Affrighted, mount aloft, and quit the brain,
Which late they fann'd: now other scenes than dales
Of woody pride, succeed, or flow'ry vales:
As when a sudden tempest veils the sky,
Before serene, and streaming lightnings fly;
The prospect shifts, and pitchy volumes roll,
Along the drear expanse, from pole to pole;
Terrific horrors all the void invest,
Whilst the arch-spectre issues forth confest.
The Bard beholds him beckon to the tomb
Of yawning night, eternity's dread womb;
In vain attempts to fly, the impassive air
Retards his steps, and yields him to despair;
He feels a gripe that thrills through every vein,
And panting struggles in the fatal chain.
Here paus'd the fell destroyer to survey
The pride, the boast of man, his destin'd prey;
Prepar'd to strike, he pois'd aloft the dart,
And plung'd the steel in Virtue's bleeding heart;
Abhorrent, back the springs of life rebound,
And leave on Nature's face a grisly wound,
A wound enroll'd among Britannia's woes,
That ages yet to follow, cannot close.