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John Dyer (Джон Дайер)

To Aaron Hill, Esq.


TELL me, wondrous friend! where were you
When Gideon was your lofty song?
Where did the heaving spirit bear you
When your fair soul reflected strong
Gideon's actions, as they shin'd
Bright in the chambers of the mind?
Say, have you trod Arabia's spicy vales,
Or gather'd bays beside Euphrates' stream,
Or lonely sung with Jordan's waterfalls,
While heav'nly Gideon was your sacred theme?
Or have you many ages given
To close retirement and to books,
And held a long discourse with Heaven,
And noticed Nature in her various looks?
Full of inspiring wonder and delight,
Slow read I Gideon with a greedy eye,
Like a pleas'd traveller, that lingers sweet
On some fair and lofty plain
Where the sun does brightly shine,
And glorious prospects all around him lie.
On Gideon's pages beautifully shine
Surprising pictures rising to my sight,
With all the life of colour and of line,
And all the force of rounding shade and light,
And all the grace of something more divine.
High on a hill, beneath an oak's broad arm,
I see a youth divinely fair!
"Pensive he leans his head on his left hand;
His smiling eye sheds sweetness mix'd with awe;
His right hand with a milk-white wand some figure seems to draw!
A nameless grace is scatter'd through his air,
And o'er his shoulders loosely flows his amber-colour'd hair."
Above, with burning blush, the morning glows,
The waking world all fair before him lies;
"Slow from the plain the melting dews,
To kiss the sunbeams, climbing, rise."
Methinks the grove of Baal I see,
In terrac'd stages mount up high,
And wave its sable beauties in the sky:
"From stage to stage broad steps of half-hid stone,
With curly moss and bladed grass o'ergrown,
Lead awful——"
Down in a dungeon deep,
"Where through thick walls, oblique, the broken light
From narrow loop-holes quivers to the sight,
With swift and furious stride.
Close-folded arms, and short and sudden starts,
The fretful prince, in dumb and sullen pride,
Resolves escape."——
 Here in red colours, glowing bold,
A war-like figure strikes my eye.
The dreadful sudden sight his foes behold.
Confounded so, they lose the power to fly;
"Backening they gaze at distance on his face,
Admire his posture, and confess his grace;
His right hand grasps his planted spear."
Alas! my Muse! Through much good will you err,
And we the mighty Author greatly wrong,
To gather beauties here and there,
As but a scatter'd few they were,
While ev'ry word's a beauty in his song!

John Dyer's other poems:
  1. My Ox Duke
  2. The English Fog
  3. Written at St. Peter's
  4. How to Shear Sheep
  5. The Inquiry

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