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And in a world, where, other illa apart,
All, all alike transport the glowing bard, The roving eye misleads the careless heart,
Success in rhyme his glory and reward. To limit thought, by nature prone to stray
O Nature! whose Elysian scenes disclose Wherever freakish Fancy points the way :
His bright perfections, at whose word they rose, To bid the pleadings of Self-love be still,
Next to that pow'r, who form'd thee and sustains, Resign our own, and seek our Maker's will;
Be thou the great inspirer of my strains. To spread the page of Scripture, and compare Still, as I touch the lyre, do thou expand Our conduct with the laws engraven there;
Thy genuine charms, and guide an artless hand, To measure all that passes in the breast,
That I may catch a fire but rarely known, Faithfully, fairly, by that sacred test;
Give useful light, though I should miss renown, To dive into the secret deeps within,
And, poring on thy page, whose ev'ry line To spare no passion and no fav'rite sin,
Bears proof of au intelligence divine, And search the themes, important above all,
May feel a heart enrich'd by what it pays, Oarselves, and our recov'ry from our fall.
That builds it's glory on it's Maker's praise. But leisure, silence, and a inind releas'd
Woe to the man, whose wit disclaims it's use, From anxious thoughts how wealth may be in. Glitt'ring in vain, or only to seduce, creas'd,
Who studies nature with a wanton eye, How to secure, in some propitious hour,
Admires the work, but slips the lesson ‘by ; The point of int'rest, or the post of pow'r,
His hours of leisure and recess employs A soul serene, and equally retird
In drawing pictures of forbidden joys, From objects too much dreaded or desir'd,
Retires to blazon his own worthless name, Safe from the clamours of perverse dispute,
Or shoot the careless with a surer aim. At least are friendly to the great pursuit.
The lover, too, shuns business and alarms, Op'ning the map of God's extensive plan,
Tender idolater of absent charms. We find a little isle this life of man;
Saints offer nothing in their warmest pray'rs, Eternity's unknown expanse appears
That he devotes not with a zeal like theirs; Circling around and limiting his years.
T is consecration of his heart, soul, time, The busy race examine and explore
And ev'ry thought that wanders is a crime. Each creek and cavern of the dangørous shore,
In sighs he worships his supremely fair, With care collect what in their eyes excels,
And weeps a sad libation in despair; Some shining pebbles, and some weeds and shells ; Adores a creature, and, devout in vain, Thus laden, dream that they are rich and great,
Wins in return an answer of disdain. And happiest he that groans beneath his weight; As woodbine weds the plant within her reach, The waves o’ertake them in their serious play, Rough elm, or smooth-grain’d ash, or glossy beech, And ev'ry hour sweeps multitudes away ;
In spiral rings ascends the trunk, and lays They shriek and sink, survivors start and weep,
Her golden tassels on the leafy sprays, Pursue their sport, and follow to the deep.
But does a mischief while she lends a grace, A few forsake the throng; with lifted eyes
Strait'ning it's growth by such a strict embrace; Ask wealth of Heav'n, and gain a real prize,
So love, that clings around the noblest minds, Truth, wisdom, grace, and peace, like that above, Forbids th' advancement of the soul he binds i Seal'd with his signet, whom they serve and love;
The suitor's air, indeed, he soon improves, Scorn'd by the rest, with patient hope they wait
And forms it to the taste of her he loves, A kind release from their imperfect state,
Teaches his eyes a language, and no less And, unregretted, are soon snatch'd away
Refines his speech, and fashions bis address; From scenes of sorrow into glorious day.
But farewell promiscs of happier fruits, Nor these alone prefer a life recluse,
Manly designs, and learning's grave pursuits; Who seek retirement for it's proper use;
Girt with a chain he cannot wish to break, The love of change, that lives in ev'ry breast,
His only bliss is sorrow for her ‘sake; Genius and temper, and desire of rest,
Who will may pant for glory and excel, Discordant motives in one centre meet,
Her smile his aim, all higher aims farewell! And each inclines it's vot'ry to retreat.
