« PreviousContinue »
The gloon and coolness of declining day. We bear our shades about us; self-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 soil. 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 secures The grand retreat from injuries impress’d
* John Courtney Throckmorion, Esq. of Weston Underwood
By rural carvers, who with knives deface
The pannels, leaving an obscure, rude name,
In characters uncouth, and spelt amiss.
So strong the zeal t' immortalize himself
Beats in the breast of man, that ev'n a few
Few transient years won from th' abyss abhorr'd
Of blank oblivion, seem a glorious prize,
And even to a clown. Now roves the eye,
And posted on this speculative height
Exults in its command. The sheep-fold here
Pours out its fleecy tenants o'er the glebe.
At first, progressive as a stream, they seek
The middle field ; but scatter'd by degrees,
Lach to his choice, soon whiten all the land.
There, from the sun-burnt hay-field, homeward
creeps . .. ..
The loaded wain, while lighten’d of its charge,
The wain that meets it passes swiftly by,
The boorish driver leaning o'er his team
Vocif'rous, and impatient of delay.
Nor less attractive is the woodland scene,
Diversified with trees of ev'ry growth
Alike yet various. Here the grey smooth trunks
Of ash or lime, or beech, distin&ly shine,
Within the twilight of their distant shades ;
There, loft behind a rising ground, the wood
Seems sunk, and shorten’d to its topmost boughs.
No tree in all the grove but has its charms,
Though each its hue peculiar; paler some,
And of a wannish grey; the willow such
And poplar, that with silver lines his leaf,
And ash far-stretching his umbrageous arm :
Of deeper green the elm; and deeper still,
Lord of the woods, the long-surviving oak.:
Some gloffy-leav'd and shining in the sun,
The maple, and the beech of oily nuts
Prolific, and the lime at dewy eve
Diffusing odors : nor unnoted pass
The fycamore, capricious in attire,
Now green, now tawny, and ere autumn yet
Have changed the woods, in scarlet honors bright.
Oer these, but far beyond, (a spacious map
Of hill and valley interpos’d between)
The Ouse, dividing the well-water'd land,
Now glitters in the sun, and now retires,
As bashful, yet impatient to be seen.
Hence the declivity is sharp and short,
And such the re-ascent; between them weeps
A little Naiad her impov'rish'd urn
All summer long, which winter fills again.
The folded gates would bar my progress now, But that the ý Lord of this inclosed demesne, Communicative of the good he owns, Admits me to a share : the guiltless cye Commits no wrong, nor wastes what it enjoys. Refreshing change! where now the blazing sun ? By short transition we have lost his glare, And stepp'd at once into a cooler clime. Ye fallen avenues ! once more I mourn Your fate unmerited, once more rejoice That yet a remnant of your race survives. How airy and how light the graceful arch, Yet awful as the consecrated roof Re echoing pious anthems! while beneath The chequer'd earth seems restless as a flood Brush'd by the wind. So sportive is the light Shot through the boughs, it dances as they dance, Shadow and sunshine intermingling quick, And darkning and enlightning, as the leaves Play wanton, ev'ry moment, ev'ry spot. . And now with nerves new-brac'd and spirits
chear'd We tread the wilderness, whose well-roll'd walks
With curvature of flow and easy sweep,
Deception innocent-give ample space
To narrow bounds. The grove' receives us next;
Between the upright shaftes of whose tall elms
We may discern the thresher at his task.
Thump after thump, resounds the constant fail,
That seems to swing uncertain, and yet falls
Full on the destin'd ear. Wide fies the chaff,
The rustling straw sends up a frequent mist
Of atoms sparkling in the noon-day beam.
Come hither, ye that press your beds of down
And sleep not : see him sweating o'er his bread
Before he eats it.-'Tis the primal curse,
But soften’d into mercy ; made the pledge
Of chearful days, and nights without a groan.
By ceaseless action, all that is, subsists.
Constant rotation of th' unwearied wheel
That nature rides upon, maintains her health,
Her beauty, her fertility. She dreads
An instant's pause, and lives but while she moves.
Its own revolvency upholds the world.
Winds from all quarters agitate the air,
And fit the limpid element for use,
Else noxious : oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams
All feel the fresh'ning impulse, and are cleansed