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Become a loathsome body, only fit
For diffolution, hurtful to the main.
Hence merchants, unimpeachable of fin
Against the charities of domestic life,
Incorporated seem at once to lose
Their nature; and disclaiming all regard
For mercy and the common rights of man,
Build factories with blood, conducting trade
At the sword's point, and dyeing the white robe
Of innocent commercial justice red.
Hence too the field of glory, as the world
Misdeems it, dazzled by its bright array,
With all its majesty of thundering pomp,
Enchanting music and immortal wreaths,
Is but a school, where thoughtlessness is taught
On principle, where foppery atones
For folly, gallantry for every vice.
But slighted as it is, and by the great Abandoned, and, which still I more regret, Infected with the manners and the modes, It knew not once, the country wins me ftill. I never framed a wish, or formed a plan, That flattered me with hopes of earthly bliss, But there I laid the scene. There early strayed
My fancy, ere yet liberty of choice
Had found me, or the hope of being free.
My very dreams were rural; rural too
The firft-born efforts of my youthful muse,
Sportive and jingling her poetic bells,
Ere yet her ear was mistress of their powers.
No bard could please me but whose lyre was tuned
To Nature's praises. Heroes and their feats
Fatigued me, never weary of the pipe
Of Tityrus, affembling, as he fang,
The ruftic throng beneath his favourite beech.
Then Milton had indeed a poet's charms:
New to my tafte his Paradise surpaffed
The struggling efforts of my boyish tongue
To speak its excellence. I danced for joy.
I marvelled much that, at so ripe an age
As twice seven years, his beauties had then firft
Engaged my wonder; and admiring still,
And still admiring, with regret supposed
The joy half loft because not sooner found.
There too enamoured of the life I loved,
Pathetic in its praise, in its pursuit
Determined, and poffeffing it at last
With transports, such as favoured lovers feel,
I studied, prized, and wished that I had known,
Ingenious Cowley! and, though now reclaimed
By modern lights from an erroneous taste,
I cannot but lament thy splendid wit
Entangled in the cobwebs of the schools.
I still revere thee, courtly though retired ;
Though stretched at ease in Chertsey's filent bowers,
Not unemployed; and finding rich amends
For a loft world in solitude and verse.
'Tis born with all: the love of Nature's works
Is an ingredient in the compound man,
Infused at the creation of the kind.
And, though the Almighty Maker has throughout
Discriminated each from each, by strokes
And touches of his hand, with so much art
Diversified, that two were never found
Twins at all points-yet this obtains in all,
That all discern a beauty in his works,
And all can tafte them: minds, that have been formed
And tutored with a relish more exact,
But none without some relish, none unmoved.
It is a flame, that dies not even there,
Where nothing feeds it: neither business, crowds,
Nor habits of luxurious city-life,
Whatever else they smother of true worth
In human bosoms; quench it ur abate.
The villas, with which London stands begirt,
Like a swarth Indian with his belt of beads,
Prove it. A breath of unadulterate air,
The glimpse of a green pasture, how they cheer
The citizen, and brace his languid frame !
Ev'n in the fifling bosom of the town
A garden, in which nothing thrives, has charms,
That footh the rich poffeffor; much consoled,
That here and there some sprigs of mournful mint,
Of nightshade, or valerian, grace the well
He cultivates. These serve him with a hint
That nature lives; that fight-refreshing green
Is still the livery she delights to wear,
Though fickly samples of the exuberant whole.
What are the casements lined with creeping herbs,
The prouder falhes fronted with a range
Of orange, myrtle, or the fragrant weed,
The Frenchman's * darling? are they not all proofs
man, immured in cities, ftill retains
His inborn inextinguishable thirst
Of rural scenes, compensating his lofs
By supplemental shifts, the best he may?
The most unfurnished with the means of life,
And they, that never pass their brick-wall bounds
To range the fields and treat their lungs with air,
Yet feel the burning instinct: over-head
Suspend their crazy boxes, planted thick,
And watered duly. There the pitcher stands
A fragment, and the spoutless tea-pot there ;
Sad witnesses how close-pent man regrets
The country, with what ardour he contrives
A peep at nature, when he can no more.
Hail, therefore, patroness of health and ease, And contemplation, heart-consoling joys And harmless pleasures, in the thronged abode Of multitudes unknown; hail, rural life! Address himself who will to the pursuit Of honours, or emolument, or fame; I shall not add myself to such a chase, Thwart his attempts, or envy his success. Some muft be great. Great offices will have Great talents. And God gives to every man The virtue, temper, understanding, tafte, That lifts him into life, and lets him fall Just in the niche, he was ordained to fill. To the deliverer of an injured land He gives a tongue to enlarge upon, an heart