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To drink sweet waters of the crystal well;
Not distant far, a length of colonnade
Descending now (but cautious, lest too fast)
. He, not unlike the great ones of mankind, Disfigures Earth: and, plotting in the dark,
* John Courtney Throckmorton, Esq. of Weston Underwood.
Toils much to earn a monumental pile
The summit gain'd, behold the proud alcove
280 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, 285 Few transient years, won from th’abyss abhorr’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 290 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 Vocif'rous, and impatient of delay. Nor less attractive is the woodland scene,
300 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 305 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,
325 Hence the declivity is sharp and shorty And such the reascent; between them weeps A little naiad her impov'rish'd urn All summer long, which winter fills again. The folded gates would bar my progress now, But that the lord* of this enclos'd 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? 335 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.
340 How airy and how light the graceful arch, Yet awful as the consecrated roof Re-echoing pious anthems! while beneath The checker'd earth seems restless as a flood Brush'd by the wind. So sportive is the light 345 Shot through the boughs, it dances and they dance, Shadow and sunshine intermingling quick, And dark’ning, and enlightning, as the leaves Play wanton, ev'ry moment, ev'ry spot. And now, with nerves new brac'd and spirits cheer'd,
* See llic foregoing note.
We tread the wilderness, whose well-rolled walks, 351
360 Of atoms, sparkling in the noonday beam. Come hither, ye
press your beds of down,
365 Of cheerful days and nights without a groan.
By ceaseless action all that is subsists.
The sedentary stretch their lazy length
405 The vet'ran 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
410 Who oft'nest 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
415 For the unscented fictions of the loom; Who, satisfied with only pencill'd scenes, Prefer to the performance of a God Th’inferiour wonders of artist's hand! Lovely indeed the mimick works of Art;
420 But Nature's works far lovelier. I admire, None more admires the painter's magick skill; Who shows me that which I shall never see, Conveys a distant country into mine, And throws Italian light on English walls:
425 But imitative strokes can do no more