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“ And gather husks of learning up at last, “ Now the rich harvest-time of life is past,
“ And winter marches on so fast? But, when I meant t'adopt thee for my son, “ And did as learn'd a portion assign, “As ever any of the mighty Nine,
“ Had to their dearest children done; “ When I resolv'd t exalt thy' anointed name, “ Among the spiritual lords of peaceful fame; “ Thou changeling! thou, bewitch'd with noise and show “ Wouldst into courts and cities from me go; “ Wouldst see the world abroad, and have a share " In all the follies and the tumults there : “ Thou wouldst, forsooth, be something in a state, “And business thou wouldst find, and wouldst create :
“ Business! the frivolous pretence “ Of human lusts, to shake off innocence;
“ Business ! the grave impertinence; “ Business! the thing which I of all things hate; “ Business! the contradiction of thy fate.
“Go, renegado! cast up thy account,
“ And see to what amount
“ Thy foolish gains by quitting me: “ The sale of Knowledge, Fame, and Liberty, “ The fruits of thy unlearn'd apostacy. “ Thou thought'st, if once the public storm were past, “ All thy remaining life should sun-shine be “ Behold! the public storm is spent at last, “ The sovereign 's tost at sea no more, “ And thou, with all the noble company,
“ Art got at last to shore. “ But, whilst thy fellow-voyagers I see “ All march'd up to possess the promis'd land, “ Thou still alone, alas ! dost gaping stand • Upon the naked beach, upon the barren sand !
“ As a fair morning of the blessed spring,
“ After a tedious stormy night, “ Such was the glorious entry of our king; “ Enriching moisture dropp'd on every thing; “ Plenty he sow'd below, and cast about him light!
“ But then, alas ! to thee alone “ One of old Gideon's miracles was shown; “ For every tree and every herb around
“ With pearly dew was crown'd, “And upon all the quicken'd ground
“ The fruitful seed of heaven did brooding lie, “And nothing but the Muse's fleece was dry.
“ It did all other threats surpass, (** When God to his own people said “ The men wliom through long wanderings he had led)
“ That he would give them ev'n a heaven of brass : - They look'd up to that heaven in vain,
That bounteous heaven, which God did not restrain “ Upon the most unjust to shine and rain. “ The Rachel, for which twice seven years and more
“ Thou didst with faith and labour serve, “ And didst (if faith and labour can) deserve,
Though she contracted was to thee,
“ Given to another, who had store " Of fairer and of richer wives before, “ And not a Leah left, thy recompense to be! “Go on : twice seven years more thy fortune try; “ Twice seven years more God in his bounty may
“ Give thee, to fling away “ Into the court's deceitful lottery :
* But think how likely 't is that thou, “ With the dull work of thy unwieldy plough, "Shouldst in a hard and barren season thrive,
“ Should even able be to live; “ Thou, to whose share so little bread did fall, “ In the miraculous year when manna rain'd on all.”
Thus spake the Muse, and spake it with a smile,
The melancholy Cowley said-
“ The hills which thou thyself hast made ?
“And my abused soul didst hear
“ T'hy golden Indies in the air ;
My ravish'd freedom to regain ;
“ There is a sort of stubborn weeds,
“ No wholesome herb can near them thrive,
“ The foolish sports I did on thee bestow, “ Make all my art and labour fruitless now; " Where once such fairies dance, no grass doth ever grow.
“ When my new mind had no infusion known,
“ That ever since I vainly try
Long work perhaps may spoil thy colours quite, “ But never will reduce the native white :
“ To all the ports of honour and of gain
I often steer my course in vain ; “ Thy gale comes cross, and drives me back again. “ Tlou slaken’st all my nerves of industry,
By making them so oft to be
Must as entirely cast-off thee,
" Do from the world retire.
(A fault which I, like them, am taught too late), “ l'or all that I gave up I nothing gain, “ And perish for the part which I retain.
“. Teach me not then, O thou fallacious Muse !
“ The court, and better king, t' accuse: “ The heaven under which I live is fair, “ The fertile soil will a full harvest bear : “ Thine, thine is all the barrenness; if thou “ Mak’st me sit still and sing, when I should plough. “ When I but think how many a tedious year
“ Our patient sovereign did attend
“ His long misfortunes' fatal end; “ Ilow cheerfully, and how exempt from fear, “ On the Great Sovereign's will he did depend; “ I ought to be accurst, if I refuse “ To wait on his, O thou fallacious Muse! “ Kings have long hands, they say; and though I be “ So distant, they may reach at length to me.
“ However of all princes, thou “ Shouldst not reproach rewards for being small or slow, “ Thou! who rewardest but with popular breath,
“ And that too after death.”
ODE ON SOLITUDE.
Hail, old patrician trees, so great and good !
Hail, ye plebeian underwood !
Where the poetic birds rejoice,
Pay, with their grateful voice.
Ye country-houses and retreat,
Which all the happy gods so love, That for you oft they quit their bright and great
Here Nature does a house for me erect,
Nature, the wisest architect,
Who those fond artist does despise
Yet the dead timber prize.
Here let me, careless and unthoughtful lying,
Hear the soft winds, above me flying,
With all their wanton boughs dispute,
Nor be myself, too, mute.
A silver stream shall roll his waters near,
Gilt with the sun-beams here and there
On whose enamel'd bank I'll walk,
How prettily they talk.
A wretched and too solitary he,
Who loves not his own company !
He'll feel the weight of’t many a day, Unless he call in sin or vanity
To help to bear 't away.
Oh Solitude, first state of human kind!
Which bless'd remain'd, till man did find
Ev'n his own helper's company.
The serpent made up three.
Though God himself, through countless ages, thee
His sole companion chose to be,
Thee, sacred Solitude, alone,
Sprang from the trunk of one.
Thou (though men think thine an unactive part)
Dost break and time th' unruly heart,
Which else would know no settled pace, Making it move, well-manag'd by thy art,
With swiftness and with grace. Thou the faint beams of reason's scatter'd light
Dost, like a burning-glass, unite ;
Dost multiply the feeble heat,
And noble fires beget.
Whilst this hard truth I teach, methinks, I see
The monster London laugh at me
I should at thee too, foolish city! If it were fit to laugh at misery ;
But thy estate I pity.
Let but thy wicked men from out thee go,
And all the fools that crowd thee so,
Even thou, who dost thy millions boast, A village less than Islington wilt grow,
A solitude almost.