Thyrsis, Alexis, or whatever name Some minds by nature are averse to noise,
May least offend against 80 pure a fame, And hate the tumult half the world enjoys,
Though sage advice of friends the most sincere The lure of av'rice, or the pompous prize,
Sounds harshly in so delicate an ear, That courts display before ambitious eyes ;
And lovers, of all creatures, tame or wild,
Can least brook management, however mild,
The fiercest animals with magic charms)
Risk an intrusion on thy pensive mood, The fall of waters, and the song of birds,
And woo and win thee to thy proper good. And hills that echo to the distant herds,
Pastoral images and still retreats, Are luxuries excelling all the glare
Umbrageous walks and solitary seats, The world can boast, and her chief fav’rites share. Sweet birds in concert with harmonious streams, With eager step, and carelessly array'd,
Soft airs, nocturnal vigils, and day dreams, For such a cause the poet seeks the shade,
Are all enchantments in a case like thine, From all he sees he catches new delight,
Conspire against thy peace with one design, Pleas'd Fancy claps her pinions at the sight,
Soothe thee to make thee but a surer prey, The rising or the setting orb of day,
And feed the fire that wastes thy powers away. The clouds that flit, or slowly float away,
Up-God has form'd thee with a wiser view, Nature in all the various shapes she wears,
Not to be led in chains, but to subdue: Frowning in storms, or breathing gentle airs,
Calls thee to cope with enemies, and first snowy robe her wintry state assumes,
Points out a conflict with thyself, the worst. Her summer heats, her fruits, and her perfumes,
Woman, indeed-a gint he would bestow
Virtuous and faithful Heberden, whose skill
No wounds like those a wounded spirit feels, No cure for such, till God, who makes them, heals. And thou, sad suff'rer under nameless ill, That yields not to the tonch of human skill, Improve the kind occasion, understand A Father's frown, and kiss his chastning hand. To thee the dayspring, and the blaze of noon, The purple ev'ning, and resplendent moon, The stars, that, sprinkled o'er the vault of night, Secm drops descending in a show'r of light, Shine not, or undesir'd and hated shine, Seen through the medium of a clond like thine: Yet seek Him; in His favour life is found All bliss beside, a shadow or a sound: Then Heav'n, eclips'd so long, and this dull earth, Shall seem to start into a second birth; Nature, assuming a more lovely face, Borrowing a beauty from the works of grace, Shall be despis'd and overlook'd no more, Shall fill thee with delights unfelt before, Impart to things inanimate a voice, And bid her mountains and her hills rejoice: The sound shall run along the winding vales, And thou enjoy an Eden ere it fails. Ye groves, (the statesman at his desk exclaims, Sick of a thousand disappointed aims,) My patrimonial treasure and my pride, Beneath your shades your grey possessor hide, Receive me, languishing for that repose The servant of the public never knows. Ye saw me once (ah, those regretted days, When boyish innocence was all my praise!) Hour after hour delightfully allot To studies then familiar, since forgot, And cultivate a taste for ancient song, Catching it's ardour as I mus'd along; Nor seldom, as propitious Heav'n might send, What once I valu'd and could boast, a friend, Were witnesses how cordially I press'd His undissembling virtue to my breast; Receive me now, not incorrupt as then, Nor guiltless of corrupting other men, But vers’d in arts, that, while they seem to stay A falling empire, hasten it's decay. To the fair haven of my native home, The wreck of what I was, fatigu'd I come; For once I can approve the patriot's voice, And make the course he recommends my choice : We meet at last in one sincere desire, His wish and mine both prompt me to retire. 'T is done-he steps into the welcome chaise, Lolls at his ease behind four handsome bays, That whirl away from business and debate The disencumber'd Atlas of the state. Ask not the boy, who, when the breeze of morn First shakes the glitt'ring drops from ev'ry thorn, Unfolds his flock, then under bank or bush Sits linking cherry-stones or platting rush, How fair is Freedom ?-he was always free: To carve his rustic name upon a tree, To snare the mole, or with ill-fashiou'd hook To draw th' incautious minnow from the brook, Are life's prime pleasures in his simple view, His flock the chief concern he ever knew; She shines but little in his heedless eyes, The good we never miss we rarely prize: But ask the noble drudge in state affairs, Escap'd from office and it's constant cares, What charms he sees in Freedom's smile express'd, In Freedom, lost so long, now repossess'd; The tongue, whose strains were cogent as com
mands, Rever'd at home, and felt in foreign landa,
Shall own itself a stamm'rer in that cause,
Delight the citizen, wbo, gasping there, Or plead it's silence as it's best applause.
Breathes clouds of dust, and calls it country air. He knows, indeed, that, whether dress'd or rude, O sweet retirement ! who would balk the thought, Wild withont art, or artfully subdu'd,
That could afford retirement, or could not? Nature in ev'ry form inspires delight,
'T is such an easy walk, so smooth and straight, But never mark'd her with so just a sight.
