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The feather'd tribes which fly from land to land,
And insects, num'rous as the grains of sand
All these declare from whence their being came,
Their maker's goodness and his pow'r proclaim,
And call thee forth, with them, to praise his name.
For, every creature does his bounty share,
Though man pretends that He has all his care.
God gives the strength whereby the Lion reigns,
And drives the torrent boiling through his veins.
When with his roar the desert echoes round,
And trembling beasts affrighted hear the sound,
He gives the voice :-his raging thirst supplies,
And with sufficient food his hunger satisfies.
As lightning swift, and panting for the course,
With iron sinews he has arm’d the Horse :
Hark! from afar the trumpet's sprightly sound !
His restless hoofs, impatient, spurn the ground :
He snorts; he foams ; fire flashes from his eyes,
And from his nostrils curling volumes rise.
Furious, he grasps the distance in his mind,
Bounds o'er the plains, and leaves the winds behind : Headlong through all he drives, devoid of fear,
Mocks at the brandish'd sword, and scorns the
lengthen'd spear.* He gives the tow'ring EAGLE wings, to rise
High.o'er the clouds, to pure etherial skies.
Aloft, on craggy cliffs, she builds her nest,
Secure from foes, with endless quiet blest.
Unheard, the surges break upon the shores,
And all below, unheard, the raging tempest roars : Hence, wide around, her piercing eyes survey,
* Job xxxix, ver. 19.
And, far beneath, mark out the destin'd prey :
The red-hot bolt which splits the stubborn oak,
Scarce flies more swift, or gives a surer stroke.
Her young are feasted with the reeking food,
And early learn to gorge themselves with blood:
Their postrils snuff the battle from afar,
And they still bend their flight to where the slaugh
[ter'd are. 'Tis he bestows, delightful to behold,
The PEACOCK's plumes, out-shining beaten gold.
Lo! on the ground, with scorn he seems to tread;
The various glory waving o'er his head.
Ambitious to be seen, with stately pace,
He stalks, exulting, on the highest place.
Proudly he spreads his plumes against the sun,
Disdaining by its beams to be outdone :
Green, azare, gold, his dazzling train displays,
Each star emits a glittring stream of rays,
And all flame forth in one refulgent blaze.
Observe the CROCODILE’s* amazing length,
His form affrighting, and his mighty strength.
* This creature being little known, perhaps a description of it may not only give light to the poetical part, but also in itself afford some amusement to the reader : and therefore I have subjoined such a one, as I could collect from the best writers.
It is a creature living both by land and water, which from an egg (not a great deal bigger than a turkey's) arrives sometimes to eight or ten yards in length; for whereas other creatures have a certain period to their growth, this, as 'tis said, still grows larger to the end of it's life, which is reported to last one hundred years. Its head is flat above and below, with jaws wide enough to swallow a man a whole; a sharp long snout, full of teeth, but no tongue : the eyes very large, and of a darkish colour. The body all of a size, covered on the back with high scales like the heads of broad nails, of a greenish colour, and so hard, that an halbert cannot pierce them. Its tail is long, and covered with such scales as the back; its belly white, and pretty tender, being the only place where it can easily be wounded. It has four short legs, with With scales of brass encompass’d all around,
From him the rattling javelins rebound,
Broken their points, but guiltless of a wound.
Like op’ning gates his threatning jaws divide,
With rows of teeth like spears on either side.
In ambush on the river's bank he lies,
Thirsting for blood : around he rolls his eyes,
With hunger pain’d :—What can his fury stay?
Dreadful he rouses up, and rushes on the prey.
five claws on its fore, and four on its hinder feet. Contrary to all creatures, (except the Hippopotamus and Parrot, )it moves only the upper jaw in eating. Its flesh is not poisonous, but insipid. It is a very ravenous and subtile creature, hiding itself in the sands, and behind the projecting banks of rivers, to watch the beasts coming to drink, and when any one comes within its reach, rushes with it into the water, and holds it down till it is strangled. The only way to escape its pursuit, is by flying in circles, for its body being of a vast length, requires some time to turn about; but directly forward it can run with great swiftness. It lays its eggs in the sand, to be hatched by the sun's heat.