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For none they need: the lapguid eye, the cheek
Deserted of its bloom., the flaccid, shrunk,
And withered muscle, and the vapid soul,
Reproach their owner with that love of rest,
To which he forfeits e'en the rest he loves.
Not such the alert and active. Measure life
By its true worth, the comfort it affords,
And theirs alone seems worthy of the name.
Good health, and, its associate in the most,
Good temper; spirits prompt to undertake,
And not soon spent, though in an arduous task ;
The powers of fancy and strong thought are theirs ;
E'en age itself seems privileged in them
With clear exemption from its own defects.
A sparkling eye beneath a wrinkled front
The veteran shows, and gracing a gray beard
With youthful smiles, descends toward the grave
Sprightly and old almost without decay.
Like a coy maiden, Ease, when courted most,
Farthest retires an idol, at whose shrine
Who oftenest sacrifice are favoured least.
The love of Nature, and the scenes she draws
Is Nature's dictate. Strange! there should be found
Who, self-imprisoned in their proud saloons,
Renounce the odours of the open field
For the unscented fictions of the loom;
Who, satisfied with only pencilled scenes,
Prefer to the performance of a God
Th' inferior wonders of an artist's hand !
Lovely indeed the mimic works of Art;
But Nature's works far lovelier. I admire,
None more admires, the painter's magic skill, Who shows me that which I shall never see, Conveys a distant country into mine, And throws Italian light on English walls : But imitative strokes can do no more Than please the eye-sweet Nature's every sense, The air salubrious of her lofty hills, The cheering fragrance of her dewy vales, And music of her woods-no works of man May rival these, these all bespeak a power Peculiar, and exclusively her own. Beneath the open sky she spreads the feast; 'Tis free to all'tis every day renewed; Who scorns it starves deservedly at home. He does not scorn it, who, imprisoned long In some unwholesome dungeon, and a prey To sallow sickness, which the vapours, dank And clammy, of his dark abode have bred, Escapes at last to liberty and light: His cheek recovers soon its healthful hue ; His eye relumines its extinguished fires; He walks, he leaps, he runs-is winged with joy, And riots in the sweets of every breeze. He does not scorn it, who has long endured A fever's agonies, and fed on drugs. ' Nor yet the mariner, his blood inflamed With acrid salts: his very heart athirst, To gaze at Nature in her green array, Upon the ship's tall side he stands, possessed With visions prompted by intense desire : Fair fields appear below, such as he left
Far distant, such as he would die to find
He seeks them headlong, and is seen no more.
The spleen is seldom felt where Flora reigns,
The lowering eye, the petulance, the frown,
And sullen sadness, that o'ershade, distort,
And mar the face of beauty, when no cause
For such immeasurable wo appears,
These Flora banishes, and gives the fair
Sweet smiles, and bloom less transient than her own.
It is the constant revolution, stale
And tasteless, of the same repeated joys,
That palls and satiates, and makes languid life
A pedlar's pack, that bows the bearer down.
Health suffers, and the spirits ebb, the heart
Recoils from its own choice-at the full feast
Is famished-finds no music in the song,
No smartness in the jest ; and wonders why.
Yet thousands still desire to journey on,
Though halt, and weary of the path they tread.
The paralytic, who can hold her cards,
But cannot play them, borrows a friend's hand
To deal and shuffle, to divide and sort
Her mingled suits and sequences; and sits,
Spectatress both and spectacle, a sad
And silent cypher, while her proxy plays.
Others are dragged into the crowded room
Between supporters; and, once seated, sit,
Through downright inability to rise,
Till the stout bearers lift the corpse again.
These speak a loud memento. Yet e'en these
Themselves love life, and cling to it, as he,
That overhangs a torrent, to a twig.
They love it, and yet loath it; fear to die,
Yet scorn the purposes for which they live.
Then wherefore not renounce them ? No--the dread,
The slavish dread of solitude, that breeds
Reflection and remorse, the fear of shame,
And their inveterate habits, all forbid.
Whom call we gay? That honour has been long
The boast of mere pretenders to the name.
The innocent are gay, the lark is gay,
That dries his feathers, saturate with dew,
Beneath the rosy cloud, while yet the beams
Of dayspring overshoot his humble nest.
The peasant too, a witness of his song,
Himself a songster, is as gay as he.
But save me from the gayety of those,
Whose headachs nail them to a noonday bed;
And save me too from theirs, whose haggard eyes
Flash desperation, and betray their pangs
For property stripped off by cruel chance;
From gayety, that fills the bones with pain,
The mouth with blasphemy, the heart with wo.
The earth was made so various, that the mind
Of desultory man, studious of change,
And pleased with novelty, might be indulged.
Prospects, however lovely, may be seen
Till half their beauties fade; the weary sight,
Too well acquainted with their smiles, slides off
Fastidious, seeking less familiar scenes.
Then snug enclosures in the sheltered vale,
Where frequent hedges intercept the eye,
Delight us; happy to renounce a while,
Not senseless of its charms, what still we love,
That such short absence may endear it more.
Then forests, or the savage rock, may please,
That hides the sea-mew in his hollow clefts
Above the reach of man. His hoary head,
Conspicuous many a league, the mariner
Bound homeward, and in hope already there,
Greets with three cheers exulting. At his waist,
A girdle of half-withered shrubs he shows,
And at his feet the baffled billows die.
The common, overgrown with fern, and rough
With prickly gorse, that, shapeless and deformed,
And dangerous to the touch, has yet its bloom,
And decks itself with ornaments of gold,
Yields no unpleasing ramble; there the turf
Smells fresh, and, rich in odoriferous herbs
And fungous fruits of earth, regales the sense
With luxury of unexpected sweets.
There often wanders one, whom better days
Saw better clad, in cloak of satin trimmed
With lace, and hat with splendid ribband bound.
A servant maid was she, and fell in love
With one who left her, went to sea, and died.
Her fancy followed him through foaming waves
To distant shores; and she would sit and weep
At what a sailor suffers ; fancy too,
Delusive most where warmest wishes are,
Would oft anticipate his glad return,
And dream of transports she was not to know.
She heard the doleful tidings of his death
And never smiled again ! and now she roams
The dreary waste; there spends the livelong day,
And there, unless when charity forbids,