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Thus oft, reclind at ease, I lose an hour
At ev’ning, till at length the freezing blast,
That sweeps the bolted shutter, summons home
The recollected pow'rs; and snapping short
The glassy threads, with which the fancy weaves
Her brittle toils, restores me to myself.
How calm is my recess; and how the frost,
Raging abroad, and the rough wind endear
The silence and the warmth enjoy'd within !
I saw the woods and fields at close of day
A variegated show; the meadows green,
Though faded; and the lands, where lately wav'd
The golden barvest, of a mellow brown,
Upturn'd so lately by the forceful share.
I saw far off the weedy fallows smile
With verdure not unprofitable, graz'd
By flocks, fast feeding ; and selecting each
His fav’rite herb; while all the leafless groves
That skirt th’horizon, wore a sable hue,
Scarce notic'd in the kindred dusk of eve.
To-morrow brings a change, a total change!
Which even now, though silently perform’d,
And slowly, and by most unfelt, the face
Of universal nature undergoes.
Fast falls a fleecy show'r : the downy flakes
Descending, and, with never-ceasing lapse,
Softly alighting upon all below,
Assimilate all objects. Earth receives
Gladly the thick’ning mantle ; and the green ·
And tender blade, that fear'd the chilling blast,
Escapes unhurt beneath so warm a veil.

In such a world, so thorny, and where none Finds happiness unblighted, or, if found, Without some thistly sorrow at its side, It seems the part of wisdom, and no sin Against the law of love, to measure lots With less distinguish'd than ourselves; that thus We may with patience bear our mod’rate ills, And sympathise with others suff’ring more. Ill fares the trav'ller now, and he that stalks In pond'rous boots beside his reeking team. The wain goes heavily, impeded sore By congregrated loads adhering close To the clogg'd wheels; and in its sluggish pace Noiseless appears a moving hill of snow. The toiling steeds expand the nostril wide, While ev'ry breath, by respiration strong Forc'd downward, is consolidated soon Upon their jutting chests. He, form’d to bear The pelting brunt of the tempestuous night, With half-shut eyes, and pucker'd cheeks, and teeth Presented bare against the storm, plods on. One hand secures his hat, save when with both He brandishes his pliant length of whip, Resounding oft, and never heard in vain, O happy ; and in my account denied That sensibility of pain, with which Refinement is endued, thrice happy thou ! Thy frame, robust and hardy, feels indeed The piercing cold, but feels it unimpair'd. The learned finger never need explore Thy vig’rous pulse; and the unhealthful easty

That breathes the spleen, and searches ev'ry bone
Of the infirm, is wholesome air to thee.
Thy days roll on exempt from household care;
Thy wagon is thy wife; and the poor beasts,
That drag the dull companion to and fro,
Thine helpless charge, dependent on thy care.
Ah treat them kindly! rude as thou appear'st,
Yet show that thou hast mercy! which the great,
With needless hurry whirl’d from place to place,
Humane as they would seem, not always show.

Poor, yet industrious, modest, quiet, neat,
Such claim compassion in a night like this,
And have a friend in ev'ry feeling heart.
Warm’d, while it lasts, by labour, all day long
They brave the season, and yet find at eve,
Ill clad and fed but sparely, time to cool.
The frugal housewife trembles when she lights
Her scanty stock of brushwood, blazing clear,
But dying soon, like all terrestrial joys.
The few small embers left she nurses well;
And, while her infant race, with outspread hands,
And crowded knees sit cow'ring o'er the sparks,
Retires, content to quake, so they be warm’d.
The man feels least, as more inur'd than she
To winter, and the current in his veins
More briskly mov'd by his severer toil ;
Yet he too finds his own distress in theirs.
The taper soon extinguish'd, which I saw
Dangled along at the cold fingers' end
Just when the day lin'd; and the brown loaf
Lodg'd on the shelf, half eaten without sauce
Of sav'ry cheese, or butter, costlier still;

Sleep seems their only refuge: for alas, