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Eternity's unknown expanse appears,
Still, as I touch the lyre, do thou expand
THE LOVER SEEKS RETIREMENT. --UIS SIGHS. -- HIS
VARIOUS MOTIVES TO RETIREMENT.
The lover too shuns business and alarms, Tender idolater of absent charms. Saints offer nothing in their warmest prayers, That he devotes not with a zeal like theirs ; 'T is consecration of his heart, soul, time, And every thought that wanders is a crime. In sighs he worships his supremely fair, And weeps a sad libation in despair ; Adores a creature, and, devout in vain, Wins in return an answer of disdain.
Nor these alone prefer a life recluse, Who seek retirement for its proper use ; The love of change, that lives in every breast, Genius, and temper, and desire of rest, Discordant motives in one centre meet, And each inclines its votary to retreat. Some minds by nature are averse to noise, And hate the tumult half the world enjoys, The lure of avarice, or the pompous prize, That courts display before ambitious eyes ; The fruits that hang on pleasure's flowery stem, Whate'er enchants them, are no snares to them. To them the deep recess of dusky groves, Or forest, where the deer securely roves, The fall of waters, and the song of birds, And hills that echo to the distant herds, Are luxuries excelling all the glare The world can boast, and her chief favorites share.
MISCHIEFS OF BEING IN LOVE. --- IT REFINES, BUT UNMANS. —
TIE POET SEEKS RETIREMENT ; NATURE'S PICTURES FOR HIM.
With eager step, and carelessly arrayed, For such a cause the poet seeks the shade. From all he sees he catches new delight, Pleased fancy claps her pinions at the sight; The rising or the setting orb of day, The clouds that flit, or slowly float away, Nature in all the various shapes she wears, Frowning in storms, or breathing gentle airs ; The snowy robe her wintry state assumes, Her summer heats, her fruits, and her perfumes ; All, all alike transport the glowing bard, Success in rhyme his glory and reward.
As woodbine weds the plant within her reach, Rough elm, or smooth-grained ash, or glossy beech, In spiral rings ascends the trunk, and lays Her golden tassels on the leafy sprays, But does a mischief while she lends a grace, Straitening its growth by suca a strict embrace, So love, that clings around the noblest minds, Forbids the advancement of the soul he binds ; The suitor's air indeed he soon improves, And forms it to the taste of her he loves, Teaches his eye a language, and no less Refines his speech, and fashions his address ; But farewell promises of happier fruits, Manly designs, and learning's grave pursuits ; Girt with a chain he cannot wish to break, His only bliss is sorrow for her sake ; Who will may pant for glory and excel, Her smile his aim, all higher aims farewell! Thyrsis, Alexis, or whatever name May least offend against so pure a flame, Though sage advice of friends the most sincere Sounds harshly in so delicate an ear, And lovers, of all creatures, tame or wild, Can least brook management, however mild ; Yet let a poet (poetry disarms The fiercest animals with magic charms) Risk an intrusion on thy pensive mood, And woo and win thee to thy proper good.
XATORE INVOKED TO INSPIRE THE POET.
O Nature ! whose elysian scenes disclose His bright perfections at whose word they rose, Next to that Power who formed thee and sustains, Be thou the great inspirer of my strains.
ADVICE TO THE LOVER. - BAD EFFECTS OF RURALITIES ON
HIM. --- RECALLED TO DUTY.
Pastoral images and still retreats, Umbrageous walks and solitary seats, Sweet birds in concert with harmonious streams, Soft airs, nocturnal vigils, and day-dreams, Are all enchantments in a case like thino, Conspire against thy peace with one design, Soothe thee to make thee but a surer prey, And feed the fire that wastes thy powers away. Up— God has formed thee with a wiser view, Not to be led in chains, but to subdue ; Calls thee to cope with enemies, and first Points out a conflict with thyself, the worst.
With mouths made only to grin wide and eat,
WOMAN, HER TRUE POSITION; TO BE BELOVED, NOT ADORED.
