(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The poems of John Dyer"

LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF 
CALIFORNIA 

SAN DIEGO 



J<l 




ZTbe 

EDITED BY OWEN EDWARDS. 



THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 



Melsb Xtbrarg. 

Edited by OWEN M. EDWARDS, Aulhot 
of " Wales" Each volume Foolscap 8i>o. 
2s. Cloth; is. paper. 

Vols. 1-3 THE MABINOGION. 

4 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER. 

Edited by EDWARD THOMAS, B.A., 
Author of "Jforae Solitariae" 

5 A SHORT HISTORY OF WALES. 

By the EDITOR. 

6 A SHORT HISTORY OF WELSH 

LITERATURE. By the EDITOR. 

7 THE WORKS OF GEORGE HERBERT. 

Edited by Miss LOUISE I. GUINEY. 



POEMS OF 



JOHNLDYER 



EDITED BY EDWARD 
THOMAS, AUTHOR 
OF "HORAE SOLI- 
TARIAE" LONDON 
T. FISHER UNWIN 
ii PATERNOSTER 
BUILDINGS. MXCIII 




INTRODUCTION 

JOHN DYER, 1701-1757. 

JOHN DYER was born at Aberglasney, a considerable 
house, in the parish of Llangathen, in Caermarthen- 
shire, in 1700 according to some, in 1701 according 
to others; more probably in 1701. The register 
which would have shown the date of his birth has 
been lost, and I can only learn that he was fifty-six 
years old when he died in 1757. He was the second 
son of a solicitor " of great reputation," and from 
father and mother had English blood. He was 
educated, first at a country school, then at West- 
minster School, under Dr Freind. Of his attainments 
we know nothing. It is likely that he painted and 
wrote verse at an early age ; and he is said to have 
planned " Grongar Hill " when he was sixteen years 
old. Before he was ripe for a university, he 
was called from Westminster to his father's office. 
Having no taste for the law, he left it on his father's 



8 INTRODUCTION 

death, soon afterwards. His taste for painting led 
him to become a pupil of Jonathan Richardson, in 
Lincoln's Inn Fields. Richardson's written work 
inspired Reynolds, but his teaching would not seem 
to have matured Dyer's capacity to anything beyond 
a skilled mediocrity. According to one of his own 
published letters, the youth, on leaving Richardson, 
became " an itinerant painter " in South Wales and 
the neighbouring counties of England. He must 
have paid visits to London about this time. Savage 
and Aaron Hill were among his friends. From an 
epistle by the former, it appears that, like his master, 
he painted portraits. His character, gentle, amiable, 
independent and unworldly, endeared him to those 
whom he met, if it did not attract the literary 
world. 

Probably in 1724, he went, still as a painter, to 
Italy. He spent two years in Rome and Florence 
and other cities that were a matter of course. Like 
some of the next century's poets, whom he faintly but 
certainly foreshadowed, he was delighted by the 
riches of Nature, the Renaissance, the Middle Ages, 
and antiquity, which he saw. With a milder rapture 
than Shelley's, he was happy in sight of the Baths 
of Caracalla and the Coliseum. He is said to have 
been more successful with pen and ink sketches 
than with crayon and oils ; but it may be conjectured 
that his work in colour and line had little but the 
indirect value of training his eye in a way that 



INTRODUCTION 9 

afterwards served him as a poet of Nature. To 
"Clio" probably the "Clio" whom he is known 
to have painted he addressed some trifling " Verses 
from Rome"; Clio sent back a set of verses of 
equal merit. 

1726, the year of his return to England, was a 
year of some literary activity for Dyer. It was the 
year of the publication of Thomson's " Winter." 
Savage's Miscellany of that date contained five 
pieces from Dyer's pen, viz. : " The Inquiry," an 
unimportant composition that proves his rural 
contentment ; " To Aaron Hill," a complimentary 
epistle; "An Epistle to a Painter," i.e. to Richardson; 
"The Country Walk," and " Grongar Hill." As 
then published, " Grongar Hill" was not significant. 
In form "an irregular ode," divided into stanzas, 
it displayed some unattractive Pindarism and the 
antics of that day. " The Country Walk," the one 
wild flower of the collection, slender but unique, in 
manner suggested the turn which was given later 
to "Grongar Hill." He was again an itinerant 
painter. 

In 1727, "Grongar Hill" appeared in its final 
shape. The revision had been happy, but somewhat 
imperfectly inspired. Thus the opening lines are 
negligent and vague, and " unhappy fate," etc., is 
indefensible. But when we consider the fitness of 
the metre, and the skilful presentation of a mood so 
uncommon in his day, breathing in the first lines, 



16 INTRODUCTION 

and gracefully completed in the last, we must grant 
to the poem a very special claim. If we exclude 
consideration of the age in which it appeared, 
it has still a charm, if only for the small number 
of readers who care for all the poetry of Nature. 
As a product of 1727, it must be allowed that 
it adds to the strength of a necessary link in 
the chain of English literature that deals poetic- 
ally with Nature. It has been praised in English 
and Welsh, and in the last century was para- 
phrased in Welsh. The manner of Dyer's work, 
and the combination of personal fancy with 
accurate observation, make him a closer relative 
to Wordsworth than his bulky rival Thomson, who 
was in many ways far more richly gifted. It is 
necessary to add, since it has been wrongly located, 
that Grongar is in Caermarthenshire, and in sight of 
Aberglasney. 

It is obvious that Dyer must have been much out 
of doors. He probably knew South Wales intimately. 
He had a short, practical experience of agriculture, 
and a love of animals. At the same time he was 
not a hearty out-door philosopher. His health was 
always indifferent, and the Campagna had injured it. 
He seems to have had an amiable, constitutional 
melancholy, and must have known the angrier moods 
of that "sweet enemy"; for, in 1729, he is said to 
have written his epitaph. He called himself "old 
and sickly " in middle age ; for many years in later 



INTRODUCTION 1 1' 

life he was deaf; yet remained true to the 
character which was given to him by Aaron Hill, 
who says, 

"You look abroad serene 
And marking both extremes, pass clear between." 

After the publication of "Grongar Hill," he 
continued to write verse. Italy lived impressively in 
his memory. He probably took many notes during 
his tour, and certainly made a preparatory sketch of 
"The Ruins of Rome," which was published in its 
final shape in 1740. Portions of it have been praised 
by Johnson, Hervey, Wordsworth and others. It 
is, indeed, a dignified and impassioned meditation. 
Like " Grongar Hill," it hints at the ampler manner 
of the next century. In execution it is sometimes 
tame, and the poet here uses Miltonisms for the 
first time; but the conception, and some of the 
thoughts, might well remind us of Shelley. Here, 
again, Dyer is to be respected as an interesting 
link, though " The Ruins of Rome " appears less 
like a finished poem than a first draft by a powerful 
hand. 

In 1740, or at about that time, he married a Miss 
Ensor; and failing health and, we may surmise, an 
aptitude of temperament, led him into the Church. 
He was presented by " one Mr Harper " to the 
living of Catthorpe in Leicestershire, in the following 
year. In 1751, he left Catthorpe for Belchford in 
Lincolnshire, to which he was appointed by Lord 



12 INTRODUCTION 

Hardwicke, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on the 
recommendation of Daniel Wray, Deputy Teller ; and 
in the same year, Sir John Heathcote presented him 
to the living of Coningsby in Lincolnshire, and in 
1755 to Kirky-on-Bane in the same county, in place 
of Belchford. He became LL.B., Cantab., by royal 
mandate, in 1752. 

Coningsby Rectory was then his home, which he 
left seldom and unwillingly. He was probably care- 
ful in the performance of his duties, preached fair 
sermons, and built part of the present rectory. He 
kept his registers with singular neatness. His poems 
are more or less clearly impressed by reminiscences 
of such writers as Spenser, Drayton, Milton, Gray, 
Appollonius Rhodius, Theocritus, Lucretius and 
Virgil ; he quoted from Columella and Janus Vitalis, 
and in his leisure must have been mainly occupied 
with books. There seems to be no reason for be- 
lieving that he understood Welsh. His letters do 
not lead us to suppose that he was often afield in his 
later years : he was unable to tell Duncombe when 
the swallows had appeared, but was "told they 
had been skimming about his garden this fort- 
night." Perhaps Lincolnshire was not altogether 
consoling to one who had known the Towy valley. 
His last work was full of reminiscences of Wales. 
At Coningsby, he was busy with his longest poem, 
"The Fleece." He composed laboriously; and 
Akenside, who was giving him medical advice, 



INTRODUCTION 13 

helped him in the work. It is his biggest effort, 
and when we consider the subject, his greatest 
success. A very large proportion of dulness is to be 
expected from Dyer on wool ; but it does not 
obscure the excellence of his design ; even where 
his thought is rustic, the style is pure; in some 
places he is nearly grand ; in many, felicitous. 
These isolated lines are characteristic of Dyer at 
his best : 

" Or the tall growth of glossy-rinded beech," 
" No prickly brambles, white with woolly theft," 
" Rolling by ruins hoar of antient towns," 
" Long lay the mournful realms of elder fame 

In gloomy desolation. ..." 
" Nor what the peasant, near some lucid wave, 
Pactolus, Simois or Meander slow, 
Renowned in story, with his plough upturns." 

Wordsworth found parts of the poem "dry 
and heavy," and parts superior to any writer in 
verse since Milton, for imagination and purity 
of style. It was praised, among Dyer's contem- 
poraries, by Dr James Grainger, a verse-writer in 
The Monthly Review, and by Gray. 

I do not think it necessary to add much size 
and no light to this volume, by commenting on 
the numerous proper names of men and places in 
" The Fleece." I have retained Dyer's spelling e.g. 
"Mincoy" for "Minikoi" almost as it was in the 
first edition. His abbreviations as "ev'n" for 



14 INTRODUCTION 

" even " have been as carefully as possible preserved, 
as illustrating Dyer's (and his century's) preferences in 
rhythm. In Book I. the 72nd and 8gth lines have 
been changed in accordance with Dyer's directions 
to the printer. In former editions, these lines have 
been : 

" Or marl with clay deep mixed, be then thy choice," 

and 

"At a meet distance from the upland ridge." 

These unimportant changes, and possibly others, 
had been suggested, as we learn from Duncombe's 
correspondence, to Dodsley the publisher; but without 
effect, because the poet died of a consumptive malady 
in the year of publication, i5th December, 1757, 
"aged 56," says the register at Coningsby. There he 
was buried and remains without memorial. 

Postscript. I thank Mr John Jenkins ("Gwili"), 
the Rev. Arthur Wright, Rector of Coningsby, and 
the Rev. J. Alex. Williams, Vicar of Llangathen, for 
their answers to my enquiries concerning the poet. 

EDWARD THOMAS. 



Note by the Publisher. 

The portrait which appears as a frontispiece to this volume 
is taken from an Edition of Dyer's Poems, bearing the date 
1779. There is, however, some doubt as to its being an 
authentic likeness of the poet. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

INTRODUCTION 7 

TO THE POET, JOHN DYER. BY WILLIAM WORDS- 
WORTH l6 

GRONGAR HILL 17 

THE COUNTRY WALK 22 

AN EPISTLE TO A FRIEND IN TOWN ... 27 

TO AURELIA 29 

THE RUINS OF ROME 30 

THE FLEECE 47 



TO THE POET, JOHN DYER 
BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Bard of the Fleece, whose skilful genius made 

That work a living landscape fair and bright ; 

Nor hallowed less with musical delight 

Than those soft scenes through which thy childhood strayed, 

Those southern tracts of Cambria, ' deep embayed, 

With green hills fenced, with Ocean's murmur lulled'; 

Though hasty fame hath many a chaplet culled 

For worthless brows, while in the pensive shade 

Of cold neglect she leaves thy head ungraced, 

Yet pure and powerful minds, hearts meek and still, 

A grateful few, shall love thy modest lay, 

Long as the shepherd's bleating flock shall stray 

O'er naked Snowdon's wide aerial waste ; 

Long as the thrush shall pipe on Grongar Hill ! 



GRONGAR HILL 



SILENT Nymph ! with curious eye, 

Who, the purple ev'ning, He 

On the mountain's lonely van, 

Beyond the noise of busy man, 

Painting fair the form of things, 5 

While the yellow linnet sings, 

Or the tuneful nightingale 

Charms the forest with her tale ; 

Come, with all thy various hues, 

Come, and aid thy sister Muse ; 10 

Now while Phoebus, riding high, 

Gives lustre to the land and sky, 

Grongar Hill invites my song ; 

Draw the landscape bright and strong ; 

Grongar in whose mossy cells, 15 

Sweetly musing Quiet dwells ; 

Grongar, in whose silent shade, 

For the modest Muses made, 

So oft I have, the ev'ning still, 

At the fountain of a rill 20 

Sat upon a flow'ry bed, 

With my hand beneath my head, 

While stray'd my eyes o'er Towy's flood, 

Over mead and over wood, 



1 8 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

From house to house, from hill to hill, 2 5 

Till Contemplation had her fill. 

About his chequer'd sides I wind, 
And leave his brooks and meads behind, 
And groves and grottoes where I lay, 
And vistoes shooting beams of day. 3 

Wide and wider spreads the vale, 
As circles on a smooth canal : 
The mountains round, unhappy fate ! 
Sooner or later, of all height, 

Withdraw their summits from the skies, 35 

And lessen as the others rise : 
Still the prospect wider spreads, 
Adds a thousand woods and meads ; 
Still it widens, widens still, 
And sinks the newly-risen hill. 4 

Now I gain the mountain's brow, 
What a landskip lies below ! 
No clouds, no vapours intervene ; 
But the gay, the open scene 

Does the face of Nature show 45 

In all the hues of heaven's bow, 
And, swelling to embrace the light, 
Spreads around beneath the sight. 

Old castles on the cliffs arise, 

Proudly tow'ring in the skies ; 5 

Rushing from the woods, the spires 
Seem from hence ascending fires ; 
Half his beams Apollo sheds 
On the yellow mountain-heads, 

Gilds the fleeces of the flocks, 55 

And glitters on the broken rocks. 

Below me trees unnumber'd rise, 
Beautiful in various dyes ; 



GRONGAR HILL 19 

The gloomy pine, the poplar blue, 

The yellow beech, the sable yew, . v 60 

The slender fir, that taper grows, 

The sturdy oak with broad-spread boughs, 

And beyond the purple grove, 

Haunt of Phillis, queen of love ! 

Gaudy as the op'ning dawn, 6 5 

Lies a long and level lawn, 

On which a dark hill, steep and high, 

Holds and charms the wand'ring eye : 

Deep are his feet in Towy's flood, 

His sides are cloath'd with waving wood, 7 

And ancient towers crown his brow, 

That cast an awful look below ; 

Whose ragged walls the ivy creeps, 

And with her arms from falling keeps ; 

So both a safety from the wind 75 

On mutual dependence find. 

'Tis now the raven's bleak abode ; 
'Tis now th' apartment of the toad ; 
And there the fox securely feeds, 
And there the pois'nous adder breeds, So 

Conceal'd in ruins, moss, and weeds ; 
While, ever and anon, there falls 
Huge heaps of hoary moulder'd walls. 
Yet Time has seen, that lifts the low, 
And level lays the lofty brow, 85 

Has seen this broken pile compleat, 
Big with the vanity of state : 
But transient is the smile of Fate ! 
A little rule, a little sway, 

A sunbeam in a winter's day, 90 

Is all the proud and mighty have 
Between the cradle and the grave. 



20 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

And see the rivers how they run 
Thro' woods and meads, in shade and sun ! 
Sometimes swift and sometimes slow, 95 

Wave succeeding wave, they go 
A various journey to the deep, 
Like human life to endless sleep : 
Thus is Nature's vesture wrought, 
To instruct our wand'ring thought ; io 

Thus she dresses green and gay, 
To disperse our cares away. 

Ever charming, ever new, 
When will the landskip tire the view ! 
The fountain's fall, the river's flow, 105 

The woody vallies warm and low ; 
The windy summit, wild and high, 
Roughly rushing on the sky ! 
The pleasant seat, the ruin'd tow'r, 
The naked rock, the shady bow'r ; 1 10 

The town and village, dome and farm, 
Each give each a double charm, 
As pearls upon an Ethiop's arm. 

See on the mountain's southern side, 
Where the prospect opens wide, "5 

Where the ev'ning gilds the tide, 
How close and small the hedges lie ! 
What streaks of meadows cross the eye ! 
A step, methinks, may pass the stream, 
So little distant dangers seem ; 120 

So we mistake the future's face, 
Ey'd thro' Hope's deluding glass ; 
As yon summits soft and fair, 
Clad in colours of the air, 

Which, to those who journey near, 125 

Barren, brown, and rough appear ; 



GRONGAR HILL 21 

Still we tread the same coarse way ; 
The present's still a cloudy day. 

O may I with myself agree, 

And never covet what I see ; 13 

Content me with an humble shade, 
My passions tam'd, my wishes laid ; 
For while our wishes wildly roll, 
We banish quiet from the soul ; 
'Tis thus the busy beat the air, 135 

And misers gather wealth and care. 

Now, ev'n now, my joys run high, 
As on the mountain-turf I lie ; 
While the wanton Zephyr sings, 

And in the vale perfumes his wings ; 14 

While the waters murmur deep ; 
While the shepherd charms his sheep ; 
While the birds unbounded fly, 
And with music fill the sky, 
Now, ev'n now, my joys run high. 145 

Be full, ye Courts ! be great who will ; 
Search for Peace with all your skill : 
Open wide the lofty door, 
Seek her on the marble floor : 

In vain ye search, she is not there ; 150 

In vain ye search the domes of Care ! 
Grass and flowers Quiet treads, 
On the meads and mountain-heads, 
Along with pleasure close ally'd, 
Ever by each other's side, 155 

And often, by the munn'ring rill, 
Hears the thrush, while all is still, 
Within the groves of Grongar Hill. 



THE COUNTRY WALK 



THE morning's fair ; the lusty sun 
With ruddy cheek begins to run, 
And early birds, that wing the skies, 
Sweetly sing to see him rise. 

I am resolv'd, this charming day, 
In the open field to stray, 
And have no roof above my head, 
But that whereon the gods do tread. 
Before the yellow barn I see 
A beautiful variety 10 

Of strutting cocks, advancing stout, 
And flirting empty chaff about : 
Hens, ducks, and geese, and all their brood, 
And turkeys gobbling for their food, 
While rustics thrash the wealthy floor, 15 

And tempt all to crowd the door. 

What a fair face does Nature show ! 
Augusta ! wipe thy dusty brow ; 
A landscape wide salutes my sight 
Of shady vales and mountains bright ; 20 

And azure heavens I behold, 
And clouds of silver and of gold. 
And now into the fields I go, 
Where thousand flaming flowers glow, 
22 



THE COUNTRY WALK 23 

And every neighb'ring hedge I greet, 25 

With honey-suckles smelling sweet. 

Now o'er the daisy-meads I stray, 

And meet with, as I pace my way, 

Sweetly shining on the eye, 

A riv'let gliding smoothly by, 3 

Which shows with what an easy tide 

The moments of the happy glide : 

Here, finding pleasure after pain, 

Sleeping, I see a weary'd swain, 

While his full scrip lies open by, 35 

That does his healthy food supply. 

Happy swain ! sure happier far 
Than lofty kings and princes are ! 
Enjoy sweet sleep, which shuns the crown, 
With all its easy beds of down. 4 

The sun now shows his noon-tide blaze, 
And sheds around me burning rays. 
A little onward, and I go 
Into the shade that groves bestow, 
And on green moss I lay me down, 45 

That o'er the root of oak has grown ; 
Where all is silent, but some flood, 
That sweetly murmurs in the wood ; 
But birds that warble in the sprays, 
And charm ev'n Silence with their lays. 5 

Oh ! pow'rful Silence ! how you reign 
In the poet's busy brain ! 
His num'rous thoughts obey the calls 
Of the tuneful water-falls ; 

Like moles, whene'er the coast is clear, 55 

They rise before thee without fear, 
And range in parties here and there. 

Some wildly to Parnassus wing, 
And view the fair Castalian spring, 



24 . THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Where they behold a lonely well 60 

Where now no tuneful Muses dwell, 
But now and then a slavish hind 
Paddling the troubled pool they find. 

Some trace the pleasing paths of joy, 
Others the blissful scene destroy, 65 

In thorny tracks of sorrow stray, 
And pine for Clio far away. 
But stay Methinks her lays I hear, 
So smooth ! so sweet ! so deep ! so clear ! 
No, it is not her voice I find ; 70 

'Tis but the echo stays behind. 

Some meditate Ambition's brow, 
And the black gulf that gapes below ; 
Some peep in courts, and there they see 
The sneaking tribe of Flattery : 75 

But, striking to the ear and eye, 
A nimble deer comes bounding by ! 
When rushing from yon rustling spray 
It made them vanish all away. 

I rouse me up, and on I rove ; 80 

'Tis more than time to leave the grove. 
The sun declines, the evening breeze 
Begins to whisper thro' the trees ; 
And as I leave the sylvan gloom, 
As to the glare of day I come, 85 

An old man's smoky nest I see 
Leaning on an aged tree, 
Whose willow walls, and furzy brow, 
A little garden sway below : 

Thro' spreading beds of blooming green, 90 

Matted with herbage sweet and clean, 
A vein of water limps along, 
And makes them ever green and young. 



THE COUNTRY WALK 2$ 

Here he puffs upon his spade, 

And digs up cabbage in the shade : 95 

His tatter'd rags are sable brown, 

His beard and hair are hoary grown ; 

The dying sap descends apace, 

And leaves a wither'd hand and face. 

