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Who blindly turns aside, with haughty hand,
Whom sacred instinct would securely lead.
But thou, more humble swain, thy rural gates
Frequent unbar, and let thy flocks abroad,
From lea to croft, from mead to arid field;
Noting the fickle seasons of the sky.
Rain-sated pastures let them shun, and seek
Changes of herbage and salubrious flowers.
By their all-perfect Master inly taught,
They best their food and physic can discern;
For He, Supreme Existence, ever near,
Informs them. O'er the vivid

O'er the vivid green observe
With what a regular consent they crop,
At every fourth collection to the mouth,
Unsavoury crow-flower; whether to awake
Languor of appetite with lively change,
Or timely to repel approaching ill,
Hard to determine. Thou, whom nature loves,
And with her salutary rules entrusts,
Benevolent Mackenzie, say the cause.
This truth howe'er shines bright to human sense;
Each strong affection of th' unconscious brute,
Each bent, each passion of the smallest mite,
Is wisely given; harmonious they perform
The work of perfect reason, (blush, vain man)
And turn the wheels of nature's vast machine.

See that thy scrip have store of healing tar,
And marking pitch and raddle; nor forget
The shears true-pointed, nor th' officious dog,
Faithful to teach thy stragglers to return:
So may'st thou aid who lag along, or steal


320 326

1. Benevolent Mackenzie :' Dr Mackenzie, of Worcester, afterwards of Drumheugh, near Edinburgh; we believe the same with Joshua Mackenzie, father of the 'Man of Feeling.'



Aside into the furrows or the shades,
Silent to droop; or who, at every gate
Or hillock, rub their sores and loosened wool.
But rather these, the feeble of thy flock,
Banish before th' autumnal months: even age
Forbear too much to favour; oft renew,
And through thy field let joyous youth appear.

Beware the season of imperial love,
Who through the world his ardent spirit pours;
Even sheep are then intrepid: the proud ram
With jealous eye surveys the spacious field;
All rivals keep aloof, or desperate war
Suddenly rages; with impetuous force,
And fury irresistible, they dash
Their hardy frontlets; the wide vale resounds ;
The flock amazed stands safe afar; and oft
Each to the other's might a victim falls:
As fell of old, before that engine's sway,
Which hence ambition imitative wrought,
The beauteous towers of Salem to the dust.

Wise custom, at the fifth or sixth return,
Or ere they've pass'd the twelfth of orient morn,
Castrates the lambkins: necessary rite,
Ere they be numbered of the peaceful herd.
But kindly watch whom thy sharp hand hath grieved,
In those rough months, that lift the turning year: 351
Not tedious in the office; to thy aid
Favonius hastens; soon their wounds he heals,
And leads them skipping to the flowers of May;
May, who allows to fold, if poor the tilth,
Like that of dreary, houseless, common fields,
Worn by the plough: but fold on fallows dry;
Enfeeble not thy flock to feed thy land:
Nor in too narrow bounds the prisoners crowd:

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Nor ope the wattled fence, while balmy morn
Lies on the reeking pasture; wait till all
The crystal dews, impearled upon


Are touched by Phoebus' beams, and mount aloft,
With various clouds to paint the azure sky.

In teasing fly-time, dank, or frosty days,
With unctuous liquids, or the lees of oil,
Rub their soft skins, between the parted locks;
Thus the Brigantes;1 'tis not idle pains:
Nor is that skill despised, which trims their tails,
Ere summer heats, of filth and taggèd wool.
Coolness and cleanliness to health conduce.

To mend thy mounds, to trench, to clear, to soil
Thy grateful fields, to medicate thy sheep,
Hurdles to weave, and cheerly shelters raise,
The vacant hours require: and ever learn
Quick ether's motions: oft the scene is turned;
Now the blue vault, and now the murky cloud,
Hail, rain, or radiance; these the moon will tell,
Each bird and beast, and these thy fleecy tribe:
When high the sapphire cope, supine they couch, 380
And chew the cud delighted; but, ere rain,
Eager, and at unwonted hour, they feed:
Slight not the warning; soon the tempest rolls,
Scatt'ring them wide, close rushing at the heels
Of th' hurrying o'ertaken swains: forbear
Such nights to fold; such nights be theirs to shift
On ridge or hillock; or in homesteads soft,
Or softer cotes, detain them. Is thy lot
A chill penurious turf, to all thy toils
Untractable? Before harsh winter drowns
The noisy dykes, and starves the rushy glebe,
Shift the frail breed to sandy hamlets warm:

1 Brigantes :' the inhabitants of Yorkshire.




There let them sojourn, 'til gay Procnel skims
The thickening verdure, and the rising flowers.
And while departing Autumn all embrowns
The frequent-bitten fields; while thy free hand
Divides the tedded hay; then be their feet
Accustomed to the barriers of the rick,
Or some warm umbrage; lest, in erring fright,
When the broad dazzling snows descend, they run 400
Dispersed to ditches, where the swelling drift
Wide overwhelms: anxious, the shepherd swains
Issue with axe and spade, and, all abroad,
In doubtful aim explore the glaring waste;
And some, perchance, in the deep delve upraise,
Drooping, even at the twelfth cold dreary day,
With still continued feeble pulse of life;
The glebe, their fleece, their flesh, by hunger gnawed.

Ah gentle shepherd! thine the lot to tend,
Of all, that feel distress, the most assailed,
Feeble, defenceless: lenient be thy care:
But spread around thy tenderest diligence
In flowery spring-time, when the new-dropt lamb,
Tottering with weakness by his mother's side,
Feels the fresh world about him; and each thorn,
Hillock, or furrow, trips his feeble feet:
O guard his meek sweet innocence from all
The innum'rous ills, that rush around his life!
Mark the quick kite, with beak and talons prone,
Circling the skies to snatch him from the plain;
Observe the lurking crows; beware the brake;
There the sly fox the careless minute waits;
Nor trust thy neighbour's dog, nor earth, nor sky;
Thy bosom to a thousand cares divide.
Eurus oft flings his hail; the tardy fields

1 * Procne, or Progne:' the swallow.






Pay not their promised food; and oft the dam
O'er her weak twins with empty udder mourns,
Or fails to guard, when the bold bird of prey
Alights, and hops in many turns around,
And tires her also turning : to her aid
Be nimble, and the weakest, in thine arms,
Gently convey to the warm cote, and oft,
Between the lark's note and the nightingale's,
His hungry bleating still with tepid milk:
In this soft office may thy children join,
And charitable habits learn in sport:
Nor yield him to himself, ere vernal airs
Sprinkle thy little croft with daisy flowers:
Nor yet forget him; life has rising ills:
Various as ether is the pastoral care:
Through slow experience, by a patient breast,
The whole long lesson gradual is attained,
By precept after precept, oft received
With deep attention: such as Nuceus 1 sings
To the full vale near Soare's a enamoured brook,
While all is silence: sweet Hincklean swain!
Whom rude obscurity severely clasps :
The Muse, howe'er, will deck thy simple cell
With purple violets and primrose flowers,
Well-pleased thy faithful lessons to repay.

Sheep no extremes can bear: both heat and cold
Spread sores cutaneous; but, more frequent, heat:
The fly-blown vermin, from their woolly nest,
Press to the tortured skin, and flesh, and bone;
In littleness and number dreadful foes.
Long rains in miry winter cause the halt;
Rainy luxuriant summers rot your flock;



1.Nuceus:' Mr Joseph Nutt, an apothecary at Hinckley._2"Soare :' a river in Leicestershire.

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