« PreviousContinue »
He likes the country, but in truth must own, Most likes it, when he studies it in town.
Poor Jack-no matter who-for when I blame, I pity, and must therefore sink the name, Liv'd in his saddle, lov'd the chase, the course, And always, ere he mounted, kiss'd his horse. The estate, his sires had own'd in ancient years, Was quickly distanc'd, match'd against a peer's. Jack vanish'd, was regretted and forgot; "Tis wild good-nature's never-failing lot. At length, when all had long suppos'd him dead, By cold submersion, razor, rope, or lead, My lord, alighting at his usual place, The Crown, took notice of an ostler's face, Jack knew his friend, but hop'd in that disguise He might escape the most observing eyes, And whistling, as if unconcern'd and gay, Curried his nag, and look'd another way. Convinc'd at last, upon a nearer view, "Twas he, the same, the very Jack he knew, O'erwhelm'd at once with wonder, grief, and joy, He press'd him much to quit his base employ; His countenance, his purse, his heart, his hand, Influence and pow'r, were all at his command: Peers are not always gen'rous as well-bred, But Granby was, meant truly what he said. Jack bow'd, and was oblig'd-confess'd 'twas strange,
That so retir'd he should not wish a change,
But knew no medium between guzzling beer,
And his old stint-three thousand pounds a year.
Thus some retire to nourish hopeless woe;
Some seeking happiness not found below;
Some to comply with humor, and a mind
To social scenes by nature disinclin'd;
Some sway'd by fashion, some by deep disgust;
Some self-impov'rish'd, and because they must;
But few, that court Retirement, are aware
Of half the toils they must encounter there.
Lucrative offices are seldom lost
For want of pow'rs proportion'd to the post: Give ev❜n a dunce th' employment he desires, And he soon finds the talents it requires ; A business with an income at its heels Furnishes always oil for its own wheels. But in his arduous enterprise to close His active years with indolent repose, He finds the labors of that state exceed His utmost faculties, severe indeed. 'Tis easy to resign a toilsome place, But not to manage leisure with a grace; Absence of occupation is not rest, A mind quite vacant is a mind distress'd. The vet'ran steed, excus'd his task at length, In kind compassion of his failing strength, And turn'd into the park or mead to graze, Exempt from future service all his days, There feels a pleasure perfect in its kind, Ranges at liberty, and snuffs the wind: But when his lord would quit the busy road, To taste a joy like that he had bestow'd, He proves, less happy than his favor'd brute, A life of ease a diflicult pursuit. Thought, to the man that never thinks, may seem As natural as when asleep to dream ; But reveries (for human minds will act) Specious in show, impossible in fact, Those flimsy webs, that break as soon as wrought, Attain not to the dignity of thought:
Nor yet the swarms, that occupy the brain, Where dreams of dress, intrigue, and pleasure reign;
Nor such as useless conversation breeds,
Or lust engenders, and indulgence feeds.
Whence, and what are we? to what end ordain'd?
What means the drama by the world sustain'd?
Business or vain amusement, care or mirth,
Divide the frail inhabitants of Earth.
Is duty a mere sport, or an employ?
Life an intrusted talent, or a toy?
Is there, as reason, conscience, Scripture, say,
Cause to provide for a great future day,
When, Earth's assign'd duration at an end,
Man shall be summon'd, and the dead attend?
The trumpet-will it sound? the curtain rise?
And show th' august tribunal of the skies,
Where no prevarication shall avail,
Where eloquence and artifice shall fail,
The pride of arrogant distinctions fall,
And conscience and our conduct judge us all?
Pardon me, ye that give the midnight oil
To learned cares or philosophic toil,
Though I revere your honorable names,
Your useful labors and important aims,
And hold the world indebted to your aid,
Enrich'd with the discov'ries ye have made,
Yet let me stand excus'd, if I esteem
A mind employ'd on so sublime a theme,
Pushing her bold inquiry to the date
And outline of the present transient state,
And, after poising her advent'rous wings,
Settling at last upon eternal things,
Far more intelligent and better taught
The strenuous use of profitable thought,
Than ye, when happiest and enlighten'd most,
And highest in renown, can justly boast.
