« PreviousContinue »
I.--The Shepherd and the Philosopher.
REMOTE from cities liv'd a swain,
Unvex'd with all the cares of gain.
His head was silver'd o'er with age,
And long experience made him sage:
In summer's heat and winter's cold,
He fed his flock and pennd the fold,
His hours in cheerful labour flew,
Nor envy nor ambition knew ;'
His wisdom and his honest fame,
Through all the country rais'd his name:
A deep philosopher, (whose rules
Of moral life were drawn from schools)
The Shepherd's homely cottage sought :
And thus explor'd his reach of thought.
Whence is thy learning ? Hath thy toil
O'er books consum'd the midnight oil ?
Hast thou old Greece and Rome survey'd,
And the vast sense of Plato weigh'd ?
Hath Socrates thy soul refin'd?
And hast thou fathom'd Tully's mind?
Or, like the wise Ulysses thrown,
By various fates, on realms unknown :
Hast thou through many cities stray'd,
Their customs, laws, and manners, weigh'd ?
The shepherd modestly reply'd,
I ne'er the paths of learning try'd ;
Nor have I roam'd in foreign parts,
To read mankind, their laws, and arts ;
For man is practis'd in: disguise ;
He cheats the most discerning eyes ;
Who by that search shall wiser grow,
When we ourselves can never know?
The little knowledge I have gain'd,
Was all from simple nature drain'd:
Hence my life's maxims took their rise,
Hence grew my settled hate to vice.
The daily labours of the bee
Awake my soul to industry.
Who can observe the careful ant,
And not provide for future want?
My dog, (the truest of his kind)
With gratitude infames my mind;
I mark his true, his faithfnl way,
And in my service copy Tray.
In constancy and nuptial love,
I learn' my duty from the dove.
The hen, who from the chilly air,
With pious wing protects her care,
And every fowl that flies at large,
Instructs me in a parent's charge.
From nature, too, I take my rule
To shun contempt and ridicule.
I never with important air,
In conversation overbear :
Can grave and formal pass for wise,-
Wben men the solemn owl despise ?
My tongue within my lips 1 rein,
For who talks much must talk in vain :
We from the woody torrent fly:
Who listens tu the chattering pie ?
Nor would I with felonious flight,
By stealth invade my neighbour's right:
Rapacious animals we hate :
Kites, hawks and womes deserve their fate.
Do not we just abhorrence find
Against the toad and serpent kind?
But envy, calumny and spite,
Bear stronger venom in their bite:
Thus every object of création
Can furnish bints for contemplation,
And from the most minute and mean,
A virtuous mind can morals glean.
Thy fame is just the sage replies:
Thy virtue proves thee truly wise.
Pride often guides the author's pen ;
Books as affected are as men:
But he who studies nature's laws,
From certain truth his maxims draws :
And those, without our schools, suffice
To make men moral, good and wise.
H.-Ode to Leven Water.
ON Leven's banks while free to rove.
And tune the rural pipe to love,
I envied not the bappiest swain
That ever trod th' Arcadian plain.
Pure stream ! in whose transparent wave
My youthful limbs I wont to lave;
No torrents stain thy limped source":
No rocks. impede thy dimpling course,
That sweetly warbles o'er its bed,
With white, round, polish'd pebbles spread :-
While, lightly pois'd, the scaly brood,
In myriads cleave thy chrystal flood;
The springing trout, in speckled pride :
The salmon, monarch of the tide ;
The ruthless pike, intent on war :
The silver eel, and mottled
par: Devolving from thy parent lake, A charming maze thy waters make,
By bowers of birch and groves of pine,
And hedges flower'd with eglantine.
Still on thy banks so gaily green,
May num'rous herds and focks be seen ;
And lasses, chanting o'er the pail ;
And shepherds, piping in the dale;
And ancient faith, that knows no guile ;
And industry, embrowu'd with toil ;
And heart resolv'd and hands preparid,
The blessings they enjoy to guard.
III.-Ode from the 19th Psalmt.
THE spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue etherial sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their great Original proclaim.
Th' unwearied sury from day to day,
Does his Creator's power display ;
And publishes to ev'ry land,
The work of an Almighty hand:
Soon as the evening shades prevail,
The moon takes up the wond'rous tale,
And, nightly, to the list'ning earth,
Repeats the story of her birth!
Whilst all the stars' that round her burn,
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.
What though, in solemn silence, all
Move round the dark terrestrial ball ?
