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Some glossy-leaved, and shining in the sun,
The maple, and the beech of oily nuts
Prolific, and the lime at dewy eve
Diffusing odours: nor unnoted pass
The sycamore, capricious in attire,
Now green, now tawny, and, ere autumn yet.
Have changed the woods,in scarlet honours bright.
O’er these, but far beyond (a spacious map
Of hill and valley interposed 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 them weeps
A little naiad her impoverish’d urn
All summer long, which winter fills again.
The folded gates would bar my progress now,
But that the lord of this enclosed demesne,
Communicative of the good he owns,
Admits me to a share; the guiltless eye
Commits no wrong, nor wastes what it enjoys.
Refreshing change! where now the blazing sun ?
By short transition we have lost his glare,
And stepp'd at once into a cooler clime.
Ye fallen avenues! once more I mourn
Your fate unmerited, once more rejoice
That yet a remnant of your race survives.
How airy and how light the graceful arch,
Yet awful as the consecrated roof
Reechoing pious anthems! while beneath
The checker'd earth seems restless as a flood
Brush'd by the wind. So sportive is the light
Shot through the boughs, it dances as they dance,
Shadow and sunshine intermingling quick,
And darkening and enlightening, as the leaves
Play wanton, every moment, every spot.
And now, with nerves new braced and spirits
We tread the wilderness, whose well roll’d walks,
With curvature of slow and easy sweep-
Deception innocent-give ample space
To narrow bounds. The grove receives us next;
Between the upright shafts of whose tall elms
We may discern the thresher at his task.
Thump after thump resounds the constant flail,
That seems to swing uncertain, and yet falls
Full on the destined ear. Wide flies the chaff,
The rustling straw sends up a frequent mist
Of atoms, sparkling in the noonday beam.
Come hither, ye that press your beds of down,
And sleep not; see him sweating o'er his bread
Before he eats it.—'Tis the primal curse,
But soften'd into mercy; made the pledge
Of cheerful days, and nights without a groan.
By ceaseless action all that is subsists. Constant rotation of the unwearied wheel, That Nature rides upon, maintains her health, Her beauty, her fertility. She dreads An instant's pause, and lives but while she moves. Its own revolvency upholds the World. Winds from all quarters agitate the air, And fit the limpid element for use, Else noxious: oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams, All feel the freshening impulse, and are cleansed By restless undulation : e’en the oak Thrives by the rude concussion of the storm: He seems indeed indignant, and to feel The' impression of the blast with proud disdain,
Frowning, as if in his unconscious arm
He held the thunder : but the monarch owes
His firm stability to what he scorns,
More fix'd below, the more disturb'd above.
The law, by which all creatures else are bound,
Binds man, the lord of all. Himself derives
No mean advantage from a kindred cause,
From strenuous toil his hours of sweetest ease.
The sedentary stretch their lazy length
When Custom bids, but no refreshment find,
For none they need: the languid eye, the cheek
Deserted of its bloom, the flaccid, shrunk,
And wither'd muscle, and the vapid soul
Reproach their owner with that love of rest,
To which he forfeits e'en the rest he loves.
Not such the' alert and active. Measure life
By its true worth, the comforts it affords,
And theirs alone seems worthy of the name.
Good health and, its associate in the most,
Good temper; spirits prompt to undertake,
And not soon spent though in an arduous task;
The powers of fancy and strong thought are theirs ;
E'en age itself seems privileged in them
With clear exemption from its own defects.
A sparkling eye beneath a wrinkled front
The veteran shows, and, gracing a gray beard
With youthful smiles, descends toward the grave
Sprightly, and old almost without decay.
Like a coy maiden, Ease, when courted most,
Furthest retires-an idol, at whose shrine
Who oftenest sacrifice are favour'd least.
The love of Nature and the scenes she draws
Is Nature's dictate. - Strange! there should be
found, Who, self-imprison’d in their proud saloons,
Renounce the odours of the open field
For the unscented fictions of the loom;
Who, satisfied with only pencil'd scenes,
Prefer to the performance of a God
The' inferior wonders of an artist's hand ?
Lovely indeed the mimic works of Art;
But Nature's works far lovelier. I admire,
None more admires the painter's magic skill,
Who shows me that which I shall never see,
Conveys a distant country into mine,
And throws Italian light on English walls; .
But imitative strokes can do no more
Than please the eye-Sweet Nature's, every sense.
The air salubrious of her lofty hills,
The cheering fragrance of her dewy vales,
And music of her woods—no works of man
May rival these; these all bespeak a power
Peculiar and exclusively her own.
Beneath the open sky she spreads the feast;
'Tis free to all ~'tis every day renew'd ;
Who scorns it starves deservedly at home.
He does not scorn it who, imprison'd long
In some unwholesome dungeon, and a prey
To sallow sickness, which the vapours, dank
And clammy, of his dark abode have bred,
Escapes at last to liberty and light:
His cheek recovers soon its healthful hue;
His eye relumines its extinguish'd fires;
He walks, he leaps, he runs—is wing’d with joy,
And riots in the sweets of every breeze.
He does not scorn it, who has long endured
A fever's agonies, and fed on drugs.
Nor yet the mariner, his blood inflamed
With acrid salts; his very heart athirst,
To gaze at Nature in her green array,
Upon the ship's tall side he stands, possess’d.
With visions prompted by intense desire :
Fair fields appear below, such as he left
Far distant, such as he would die to find
He seeks them headlong, and is seen no more,
The spleen is seldom felt where Flora reigns;
The lowering eye, the petulance, the frown
And sullen sadness that o'ershade, distort,
And mar the face of Beauty, when po cause
For such immeasurable woe appears,
These Flora banishes, and gives the fair
Sweet smiles and bloom less transient than her
It is the constant revolution, stale Town.
And tasteless, of the same repeated joys
That palls, and satiates, and makes languid life
A pedlar's pack, that bows the bearer down.
Health suffers, and the spirits ebb; the heart
Recoils from its own choice-at the full feast
Is famish’d-finds no music in the song,
No smartness in the jest; and wonders why.
Yet thousands still desire to journey on,
Though halt and weary of the path they tread.
The paralytic who can hold her cards,
But cannot play them, borrows a friend's hand
To deal and shuffle, to divide and sort
Her mingled suits and sequences; and sits,
Spectatress both and spectacle, a sad
And silent cipher, while her proxy plays.
Others are dragg’d into the crowded room
Between supporters; and, once seated, sit,
Through downright inability to rise,
Till the stout bearers lift the corpse again.
These speak a loud memento. Yet e’en these
Themselves love life, and cling to it as he