The second milestone fronts the garden-gate; Her hedge-row shrubs, a variegated store,
A step if fair, and, if a show'r approach, With woodbine and wild roses mantled o'er,
You find safe shelter in the next stage-coacb. Green balks and furrow'd lands, the stream that There, prison'd in a parlour snug and small, spreads
Like bottled wasps upon a southern wall, It's cooling vapour o'er the dewy meads,
The man of business and his friends, compressid, Downs, that almost escape th’ inquiring eye,
Forget their labours, and yet find no rest; That melt and fade into the distant sky,
But still 'tis rural--trees are to be seen Beauties he lately slighted as he pass'd,
From ev'ry window, and the fields are green ; Seem all created since he travell'd last.
Ducks paddle in the pond before the door, Master of all th' enjoyments he design’d,
And what could a remoter scene show more? No rough annoyance rankling in his mind,
A sense of elegance we rarely find What early philosophic hours he keeps,
The portion of a mean or valgar mind, How regular his meals, how sound he sleeps !
And ignorance of better things makes man, Not sounder he, that on the main-mast-head,
Who cannot much, rejoice in what he can; While morning kindles with a windy red,
And he, that deems his leisure well bestow'd Begins a long look out for distant land,
In contemplation of a turnpike-road, Nor quits till ev'ning watch his giddy stand,
Is occupied as well, employs his hours Then swift descending with a seaman's haste,
As wisely, and as much improves his pow'rs, Slips to his hammock, and forgets the blast.
As he that slumbers in pavilions, grac'd He chooses company, but not the squire's,
With all the charms of an accomplish'd taste. Whose wit is rudeness, whose good breeding tires; Yet hence, alas ! insolvencies ; and hence Nor yet the parson's, who would gladly come, Th' unpitied victim of ill-judg’d expense, Obsequious when abroad, though proud at home; From all his wearisome engagements freed, Nor can he much affect the neighb’ring peer,
Shakes hands with business, and retires indeed. Whose toe of emulation treads too near;
Yonr prudent grandmammas, ye modern belles, But wisely seeks a more convenient friend,
Content with Bristol, Bath, and Tunbridge-Wells, With whom, dismissing forms, he may anbend When health requir'd it, would consent to roam, A man, whom marks of condescending grace
Else more attach'd to pleasures found at home. Teach, while they flatter him, his proper place ; * But now alike, gay widow, virgin, wife, Who comes when call'd, and at a word withdraws, Ingenious to diversify dull life, Speaks with reserve, and listens with applause : In coaches, chaises, caravans, and hoys, Some plain mechanic, who, without pretence
Fly to the coast for daily, nightly joys, To birth or wit, nor gives nor takes offence;
And all, impatient of dry land, agree, On whom he rests well pleas’d his weary pow'rs, With one consent, to rush into the sea.And talks and laughs away his vacant hours.
Ocean exhibits, fathomless and broad, The tide of life, swift always in its course,
Much of the pow'r and majesty of God. May run in cities with a brisker force,
He swathes about the swelling of the deep, But nowhere with a current so serene,
That shines and rests, as infants smile and sleep; Or half so clear, as in the rural scene.
Vast as it is, it answers, as it flows, Yet how fallacious is all earthly bliss,
The breathings of the lightest air that blows; What obvious truths the wisest heads may miss i
Carling and whitning over all the waste, Some pleasures live a month, and some a year, The rising waves obey tl' increasing blast, But short the date of all we gather here;
Abrupt and horrid, as the tempest roars, No happiness is felt, except the true,
Thunder and flash upon the steadfast shores, That does not charm the more for being new.
Till He, that rides the whirlwind, checks the This observation as it chanc'd, not made,
rain; Or, if the thought occurr'd, not duly weigh’d.
Then all the world of waters sleeps again.
Nereids or Dryads, as the fashion leads,
Vot'ries of Pleasure still, where'er she dwells, Seems, at the best, but dreaming life away ;
Near barren rocks, in palaces, or cells, The prospect, such as might enchant despair,
O grant a poet leave to recommendHe views it not, or sees no beauty there;
A poet fond of Nature, and your friend, With aching heart, and discontented looks,
Her slighted works to your admiring view! Returns at noon to billiards or to books,
Her works must needs excel, who fashion'd you. Bat feels, while grasping at his faded joys,
Would ye, when rambling in your morning ride, A secret tl irst for his renounc'd employs.
