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Surprizes often, while you' look around,
And nothing strikes your eye but fights of bliss ;
All various Nature pressing on the heart :
An elegant fufficiency, content,
Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books,
Ease and alternate labour, useful life,
Progressive virtue, and approving Heaven.
These are the matchless joys of virtuous love;
And thus their moments fly. The Seasons thus,
As ceaseless round a jarring world they roll,
Still find them happy; and consenting Spring
Sheds her own rofy garland on their heads:
Till evening comes at last, ferene and mild ;
When after the long vernal day of life,
Enamour'd more, as more remembrance swells
With many a proof of recollected love,
Together down they fink in social Neep;
Together freed, their gentle spirits fly
To scenes where love and bliss immortal reign.
THE PLEASURES OF RETIREMENT.
O KNEW he but his happiness, of men
The happiest he! who far from public rage,
Deep in the vale, with a choice few retir’d,
Drinks the pure pleasures of the rural life.
What tho' the dome be wanting, whose proud gate,
Each morning, vomits out the sneaking croud
Of Aatterers false, and in their turn abus'd ?
Vile intercourse! What tho' the glittering robe,
Of every hue reflected light can give,
Or floated loose, or stiff with mazy gold,
The pride and gaze of fools ! opprefs him not?
What tho', from utmost land and sea purvey'd,
For him each rarer tributary life
Bleeds not, and his insatiate table heaps
With luxury, and death? What tho? his bowl
Flames not with coftly juice; nor funk in beds
Oft of gay care, he toffes out the night,
Or melts the thoughtless hours in idle state?
What tho’ he knows not those fantastic joys,
That still amuse the wanton, ftill deceive;
A face of pleasure, but a heart of pain ;
Their hollow moments undelighted all?
Sure peace is his; a solid life estrang'd
To disappointment, and fallacious hope:
Rich in content, in Nature's bounty rich,
In herbs and fruits ; whatever greens the Spring,
When heaven descends in showers; or bends the bough
When Summer reddens, and when Autumn beams;
Or in the wint'ry glebe whatever lies
Conceal's and fattens with the richest fap:
These are not wanting ; nor the milky drove,
Luxuriant, spread o'er all the lowing vale:
Nor bleating mountains; nor the chide of streams,
And hum of bees, inviting fleep fincere
Into the guiltless breast, beneath the shade,
Or thrown at large amid the fragrant hay;
Nor aught befides of prospect, grove, or song,
Dim grottoes, gleaming lakes, and fountain clear.
Here too dwells simple truth; plain innocence;
Unsullied beauty ; found unbroken youth,
Patient of labour, with a little pleas'd;
Health ever blooming; unambitious toil;
Calm contemplation, and poetic ease.
The rage of nations, and the crush of states,
Move not the man, who, from the world escap'd,
In ftill retreats, and flowery solitudes,
To Nature's voice attends, from month to month,
And day to day, thro' the revolving year ;
Admiring, sees her in her every shape;
Feels all her sweet emotions at his heart;
Takes what she liberal gives, nor thinks of more.
He, when young Spring protrudes the burking gems,
Marks the first bud, and fucks the healthful gale
Into his freshen’d soul; her genial hours
He full enjoys; and not a beauty blows,
And not an opening blossom breathes, in vain.
In suminer he, beneath the living fhade,
Such as o'er frigid Tempe wont to wave,
Or Hemus cool, reads what the Muse, of these
Perhaps, has in immortal numbers fung;
Or what she dictates writes: and, oft an eye
Shot round, rejoices in the vigorous year.
When Autumn's yellow lustre gilds the world,
And tempts the fickled swain into the field,
Seiz'd by the general joy, his heart distends
With gentle throws; and, thro' the tepid gleams
Deep musing, then he best exerts his song.
Even Winter wild to him is full of bliss :
The mighty teinpest, and the hoary waste,
Abrupt, and deep, stretch'd o'er the buried earth
Awake to folemn thought. At night the skies,
Disclos'd, and kindled, by refining frost,
Pour every luftre on th' exalted eye.
A friend, a book, the fealing hours secure,
And mark them down for wisdom. With swift wing,
O'er land and sea th' imagination roams;
Or truth, divinely breaking on his mind,
Elates his being, and unfolds his powers ;
Or in his breaft heroic virtue burns.
The touch of kindred too and love he feels;
The modeft eye, whose beams on his alone
Extatic fine; the little strong embrace
Of prattling children, twift around his neck,
And emulous to please him, calling forth
The fond parental foul. Nor purpose gay,
Amusement, dance, or fong, he sternly fcorns;
For happiness and true philosophy
Are of the social, still, and smiling kind.
This is the life which those who fret in guilt,
And guilty cities, never knew; the life,
Led by primeval ages, uncorrupt,
When Angels dwelt, and God himself, with man!
ROM heav'n my strains begin; from heav'n descends
The flame of genius to the human breaft,
And love and beauty, and poetic joy
And inspiration. Ere the radiant sun
Sprang from the east, or 'mid the vault of night
The moon suspended her serener lamp;
Ere mountains, woods, or streams adorn'd the globe,
Or wisdom taught the sons of men her lore;
Then liv’d th' almighty One: then deep retir'd
In his unfathom'd essence, view'd the forms,
The forms eternal of created things ;
The radiant fun, the moon's nocturnal lamp,
The mountains; woods and streams, the rolling globe,
And wisdom's mien celestial. From the first
Of days, on them his love divine he fix'd,
His admiration : till in time compleat,
What he admir'd, and lov’d, his vital smile
Unfolded into being. Hence the breath
Of life informing each organic frame,
Hence the green earth, and wild resounding waves;
Hence light and shade alternate; warmth and cold ;
And clear autumnal skies and vernal show'rs,
And all the fair variety of things.
But not alike to every
Is this great scene unveil'd. For fince the claims
Of social life, to diff'rent labours urge
The active pow'rs of man ; with wise intent
The hand of nature on peculiar minds
Imprints a different bias, and to each
Decrees its province in the common toil.
To some she taught the fabric of the sphere,
The changeful moon, the circuit of the stars,
The golden zones of heav'n: to some she gave
To weigh the moment of eternal things,
Of time, and space, and fate's unbroken chain,
And will's quick impulse: others by the hand
She led o'er vales and mountains, to explore
What healing virtue swells the tender veins