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Where sits the shepherd on the grassy turf,
Inhaling, healthful, the descending sun.
Around him feeds his many bleating flock,
Of various cadence; and his sportive lambs,
Their frolics play. And now the sprightly race
Invites them forth; when swift, the signal given,
They start away, and sweep the massy mound
That runs around the hill; the rampart once
Of iron war, in ancient barbarous times,
When disunited Britain ever bled,
Lost in eternal broil : ere yet she grew
To this deep-laid indissoluble state,
Where wealth and commerce lift the golden head,
And o'er our labours liberty and law,
Impartial, watch; the wonder of a world!
STILL let my song a nobler note assume,
And sing the infusive force of Spring on man;
When heaven and earth, as if contending, vie
To raise his being, and serene his soul.
Can he forbear to join the general smile
Of Nature ? Can fierce passions vex his breast,
While every gale is peace, and every grove
Is melody ? ...
In these green days,
Reviving sickness lifts her languid head;
Life flows afresh ; and young-eyed Health exalts
The whole creation round. Contentment walks
The sunny glade, and feels an inward bliss
Spring o'er his mind, beyond the power of kings
To purchase. Pure serenity apace
Induces thought and contemplation still.
By swift degrees the love of Nature works,
And warms the bosom; till at last, sublimed
To rapture and enthusiastic heat,
We feel the present Deity, and taste
The joy of God to see a happy world!
These are the sacred feelings of thy heart,
Thy heart inform’d by reason's purer ray,
O Lyttelton the friend! thy passions thus
And meditations vary, as at large,
Courting the Muse, through Hagley Park you stray;
Thy British Tempè..
Perhaps thy loved Lucinda shares thy walk,
With soul to thine attuned. Then Nature all
Wears to the lover's eye a look of love;
And all the tumult of a guilty world,
Toss'd by ungenerous passions, sinks away.-
But happy they, the happiest of their kind,
Whom gentler stars unite, and in one fate
Their hearts, their fortunes, and their beings blend !
Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will, With boundless confidence : for nought but love Can answer love, and render bliss secure. ... What is the world to them, Its pomp, its pleasure, and its nonsense all ? Who in each other clasp whatever fair High fancy forms, and lavish hearts can wish; Something than beauty dearer, should they look Or on the mind, or mind-illumined face; Truth, goodness, honour, harmony, and love, The richest bounty of indulgent Heaven! Meantime a smiling offspring rises round, And mingles both their graces. By degrees The buman blossom blows; and every day, Soft as it rolls along, shows some new charm, The father's lustre, and the mother's bloom. Then infant reason grows apace, and calls For the kind hand of an assiduous care, Delightful task! to rear the tender thought, To teach the young idea how to shoot, To pour the fresh instruction o'er the mind, . To breathe the enlivening spirit, and to fix The generous purpose in the glowing breast. Oh, speak the joy ! ye whom the sudden tear Surprises often, while you look around, And nothing strikes your eye but sights of bliss, All various Nature pressing on the heart : An elegant sufficiency, 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 rosy garland on their heads :
Till evening comes at last, serene 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 sink in social sleep; Together freed, their gentle spirits fly To scenes where love and bliss immortal reign.--id. ... PRIME Cheerer, Light! Of all material beings first and best ! Ellux divine ! Nature's resplendent robe ! Without whose vesting beauty all were wrapp'd In unessential gloom; and thou, O Sun! Soul of surrounding worlds! in whom best seen Sbines out thy Maker! may I sing of thee? 'Tis by thy secret, strong, attractive force, As with a chain indissoluble bound, Thy system rolls entire: . . . Informer of the planetary train! Without whose quickening glance their cumbrous orbs Were brute unlovely mass, inert and dead, And not, as now, the green abodes of life! How many forms of being wait on thee, Inhaling spirit! from the unfetter'd mind, By thee sublimed, down to the daily race, The mixing myriads of thy setting beam. The very dead creation from thy touch Assumes a mimic life. By thee refined, In brighter mazes the reluctant stream Plays o'er the mead. The precipice abrupt, Projecting horror on the blacken’d flood, Softens at thy return. The desert joys Wildy, through all his melancholy bounds. Rude ruins glitter; and the briny deep, Seen from some pointed promontory's top, Far to the blue horizon's utmost verge, Restless reflects a floating gleam. But this, And all the much transported Muse can sing, Are to thy beauty, dignity, and use, Unequal far; great delegated source Of light, and life, and grace, and joy below How shall I then attempt to sing of Him, Who, Light Himself, in uncreated Light Invested deep, dwells awfully retired From mortal eye, or angel's purer ken ?
