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So it is, when the mind is endued
With a well-judging taste from above; Then, whether embellish'd or rude,
"Tis nature alone that we love.
The achievements of art may amuse,
May even our wonder excite;
But groves, hills, and valleys, diffuse
A lasting, a sacred delight.
Since then in the rural recess
Catharina alone can rejoice, May it still be her lot to possess
The scene of her sensible choice! To inhabit a mansion remote
From the clatter of street-pacing steeds,
And by Philomel's annual note
To measure the life that she leads :
With her book, and her voice, and her lyre,
To wing all her moments at home;
And with scenes that new rapture inspiro,
As oft as it suits her to roam;
She will have just the life she prefers
With little to hope or to fear,
And ours would be pleasant as hers,
Might we view her enjoying it hero.
A HERMIT (or if chance you hold
That title now too trite and old),
A man, once young, who lived retired
As hermit could have well desired,
His hours of study closed at last,
And finish'd his concise repast;
THE MORALIZER CORRECTED.
Stoppled his cruise : replaced his book
Within its customary nook,
And, staff in hand, set forth to share
The sober cordial of sweet air,
Like Isaac, with a mind applied
To serious thought at ev'ning-tide.
Autumnal rains had made it chill,
And from the trees that fringed his hill,
Shades slanting at the close of day,
Chill'd more his else delightful way.
Distant a little mile he spied
A western bank's still sunny side,
And right toward the favour'd place
Proceeding with his nimblest pace,
In hope to bask a little yet,
Just reach'd it when the sun was set.
Your hermit, young and jovial sirs!
Learns something from whate'er occurs
And hence, he said, my mind computes
The real worth of man's pursuits.
His object chosen, wealth or fame,
Or other sublunary game,
Imagination to his view
Presents it deck'd with every hue,
That can seduce him not to spare
His powers of best exertion there,
But youth, health, vigour to expend
On so desirable an end.
Ere long approach life's evening shadee,
The glow, that fancy gave it, fades;
too late, it wants the grace That first engaged him in the chase.
True, answer'd an angelic guide,
Attendant at the senior's side
But whether all the time it cost,
To urge the fruitless chase be lost,
Must be decided by the worth
Of that which call'd his ardour forth.
Trifles pursued, whate'er the event,
Must cause him shame or discontent;
A vicious object still is worse,
Successfu' there he wins a curse;
But he, whom e'en in life's last stage,
Endeavours laudable engage,
Is paid, at least in peace of mind,
And sense of having well design'd;
And if, ere he attain his end,
His sun precipitate descend,
A brighter prize than that he meant
Shall recompense his mere intent.
No virtuous wish can bear a date
Either too early or too late.
The greenhouse is my summer seat; My shrubs displaced from that retreat
Enjoy'd the open air: Two goldfinches, whose sprightly song Had been their mutual solace long,
Lived happy prisoners there.
They sang, as blithe as finches sing,
That flutter loose on golden wing,
And frolic where they list;
Strangers to liberty, 'tis true,
But that delight they never knew,
And therefore never miss'd.
But nature works in every breast,
With force not easily suppress'd ;
And Dick felt some desires,
That, after many an effort vain,
Instructed him at length to gain
A pass between his wires.
The open windows seem'd t'invito
The freeman to a farewell flight;
But Tom was still confined;
And Dick, although his way was clear,
Was much too gen'rous and sincere,
To leave his friend behind.
So settling on his cage, by play,
And chirp, and kiss, he seem'd to say
You must not live alone-
Nor would he quit that chosen stand
Till I with slow and cautious hand,
Return'd him to his own.
O ye, who never taste the joys
Of friendship, satisfied with noise,
Fandango, ball, and rout!
Blush, when I tell you how a bird,
A prison with a friend preferr'd
To liberty without.
THERE is a field, through which I often pass,
Thick overspread with moss and silky grass,
Adjoining close to Kilwick's echoing wood,
Where oft the bitch-fox hides her hapless brood,
Reserved to solace many a neighbouring 'squire,
That he may follow them through brake and brier,
Contusion hazarding of neck, or spine
Which rural gentlemen call sport divine.
A narrow brook, by rushy banks conceal'd
Runs in a bottom, and divides the field;
Oaks intersperse it, that had once a head,
But now wear crests of oven-wood instead;
And where the land slopes to its watery bourn,
Wide yawns a gulf beside a ragged thorn;
Bricks line the sides, but shiver'd long ago,
And horrid brambles intertwine below;
A hollow scoop'd, I judge, in ancient time,
For baking earth, or burning rock to lime.
Nor yet the hawthorn bore her berries red,
With which the fieldfare, wintry guest, is fed ;
Nor Auturnn yet bad brush'd from every spray,
With her chill band, the mellow leaves away;
But corn was boused, and beans were in the stack;
Now therefore issued forth the spotted pack,
With tails high mounted, ears hung low, and throats,
With a whole gamut fill'd of heavenly notes,
For wbich, alas! my destiny severe,
Though ears she gave me two, gave me no ear.
The sun, accomplishing his early march,
His lamp now planted on Heaven's topmost arch,
When exercise and air my only aim,
And heedless whither, to that field I came,
Ere yet with ruthless joy the happy hound
Told hill and dale that Reynard's track was found,
Or with the high-raised horn's melodious clang
All Kilwick and all Dinglederry* rang.
Sheep grazed the field; some with soft bosom press'd The herb as soft, while nibbling stray'd the rest; Nor noise was heard but of the hasty brook, Struggling, detain'd in many a petty nook. All seem'd so peaceful, that, from them convey'd, To me their peace by kind contagion spread.
But when the huntsman, with distended cheek, "Gan make his instrument of music speak, And from within the wood that crash was heard, Though not a hound from whom it burst appear'd, The sheep recumbent, and the sheep that grazed, All huddling into phalanx, stood and gazed, Admiring, terrified, the novel strain, Then coursed the field around, and coursed it round
But, recollecting with a sudden thought,
That flight in circles urged advanced them nought,
They gather'd close around the old pit's brink,
And thought again—but knew not what to think
The man to solitude accustom'd long
Perceives in every thing that lives a tongue;
Not animals alone, but shrubs and trees
Have speech for him, and understood with ease ;
After long drought, when rains abundant fall,
He hears the herbs and flowers rejoicing all;
Knows what the freshness of their hue implies,
How glad they catch the largess of the skies ;
• Two woods belonging to Sir Icho Throckmorton