Up Grongar Hill I labour now, 100 

And catch at last his bushy brow. 
Oh ! how fresh, how pure, the air ! 
Let me breathe a little here. 
Where am I, Nature ? I descry 

Thy magazine before me lie. 105 

Temples ! and towns ! and towers ! and woods ! 
And hills ! and vales ! and fields ! and floods ! 
Crowding before me, edg'd around 
With naked wilds and barren ground. 

See, below, the pleasant dome, 1 10 

The poet's pride, the poet's home, 
Which the sunbeams shine upon 
To the even from the dawn. 
See her woods, where Echo talks, 
Her gardens trim, her terrace walks, U5 

Her wildernesses, fragrant brakes, 
Her gloomy bow'rs and shining lakes. 
Keep, ye Gods ! this humble seat 
For ever pleasant, private, neat. 

See yonder hill, uprising steep, I20 

Above the river slow and deep ; 
It looks from hence a pyramid, 
Beneath a verdant forest hid ; 
On whose high top there rises great 
The mighty remnant of a seat, I2 . 

An old green tow'r, whose batter'd brow 
Frowns upon the vale below. 



26 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Look upon that flow'ry plain, 
How the sheep surround their swain, 
How they crowd to hear his strain ! 130 

All careless with his legs across, 
Leaning on a bank of moss, 
He spends his empty hours at play, 
Which fly as light as down away. 

And there behold a bloomy mead, . 135 

A silver stream, a willow shade, 
Beneath the shade a fisher stand, 
Who, with the angle in his hand, 
Swings the nibbling fry to land. 

In blushes the descending sun 140 

Kisses the streams, while slow they run ; 
And yonder hill remoter grows, 
Or dusky clouds do interpose. 
The fields are left, the labouring hind 
His weary oxen does unbind ; 145 

And vocal mountains, as they low, 
Re-echo to the vales below ; 
The jocund shepherds piping come, 
And drive the herd before them home ; 
And now begin to light their fires, 150 

Which send up smoke in curling spires ; 
While with light hearts all homeward tend, 
To Aberglasney I descend. 

But, oh ! how bless'd would be the day 
Did I with Clio pace my way, j^ 

And not alone and solitary stray. 



AN EPISTLE 



TO A FRIEND IN TOWN. 



HAVE my friends in the town, in the gay busy town, 
Forgot such a man as John Dyer? 
Or heedless despise they, or pity the clown, 
Whose bosom no pageantries fire ? 

No matter, no matter content in the shades 5 
(Contented ! why everything charms me) 
Fall in tunes all adown the green steep, ye cascades ! 
Till hence rigid virtue alarms me : 

Till outrage arises, or misery needs 

The swift, the intrepid avenger ; 10 

Till sacred religion or liberty bleeds, 

Then mine be the deed and the danger. 

Alas ! what a folly, that wealth and domain 

We heap up in sin and in sorrow ! 

Immense is the toil, yet the labour how vain ! 15 

Is. not life to be over to-morrow, 

87 



28 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Then glide on my moments, the few that I have, 

Smooth-shaded, and quiet, and even, 

While gently the body descends to the grave, 

And the spirit arises to heaven. 20 



TO AURELIA 

SEE, the flowery Spring is blown, 

Let us leave the smoky Town : 

From the Mall, and from the Ring, 

Every one has taken wing ; 

Cloe, Strephon, Corydon, 5 

To the meadows all are gone ; 

What is left you worth your stay ? 

Come, Aurelia, come away. 

Come, Aurelia, come and see 

What a lodge I've dress'd for thee ; 10 

But the seat you cannot see, 

'Tis so hid with jessamy, 

With the vine that o'er the walls, 

And in every window, crawls ; 

Let us there be blithe and gay ! 15 

Come, Aurelia, come away. 

Come with all thy sweetest wiles, 

With thy graces and thy smiles ; 

Come, and we will merry be, 

Who shall be so blest as we ? ao 

We will frolic all the day, 

Haste, Aurelia, while we may : 

Ay ! and should not life be gay ? 

Yes, Aurelia come away. 



THE RUINS OF ROME 

" Aspice murorum moles, prseruptaque saxa, 
Ohrutaque horrenti vasta theatra situ : 
H<ec sunt Roma. Viden' velut ipsa cadavera tantse 
Urbis adhuc spirent imperiosa minas?" JANUS VITALIS. 

[" Look at all the walls, the stones dislodged, the vast theatres 
brought low by the power of decay. That is Rome. And do 
you see how the very corpse of such a city is still imperial and 
seems to offer menaces ? ] 

ENOUGH of Grongar, and the shady dales 

Of winding Towy, Merlin's fabled haunt, 

I sung inglorious. Now the love of arts, 

And what in metal or in stone remains 

Of proud Antiquity, thro' various realms 5 

And various languages and ages fam'd, 

Bears me remote o'er Gallia's woody bounds, 

O'er the cloud-piercing Alps remote, beyond 

The vale of Arno, purpled with the vine, 

Beyond the Umbrian and Etruscan hills, 10 

To Latium's wide champaign, forlorn and waste, 

Where yellow Tiber his neglected wave 

Mournfully rolls. Yet once again, my Muse ! 

Yet once again, and soar a loftier flight ; 

Lo! the resistless theme, imperial Rome. 15 

FalPn, fall'n, a silent heap ! her heroes all 
Sunk in their urns ; behold the pride of pomp, 

30 



THE RUINS OF ROME 3! 

The throne of nations, fall'n ! obscur'd in dust ; 

Ev'n yet majestical : the solemn scene 

Elates the soul, while now the rising sun 20 

Flames on the ruins in the purer air 

Tow'ring aloft upon the glittering plain, 

Like broken rocks, a vast circumference ! 

Rent palaces, crush'd columns, rifled moles, 

Fanes roll'd on fanes, and tombs on bury'd tombs ! 25 

Deep lies in dust the Theban obelisk 
Immense along the waste ; minuter art, 
Gliconian forms, or Phidian, subtly fair, 
O'erwhelming ; as th' immense leviathan 
The finny brood, when near lerne's shore 30 

Outstretch'd, unwieldy, his island length appears 
Above the foamy flood. Globose and huge, 
Gray-mouldering temples swell, and wide o'ercast 
The solitary landscape, hills and woods, 
And boundless wilds ; while the vine-mantled brows 35 
The pendent goats unveil, regardless they 
Of hourly peril, tho' the clefted domes 
Tremble to every wind. The pilgrim oft, 
At dead of night, 'mid his oraison hears 
Aghast the voice of Time, disparting tow'rs, 40 

Tumbling all precipitate down-dash'd, 
Rattling around, loud thund'ring to the moon ; 
While murmurs soothe each awful interval 
Of ever-falling waters ; shrouded Nile, 
Eridanus, and Tiber with his twins, 45 

And palmy Euphrates : they with dropping locks 
Hang o'er their urns, and mournfully among 
The plaintive echoing 'ruins pour their streams. 

Yet here, advent'rous in the sacred search 
Of ancient arts, the delicate of mind, 50 

Curious and modest, from all climes resort, 
Grateful society ! with these I raise 



32 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

The toilsome step up the proud Palatin, 
Thro' spiry cypress groves, and tow'ring pine, 
Waving aloft o'er the big ruin's brows, 55 

On num'rous arches rear'd ; and, frequent stopp'd, 
The sunk ground startles me with dreadful chasm, 
Breathing forth darkness from the vast profound 
Of aisles and halls within the mountain's womb. 
Nor these the nether works ; all these beneath, 60 
And all beneath the vales and hills around, 
Extend the cavern'd sewers, massy, firm, 
As the Sibyllin-e grot beside the dead 
Lake of Avernus ; such the sewers huge, 
Whither the great Tarquinian genius dooms 65 

Each wave impure ; and proud with added rains, 
Hark how the mighty billows lash their vaults, 
And thunder ! how they heave their rocks in vain ! 
Tho' now incessant time has roll'd around 
A thousand winters o'er the changeful world, 70 

And yet a thousand since, th' indignant floods 
Roar loud in their firm bounds, and dash and swell 
In vain, convey'd to Tiber's lowest wave. 

Hence over airy plains, by crystal founts, 
That weave their glitt'ring wave with tuneful lapse 75 
Among the sleeky pebbles, agate clear, 
Cerulean ophite, and the flow'ry vein 
Of orient jasper, pleas'd I move along, 
And vases boss'd, and huge inscriptive stones, 
And intermingling vines, and figur'd nymphs, 80 

Floras and Chloes of delicious mould, 
Cheering the darkness ; and deep empty tombs, 
And dells, and mould'ring shrines, with old decay 
Rustic and green, and wide-em bow'ring shades, 
Shot from the crooked clefts of nodding tow'rs ; 85 
A solemn wilderness ! with error sweet 
I wind the lingering step, where'er the path 



THE RUINS OF ROME 33 

Mazy conducts me, which the vulgar foot 
O'er sculptures maim'd has made; Anubis, Sphinx, 
Idols of antique guise, and horned Pan, 9 

Terrific, monstrous shapes ! prepost'rous gods 
Of fear and ignorance, by the sculptor's hand 
Hewn into form, and worshipp'd ; as ev'n now 
Blindly they worship at their breathless mouths 
In varied appellations : men to these 95 

(From depth to depth in dark'ning error fall'n) 
At length ascrib'd th' Inapplicable Name. 
How doth it please and fill the memory 
With deeds of brave renown, while on each hand 
Historic urns and breathing statues rise, io 

And speaking busts ! Sweet Scipio, Marius stern, 
Pompey superb, the spirit-stirring form 
Of Caesar, raptur'd with the charm of rule 
And boundless fame ; impatient for exploits, 
His eager eyes upcast, he soars in thought 105 

Above all height : and his own Brutus see, 
Desponding Brutus ! dubious of the right, 
In evil days of faith, of public weal, 
Solicitous and sad. Thy next regard 
Be Tully's graceful attitude ; uprais'd, 1 1 

His outstretch'd arm he waves, in act to speak 
Before the silent masters of the world, 
And eloquence arrays him. There behold, 
Prepar'd for combat in the front of war, 
The pious brothers; jealous Alba stands "5- 

In fearful expectation of the strife, 
And youthful Rome intent : the kindred foes 
Fall on each other's neck in silent tears ; 
In sorrowful benevolence embrace 
Howe'er they soon unsheath the flashing sword I2 
Their country calls to arms ; now all in vain 
The mother clasps the knee, and ev'n the fair 
C 



34 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Now weeps in vain ; their country calls to arms. 

Such virtue Clelia, Codes, Manlius, rouz'd ; 

Such were the Fabii, Decii ; so inspir'd I2 5 

The Scipios battled, and the Gracchi spoke : 

So rose the Roman state. Me now, of these 

Deep musing, high ambitious thoughts inflame 

Greatly to serve my country, distant land, 

And build me virtuous fame ; nor shall the dust 13 

Of these fall'n piles with show of sad decay 

Avert the good resolve, mean argument, 

The fate alone of matter. Now the brow 

We gain enraptur'd ; beauteously distinct 

The num'rous porticoes and domes upswell, J 35 

With obelisks and columns interpos'd, 

And pine, and fir, and oak ; so fair a scene 

Sees not the dervise from the spiral tomb 

Of ancient Chammos, while his eye beholds 

Proud Memphis' relics o'er th' Egyptian plain ; MO 

Nor hoary hermit from Hymettus' brow, 

Tho' graceful Athens in the vale beneath. 

Along the windings of the Muse's stream, 

Lucid Ilyssus weeps her silent schools 

And groves, unvisited by bard or sage. MS 

Amid the tow'ry ruins, huge, supreme, 

Th' enormous amphitheatre behold, 

Mountainous pile ! o'er whose capacious womb 

Pours the broad firmament its vary'd light, 

While from the central floor the seats ascend 15 

Round above round, slow wid'ning to the verge, 

A circuit vast and high ; nor less had held 

Imperial Rome and her attendant realms, 

When, drunk with rule, she will'd the fierce delight, 

And op'd the gloomy caverns, whence out rush'd, i55 

Before th' innumerable shouting crowd, 

The fiery madded tyrants of the wilds, 



THE RUINS OF ROME 35 

Lions and tigers, wolves and elephants, 

And desp'rate men, more fell. Abhorr'd intent ! 

By frequent converse with familiar death '60 

To kindle brutal daring apt for war ; 

To lock the breast, and steel th' obdurate heart, 

Amid the piercing cries of sore distress 

Impenetrable. But away thine eye ! 

Behold yon' steepy cliff; the modern pile 165 

Perchance may now delight, while that rever'd 

In ancient days the page alone declares, 

Or narrow coin thro' dim cerulean rust. 

The fane was Jove's, its spacious golden roof, 

O'er thick-surrounding temples beaming wide, 1 7 

Appear'd, as when above the morning hills 

Half the round sun ascends, and tower'd aloft, 

Sustain'd by columns huge, innumerous 

As cedars proud on Canaan's verdant heights 

Dark'ning their idols, when Astarte lur'd '75 

Too-prosp'rous Israel from his living Strength. 

And next regard yon' venerable dome 
Which virtuous Latium, with erroneous aim, 
Rais'd to her various deities, and nam'd 
Pantheon ; plain and round, of this our world 180 
Majestic emblem ; with peculiar grace 
Before its ample orb projected stands 
The many-pillar'd portal ; noblest work 
Of human skill ! Here, curious Architect, 
If thou essay'st, ambitious, to surpass 185 

Palladius, Angelus, or British Jones, 
On these fair walls extend the certain scale, 
And turn th' instructive compass : careful mark 
How far in hidden art the noble plan 
Extends, and where the lovely forms commence 19 
Of flowing sculpture ; nor neglect to note 
How range the taper columns, and what weight 



36 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Their leafy brows sustain ; fair Corinth first 
Boasted their order, which Callimachus 
(Reclining studious on Asopus' banks 195 

Beneath an urn of some lamented nymph) 
Haply compos'd ; the urn with foliage curl'd 
Thinly conceal'd the chapiter inform'd. 

See the tall obelisks from Memphis old, 
One stone enormous each, or Thebes, convey'd ; 200 
Like Albion's spires they rush into the skies : 
And there the temple where the summon'd state 
In deep of night conven'd ; ev'n yet methinks 
The veh'ment orator in rent attire 
Persuasion pours ; Ambition sinks her crest ; 205 

And, lo ! the villain, like a troubled sea, 
That tosses up her mire ! Ever disguis'd 
Shall Treason walk ? shall proud Oppression yoke 
The neck of Virtue ? Lo ! the wretch abash'd, 
Self-betray'd Catiline ! O Liberty ! 210 

Parent of happiness, celestial born ; 
When the first man became a living soul 
His sacred genius thou : be Britain's care ; 
With her secure prolong thy lov'd retreat ; 
Thence bless mankind ; while yet among her sons, 215 
Ev'n yet there are, to shield thine equal laws, 
Whose bosoms kindle at the sacred names 
Of Cecil, Raleigh, Walsingham, and Drake. 
May others more delight in tuneful airs, 
In mask and dance excel ; to sculptur'd stone 220 
Give with superior skill the living look ; 
More pompous piles erect, or pencil soft 
With warmer touch the visionary board : 
But thou thy nobler Britons teach to rule, 
To check the ravage of tyrannic sway, 225 

To quell the proud, to spread the joys of peace, 
And various blessings of ingenious trade. 



THE RUINS OF ROME 37 

Be these our arts ; and ever may we guard, 

Ever defend, thee with undaunted heart. 

Inestimable good ! who giv'st us Truth, 230 

Whose hand upleads to light, divinest Truth ! 

Array'd in ev'ry charm ; whose hand benign 

Teaches umvear'd Toil to clothe the fields, 

And on his various fruits inscribes the name 

Of Property : O nobly hail'd of old 235 

By thy majestic daughters, Judah fair, 

And Tyrus and Sidonia, lovely nymphs, 

And Libya bright, and all-enchanting Greece, 

Whose num'rous towns, and isles, and peopled seas, 

Rejoic'd around her lyre ; th' heroic note 240 

(Smit with sublime delight) Ausonia caught, 

And plann'd imperial Rome. Thy hand benign 

Rear'd up her tow'ry battlements in strength, 

Bent her wide bridges o'er the swelling stream 

Of Tuscan Tiber ; thine those solemn domes 245 

Devoted to the voice of humbler pray'r ; 

And thine those piles undeck'd, capacious, vast, 

In days of dearth, where tender Charity 

Dispens'd her timely succours to the poor. 

Thine, too, those musically-falling founts, 250 

To slake the clammy lip ; adown they fall, 

Musical ever, while from yon' blue hills, 

Dim in the clouds, the radiant aqueducts 

Turn their innumerable arches o'er 

The spacious desert, bright'ning in the sun, 255 

Proud and more proud in their august approach : 

High o'er irriguous vales, and woods, and towns, 

Glide the soft-whisp'ring waters in the wind, 

And, here united, pour their silver streams 

Among the figur'd rocks, in murm'ring falls, 260 

Musical ever. These thy beauteous works ; 

And what beside felicity could tell 



38 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Of human benefit : more late the rest ; 

At various times their turrets chanc'd to rise, 

When impious Tyranny vouchsaf'd to smile. 265 

Behold by Tiber's flood, where modern Rome 
Couches beneath the ruins ; there of old 
With arms and trophies gleam'd the Field of Mars : 
There to their daily sports the noble youth 
Rush'd emulous, to fling the pointed lance, 270 

To vault the steed, or with the kindling wheel 
In dusty whirlwinds sweep the trembling goal ; 
Or, wrestling, cope, with adverse swelling breasts, 
Strong grappling arms, close heads, and distant feet ; 
Or clash the lifted gauntlets : there they form'd 275 
Their ardent virtues : in the bossy piles, 
The proud triumphal arches, all their wars, 
Their conquests, honours, in the sculptures live. 
And see from ev'ry gate those ancient roads, 
With tombs high verg'd, the solemn paths of Fame ! 280 
Deserve they not regard ? o'er whose broad flints 
Such crowds have roll'd, so many storms of war, 
So many pomps, so many wond'ring realms : 
Yet still thro' mountains pierc'd, o'er vallies rais'd, 
In even state to distant seas around 285 

They stretch their pavements. Lo ! the fane of Peace 
Built by that prince who to the trust of pow'r 
Was honest, the delight of human-kind. 
Three nodding aisles remain, the rest an heap 
Of sand and weeds ; her shrines, her radiant roof 290 
And columns proud, that from her spacious floor, 
As from a shining sea, majestic rose 
An hundred foot aloft, like stately beech . 
Around the brim of Dion's glassy lake, 
Charming the mimic painter : on the walls 295 

Hung Salem 's sacred spoils ; the golden board 
And golden trumpets, now conceal'd, entomb'd 



THE RUINS OF ROME 39 

By the sunk roof. O'er which, in distant view, 

Th' Etruscan mountains swell, with ruins crown'd 

Of ancient towns ; and blue Soracte spires, 300 

Wrapping his sides in tempests. Eastward hence, 

Nigh where the Cestian pyramid divides 

The mould'ring wall, behold yon' fabric huge, 

Whose dust the solemn antiquarian turns, 

And thence, in broken sculptures cast abroad, 305 

Like Sibyl's leaves, collects the builder's name 

Rejoic'd, and the green medals frequent found 

Doom Caracalla to perpetual fame : 

The stately pines, that spread their branches wide 

In the dun ruins of its ample halls, 310 

Appear but tufts, as may whate'er is high 

Sink in comparison, minute and vile. 

These and unnumber'd, yet their brows uplift, 
Rent of their graces ; as Britannia's oaks 
On Merlin's mount, or Snowden's rugged sides, 315 
Stand in the clouds, their branches scatter'd round 
After the tempest ; Mausoleums, Cirques, 
Naumachios, Forums ; Trajan's column tall, 
From whose low base the sculptures wind aloft, 
And lead thro' various toils up the rough steep 320 
Its hero to the skies ; and his dark tow'r 
Whose execrable hand the City fir'd, 
And while the dreadful conflagration blaz'd 
Play'd to the flames ; and Phoebus' letter'd dome ; 
And the rough relics of Carinas's street, 325 

Where now the shepherd to his nibbling sheep 
Sits piping with his oaten reed, as erst 
There pip'd the shepherd to his nibbling sheep, 
When th' humble roof Anchises' son explor'd 
Of good Evander, wealth-despising king ! 330 

Amid the thickets : so revolves the scene ; 
So Time ordains, who rolls the things of pride 



40 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

From dust again to dust. Behold that heap 

Of mould'ring urns (their ashes blown away, 

Dust of the mighty ! ) the same story tell ; 335 

And at its base, from whence the serpent glides 

Down the green desert street, yon' hoary monk 

Laments the same, the vision as he views, 

The solitary, silent, solemn scene, 

Where Caesars, heroes, peasants, hermits, lie 34 

Blended in dust together ; where the slave 

Rests from his labours ; where th' insulting proud 

Resigns his pow'r ; the miser drops his hoard ; 

Where human folly sleeps. There is a mood 

(I sing not to the vacant and the young), 345 

There is a kindly mood of melancholy 

That wings the soul, and points her to the skies : 

When tribulation clothes the child of man, 

When age descends with sorrow to the grave, 

'Tis sweetly-soothing sympathy to pain, 35 

A gently-wak'ning call to health and ease. 

How musical ! when all-devouring Time, 

Here sitting on his throne of ruins hoar, 

While winds and tempests sweep his various lyre, 

How sweet thy diapason, Melancholy ! 355 

Cool ev'ning comes ; the setting sun displays 

His visible great round between yon tow'rs, 

As thro' two shady cliffs : away, my Muse ! 