Woman, indeed, a gift He would bestow
HEBERDEN. -THE DISEASE OF MELANCHOLY DESCRIBED ; ITS
NEED OF SYMPATHY. -JOB. Virtuous and faithful Heberden! whose skill Attempts no task it cannot well fulfil, Gives melancholy up to Nature's care, And sends the patient into purer air. Look where he comes in this embowered alcove Stand close concealed, and see a statue move : Lips busy, and eyes fixed, foot falling slow, Arms hanging idly down, hands clasped below, Interpret to the marking eye distress, Such as its symptoms can alone express. That tongue is silent now; that silent tongue Could argue once, could jest or join the song. Could give advice, could censure or commend, Or charm the sorrows of a drooping friend. Renounced alike its office and its sport, Its brisker and its graver strains fall short; Both fail beneath a fever's secret sway, And like a summer-brook are past away. This is a sight for pity to peruse, Till she resemble faintly what she views, Till sympathy contract a kindred pain, Pierced with the woes that she laments in vain. This, of all maladies that man infest, Claims most compassion, and receives the least : Job felt it, when he groaned beneath the rod And the barbed arrows of a frowning God ; And such emollients as his friends could spare Friends such as his for modern Jobs prepare. MODERN JOB'S COMFORTERS SATIRIZED. — SORROW IS SACRED ;
A REALITY AND NOT A FANTASY Blessed, rather cursed, with hearts that never
feel, Kept snug in caskets of close-hammered steel,
SCENES OF NATURE CANNOT CURE THE WOUNDED SPIRIT.
GOD ITS ONLY PHYSICIAN. Then neither heathy wilds, nor scenes as fair As ever recompensed the peasant's care, Nor soft declivities with tufted hills, Nor view of waters turning busy mills, Parks in which Art preceptress Nature weds, Nor gardens interspersed with flowery beds, Nor gales, that catch the scent of blooming grores, And waft it to the mourner as he roves, Can call up lifo into his faded eye, That passes all he sees unheeded by ; No wounds like those a wounded spirit feels, No cure for such, till God, who makes them, heals, And thou, sad sufferer under nameless ill, That yields not to the touch of human skill, Improve the kind occasion, understand A Father's frown, and kiss his chastening hand. PEACE MADE WITH GOD CHANGES THE WHOLE ASPECT OF
NATURE, FROM GLOOM TO GLADNESS AND DELIGHT. To thee the dayspring and the blaze of noon, The purple evening and resplendent moon, The stars, that, sprinkled o'er the vault of night, Seem drops descending in a shower of light, Shine not, or undesired and hated shine, Seen through the medium of a cloud like thine : Yet seek Him, — in his favor life is found, All bliss beside, a shadow or a sound : Then heaven, eclipsed so long, and this dull earth, Shall seem to start into a second birth ; Nature, assuming a more lovely face, Borrowing a beauty from the works of Grace, Shall be despised and overlooked no more, Shall fill thee with delight unfelt before, Impart to things inanimate a voice, And bid her mountains and her hills rejoice ; The sound shall run along the winding vales, And thou enjoy an Eden ere it fails.
THE DISAPPOINTED STATESMAN SEEKS RETIREMENT. Ye groves (the statesman at his desk exclaims, Sick of a thousand disappointed aims), My patrimonial treasure and my pride, Beneath your shades your gray possessor hide, Receive me languishing for that repose The servant of the public never knows. Ye saw me once (ah, those regretted days, When boyish innocence was all my praise !) Hour after hour delightfully allot To studies then familiar, since forgot, And cultivate a taste for ancient song, Catching its ardor as I mused along ; Nor seldom, as propitious Heaven might send, What once I valued and could boast, a friend, Were witnesses how cordially I pressed His undissembling virtue to my breast ; Receive me now, not incorrupt as then, Nor guiltless of corrupting other men, But versed in arts, that, while they seem to stay A falling empire, hasten its decay. To the fair haven of my native home, The wreck of what I was, fatigued I come ; For once I can approve the patriot's voice, And make the course he recommends my choice : We meet at last in one sincere desire, His wish and mine both prompt me to retire. 'T is done — he steps into the welcome chaise, Lolls at his ease behind four handsome bays, That whirl away from business and debate The disencumbered Atlas of the state.
Her hedgerow shrubs, a variegated store,
He chooses company, but not the squiro's, Whose wit is rudeness, whose good-breeding tires ; Nor yet the parson's, who would gladly come, Obsequious when abroad, though proud at home ; Nor can he much affect the neighboring peer, Whose toe of emulation treads too near ; But wisely seeks a more convenient friend, With whom, dismissing forms, he may unbend ! A man, whom marks of condescending grace Teach, while they flatter him, his proper place ; Who comes when called, and at a word withdraws, Speaks with reserve, and listens with applause ; Some plain mechanic, who, without pretence To birth or wit, nor gives nor takes offence ; On whom he rests well pleased his weary powers, And talks and laughs away his vacant hours. The tide of life, swift always in its course, May run in cities with a brisker force, But nowhere with a current so serene, Or half so clear, as in the rural scene.