A mind unnerv'd, or indispos'd to bear
The weight of subjects worthiest of her care,
Whatever hopes a change of scene inspires,
Must change her nature, or in vain retires.
An idler is a watch, that wants both hands;
As useless if it goes, as when it stands.
Books therefore, not the scandal of the shelves.
In which lewd sensualists print out themselves;
Nor those, in which the stage gives vice a blow,
With what success let modern manners show;
Nor his, who, for the bane of thousands born,
Built God a church, and laugh'd his word to scorn,
Skilful alike to seem devout and just,
And stab religion with a sly side-thrust;
Nor those of learn'd philologists, who chase
A panting syllable through time and space,
Start it at home, and hunt it in the dark
To Gaul, to Greece, and into Noah's ark:
But such as learning without false pretence,
The friend of truth, th' associate of sound sense,
And such as in the zeal of good design,
Strong judgment lab'ring in the Scripture mine,
All such as manly and great souls produce,
Worthy to live, and of eternal use:
Behold in these what leisure hours demand,
Amusement and true knowledge hand in hand.
Luxury gives the mind a childish cast,
And, while she polishes, perverts the taste;
Habits of close attention, thinking heads,
Become more rare as dissipation spreads,
Till authors hear at length one gen'ral cry,
Tickle and entertain us, or we die.
The loud demand, from year to year the same,
Beggars Invention, and makes Fancy lame;
Till farce itself, most mournfully jejune,
Calls for the kind assistance of a tune;
And novels (witness every month's review)
Belie their name, and offer nothing new.
The mind, relaxing into needful sport,
Should turn to writers of an abler sort,
Whose wit well-manag`d, and whose classic style,
Give truth a lustre, and make wisdom smile.
Friends, (for I cannot stint, as some have done,
Too rigid in my view, that name to one;
Though one, I grant it, in the gen'rous breast
Will stand advanc'd a step above the rest :
Flow'rs by that name promiscuously we call,
But one, the rose, the regent of them all,)-——
Friends, not adopted with a schoolboy's haste,
But chosen with a nice discerning taste,
Well-born, well-disciplin'd, who, plac'd apart
From vulgar minds, have honor much at heart,
And, though the world may think th' ingredients odd,
The love of virtue, and the fear of God!
His soul exults, hope animates his lays,
The sense of mercy kindles into praise,
And wilds, familiar with a lion's roar,
Ring with ecstatic sounds unheard before:
"Tis love like his, that can alone defeat
The foes of man, or make a desert sweet.
Religion does not censure or exclude
Unnumber'd pleasures harmlessly pursued;
To study culture, and with artful toil
To meliorate and tame the stubborn toil;
To give dissimilar yet fruitful lands
The grain, or herb, or plant, that each demands
To cherish virtue in an humble state,
And share the joys your bounty may create;
To mark the matchless workings of the pow'r,
That shuts within its seed the future flow'r,
Bids these in elegance of form excel,
In color these, and those delight the smell,
Sends Nature forth the daughter of the skies,
To dance on Earth, and charm all human eyes;
To teach the canvas innocent deceit,
Or lay the landscape on the snowy sheet-
That leave no stain upon the wing of Time.
Me poetry (or rather notes that aim
Feebly and vainly at poetic fame)
|Employs, shut out from more important views,
Fast by the banks of the slow-winding Ouse;
Content if thus sequester'd I may raise
A monitor's, though not a poet's praise,
And while I teach an art too little known,
To close life wisely, may not waste my own.
Such friends prevent what else would soon succeed, These, these are arts pursued without a crime,
A temper rustic as the life we lead,
And keep the polish of the manners clean,
As theirs who bustle in the busiest scene;
For solitude, however some may rave,
Seeming a sanctuary, proves a grave,
A sepulchre, in which the living lie,
Where all good qualities grow sick and die.