Tho' yet the prospect pleases, ever new 

In vast variety, and yet delight 360 

The many-ngur'd sculptures of the path 

Half beauteous, half effac'd ; the traveller 

Such antique marbles to his native land 

Oft hence conveys ; and ev'ry realm and state 

With Rome's august remains, heroes and gods, 365 

Deck their long galleries and winding groves ; 

Yet miss we not th' innumerable thefts ; 



THE RUINS OF ROME 4! 

Yet still profuse of graces teems the waste. 

Suffice it now th' Esquilian Mount to reach 
With weary wing, and seek the sacred rests 370 

Of Maro's humble tenement. A low 
1'lain wall remains ; a little sun-gilt heap, 
Grotesque and wild : the gourd and olive brown 
Weave the light roof; the gourd and olive fan 
Their am'rous foliage, mingling with the vine, 375 
Who drops her purple clusters thro' the green. 
Here let me lie, with pleasing fancy sooth'd : 
Here flow'd his fountain, here his laurels grew ; 
Here oft the meek good man, the lofty bard, 
Fram'd the celestial song, or social walk'd 380 

With Horace and the ruler of the world : 
Happy Augustus ! who so well inspir'd 
Could'st throw thy pomps and royalties aside, 
Attentive to the wise, the great of soul, 
And dignify thy mind. Thrice glorious days, 3^5 
Auspicious to the Muses ! then rever'd, 
Then hallow'd was the fount, or secret shade, 
Or open mountain, or whatever scene 
The poet chose to tune th' ennobling rhyme 
Melodious ; ev'n the rugged sons of War, 39 

Ev'n the rude hinds, rever'd the poet's name : 
But now another age, alas ! is ours 
Yet will the Muse a little longer soar, 
Unless the clouds of care weigh down her wing 
Since Nature's stores are shut with cruel hand, 395 
And each aggrieves his brother ; since in vain 
The thirsty pilgrim at the fountain asks 
Th' o'erflowing wave Enough the plaint disdain. 

Seest thou yon fane? ev'n now incessant time 
Sweeps her low mould'ring marbles to the dust ; 40 
And Phoebus' temple, nodding with its woods, 
Threatens huge ruin o'er the small rotund. 



42 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

'Twas there, beneath a fig-tree's umbrage broad, 
Th' astonish'd swains with rev'rend awe beheld 
Thee, O Quirinus ! and thy brother twin, 45 

Pressing the teat within a monster's grasp 
Sportive, while oft the gaunt and rugged wolf 
Turn'd her stretch'd neck, and form'd your tender 

limbs : 

So taught of Jove, ev'n the fell savage fed 
Your sacred infancies ; your virtues, toils, 4' 

The conquests, glories, of th' Ausonian state, 
Wrapp'd in their secret seeds. Each kindred soul, 
Robust and stout, ye grapple to your hearts, 
And little Rome appears. Her cots arise, 
Green twigs of osier weave the slender walls, 4'5 

Green rushes spread the roofs ; and here and there 
Opens beneath the rock the gloomy cave. 
Elate with joy, Etruscan Tiber views 
Her spreading scenes enamelling his waves, 
Her huts and hollow dells, and flocks and herds, 4 2 
And gath'ring swains, and rolls his yellow car 
To Neptune's court with more majestic train. 

Her speedy growth alarm'd the states around, 
Jealous ; yet soon, by wondrous virtue won, 
They sink into her bosom. From the plough 4 2 5 
Rose her dictators ; fought, o'ercame, return'd ; 
Yes, to the plough return'd, and hail'd their peers ! 
For then no private pomp, no household state, 
The public only swell'd the gen'rous breast. 
Who has not heard the Fabian heroes sung ? 43 

Dentatus' scars, or Mutius' flaming hand ? 
How Manlius sav'd the Capitol ? the choice 
Of steady Regulus? As yet they stood, 
Simple of life ; as yet seducing wealth 
Was unexplor'd, and shame of poverty 435 

Yet unimagin'd Shine not all the fields 



THE RUINS OF ROME 43 

With various fruitage? murmur not the brooks 

Along the flow'ry vallies? they, content, 

Feasted at Nature's hand, indelicate, 

Blithe, in their easy taste, and only sought 44 

To know their duties ; that their only strife, 

Their gen'rous strife, and greatly to perform. 

They thro' all shapes of peril and of pain, 

Intent on honour, dar'd in thickest death 

To snatch the glorious deed. Nor Trebia quell'd, 445 

Nor Thrasymene, nor Cannte's bloody field, 

Their dauntless courage : storming Hannibal 

In vain the thunder of the battle roll'd ; 

The thunder of the battle they return'd 

Back on his Punic shores, till Carthage fell, 45 

And danger fled afar. The City gleam'd 

With precious spoils : alas, prosperity ! 

Ah, baneful state ! yet ebb'd not all their strength 

In soft luxurious pleasures; proud desire 

Of boundless sway, and feverish thirst of gold, 455 

Rouz'd them again to battle. Beauteous Greece, 

Torn from her joys, in vain with languid arm 

Half rais'd her rusty shield ; nor could avail 

The sword of Dacia, nor the Parthian dart, 

Nor yet the car of that fam'd British chief 460 

Which sev'n brave years beneath the doubtful wing 

Of vict'ry dreadful roll'd its grinding wheels 

Over the bloody war : the Roman arms 

Triumph'd till Fame was silent of their foes. 

And now the world unrivall'd they enjoy'd 4 6 5 
In proud security : the crested helm, 
The plated greave and corselet, hung unbrac'd ; 
Nor clank'd their arms, the spear and sounding shield, 
But on the glitt'ring trophy to the wind. 

Dissolv'd in ease and soft delights they lie, 47 
Till ev'ry sun annoys, and ev'ry wind 



44 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Has chilling force, and ev'ry rain offends ; 

For now the frame no more is girt with strength 

Masculine, nor in lustiness of heart 

Laughs at the winter-storm and summer-beam, 475 

Superior to their rage : enfeebling vice 

Withers each nerve, and opens ev'ry pore 

To painful feeling : flow'ry bow'rs they seek, 

(As ether prompts, as the sick sense approves) 

Or cool nymphean grots, or tepid baths ; 480 

(Taught by the soft lonians) they along 

The lawny vale, of ev'ry beauteous stone, 

Pile in the roseat air with fond expense : 

Thro' silver channels glide the vagrant waves, 

And fall on silver beds crystalline down, 485 

Melodious murmuring ; while Luxury 

Over their naked limbs, with wanton hand, 

Sheds roses, odours, sheds unheeded bane. 

Swift is the flight of wealth ; unnumber'd wants, 
Brood of Voluptuousness, cry out aloud 49 

Necessity, and seek the splendid bribe. 
The citron board, the bowl emboss'd with gems, 
And tender foliage wildly wreath'd around 
Of seeming ivy, by that artful hand, 
Corinthian Thericles ; whate'er is known 495 

Of rarest acquisition ; Tyrian garbs, 
Neptunian Albion's high testaceous food, 
And flavour'd Chian wines, with incense fum'd, 
To slake Patrician thirst : for these their rights 
In the vile streets they prostitute to sale ; 500 

Their ancient rights, their dignities, their laws, 
Their native glorious freedom. Is there none, 
Is there no villain, that will bind the neck 
Stretch'd to the yoke? They come; the market 

throngs. 
But who has most by fraud or force amass'd ? 505 



THE RUINS OF ROME 45 

Who most can charm Corruption with his doles ? 

He be the monarch of the state ; and, lo ! 

Didius, vile usurer ! thro' the crowd he mounts, 

Beneath his feet the Roman Eagle cowers, 

And the red arrows fill his grasp uncouth. 510 

O Britons ! O my countrymen ! beware ; 

Gird, gird your hearts : the Romans once were free, 

Were brave, were virtuous. Tyranny howe'er 

Deign'd to walk forth a while in pageant state, 

And with licentious pleasures fed the rout, 515 

The thoughtless many : to the wanton sound 

Of fifes and drums they danc'd, or in the shade 

Sung Caesar, great and terrible in war ; 

Immortal Caesar ! Lo ! a god, a god ! 

He cleaves the yielding skies. Caesar meanwhile 520 

Gathers the ocean pebbles, or the gnat 

Enrag'd pursues ; or at his lonely meal 

Starves a wide province ; tastes, dislikes, and flings 

To dogs and sycophants. A god, a god ! 

The flow'ry shades and shrines obsene return. 525 

But see along the North the tempest swell 
O'er the rough Alps, and darken all their snows ! 
Sudden the Goth and Vandal, dreaded names, 
Rush as the breach of waters, whelming all 
Their domes, their villas ; down the festive piles, 53 
Down fall their Parian porches, gilded baths, 
And roll before the storm in clouds of dust. 

Vain end of human strength, of human skill, 
Conquest, and triumph, and domain, and pomp, 
And ease, and luxury ! O Luxury ! 535 

Bane of elated life, of affluent states, 
What dreary change, what ruin, is not thine ? 
How doth thy bowl intoxicate the mind ! 
To the soft entrance of thy rosy cave 
How dost thou lure the fortunate and great ! 540 



46 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Dreadful attraction ! while behind thee gapes 
Th' unfathomable gulf where Ashur lies 
O'envhelm'd, forgotten, and high-boasting Cham, 
And Elam's haughty pomp, and beauteous Greece, 
And the great queen of earth, imperial Rome ! 545 



THE FLEECE 

IN FOUR BOOKS 

" Post majores quadrupedes ovilli pecoris secunda ratio est, quce 
prima sit, si ad utilitatis magnitudincm referas : nam id 
praecipue nos contra frigoris violentiam protegit, corpori- 
busque nostris liberaliora pnebet velamina." 

COLUMEU.A. 

["After the larger animals, our concern is with sheep, which would 
come first, if extent of usefulness were considered ; for they 
furnish us with excellent clothes, and before all others pro- 
tect us from the cold."] 

BOOK I 

THE care of sheep, the labours of the loom, 

And arts of trade, I sing. Ye rural Nymphs ! 

Ye Swains, and princely Merchants ! aid the verse. 

And ye, high-trusted Guardians of our Isle 

Whom public voice approves, or lot of birth, 5 

To the great charge assigns ! ye Good of all 

Degrees, all sects ! be present to my song. 

So may distress, and wretchedness, and want, 

The wide felicities of labour learn : 

So may the proud attempts of restless Gaul 10 

From our strong borders, like a broken wave, 

In empty foam retire. But chiefly Thou, 

The people's Shepherd, eminently plac'd 

47 



48 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Over the numerous swains of every vale, 

With well-permitted power and watchful eye 15 

On each gay field to shed beneficence, 

Celestial office ! Thou protect the song. 
On spacious airy downs and gentle hills, 

With grass and thyme o'erspread, and clover wild, 

Where smiling Phcebus tempers ev'ry breeze, 20 

The fairest flocks rejoice : they nor of halt, 

Hydropic tumours, nor of rot, complain, 

Evils deform'd and foul : nor with hoarse cough 

Disturb the music of the past'ral pipe ; 

But, crowding to the note, with silence soft 25 

The close-woven carpet graze, where Nature blends 

Flow'rets and herbage of minutest size, 

Innoxious luxury. Wide airy downs 

Are Health's gay walks to shepherd and to sheep. 

All arid soils, with sand or chalky flint, 3 

Or shells deluvian mingled, and the turf 
That mantles over rocks of brittle stone, 
Be thy regard ; and where low-tufted broom, 
Or box, or berry'd juniper, arise ; 
Or the tall growth of glossy-rinded beech ; 35 

And where the burrowing rabbit turns the dust ; 
And where the dappled deer delights to bound. 

Such are the downs of Banstead, edg'd with woods 
And towery villas ; such Dorcestrian fields, 
Whose flocks innumerous whiten all the land : 4 
Such those slow-climbing wilds that lead the step 
Insensibly to Dover's windy cliff, 
Tremendous height ! and such the clover'd lawns 
And sunny mounts of beauteous Normanton, 
Health's cheerful haunt, and the selected walk 45 
Of Heathcote's leisure : such the spacious plain 
Of Sarum, spread like Ocean's boundless round, 
Where solitary Stonehenge, gray with moss, 



THE FLEECE 49 

Ruin of ages ! nods : such, too, the leas 

And ruddy tilth which spiry Ross beholds, 5 

From a green hillock, o'er her lofty elms ; 

And Lemster's brooky tract and airy Croft ; 

And such Harleian Eywood's swelling turf, 

Wav'd as the billows of a rolling sea ; 

And Shobden, for its lofty terrace fam'd, 55 

Which from a mountain's ridge, elate o'er woods, 

And girt with all Siluria, seas around 

Regions on regions blended in the clouds. 

Pleasant Siluria ! land of various views, 

Hills, rivers, woods, and lawns, and purple groves 60 

Pomaceous, mingled with the curling growth 

Of tendril hops, that flaunt upon their poles, 

More airy wild than vines along the sides 

Of treacherous Falernum, or that hill 

Vesuvius, where the bowers of Bacchus rose, 65 

And Herculanean and Pompeian domes. 

But if thy prudent care would cultivate 
Leicestrian Fleeces, what the sinewy arm 
Combs thro' the spiky steel in lengthen'd flakes ; 
Rich saponaceous loam, that slowly drinks 70 

The blackening shower, and fattens with the draught, 
Or heavy marl's deep clay, be then thy choice, 
Of one consistence, one complexion, spread 
Thro" all thy glebe ; where no deceitful veins 
Of envious gravel lurk beneath the turf, 75 

To loose the creeping waters from their springs, 
Tainting the pasturage : and let thy fields 
In slopes descend and mount, that chilling rains 
May trickle off, and hasten to the brooks. 

Yet some defect in all on earth appears : So 

All seek for help, all press for social aid. 
Too cold the grassy mantle of the marie, 
In stormy winter's long and dreary nights, 
D 



50 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

For cumbent sheep ; from broken slumber oft 

They rise benumb'd, and vainly shift the couch ; 85 

Their wasted sides their evil plight declare : 

Hence, tender in his care, the shepherd swain 

Seeks each contrivance. Here it would avail 

At a meet distance from the sheltr'ing mound 

To sink a trench, and on the hedge-long bank 90 

Sow frequent sand, with lime, and dark manure, 

Which to the liquid element will yield 

A porous way, a passage to the foe. 

Plough not such pastures ; deep in spongy grass 

The oldest carpet is the warmest lair, 95 

And soundest : in new herbage coughs are heard. 

Nor love too frequent shelter, such as decks 
The vale of Severn, Nature's garden wide, 
By the blue steeps, of distant Malvern wall'd, 
Solemnly vast. The trees of various shade, IOD 

Scene behind scene, with fair delusive pomp 
Enrich the prospect, but they rob the lawns. 
Nor prickly brambles, white with woolly theft, 
Should tuft thy fields. Applaud not the remiss 
Dimetians, who along their mossy dales 105 

Consume, like grasshoppers, the summer hour, 
While round them stubborn thorns and furze increase, 
And creeping briars. I knew a careful swain 
Who gave them to the crackling flames, and spread 
Their dust saline upon the deepening grass; no 

And oft with labour-strengthen'd arm he delv'd 
The draining trench across his verdant slopes, 
To intercept the small meandring rills 
Of upper hamlets. Haughty trees, that sour 
The shaded grass, that weaken thorn-set mounds, 115 
And harbour villain crows, he rare allow'd ; 
Only a slender tuft of useful ash, 
And mingled beech and elm, securely tall, 



THE FLEECE 1 

The little smiling cottage warm embower'd ; 

The little smiling cottage ! where at eve 120 

He meets his rosy children at the door, 

Prattling their welcomes, and his honest wife, 

With good brown cake and bacon slice, intent 

To cheer his hunger after labour hard. 

Nor only soil, there also must be found 125 

Felicity of clime, and aspect bland, 
Where gentle sheep may nourish locks of price. 
In vain the silken Fleece on windy brows, 
And northern slopes of cloud-dividing hills, 
Is sought, tho' soft Iberia spreads her lap 130 

Beneath their rugged feet and names their heights 
Biscaian or Segovian. Bothnic realms, 
And dark Norwegian, with their choicest fields, 
Dingles, and dells, by lofty fir embower'd, 
In vain the bleaters court. Alike they shun 135 

Libya's hot plains. What taste have they for groves 
Of palm, or yellow dust of gold ? no more 
Food to the flock than to the miser wealth, 
Who kneels upon the glittering heap and starves. 
Ev'n Gallic Abbeville the shining Fleece, 140 

That richly decorates her loom, acquires 
Basely from Albion, by th' ensnaring bribe, 
The bate of avarice, which with felon fraud 
For its own wanton mouth from thousands steals. 

How erring oft the judgment in its hate 145 

Or fond desire ! Those slow-descending showers, 
Those hovering fogs, that bathe our growing vales 
In deep November (loath'd by trifling Gaul, 
Effeminate), are gifts the Pleiads shed, 
Britannia's handmaids : as the beverage falls 150 

Her hills rejoice, her valleys laugh and sing. 

Hail, noble Albion ! where no golden mines, 
No soft perfumes, nor oils, nor myrtle bowers, 



52 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

The vigorous frame and lofty heart of man. 
Enervate : round whose stern cerulean brows 155 

White-winged snow, and cloud, and pearly rain, 
Frequent attend, with solemn majesty : 
Rich queen of Mists and Vapours ! these thy sons 
With their cool arms compress, and twist their nerves 
For deeds of excellence and high renown. 160 

Thus form'd, our Edwards, Henries, Churchills, 

Blakes, 
Our Lockes, our Newtons, and our Miltons, rose. 

See the sun gleams ; the living pastures rise, 
After the nurture of the fallen shower, 
How beautiful ! how blue th' ethereal vault ! 165 

How verdurous the lawns ! how clear the brooks ! 
Such noble warlike steeds, such herds of kine, 
So sleek, so vast ! such spacious flocks of sheep, 
Like flakes of gold illumining the green, 
What other paradise adorn but thine, 170 

Britannia ! happy if thy sons would know 
Their happiness. To these thy naval streams, 
Thy frequent towns superb of busy trade, 
And ports magninc, add, and stately ships 
Innumerous. But whither strays my Muse? 175 

Pleas'd, like a traveller upon the strand 
Arriv'd of bright Augusta, wild he roves, 
From deck to deck, thro' groves immense of masts ; 
'Mong crowds, bales, cars, the wealth of either Ind ; 
Thro' wharfs, squares, and palaces, and domes, 180 
In sweet surprise, unable yet to fix 
His raptur'd mind, or scan in order'd course 
Each object singly, with discoveries new 
His native country studious to enrich. 

Ye Shepherds ! if your labours hope success, 185 
Be first your purpose to procure a breed 
To soil and clime adapted. Every soil 



THE FLEECE 53 

And clime, ev'n every tree and herb, receives 

Its habitant peculiar : each to each 

The Great Invisible, and each to all, 190 

Thro' earth, and sea, and air, harmonious suits. 

Tempestuous regions, Darwent's naked Peaks, 

Snowden and blue Plynlymmon, and the wide 

Aerial sides of Cader-ydris huge ; 

These are bestow'd on goat-horned sheep, of Fleece *95 

Hairy and coarse, of long and nimble shank, 

Who rove o'er bog or heath, and graze or brouze 

Alternate, to collect, with due dispatch, 

O'er the bleak wild, the thinly-scatter'd meal : 

But hills of milder air, that gently rise 2 

O'er dewy dales, a fairer species boast, 

Of shorter limb, and frontlet more ornate : 

Such the Silurian. If thy farm extends 

Near Cotswold Downs, or the delicious groves 

Of Symmonds, honour'd thro' the sandy soil 205 

Of elmy Ross, or Devon's myrtle vales, 

That drink clear rivers near the glassy sea, 

Regard this sort, and hence thy sire of lambs 

Select : his tawny Fleece in ringlets curl ; 

Long swings his slender tail ; his front is fenc'd 2I 

With horns Ammonian, circulating twice 

Around each open ear, like those fair scrolls 

That grace the columns of th' Ionic dome. 

Yet should thy fertile glebe be marly clay, 
Like Melton pastures, or Tripontian fields, 215 

Where ever-gliding Avon's limpid wave 
Thwarts the long course of dusty Watling-street ; 
That larger sort, of head defenceless, seek, 
Whose Fleece is deep and clammy, close and plain : 
The ram short-limbed, whose form compact 

describes 220 

One level line along his spacious back ; 



54 

Of full and ruddy eye, large ears, stretch'd head, 
Nostrils dilated, breast and shoulders broad, 
And spacious haunches, and a lofty dock. 

Thus to their kindred soil and air induc'd, 225 

Thy thriving herd will bless thy skilful care, 
That copies Nature, who, in every change, 
In each variety, with wisdom works, 
And powers diversifi'd of air and soil, 
Her rich materials. Hence Sabasa's rocks, 230 

Chaldrea's marie, Egyptus' water'd loam, 
And dry Gyrene's sand, in climes alike, 
With different stores supply the marts of trade : 
Hence Zembla's icy tracks no bleaters hear : 
Small are the Russian herds, and harsh their Fleece; 235 
Of light esteem Germanic, far remote 
From soft sea-breezes, open winters mild, 
And summers bath'd in dew : on Syrian sheep 
The costly burden only loads their tails : 
No locks Gormandel's, none Malacca's, tribe 240 

Adorn ; but sleek of flix, and brown like deer, 
Fearful and shepherdless, they bound along 
The sands. No Fleeces wave in torrid climes, 
Which verdure boast of trees and shrubs alone, 
Shrubs aromatic, caufee wild, or thea, 2 45 

Nutmeg, or cinnamon, or fiery clove, 
Unapt to feed the Fleece. The food of wool 
Is grass or herbage soft, that ever blooms 
In temp'rate air, in the delicious downs 
Of Albion, on the banks of all her streams. 250 

Of grasses are unnumber'd kinds, and all 
(Save where foul waters linger on the turf) 
Salubrious. Early mark when tepid gleams 
Oft mingle with the pearls of summer showers, 
And swell too hastily the tender plains ; 255 

Then snatch away thy sheep : beware the rot ; 



THE FLEECE 55 

And with detersive bay-salt rub their mouths, 

Or urge them on a barren bank to feed, 

In hunger's kind distress, on tedded hay ; 

Or to the marish guide their easy steps, 260 

If near thy tufted crofts the broad sea spreads. 

