Page images
PDF
EPUB

2

THE TASK.

BOOK V.

1:21

ARGUMENT OF THE FIFTH BOOK SHT

A frosty morning.-The foddering of cattle.-The woodman and his

dog.-The pcultry-Whimsical effects of frost at a waterfall.-The Empress of Russia's palace of ice.- Amusements of monarchs.

ents of monarchos War, one of them.--Wars, whence. And whence monarchy. The evils of it.-English and French loyalty contrasted. The Bastille, and a prisoner there. -Liberty the chief recommendation of country --Modern patriotism questionable, and why.--The perish-, able nature of the best human institutions.--Spiritaal liberty not perishable.--The slavish state of man by Datare. - 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 makes free. His relish of the works of God.

-Address to the Creator,

of their

T

1

THE TASK.

BOOK V.

THE WINTER MORNING WALK.

க த 197)

Iis morning; and the sun, with ruddy orb
Ascending, fires th' horizon ; while the clouds,
That crowd away before the driving wind,
More 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, tingeing all with his own rosy hue,
From ev'ry herb and ev'ry 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 smile. With eye askance
I view the muscular proportion'd limb
Transform'd to a lean shank. The shapeless pai.

VOL. II.

N

[ocr errors]

As they design’d to mock mę, at my side

X. 1952 Take step for step; and, as I near approach

?DA The cottage, walk along the plaster'd wall, Prepost'rous 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,

T Of late unsightly and unseen, now shine Conspicuous, and in bright apparel clad,

I covek And, fledg'd with icy feathers, nod superb.

SIL The cattle mourn in corners, where the fence

08 T Screens them, and seem half petrified to sleep

PadT In unrecumbent sadness. There they wait

este Their wonted fodder; not like hung’ring man, Fretful if unsupplied; but silent, meek, And patient of the slow-pac'd swain's delay,

10 He from the stack carves out th’ accustom’d load, Deep-plunging, and again deep-plunging, ofte, si His broad keen knife into the splid mass : Smooth as a wall the upright remnant stands, With such. undeviating and even force He severs it away: no heedless care, Lest storms should overset the leaning pile Deciduous, or it's own unbalanc'd weight,

*T Forth goes the woodman, leaving unconcern'de The cheerful haunts of man; to wield the And drive the wedge, in yonder forest dreapisans From morn to eve his solitary task, dua banta 70

[ocr errors]

the axe,

Shaggy, and leañ, and shrewd, with pointed ears,
And tail cropp'd short, half lurcher and half cur,
His dog attends him. Close behind his heel
Now creeps he slow; and

now,

with many a frisk Wide-scamp'ring, snatches up the drifted snow With 'ivry teeth, or ploughs it with his snout ; Then shakes his powder'd coat, and barks for joy. Heedless of all his pranks, the sturdy churl Moves right toward the mark; nor stops for aught, But now and then with pressure of his thumb T adjust

use the fragrant charge of a short tube,
That fumes beneath his nose: the trailing cloud
Streams far behind him, scênting all the air.
Now from the roost, or from the neighb'ring pale,
Where, diligent to catch the first faint gleam
Of smiling day, they gossip'd side by side,
Come trooping at the housewife's well-known call
The feather'd tribes domestic. Half on wing,
And half on foot, they brush the fleecy food,
Conscious and fearful of too deep à plunge.
The sparrows peep, and quit the shelt'ring eaves,
To seize the fair occasion ; well they eye
The scatter'd grain, and thievishly resolvid
T

escape th' impending famine, often scard
As oft return, a pert voracious kind.
Clean riddance quickly made, one only care
Remains to each, the search of sunny nook,
Or shed impervious to the blast. Resign*d

« PreviousContinue »