I praise the Frenchman,* his remark was shrewd
How sweet, how passing sweet, is solitude!
But grant me still a friend in my retreat,
Whom I may whisper-solitude is sweet.
Yet neither these delights, nor aught beside,
That appetite can ask, or wealth provide,
Can save us always from a tedious day,
Or shine the dullness of still life away;
Divine communion, carefully enjoy'd,
Or sought with energy, must fill the void.
O sacred art, to which alone life owes
Its happiest seasons, and a peaceful close,
Scorn'd in a world, indebted to that scorn
For evils daily felt and hardly borne,
Not knowing thee, we reap with bleeding hands
Flow'rs of rank odor upon thorny lands,
And, while experience cautions us in vain,
Grasp seeming happiness, and find it pain.
Despondence, self-deserted in her grief,
Lost by abandoning her own relief,
Murmuring and ungrateful Discontent,
That scorns afflictions mercifully meant,
Those humors tart as wines upon the fret,
Which idleness and weariness beget;
These, and a thousand plagues, that haunt the breast,
Fond of the phantom of an earthly rest,
Divine communion chases, as the day
Drives to their dens th' obedient beasts of prey.
See Judah's promis'd king bereft of all,
Driv'n out an exile from the face of Saul,
To distant caves the lonely wand'rer flies,
To seek that peace a tyrant's frown denies.
Hear the sweet accents of his tuneful voice,
Hear him, o'erwhelm'd with sorrow, yet rejoice;
No womanish or wailing grief has part,
No, not a moment, in his royal heart;
"Tis manly music, such as martyrs make,
Suff'ring with gladness for a Savior's sake;
The history of the following production is briefly this: A lady, fond of blank verse, demanded a poem of that kind from the author, and gave him the SOFA for a subject. He obeyed; and, having much leisure, connected another subject with it: and, pursuing the train of thought to which his situation and turn of mind led him, brought forth at length, instead of the trifle which he at first intended, a serious affair-a volume.
In the poem on the subject of Education, he would be very sorry to stand suspected of having aimed his censure at any particular school. His objections are such as naturally apply themselves to schools in general. If there were not, as for the most part there is, wilful neglect in those who manage them, and an omission even of such discipline as they are susceptible of, the objects are yet too numerous for minute attention; and the aching hearts of ten thousand parents, mourning under the bitterest of all disappointments, attest the truth of the allegation. His quarrel, therefore, is with the mischief at large, and not with any particular instance of it.
Historical deduction of seats, from the stool to the Sofa. A school-boy's ramble. A walk in the country. The scene described. Rural sounds
as well as sights delightful. Another walk. These for the rich; the rest whom Fate had plac'd Mistake concerning the charms of solitude cor- In modest mediocrity, content rected. Colonnades commended. Alcove, and With base materials, sat on well-tann'd hides, the view from it. The wilderness. The grove. Obdurate and unyielding, glassy smooth, The thresher. The necessity and the bene- With here and there a tuft of crimson yarn, fits of exercise. The works of nature superior Or scarlet crewel, in the cushion fix'd, to, and, in some instances, inimitable by, art. If cushion might be call'd, what harder seem d The wearisomeness of what is commonly called Than the firm oak, of which the frame was form'd a life of pleasure. Change of scene sometimes No want of timber then was felt or fear'd expedient. A common described, and the cha- In Albion's happy isle. The lumber stood racter of Crazy Kate introduced. Gypsies. Pond'rous and fix'd by its own massy weight. The blessings of civilized life. The state most But elbows still were wanting; these, some say, favorable to virtue. The South-Sea islanders An alderman of Cripplegate contriv'd; compassionated, but chiefly Omai. His present And some ascribe th' invention to a priest, state of mind supposed. Civilized life friendly Burly, and big, and studious of his ease. to virtue, but not great cities. Great cities, and But rude at first, and not with easy slope London in particular, allowed their due praises, Receding wide, they press'd against the ribs, but censured. Fête-champêtre. The book con- And bruis'd the side; and, elevated high, Icludes with a reflection on the fatal effects of Taught the rais'd shoulders to invade the ears. dissipation and effeminacy upon our public mea- Long time elaps'd or ere our rugged sires Complain'd, though incommodiously pent in, And ill at ease behind. The ladies first 'Gan murmur, as became the softer sex. Ingenious Fancy, never better pleas'd Than when employ'd t' accommodate the fair, Heard the sweet moan with pity, and devis'd The soft settee; one elbow at each end, And in the midst an elbow it received, United yet divided, twain at once.