Sagacious care foreacts. When strong disease 

Breaks in, and stains the purple streams of health, 

Hard is the strife of art. The coughing pest 

From their green pasture sweeps whole flocks away. 265 

That dire distemper, sometimes may the swain, 
Tho' late, discern ; when on the lifted lid, 
Or visual orb, the turgid veins are pale, 
The swelling liver then her putrid store 
Begins to drink : ev'n yet thy skill exert, 2 7 

Nor suffer weak despair to fold thy arms ; 
Again detersive salt apply, or shed 
The hoary med'cine o'er their arid food. 

In cold stiff soils the bleaters oft complain 
Of gouty ails, by shepherds term'd the Halt : 2 75 

Those let the neighb'ring fold or ready crook 
Detain, and pour into their cloven feet 
Corrosive drugs, deep-searching arsenic, 
Dry allum, verdigrise, or vitriole keen : 
But if the doubtful mischief scarce appears, 280 

'Twill serve to shift them to a dryer turf, 
And salt again. Th' utility of salt 
Teach thy slow swains ; redundant humours cold 
Are the diseases of the bleating kind. 

Th' infectious scab, arising from extremes 285 

Of want or surfeit, is by water cured 
Of lime, or sodden staves-acre, or oil 
Dispersive of Norwegian tar, renown'd 
By virtuous Berkeley, whose benevolence 
Explored its pow'rs, and easy med'cine thence 290 
Sought for the poor. Ye PoorJ with grateful voice 



56 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Invoke eternal blessings on his head. 

Sheep also pleurisies and dropsies know, 
Driven oft from Nature's path by artful man, 
Who blindly turns aside, with haughty hand, 2 95 

Whom sacred Instinct would securely lead. 
But thou, more humble Swain ! thy rural gates 
Frequent unbar, and let thy flocks abroad 
From lea to croft, from mead to arid field, 
Noting the fickle seasons of the sky. 300 

Rain-sated pastures let them shun, and seek 
Changes of herbage and salubrious flowers. 
By their All-perfect Master inly taught, 
They best their food and physic can discern ; 
For He, Supreme Existence ! ever near, 305 

Informs them. O'er the vivid green observe 
With what a regular consent they crop, 
At every fourth collection to the mouth, 
Unsav'ry crow-flow'r ; whether to awake 
Languor of appetite with lively change, 310 

Or timely to repel approaching ills, 
Hard to determine. Thou, whom Nature loves, 
And with her salutary rules intrusts, 
Benevolent Mackenzie ! say the cause. 
This truth howe'er shines bright to human sense ; 3 J 5 
Each strong affection of th' unconscious brute, 
Each bent, each passion of the smallest mite, 
Is wisely giv'n : harmonious they perform 
The work of perfect reason (blush, vain Man !), 
And turn the wheels of Nature's vast machine. '.." 3 20 

See that thy scrip have store of healing tar, 
And marking pitch and raddle ; nor forget 
Thy shears true pointed, nor th' officious dog, 
Faithful to teach thy stragglers to return ; 
So may'sf thou aid who lag along, or steal 325 

Aside into the furrows" or the shades, 



THE FLEECE 57 

Silent to droop ; or who at ev'ry gate 

Or hillock rub their sores and loosen'd wool. 

But rather these, the feeble of thy flock, 

Banish before th' autumnal months. Ev'n age 330 

Forbear too much to favour : oft renew 

And thro' thy fold let joyous youth appear. 

Beware the season of imperial Love, 
Who thro' the world his ardent spirit pours ; 
Ev'n sheep are then intrepid ! the proud ram 335 
With jealous eye surveys the spacious field : 
All rivals keep aloof, or desp'rate war 
Suddenly rages ; with impetuous force, 
And fury irresistible, they dash 

Their hardy frontlets : the wide vale resounds : 340 
The flock, amaz'd, stands safe afar ; and oft 
Each to the other's might a victim falls ; 
As fell of old, before that engine's sway, 
Which hence ambition imitative wrought, 
The beauteous tow'rs of Salem to the dust. 345 

Wise custom at the fifth or six return, 
Or ere they 'ave past the twelfth, of orient morn, 
Castrates the lambkins ; necessary rite, 
Ere they be number'd of the peaceful herd. 
But kindly watch whom thy sharp hand has grieved, 350 
In those rough months that lift the turning year : 
Not tedious is the office ; to thy aid 
Favonius hastens ; soon their wounds he heals, 
And leads them skipping to the flow'rs of May ; 
May ! who allows to fold, if poor the tilth, 355 

Like that of dreary houseless common fields, 
Worn by the plough ; but fold on fallows dry. 
Enfeeble not thy flock to feed thy land, 
Nor in too narrow bounds the pris'ners crowd ; 
Nor ope the wattled fence while balmy Mom 360 

Lies on the reeking pasture : wait till all 



58 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

The crystal dews, impearl'd upon the grass, 

Are touch'd by Phoebus' beams, and mount aloft, 

With various clouds to paint the azure sky. 

In teasing fly-time, dank or frosty days, 3 6 5 

With unctuous liquids, or the lees of oil, 
Rub their soft skins between the parted locks : 
Thus the Brigantes: 't is not idle pains: 
Nor is that skill despis'd which trims their tails, 
Ere summer-heats, of filth and tagged wool. 37 

Coolness and cleanliness to health conduce. 

To mend thy mounds, to trench, to clear, to soil, 
Thy grateful fields, to medicate thy sheep, 
Hurdles to weave, and cheerly shelters raise, 
Thy vacant hours require ; and ever learn 375 

Quick ether's motions : oft the scene is turn'd ; 
Now the blue vault, and now the murky cloud, 
Hail, rain, or radiance: these the moon will tell, 
Each bird and beast, and these thy fleecy tribe. 
When high the sapphire cope, supine they couch, 380 
And chew the cud delighted ; but ere rain 
Eager, and at unwonted hour, they feed. 
Slight not the warning ; soon the tempest rolls, 
Scatt'ring them wide, close rushing at the heels 
Of th' hurrying o'ertaken swains : forbear 3^5 

Such nights to fold ; such nights be theirs to shift 
On ridge or hillock ; or in homesteads soft, 
Or softer cots, detain them. Is thy lot 
A chill penurious turf, to all thy toils 
Untractable ? Before harsh winter drowns 39 

The noisy dykes, and starves the rushy glebe, 
Shift the frail breed to sandy hamlets warm ; 
There let them sojourn, till gay Procne skims 
The thick'ning verdure and the rising flow'rs. 
And while departing autumn all embrowns 395 

The frequent-bitten fields, while thy free hand 



59 

Divides the tedded hay, then be their feet 

Accustom'd to the barriers of the rick, 

Or some warm umbrage ; left, in erring flight, 

When the broad dazzling snows descend, they run 400 

Dispers'd to ditches, where the swelling drift 

Wide overwhelms: anxious, the shepherd swains 

Issue with axe and spade, and, all abroad, 

In doubtful aim explore the glaring waste, 

And some, perchance, in the deep delve upraise, 45 

Drooping, ev'n at the twelfth cold dreary day, 

With still continu'd feeble pulse of life, 

The glebe, their Fleece, their flesh, by hunger gnaw'd. 

Ah, gentle Shepherd ! thine the lot to tend, 
Of all that feel distress, the most assail'd, 410 

Feeble, defenceless : lenient be thy care ; 
But spread around thy tend'rest diligence 
In flow'ry spring-time, when the new-dropp'd lamb, 
Tott'ring with weakness by his mother's side, 
Feels the fresh world about him, and each thorn, 4'5 
Hillock, or furrow, trips his feeble feet : 
O ! guard his meek sweet innocence from all 
Th' innumerous ills that rush around his life ; 
Mark the quick kite, with beak and talons prone, 
Circling the skies to snatch him from the plain ; 420 
Observe the lurking crows ; beware the brake, 
There the sly fox the careless minute waits ; 
Nor trust thy neighbour's dog, nor earth, nor sky : 
Thy bosom to a thousand cares divide. 
Eurus oft slings his hail ; the tardy fields 4 2 5 

Pay not their promis'd food ; and oft the dam 
O'er her weak twins with empty udder mourns, 
Or fails to guard when the bold bird of prey 
Alights, and hops in many turns around, 
And tires her, also turning : to her aid 43 

Be nimble, and the weakest in thine arms 



60 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Gently convey to the warm cot and oft, 

Between the lark's note and the nightingale's, 

His hungry bleating still with tepid milk : 

In this soft office may thy children join, 435 

And charitable habits learn in sport : 

Nor yield him to himself ere vernal airs 

Sprinkle thy little croft with daisy flowers : 

Nor yet forget him ; life has rising ills : 

Various as ether is the past'ral care : 440 

Thro' slow experience, by a patient breast, 

The whole long lesson gradual is attain'd, 

By precept after precept, oft receiv'd 

With deep attention ; such as Nuceus sings 

To the full vale near Soar's enamour'd brook, 445 

While all is silence : sweet Hinclean swain ! 

Whom rude Obscurity severely clasps : 

The Muse, howe'er, will deck thy simple cell 

With purple violets and primrose flowers, 

Well-pleas'd thy faithful lessons to repay. 45 

Sheep no extremes can bear : both heat and cold 
Spread sores cutaneous ; but more frequent heat. 
The fly-blown vermin from their woolly nest 
Press to the tortur'd skin, and flesh, and bone, 
In littleness and number dreadful foes ! 455 

Long rains in miry winter cause the halt ; 
Rainy luxuriant summers rot your flock ; 
And all excess, ev'n of salubrious food, 
As sure destroys as famine or the wolf. 
Inferior theirs to man's world-roving frame, 460 

Which all extremes in every zone endures. 

With grateful heart, ye British Swains ! enjoy 
Your gentle seasons and indulgent clime. 
Lo ! in the sprinkling clouds your bleating hills 
Rejoice with herbage, while the horrid rage 4 6 5 

Of winter irresistible o'erwhelrqs 



THE FLEECE 6 1 

Th' Hyperborean tracks : his arrowy frosts, 

That pierce thro' flinty rocks, the Lappian flies, 

And burrows deep beneath the snowy world ; 

A drear abode ! from rose diffusing hours, 47 

That dance before the wheels of radiant day, 

Far, far remote ; where, by the squalid light 

Of fetid oil inflam'd, sea-monsters' spume, 

Or fir-wood, glaring in the weeping vault, 

Twice three slow gloomy months with various ills .475 

Sullen he struggles ; such the love of life ! 

His lank and scanty herds around him press, 

As, hunger-stung, to gritty meal he grinds 

The bones of fish, or inward bark of trees, 

Their common sustenance ; while ye, O Swains ! 480 

Ye, happy at your ease, behold your sheep 

Feed on the open turf, or crowd the tilth, 

Where, thick among the greens, with busy mouths 

They scoop white turnips : little care is yours ; 

Only at morning hour to interpose 485 

Dry food of oats, or hay, or brittle straw, 

The wat'ry juices of the bossy root 

Absorbing ; or from noxious air to screen 

Your heavy teeming ewes with wattled fence 

Of furze or copse-wood in the lofty field, 49 

Which bleak ascends among the whistling winds : 

Or, if your sheep are of Silurian breed, 

Nightly to house them dry on fern or straw, 

Silk'ning their Fleeces. Ye nor rolling hut 

Nor watchful dog require, where never roar 495 

Of savage tears the air, where careless Night 

In balmy sleep lies lull'd, and only wakes 

To plenteous peace. Alas ! o'er warmer zones 

Wild terror strides, their stubborn rocks are rent, 

Their mountains sink, their yawning caverns flame, 5 

And liery torrents roll impetuous down, 



62 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Proud cities deluging ; Pompeian tow'rs, 

And Herculanean, and what riotous stood 

In Syrian valley, where now the Dead Sea 

'Mong solitary hills infectious lies. 55 

See the swift Furies, famine, plague, and war, 
In frequent thunders rage o'er neighboring realms, 
And spread their plains with desolation wide ! 
Yet your mild homesteads ever-blooming smile 
Among embracing woods, and waft on high 5 10 

The breath of plenty, from the ruddy tops 
Of chimneys curling o'er the gloomy trees 
In airy azure ringlets to the sky. 
Nor ye by need are urg'd, as Attic swains, 
And Tarentine, with skins to clothe your sheep, 5 J 5 
Expensive toil, howe'er expedient found 
In fervid climates, while from Phoebus' beams 
They fled to rugged woods and tangling brakes. 
But those expensive toils are now no more, 
Proud Tyranny devours their flocks and herds : 5 20 
Nor bleat of sheep may now, nor sound of pipe, 
Sooth the sad plains of once sweet Arcady, 
The shepherds' kingdom : dreary solitude 
Spreads o'er Hymettus, and the shaggy vale 
Of Athens, which in solemn silence sheds 5 2 5 

Her venerable ruins to the dust. 

The weary Arabs roam from plain to plain, 
Guiding the languid herd in quest of food, 
And shift their little home's uncertain scene 
With frequent farewell ; strangers, pilgrims all, 53 
As were their fathers. No sweet fall of rain 
May there be heard ; nor sweeter liquid lapse 
Of river, o'er the pebbles gliding by 
In murmurs : goaded by the rage of thirst, 
Daily they journey to the distant clefts 535 

Of craggy rocks, where gloomy palms o'erhang 



THE FLEECE 63 

The ancient wells, deep sunk by toil immense, 

Toil of the patriarchs, with sublime intent 

Themselves and long posterity to serve. 

There, at the public hour of sultry noon, 540 

They share the bev'rage, when to wat'ring come, 

And grateful umbrage, all the tribes around, 

And their lean flocks, whose various bleatings fill 

The echoing caverns : then is absent none, 

Fair nymph or shepherd, each inspiring each 545 

To wit, and song, and dance, and active feats ; 

In the same rustic scene, where Jacob won 

Fair Rachel's bosom, when a rock's vast weight 

From the deep dark-mouth'd well his strength remov'd, 

And to her circling sheep refreshment gave. 550 

Such are the perils, such the toils, of life, 
In foreign climes. But speed thy flight, my Muse ! 
Swift turns the year, and our unnumber'd flocks 
On Fleeces overgrown uneasy lie. 

Now, jolly Swains ! the harvest of your cares 555 
Prepare to reap, and seek the sounding caves 
Of high Brigantium, where, by ruddy flames, 
Vulcan's strong sons, with nervous arm, around 
The steady anvil and the glaring mass 
Clatter their heavy hammers down by turns, 5 60 

Flatt'ning the steel : from their rough hands receive 
The sharpen'd instrument that from the flock 
Severs the Fleece. If verdant elder spreads 
Her silver flow'rs ; if humble daisies yield 
To yellow crow-foot, and luxuriant grass, 565 

Gay shearing-time approaches. First, howe'er, 
Drive to the double fold, upon the brim 
Of a clear river, gently drive the flock, 
And plunge them one by one into the flood : 
Plung'd in the flood, not long the struggler sinks, 570 
With his white flakes that glisten thro' the tide ; 



64 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

The sturdy rustic, in the middle wave, 

Awaits to seize him rising ; one arm bears 

His lifted head above the limpid strearrij 

While the full clammy Fleece the other laves 575 

Around, laborious, with repeated toil ; 

And then resigns him to the sunny bank, 

Where, bleating loud, he shakes his dripping locks. 

Shear them the fourth or fifth return of morn, 
Lest touch of busy fly-blows wound their skin. 580 
Thy peaceful subjects without murmur yield - 
Their yearly tribute : 'tis the prudent part 
To cherish and be gentle, while ye strip 
The downy vesture from their tender sides. 
Press not too close ; with caution turn the points, 585 
And from the head in regular rounds proceed : 
But speedy, when ye chance to wound, with tar 
Prevent the wingy swarm and scorching heat ; 
And careful house them, if the low'ring clouds 
Mingle their stores tumultuous : thro' the gloom 590 
Then thunder oft with pond'rous wheels rolls loud, 
And breaks the crystal urns of heav'n ; adown 
Falls streaming rain. Sometimes among the steeps 
Of Cambrian glades (pity the Cambrian glades !) 
Fast tumbling brooks on brooks enormous swell, 595 
And sudden overwhelm their vanish'd fields : 
Down with the flood away the naked sheep, 
Bleating in vain, are borne, and straw-built huts, 
And rifted trees, and heavy enormous rocks, 
Down with the rapid torrent to the deep. 600 

At shearing-time along the lively vales 
Rural festivities are often heard ; 
Beneath each blooming arbour all is joy 
And lusty merriment. While on the grass 
The mingled youth in gaudy circles sport, 605 

We think the Golden Age again return'd, 



THE FLEECE 65 

And all the fabled Dryades in dance : 

Leering they bound along, with laughing air, 

To the shrill pipe, and deep remurm'ring-cords 

Of th' ancient harp, or tabor's hollow sound. 610 

While th' old apart, upon a bank reclin'd, 
Attend the tuneful carol, softly mix'd 
With every murmur of the sliding wave, 
And every warble of the feather'd choir, 
Music of Paradise! which still is heard 615 

When the heart listens, still the views appear 
Of the first happy garden, when Content 
To Nature's flowery scenes directs the sight. 
Yet we abandon those Elysian walks, 
Then idly for the lost delight repine ; 620 

As greedy mariners, whose desp'rate sails 
Skim o'er the billows of the foamy flood, 
Fancy they see the lessening shores retire, 
And sigh a farewell to the sinking hills. 

Could I recall those notes which once the Muse 625 
Heard at a shearing, near the woody sides 
Of blue-topp'd Wreakin ! Yet the carols sweet 
Thro' the deep maze of the memorial cell 
Faintly remurmur. First arose in song 
Hoar-headed Damon, venerable Swain ! 630 

The soothest shepherd of the flow'ry vale, 
" This is no vulgar scene ; no palace roof 
Was e'er so lofty, nor so nobly rise 
Their polish'd pillars as these aged oaks, 
Which o'er our Fleecy wealth and harmless sports 635 
Thus have expanded wide their shelt'ring arms 
Thrice told an hundred summers. Sweet Content, 
Ye gentle shepherds ! pillow us at night" 

" Yes, tuneful Damon, for our cares are short, 
Rising and falling with the cheerful day," 640 

Colin reply'd ; " and pleasing weariness 
E 



66 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Soon our unaching heads to sleep inclines. 

Is it in cities so ? where, poets tell, 

The cries of Sorrow sadden all the streets, 

And the diseases of intemp'rate wealth. 645 

Alas ! that any ills from wealth should rise ! " 

" May the sweet nightingale on yonder spray, 
May this clear stream, those lawns, these snow-white 

lambs, 

Which with a pretty innocence of look 
Skip on the green, and race in little troops ; 650 

May that great lamp which sinks behind the hills, 
And streams around variety of lights, 
Recall them erring ! this is Damon's wish." 

" Huge Breaden's stony summit once I climb'd 
After a kidling : Damon, what a scene ! 655 

What various views unnumberd spread beneath ! 
Woods, tow'rs, vales, caves, dells, cliffs, and torrent 

floods, 

And here and there, between the spiry rocks, 
The broad flat sea. Far nobler prospects these 
Than gardens black with smoke in dusty towns, 660 
Where stenchy vapours often blot the sun : 
Yet, flying from his quiet, thither crowds 
Each greedy wretch for tardy-rising wealth, 
Which comes too late, that courts the taste in vain, 
Or nauseates with distempers. Yes, ye Rich ! 665 
Still, still be rich, if thus ye fashion life ; 
And piping, careless, silly shepherds we, 
We silly shepherds, all intent to feed 
Our snowy flocks, and wind the sleeky Fleece." 

" Deem not, however, our occupation mean," 670 
Damon reply'd, " while the Supreme accounts 
Well of the faithful shepherd, rank'd alike 
With king and priest : they also shepherds are ; 
For so th' All-seeing styles them, to remind 



THE FLEECE 67 

Elated man, forgetful of his charge." 675 

" But haste, begin the rites : see purple Eve 
Stretches her shadows : all ye Nymphs and Swains ! 
Hither assemble. Pleas'd with honours due, 
Sabrina, guardian of the crystal flood, 
Shall bless our cares, when she by moonlight clear 680 
Skims o'er the dales, and eyes our sleeping folds ; 
Or in hoar caves around Plynlymmon's brow, 
Where precious minerals dart their purple gleams, 
Among her sisters she reclines ; the lov'd 
Vaga, profuse of graces, Ryddol rough, 685 

Blithe Ystwith, and Clevedoc, swift of foot ; 
And mingles various seeds of flow'rs and herbs, 
In the divided torrents, ere they burst 
Thro' the dark clouds, and down the mountain roll. 
Nor taint-worm shall infect the yeaning herds, 690 
Nor penny-grass nor spearwort's pois'nous leaf." 
He said : with light fantastic toe the nymphs 
Thither assembled, thither every swain ; 
And o'er the dimpled stream a thousand flow'rs, 
Pale lilies, roses, violets, and pinks, (95 

Mix'd with the greens of burnet, mint, and thyme, 
And trefoil, sprinkled with their sportive arms. 
Such custom holds along th' irriguous vales 
From Wreakin's brow to rocky Dolvoryn, 
Sabrina's early haunt, ere yet she fled 7o 

The search of Guendolen, her stepdame proud, 
With envious hate enrag'd. The jolly cheer, 
Spread on a mossy bank, untouch'd abides 
Till cease the rites ; and now the mossy bank 
Is gaily circled, and the jolly cheer 7S 

Dispers'd in copious measure; early fruits, 
And those of frugal store, in husk or rind ; 
Steep'd grain, and curdled milk with dulcet cream 
Soft temper'd, in full merriment they quaff, 



68 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

And cast about their gibes ; and some apace 7io 

Whistle to roundelays : their little ones 

Look on delighted ; while the mountain-woods 

And winding valleys with the various notes 

Of pipe, sheep, kine, and birds, and liquid brooks, 

Unite their echoes : near at hand the wide 7^ 

Majestic wave of Severn slowly rolls 

Along the deep-divided glebe : the flood, 

And trading bark with low contracted sail, 

Linger among the reeds and copsy banks 

To listen, and to view the joyous scene. 7 2 



BOOK II 

Now of the sever'd lock begin the song 
With various numbers, thro' 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-wing'd 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. 
Thro' all the brute creation none as sheep 
To lordly man such ample tribute pay. 
For him their udders yield nectareous streams ; 
For him their downy vestures they resign ; 
For him they spread the feast : ah ! ne'er may he 
Glory in wants which doom to pain and death 



THE FLEECE 69 

His blameless fellow-creatures. Let disease, 

Let wasted hunger, by destroying live, 

And the permission use with trembling thanks, 

Meekly reluctant : 't is the brute beyond ; 20 

And gluttons ever murder when they kill. 

