The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
A Lay on Wanganui
A Lay on Wanganui.
PoetryA noble river this to view,
Of gentle flow and spaciousness,
With Britain’s vying;—prompting true
This Lay, my feelings to express:—
In yore, thy winding course has been
Of snaky form ’neath briny waves;
Yon bed of shells confess, I ween,
This truth, which our attention craves.
Yon uplands, bending round, would say,
’’Our base has once been own’d a shore,
As forming once a mud-flat bay,
Where, tide waves broke with deaf’ning roar
And lo! these beds of pumice deep,
With ancient drifted sands combined,
Confirm Changefell revolution’s sweep
O’er former things to change consign’d,
The land upheaving, driving forth
Old ocean from its old coast line,
Where, belchings of volcanic wrath
Are left by the retiring brine!
While thou, fair River, hast thy course
Scoop’d deeper, as thy floods would flow
In bygone ages, oft in force
Augmented by the melting snow
Yet, long, and seeming waste, thy time
Has been, as candidate of fame:—
Like Solitaire ’mid the sublime
Of nature, living void of aim!
The sun would from meridian heights
Behold his gleamings on thy wave;
But none else there could take delight
In sparkling beauties shewn, or crave
The blessings thou couldst give to toil;
For all was Solitude around!—
How cheerless Nature’s brightest smile
Where no inhabitant is found!
Upon thy banks erelong might range
Some factories of enterprize;
Where wool, and weed-like flax will change
Their forms to things of merchandize!
The Country round, how it appears
In very contrast with the past,
As now another aspect cheers
Old Solitude as o’er it cast
Since she no better knew,—Now see,
Her head is raised, the cheering smile
Illumes her count’nance; as with glee,
New hopes inspire her, as to foil
All heart depressions! See, no more
She’s passive, void of pleasure; it
Seems now her lot, with hopes in store
Of great rejoicings,— bliss most fit!
What is already done is good;--
But still, such goodness warrants more,
To be accomplish’d, as prelude
Of farther blessings yet in store!
Ev’nsuch, as groaning to be free,
Long pent up, ready, as th’ award;
Of noble mind Industry;
Deserving of each best regard
And welcome civ’lisation’s bliss,
As Nature such a state had chose;
So, thus ’tis said “the wilderness
Shall bud and blossom as the rose!”
Now, still on Wanganui’s banks
May thriving herds, and flocks be seen
With fields of grain, as Heavenly thanks
For industry, which glads each scene!
Of which, appearances around
Are silent; as the tales of yore
Held secret,—mystery profound,—
As none were privileged such t’ explore!
While, scatter’d wide o’er many a plain
Are blocks, of ir’n like cinders strange
As Vulcan had with might and main
Clear’d out his ancient forge, t’ arrange
His fire to purpose good;—although
Like one, in thoughtlessness; or ire,
Who embers hot about would throw
Which set the neighbourhood on fire!—
Volcanoes bursting forth in rage
On yonder mountains, dreadly grand;
The sky bombarding, as, they’d wage
Aggressive war, while quaked the land.
Thus, from earth’s caverns deep were thown
Its molten bowels high in air,
As belch’d from cannon’s mouth anon,
Like rockets, neither small nor spare!
These fiery missles sent on high,
When force was spent, and bending round,
With spacious curve, descendingly
Like meteors falling, strew’d the ground
Thus rose at length with fearful rage
A crackling roaring mass of fire;
No green bush could the heat assuage,
No pool nor brook could quench its ire!
Destruction was its ruthless game;
By day the smoke obscured the sun;
By night the heav’ns would seem a-flame,
As th’ world’s last burning had begun;
A general conflagration dire,
No bird nor beast their doom could shun;
The sea-breeze fanning wide the fire
Uncheck’d where ruin may be done:
Ev’n swamps, where stagnant waters stood,
When such were low, with verdure green,
Could not withstand such havoc rude,
Which, now prevail’d through ev’ry scene,
Till all a blacken’d waste became;
With not a fragment left, to tell
What once grew there; the lambient flame
Its part of ruin did so well!
For length of miles afar, and round,
Destructions were accomplish’d quite;
Save what’s beneath the surface found,
As vestiges left, out of sight,
Till turn’d up by the farmer’s plough
In present times.—But since of yore,
Must ferns, and wild grass spring, t’ avow
Of waste the land need not deplore!
New, since old solitudes are past,
And day, with Nature, would arise
To scatter former glooms, She’d cast
Her lot in with bold enterprize:
And prove a handmaid good and true;
As crowning Industry with cheer;
And will as joyfully bestrew
Improvement’s path with blessings clear!
So, see around this truth proclaim’d
In mueh of largeness, still t’ encrease;
While more developments are aim’d
To know where her resources cease.
Mete emblem of a bounteous soul,
Whieh would devise no scanty measure:
Ev’n as culture’s bland control
Would wilds convert to scenes of pleasure!
No longer like a wilderness
Are spacious plains, as bleak and bare:
Now, ornamental trees express
Most cheering truths of culture there.
The parcel’d fields—the garden ground,
Improvement’s onward march reveal;
The country’s face adorn’d, is found
To promise much for future weal!