« PreviousContinue »
There at the plough thou find'st thy team,
With a hind whistling there to them;
And cheer'st them up by singing how
The kingdom's portion is the plough.
This done, then to th' enamell'd meads
Thou go'st; and as thy foot there treads,
Thou see'st a present godlike power
Imprinted in each herb and flower;
And smell'st the breath of great-eyed kine,
Sweet as the blossoms of the vine.
Here thou behold'st thy large sleek neat,
Unto the dewlaps up in meat;
And, as thou look'st, the wanton steer,
The heifer, cow, and ox, draw near,
To make a pleasing pastime there.
These seen, thou go'st to view thy flocks
Of sheep, safe from the wolf and fox;
And find'st their bellies there as full
Of short sweet grass, as backs with wool;
And leavest them as they feed and fill;
A shepherd piping on a hill.
For sports, for pageantry, and plays,
Thou hast thou eves and holidays;
On which the young men and maids meet,
To exercise their dancing feet;
Tripping the comely country round,
With daffodils and daisies crown'd.
Thy wakes, thy quintels, here thou hast;
Thy may-poles too, with garlands graced;
Thy morris-dance, thy Whitsun-ale,
Thy shearing feast, which never fail ;
Thy harvest-home, thy wassail-bowl,
That's tost up after fox i' th' hole;
Thy mummeries, Twelfth-night kings
And queens, thy Christmas revellings;
Thy nut-brown mirth, thy russet wit ;
And no man pays too dear for it.
To these thou hast thy times to go,
And trace the hare in the treacherous snow;
Thy witty wiles to draw, and get
The lark unto the trammel net;
Thou hast thy cockrood, and thy glade
To take the precious pheasant made;
Thy line-twigs, snares, and pit-falls, then
To catch the pilfering birds, not men.
O happy life, if that their good
The husbandmen but understood!
Who all the day themselves do please,
And younglings, with such sports as these;
And, lying down, have nought to affright
Sweet sleep, that makes more short the night.
LOVELY, lasting peace of mind;
Sweet delight of human kind!
Heavenly born, and bred on high,
To crown the favourites of the sky
With more happiness below
Than victors in a triumph know!
Whither, O whither art thou fled,
To lay thy meek contented head;
What happy region dost thou please
To make the seat of calms and ease!
Ambition searches all its sphere
Of pomp and state to meet thee there.
Increasing avarice would find
Thy presence in its gold enshrined.
The bold adventurer ploughs his way
Through rocks amidst the foaming sea,
To gain thy love; and then perceives
Thou wert not in the rocks and waves.
The silent heart, which grief assails,
Treads soft and lonesome o'er the vales
Sees daisies open, rivers run,
And seeks (as I have vainly done)
Amusing thought; but learns to know
That solitude's the nurse of wo.
No real happiness is found
In trailing purple o'er the ground:
Or in a soul exalted high,
To range the circuit of the sky,
Converse with stars above, and know
All nature in its forms below;
The rest it seeks, in seeking dies,
And doubts at last, for knowledge, rise
Lovely, lasting peace, appear,
This world itself, if thou art here,
Is once again with Eden blest,
And man contains it in his breast.
'Twas thus, as under the shade I stood. I sung my wishes to the wood,
And, lost in thought, no more perceived
The branches whisper as they waved:
It seem'd as all the quiet place
Confess'd the presence of his grace.
When thus she spoke-Go rule thy will,
Bid thy wild passions all be still,
Know God-and bring thy heart to know
The joys which from religion flow;
Then every grace shall prove its guest,
And I'll be there to crown the rest.
Oh! by yonder mossy seat,
In my hours of sweet retreat,
Might I thus my soul employ,
With sense of gratitude and joy;
Raised as ancient prophets were,
In heavenly vision, praise, and prayer,