Ev'n 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 ! 25 

Like Brama's healthy sons on Indus' banks, 

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 unsully'd locks 3 

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 35 

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 thro' the open wool 40 

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 conceal'd, 

Her labyrinth cuts, and mocks the comber's care: 45 

But in loose locks of fells she most delights, 

And feeble Fleeces of distemper'd sheep, 

Whither she hastens, by the morbid scent 

Allur'd, as the swift eagle to the fields 

Of slaught'ring war or carnage : such apart 5 

Keep for their proper use : our ancestors 



70 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Selected such for hospitable beds 
To rest the stranger, or the gory chief 
From battle or the chase of wolves return'd. 

When many-colour'd ev'ning sinks behind 55 

The purple woods and hills, and opposite 
Rises, full-orb'd, the silver harvest moon, 
To light th' unwearied farmer, late a-field 
His scatter'd sheaves collecting, then expect 
The artists, bent on speed, from populous Leeds, 60 
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 
Thro' dusty roads roll nodding ; or the bark, 65 

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, 70 

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 75 

Th' 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 maim'd, the blind, the lame, employ'd, 80 
And unreject'd age : ev'n 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 sev'ral heaps. 85 

This the dusk hatter asks : another shines 



THE FLEECE 71 

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 : 90 

For this long spungy wool no more increase 

Receives while winter petrifies the fields : 

The growth of Autumn stops ; and what tho' Spring 

Succeeds with rosy finger, and spins on 

The texture ? yet in vain she strives to link 95 

The silver twine to that of Autumn's hand. 

Be then the swain advis'd to shield his flocks 

From winter's dead'ning frosts and whelming snows ; 

Let the loud tempest rattle on the roof, 

While they, secure within, warm cribs enjoy, 100 

And swell their Fleeces, equal to the worth 

Of cloath'd Apulian, by soft warmth improv'd ; 

Or let them inward heat and vigour find 

By food of cole or turnip, hardy plants. 

Besides, the lock of one continued growth 105 

Imbibes a clearer and more equal dye. 

But lightest wool is theirs who poorly toil 
Thro' a dull round in unim proving farms 
Of common fields. Inclose, inclose, ye Swains ! 
Why will you joy in common field, where pitch, no 
Noxious to wood, must stain your motley flock, 
To mark your property ? the mark dilates, 
Enters the flake depreciated, defil'd, 
Unfit for beauteous tint. Besides, in fields 
Promiscuous held all culture languishes ; 115 

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 ; 120 
And in the distant village every hearth 



?2 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Devours the grassy sward, the verdant food 
Of injur'd herds and flocks, or what the plough 
Should turn and moulder for the bearded grain : 
Pernicious habit ! drawing gradual on 125 

Increasing beggary, and Nature's frowns. 
Add too, the idle pilf'rer easier there 
Eludes detection, when a lamb or ewe 
From intermingled flocks he steals ; or when, 
With loosen'd tether of his horse or cow, 130 

The milky stalk of the tall green-ear'd corn, 
The year's slow rip'ning fruit, the anxious hope 
Of his laborious neighbour, he destroys. 

There are who over-rate our spungy stores, 
Who deem that Nature grants no clime but ours 135 
To spread upon its fields the dews of heav'n, 
And feed the silky Fleece ; that card nor comb 
The hairy wool of Gaul can ne'er subdue, 
To form the thread, and mingle in the loom, 
Unless a third from Britain swell the heap : 140 

Illusion all ; tho' 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 145 

Bear witness, and the costliest of their looms. 

And though with hue of crocus or of rose 
No pow'r of subtle food, or air, or soil, 
Can dye the living Fleece ; yet 't will avail 
To note their influence in the tinging vase : 150 

Therefore from herbage of old pastur'd plains, 
Chief from the matted turf of azure marl 
Where grow the whitest locks, collect thy stores. 
Those fields regard not thro' whose recent turf 
The miry soil appears ; nor ev'n the streams *55 

Of Yare or silver Stroud can purify 



THE FLEECE 73 

Their frequent fully'd Fleece ; nor what rough winds, 
Keen biting on tempestuous hills, imbrown. 

Yet much may be perform'd to check the force 
Of Nature's rigour : the high heath, by trees 160 

Warm shelter'd, may despise the rage of storms : 
Moors, bogs, and weeping fens, may learn to smile, 
And leave in dikes their soon-forgotten tears. 
Labour and Art will every aim achieve 
Of noble bosoms. Bedford Level, erst 165 

A dreary pathless waste, the coughing flock 
Was wont with hairy Fleeces to deform, 
And, smiling with her lure of summer flow'rs, 
'I he heavy ox vain struggling to ingulf; 
Till one of that high honour'd patriot name, 170 

Russel ! arose, who drain'd the rushy fen, 
Confin'd the waves, bade groves and gardens bloom, 
And thro' his new creation led the Ouze 
And gentle Camus, silver-winding streams : 
God-like beneficence ! from chaos drear 175 

To raise the garden and the shady grove. 

But see lerne's moors and hideous bogs, 
Immeasurable track ! the traveller 
Slow tries his mazy step on th' yielding tuft, 
Shudd'ring with fear : ev'n such perfidious wilds, 180 
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 185 

Teaches her woody hills with fruits to shine, 
The pear and tasteful apple ; decks with flow'rs 
And foodful pulse the fields that often rise, 
Admiring to behold their furrows wave 
With yellow corn. What changes cannot Toil, 19 
With patient Art, effect ? There was a time 



74 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

When other regions were the swain's delight, 

And shepherdless Britannia's rushy vales, 

Inglorious, neither trade nor labour knew, 

But of rude baskets, homely rustic gear, *95 

Woven of the flexile willow ; till at length, 

The plains of Sarum open'd to the hand 

Of patient Culture, and o'er sinking woods 

High Cotswold show'd her summits. Urchinfield, 

And Lemster's crofts, beneath the pheasant's brake 2 

Long lay unnoted. Toil new pasture gives, 

And in the regions oft of active Gaul 

O'er less'ning vineyards spreads the growing turf. 

In eldest times, when kings and hardy chiefs 
In bleating sheepfolds met, for purest wool 2 5 

Phoenicia's hilly tracks were most renown'd, 
And fertile Syria's and Judea's land, 
Hermon and Seir, and Hebron's brooky sides. 
Twice with these murex, crimson hue, they ting'd 
The shining Fleeces; hence their gorgeous wealth; 2I 
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), improv'd the Fleece, 215 

When, o'er the deep by flying Phryxus brought, 
The fam'd Thessalian ram enrich'd her plains. 

This rising Greece with indignation view'd, 
And youthful Jason an attempt conceiv'd 
Lofty and bold : along Peneus' banks, 22 

Around Olympus' brows, the Muses' haunts, 
He rouz'd the brave to re-demand the Fleece. 
Attend, ye British Swains ! the ancient song. 
From ev'ry region of ^Egea's shore 
The brave assembled ; those illustrious twins, 22 5 
Castor and Pollux ; Orpheus, tuneful bard ; 



THE FLEECE 75 

Zetes and Calais, as the wind in speed ; 
Strong Hercules, and many a chief renown'd. 
On deep lolcos' sandy shore they throng'd, 
Gleaming in armour, ardent of exploits ; 2 3 

And soon the laurel cord and the huge stone 
Uplifting to the deck, unmoor'd the bark, 
Whose keel, of wondrous length, the skilful hand 
Of Argus fashion'd for the proud attempt ; 
And in th' extended keel a lofty mast 235 

Uprais'd, and sails full swelling, to the chiefs 
Unwonted objects : now first, now they learn'd 
Their bolder steerage over ocean wave, 
Led by the golden stars, as Chiron's art 
Had mark'd the sphere celestial. Wide abroad 2 4 
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 ; 2 45 
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 250 

His oar Alcides breaks; howe'er, not long 
The chance detains ; he springs upon the shore, 
And rifting from the roots a tapering pine, 
Renews his stroke. Between the threat'ning tow'rs 
Of Hellespont they ply the rugged surge, 255 

To Hero's and Leander's ardent love 
Fatal ; then smooth Propontis' wid'ning wave, 
That like a glassy lake expands, with hills, 
Hills above hills, and gloomy woods, begirt : 
And now the Thracian Bosphorus they dare, 260 

Till the Symplegades, tremendous rocks ! 



76 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Threaten approach ; but they, unterrify'd, 

Thro' the sharp-pointed cliffs and thund'ring floods 

Cleave their bold passage ; nathless by the crags. 

And torrents sorely shatter'd : as the strong 265 

Eagle or vulture, in th' entangling net 

Involv'd, breaks thro', yet leaves his plumes behind, 

Thus thro' the wide waves their slow way they force 

To Thynia's hospitable isle. The brave 

Pass many perils, and to fame by such 270 

Experience rise. Refresh'd, again they speed 

From cape to cape, and view unnumber'd streams, 

Halys, with hoary Lycus, and the mouths 

Of Apsarus and Glaucus, rolling swift 

To the broad deep their tributary waves, 275 

Till in the long-sought harbour they arrive 

Of golden Phasis. Foremost on the strand 

Jason advanc'd : the deep capacious bay, 

The crumbling terrace of the marble port, 

Wond'ring he view'd, and stately palace-domes, 280 

Pavilions proud of Luxury : around, 

In every glitt'ring hall, within, without, 

O'er all the timbrel-sounding squares and streets 

Nothing appear'd but luxury, and crowds 

Sunk deep in riot. To the public weal 285 

Attentive none he found ; for he, their chief 

Of shepherds, proud Aee'tes, by the name 

Sometimes of King distinguished, 'gan to slight 

The shepherd's trade, and turn to song and dance : 

Ev'n Hydrus ceas'd to watch ; Medea's songs 290 

Of joy, and rosy youth, and beauty's charms, 

With magic sweetness lull'd his cares asleep, 

Till the bold heroes grasp'd the Golden Fleece. 

Nimbly they wing'd the bark, surrounded soon 

By Neptune's friendly waves : secure they speed 295 

O'er the known seas, by ev'ry guiding cape, 



THE FLEECE 77 

With prosperous return. The myrtle shores, 

And glassy mirror of lolcos' lake, 

With loud acclaim receiv'd them. Every vale, 

And every hillock, touch'd the tuneful stops 300 

Of pipes unnumber'd, for the Ram regain'd. 

Thus Phasis lost his pride : his slighted nymphs 
Along the withering dales and pastures mourn'd ; 
The trade-ship left his streams : the merchant shunnM 
His desert borders ; each ingenious art, 305 

Trade, Liberty, and Affluence, all retir'd, 
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. 310 

Sithence the Fleeces of Arcadian plains, 
And Attic and Thessalian, bore esteem ; 
And those in Grecian colonies dispers'd, 
Caria and Doris, and Ionia's coast, 
And fam'd Tarentum, where Galesus' tide, 315 

Rolling by ruins hoar of ancient towns, 
Thro' solitary vallies seeks the sea : 
Or green Altinum, by an hundred Alps 
High-crown'd, whose woods and snowy peaks aloft 
Shield her low plains from the rough northern blast. 320 
Those too of Boetica's delicious fields, 
With golden fruitage bless'd of highest taste, 
What need I name ? the Turdetanian track, 
Or rich Coraxus, whose wide looms unroll'd 
The finest webs ? where scarce a talent weigh'd 3 2 S 
A ram's equivalent. Then only tin 
To late-improv'd Britannia gave renown. 

Lo ! the revolving course of mighty Time, 
Who loftiness abases, tumbles down 
Olympus' brow, and lifts the lowly vale. 33 

Where is the majesty of ancient Rome, 



78 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

The throng of heroes in her splendid streets, 

The snowy vest of peace, or purple robe, 

Slow trail'd triumphal ? where the Attic Fleece, 

And Tarentine, in warmest litter'd cots, 335 

Or sunny meadows, cloth'd 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 appear'd 34 

Beauteous Venetia, rirst of all the nymphs 
Who from the melancholy waste emerg'd : 
In Adria's gulf her clotted locks she lav'd, 
And rose another Venus : each soft joy, 
Each aid of life, her busy wit restor'd ; 345 

Science reviv'd, with all the lovely Arts, 
And all the Graces. Restituted Trade 
To every virtue lent his helping stores, 
And cheer'd the vales around ; again the pipe 
And bleating flocks awak'd the cheerful lawn. 35 

The glossy Fleeces now, of prime esteem, 
Soft Asia boasts, where lovely Cassimere, 
Within a lofty mound of circling hills, 
Spreads her delicious stores ; woods, rocks, caves, lakes, 
Hills, lawns, and winding streams ; a region term'd 355 
The Paradise of Indus. Next the plains 
Of Lahor, by that arbour stretch'd immense, 
Thro' many a realm, to Agra, the proud throne 
Of India's worshipp'd prince, whose lust is law : 
Remote dominions, nor to ancient fame 360 

Nor modern known, till public-hearted Roe, 
Faithful, sagacious, active, patient, brave, 
Led to their distant climes advent'rous trade. 

Add, too, the silky wool of Libyan lands, 
Of Caza's bowery dales, and brooky Caus, 3 6 5 

Where lofty Atlas spreads his verdant feet, 



THE FLEECE 79 

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 chas'd 37 
The prowling wolf, with many a lock appears 
Of silky lustre ; chief, Silurian, thine ; 
Thine, Vaga, favour'd stream ; from sheep minute 
On Cambria bred : a pound o'erweighs a Fleece : 
Gay Epsom's too, and Banstead's, and what gleams 375 
On Vecta's isle, that shelters Albion's fleet, 
With all its thunders ; or Salopian stores, 
Those which are gather'd in the fields of Clun : 
High Cotswold also 'mong the shepherd swains 
Is oft remember'd, tho' the greedy plough 3 8 

Preys on its carpet. He whose rustic Muse 
O'er heath and craggy holt her wing display'd, 
And sung the bosky bourns of Alfred's shires, 
Has favour'd Cotswold with luxuriant praise. 
Need we the levels green of Lincoln note, 3 8 5 

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 ev'n the tillage of our cultur'd plains, 39 

With bossy turnip and luxuriant cole, 
Learns thro' 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, 395 
Collects sagacious. In Euboa'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's silk ; Balasor's shady hills 400 

Tough bark of trees ; Peruvian Pito grass ; 



SO THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

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 Tibet's shagged goat 405 

Are light tiaras woven, that wreath the head, 

And airy float behind The beaver's flix 

Hives 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 4 10 

For num'rous 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 burd'ning Fleece they bear 
In fervid climes ; Nature gives not in vain. 4 J 5 

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 hatters' use. 420 

Ev'n 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 : 4 2 5 
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 43 

Of fertile Arica, like camels form'd, 
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 435 

Labouring at the wet shrouds or stubborn helm, 



THE FLEECE 8 1 

While the loud billows dash the groaning deck. 

All may not Stroud's or Taunton's vestures wear, 

Nor what from Fleece Rataean mimic flowers 

Of rich Damascus: many a texture bright 44 

Of that material in Prsetorium woven, 

Or in Norvicum, cheats the curious eye. 

If any wool peculiar to our Isle 
Is given by Nature, it is the comber's lock, 
The soft, the snow-white, and the long-grown flake. 445 
Hither be turn'd 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 45 

And silent, in the tangles soft involv'd 
Of death-like sleep: he then the moment marks, 
While the pale moon illumes the trembling tide, 
Speedy to lift the canvass, bend the oar, 
And waft his thefts to the perfidious foe. 455 

Happy the patriot who can teach the means 
To check his frauds, and yet untroubled leave 
Trade's open channels. Would a gen'rous aid 
To honest toil in Cambria's hilly tracks, 
Or where the Lune or Coker wind their streams, 460 
Be found sufficient ? Far their airy fields, 
Far from infectious luxury, arise. 
O might their mazy dales and mountain sides 
With copious Fleeces of lerne shine, 
And gulfy Caledonia, wisely bent 465 

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 lov'd end 47<> 
Awake, Benevolence ! to this lov'd end 
F 



82 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

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 475 

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. 480 

Know, for superior ends th' Almighty Pow'r 

(The Pow'r whose tender arms embrace the worm) 

Breathes o'er the foodful earth the breath of life, 

And forms us manifold ; allots to each 

His hair peculiar, wisdom, wit, and strength ; 485 

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 tow'ry cities, satiates every want, 490 

And makes the seas profound, and forests wild; 

The gardens of his joys. Man, each man, 's born 

For the high bus'ness of the public good. 

For me, 'tis mine to pray that men regard 
Their occupations with an honest heart 495 

And cheerful diligence : like the useful bee, 
To gather for the hive not sweets alone, 
But wax, and each material ; pleas'd to find 
Whate'er may sooth distress, and raise the fall'n, 
In life's rough race. O be it as my wish ! 500 

'Tis mine to teach th' inactive hand to reap 
Kind Nature's bounties, o'er the globe diffus'd. 

For this I wake the weary hours of rest ; 
With this desire the merchant I attend ; 
By this impell'd the shepherd's hut I seek, 55 

And, as he tends his flock, his lectures hear 



THE FLEECE 83 

Attentive, pleas'd with pure simplicity, 

And rules divulg'd beneficent to sheep : 

Or turn the compass o'er the painted chart, 

To mark the ways of traffic ; Volga's stream, 5 10 

Cold Hudson's cloudy streights, warm Afric's cape, 

Latium's firm roads, the Ptolemean fosse, 

And China's long canals : those noble works, 

Those high effects of civilizing trade, 

Employ me, sedulous of public weal: 515 

Yet not unmindful of my sacred charge ; 

Thus also mindful, thus devising good 

At vacant seasons oft, when ev'ning mild 

Purples the vallies, and the shepherd counts 

His flock, returning to the quiet fold 520 

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, 5 2 5 

And slumbers broken oft ; till, fill'd at length 

With inspiration, after various thought, 

And trials manifold, his well-known voice 

Gather'd the poor, and o'er Vulcanian stoves, 

With tepid lees of oil, and spiky comb, 530 

Shew'd how the Fleece might stretch to greater length, 

And cast a glossier whiteness. Wheels went round ; 

Matrons and maids with songs reliev'd their toils, 

And every loom receiv'd the softer yarn. 

What poor, what widow, Blasius ! did not bless 535 

Thy teaching hand? thy bosom, like the morn, 

Op'ning 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: thro' their streets 540 
The pomp, with tuneful sounds and order just, 



#4 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

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, 545 

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 pil'd ; and with free hand 

Toil only tastes the feast, by nerveless Ease 550 

Unrelish'd. Various mirth and song resound ; 

And oft they interpose improving talk, 

Divulging each to other knowledge rare, 

Sparks from experience that sometimes arise, 

Till night weighs down the sense, or morning's dawn 555 

Rouzes 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 blanch'd, emerges from the oily wave ; 560 

And that the amber tint, or ruby, drinks. 

For it suffices not in flow'ry vales 
Only to tend the flock, and shear soft wool ; 
Gums must be stor'd of Guinea's arid coast, 
Mexican woods, and India's brightening salts; 565 
Fruits, herbage, sulphurs, minerals, to stain 
The Fleece prepar'd, which oil-imbibing earth 
Of Wooburn blanches, and keen alum-waves 
Intenerate. With curious eye observe 
In what variety the tribe of salts, 5-0 

Gums, ores, and liquors, eye-delighting hues 
Produce, abstersive or restringent ; how 
Steel casts the sable ; how pale pewter, fus'd 
In fluid spirituous, the scarlet dye ; 
And how each tint is made, or mix'd, or chang'd, 575 
By mediums colourless ; why is the fume 



THE FLEECE 85 

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 : 580 

And why, tho' Nature's face is cloath'd in green, 

No green is found to beautify the Fleece 

But what repeated toil by mixture gives. 

To find effects while causes lie conceal'd 
Reason uncertain tries : howe'er, kind Chance 5 8 5 
Oft, with equivalent discovery, pays 
Its wandering efforts. Thus the German sage, 
Diligent Drebet, o'er alchymic fire 
Seeking the secret source of gold, receiv'd 
Of alter'd cochineal the crimson store. 590 

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 acquir'd), when o'er the mouth 
Of his attendant sheep-dog he beheld 595 

The wounded murex strike a purple stain, 
The purple stain on Fleecy woofs he spread, 
Which lur'd the eye, adorning many a nymph, 
And drew the pomp of trade to rising Tyre. 

