Page images

Their length and color from the locks they spare ; . Th' elastic spring of an unwearied foot That mounts the stile with ease, or leaps the

fence, That play of lungs inhaling and again Respiring freely the fresh air, that makes Swift pace or steep ascent no toil to me, Mine have not pilfer'd yet ;, nor yet impair'd My relish of fair prospect ; scenes that sooth'd Or charm'd me young, no longer young, I find Still foothing and of power to charm me ftill. And witness, dear companion of my walks.. Whose arm this twentieth winter I perceive Fat lock'd in mine, with pleasure such as love Confirm’ long experience of thy worth And well-tried virtues could alone inspireWitness 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 llacken’d to a pause, and we have borne The ruffling wind scarce conscious that it blews While admiration feeding at the eye,


And fill unsated, dwelt upon the scene.
Thence with what pleasure have we just discern'd
The distant plough flow-moving, and beside

His lab’ring team that swery'd not from the track, . The sturdy fwain 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 solitary hut;
While far beyond and overthwart the stream
That as with molten glass inlays the vale,
The doping land recedes into the clouds ;

Displaying on its varied fide, the grace 1 Of hedge-row beauties numberless, square tow'r,

Tall spire, from which the sound of chearful bells Just undulates upon the list’ning ear ; Groves, heaths, and smoking villages remote. Scenes must be Leautiful which daily view'd Please daily, and whose novelty survives Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years. Praise justly due to those that I describe.

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 more, 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 silent course. Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds, But animated Nature sweeter still, To sooth and satisfy the human ear. Ten thousand warblers chear the day, and one, The live-long night: nor these alone, whose notes Nice-finger'd art must emulate in vain, But cawing rooks, and kites that swim sublimé In still repeated circles, screaming loud ; The jay, the pie, and ev'n' the boding owl

That hails the rising moon, have charms for me. · Sounds inharmonious in themselves and harsh,

Yet heard in scenes where peace for ever reigns, And only there, please highly for their fake.

Peace to the artist, whose ingenious thought Devised the weather-house, that useful toy! Fearlefs 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 ; so thick beset With foliage of such dark redundant growth, I calls the low-roof'd lodge the peasant's neft. And hidden as it is, and far remote From such unpleasing sounds as haunt the ear In village or in town, the bay of curs Incessant, clinking hammers, grinding wheels, And infants clam'rous whether pleas'd or pain'd,


Oft have I wish'd the peaceful covet 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 chrystal well ;:
He dips his bowl into the weedy ditch,
And heavy laden brings his bev'rage home
Far-fetch'd and little worth; nor seld omwa its,
Dependent on the baker's pun&tual 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 solitude make scant the means of life,
Society for me! thou seeming sweet,
Be still a pleasing obje& in my view,
My visit ftill, but never mine abode.

Not distant far, at length a colonade
Invites us. Monument of ancient taste,
Now scorn'd, but worthy of a better fate.
Our fathers knew the value of a screen
From fultry suns, and in their shaded walks
And long-protra&ted Low'rs, enjoy'd at noon


« PreviousContinue »