With some unmeaning coxcomb at your side, He chides the tardiness of ev'ry post,
Condemn the prattler for his idle pains Pants to be told of battles won or lost,
To waste, unheard, the music of his strains, Blames his own indolence, observes, thongh late,
And, deaf to all th' impertinence of tongue 'T is criminal to leave a sinking state,
That, while it courts, affronts and does you wrong, Flies to the levee, and, receiv'd with grace,
Mark well'the finish'd plan, without a fault, Kneels, kisses bands, and shines again in place. The seas globose and huge, th' o'er-arching vanlt, Suburban villas, highway-side retreats,
Earth's millions daily fed, a world employ'd That dread the encroachment of our growing streets,
In gath’ring plenty, yet to be enjoy'd, Tight boxes, neatly sash'd, and in a blaze
Till gratitude grew vocal in the praise With all a July sun's collected rays,
or God, beneficent in all his ways
Grac'd with such wisdom, how would beauty shine! There feels a pleasure perfect in it's kind,
Ranges at liberty, and snuffs the wind :
But when his lord would quit the busy road, Force many a shining yonth into the shade,
To taste a joy like that he had bestow'd, Not to redeem his time, but his estate,
He proves-less happy than his favour'd brute, And play the fool, but at a cheaper rate.
A life of ease a difficult pnrsuit. There, hid in loath'd obscurity, remov'd
Thonght, to the man that never thinks, may seem Prom pleasures left, but never more belov'd,
As natural as when asleep to dream; He jnst endures, and with a sickly spleen
But reveries (for human minds will act), Sighs o'er, the beauties of the charming scene. Specions in show, impossible in factNature indeed looks prettily in rhyme;
Those flimsy webs, that break as soon as wrought, Streams tinkle sweetly in poetic chime;
Attain not to the dignity of thought :
Where dreams of dress, intrigue, and pleasure And Cobliam's groves, and Windsor's green retreats,
reigo; When Pope describes them, have a thousand sweets : Nor such as useless conversation breeds, He likes the conntry, but in truth must own,
Or lust engenders, and indulgence feeds. Most likes it when he studies it in town.
Whence, and what are we ? to what end ordain'd?
Business or vain amusement, care or mirth,
Is duty a mere sport, or an employ?
Cause to provide for a great future day, 'T is wild good nature's never failing lot.
When, earth's assign’d duration at an end,
The trumpet-will it sound? the curtain rise,
And show th' august tribunal of the skies, The Crown, look notice of an ostler's face.
Where no prevarication shall avail, Jack knew his friend, but hop'd, in that disgnise, Where cloqnence and artifice sball fail, He inight escape the most observing eyes,
The pride of arrogant distinctions fall, And whistling, as if unconcern'd and gay,
And Conscience and our conduct judge us all ? Curried his nag, and look'd another way.
Pardon me, ye that give the midnight oil Convinc'd at last, upon a nearer view,
To learned cares, or philosophic toil; 'I was he, the same, the very Jack he knew,
Thongh I revere your honourable names,
A mind employ'd on so sublime a theme,
Pushing her bold inquiry to the date Jack bow'd, and was oblig'd - confessid " was And outline of the present transient state, strange
And, after poising her advent'rous wings, That, so retir’d, he should not wish a change,
Settling at last upon eternal things, But knew no medium between guzzling beer,
Far more intelligent, and better taught And his old stint-three thousand pounds a year. The stremnous use of profitable thought, Thus some retire to nourish hopeless woe;
Than ye, when happiest and enlighten'd most, Some seeking happiness not found below;
And highest in renown, can jastly boast. Some to comply with humour, and a mind
A mind unnerv'd, or indispos’d to bear To social scenes by nature disinclin'd;
The weight of subjects worthiest of her care, Some sway'd by fashion, some by deep disgust; Whatever hopes a change of scene inspires, Some self-impov'rish'd, and because they must; Must change her nature, or in vain retires. But few, that court Retirement, are aware
An idler is a watch that wants both hands, of half the tvils they must encounter there.
As useless, if it goes, as when it stands. Lucrative offices are seldom lost
Books, therefore-not the scandal of the shelves, For want of pow'rs proportion'd to the post :
In which lewd sensualists print out themselves ; Give e'en a dunce th’employment he desires,
Nor those, in which the stage gives vice a blow, And he soon finds the talents it requires ;
With what success let modern manners show; A business, with an income at it's heels,
Nor his, who, for the bane of thousands born, Farnishes always oil for it's own wheels.