Our vallies yield not, or but sparing yield, 600 

The dyer's gay materials. Only weld, 
Or root of madder, here, or purple woad, 
By which our naked ancestors obscur'd 
Their hardy limbs, inwrought with mystic forms, 
Like Egypt's obelisks. The powerful sun 605 

Hot India's zone with gaudy pencil paints, 
And drops delicious tints o'er hill and dale, 
Which trade to us conveys. Not tints alone ; 
Trade to the good physician gives his balms ; 
Gives cheering cordials to th' afflicted heart ; 610 

Gives to the wealthy delicacies high ; 



86 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

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, pow'r, and goodness, unconfin'd, 615 

'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 620 

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, 625 

Infinite wonders glare before their eyes, 

Humiliating the mind enlarg'd ; for they 

The clearest sense of Deity receive 

Who view the widest prospect of his works, 

Ranging the globe with trade thro' various climes; 630 

Who see the signatures of boundless love, 

Nor less the judgments of Almighty Pow'r, 

That warn the wicked, and the wretch who 'scapes 

From human justice ; who, astonish'd, view 

Etna's loud thunders and tempestuous fires ; 635 

The dust of Carthage ; desert shores of Nile ; 

Or Tyre's abandon'd summit, crown'd of old 

With stately towers ; whose merchants, from their isles 

And radiant thrones, assembled in her marts ; 

Whither Arabia, whither Kedar, brought 640 

Their shaggy goats, their flocks, and bleating lambs ; 

Where rich Damascus pil'd his Fleeces white, 

Prepar'd, and thirsty for the double tint 

And flow'ring shuttle. While th' admiring world 

Crowded her streets, ah ! then the hand of Pride 645 

Sow'd imperceptible his pois'nous weed, 



THE FLEECE 87 

Which crept destructive up her lofty domes, 

As ivy creeps around the graceful trunk 

Of some tall oak. Her lofty domes no more, 

Not ev'n the ruins of her pomp, remain ; 650 

Not ev'n the dust they sunk in; by the breath 

Of the Omnipotent offended hurl'd 

Down to the bottom of the stormy deep : 

Only the solitary rock remains, 

Her ancient site ; a monument to those 655 

Who toil and wealth exchange for sloth and pride. 



BOOK III 

PROCEED, Arcadian Muse I resume the pipe 

Of Hermes, long disus'd, tho' sweet the tone, 

And to the songs of Nature's choristers 

Harmonious. Audience pure by thy delight, 

Tho' few ; for every note which Virtue wounds, 5 

However pleasing to the vulgar herd, 

To the purg'd ear is discord. Yet too oft 

Has false dissembling Vice to am'rous airs 

The reed apply'd and heedless youth allur'd ; 

Too oft, with bolder sound, inflam'd the rage I0 

Of horrid war. Let now the Fleecy looms 

Direct our rural numbers, as of old, 

When plains and sheepfolds were the Muses' haunts. 

So thou, the friend of every virtuous deed 
And aim, tho' feeble, shall these rural lays 1 S 

Approve, O Heathcote ! whose benevolence 
Visits our vallies, where the pasture spreads, 



88 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

And where the bramble, and would justly act 
True charity, by teaching idle Want 
And Vice the inclination to do good ; 20 

Good to themselves, and in themselves to all, 
Thro' grateful toil. Ev'n Nature lives by toil : 
Beast, bird, air, fire, the heav'ns, and rolling worlds, 
All live by action : nothing lies at rest 
But death and ruin : man is born to care ; 25 

Fashion'd, improv'd, by labour. This of old 
Wise states observing, gave that happy law 
Which doom'd the rich and needy, every rank, 
To manual occupation ; and oft call'd 
Their chieftains from the spade, or furrowing plough, 3 
Or bleating sheepfold. Hence utility 
Thro' all conditions ; hence the joys of health ; 
Hence strength of arm, and clear judicious thought ; 
Hence corn, and wine, and oil, and all in life 
Delectable. What simple Nature yields 35 

(And Nature does her part) are only rude 
Materials, cumbers on the thorny ground ; 
'Tis toil that makes them wealth; that makes the 
(Yet useless, rising in unshapen heaps) [Fleece 

Anon, in curious woofs of beauteous hue, 40 

A vesture usefully succinct and warm, 
Or, trailing in the length of graceful folds, 
A royal mantle. Come, ye village Nymphs ! 
The scattered mists reveal the dusky hills ; 
Gray dawn appears ; the golden Morn ascends, 45 
And paints the glitt'ring rocks, and purple woods, 
And flaming spires : arise, begin your toils ; 
Behold the Fleece beneath the spiky comb 
Drop its long locks, or from the mingling card 
Spread in soft flakes, and swell the whiten'd floor. 5 
Come, village Nymphs, ye Matrons, and ye Maids ! 
Receive the soft material ; with light step 



THE FLEECE 89 

Whether ye turn around the spacious wheel, 

Or, patient-sitting, that revolve which forms 

A narrower circle. On the brittle work 55 

Point your quick eye, and let the hand assist 

To guide and stretch the gently-lessening thread ; 

Even, unknotted, twine will praise your skill. 

A dift'rent spinning every different web 

Asks from your glowing ringers ; some require 60 

The more compact and some the looser wreath ; 

The last for softness, to delight the touch 

Of chamber'd delicacy : scarce the cirque 

Need turn around, or twine the length'ning flake. 

There are, to speed their labour, who prefer 65 
Wheels double spol'd, which yield to either hand 
A sev'ral line ; and many yet adhere 
To th' ancient distaff, at the bosom fix'd, 
Casting the whirling spindle as they walk : 
At home, or in the sheepfold, or the mart, 7 

Alike the work proceeds. This method still 
Norvicum favours, and th' Icenian towns : 
It yields their airy stuffs an apter thread. 
This was of old, in no inglorious days, 
The mode of spinning when th' Egyptian prince 75 
A golden distaff gave that beauteous nymph, 
Too-beauteous Helen ! no uncourtly gift 
Then, when each gay diversion of the fair 
Led to ingenious use. But patient art, 
That on experience works, from hour to hour, 80 

Sagacious, has a spiral engine form'd, 
Which on an hundred spoles, an hundred threads, 
With one huge wheel, by lapse of water, twines, 
Few hands requiring , easy-tended work, 
That copiously supplies the greedy loom. 85 

Nor hence, ye Nymphs ! let anger cloud your brows; 
The more is wrought the more is still requir'd : 



90 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Blithe o'er your toils, with wonted song, proceed : 

Fear not surcharge ; your hands will ever find 

Ample employment. In the strife of trade 9 

These curious instruments of speed obtain 

Various advantage, and the diligent 

Supply with exercise, as fountains sure, 

Which ever-gliding feed the flow'ry lawn : 

Nor, should the careful State, severely kind, 95 

In every province to the house of toil 

Compel the vagrant, and each implement 

Of ruder art, the comb, the card, the wheel, 

Teach their unwilling hands, nor yet complain : 

Yours with the public good shall ever rise, 100 

Ever, while o'er the lawns and airy downs 

The bleating sheep and shepherd's pipe are heard ; 

While in the brook ye blanch the glist'ning Fleece, 

And th' am'rous youth, delighted with your toils, 

Quavers the choicest of his sonnets, warm'd 105 

By growing traffic, friend to wedded love. 

The am'rous youth, with various hopes inflam'd, 
Now on the busy stage see him step forth, 
With beating breast : high-honour'd he beholds 
Rich industry. First he bespeaks a loom ; no 

From some thick wood the carpenter selects 
A slender oak, or beech of glossy trunk, 
Or sapling ash : he shapes the sturdy beam, 
The posts, and treadles, and the frame combines : 
The smith, with iron-screws and plated hoops, 115 
Confirms the strong machine, and gives the bolt 
That strains the roll. To these the turner's lathe 
And graver's knife the hollow shuttle add. 
Various professions in the work unite, 
For each on each depends. Thus he acquires 120 
The curious engine, work of subtle skill ; 
Howe'er in vulgar use around the globe. 



THE FLEECE 9 1 

Frequent observ'd, of high antiquity 

No doubtful mark : th' advent'rous voyager, 

Toss'd over ocean to remotest shores, 125 

Hears on remotest shores the murm'ring loom, 

Sees the deep-furrowing plough and harrow'd field, 

The wheel-mov'd wagon, and the discipline 

Of strong-yok'd steers. What needful art is new ? 

Next the industrious youth employs his care 130 
To store soft yarn ; and now he strains the warp 
Along the garden-walk, or highway side, 
Smoothing each thread ; now fits it to the loom, 
And sits before the work : from hand to hand 
The thready shuttle glides along the lines, 135 

Which open to the woof and shut altern ; 
And ever and anon, to firm the work, 
Against the web is driv'n the noisy frame, 
That o'er the level rushes, like a surge 
Which, often dashing on the sandy beach, 140 

Compacts the traveller's road : from hand to hand 
Again, across the lines oft op'ning, glides 
The thready shuttle, while the web apace 
Increases, as the light of eastern skies, 
Spread by the rosy fingers of the morn, 145 

And all the fair expanse with beauty glows. 

Or if the broader mantle be the task, 
He chuses some companion to his toil. 
From side to side, with amicable aim, 
Each to the other darts the nimble bolt, 15 

While friendly converse, prompted by the work, 
Kindles improvement in the op'ning mind. 

What need we name the sev'ral kinds of looms? 
Those delicate, to whose fair-colour'd threads 
Hang figur'd weights, whose various numbers 
guide i55 

The artist's hand : he, unseen, flow'rs, and trees, 



92 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

And vales, and azure hills, unerring works : 
Or that whose num'rous needles, glitt'ring bright, 
Weave the warm hose to cover tender limbs : 
Modern invention ; modern is the want. I ^> 

Next from the slacken'd beam the woof, unroll'd, 
Near some clear-sliding river, Aire or Stroud, 
Is by the noisy fulling-mill receiv'd, 
Where tumbling waters turn enormous wheels, 
And hammers, rising and descending, learn 165 

To imitate the industry of man. 

Oft the wet web is steep'd, and often rais'd, 
Fast dripping, to the river's grassy bank, 
And sinewy arms of men, with full-strain'd strength 
Wring out the latent water : then up-hung 170 

On rugged tenters, to the fervid sun 
Its level surface, reeking, it expands, 
Still brightening in each rigid discipline, 
And gathering worth, as human life in pains, 
Conflicts, and troubles. Soon the clothier's shears *75 
And burler's thistle skim the surface sheen. 
The round of work goes on from day to day, 
Season to season. So the husbandman 
Pursues his cares ; his plough divides the glebe ; 
The seed is sown ; rough rattle o'er the clods 180 
The harrow's teeth ; quick weeds his hoe subdues ; 
The fickle labours, and the slow team strains, 
Till grateful harvest-home rewards his toils. 

The ingenious artist, learn'd in drugs, bestows 
The last improvement; for th' unlabour'd Fleece l8 5 
Rare is permitted to imbibe the dye. 
In penetrating waves of boiling vats 
The snowy web is steep'd, with grain of weld, 
Fustic, or logwood, mix'd, or cochineal, 
Or the dark purple pulp of Pictish woad, 19 

Of stain tenacious, deep as summer skies, 



THE FLEECE 93 

Like those that canopy the bow'rs of Stowe 
After soft rains, when birds their notes attune, 
Ere the melodious nightingale begins. 

From yon broad vase behold the saffron woofs '95 
Beauteous emerge ; from these the azure rise ; 
This glows with crimson ; that the auburn holds ; 
These shall the prince with purple robes adorn, 
And those the warrior mark, and those the priest. 

Few are the primal colours of the art ; 200 

Five only ; black, and yellow, blue, brown, red ; 
Yet hence innumerable hues arise. 

That stain alone is good which bears unchang'd 
Dissolving waters, and calcining suns, 
And thieving air's attacks. How great the need 205 
With utmost caution to prepare the woof, 
To seek the best-adapted dyes, and salts, 
And purest gums ! since your whole skill consists 
In opening well the fibres of the woof 
For the reception of the beauteous dye, 210 

And wedging every grain in every pore, 
Firm as a diamond in rich gold enchas'd. 

But what the pow'rs which lock them in the web ; 
Whether incrusting salts, or weight of air, 
Or fountain-water's cold contracting wave, 215 

Or all combin'd, it well befits to know. 
Ah ! wherefore have we lost our old repute ? 
And who inquires the cause why Gallia's sons 
In depth and brilliancy of hues excel ? 
Yet yield not, Britons ! grasp in every art 220 

The foremost name. Let others tamely view, 
On crowded Smyrna's and Byzantium's strand, 
The haughty Turk despise their proffer'd bales. 

Now see, o'er vales and peopled mountain-tops 
The welcome traders gathering every web, 225 

Industrious, every web too few. Alas ! 



94 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Successless oft their industry, -when cease 

The loom and shuttle in the troubled streets ; 

Their motion stopp'd by wild Intemperance, 

Toil's scoffing foe, who lures the giddy rout 2 3 

To scorn their task-work, and to vagrant life 

Turns their rude steps, while Misery, among 

The cries of infants, haunts their mould'ring huts. 

O when, thro' every province, shall be rais'd 
Houses of labour, seats of kind constraint, 235 

For those who now delight in fruitless sports 
More than in cheerful works of virtuous trade, 
Which honest wealth would yield, and portion due 
Of public welfare ? Ho, ye Poor ! who seek, 
Among the dwellings of the diligent, 240 

For sustenance unearn'd ; who stroll abroad 
From house to house, with mischievous intent, 
Feigning misfortune : Ho, ye Lame ! ye Blind ! 
Ye languid limbs, with real want oppress'd, 
Who tread the rough highways, and mountains 
wild, 245 

Thro' storms, and rains, and bitterness of heart ; 
Ye children of Affliction ! be compell'd 
To happiness : the long-wish'd daylight dawns, 
When charitable Rigour shall detain 
Your step-bruis'd feet. Ev'n now the sons of 
Trade, 250 

Where'er their cultivated hamlets smile, 
Erect the mansion ; here soft Fleeces shine ; 
The card awaits you, and the comb and wheel : 
Here shroud you from the thunder of the storm ; 
No rain shall wet your pillow '. here abounds 255 

Pure beverage : here your viands are prepar'd : 
To heal each sickness the physician waits, 
And priest entreats to give your Maker praise. 



THE FLEECE 95 

Behold in Calder's vale, where wide around 
Unnumber'd villas creep the shrubby hills, 260 

A spacious dome for this fair purpose rise : 
High o'er the open gates, with gracious air, 
Eliza's image stands. By gentle steps 
Up-rais'd, from room to room we slowly walk, 
And view with wonder, and with silent joy, 265 

The sprightly scene ; where many a busy hand, 
Where spoles, cards, wheels, and looms, with motion 

quick, 

And ever-murm'ring sound, th' unwonted sense 
Wrap in surprise. To see them all employ'd, 
All blithe, it gives the spreading heart delight, 276 
As neither meats, nor drinks, nor aught of joy 
Corporeal can bestow. Nor less they gain 
Virtue than wealth, while, on their useful works 
From day to day intent, in their full minds 
Evil no place can find. With equal scale 275 

Some deal abroad the well-assorted Fleece ; 
These card the short, those comb the longer 

flake; 

Others the harsh and clotted lock receive, 
Yet sever and refine with patient toil, 
And bring to proper use. Flax too, and hemp, 280 
Excite their diligence. The younger hands 
Ply at the easy work of winding yarn 
On swiftly-circling engines, and their notes 
Warble together as a choir of larks ; 
Such joy arises in the mind employ'd. 285 

Another scene displays the more robust 
Rasping or grinding tough Brasilian woods, 
And what Campeachy's disputable shore 
Copious affords to tinge the thrifty web, 
And the Caribbee isles, whose dulcet canes 290 



96 

Equal the honeycomb. We next are shown 

A circular machine, of new design, 

In conic shape : it draws and spins a thread 

Without the tedious toil of needless hands. 

A wheel, invisible, beneath the floor, 295 

To every member of th' harmonious frame 

Gives necessary motion. One, intent, 

O'erlooks the work : the carded wool, he says, 

Is smoothly lapp'd around those cylinders, 

Which, gently turning, yield it to yon' cirque 300 

Of upright spindles, which with rapid whirl 

Spin out, in long extent, an even twine. 

From this delightful mansion (if we seek 
Still more to view the gifts which honest toil 
Distributes) take we now our eastward course 305 
To the rich fields of Burstal. Wide around 
Hillock and valley, farm and village, smile ; 
And ruddy roofs and chimney-tops appear 
Of busy Leeds, up-wafting to the clouds 
The incense of thanksgiving : all is joy ; 310 

And trade and bus'ness guide the living scene, 
Roll the full cars, adown the winding Aire 
Load the slow-sailing barges, pile the pack 
On the long tinkling train of slow-pac'd steeds. 
As when a sunny day invites abroad 315 

The sedulous ants, they issue from their cells 
In bands unnumber'd, eager for their work, 
O'er high o'er low they lift, they draw, they haste 
With warm affection to each other's aid, 
Repeat their virtuous efforts, and succeed. 320 

Thus all is here in motion, all is life : 
The creaking wain brings copious store of corn ; 
The grazier's sleeky kine obstruct the roads ; 
The neat-dress'd housewives, for the festal board 



THE FLEECE 97 

Crown'd with full baskets, in the field-way paths 325 

Come tripping on ; the echoing hills repeat 

The stroke of axe and hammer ; scaffolds rise, 

And growing edifices ; heaps of stone, 

Beneath the chisel, beauteous shapes assume 

Of frieze and column. Some, with even line, 33 

New streets are marking in the neighb'ring fields, 

And sacred domes of worship. Industry, 

Which dignifies the artist, lifts the swain, 

And the straw cottage to a palace turns, 

Over the work presides. Such was the scene 335 

Of hurrying Carthage, when the Trojan chief 

First view'd her growing turrets : so appear 

Th' increasing walls of busy Manchester, 

Sheffield, and Birmingham, whose reddening fields 

Rise and enlarge their suburbs. Lo ! in throngs, 340 

For every realm, the careful factors meet, 

Whispering each other. In long ranks the bales, 

Like War's bright files, beyond the sight extend. 

Straight, ere the sounding bell the signal strikes, 

Which ends the hour of traffic, they conclude 345 

The speedy compact ; and, well-pleas'd transfer, 

With mutual benefit, superior wealth 

To many a kingdom's rent, or tyrant's hoard. 

Whate'er is excellent in art proceeds 
From labour and endurance. Deep the oak 350 

Must sink in stubborn earth its roots obscure, 
That hopes to lift its branches to the skies. 
Gold cannot gold appear until man's toil 
Discloses wide the mountain's hidden ribs, 
And digs the dusky ore, and breaks and grinds 355 
Its gritty parts, and laves in limpid streams 
With oft-repeated toil, and oft in fire 
The metal purifies : with the fatigue 
And tedious process of its painful works 
G 



98 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

The lusty sicken, and the feeble die. 360 

But cheerful are the labours of the loom, 
By health and ease accompany'd : they bring 
Superior treasures speedier to the state 
Than those of deep Peruvian mines, where slaves 
(Wretched requital !) drink, with trembling hand, 3 6 5 
Pale Palsy's baneful cup. Our happy swains 
Behold arising in their fattening flocks 
A double wealth, more rich than Belgium's boast, 
Who tends the culture of the flaxen reed ; 
Or the Cathayans, whose ignobler care 37 

Nurses the silk-worm ; or of India's sons, 
Who plant the cotton grove by Ganges' stream. 
Nor do their toils and products furnish more 
Than gauds and dresses, of fantastic web, 
To the luxurious : but our kinder toils 375 

Give clothing to necessity ; keep warm 
Th' unhappy wanderer, on the mountain wild 
Benighted, while the tempest beats around. 

No, ye soft sons of Ganges, and of Ind, 
Ye feebly delicate ! life little needs 380 

Your feminine toys, nor asks your nerveless arm 
To cast the strong-slung shuttle or the spear. 
Can ye defend your country from the storm 
Of strong invasion ? Can ye want endure, 
In the besieged fort, with courage firm ? 3 8 5 

Can ye the weather-beaten vessel steer, 
Climb the tall mast, direct the stubborn helm 
Mid wild discordant waves with steady course ? 
Can ye lead out, to distant colonies, 
Th' o'erflowings of a people, or your wrong'd 39 

Brethren, by impious persecution driven, 
And arm their breasts with fortitude to try 
New regions, climes, tho' barren, yet beyond 
The baneful pow'r of tyrants ? These are deeds 



THE FLEECE 99 

To which their hardy labours well prepare 395 

The sinewy arm of Albion's sons. Pursue, 

Ye sons of Albion ! with unyielding heart, 

Your hardy labours : let the sounding loom 

Mix with the melody of every vale ; 

The loom, that long renown'd wide envy'd gift 400 

Of wealthy Flandria, who the boon receiv'd 

From fair Venetia ; she from Grecian nymphs ; 

They from Phenice, who obtain'd the dole 

From old ^Egyptus. Thus around the globe 

The golden-footed Sciences their path 45 

Mark, like the sun, enkindling life and joy, 

And follow'd close by Ignorance and Pride, 

Lead Day and Night o'er realms. Our day arose 

When Alva's tyranny the weaving arts 

Drove from the fertile vallies of the Scheld. 4*0 

With speedy wing and scatter'd course they fled, 

Like a community of bees, disturb'd 

By some relentless swain's rapacious hand ; 

While good Eliza to the fugitives 

Gave gracious welcome ; as wise Egypt erst 4 J 5 

To troubled Nilus, whose nutricious flood 

With annual gratitude enrich'd her meads. 