So sit two kings of Brentford on one throne ;
And so two citizens who take the air,
Close-pack'd, and smiling, in a chaise and one.
But relaxation of the languid frame,
By soft recumbency of out-stretch'd limbs,
Was bliss reserv'd for happier days. So slow
The growth of what is excellent; so hard
Tattain perfection in this nether world.
Thus first Necessity invented stools,
Convenience next suggested elbow-chairs,
And Luxury th' accomplish'd Sofa last.
I SING the Sofa. I, who lately sang
Truth, Hope, and Charity, and touch'd with awe
The solemn chords, and with a trembling hand,
Escap'd with pain from that advent'rous flight,
Now seek repose upon an humbler theme;
The theme though humble, yet august and proud
Th' occasion-for the Fair commands the song.
Time was, when clothing sumptuous or for use,
Save their own painted skins, our sires had none.
As yet black breeches were not; satin smooth,
Or velvet soft, or plush with shaggy pile:
The hardy chief upon the rugged rock
Wash'd by the sea, or on the grav❜ly bank
Thrown up by wintry torrents roaring loud,
Fearless of wrong, repos'd his weary strength.
Those barb'rous ages past, succeeded next
The birth-day of Invention; weak at first,
Dull in design, and clumsy to perform.
Joint-stools were then created; on three legs
Upborne they stood. Three legs upholding firm
A massy slab, in fashion square or round.
On such a stool immortal Alfred sat,
And sway'd the sceptre of his infant realms:
And such, in ancient halls and mansions drear,
May still be seen; but perforated sore,
And drill'd in holes, the solid oak is found,
By worms voracious eaten through and through.
At length a generation more refin'd
Improv'd the simple plan; made three legs four,
Gave them a twisted form vermicular,
And o'er the seat, with plenteous wadding stuff'd,
Induc'd a splendid cover, green and blue,
Yellow and red, of tap'stry richly wrought
And woven close, or needle-work sublime.
There might ye see the piony spread wide,
The full-blown rose, the shepherd and his lass,
Lapdog and lambkin with black staring eyes,
And parrots with twin cherries in their beak.
Now came the cane from India smooth and bright
With Nature's varnish; sever'd into stripes,
That interlac'd each other, these supplied
Of texture firm a lattice-work, that brac'd
The new machine, and it became a chair.
But restless was the chair; the back erect
Distress'd the weary loins, that felt no ease;
The slipp'ry seat betray'd the sliding part
That press'd it, and the feet hung dangling down,
Anxious in vain to find the distant floor.
The nurse sleeps sweetly, hir'd to watch the sick
Whom snoring she disturbs. As sweetly he,
Who quits the coach-box at the midnight hour,
To sleep within the carriage more secure;
His legs depending at the open door.
Sweet sleep enjoys the curate in his desk,
The tedious rector drawling o'er his head;
And sweet the clerk below. But neither sleep
Of lazy nurse, who snores the sick man dead;
Nor his, who quits the box at midnight hour,
To slumber in the carriage more secure;
Nor sleep enjoy'd by curate in his desk;
Nor yet the dozings of the clerk, as sweet,
Compar'd with the repose the Sofa yields.
