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·C A N TO I.

YOU, who the fweets of rural life have known,

Despise th' ungrateful hurry of the town;

In Windsor groves your easy hours employ,
And, undisturb'd, yourself and Mufe enjoy.

This poem received many material corrections from the Author after it was first published.

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Thames liftens to thy ftrains, and filent flows,
And no rude wind through ruftling ofiers blows;
While all his wondering nymphs around thee throng,
To hear the Syrens warble in thy fong.

But I, who ne'er was bleft by Fortune's hand,
Nor brighten'd ploughfhares in paternal land,
Long in the noify town have been immur'd,
Refpir'd its smoke, and all its cares endur'd;
Where news and politics divide mankind,
And schemes of state involve th' uneafy mind;
Faction embroils the world; and every tongue
Is mov'd by flattery, or with fcandal hung:
Friendship, for fylvan fhades, the palace flies,
Where all muft yield to intereft's dearer ties :
Each rival Machiavel with envy burns,
And Honefty forfakes them all by turns;
While calumny upon each party's thrown,
Which both promote, and both alike difown.
Fatigu'd at last, a calm retreat I chofe,




And footh'd my harafs'd mind with fweet repose,
Where fields and fhades, and the refreshing clime, 25
Infpire the fylvan fong, and prompt my rhyme.
My Muse shall rove through flowery meads and plains,
And deck with Rural Sports her native strains
And the fame road ambitiously pursue,
Frequented by the Mantuan fwain and you.

'Tis not that rural fports alone invite,
But all the grateful country breathes delight;
Here blooming Health exerts her gentle reign,
And ftrings the finews of th' induftrious fwain.





Soon as the morning lark falutes the day,
Through dewy fields I take my frequent way,
Where I behold the farmer's early care

In the revolving labours of the year.

When the fresh Spring in all her state is crown'd, And high luxuriant grafs o'erfpreads the ground, 40 The labourer with a bending scythe is seen, Shaving the furface of the waving green; Of all her native pride difrobes the land, And meads lays wafte before his fweeping hand; While with the mounting fun the meadow glows, The fading herbage round he loosely throws: But, if fome fign portend a lasting shower, Th' experienc'd fwain foresees the coming hour; His fun-burnt hands the scattering fork forfake, And ruddy damfels ply the faving rake;



In rifing hills the fragrant harvest grows,

And spreads along the field in equal rows.

Now when the height of heaven bright Phoebus gains,

And level rays cleave wide the thirsty plains,

When heifers seek the fhade and cooling lake,
And in the middle path-way basks the fnake;
O lead me, guard me from the fultry hours,.
Hide me, ye forefts, in your closest bowers,
Where the tall oak his spreading arms entwines,
And with the beech a mutual fhade combines;
Where flows the murmuring brook, inviting dreams,
Where bordering hazle overhangs the ftreams,
Whose rolling current, winding round and round,
With frequent falls makes all the wood refound;

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Upon the moffy couch my limbs I caft,


And e'en at noon the sweets of evening taste.

Here I peruse the Mantuan's Georgic strains,

And learn the labours of Italian swains;

In every page I fee new landscapes rise,
And all Hefperia opens to my eyes;
I wander o'er the various rural toil,

And know the nature of each different foil:
This waving field is gilded o'er with corn,
That spreading trees with blushing fruit adorn:
Here I furvey the purple vintage grow,
Climb round the poles, and rife in graceful row:
Now I behold the steed curvet and bound,
And paw with reftlefs hoof the fmoking ground:
The dewlap'd bull now chafes along the plain,
While burning love ferments in every vein;
His well-arm'd front against his rival aims,
And by the dint of war his mistress claims:
The careful infect 'midft his works I view,
Now from the flowers exhauft the fragrant dew;
With golden treasures load his little thighs,
And steer his distant journey through the skies
Some against hoftile drones the hive defend,
Others with fweets the waxen cells diftend;
Each in the toil his deftin'd office bears,
And in the little bulk a mighty foul appears.

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Or when the ploughman leaves the task of day, And trudging homeward whistles on the way; When the big-udder'd cows with patience ftand, Waiting the ftroakings of the damfel's hand;







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