What though no real voice nor sound
Amid these radiant orbs be found?
In reason's eor they all rejoice,
And utter" forth a glorious voice, .
Porever singing as they shine,
"The hand that made us is divine."*
SWEET Auburn! loveliest village of the plain :
Where health and plenty cheer'd the lab'ring swain;
Where smiling spring its earliest visits paid,
And parting summer's ling’ring blooms delay’d:
Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease!
Seats of my youth, when ev'ry sport could please!
How often have I loiter'd o'er thy green,
Where humble happiness endear'd each scene !
How often have I paus'd on every charm!
The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm,
The never failing brock, the busy mill,
The decent church, tbat topp'd the neighboring hill;
The hauthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
For talking age and whispering lovers made.
How often have I bless’d the coming day,
When toil remitting, lent its turn to play,
And all the village train from labour free,
Led up their spor beneath the spreading tree!
While many a pastime circled in the shade,
The young contending as the old survey'd :
And many a gambol frolick'd o'er the ground,
And slights of arts and feats of strengtwent round;
And still, as each repeated pleasure tir'd,
Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspir'd:
The dancing pair, that simply sought renown,
By holding out to tire each other down ;
The swain, mistrustless of his smutted face,
While secret laughter titter'd round the place:
The bashful virgin's sidelong looks of love,
The matron's glance, that would those looks reprove.
Sweet was the sound, when oft at evening's close ;
Up yonder hill the village murmur rose.
There as I pass’d with careless steps and slow,
The mingling notes came soften'd from below.
The'swain responsive as the milkmaid sung ;
The sober herd that low'd to meet their young;
The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool;
The playful children just let loose from school ;
The waich dog's voice, that bay'd the whisp'ring wind;
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind
These all, in soft confusion, sought the shade,
And filled each pause the nightingale had made.
V.-The Painter who pleased Nobody and Every Body.
LEST men suspect your tale untrue,
Koep probability in view.
The trav'ler leapingso'er those bounds,
The credit of his book confounds,
Who with his tougme hath armies routed,
Makes e'en his real courage doubted.
But flatt'iy never seems absurd ;
The flatter'd always take your word :
Impossibilities seem just;
'They take the strongest praise on trusts
Hyperboles, though e'er so great,
Will still come short of self conceit.
So very like a painter drew,
That ev'ry eye the picture knew;
He hit complexion, feature, air,
So just, that life itself was there ;
No fatt'ry with his.colours laid,
To bloom restor'd the faded maid ;
He gave each muscle all its strength,
The mouth, the chin, the nose's length.
His honest pencil touch'd with truth,
And mark'd the date of age and youtter
He lost his friends ; his practice failid,
Truth should not always be reveal'd ;
In dusty piles his pictures lay,
For no one sent the second pay.
Two busto's, fraught with every grace,
A Venus' and Apollo's face,
He placed in view, resolv'd to please,
Whoever sat, he drew from these ;
From these corrected every feature,
And spirited each aukward creature.
All things were set; the hour was come,
His palette ready o'er his thumb:
My Lord appear'd, and seated right,
In proper attitude and light,
The painter look'd, he sketch'd the piece ;
Then dip'd his pencil, talk'd of Greece,
Of Titian's tints, of Guido's air,
“Those eyes, my Lord, the spirit there,
Might well a Raphael's hand require,
To give them all the native fire ;
The features, fraught with sense and wit,
You'll grant, are very hard to hit :
But yet, with patience, you shall view
- As much as paint or art can do :
Observe the work."--My Lord reply'd
“ Till now I thouglrt my mouth was wide :
Besides, my nose is somewhat long ;
Dear sir, for me 'tis far too young."
* O pardon me,
" the artist cry'd,
“ In this we painters must decide.
The piece e'en common eyes must strike ;
I'll warrant it extremely like."
My Lofd examin'd it anew,
No looking-glass seem'd half so true.
A lady came.
With borrow'd grace,
He from his Venus form'd her face.
Her lover prais'd the painter's art,
So like the picture in his heart !
To every age some charm he lent;
E'en beauties were almost content.
T'hrough all the town his art they praised,
His custom grew, his price was rais'd.
Had he the real likeness shown,
Would any man the picture own?
But when thus happily he wrought,
Each found the likeness in his thougtit.
VI.- Diversity in the Human Character.
VIRTUOUS and vicious every heart must be,
Few in th'extreme, but all in the degree :
The rogue and fool by fits are fair and wise,
And e'er the best, by fits what they despise.