O may I live exempted (while I live
Guiltless of pamper'd appetite obscene)
From pangs arthritic, that infest the toe
Of libertine Excess. The Sofa suits
The gouty limb, 'tis true; but gouty limb,
Though on a Sofa, may I never feel:
For I have lov'd the rural walk through lanes
Of grassy swarth, close-cropp'd by nibbling sheep,
And skirted thick with intertexture firm
Of thorny boughs; have lov'd the rural walk
O'er hills, through valleys, and by rivers' brink,
E'er since a truant boy I pass'd my bounds,
T' enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames;
And still remember, nor without regret,
Of hours, that sorrow since has much endear'd,
How oft, my slice of pocket-store consum'd,
Still hung'ring, penniless, and far from home, I fed on scarlet hips and stony haws,
Or blushing crabs, or berries, that emboss
The bramble, black as jet, or sloes austere.
Hard fare! but such as boyish appetite
Disdains not; nor the palate, undeprav'd
By culinary arts, unsav'ry deems.
No Sofa then awaited my return!
Nor Sofa then I needed. Youth repairs
His wasted spirits quickly, by long toil
Incurring short fatigue; and, though our years,
As life declines, speed rapidly away,
And not a year but pilfers as he goes
Some youthful grace, that age would gladly keep;
A tooth, or auburn lock, and by degrees
Their length and color from the locks they spare ;
The elastic spring of an unwearied foot,
That mounts the stile with ease, or leaps the fence,
That play of lungs, inhaling and again
Respiring freely the fresh air, that makes
Swift pace or steep ascent no toil to me,
Mine have not pilfer'd yet; nor yet impair'd
My relish of fair prospect; scenes that sooth'd
Or charm'd me young, no longer young, I find
Still soothing, and of pow'r to charm me still.
And witness, dear companion of my walks,
Whose arm this twentieth winter I perceive
Fast lock'd in mine, with pleasure such as love,
Confirm'd by long experience of thy worth
And well-tried virtues, could alone inspire-
Witness a joy that thou hast doubted long.
Thou know'st my praise of nature most sincere,
And that my raptures are not conjur'd up
To serve occasions of poetic pomp,
But genuine, and art partner of them all.
How oft upon yon eminence our pace
Has slacken'd to a pause, and we have borne
The ruffling wind, scarce conscious that it blew,
While Admiration, feeding at the eye,
And still unsated, dwelt upon the scene.
Thence with what pleasure have we just discern'd
The distant plow slow-moving, and beside
His lab'ring team, that swerv'd not from the track,
The sturdy swain diminish'd to a boy!
Here Ouse, slow winding through a level plain
Of spacious meads with cattle sprinkled o'er,
Conducts the eye along his sinuous course
Delighted. There, fast rooted in their bank,
Stand, never overlook'd, our fav'rite elms,
That screen the herdsman's solitary hut;
While far beyond, and overthwart the stream,
That, as with molten glass, inlays the vale,
The sloping land recedes into the clouds;
Displaying on its varied side the grace
Of hedge-row beauties numberless, square tow'r,
Tall spire, from which the sound of cheerful bells
Just undulates upon the list'ning ear,
Groves, heaths, and smoking villages, remote.
Scenes must be beautiful, which daily view'd
Please daily, and whose novelty survives
Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years,
Praise justly due to those that I describe.
Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds,
Exhilarate the spirit, and restore
The tone of languid Nature. Mighty winds,
That sweep the skirt of some far-spreading wood
Of ancient growth, make music not unlike
The dash of Ocean on his winding shore,
And lull the spirit while they fill the mind;
Unnumber'd branches waving in the blast,
And all their leaves fast flutt'ring, all at once.
Nor less composure waits upon the rcar
Of distant floods, or on the softer voice
Of neighb'ring fountain, or of rills that slip
Through the cleft rock, and, chiming as they fall
Upon loose pebbles, lose themselves at length
In matted grass, that with a livelier green
Betrays the secret of their silent course.
Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds,
But animated nature sweeter still,
To soothe and satisfy the human ear.