Whose single smile has, from the first of time,
Fillid, overflowing, all those lamps of heaven
That beam for ever through the boundless sky!
But should he hide his face, the astonish'd sun,
And all the extinguish'd stars, would, loosening, reel
Wide from their spheres, and Chaos come again.
And yet was every faltering tongue of man,
Almighty Father! silent in Thy praise,
Thy works themselves would raise a general voice,
Even in the depth of solitary woods
By human foot untrod; proclaim Thy power,
And to the choir celestial Thee resound,
The eternal Cause, Support, and End of all !
To me be Nature's volume broad-displayed ;
And to peruse its all-instructing page,
Or, haply catching inspiration thence,
Some easy passage, raptured, to translate,
My sole delight; as through the falling glooms
Pensive I stray, or with the rising dawn
On fancy's eagle-wing excursive soar.
'Tis raging noon; and, vertical, the sun
Darts on the head direct his forceful rays.
O'er heaven and earth, far as the ranging eye
Can sweep, a dazzling deluge reigns; and all
From pole to pole is undistinguish'd blaze.
In vain the sight, dejected to the ground,
Stoops for relief; thence hot-ascending steams
And keen reflection pain. Deep to the root
Of vegetation parch'd, the cleaving fields
And slippery lawn an arid hue disclose,
Blast fancy's blooms, and wither even the soul.
Echo no more returns the cheerful sound
Of sharpening scythe: the mower, sinking, heaps
O'er him the humid hay, with flowers perfumed;
And scarce a chirping grasshopper is heard
Through the dumb mead. Distressful Nature pants.
The very streams look languid from afar;
Or, through the unshelter'd glade, impatient seem
To hurl into the covert of the grove.
All-conquering heat, Oh, intermit thy wrath!
And on my throbbing temples potent thus
Beam not so fierce! . . .
Welcome, ye shades! ye bowery thickets, hail !
Ye lofty pines ! ye venerable oaks !
Ye ashes wild, resounding o'er the steep!
Delicious is your shelter to the soul,
As to the hunted hart the sallying spring,
Or stream full-flowing, that his swelling sides
Laves, as he floats along the herbaged brink.
Cool, through the nerves, your pleasing comfort glides;
The heart beats glad; the fresh-expanded eye
And ear resume their watch; the sinews knit;
And life shoots swift through all the lighten'd limbs.
Around the adjoining brook, that purls along
The vocal grove, now fretting o'er a rock,
Now scarcely moving through a reedy pool,
Now startling to a sudden stream, and now
Gently diffused into a limpid plain;
A various group the herds and flocks compose,
Rural confusion ! on the grassy bank
Some ruminating lie; while others stand
Half in the flood, and often bending, sip
The circling surface. In the middle droops
The strong laborious ox, of honest front,
Which incomposed he shakes; and from his sides
The troublous insects lashes with his tail,
Returning still. Amid his subjects safe,
Slumbers the monarch-swain ; his careless arm
Thrown round his head, on downy moss sustain'd;
Here laid his scrip, with wholesome viands fill'd;
There, listening every noise, his watchful dog.
Light fly his slumbers, if perchance a flight
Of angry gad-flies fasten on the herd;
That startling scatters from the shallow brook
In search of lavish stream. Tossing the foam,
They scorn the keeper's voice, and scour the plain,
Through all the bright severity of noon;
While, from their labouring breasts, a hollow moan
Proceeding runs low-bellowing round the hills.
Oft in this season too the horse, provoked,
While his big sinews full of spirits swell,
Trembling with vigour, in the heat of blood,
Springs the high fence; and o'er the field effused,
Darts on the gloomy flood, with stedfast eye,
And heart estranged to fear: his nervous chest,
Luxuriant and erect, the seat of strength,
Bears down the opposing stream: quenchless his thirst;