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With easy force it opens all the cells Where mem'ry slept. Wherever I have heard A kindred melody, the scene recurs, . And with it all its pleasures and its pains. Such comprehensive views the spirit takes, • 15 That in a few short moments I retrace (As in a map the voyager his course) The windings of my way through many years. Short as in retrospect the journey seems, It seem'd not always short; the rugged path, 20 And prospect oft so dreary and forlorn, Mov'd many a sigh at its disheart'ning length. Yet feeling present evils, while the past Faintly impress the mind or not at all, How readily we wish time spent revok’d,
25 That we might try the ground again, where once (Through inexperience as we now perceive) We miss'd that happiness we might have found! Some friend is gone, perhaps his son's best friend! A father, whose authority, in show
30 When most severe, and mus'tring all its force, Was but the graver countenance of love; Whose favour, like the clouds of spring, might low'r, And uttfer now and then an awful voice, But had a blessing in its darkest frown, Threatning at once and nourishing the plant. We lov’d, but not enough, the gentle hand That rear'd us. At a thoughtless age, allur'd By ev'ry gilded folly, we renounc'd His shelt’ring side, and wilfully forewent That converse which we now in vain regret. How gladly would the man recall to life The boy's neglected sire! a mother too, That'softer friend, perhaps more gladly still, Might he demand them at the gates of death.. Sorrow has, since they went, subdu'd and tam’d The playful humour: he could now endure, (Himself grown sober in the vale of tears,)
And feel a parent's presence no restraint.
But not to understand a treasure's worth,
Till time has stoln away the slighted good,
Is cause of half the poverty we feel,
And makes the World the wilderness it is.
The few that pray at all, pray oft amiss,
And, seeking grace t improve the prize they hold, 55
Would urge a wiser suit than asking more.
The night was winter in its roughest mood;
The morning sharp and clear. But now at noon-
Upon the southern side of the slant hills,
And where the woods fence off the northern blast, 60
The season smiles, resigning all its rage,
And has the warmth of May. The vault is blue
Without a cloud, and white without a speck
The dazzling splendour of the scene below. '
Again the harmony comes o’er the vale;
And through the trees I view 'th'embattled tow'r,
Whence all the musick. I again perceive
The soothing influence of the wasted strains,
And settle in soft musings as I tread
The walks, still verdant, under oaks and elms,
Whose outspread branches overarch the glade.
The roof, though moveable through all its length
As the wind sways it, has yet well suffic'd,
And, intercepting in their silent fall
The frequent flakes, has kept a path for me. 75
No noise is here, or none that hinders thought.
The red-breast warbles still, but is content
With slender notes, and more than half suppress’d:
Pleas’d with his solitude, and flitting light
From spray to spray, where'er he rests he shakes, 80
From many a twig the pendent drops of ice,
That tinkle in the wither'd leaves below.
Stillness, accompanied with sounds so soft,
Charms more than silence. Meditation here :
May think down hours to moments. Here the heart 85
May give a useful lesson to the head,
And learning wiser grow without his books.
Knowledge and Wisdom, far from being one,
Have oftimes no connexion. Knowledge dwells
In heads replete with thoughts of other men; 90
Wisdom in minds attentive to their own.
Knowledge, a rude unprofitable mass,
The mere materials with which Wisdom builds,
Till smooth'd, and squar'd, and fitted to its place,
Does but encumber whom it seems to enrich.
Knowledge is proud that he has learn’d so much;
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
Books are not seldom talismans and spells,
By which the magick art of shrewder wits
Hold an unthinking multitude enthrall’d. 100
Some to the fascination of a name,
Surrender judgment hood-wink’d. Some the style
Infatuates, and through labyrinths and wilds
Of errour leads them, by a tune entranc'd.
While sloth seduces more, too weak to bear 105
The insupportable fatigue of thought,
And swallowing, therefore; without pause or choice
The total grist unsifted, husks and all.
But tree and rivulets, whose rapid course ,
Defies the check of winter, haunts of deer, 110
And sheep-walks populous with bleating lambs,
And lanes, in which the primrose ere her time
Peeps through the moss, that clothes the hawthorn root,
Deceive no student. Wisdom there and truth,
Not shy, as in the world, and to be won
115 By slow solicitation, seize at once The roving thought, and fix it on themselves.
What prodigies can pow'r divine perform
More grand than it produces year by year,
And all in sight of inattentive man?
Familiar with th' effect, we slight the cause,
And in the constancy of Nature's course,
The regular return of genial months,"
And renovation of a faded world,
See nought to wonder at. Should God again, 125
As once in Gibeon, interrupt the race
Of th’ undeviating and punctual sun,
How would the world admire! But speaks it less
An agency divine, to make him know
His moment when to sink and when to rise, 130
Age after age, than to arrest his course?
All we behold is miracle; but seen
So duly, all is miracle in vain. .
Where now the vital energy, that mov'd
While summer was, the pure and subtle lymph 135
Through th' imperceptible meand'ring veins
Of leaf and flow'r? It sleeps; and th' icy touch
Of unprolifick winter has impress’d .
A cold stagnation on the intestine tide.
But let the months go round, a few short months, 140
And all shall be restor'd. These naked shoots,
Barren as lances, among which the wind
Makes wintry musick, sighing as it goes,
Shall put their graceful foliage on again,
And more aspiring, and with ampler spread, 145
Shall boast new charms, and more than they have lost.
Then each in its peculiar honours clad,
Shall publish even to the distant eye
Its family and tribe. Laburnum, rich
In streaming gold; syringa, iv'ry pure;
The scentless and the scented rose; this red
And of a humbler growth, the other* tall.
And throwing up into the darkest gloom
Of neighb’ring cypress, or more sable yew,
Her silver globes, light as the foamy surf, • 155
That the wind severs from the broken wave;
The lilack, various in array, now white,
Now sanguine, and her beauteous head now set
With purple spikes pyramidal, as if
Studious of ornament, yet unresolv'd
* The Guelder Rose.
Which hue she most approv’d, she chose them all;
Copious of flowers, the woodbine, pale and wan,
But well compensating her sickly looks
With never cloying odours, early and late;
Hypericum all bloom, so thick a swarm
Of flowers, like flies clothing her slender rods,
That scarce a leaf appears; mezereon, too,
Though leafless, well-attir'd and thick beset
With blushing wreaths, investing every spray;
Althæa with the purple eye; the broom
170 Yellow and bright, as bullion unalloy’d, . Her blossoms; and luxuriant above all The jasmine, throwing wide her elegant sweets, The deep dark green of whose unvarnish'd leaf Makes more conspicuous, and illumines more 175 The bright profusion of her scatter'd stars.These have been, and these shall be in their day; And all this uniform uncolourd scene Shall be dismantled of its fleecy load, And flush into variety again.
180 From dearth to plenty, and from death to life, Is Nature's progress, when she lectures man In heav'nly truth; evincing, as she makes The gragd transition, that their lives and works " A soul in all things, and that soul is God. The beauties of the wilderness are his, That makes so gay the solitary place, Where no eye sees them. And the fairer forms, That cultivation glories in, are k's. He sets the bright procession on its way,
190 And marshals all the order of the year; He marks the bounds which winter may not pass, And blunts his pointed fury; in its case, Russet and rude, folds up the tender germ, Uninjur’d, with inimitable art;
195 And, ere one flow’ry season fades and dies, Designs the blooming wonders of the next.
Some say that in the origin of things,