Ten thousand warblers cheer the day, and one
The livelong night: nor these alone, whose notes
Nice-finger'd Art must emulate in vain,
But cawing rooks, and kites that swim sublime
In still repeated circles, screaming loud,
The jay, the pie, and ev'n the boding owl,
That hails the rising moon, have charms for me.
Sounds inharmonious in themselves and harsh,
Yet heard in scenes where peace for ever reigns
And only there, please highly for their sake.
Peace to the artist, whose ingenious thought
Devis'd the weather-house, that useful toy!
Fearless of humid air and gath'ring rains,
Forth steps the man-an emblem of myself!
More delicate his tim'rous mate retires.
When Winter soaks the fields, and female feet,
Too weak to struggle with tenacious clay,
Or ford the rivulets, are best at home,
The task of new discov'ries falls on me.
At such a season, and with such a charge,
Once went I forth; and found, till then unknown
A cottage, whither oft we since repair:
'Tis perch'd upon the green hill top, but close
Environ'd with a ring of branching elms,
That overhang the thatch, itself unseen
Peeps at the vale below; so thick beset
With foliage of such dark redundant growth,
I call'd the low-roof'd lodge the Peasant's Nest.
And, hidden as it is, and far remote
From such unpleasing sounds, as haunt the ear
In village or in town, the bay of curs
Incessant, clinking hammers, grinding wheels,
And infants clam'rous whether pleas'd or pain'd
Oft have I wish'd the peaceful covert mine.
'Here," I have said, "at least I should possess
The poet's treasure, silence, and indulge
The dreams of fancy, tranquil and secure."
Vain thought! the dweller in that still retreat
Dearly obtains the refuge it affords.
Its elevated site forbids the wretch
To drink sweet waters of the crystal well:
He dips his bowl into the weedy ditch,
And, heavy laden, brings his bev'rage home,
Far fetch'd and little worth; nor seldom waits,
Dependent on the baker's punctual call,
To hear his creaking panniers at the door,
Angry, and sad, and his last crust consum'd.
So farewell envy of the Peasant's Nest!
If solitude make scant the means of life
Society for me!-thou seeming sweet,
Be still a pleasing object in my view;
My visit still, but never mine abode.
Not distant far a length of colonnade
Invites us. Monument of ancient taste,
Now scorn'd, but worthy of a better fate.
Our fathers knew the value of a screen
From sultry suns; and in their shaded walks
And long-protracted bow'rs, enjoy'd at noon
The gloom and coolness of declining day.
We bear our shades about us: self-depriv'd
Of other screen, the thin umbrella spread,
And range an Indian waste without a tree.
Thanks to Benevolus*-he spares me yet
These chestnuts rang'd in corresponding lines;
And, though himself so polish'd, still reprieves
The obsolete prolixity of shade.
Descending now (but cautious, lest too fast) A sudden steep upon a rustic bridge, We pass a gulf, in which the willows dip Their pendent boughs, stooping as if to drink. Hence, ancle-deep in moss and flow'ry thyme, We mount again, and feel at ev'ry step Our foot half-sunk in hillocks green and soft, Rais'd by the mole, the miner of the soil. He, not unlike the great ones of mankind, Disfigures Earth; and, plotting in the dark, Toils much to earn a monumental pile, That may record the mischiefs he has done.