Then from fair Antwerp an industrious train 

Cross'd the smooth channel of our smiling seas, 

And in the vales of Cantium, on the banks 420 

Of Stour alighted, and the naval wave 

Of spacious Medway : some on gentle Yare 

And fertile Waveney pitch'd, and made their seats 

Pleasant Norvicum and Colcestria's tow'rs : 

Some to the Darent sped their happy way : 425 

Berghem, and Sluys, and elder Bruges, chose 

Antona's chalky plains, and stretched their tents 

Down to Clausentum, and that bay supine 

Beneath the shade of Vecta's cliffy isle. 



IOO THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Soon o'er the hospitable realm they spread, 
With cheer reviv'd, and in Sabrina's flood, 
And the Silurian Tame, their textures blanch'd 
Not undelighted with Vigornia's spires, 
Nor those by Vaga's stream, from ruins rais'd 
Of ancient Ariconium ; nor less pleas'd 
With Salop's various scenes, and that soft track 
Of Cambria deep embay'd, Dimetian land, 
By green hills fenc'd, by ocean's murmur lull'd, 
Nurse of the rustic bard who now resounds 
The fortunes of the Fleece ; whose ancestors 
Were fugitives from Superstition's rage, 
And erst from Devon thither brought the loom, 
Where ivy'd walls of old Kidwelly's tow'rs, 
Nodding, still on their gloomy brows project 
Lancastria's arms, emboss'd in mould'ring stone. 

Thus, then, on Albion's coast the exil'd band, 
From rich Menapian towns, and the green banks 
Of Scheld, alighted, and, alighting, sang 
Grateful thanksgiving. Yet at times they shift 
Their habitations, when the hand of Pride, 
Restraint, or southern Luxury, disturbs 
Their industry, and urges them to vales 
Of the Brigantes ; where, with happier care 
Inspirited, their art improves the Fleece, 
Which occupation erst, and wealth immense, 
Gave Brabant's swarming habitants, what time 
We were their shepherds only ; from which state 
With friendly arm they rais'd us : nathless some 
Among our old and stubborn swains misdeem'd 
And envy'd who enrich'd them ; envy'd those 
Whose virtues taught the varletry of towns 
To useful toil to turn the pilfering hand. 

And still when bigotry's black clouds arise, 
(For oft they sudden rise in Papal realms) 



THE FLEECE IOF 

They from their isle, as from some ark secure, 4 6 5 

Careless, unpitying, view the fiery bolts 

Of Superstition and tyrannic rage, 

And all the fury of the rolling storm, 

Which fierce pursues the suffrers in their flight. 

Shall not our gates, shall not Britannia's arms, 47 

Spread ever open to receive their flight ? 

A virtuous people, by distresses oft 

(Distresses for the sake of truth endur'd) 

Corrected, dignify'd ; creating good 

Wherever they inhabit : this our isle 475 

Has oft experienc'd ; witness all ye realms 

Of either hemisphere where commerce flows: 

Th' important truth is stamp'd on every bale ; 

Each glossy cloth, and drape of mantle warm, 

Receives th' impression ; every airy woof, 480 

Cheyney, and baize, and serge, and alepine, 

Tammy, and crape, and the long countless list 

Of woollen webs ; and every work of steel ; 

And that crystalline metal, blown or fus'd, 

Limpid as water dropping from the clefts 485 

Of mossy marble : not to name the aids 

Their wit has giv'n the Fleece, now taught to link 

With flax, or cotton, or the silk-worm's thread, 

And gain the graces of variety ; 

Whether to form the matron's decent robe, 490 

Or the thin-shading trail for Agra's nymphs ; 

Or solemn curtains, whose long gloomy folds 

Surround the soft pavilions of the rich. 

They, too, the many-colour'd Arras taught 
To mimic nature, and the airy shapes 495 

Of sportive fancy ; such as oft appear 
In old Mosaic pavements, when the plough 
Upturns the crumbling glebe of Weldon field, 
Or that o'ershaded erst by Woodstock's bower, 



102 THE POEMS OF JOHN~DYER 

Now grac'd by Blenheim, in whose stately rooms 5 

Rise glowing tapestries that lure the eye 

With Marlb'rough's wars : here Schellenbergh exults 

Behind surrounding hills of ramparts steep, 

And vales of trenches dark ; each hideous pass 

Armies defend ; yet on the hero leads 5S 

His Britons, like a torrent, o'er the mounds. 

Another scene is Blenheim's glorious field, 

And the red Danube. Here the rescued states 

Crowding beneath his shield ; there Ramillies' 

Important battle : next the tenfold chain 510 

Of Arleux burst, and th' adamantine gates 

Of Gaul flung open to the tyrant's throne. 

A shade obscures the rest Ah ! then, what pow'r 

Invidious from the lifted sickle snatch'd 

The harvest of the plain ? So lively glows 515 

The fair delusion, that our passions rise 

In the beholding, and the glories share 

Of visionary battle. This bright art 

Did zealous Europe learn of Pagan hands, 

While she assay'd with rage of holy war, 520 

To desolate their fields : but old the skill ; 

Long were the Phrygians' picturing looms renown'd ; 

Tyre also, wealthy seat of arts, excell'd, 

And elder Sidon, in th' historic web. 

Far-distant Tibet in her gloomy woods 5 2 5 

Rears the gay tent, of blended wool unwoven. 
And glutinous materials : the Chinese 
Their porcelain, Japan its varnish, boasts. 
Some fair peculiar graces every realm, 
And each from each a share of wealth acquires. 530 

But chief by numbers of industrious hands 
A nation's wealth is counted : numbers raise 
Warm emulation : where that virtue dwells 
There will be Traffic's seat ; there will she build 



THE FLEECE 103 

Her rich emporium. Hence, ye happy Swains ! 535 

With hospitality inflame your breast, 

And emulation: the whole world receive, 

And with their arts, their virtues, deck your isle. 

Each clime, each sea, the spacious orb of each, 

Shall join their various stores, and amply feed 540 

The mighty brotherhood, while ye proceed, 

Active and enterprising, or to teach 

The stream a naval course, or till the wild, 

Or drain the fen, or stretch the long canal, 

Or plough the fertile billows of the deep: 545 

Why to the narrow circle of our coast 

Should we submit our limits, while each wind 

Assists the stream and sail, and the wide main 

Woos us in every port ? See Belgium build 

Upon the foodful brine her envy'd power, 550 

And half her people floating on the wave, 

Expand her fishy regions: thus our Isle, 

Thus only may Britannia be enlarg'd. 

But whither, by the visions of the theme 

Smit with sublime delight, but whither strays 555 

The raptur'd Muse, forgetful of her talk ? 

No common pleasure warms the gen'erous mind 
When it beholds the labours of the loom ; 
How widely round the globe they are dispers'd, 
From little tenements by wood or croft, 560 

Thro' many a slender path, how sedulous, 
As rills to rivers broad, they speed their way 
To public roads, to Fosse, or Watling-street, 
Or Armine, ancient works ; and thence explore, 
Thro' ev'ry navigable wave, the sea 565 

That laps the green earth round : thro' Tyne and Tees, 
Thro' Weare and Lune, and merchandising Hull, 
And Swale and Aire, whose crystal waves reflect 
The various colours of the tinctur'd web ; 



104 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Thro' Ken, swift rolling down his rocky dale, 570 
Like giddy youth impetuous, then at Wick 
Curbing his train, and with the sober pace 
Of cautious eld meand'ring to the deep ; 
Thro' Dart and sullen Exe, whose murm'ring wave 
Envies the Dune and Rother, who have won 575 

The serge and kersie to their blanching streams ; 
Thro' Towy, winding under Merlin's tow'rs, 
And Usk that, frequent among hoary rocks, 
On her deep waters paints th' impending scene, 
Wild torrents, crags, and woods, and mountain 
snows. 580 

The northern Cambrians, an industrious tribe, 
Carry their labours on pigmean steeds, 
Of size exceeding not Leicestrian sheep, 
Yet strong and sprightly : over hill and dale 
They travel unfatigu'd, and lay their bales 585 

In Salop's streets, beneath whose lofty walls 
Pearly Sabrina waits them with her barks, 
And spreads the swelling sheet. For nowhere far 
From some transparent river's naval course 
Arise and fall our various hills and vales, 590 

No where far distant from the masted wharf. 
We need not vex the strong laborious hand 
With toil enormous, as th' Egyptian king, 
Who joined the sable waters of the Nile 
From Memphis' towers to th' Erythraean gulf; 595 
Or as the monarch of enfeebled Gaul, 
Whose will imperious forc'd an hundred streams 
Thro' many a forest, many a spacious wild, 
To stretch their scanty trains from sea to sea, 
That some unprofitable skiff might float 600 

Across irriguous dales and hollow'd rocks. 

Far easier pains may swell our gentler floods, 
And thro' the centre of the isle conduct 



THE FLEECE IO5 

To naval union. Trent and Severn's wave, 

By plains alone disparted, woo to join 605 

Majestic Thamis. With their silver urns 

The nimble-footed Naiads of the springs 

Await, upon the dewy lawn, to speed 

And celebrate the union ; and the light 

Wood-nymphs, and those who o'er the grots preside, 610 

Whose stores bituminous, with sparkling fires, 

In summer's tedious absence, cheer the swains, 

Long sitting at the loom ; and those besides 

Who crown with yellow sheaves the farmer's hopes, 

And all the genii of commercial toil : 61$ 

These on the dewy lawns await to speed 

And celebrate the union, that the Fleece 

And glossy web to every port around 

May lightly glide along. Ev'n now behold, 

Adown a thousand floods the burden'd barks, 620 

With white sails glist'ning, thro' the gloomy woods 

Haste to their harbours. See the silver maze 

Of stately Thamis, ever checker'd o'er 

With deeply-laden barges, gliding smooth 

And constant as his stream : in growing pomp, 625 

By Neptune still attended, slow he rolls 

To great Augusta's mart, where lofty Trade, 

Amid a thousand golden spires enthron'd, 

Gives audience to the world ; the strand around 

Close swarms with busy crowds of many a realm. 630 

What bales, what wealth, what industry, what fleets ! 

Lo, from the simple Fleece how much proceeds ! 



106 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 



BOOK IV 

Now, with our woolly treasures amply stor'd, 

Glide the tall fleets into the wid'ning main, 

A floating forest : every sail unfurl'd 

Swells to the wind, and gilds the azure sky. 

Meantime, in pleasing care, the pilot steers 5 

Steady ; with eye intent upon the steel, 

Steady before the breeze the pilot steers, 

While gaily o'er the waves the mounting prows 

Dance, like a shoal of dolphins, and begin 

To streak with various paths the hoary deep. 10 

Batavia's shallow sounds by some are sought, 

Or sandy Elb or Weser, who receive 

The swain's and peasant's toil with grateful hand, 

Which copious gives return ; while some explore 

Deep Finnic gulfs, and a new shore and mart, 15 

The bold creation of that Kesar's power, 

Illustrious Peter ! whose magnific toils 

Repair the distant Caspian, and restore 

To trade its ancient ports. Some Thanet's strand 

And Dover's chalky cliff behind them turn. 20 

Soon sinks away the green and level beach 

Of Rumney Marish and Rye's silent port, 

By angry Neptune clos'd, and Vecta's isle, 

Like the pale moon in vapour, faintly bright. 

An hundred op'ning marts are seen, are lost ; 25 

Devonia's hills retire, and Edgecumb Mount, 

Waving its gloomy groves, delicious scene ! 

Yet steady o'er the waves they steer ; and now 

The fluctuating world of waters wide, 



THE FLEECE IO? 

In boundless magnitude, around them swells, 30 

O'er whose imaginary brim nor towns, 

Nor woods, nor mountain-tops, nor aught appears, 

But Phoebus' orb, refulgent lamp of light, 

Millions of leagues aloft : heav'n's azure vault 

Bends overhead, majestic, to its base, 35 

Uninterrupted clear circumference ; 

Till, rising o'er the flickering waves, the Cape 

Of Finisterre, a cloudy spot, appears. 

Again, and oft, the advent'rous sails disperse : 

These to Iberia, others to the coast 4 

Of Lusitania, th ancient Tarshish deem'd 

Of Solomon ; fair regions ! with the webs 

Of Norwich pleas'd, or those of Manchester ; 

Light airy clothing for their vacant swains 

And visionary monks. We, in return, 45 

Receive Cantabrian steel, and Fleeces soft, 

Segovian or Castilian, far renowned ; 

And gold's attractive metal, pledge of wealth, 

Spur of activity, to good or ill 

Pow'rful incentive ; or Hesperian fruits, 5 

Fruits of spontaneous growth, the citron bright, 

The fig, and orange, and heart-cheering wine. 

Those ships, from ocean broad, which voyage thro' 
The gates of Hercules, find many seas, 
And bays unnumber'd, opening to their keels ; 55 
But shores inhospitable oft to fraud 
And rapine turn'd or dreary tracks become 
Of desolation. The proud Roman coasts, 
Fall'n, like the Punic, to the dashing waves 
Resign their ruins. Tiber's boasted flood, 6 

Whose pompous moles o'erlook'd the subject deep, 
Now creeps along thro' brakes and yellow dust, 
While Neptune scarce perceives its murm'ring rill. 
Such are th' effects when virtue slacks her hand ; 



108 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Wild Nature back returns. Along these shores 65 

Neglected Trade with difficulty toils, 

Collecting slender stores, the sun-dry'd grape, 

Or capers from the rock, that prompt the taste 

Of Luxury. Ev'n Egypt's fertile strand, 

Bereft of human discipline has lost 7 

Its ancient lustre : Alexandria's port, 

Once the metropolis of trade, as Tyre 

And elder Sidon, as the Attic town, 

Beautiful Athens, as rich Corinth, Rhodes, 

Unhonour'd droops. Of all the num'rous marts 75 

That in those glitt'ring seas with splendour rose, 

Only Byzantium, of peculiar site, 

Remains in prosperous state, and Tripolis, 

And Smyrna, sacred ever to the Muse. 

To these resort the delegates of Trade, 80 

Social in life, a virtuous brotherhood, 
And bales of softest wool from Bradford looms, 
Or Stroud, dispense ; yet see with vain regret 
Their stores, once highly priz'd, no longer now 
Or sought, or valued : copious webs arrive, 85 

Smooth wov'n, of other than Britannia's Fleece. 
On the throng'd strand alluring: the great skill 
Of Gaul, and greater industry, prevails, 
That proud imperious foe. Yet, ah it is not 
Wrong not the Gaul ; it is the foe within 9 

Impairs our ancient marts, it is the bribe ; 
'Tis he who pours into the shops of trade 
That impious poison : it is he who gains 
The sacred seat of parliament by means 
That vitiate and emasculate the mind ; 95 

By sloth, by lewd intemperance, and a scene 
Of riot worse than that which ruin'd Rome. 
This, this the Tartar and remote Chinese, 
And all the brotherhood of life, bewail. 



THE FLEECE 109 

Meantime (while those who dare be just oppose too 
The various powers of many-headed Vice), 
Ye Delegates of Trade ! by patience rise 
O'er difficulties, in this sultry clime 
Note what is found of use ; the flix of goat, 
Red wool, and balm, and Caufee's berry brown 105 
Or drooping gum, or opium's lenient drug ; 
Unnumbered arts await them, trifles oft, 
By skilful labour, rise to high esteem. 
Nor what the peasant, near some lucid wave 
Pactolus, Simois, or Mseander slow, no 

Renowned in story, with his plough upturns, 
Neglect ; the hoary medal, and the vase, 
Statue, and bust, of old magnificence 
Beautiful relics : oh ! could modern time 
Restore the mimic art, and the clear mien 115 

Of patriot sages, Walsinghams and Yorkes, 
And Cecils in long-lasting stone preserve ! 
But mimic art and nature are impair'd 
Impair'd they seem or in a varied dress 
Delude our eyes : the world in change delights : 120 
Change then your searches, with the varied modes 
And wants of realms. Sabean frankincense 
Rare is collected now : few altars smoke 
Now in the idol fane ; Panchaia views 
Trade's busy fleets regardless pass her coast : 125 

Nor frequent are the freights of snow-white woofs 
Since Rome, no more the mistress of the world, 
Varies her garb, and treads her darken'd streets 
With gloomy cowl, majestical no more. 

See the dark spirit of tyrannic pow'r ! 13 

The Thracian channel, long the road of trade 
To the deep Euxine and its naval streams, 
And the Mseotis, now is barr'd with chains, 
And forts of hostile battlement. In aught 



1 10 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

That joys mankind the arbitrary Turk J 35 

Delights not : insolent of rule, he spreads 
Thraldom and desolation o'er his realms. 
Another path to Scythia's wide domains 
Commerce discovers : the Livonian gulf 
Receives her sails, and leads them to the port 1 4 
Of rising Petersburg, whose splendid streets 
Swell with the webs of Leeds ; the Cossac there, 
The Calmuc, and Mungalian, round the bales 
In crowds resort, and their warm'd limbs enfold, 
Delighted ; and the hardy Samoi'd, J 45 

Rough with the stings of frost, from his dark caves 
Ascends, and thither hastes, ere winter's rage 
O'ertake his homeward step ; and they that dwell 
Along the banks of Don's and Volga's streams, 
And borderers of the Caspian, who renew I 5 

That ancient path to India's climes which fill'd 
With proudest affluence the Colchian state. 

Many have been the ways to those renown'd 
Luxuriant climes of Indus, early known 
To Memphis, to the port of wealthy Tyre, *55 

To Tadmor, beauty of the wilderness, 
Who down along Euphrates sent her sails, 
And sacred Salem, when her numerous fleets 
From Ezion-geber pass'd th' Arabian gulf. 

But later times, more fortunate, have found 160 
O'er ocean's open wave a surer course, 
Sailing the western coast of Afric's realms, 
Of Mauritania, and Nigritian tracks, 
And islands of the Orcades, the bounds, 
On the Atlantic brine, of ancient trade, 165 

But not of modem, by the virtue led 
Of Gama and Columbus. The whole globe 
Is now of commerce made the scene immense, 
Which daring ships frequent, associated 



THE FLEECE III 

Like doves or swallows in th' ethereal flood, J 7 

Or, like the eagle, solitary seen. 

Some with more open course to Indus steer ; 
Some coast from port to port, with various men 
And manners conversant, of th' angry surge, 
That thunders loud, and spreads the cliffs with foam, *75 
Regardless, or the monsters of the deep, 
Porpoise or grampus, or the rav'nous shark 
That chase their keels ; or threat'ning rock, o'erhead 
Of Atlas old ; beneath the threatening rocks, 
Reckless, they furl their sails, and bart'ring, take 180 
Soft flakes of wool ; for in soft flakes of wool, 
Like the Silurian, Atlas' dales abound. 
The shores of Sus inhospitable rise, 
And higher Bojador ; Zara, too, displays 
Unfruitful deserts; Gambia's wave inisles 185 

An ouzy coast, and pestilential ills 
Diffuses wide ; behind are burning sands, 
Adverse to life, and Nilus' hidden fount. 

On Guinea's sultry strand the drapery light 
Of Manchester or Norwich is bestow'd 190 

For clear transparent gums and ductile wax, 
And snow-white ivory ; yet the valued trade 
Along this barbarous coast in telling wounds 
The generous heart, the sale of wretched slaves : 
Slaves by their tribes condemn'd, exchanging death 195 
For lifelong servitude ; severe exchange ! 
These till our fertile colonies, which yield 
The sugar-cane and the Tobago leaf, 
And various new productions, that invite 
Increasing navies to their crowded wharfs. 200 

But let the man whose rough tempestuous hours 
In this advent'rous traffic are involv'd, 
With just humanity of heart pursue 
The gainful commerce : wickedness is blind : 



112 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Their sable chieftains may in future times 205 

Burst their frail bonds, and vengeance execute 
On cruel unrelenting pride of heart 
And avarice. There are ills to come for crimes. 

Hot Guinea, too, gives yellow dust of gold, 
Which, with her rivers, rolls adown the sides 210 

Of unknown hills, where fiery-winged winds, 
And sandy deserts, rous'd by sudden storms, 
All search forbid. Howe'er, on either hand, 
Vallies and pleasant plains, and many a track 
Deem'd uninhabitable erst, are found 2I 5 

Fertile and populous ; their sable tribes, 
In shade of verdant groves, and mountains tall, 
Frequent enjoy the cool descent of rain, 
And soft refreshing breezes : nor are lakes 
Here wanting ; those a sea-wide surface spread, 220 
Which to the distant Nile and Senegal 
Send long meanders. Whate'er lies beyond, 
Of rich or barren, Ignorance o'ercasts 
With her dark mantle. Mon'motapa's coast 
Is seldom visited ; and the rough shore 225 

Of Cafres, land of savage Hottentots, 
Whose hands unnatural hasten to the grave 
Their aged parents. What barbarity 
And brutal ignorance where social trade 
Is held contemptible ! Ye gliding Sails ! 230 

From these inhospitable gloomy shores 
Indignant turn, and to the friendly Cape, 
Which gives the cheerful mariner good hope 
Of prosperous voyage, steer. Rejoice to view 
What trade, with Belgian industry, creates, 235 

Prospects of civil life, fair towns, and lawns, 
And yellow tilth, and groves of various fruits, 
Delectable in husk or glossy rind : 
There the capacious vase from crystal springs 



THE FLEECE 11$ 

Replenish, and convenient store provide, 240 

Like ants, intelligent of future need. 

