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'Tis said he had a tuneful tongue,
Such happy intonation, Wherever he sat down and sung
He left a small plantation ; Wherever in a lonely grove
He set up his forlorn pipes, The gouty oak began to move,
And flounder into hornpipes.
The mountain stirr'd its bushy crown,
And, as tradition teaches, Young ashes pirouetted down
Coquetting with young beeches; And briony-vine and ivy-wreath
Ran forward to his rhyming, And from the valleys underneath
Came little copses climbing.
The linden broke her ranks and rent
The woodbine wreaths that bind her, And down the middle buzz! she went
With all her bees behind her:
With cypress promenaded,
By rivers gallopaded.
Came wet-shot alder from the wave,
Came yews, a dismal coterie ;
Poussetting with a sloe-tree :
The vine stream'd out to follow,
From many a cloudy hollow.
And wasn't it a sight to see,
When, ere his song was ended,
The country-side descended ;
Look'd down, half-pleased, half-frighten'd, As dash'd about the drunken leaves
The random sunshine lighten’d !
Oh, nature first was fresh to men,
And wanton without measure ; So youthful and so flexile then,
You moved her at your pleasure. Twang out, my fiddle ! shake the twigs !
And make her dance attendance ; Blow, flute, and stir the stiff-set sprigs,
And scirrhous roots and tendons.
'Tis vain ! in such a brassy age
I could not move a thistle ;
Scarce answer to my whistle ;
With strumming and with scraping,
The passive oxen gaping.
But what is that I hear? a sound
Like sleepy counsel pleading; O Lord !—'tis in my neighbour's ground,
The modern Muses reading. They read Botanic Treatises,
And Works on Gardening thro' there, And Methods of transplanting trees,
To look as if they grew there.
The wither'd Misses ! how they prose
O’er books of travell’d seamen, And show you slips of all that grows
From England to Van Diemen.
And alleys, faded places,
And warm'd in crystal cases.
But these, tho' fed with careful dirt,
Are neither green nor sappy; Half-conscious of the garden-squirt,
The spindlings look unhappy. Better to me the meanest weed
That blows upon its mountain, The vilest herb that runs to seed
Beside its native fountain.
And I must work thro' months of toil,
And years of cultivation,
To grow my own plantation.
I will not vex my bosom :
A little garden blossom.
DEEP on the convent-roof the snows
Are sparkling to the moon :
May my soul follow soon!
Slant down the snowy sward,
That lead me to my Lord :
As are the frosty skies,
That in my bosom lies.
As these white robes are soil'd and dark,
To yonder shining ground;
To yonder argent round;