The summit gain'd, behold the proud alcove That crowns it! yet not all its pride secures The grand retreat from injuries impress'd By rural carvers, who with knives deface The panels, leaving an obscure, rude name, In characters uncouth, and spelt amiss. So strong the zeal t' immortalize himself Beats in the breast of man, that ev'n a few, Few transient years, won from th' abyss abhorr'd Of blank oblivion, seem a glorious prize, And even to a clown. Now roves the eye; And, posted on his speculative height, Exults in its command. The sheep-fold here Pours out its fleecy tenants o'er the glebe. At first progressive as a stream, they seek The middle field; but, scatter'd by degrees, Each to his choice, soon whiten all the land. There from the sun-burnt hay-field homeward creeps The loaded wain; while, lighten'd of its charge, The wain that meets it passes swiftly by; The boorish driver leaning o'er his team Vocif'rous, and impatient of delay. Nor less attractive is the woodland scene, Diversified with trees of ev'ry growth, Alike, yet various. Here the grey smooth trunks Of ash, or lime, or beech, distinctly shine, Within the twilight of their distant shades; There, lost behind a rising ground, the wood Seems sunk, and shorten'd to its topmost boughs. No tree in all the grove but has its charms, Though each its hue peculiar; paler some, And of a wannish gray; the willow such, And poplar, that with silver lines his leaf, And ash, far-stretching his umbrageous arm; Of deeper green the elm; and deeper still, Lord of the woods, the long-surviving oak. Some glossy-leav'd, and shining in the sun, The maple, and the beach of oily nuts Prolific, and the lime at dewy eve Diffusing odors: nor unnoted pass The sycamore, capricious in attire, Now green, now tawny, and, ere Autumn yet Have chang'd the woods, in scarlet honors bright. O'er these, but far beyond (a spacious map Of hill and valley interpos'd between,) The Ouse, dividing the well-water'd land, Now glitters in the sun, and now retires, As bashful, yet impatient to be seen.
* John Courtney Throckmorton, Esq. of Weston Underwood.
Hence the declivity is sharp and short, And such the re-ascent; between them weeps A little naiad her impov'rish'd un All summer long, which winter fills again. The folded gates would bar my progress now, But that the lordt of this inclos'd demesne, Communicative of the good he owns, Admits me to a share; the guiltless eye Commits no wrong, nor wastes what it enjoys. Refreshing change! where now the blazing Sun? By short transition we have lost his glare, And stepp'd at once into a cooler clime. Ye fallen avenues! once more I mourn Your fate unmerited, once more rejoice That yet a remnant of your race survives. How airy and how light the graceful arch, Yet awful as the consecrated roof Re-echoing pious anthems! while beneath The chequer'd earth seems restless as a flood Brush'd by the wind. So sportive is the light Shot through the boughs, it dances as they dance Shadow and sun-shine intermingling quick, And dark'ning and enlight'ning, as the leaves Play wanton, ev'ry moment, ev'ry spot.
And now, with nerves new-brac'd and spirits We tread the wilderness, whose well-roll'd walks, With curvature of slow and easy sweepDeception innocent-give ample space
To narrow bounds. The grove receives us next;
Between the upright shafts of whose tall elms
We may discern the thresher at his task.
Thump after thump resounds the constant flail,
That seems to swing uncertain, and yet falls
Full on the destin'd ear. Wide flies the chaff,
The rustling straw sends up a frequent mist
Of atoms, sparkling in the noon-day beam.
Come hither, ye that press your beds of down,
And sleep not; see him sweating o'er his bread
Before he eats it.-"Tis the primal curse,
But soften'd into mercy; made the pledge
Of cheerful days, and nights without a groan.
By ceaseless action, all that is subsists.
Constant rotation of th' unwearied wheel,
That Nature rides upon, maintains her health,
Her beauty, her fertility. She dreads
An instant's pause, and lives but while she moves.
Its own revolvency upholds the World.
Winds from all quarters agitate the air,
And fit the limpid element for use,
Else noxious; oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams.
All feel the fresh'ning impulse, and are cleans'd
By restless undulation: ev'n the oak
Thrives by the rude concussion of the storm:
He seems indeed indignant, and to feel
Th' impression of the blast with proud disdain,
Frowning, as if in his unconscious arm
He held the thunder: but the monarch owes
His firm stability to what he scorns,
More fix'd below, the more disturb'd above.
The law, by which all creatures else are bound,
Binds man, the lord of all. Himself derives
No mean advantage from a kindred cause,
From strenuous toil his hours of sweetest ease.
The sedentary stretch their lazy length
When Custom bids, but no refreshment find,
For none they need: the languid eye, the cheek
Deserted of its bloom, the flaccid, shrunk,
And wither'd muscle, and the vapid soul,
† See the foregoing note.