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Would find them hideous nurseries of the spleen,
How various his employments whom the world Calls idle; and who justly in return Esteems that busy world an idler too! Friends, books, a garden, and perhaps his pen, Delightful industry enjoy'd at home, And Nature in her cultivated trim Dress'd to his taste, inviting him abroad Can he want occupation who has these? Will he be idle who has much to' enjoy? Me therefore studious of laborious ease, Not slothful, happy to deceive the time, Not waste it, and aware that hầman life Is but a loan to be repaid with use When He shall call his debtors to account, From whom are all our blessings, business finds E’en here: while sedulous I seek to' improve, At least neglect not, or leave unemploy'd The mind he gave me; driving it, though slack Too oft, and much impeded in its work By causes not to be divulged in vain, . To its just point- the service of mankind. He, that attends to his interior self, That has a heart, and keeps it; has a mind That hungers, and supplies it; and who seeks A social, not a dissipated life, Has business; feels himself engaged to achieve No unimportant though a silent task. A life all turbulence and noise may seem To him that leads it wise, and to be praised; But wisdom is a pearl with most success Sought in still water, and beneath clear skies, He that is ever occupied in storms, Or dives not for it, or brings up instead, Vainly, industrious, a disgraceful prize.
The morning finds the self-sequester'd man . Fresh for his task, intend what task he may; Whether inclement seasons recommend His warm but simple home, where he enjoys With her who shares his pleasures and his heart Sweet converse, sipping calm the fragrant lymph, Which neatly she prepares; then to his book Well chosen, and not sullenly perused In selfish silence, but imparted oft, As aught occurs, that she may smile to hear, Or turn to nourishment, digested well. Or if the garden with its many cares, All well repaid, demand him, he attends The welcome call, conscious how much the hand Of lubbard Labour needs his watchful eye, Oft loitering lazily, if not o'erseen, Or misapplying his unskilful strength. Nor does he govern only or direct, But much performs himself. No works indeed, That ask robust, tough sinews, bred to toil, Servile employ; but such as may amuse, Not tire, demanding rather skill than force. Proud of his well spread walls, he views his trees That meet, no barren interval between, With pleasure more than e'en their fruits afford, Which, save himself who trains them, none can
feel. These therefore are his own peculiar charge; No meaner hand may discipline the shoots, None but his steel approach them. What is weak, Distemper’d, or has lost prolific powers, Impair'd by age, his unrelenting hand Dooms to the knife; nor does he spare the soft And succulent, that feeds its giant growth,
But barren, at the expense of neighbouring twigs
To raise the prickly and green-coated gourd, So grateful to the palate, and when rare So coveted, else base and disesteem'd- . Food for the vulgar merely-is an art That toiling ages have but just matured,
| Miraturque novos fractus et non sua poma. VIRG.
And at this moment unassay'd in song. Yet gnats have had,and frogs and mice, long since, Their eulogy; those sang the Mantuan bard, And these the Grecian, in ennobling strains; And in thy numbers, Philips, shines for aye The solitary shilling. Pardon then, Ye sage dispensers of poetic fame, The' ambition of one meaner far, whose powers, Presuming an attempt not less sublime, Pant for the praise of dressing to the taste Of critic appetite no sordid fare, A cucumber, while costly yet and scarce,
The stable yields a stercoraceous heap, Impregnated with quick fermenting salts, And potent to resist the freezing blast: For, ere the beech and elm have cast their leaf Deciduous, when now November dark Checks vegetation in the torpid plant Exposed to his cold breath, the task begins. Warily therefore, and with prudent heed, He seeks a favour'd spot; that where he builds The' agglomerated pile his frame may front The sun's meridian disk, and at the back Enjoy close shelter, wall, or reeds or hedge Impervious to the wind. First he bids spread Dry fern or litter'd hay, that may imbibe The' ascending damps; then leisurely impose, And lightly shaking it with agile hand From the full fork, the saturated straw. What longest binds the closest forms secure The shapely side, that as it rises takes, . By just degrees, an overhanging breadth, Sheltering the base with its projected eaves; The' uplifted frame, compact at every joint,