THE SHEPHERD-BOY.-FREEDOM AS IT APPEARS TO HIM
AND TO THE STATE DRUDGE.
AMBITION RETURNS FROM RURAL DELIGHTS TO ITS TREADMILL
OF PATRIOTIC CARES.
Ask not the boy, who, when the breeze of morn First shakes the glittering drops from every thorn, Unfolds his flock, then under bank or bush Sits linking cherry-stones, or platting rush, How fair is freedom ? - he was always free : To carve his rustic name upon a tree, To snare the mole, or with ill-fashioned hook To draw th' incautious minnow from the brook, Are life's prime pleasures in his simple view, His flock the chief concern he ever knew ; She shines but little in his heedless eyes, The good we never miss we rarely prize : But ask the noble drudge in state affairs, Escaped from office and its constant cares, What charms he sees in freedom's smile expressed, In freedom lost so long, now repossessed ; The tongue, whose strains were cogent as commands, Revered at home, and felt in foreign lands, Shall own itself a stammerer in that cause, Or plead its silence as its best applause.
Yet how fallacious is all earthly bliss ! What obvious truths the wisest heads may miss ! Some pleasures live a month, and some a year, But short the date of all we gather here ; No happiness is felt, except the true, That does not charm the more for being new. This observation as it chanced, not made, Or if the thought occurred, not duly weighed, He sighs — for after all by slow degrees The spot he loved has lost the power to please ; To cross his ambling pony day by day, Seems at the best but dreaming life away ; The prospect, such as might enchant despair, He views it not, or sees no beauty there ; With aching heart, and discontented looks, Returns at noon to billiards or to books, But feels, while grasping at his faded joys, A secret thirst of his renounced employs.
THE STATE DREDGE'S RELISH OF NATURE AND THE COUNTRY.
- HEDGE-ROWS. - MEADS. - DOWNS. -THE SEA-BOY.
He knows indeed that, whether dressed or rude, Wild without art, or artfully subdued, Nature in every form inspires delight, But never marked her with so just a sight.
The breathings of the lightest air that blows;
CONTEMPLATION OF NATURE RECOMMENDED TO THE FRIFO
He chides the tardiness of every post,
SUBURBAN RESIDENCES SATIRIZED.
AND APPROPRIATE RETREATS.
FASHIONABLE MIGRATION TO THE SEA-SHORE,
THE OCEAN. ITS SMILES AND ITS TERRORS.
Would ye, when rambling in your morning ride, With some unmeaning coxcomb at your side, Condemn the prattler for his idle pains, To waste unheard the music of his strains, And, deaf to all th' impertinence of tongue, That, while it courts, affronts and does you wrong, Mark well the finished plan without a fault, The seas globose and huge, th' o'er-arching vault, Earth's millions daily fed, a world employed In gathering plenty yet to be enjoyed, Till gratitude grew vocal in the praise Of God, beneficent in all his ways ; Graced with such wisdom, how would beauty shine! Ye want but that to seem indeed divine.
THE SPENDTHRIFT'S DISGUST IN THE CONTRY HE IS OBLIGED
TO SEEK - EXCEPT IN BOOKS Anticipated rents, and bills unpaid, Force many a shining youth into the shade, Not to redeem his time, but his estate, And play the fool, but at a cheaper rate. There, hid in loathed obscurity, removed From pleasures left, but never more beloved, He just endures, and with a sickly spleen Sighs o'er the beauties of the charming scene. Nature indeed looks prettily in rhyme ; Streams tinkle sweetly in poetic chime : The warblings of the blackbird, clear and strong, Are musical enough in Thomson's song ; And Cobham's groves, and Windsor's green retreats, When Pope describes them, have a thousand sweets; He likes the country, but in truth must own, Most likes it, when he studies it in town.
GOOD-NATCRED WILD JACK IMPOVERISHED. Poor Jack - no matter who — for when I blame I pity, and must therefore sink the name, Lived in his saddle, loved the chase, the course, And always, ere he mounted, kissed his horse. Th' estate, his sires had owned in ancient years, Was quickly distanced, matched against a peer's. Jack vanished, was regretted and forgot ; 'T is wild good-nature's never-failing lot. At length, when all had long supposed him dead, By cold submersion, razor, rope, or lead,
THOUGHTS OF THE FUTURE.