See ! thro' the fragrance of delicious airs, 
That breathe the smell of balms, how Traffic shapes 
A winding voyage, by the lofty coast 
Of Sofala, thought Ophir, in whose hills 2 45 

Ev'n yet some portion of its ancient wealth 
Remains, and sparkles in the yellow sand 
Of its clear streams, tho' unregarded now ; 
Ophirs more rich are found. With easy course 
The vessels glide, unless their speed be stopp'd 250 
By dead calms, that oft lie on those smooth seas 
While ev'ry zephyr sleeps : then the shrouds drop ; 
The downy feather, on the cordage hung, 
Moves not ; the flat sea shines like yellow gold, 
Fus'd in the fire ; or like the marble floor 255 

Of some old temple wide. But where so wide, 
In old or later time, its marble floor 
Did ever temple boast as this, which here 
Spreads its bright level many a league around ? 
At solemn distances its pillars rise, 260 

Sofal's blue rocks, Mozambic's palmy steeps, 
And lofty Madagascar's glittering shores, 
Where various woods of beauteous vein and hue, 
And glossy shells in elegance of form, 
For Pond's rich cabinet, or Sloan's, are found. 265 
Such calm oft checks their course, till this bright 

scene 

Is brush'd away before the rising breeze, 
That joys the busy crew, and speeds again 
The sail full-swelling to Socotra's isle, 
For aloes fam'd ; or to the wealthy marts 270 

Of Ormus or Gombroon, whose streets are oft 
With caravans and tawny merchants throng'd, 
From neighbouring provinces and realms afar, 
H 



114 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

And fill'd with plenty, tho' dry sandy wastes 

Spread naked round; so great the power of trade. 275 

Persia few ports : more happy Indostan 
Beholds Surat and Goa on her coasts, 
And Bombay's wealthy isle, and harbour fam'd, 
Supine beneath the shade of cocoa groves. 
But what avails or many ports or few, 280 

Where wild Ambition frequent from his lair 
Starts up, while fell Revenge and Famine lead 
To havoc, reckless of the tyrant's whip, 
Which clanks along the vallies ? Oft in vain 
The merchant seeks upon the strand whom erst, 285 
Associated by trade, he deck'd and cloath'd : 
In vain whom rage or famine has devour'd 
He seeks, and with increas'd affection thinks 
On Britain. Still howe'er Bombaya's wharfs 
Pile up blue indigo, and, of frequent use, 290 

Pungent salt-petre, woods of purple grain, 
And many-colour'd saps from leaf and flower, 
And various gums ; the cloathier knows their worth ; 
And wool resembling cotton, shorn from trees, 
Nor to the Fleece unfriendly, whether mix'd 295 

In warp or woof, or with the line of flax, 
Or softer silk's material, tho' its aid 
To vulgar eyes appears not. Let none deem 
The Fleece in any traffic unconcern'd ; 
By every traffic aided, while each work 300 

Of art yields wealth to exercise the loom, 
And every loom employs each hand of art. 
Nor is there wheel in the machine of trade 
Which Leeds or Cairo, Lima or Bombay, 
Helps not, with harmony, to turn around, 305 

Tho' all unconscious of the union act. 

Few the peculiars of Canara's realm, 
Or sultry Malabar, where it behoves 



THE FLEECE 115 

The wary pilot, while he coasts their shores, 

To mark o'er ocean the thick rising isles ; 310 

Woody Cahetta, Birter rough with rocks, 

Green-rising Barmur, Mincoy's purple hills, 

And the minute Maldivias, as a swarm 

Of bees in summer on a poplar's trunk, 

Clustering innumerable : these behind 315 

His stern receding, o'er the clouds he views 

Ceylon's gray peaks, from whose volcanoes rise 

Dark smoke and ruddy flame, and glaring rocks 

Darted in air aloft ; around whose feet 

Blue cliffs ascend, and aromatic groves, 320 

In various prospect ; Ceylon also deem'd 

The ancient Ophir. Next Bengala's bay, 

On the vast globe the deepest, while the prow 

Turns northward to the rich disputed strand 

Of Cor'mandel, where Traffic grieves to see 325 

Discord and Avarice invade her realms, 

Portending ruinous war, and cries aloud, 

" Peace, peace, ye blinded Britons ! and ye Gauls ! 

Nation to nation is a light, a fire, 

Enkindling virtue, sciences, and arts " ; 330 

But cries aloud in vain. Yet, wise defence 

Against Ambition's wide-destroying pride, 

Madrass erected, and Saint David's fort, 

And those which rise on Ganges' twenty streams, 

Guarding the woven Fleece, Calcutta's tower, 335 

And Maldo's and Patana's : from their holds 

The shining bales our factors deal abroad, 

And see the country's products, in exchange, 

Before them heap'd ; cotton's transparent webs, 

Aloes, and cassia, salutiferous drugs, 340 

Alom, and lacque, and clouded tortoiseshell, 

And brilliant diamonds, to decorate 

Britannia's blooming nymphs. For these, o'er all 



Il6 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

The kingdoms round, our drap'ries are dispers'd, 

O'er Bukor, Cabul, and the Bactrian vales, 345 

And Cassimere, and Atoc, on the stream 

Of old Hydaspes, Poms' hardy realm ; 

And late-discover'd Tibet, where the Fleece, 

By art peculiar, is compress'd and wrought 

To threadless drapery, which in conic forms 350 

Of various hues their gaudy roofs adorns. 

The keels which voyage thro' Molucca's Straits 
Amid a cloud of spicy odours sail, 
From Java and Sumatra breath'd, whose woods 
Yield fiery pepper, that destroys the moth 355 

In woolly vestures. Ternate and Tidore 
Give to the festal board the fragrant clove 
And nutmeg, to those narrow bounds confin'd, 
While gracious Nature, with unsparing hand, 
The needs of life o'er every region pours. 360 

Near those delicious isles the beauteous coast 
Of China rears its summits. Know ye not, 
Ye sons of Trade ! that ever-flow'ry shore, 
Those azure hills, those woods and nodding rocks ? 
Compare them with the pictures of your chart ; 365 
Alike the woods and nodding rocks o'erhang. 
Now the tall glossy tow'rs of porcelain 
And pillar'd pagod shine ; rejoic'd they see 
The port of Canton opening to their prows, 
And in the winding of the river moor v 370 

Upon the strand they heap their glossy bales ; 
And works of Birmingham, in brass or steel, 
And flint, and pond'rous lead, from deep cells rais'd, 
Fit ballast in the fury of the storm, 
That tears the shrouds, and bends the stubborn 
mast : 375 

These for the artists of the Fleece procure 
Various materials ; and for affluent life 



THE FLEECE 117 

The flavour'd thea and glossy-painted vase ; 
Things elegant, ill-titled Luxuries, 
In temperance us'd delectable and good. 380 

They too from hence receive the strongest thread 
Of the green silkworm. Various is the wealth 
Of that renown'd and ancient land, secure 
In constant peace and commerce ; till'd to th' height 
Of rich fertility, where, thick as stars, 385 

Bright habitations glitter on each hill, 
And rock, and shady dale ; ev'n on the waves 
Of copious rivers, lakes, and bord'ring seas, 
Rise floating villages. No wonder, when 
In every province firm and level roads, 390 

And long canals, and navigable streams, 
Ever with ease conduct the works of toil 
To sure and speedy markets, thro' the length 
Of many a crowded region, many a clime, 
To the imperial tow'rs of Cambalu, 395 

Now Pekin, where the Fleece is not unknown ; 
Since Calder's woofs, and those of Exe and Frome, 
And Yare, and Avon flow, and rapid Trent, 
Thither by Russic caravans are brought, 
Thro' Scythia's num'rous regions, waste and wild, 400 
Journey immense ! which to th' attentive ear 
The Muse, in faithful notes, shall brief describe. 
From the proud mart of Petersburg, ere-while 
The watery seat of Desolation wide, 
Issue these trading caravans, and urge, 405 

Thro' dazzling snows, their dreary trackless road ; 
By compass steering oft from week to week, 
From month to month; whole seasons view their 

toils. 

Neva they pass, and Kesma's gloomy flood, 
Volga, and Don, and Oka's torrent prone, 410 

Threatening in vain ; and many a cataract 



Il8 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

In its fall stopp'd, and bound with bars of ice. 

Close on the left unnumber'd tracks they view 
White with continual frost ; and on the right 
The Caspian Lake, and ever-flow'ry realms, 415 

Tho' now abhorr'd, behind them turn, the haunt 
Of arbitrary rule, where regions wide 
Are destin'd to the sword ; and on each hand 
Roads hung with carcases, or under foot 
Thick strown; while in their rough bewilder'd vales 420 
The blooming rose its fragrance breathes in vain, 
And silver fountains fall, and nightingales 
Attune their notes, where none are left to hear. 

Sometimes o'er level ways, on easy sleds, 
The gen'rous horse conveys the sons of Trade, 425 
And ever and anon the docile dog, 
And now the light rein-deer, with rapid pace 
Skims over icy lakes : now slow they climb 
Aloft o'er clouds, and then adown descend 
To hollow vallies, till the eye beholds 430 

The roofs of Tobol, whose hill-crowning walls 
Shine, like the rising moon, thro' watery mists ; 
Tobol ! th' abode of those unfortunate 
Exiles of angry state, and thralls of war ; 
Solemn fraternity ! where earl and prince, 435 

Soldier and statesman, and uncrested chief, 
On the dark level of adversity 
Converse familiar ; while amid the cares 
And toils for hunger, thirst, and nakedness, 
Their little public smiles, and the bright sparks 44 
Of trade are kindled. Trade arises oft, 
And virtue, from adversity and want : 
Be witness, Carthage ! witness, ancient Tyre ! 
And thou, Batavia ! daughter of distress. 
This with his hands, which erst the truncheon held, 445 
The hammer lifts ; another bends and weaves 



THE FLEECE 119 

The flexile willow ; that the mattoc drives : 

All are employ'd, and by their works acquire 

Our fleecy vestures. From their tenements, 

Pleas'd and refresh'd, proceeds the caravan 45 

Thro' lively-spreading cultures, pastures green, 

And yellow tillages in opening woods ; 

Thence on, thro' Narim's wilds, a pathless road 

They force, with rough entangling thorns perplex'd ; 

Land of the lazy Ostiacs, thin dispers'd, 455 

Who, by avoiding, meet the toils they loathe, 

Tenfold augmented ; miserable tribe ! 

Void of commercial comforts ; who nor corn, 

Nor pulse, nor oil, nor heart-enlivening wine, 

Know to procure; nor spade, nor scythe, nor share, 460 

Nor social aid : beneath their thorny bed 

The serpent hisses, while in thickets nigh 

Loud howls the hungry wolf. So on they fare, 

And pass by spacious lakes, begirt with rocks 

And azure mountains, and the heights admire 4 6 5 

Of white Imaus, whose snow-nodding crags 

Frighten the realms beneath, and from their urns 

Pour mighty rivers down, th' impetuous streams 

Of Oby' and Irtis, and Jenisca swift, 

Which rush upon the northern pole, upheave 47 

Its frozen seas, and lift their hills of ice. 

These rugged paths and savage landscapes pass'd, 
A new scene strikes their eyes : among the clouds 
Aloft they view, what seems a chain of cliffs, 
Nature's proud work, that matchless work of art, 475 
The wall of China, by Chihoham's power, 
In earliest times, erected. Warlike troops 
Frequent are seen in haughty march along 
Its ridge, a vast extent ! beyond the length 
Of many a potent empire : towers and ports, 480 

Three times a thousand, lift thereon their brows 



120 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

At equal spaces, and in prospect round 
Cities and plains, and kingdoms overlook. 

At length the gloomy passage they attain 
Of its deep-vaulted gates, whose opening folds 4 8 5 
Conduct at length to Pekin's glittering spires, 
The destin'd mart, where joyous they arrive. 
Thus are the textures of the Fleece convey'd 
To China's distant realm, the utmost bound 
Of the flat floor of steadfast earth ; for so 49 

Fabled Antiquity, ere peaceful Trade 
Inform'd the opening mind of curious man. 

Now to the other hemisphere, my Muse ! 
A new world found, extend thy daring wing. 
Be thou the first of the harmonious Nine, 495 

From high Parnassus, the unweary'd toils 
Of industry and valour, in that world 
Triumphant, to reward with tuneful song. 
Happy the voyage o'er th' Atlantic brine 
By active Raleigh made, and great the joy 5 

When he discern'd, above the foamy surge, 
A rising coast, for future colonies 
Opening her bays, and figuring her capes, 
Ev'n from the northern tropic to the pole. 
No land gives more employment to the loom, 55 
Or kindlier feeds the indigent ; no land 
With more variety of wealth rewards 
The hand of Labour : thither from the wrongs 
Of lawless rule the free-born spirit flies ; 
Thither Affliction, thither Poverty, 5 10 

And Arts and Sciences : thrice happy clime, 
Which Britain makes th' asylum of mankind ! 

But joy superior far his bosom warms 
Who views those shores in ev'ry culture dress'd ; 
With habitations gay, and numerous towns, 5 ! 5 

On hill and valley, and his countrymen 



THE FLEECE 121 

Form'd into various states, pow'rful and rich, 

In regions far remote ; who from our looms 

Take largely for themselves, and for those tribes 

Of Indians, ancient tenants of the land, S 20 

In amity conjoin'd, of civil life 

The comforts taught, and various new desires, 

Which kindle arts, and occupy the poor, 

And spread Brittania's flocks o'er every dale. 

Ye who the shuttle cast along the loom, 5 2 5 

The silk-worms' thread inweaving with the Fleece, 
Pray for the culture of the Georgian tract, 
Nor slight the green savannahs and the plains 
Of Carolina, where thick woods arise 
Of mulberries, and in whose water'd fields 53 

Upsprings the verdant blade of thirsty rice. 
Where are the happy regions which afford 
More implements of commerce and of wealth ? 

Fertile Virginia, like a vigorous bough, 
Which overshades some crystal river, spreads 535 
Her wealthy cultivations wide around, 
And, more than many a spacious realm, rewards 
The Fleecy shuttle : to her growing marts, 
The Iroquese, Cheroques, and Oubacks, come, 
And quit their feathery ornaments uncouth 54 

For woolly garments ; and the cheers of life, 
The cheers, but not the vices, learn to taste. 
Blush, Europeans ! whom the circling cup 
Of Luxury intoxicates. Ye routs, 
Who for your crimes have fled your native land ; 545 
And ye voluptuous idle, who in vain 
Seek easy habitations, void of care ; 
The sons of Nature with astonishment 
And detestation mark your evil deeds, 
And view, no longer aw'd, your nerveless arms, 550 
Unfit to cultivate Ohio's banks. 



122 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

See the bold emigrants of Accadie, 
And Massachuset, happy in those arts 
That join the polities of trade and war, 
Bearing the palm in either ; they appear 555 

Better exemplars ; and that hardy crew 
Who on the frozen beach of Newfoundland 
Hang their white fish amid the parching winds ; 
The kindly Fleece, in webs of Duffield woof, 
Their limbs, benumb'd, enfolds with cheerly 
warmth, 560 

And frize of Cambria, worn by those who seek, 
Thro' gulfs and dales of Hudson's winding bay, 
The beaver's fur, tho' oft they seek in vain, 
While winter's frosty rigour checks approach 
Ev'n in the fiftieth latitude. Say why, 565 

(If ye the travell'd sons of Commerce know) 
Wherefore lie bound their rivers, lakes, and dales, 
Half the sun's annual course, in chains of ice ? 
While the Rhine's fertile shore, and Gallic realms, 
By the same zone encircled, long enjoy 570 

Warm beams of Phrebus, and, supine, behold 
Their plains and hillocks blush with clust'ring vines ? 

Must it be ever thus ? or may the hand 
Of mighty Labour drain their gusty lakes, 
Enlarge the bright'ning sky, and, peopling, warm 575 
The op'ning valleys and the yellowing plains ? 
Or rather shall we burst strong Darien's chain, 
Steer our bold fleets between the cloven rocks, 
And thro' the great Pacific every joy 
Of civil life diffuse ? Are not her isles 580 

Numerous and large ? have they not harbours calm, 
Inhabitants, and manners? haply, too, 
Peculiar sciences, and other forms 
Of trade, and useful products, to exchange 
For woolly vestures ? 'Tis a tedious course 585 



THE FLEECE 123 

By the Antarctic circle ; nor beyond 

Those sea-wrapt gardens of the dulcet reed, 

Bahama and Caribbee, may be found 

Safe mole or harbour, till on Falkland's Isle 

The standard of Britannia shall arise. 590 

Proud Buenos Aires, low-couched Paraguay, 

And rough Corrientes, mark, with hostile eye, 

The labouring vessel : neither may we trust 

The dreary naked Patagonian land, 

Which darkens in the wind : no traffic there, 595 

No barter, for the Fleece : there angry storms, 

Bend their black brows, and, raging, hurl around 

Their thunders. Ye adventurous Mariners ! 

Be firm ; take courage from the brave : 't was there 

Perils and conflicts inexpressible 600 

Anson, with steady undespairing breast, 

Endur'd, when o'er the various globe he chas'd 

His country's foes. Fast-gathering tempests rouz'd 

Huge ocean, and involv'd him : all around 

Whirlwind, and snow, and hail, and horror : now, 605 

Rapidly, with the world of waters, down 

Descending to the channels of the deep, 

He vievv'd th' uncover'd bottom of th' abyss, 

And now the stars, upon the loftiest point 

Toss'd of the sky-mix'd surges. Oft the burst 610 

Of loudest thunder, with the dash of seas, 

Tore the wild-flying sails and tumbling masts, 

While flames, thick-flashing in the gloom, reveal'd 

Ruins of decks, and shrouds, and sights of death. 

Yet on he far'd, with fortitude his cheer, 615 

Gaining, at intervals, slow way beneath 
Del Fuego's rugged cliffs, and the white ridge 
Above all height, by opening clouds reveal'd, 
Of Montegorda, and inaccessible 
Wreck-threatening Staten Land's o'erhanging shore, 620 



124 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Enormous rocks on rocks, in ever wild 

Posture of falling ; as when Pelion rear'd 

On Ossa, and on Ossa's tottering head 

Woody Olympus, by the angry gods 

'Precipitate on earth were doomed to fall. 625 

At length, thro' every tempest, as some branch 
Which from a poplar falls into a loud 
Impetuous cataract, tho' deep immers'd, 
Yet re-ascends, and glides, on lake or stream, 
Smooth thro' the valleys ; so his way be won 630 

To the serene Pacific, flood immense ! 
And rear'd his lofty masts, and spread his sails. 
Then Paita's walls, in wasting flames involv'd, 
His vengeance felt, and fair occasion gave 
To show humanity and continence, 635 

To Scipio's not inferior. Then was left 
No corner of the globe secure to Pride 
And Violence, altho' the far-stretch'd coast 
Of Chili, and Peru, and Mexico, 
Arm'd in their evil cause ; tho' fell Disease, 640 

Un'bating Labour, tedious Time, conspir'd, 
And Heat inclement, to unnerve his force ; 
Tho' that wide sea, which spreads o'er half the 

world, 

Deny'd all hospitable land or port ; 
Where, seasons voyaging, no road he found 645 

To moor, no bottom in th' abyss whereon 
To drop the fastening anchor ; tho' his brave 
Companions ceas'd, subdu'd by toil extreme ; 
Tho' solitary left in Tinian's seas, 
Where never was before the dreaded sound 650 

Of Britain's thunder heard ; his wave-worn bark 
Met, fought the proud Iberian, and o'ercame. 
So fare it ever with our country's foes ! 

Rejoice, ye Nations ! vindicate the sway 



THE FLEECE 12? 

Ordain'd for common happiness. Wide, o'er 655 

The globe terraqueous, let Britannia pour 

The fruits of plenty from her copious horn. 

What can avail to her, whose fertile earth 

By Ocean's briny waves are circumscrib'd, 

The armed host, and murdering sword of war, 660 

And conquest o'er her neighbours ? She ne'er breaks 

Her solemn compacts in the lust of rule : 

Studious of arts and trade, she ne'er disturbs 

The holy peace of states. 'Tis her delight 

To fold the world with harmony, and spread, 665 

Among the habitations of mankind, 

The various wealth of toil, and what her Fleece, 

To clothe the naked, and her skilful looms 

Peculiar give. Ye, too, rejoice, ye Swains ! 

Increasing commerce shall reward your cares. 670 

A day will come, if not too deep we drink 

The cup which luxury on careless wealth, 

Pernicious gift ! bestows ; a day will come 

When, thro' new channels sailing, we shall clothe 

The Californian coast, and all the realms 675 

That stretch from Hainan Straits to proud Japan, 

And the green isles, which on the left arise 

Upon the glassy brine, whose various capes 

Not yet are figur'd on the sailors' chart : 

Then every variation shall be told 680 

Of the magnetic steel, and currents mark'd 

Which drive the heedless vessel from her course. 

That portion, too, of land, a track immense, 
Beneath th' Antarctic spread, shall then be known, 
And new plantations on its coast arise. 685 

Then rigid winter's ice no more shall wound 
The only naked animal ; but man 
With the soft Fleece shall every where be cloath'd. 
Th' exulting Muse shall then, in vigour fresh, 



126 THE POEMS OF JOHN DYER 

Her flight renew : meanwhile, with weary wing 690 

O'er ocean's wave returning, she explores 

Siluria's flow'ry vales, her old delight, 

The shepherd's haunts, where the first springs arise 

Of Britain's happy trade, now spreading wide, 

Wide as th' Atlantic and Pacific seas, 695 

Or as air's vital fluid o'er the globe. 



Printed at 

THE EDINBURGH PRESS 
9 & 11 Young Street 




University of California 

SOUTHERN REGIONAL LIBRARY FACILITY 

305 De Neve Drive - Parking Lot 17 Box 951388 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA 90095-1388 

Return this material to the library from which it was borrowed