Page images
PDF
EPUB

That nature lives; thát sight-refreshing green
Is still the livery, she delights to wear,
Though sickly samples of the exuberant whole.'
What are the casements lined with creeping herbs,
The prouder sashes fronted with a range
Of orange, myrtle, or the fragrant weed,
The Frenchman's* darling? are they not all proofs
That man, immured in cities, still retains
His inborn inextinguishable thirst
Of rural scenes, compensating his loss .
By supplemental shifts, the best he may?
The most unfurnished with the means of life,
And they that never pass their brick-wall bounds
To range the fields and treat their lungs with air,
Yet feel the burning instinct: over-head
Suspend their crazy boxes, planted thick,
And watered duly. There the pitcher stands
A fragment, and the spoutless tea-pot there;
Sad witnesses how close-pent man regrets
The country, with what ardour he contrives
A peep at nature, when he can no more...

Hail, therefore, patroness of health and ease; ·
Aħd contemplation, heart-consoling joys "
And harmless pleasures, in the thronged abode
Of multitudes unknown; hail,'rural? life! ::
Address himself who will to the pursuit : ,
Of honours, or emolument, or fame; "... ..
I shall not add myself to such a chase,

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Thwart his attempts, or envy his success. Some must be great. Great offices will have .. Great talents. And God gives to every man. The virtue, temper, understanding, taste, That lifts him into life, and lets him fall Just in the niche, he was ordained to fill, To the deliverer of an injured land He gives a tongue to enlarge upon, an heart To feel, and courage to redress her wrongs ; To monarchs dignity; to judges sense; . To artists ingenuity and skill; ... . To me an unambitious mind, content In the low vale of life, that early felt. "A wish for ease and leisure, and ere long Found here that leisure and that ease I wished.

· BOOK V.

THE WINTER MORNING WALK.

The Argument. A frosty morning. The foddering of cattle. --The woodman

and his dog.-The poultry.Whimsical effects of a frost at a waterfall. The empress of Russia's palace of ice. Arousements of monarchs. War, one of them.- Wars, whence-And whence monarchy.The evils of it. English and French loyalty contrasted. The Bastile, and a prisoner there.—Liberty the chief recommendation of this country. --Modern patriotism questionable, and why. --The perishable nature of the best human institutions. Spiritual liberty not perishable. The slavish state of man by nature.Deliver him, Deist, if you can.-Grace must do it. The respective merits of patriots and martyrs stated. Their different treatment.--Happy freedom of the man whom grace inakes free. His relish of the works of God.

Address to the Creator.

'Tis morning; and the sun, with ruddy orbAscending, fires the horizon; while the clouds, That crowd away before the driving wind, Mare ardent as the disk emerges more, Resemble most some city in a blaze,

Seen through the leafless wood. His slanting ray
Slides ineffectual down the snowy vale,
And tinging all with his own rosy hue,
From every herb and every spiry blade
Stretches a length of shadow o'er the field.
Mine, spindling into longitude immense,
In spite of gravity, and sage remark
That I myself am but a fleeting shade,
Provokes me to a sinile. - With eye askance
I view the muscular proportioned limb a
Transformed to a lean shank. The shapeless pair,
As they designed to mock me, at my side i
Take step for step; and as I near approach...
The cottage, walk along the plastered wall,
Preposterous sight! the legs without the man. .
The verdure of the plain lies buried deep
Beneath the dazzling deluge; and the bents,
And coarser grass, upspearing o'er the rest,
Of late unsightly and unseen, now shine .
Conspicuous, and in bright apparel clad,
And fledged with icy feathers, nod superb.
The cattle mourn in corners where the fence ,
Screens them, and seem half petrified to sleep:
In unrecumbent sadness. There they wait...
Their wonted fodder; not like hungering man,
Freiful if unsupplied; but silent, meek,.. .
And patient of the slow-paced swain's delay.
He from the stack carves out the accustomed load
Deep-plunging, and again deep-plunging oft, ...,
His broad keen knife into the solid mass:

Smooth as a wall the upright remnant stands, With such undeviating and even force He severs it away: no needless care, Lest storms should overset the leaning pile Deciduous, or its own unbalanced weight. Forth gees the woodman, leaving unconcerned The cheerful haunts of man, to wield the axe And drive the wedge in yonder forest drear, From morn to eve his solitary task. Shaggy, and lean, and shrewd, with pointed ears And tail cropped short, half lurcher and half cui, 1 His dog attends him. Close behind his heel Now creeps be slow; and now, with many a frisk Wide-scampering, snatches up the drifted snow With ivory teeth, or ploughs it with his suout; Then shakes his powdered coat, and barks for joy. Heedless of all his pranks, the sturdy churl Moves' right toward the mark; por stops for aught, But now and then with pressure of his thumb To adjust the fragrant charge of a short tube, That fumes beneath his nose: the trailing cloid Streams far behind him, scenting all the air. Now from the roost, or from the neighbouring pale, Where, diligent to catch the first faint gleam Of smiling day, they gossipped side by side, Come trooping at the housewife's well-known call The feathered tribes domestic, Half on wing And half on foot, they brush the fleecy flood, Conscious and fearful of too deep a plunge. The sparrows peep, and quit the sheltering eaves

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »