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Though plays, which breath'd heroic flame,
And novels, in profusion, came,
Imported fresh and fresh from France,
She only read the heart's romance.
The world, no doubt, was well enough
To smooth the manners of the rough;
Might please the giddy and the vain,
Those tinseld slaves of folly's train :
But, for her part, the truest taste
She found was in retirement plac'd,
Where, as in verse it sweetly flows,
« On every thorn instruction grows."
Not that she wish'd to “ be alone,”
As some affected prudes have done;
She knew it was decreed on high
We should " increase and multiply;"
And therefore, if kind Fate would grant
Her fondest wish, her only want,
A cottage with the man she lov'd
Was what her gentle heart approv'd;
In some delightful solitude
Where step profane might ne'er intrude;
But Hymen guard the sacred ground,
And virtuous Cupids hover round.
Not such as flutter on a fan
Round Crete's vile bull, or Leda's swan,
(Who scatter myrtles, scatter roses,
And hold their fingers to their noses)
But simp'ring, mild, and innocent
As angels on a monument.
Fate heard her pray'r: a lover came, Who felt, like her, th' innoxious flame; One who had trod, as well as she, The flow'ry paths of poesy; Had warm'd himself with Milton's heat, Could ev'ry line of Pope repeat, Or chant in Shenstone's tender strains, “ The lover's hopes," “ the lover's pains."
Attentive to the charmer's tongue, With him she thought no evening long; With him she saunter'd half the day ; And sometimes, in a laughing way, Ran o'er the catalogue by rote Of who might marry, and who not; “ Consider, sir, we ’re near relations" “ I hope so in our inclinations.". In short, she look'd, she blush'd consent; He grasp'd her hand, to church they went; And ev'ry matron that was there,
With tongue so voluble and supple,
Said, for her part, she must declare,
She never saw a finer couple.
O Halcyon days ! 'Twas Nature's reign,
'Twas Tempe's vale, and Enna's plain,
The fields assum'd unusual bloom,
And ev'ry zephyr breath'd perfume.
The laughing sun with genial beams
Danc'd lightly on th' exulting streams;
And the pale regent of the night,
In dewy softness shed delight.
'Twas transport not to be exprest;
'Twas Paradise !- -But mark the rest.
Two smiling springs had wak'd the flow'rs
That paint the meads, or fringe the bow'rs,
(Ye lovers, lend your wond'ring ears,
Who count by months, and not by years)
Two smiling springs had chaplets wove
To crown their solitude, and love :
When lo, they find, they can't tell how,
Their walks are not so pleasant now.
The seasons sure were chang'd; the place
Had, some how, got a diff'rent face.
Some blast had struck the cheerful scene;
The lawns, the woods, were not so green.
The purling rill, which murmur'd by,
And once was liquid harmony,
Became a sluggish, reedy pool:
The days grew hot, the ev’nings cool.
The moon, with all the starry reign,
Were melancholy's silent train.
And then the tedious winter night-
They could not read by candle-light.
Full oft, unknowing why they did,
They call'd in adventitious aid.
A faithful fav'rite dog ('twas thus
With Tobit and Telemachus)
Amus'd their steps; and for a while
They view'd his gambols with a smile.
The kitten too was comical,
She play'd so oddly with her tail,
Or in the glass was pleas'd to find
Another cat, and peep'd behind.
A courteous neighbour at the door
Was deem'd intrusive noise no more.
For rural visits, now and then,
Are right, as men must live with men.
Then cousin Jenny, fresh from town,
A new recruit, a dear delight!
Made many a heavy hour go down,
At morn, at noon, at eve, at night: Sure they could hear her jokes for ever, She was so sprightly, and so clever!
Yet neighbours were not quite the thing; What joy, alas! could converse bring With awkward creatures bred at home The dog grew dull, or troublesome. The cat had spoil'd the kitten’s merit, And, with her youth, had lost her spirit. And jokes repeated o'er and o'er, Had quite exhausted Jenny's store.
.“ And then, my dear, I can't abide This always saunt'ring side by side.”
Enough!” he cries, “ the reason's plain: For causes never rack
Our neighbours are like other folks,
Skip's playful tricks, and Jenny's jokes,
Are still delightful, still would please,
Were we, my dear, ourselves at ease.
Look round, with an impartial eye,
On yonder fields, on yonder sky;
The azure cope, the flow’rs below,
With all their wonted colours glow.
The rill still murmurs; and the moon
Shines, as she did, a softer sun.
No change has made the seasons fail,
No comet brush'd us with his tail.
The scene's the same, the same the weather-
We live, my dear, too much together."
Agreed. A rich old uncle dies,
And added wealth the means supplies.
With eager haste to town they flew,
Where all must please, for all was new.
But here, by strict poetic laws,
Description claims its proper pause.
The rosy morn had rais'd her head From old Tithonus' saffron bed ; And embryo sunbeams from the east, Half chok’d, were struggling through the mist, When forth advanc'd the gilded chaise, The village crowded round to gaze. The pert postillion, now promoted From driving plough, and neatly booted, His jacket, cap, and baldric on, (As greater folks than he have done) Look'd round; and, with a coxcomb air, Smack'd loud his lash. The happy pair Bow'd graceful, from a sep’rate door, And Jenny, from the stool before.
Roll swift, ye wheels! to willing eyes New objects ev'ry moment rise.