Built God a church, and laugh'd his word to scorn, But, in his arduous enterprise to close
Skilful alike to seem devout and just, His active years with indolent repose,
And stab religion with a sly side-thrust ; He finds the labours of that state exceed
Nor those of learned philologists, who chase His utmost facnlties, severe indeed.
A panting syllable through time and space, 'T is easy to resign a toilsome place,
Start it at home, and hunt it, in the dark, But not to manage leisure with a grace ;
To Gaul, to Greece, and into Noah's ark; Absence of occupation is not rest,
But such as Learning, without false pretence, A mind quite vacant is a mind distress'd.
The friend of Truth, th' associate of Sound Sense, The vetran steed, excus'd his task at length,
And such as in the zeal of good design, In kind compassion of his failing strength,
Strong judgment lab'ring in the Scripture mine, And turn'd into the park or mead to graze,
All such as manly and great souls prodnce, Exempt from future service all his days,
Worthy to live, and of eternal use :
No womanish or wailing grief has port,
Religion does not censure or exclude
Me poetry (or rather notes that aim Feebly and vainly at poetic fame) Employs, shut out from more important views, Fast by the banks of the slow-winding Ouse ; Content if, thus sequester'd, I may raise A monitor's, though not a poet's praise ; And, while I teach an art too little knownTo close life wisely, may not waste my own.
Bebold in these what leisure hours demand, Amusement and true knowledge hand in hand. Luxury gives the mind a childish cast, And, while she polishes, perverts the taste; Habits of close attention, thinking heads, Become more rare as dissipation spreads, Till authors hear at length one gen’ral cry, Tickle and entertain us, or we die. The loud demand, from year to year the saine, Beggars Invention, and makes Fancy lamc; Till Farce itself, most mournfully jejune, Calls for the kind assistance of a tune; And novels (witness every month's review) Belie their name, and offer nothing new. The mind, relaxing into needful sport, Should turn to writers of an ablor sort, Whose wit well manag'd, and whose classic style, Give truth a lustre, and make Wisdom smile. Friends, (for I cannot stint, as some have done, Too rigid in my vicw, that name to one;' Though one, I grant it, in the gen'rous breast Will stand advanc'd a step above the rest : Flow'rs by that name promiscuously we call, But one, the rose, the regent of them all,) Friends, not adopted with a schoolboy's haste, But chosen with a nice discerning taste, Well-born, well-disciplin'd, who, plac'd apart From vulgar minds, have honour much at heart, And, though the world may think th' ingredients odd, The love of virtue, and the fear of God! Such friends prevent what else would soon succeed, A temper rustic as the life we lead, And keep the polish of the manners clean As their's, who bustle in the busiest scene; For solitnde, however some may rave, Seeming a sanctuary, proves a grave, A scpulchre, in which the living lie, Where all good qualities grow sick and die. I praise the Frenchman,* his remark was shrewdHow sweet, how passing sweet, is solitude ! But grant me still a friend in my retreat, Whom I may whisper-solitude is sweet. Yet neither these delights, nor aught beside, That appetite can ask, or wealth provide, Can save us always from a tedious day, Or shine the dulness of still life away ; Divine communion, carefully enjoy'd, Or sought with energy, must fill the void. O sacred art! to which alone life owes It's happiest seasons, and a peaceful close, Scorn'd in a world, indebted to that scorn For evils daily felt and hardly borne, Not knowing thee, we reap with bleeding hands Flow'rs of rank odour upon thorny lands, And, while experience cautions us in vain, Grasp seeming happiness, and find it pain. Despondence, self-deserted in her grief, Lost by abandoning her own relief, Murmuring and ungrateful Discontent, That scorns afflictions mercifully meant, Those humours, tart as wines upon the fret, Which idleness and weariness beget; These, and a thousand plagues, that haunt the breast, Fond of the phantom of an earthly rest, Divine communion chases, as the day Drives to their dens th' obedient beasts of prey. See Judah’s promis'd king bereft of all, Driv'n out an exile from the face of Saul, To distant caves the lonely wandrer flies, To seek that peace a tyrant's tiwn denies. Hear the sweet accents of his tuneful voice, Hear him, o'erwhelm'd with sorrow, yet rejoice;
THERE was a time when Ætna's silent fire
Revolving seasons, fruitless as they pass,