A Morning Adventure

To hail sweet Morn, and trace the woody shore,
Where foaming Calder pours his rapid stream,
His high-hung banks, and tott'ring cliffs t' explore,
And gloomy caves, unknown to Sol's fair beam.

Three youthful swains the adjoining village left,
Ere from a chimney roll'd the lazy smoke,
Ere the lone street of silence was bereft,
Or pale-eyed morning to the view had broke.

Along a winding path they kept their way,
Where trees, embracing, hung a solemn shade;
Pass'd the old mill o'ergrown with shaggy hay,
And gain'd the summit of a rising glade.

Now, from the east, the faintly dawning morn,
With op'ning smile, adorn'd the dewy mead;
The blackbird whistled from the blooming thorn,
And early shepherd tuned his rural reed.

Gray mists were hov'ring round the mountain's brow;
Through the still air murmur'd the riv'let near;
The fields were glitt'ring in the morning's glow;
And sweetest music thrill'd the ravish'd ear.

Smit with the charms of song, Philander stood,
To hear his art by each small throat outdone;
While Damon view'd the stream, grim rocks and wood,
And snatch'd the pencil to make all his own.

Beneath a rev'rend oak Alexis hung,
His drooping head half on his hand reclined;
Borne on the Muse's wing, his soul had sprung,
And left the languid, listless form behind.

Where now was Care, that gloomy, glaring fiend,
The wealthy's horror and the poor man's pain,
Who bids fierce passions tear the trembling mind,
And wakes his gnawing, his infernal train.

Fled was the spectre to some statesman's breast,
Some raving lover, or some miser's cell;
Nought now appear'd but made them inly blest,
And all around conspired their joys to swell.

Hail, happy swains! involved in rapt'rous thought,
Oh! could I leave you thus, and truly say,
That here, in peace, fair nature's charms you sought,
And thus, enrapt, you pass'd the morn away.

But truth compels, nor dare I hide your fate,
My trembling hand she guides to tell your doom,
How oft, alas! on mirth does mis'ry wait,
How oft is sunshine sunk in deepest gloom!

As on the airy steep they silent lay,
The murm'ring river foaming far below,
Young Damon's dog, as round he ranged for prey,
By some stern bull insulted, seiz'd the foe.

As when in dead of night, on the dark main,
Two en'mies meet, and awful silence keep,
Sparkles the match! then peals and cries of pain,
Arouse the night, and growl along the deep.

So burst loud roarings through the affrighted sky,
Firm Roger hung, fix'd by his nostrils deep;
Loud swell'd the war, till, from the margin high,
Both whirl'd down headlong o'er the enormous steep.

How look'd our youths! they heard the thund'ring sound,
Dash'd in the vale they saw the heroes laid;
Whole crowds of rustics rudely gath'ring round,
Alarm'd they saw, and through the bushes fled.