What various objects strike with various force,
Achilles, Hebe, and Sir Watkin's horse!
Here summer scenes, there Pentland's stormy ridge,
Lords, ladies, Noah's ark, and Cranford bridge!
Some that display the elegant design,
The lucid colours, and the flowing line;
Some that might make, alas! Walsh Porter stare,
And wonder how the devil they got there!


How clear a strife of light and shade is spread!
The face how touched with nature's loveliest red!
The eye, how eloquent, and yet how meek!
The glow subdued, yet mantling on thy cheek!
M----ve! I mark alone thy beauteous face,
But all is nature, dignity, and grace!


Oh! hide those tempting eyes, that faultless form,
Those looks with feeling and with nature warm;
The neck, the softly-swelling bosom hide,
Nor, wanton gales, blow the light vest aside;
For who, when beauties more than life excite
Silent applause, can gaze without delight!
But innocence, enchanting maid, is thine;
Thine eyes in liquid light unconscious shine;
And may thy breast no other feelings prove,
Than those of sympathy and mutual love!


With mirth unfeigned the cottage chimney rings,
Though only vocal with four fiddle-strings:
And see, the poor blind fiddler draws his bow,
And lifts intent his time-denoting toe;
While yonder maid, as blythe as birds in June,
You almost hear her whistle to the tune!
Hard by, a lad, in imitative guise,
Fixed, fiddle-like, the broken bellows plies;
Before the hearth, with looks of honest joy,
The father chirrups to the chattering boy,
And snaps his lifted thumbs with mimic glee,
To the glad urchin on his mother's knee!


Up! for the morning shines with welcome ray,
And to the sunny seabeach let us stray.
What orient hues proclaim the master's hand!
How light the wave upon the half-wet sand!
How beautiful the sun, as still we gaze,
Streams all diffusive through the opening haze!
Artist--when to the thunder's pealing sound,
Fire mixed with hailstones ran upon the ground,
When partial darkness the dread prospect hid,
And sole aspired the aged pyramid--
Sublimity thy genius seemed to guide
O'er Egypt's champaign, desolate and wide;
But here delightful beauty reigns alone,
And decks the morning scene with graces all her own.


How shall I praise thee, Beaumont, whose nice skill
Can mould the soft and shadowy scene at will;
Chastise to harmony each gaudy ray,
Simple, yet grand, the mountain scene display;
The lake where sober evening seems to sleep,
Hills far retiring into umbrage deep;
Blend all with classic, pure, poetic taste,
And strike the more with forms and colours chaste!


Through the wood's maze our eyes delighted stray,
To mark the rustics on the market-day.
Beneath the branches winds the long white road;
Here peeps the rustic cottager's abode;
There in the morning sun, the children play,
Or the crone creeps along the dusty way.


Artist, I own thy genius; but the touch
May be too restless, and the glare too much:
And sure none ever saw a landscape shine,
Basking in beams of such a sun as thine,
But felt a fervid dew upon his phiz,
And panting cried, O Lord, how hot it is!


Turn to Britannia's triumphs on the main:
See Nelson, pale and fainting, 'mid the slain,
Whilst Victory sighs, stern in the garb of war,
And points through clouds the rocks of Trafalgar!
Here cease the strain; but while thy hulls shall ride,
Britain, dark shadowing the tumultuous tide,
May other Nelsons, on the sanguine main,
Guide, like a god, the battle's hurricane;
And when the funeral's transient pomp is past,
High hung the banner, hushed the battle's blast,
May the brave character to ages shine,
And Genius consecrate the immortal shrine!

More verses by William Lisle Bowles