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For the close-woven arches of limes
On the banks of our river, I know,
Are sweeter to her many times
Than aught that the city can show.
So it is, when the mind is endu'd
With a well-judging taste from above;
Then, whether embellish'd or rude,
'Tis nature alone that we love.
The achievements of art may amuse,
May even our wonder excite,
But groves, hills, and valleys, diffuse
A lasting, a sacred delight.
Since then in the rural recess
Catharina alone can rejoice,
May it still be her lot to possess
The scene of her sensible choice!
To inhabit a mansion remote
From the clatter of street-pacing steeds, And by Philomel's annual note
To measure the life that she leads.
With her book, and her voice, and her lyre,
To wing all her moments at home;
And with scenes that new rapture inspire,
As oft as it suits her to roam;
She will have just the life she prefers,
With little to hope or to fear,
And ours would be pleasant as hers,
Might we view her enjoying it here.
A HERMIT, (or if 'chance you
That title now too trite and old)
A man, once young, who liv'd retir'd
As hermit could have well desir'd,
His hours of study clos'd at last,
And finish'd his concise repast,
Stoppled his cruise, replac'd his book
Within its customary nook,
And, staff in hand, set forth to share
The sober cordial of sweet air,
Like Isaac, with a mind applied
To serious thought at ev'ning-tide.
Autumnal rains had made it chill,
And from the trees, that fring'd his hill,
Shades slanting at the close of day
Chill'd more his else delightful way.
Distant a little mile he spied
A western bank's still sunny side,
And right toward the favour'd place
Proceeding with his nimblest pace,
In hope to bask a little yet,
Just reach'd it when the sun was set.
Your hermit, young and jovial sirs!
Learns something from whate'er occurs-
"And hence," he said, "my mind computes
The real worth of man's pursuits.
His object chosen, wealth or fame,
Or other sublunary game,
Imagination to his view
Presents it deck'd with ev'ry hue,
That can seduce him not to spare
His pow'rs of best exertion there,
But youth, health, vigour, to expend
On so desirable an end.
Ere long approach life's ev'ning shades,
The glow, that fancy gave it, fades;
And earn'd too late, it wants the grace
That first engag'd him in the chase."
True," answer'd an angelic guide, Attendant at the senior's side
But whether all the time it cost, To urge the fruitless chase be lost,
Must be decided by the worth
Of that, which call'd his ardour forth.
Trifles pursu'd, whate'er th' event,
Must cost him shame or discontent;
A vicious object still is worse,
Successful there he wins a curse;
But he whom e'en in life's last stage
Endeavours laudable engage,
Is paid, at last in peace of mind,
And sense of having well design'd;
And if, he ere attain his end,
His sun precipitate descend,
A brighter prize than that he meant
Shall recompense his mere intent.
No virtuous wish can bear a date
Either too early or too late.”
THE FAITHFUL BIRD.
THE green-house is my summer seat;
My shrubs displac'd from that retreat
Enjoy'd the open air;
Two goldfinches, whose sprightly song
Had been their mutual solace long,
Liv'd happy pris'ners there.
They sang as blithe as finches sing,
That flutter loose on golden wing
And frolic where they list;
Strangers to liberty, 'tis true,
But that delight they never knew,
And therefore never miss'd.
But nature works in ev'ry breast,
With force not easily suppress'd;
And Dick felt some desires,
That, after many an effort vain,
Instructed him at length to gain
A pass between his wires.
The open windows seem'd t' invite
The freeman to a farewell flight;
But Tom was still confin'd;
And Dick, although his way was clear,
Was much too gen'rous and sincere
To leave his friend behind.
So settling on his cage, by play,
And chirp, and kiss, he seem'd to say,
"You must not live alone"-
Nor would he quit that chosen stand
Till I, with slow and cautious hand,
Return'd him to his own.
O, ye, who never taste the joys
Of Friendship, satisfied with noise,
Fandango, ball, and rout!
Blush, when I tell you how a bird,
A prison with a friend preferr'd
To liberty without.
THERE is a field, through which I often pass, Thick overspread with moss and silky grass, Adjoining close to Kilwick's echoing wood, Where oft the bitch-fox hides her hapless brood, Reserv'd to solace many a neighb'ring squire, That he may follow them through brake and brier, Contusion hazarding of neck, or spine, Which rural gentlemen call sport divine. A narrow brook, by rushy banks conceal'd, Runs in a bottom, and divides the field; Oaks intersperse it that had once a head, But now wear crests of oven-wood instead ; And where the land slopes to its wat'ry bourn, Wide yawns a gulf beside a ragged thorn;
Bricks line the sides, but shiver'd long ago,
And horrid brambles intertwine below;
A hollow scoop'd, I judge, in ancient time,
For baking earth, or burning rock to lime.
Not yet the hawthorn bore her berries red,
With which the fieldfare, wintry guest, is fed;
Nor Autumn yet had brush'd from ev'ry spray,
With her chill hand, the mellow leaves away;
But corn was hous'd, and beans were in the stack,
Now, therefore, issu'd forth the spotted pack,
With tails high mounted, ears hung low, and throats,
With a whole gamut fill'd of heav'nly notes,
For which, alas! my destiny severe,
Though ears she gave me two, gave me no ear.
The Sun, accomplishing his early march,
His lamp now planted on Heav'n's topmast arch,
When, exercise and air my only aim,
And heedless whither, to that field I came,
Ere yet with ruthless joy the happy hound
Told hill and dale that Reynard's track was found,
Or, with the high-rais'd horn's melodious clang
All Kilwick and all Dinglederry* rang.
Sheep graz'd the field; some with soft bosom press'd
The herb as soft, while nibbling stray'd the rest;
Nor noise was heard but of the hasty brook,
Struggling, detain'd in many a petty nook.
All seem'd so peaceful, that, from them convey'd,
To me their peace by kind contagion spread.
But when the huntsman, with distended cheek, 'Gan make his instrument of music speak, And from within the wood that crash was heard, Though not a hound from whom it burst appear'd, The sheep recumbent, and the sheep that graz'd, All huddling into phalanx, stood and gaz'd, Admiring, terrified, the novel strain,
Then cours'd the field around, and cours'd it round again;
* Two woods belonging to John Throckmorton, Esq.