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And well-tried virtues could alone inspire-
Witness a joy that thou hast doubled long.
Thou know'st my praise of nature most sincere,
And that my raptures are not conjur'd up
To serve occasions of poetic pomp,
But genuine, and art partner of them all.
How oft, upon yon eminence, our pace
Has slacken'd to a pause; and we have borne
The ruffling wind scarce conscious that it blew,
While admiration, feeding at the eye,
And still unsated, dwelt upon the scene !
Thence with what pleasure have we just discern'd
The distant plough slow-moving and beside
His lab'ring team, that swervd not from the
The sturdy swain diminish'd to a boy!
Here Ouse, flow winding through a level plain
Of spacious meads with cattle sprinkled o’er,
Conducts the eye along his finuous course
Delighted. There, fast rooted in their bank
Stand, never overlook'd, our fav'rite elms,
That screen the herdsman's folitary hut;
While, far beyond and overthwart the stream
That as with molten glass inlays the vale,
The sloping land recedes into the clouds ;
Displaying on its varied side, the grace
Of hedge-row beauties numberless, square tow's,
Tall spire, from which the sound of chearful bells
Juft undulates upon the liftning ear!
Groves, heaths, and smoking villages remote.
Scenes must be beautiful which daily view'd
Please daily, and whose novelty survives
Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years.
Praise juftly due to those that I defcribe.
Nor rural fights alone, but rural sounds
Exhilarate the spirit, and restore
The tone of languid Nature. Mighty winds
That sweep the skirt of some far-spreading wood
Of ancient growth, make music not unlike
The dash of ocean on his winding shore,
And lull the spirit while they fill the mind;
Unnumber'd branches waving in the blast,
And all their leaves fast flutt'ring, all at once.
Nor less composure waits upon the roar
Of distant floods, or on the softer voice
Of neighb'ring fountain, or of rills that slip
Through the cleft rock, and chiming as they fall
Upon loose pebbles, lose themselves at length
In matted grass, that with a livelier green
Betrays the secret of their filent course.
Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds,
But animated Nature sweeter ftill,
To footh and satisfy the human ear.
Ten thousand warblers chear the day, and one,
The live-long night: nor these alone, whose
Nice-finger'd art must emulate in vain,
But cawing rooks, and kites that fwim fublime
In still repeated circles, screaming loud;
The jay, the pie, and ev'n the boding owl
That hails the rising moon, have charms for m
Sounds inharmonious in themselves and harsh,
Yet heard in scenes where peace for ever reigns,
And only there, please highly for their sake.
Peace to the artist, whose ingenious thought
Devised the weather-house, that useful toy !
Fearless of humid air and gathering rains
Forth steps the man, an emblem of myself,
More delicate his tim'rous mate retires.
When Winter soaks the fields, and female feet
Too weak to struggle with tenacious clay,
Or ford the rivulets, are best at home,
The task of new discov'ries falls on me.
At such a season and with such a charge
Once went I forth, and found, till then unknown,
A cottage, whither oft we fince repair :
'Tis perch'd upon the green-hill top, but close
Environ’d with a ring of branching elms
That overhang the thatch, itself unseen,
Peeps at the vale below ; fo thick befet
With foliage of such dark redundant growth,
I calld the low-roof'd lodge the peasant's nest.
And hidden as it is, and far remote
From such unpleafing sounds as haunt the ear
In village or in town, the bay of curs
Inceffant, clinking hammers, grinding wheels,
And infants clam'rous whether pleas'd or pain'd,
Oft have I wish'd the peaceful covert mine.
Here, I have said, at least I should possess
The poet's treasure, filence, and indulge
The dreams of fancy, tranquil and secure:
Vain thought ! the dweller in that still retreat
Dearly obtains the refuge it affords.
Its elevated fcite forbids the wretch
To drink sweet waters of the crystal well ;
He dips his bowl into the weedy ditch,
And heavy laden brings his bev'rage home
Far-fetch'd and little worth ; nor feldom waits,
Dependent on the baker's punctual call,
To hear his creaking panniers at the door,
Angry and fad and his last crust consumed.
So farewel envy of the peasant's neft.
If folitude make scant the means of life,
Society for me! thou seeming sweet,
Be still a pleasing object in my view,
My visit still, but never mine abode.
Not distant far, at length a colonade
Monument of ancient taste, Now scorn'd, but worthy of a better fate. Our fathers knew the value of a screen From sultry suns; and in their shaded walks And long-protracted bow'rs, enjoy'd at noon
The gloom and coolness of declining day.
We bear our shades about us ; felf-depriv'd
Of other screen, the thin umbrella spread,
And range an Indian waste without a tree.
Thanks to * Benevolus—he spares me yet
These chesnuts rang’d in corresponding lines,
And though himself so polish'd, still reprieves
The obsolete prolixity of shade.
Descending now (but cautious, lest too fast)
A sudden steep, upon a rustic bridge,
We pass a gulph, in which the willows dip
Their pendant boughs, stooping as if to drink.
Hence ancle deep in moss and flow'ry thyme
We mount again, and feel at ev'ry step
Our foot half funk in hillocks green and soft,
Rais'd by the mole, the miner of the foil.
He, not unlike the great ones of mankind,
Disfigures earth, and plotting in the dark,
Toils much to earn a monumental pile,
That may record the mischiefs - he has done.
The summit gain'd, behold the proud alcove That crowns it ! yet not all its pride fecures The grand retreat from injuries impressid By rural carvers, who with knives deface The pannels, leaving an obscure, rude name,
John Courtney Throckmorton, Efq. of Weston Underwood,