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Here hopes in safe repose to dwell,
Nor aught suspects the sylvan cell.
At morn I take my custom'd round,
To mark how buds yon shrubby mound;
And every opening primrose count,
That trimly paints my blooming mount:
Or o'er the sculptures, quaint and rude,
That grace my gloomy solitude,
I teach in winding wreaths to stray
Fantastic ivy’s gadding spray.
At eve, within
studious nook, I ope my
brass-embossed book, Pourtray'd with many a holy deed Of martyrs, crown’d with heavenly meed: Then, as my taper waxes dim, Chant, ere I sleep, my measur'd hymn; And, at the close, the gleams behold Of parting wings bedropt with gold.
While such pure joys my bliss create,
Who but would smile at guilty state?
Who but would wish his holy lot
In calm Oblivion's humble grot?
Who but would cast his pomp away,
To take my staff, and amice gray;
And to the world's tumultuous stage
Prefer the blameless hermitage?
The hinds how blest, who ne'er beguil'd
To quit their hamlet's hawthorn wild;
Nor haunt the crowd, nor tempt the main,
For splendid care, and guilty gain!
When morning's twilight-tinctur'd beam
Strikes their low thatch with slanting gleam,
They rove abroad in ether blue,
To dip the scythe in fragrant dew;
The sheaf to bind, the beech to fell,
That nodding shades a craggy dell.
Midst gloomy glades, in warbles clear,
Wild nature's sweetest notes they hear :
On green untrodden banks they view
The hyacinth's neglected hue:
In their lone haunts, and woodland rounds,
They spy the squirrel's airy bounds :
And startle from her ashen spray,
Across the glen, the screaming jay:
Each native charm their steps explore
Of Solitude's sequester'd store.
For them the moon with cloudless ray
Mounts, to illume their homeward way:
Their weary spirits to relieve,
The meadows incense breathe at eve.
No riot mars the simple fare,
That o'er a glimmering hearth they share:
But when the curfeu's measur'd roar
Duly, the darkening valleys o'er,
Has echoed from the distant town,
They wish no beds of cygnet-down,
No trophied canopies, to close
Their drooping eyes in quick repose.
Their little sons, who spread the bloom
Of health around the clay-built room,
Or through the primros'd coppice stray,
Or gambol in the new-mown hay;
Or quaintly braid the cowslip-twine,
Or drive afield the tardy kine;
Or hasten from the sultry hill,
To loiter at the shady rill;
Or climb the tall pine’s gloomy crest,
To rob the raven's ancient nest.
Their humble porch with honey'd flow'rs
The curling woodbine's shade embow'rs:
From the small garden's thymy mound
Their bees in busy swarms resound:
Nor fell Disease, before his time,
Hastes to consume life's golden prime:
But when their temples long have wore
The silver crown of tresses hoar;
As studious still calm peace to keep,
Beneath a flowery turf they sleep.
Beneath the beech, whose branches bare,
Smit with the lightning's livid glare,
O’erhang the craggy road,
And whistle hollow as they wave;
Within a solitary grave,
A Slayer of himself holds his accurs'd abode.
Lower'd the grim morn, in murky dies
Damp mists involv'd the scowling skies,
And dimm'd the struggling day;
As by the brook, that ling'ring laves
Yon rush-grown moor with sable waves,
Full of the dark resolve he took his sullen way.
I mark'd his desultory pace,
"His gestures strange, and varying face,
With many a mutter'd sound;
And ah! too late aghast I view'd
The reeking blade, the hand embru’d; He fell, and groaning grasp'd in agony the ground.
Full many a melancholy night
He watch'd the slow return of light;
And sought the powers of sleep,
To spread a momentary calm
O'er his sad couch, and in the balm
Of bland oblivion's dews his burning eyes to steep.
Full oft, unknowing and unknown,
He wore his endless noons alone,
Amid th' autumnal wood:
Oft was he wont, in hasty fit,
Abrupt the social board to quit, And gaze with eager glance upon the tumbling flood.
Beckoning the wretch to torments new,
Despair, for ever in his view,
A spectre pale, appear’d;
While, as the shades of eve arose,
And brought the day's unwelcome close,
More horrible and huge her giant-shape she rear'd.
• Is this,” mistaken Scorn will cry,
“ Is this the youth whose genius high
“ Could build the genuine rhyme ?
“ Whose bosom mild the favouring Muse
“ Had stor'd with all her ample views, « Parent of fairest deeds, and
Ah! from the Muse that bosom mild
By treacherous magic was beguild,
To strike the deathful blow :
She fill'd his soft ingenuous mind
With many a feeling too refin'd, And rous'd to livelier pangs his wakeful sense of woe.
Though doom'd hard penury to prove,
And the sharp stings of hopeless love ;
To griefs congenial prone,