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We'll ask no long protracted treat
(Since winter life is seldom sweet);
But when our feast is o'er,
Grateful from table we'll arise,
Nor grudge our sons, with envious eyes,
The relics of our store.
Thus hand in hand through life we'll go,
Its chequer'd paths of joy and woe
With cautious steps we'll tread;
Quit its vain scenes without a tear,
Without a trouble or a fear,
And mingle with the dead:
While conscience, like a faithful friend,
Shall through the gloomy vale attend,
And cheer our dying breath;
Shall, when all other comforts cease,
Like a kind angel whisper peace,
And smooth the bed of death.
Hail, mildly-pleasing Solitude!
Companion of the wise and good;
But from whose holy, piercing eye
The herd of fools and villains fly.
Oh! how I love with thee to walk,
And listen to thy whisper'd talk,
Which innocence and truth imparts,
And melts the most obdurate hearts.
A thousand shapes you wear with ease,
And still in every shape you please.
Now, wrapt in some mysterious dream,
A lone philosopher you seem;
Now quick from hill to vale you fly,
And now you sweep the vaulted sky.
A shepherd next, you haunt the plain,
And warble forth your oaten strain.
A lover now, with all the grace
Of that sweet passion in your face:
Then, calm'd to friendship, you assume
The gentle-looking Hartford's bloom,
As, with her Musiqora, she
(Her Musidora fond of thee)
Amid the long-withdrawing vale
Awakes the rivall'd nightingale.
Thine is the balmy breath of morn, Just as the dew-bent rose is born; And while meridian fervours beat, Thine is the woodland dumb retreat: But chief when evening scenes decay, And the faint landscape swims away, Thine is the doubtful soft decline, And that best hour of musing thine.
Descending angels bless thy train,
The virtues of the sage and swain;
Plain Innocence, in white array'd,
Before thee lifts her fearless head:
Religion's beams around thee shine,
And cheer thy glooms with light divine:
About thee sports sweet Liberty;
And rapt Urania sings to thee.
Oh! let me pierce thy secret cell,
And in thy deep recesses dwell.
Perhaps from Norwood's oak-clad hill,
When Meditation has her fill,
I just may cast my careless eyes
Where London's spiry turrets rise,
Think of its crimes, its cares, its pain,
Then shield me in the woods again.
Written in a Country Church-yard.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his drony flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;
Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r,
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wandering near her sacred bow'r,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twitt'ring from the straw-built shed,
The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care;
No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knee the envied kiss to share.
Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow of the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team a-field !
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke;
Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, and that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike th' inevitable hour,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If mem'ry o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flatt'ry sooth the dull cold ear of Death?