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Please daily and whose novelty survives
Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years.
Praise justly due to those that I describe.
Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds,
Exhilarate the spirit, and restore
The tone of languid Nature. Mighty winds.
That sweep the skirt of some far-spreading wou
Of ancient growth, make music not unlike
The dash of Ocean on his winding shore,
And lull the spirit while they fill the mind;
Unnumber'd branches waving in the blast,
And all their leaves fast fluit'ring, all at once.
Nor less composure waits upon the roar
Of distant floods, or on the softer voice
Of neighb'ring fountain, or of rills that slip
Through the cleft rock, and chiming as they iall
Upon loose pebbles, lose themselves at length
In matted grass, that with a livelier green
Betrays the secret of their silent course.
Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds
But animated nature sweeter still,
To sooth and satisfy the human ear.
Ten thousand warblers cheer the day, and one
The .ivelong night; nor these alone, whose notes
Nice-finger'd Art must emulate in vain,
But cawing rooks, and kites that swim sublime
In still-repeated circles, screaming loud,
The jay, the pie, and e'en the boding owl,
That hails the rising moon, have charms for me,
Sounds in harmonious in themselves and harsh,
Yet heard in scenes where peace for ever reigns.
And only there, please highly for their sake.
Peace to the artist, whose ingenious thought Devis'd the weatherhouse, that useful toy! Fearless of humid air and gath'ring rains, Forth steps the man-an emblem of myself; More delicate his tim'rous mate retires. When Winter soaks the fields, and female feet, Too weak to struggle with tenacious clay, Or ford the rivulets, are best at home, The task of new discov’ries falls on me. At such a season, and with such a charge, Once went I forth; and found, till then un:
known, A cottage, whither oft we since repair : 'T is perch'd upon the green hill top, but close Environ'd with a ring of branching elms, That overhang the thatch, itself unseen Peeps at the vale below; so thick beset With foliage of such dark redundant growth, I call'd the low-roof'd lodge the peasant's nest. And, hidden as it is, and far remote From such unpleasing sounds as haunt the ear In village or in town, the bay of curs Incessant, clinking hammers, grinding wheels, And infants clam'rous whether pleas'd or pain'd, Oft have I wish'd the peaceful coveret mine. Here, I have said, at least I should possess The poet's treasure, Silence, and indulge The dreams of fancy, tranquil and secure. Vain thought! the dweller in that still retreat Dearly obtains the refuge it affords. Its elevated site forbids the wretch To drink sweet waters of the crystal well:
He dips his bowl into the wee dy ditch,
And, heavy laden, brings his ber'rage home,
Far fetch'd and little worth; nor seldom waits
Dependent on the baker's punctual call,
To hear his creaking panniers at the door,
Angry, and sad, and his last crust consum'd.
So farewell envy of the peasant's nest !
If solitude make scant the means of life,
Society for me !—thou seeming sweet,
Be still a pleasing object in my view;
My visit still, but never mine abode.
Not distant far, a length of colonnade
Monument of ancient taste, Now scorn'd, but worthy of a better fate. Our fathers knew the value of a screen From sultry suns: and, in their shaded walks And long protracted bow'rs, enjoy'd at noen The gloom and coolness of declining day. We bear our shades about us; self-depriv'd Of other screen, the thin umbrella spread, And range an Indian waste without a tree. Thanks to Benevolus*-he spares me yet These chestnuts rang’d in corresponding lines, And, though himself so polish’d, still reprieves The obsolete prolixity of shade.
Descending now (but cautious, lest too fast) A sudden steep upon a rustic bridge, We pass a gulf, in which the willows dip Their pendent boughs, stooping as if to drink.
* John Courtney Throckmorton, Esq., of Western Un derwood
Hence, ankle deep in mces and flow'ry thyme,
We mount again, and feel at ev'ry step
Our foot half sunk in hillocks green and soft,
Rais'd by the mole, the miner of the soil.
He, not unlike the great ones of mankind,
Disfigures Earth: and, plotting in the dark,
Toils much to earn a monumental pile
That may record the mischief he has done.
The summit gain'd, behold the proud alcovs
'That crowns it! yet not all its pride secures
The grand retreat from injuries impress’d
By rural carvers, who with knives deface
The panels, leaving an obscure, rude name,
In characters uncouth, and spelt amiss.
So strong the zeal t' immortalize himself
Beats in the breast of man, that e'en a few,
Few transient years, won from th' abyss ab
horr'd Of blank oblivion, seem a glorious prize, And even to a clown. Now roves the eye; And, posted on this speculative height, Exults in its command. The sheepfold here Pours out its fleecy tenants o'er the glebe. At first, progressive as a stream, they seek The middle field; but, scatter'd by degrees, Each to his choice, soon whiten all the land. There from the sunburnt hayfield homeward
creeps The loaded wain ; while, lighten'd of its charge, The wain that meets it passes swiftly by ; The boorish driver leaning o'er his team Vocis'rous, and impatient of delay.
Nor less attractive is the woodland scene,
Diversified with trees of ev'ry growth,
Alike, yet various. Here the gray smooth trunks
Of ash, or lime, or beech, distinctly shine,
Within the twilight of their distant shades ;
There, lost behind a rising ground, the wood
Seems sunk, and shorten'd to its topmost boughs.
No tree in all the grove but has its charms,
Though each its hue peculiar ; paler some,
And of a wannish gray; the willow such,
And poplar, that with silver lines his leaf,
And ash far-stretching his umbrageous arm;
Of deeper green the elm; and deeper still,
Lord of the woods, the long surviving oak.
Some glossy leav'd, and shining in the sun,
The maple and the beech of oily nuts
Prolific, and the lime at dewy ove
Diffusing odours: nor unnoted pass
The sycamore, capricious in attire,
Now green, now tawny, and, ere autumn yet
Have chang'd the woods, in scarlet honours
O'er those, but, far beyond (a spacious map
Of hill and valley interpos'd between)
The Ouse, dividing the well-water'd land,
Now glitters in the sun, and now retires,
As bashful, yet impatient to be seen.
Hence the declivity is sharp and short,
And such the reascent; between tlfem weeps
A little naiad her impov'rish'd urn
All summer long, which winter fills again.
Che folded gates would bar my progress now