MOTIVES FOR RETIREMENT.
THE LABORS OF THE LEARNED WEIGHED.
My lord, alighting at his usual place,
Nor such as useless conversation breeds,
Or lust engenders, and indulgence feeds.
Whence, and what are we ? to what end ordained ? And whistling, as if unconcerned and gay,
What means the drama by the world sustained ? Curried his nag, and looked another way.
Business or vain amusement, care or mirth, Convinced at last, upon a nearer view,
Divide the frail inhabitants of earth. 'Twas be, the same, the very Jack he knew ;
Is duty a mere sport, or an employ? O'erwhelmed at once with wonder, grief, and joy,
Life an intrusted talent, or a toy? He pressed him much to quit his base employ ;
Is there, as reason, conscience, Scripture, say, His countenance, his purse, his heart, his hand,
Cause to provide for a great future day, Influence and power, were all at his command :
When, earth's assigned duration at an end, Peers are not always generous as well-bred,
Man shall be summoned, and the dead attend ? But Granby was, meant truly what he said. [strange,
The trumpet — will it sound ; the curtain rise, Jack bowed, and was obliged, confessed 't was
And show the august tribunal of the skies ; That so retired he should not wish a change,
Where no prevarication shall avail, But knew no medium between guzzling beer
Where eloquence and artifice shall fail, And his old stint — three thousand pounds a year.
The pride of arrogant distinctions fall,
And conscience and our conduct judge us all ? Thus some retire to nourish hopeless woe ; Some seeking happiness not found below ; Some to comply with humor, and a mind
Pardon me, ye that give the midnight oil To social scenes by nature disinclined ;
To learned cares, or philosophic toil, Some swayed by fashion, some by deep disgust;
Though I revere your honorable names, Some self-impoverished, and because they must ;
Your useful labors and important aims, But few, that court retirement, are aware
And hold the world indebted to your aid, Of half the toils they must encounter there.
Enriched with the discoveries ye have made ; Lucrative offices are seldom lost
Yet let me stand excused, if I esteem For want of powers proportioned to the post :
A mind employed on so sublime a theme, Give even a dunce the employment he desires,
Pushing her bold inquiry to the date And he soon finds the talents it requires ;
And outline of the present transient state, A business with an income at its heels
And, after poising her adventurous wings, Furnishes always oil for its own wheels.
Settling at last upon eternal things, But in his arduous enterprise to close
Far more intelligent, and better taught His active years with indolent repose,
The strenuous use of profitable thought, He finds the labors of that state exceed
Than ye, when happiest, and enlightened most, His utmost faculties, severe indeed !
And highest in renown, can justly boast. LEISURE DIFFICULT TO MAXAGE. - THOUGHT AND REVERY. ”T is easy to resign a toilsome place,
A mind unnerved, or indisposed to bear But not to manage leisure with a grace ;
The weight of subjects worthiest of her care, Absence of occupation is not rest,
Whatever hopes a change of scene inspires, A mind quite vacant is a mind distressed.
Must change her nature, or in vain retires. The veteran steed, excused his task at length, An idler is a watch, that wants both hands ; In kind compassion of his failing strength,
As useless if it goes, as when it stands. And turned into the park or mead to graze,
Books therefore, not the scandal of the shelves, Exempt from future service all his days,
In which lewd sensualists print out themselves ; There feels a pleasure perfect in its kind,
Nor those in which the stage gives vice a blow, Ranges at liberty, and snuffs the wind :
With what success let modern manners show ; But when his lord would quit the busy road, Nor his, who, for the bane of thousands born, To taste a joy like that he had bestowed,
Built God a church, and laughed his Word to scorn, He proves, less happy than his favored brute, Skilful alike to seem devout and just, A life of ease a difficult pursuit.
And stab religion with a sly side-thrust; Thought, to the man that never thinks, may seem Nor those of learned philologists, who chase As natural as when asleep to dream ;
A panting syllable through time and space, But reveries (for human minds will act)
Start it at home, and hunt it in the dark, Specious in show, impossible in fact,
To Gaul, to Greece, and into Noah's ark ; Those flimsy webs, that break as soon as wrought, But such as learning without false pretence, Attain not to the dignity of thought :
The friend of truth, the associate of sound sense, Nor yet the swarms, that occupy the brain,
And such as, in the zeal of good design, Where dreams of dress, intrigue, and pleasure, reign; 'Strong judgment laboring in the Scripture mine,
WHAT LITERATURE LEISURE NEEDS.