasant's scantling, the weak widow's mite,
And in the sepulchre of self entomb
Whate'er ye can, whate'er ye cannot use.
Know, for superior ends the Almighty Power
(The Power, whose tender arms embrace the worm)
Breathes o'er the foodful earth the breath of life,
And forms us manifold; allots to each
His fair peculiar; wisdom, wit, and strength;
Wisdom, and wit, and strength, in sweet accord,
To aid, to cheer, to counsel, to protect,
And twist the mighty bond. Thus feeble man,
With man united, is a nation strong;
Builds towery cities, satiates every want,
And makes the seas profound, and forests wild,
The gardens of his joys. Man, each man's born
For the high business of the public good.
For me, 'tis time to pray that men regard
Their occupations with an honest heart,
And cheerful diligence: like the useful bee,
To gather for the hive not sweets alone,
But wax, and each material; pleased to find
Whate'er may soothe distress, and raise the fallen
In life's rough race: oh be it as my wish!
'Tis mine to teach the inactive hand to reap
Kind Nature's bounties, o'er the globe diffused.
For this I wake the weary hours of rest;
With this desire the merchant I attend;
By this impelled the shepherd's hut I seek,
And, as he tends his flock, his lectures hear
Attentive, pleased with pure simplicity,
And rules divulged beneficent to sheep:
Or turn the compass o'er the painted chart,
To mark the ways of traffic; Volga's stream,
Cold Hudson's cloudy straits, warm Afric's cape,
Latium's firm roads, the Ptolemean fosse,
And China's long canals; those noble works,
Those high effects of civilising trade,
Employ me, sedulous of public weal:
Yet not unmindful of my sacred charge;
Thus also mindful, thus devising good,
At vacant seasons, oft: when evening mild
Purples the valleys, and the shepherd counts
His flock, returning to the quiet fold,
With dumb complacence: for religion, this,
To give our every comfort to distress,
And follow virtue with an humble mind;
This pure religion. Thus, in elder time,
The reverend Blasius wore his leisure hours,
And slumbers, broken oft: till, filled at length
With inspiration, after various thought,
And trials manifold, his well-known voice
Gathered the poor, and o'er Vulcanian stoves,
With tepid lees of oil, and spiky comb,
Showed how the fleece might stretch to greater length,
And cast a glossier whiteness. Wheels went round;
Matrons and maids with songs relieved their toils;
And every loom received the softer yarn.
What poor, what widow, Blasius, did not bless,
Thy teaching hand? thy bosom, like the morn,
Opening its wealth? What nation did not seek,
Of thy new-modell'd wool the curious webs?
Hence the glad cities of the loom his name
Honour with yearly festals: through their streets
The pomp, with tuneful sounds, and order just,
Denoting labour's happy progress, moves,
Procession slow and solemn: first the rout;
Then servient youth, and magisterial eld;
Each after each, according to his rank,
His sway, and office in the commonweal;
And to the board of smiling plenty's stores
Assemble, where delicious cates and fruits
Of every clime are piled; and with free hand,
Unsparing, each his appetite regales.
Toil only tastes the feast, by nerveless ease
Unrelished. Various mirth and song resound;
And oft they interpose improving talk,
Divulging each to other knowledge rare,
Sparks, from experience that sometimes rise;
Till night weighs down the sense, or morning's dawn
Rouses to labour, man to labour born.
Then the sleek brightening lock, from hand to hand,
Renews its circling course: this feels the card;
That in the comb admires its growing length;
This, blanched, emerges from the oily wave;
And that, the amber tint, or ruby, drinks.
For it suffices not, in flowery vales,
Only to tend the flock and shear soft wool:
Gums must be stored of Guinea's arid coast;
Mexican woods, and India's brightening salts;
Fruits, herbage, sulphurs, minerals, to stain
The fleece prepared, which oil-imbibing earth
Of Wooburn blanches, and keen alum-waves
Intenerate. With curious eye observe,
In what variety the tribe of salts,
Gums, ores, and liquors, eye-delighting hues
Produce, abstersive or restringent; how
Steel casts the sable; how pale pewter, fused
In fluid spirit'ous, the scarlet dye;
And how each tint is made, or mix'd, or changed,
By mediums colourless: why is the fume
Of sulphur kind to white and azure hues,
Pernicious else: why no materials yield
Singly their colours, those except that shine
With topaz, sapphire, and cornelian rays:
And why, though Nature's face is clothed in green,
No green is found to beautify the fleece,
But what repeated toil by mixture gives.
To find effects, while causes lie concealed,
Reason uncertain tries: howe'er, kind chance
Oft with equivalent discovery pays
Its wandering efforts: thus the German sage,
Diligent Drebet, o'er alchemic fire,
Seeking the secret source of gold, received
Of altered cochineal the crimson store.
Tyrian Melcartus thus (the first who brought
Tin's useful ore from Albion's distant isle,
And, for unwearied toils and arts, the name
Of Hercules acquired), when o'er the mouth
Of his attendant sheep-dog he beheld
The wounded murex strike a purple stain,
The purple stain on fleecy woofs he spread,
Which lured the eye, adorning many a nymph,
And drew the pomp of trade to rising Tyre.
Our valleys yield not, or but sparing yield,
The dyer's gay materials. Only weld,
Or root of madder, here, or purple woad,
By which our naked ancestors obscured
Their hardy limbs, inwrought with mystic forms,
Like Egypt's obelisks. The powerful sun
Hot India's zone with gaudy pencil paints,
And drops delicious tints o'er hill and dale,
Which trade to us conveys. Nor tints alone;
Trade to the good physician gives his balms;
Gives cheerful cordials to the afflicted heart;
Gives, to the wealthy, delicacies high;
Gives, to the curious, works of nature rare;
And when the priest displays, in just discourse,
Him, the all-wise Creator, and declares
His presence, power, and goodness, unconfined,
'Tis Trade, attentive voyager, who fills
His lips with argument. To censure Trade,
Or hold her busy people in contempt,
Let none presume. The dignity, and grace,
And weal of human life, their fountains owe
To seeming imperfections, to vain wants,
Or real exigencies; passions swift
Forerunning reason; strong contrarious bents,
The steps of men dispersing wide abroad
O'er realms and seas. There, in the solemn scene,
Infinite wonders glare before their eyes,
Humiliating the mind enlarged; for they
The clearest sense of Deity receive
Who view the widest prospect of his works,
Ranging the globe with trade through various climes:
Who see the signatures of boundless love,
Nor less the judgment of Almighty Power,
That warns the wicked, and the wretch who 'scapes
From human justice: who astonished view
Etna's loud thunders and tempestuous fires;
The dust of Carthage; desert shores of Nile;
Or Tyre's abandoned summit, crowned of old
With stately towers; whose merchants, from their isles,
And radiant thrones, assembled in her marts;
Whither Arabia, whither Kedar, brought
Their shaggy goats, their flocks and bleating lambs;
Where rich Damascus piled his fleeces white,
Prepared, and thirsty for the double tint,
And flowering shuttle. While the admiring world
Crowded her streets; ah! then the hand of pride
Sowed imperceptible his poisonous weed,
Which crept destructive up her lofty domes,
As ivy creeps around the graceful trunk
Of some tall oak. Her lofty domes no more,
Not even the ruins of her pomp, remain;
Not even the dust they sank in; by the breath
Of the Omnipotent offended hurled
Down to the bottom of the stormy deep:
Only the solitary rock remains,
Her ancient site; a monument to those,
Who toil and wealth exchange for sloth and pride.





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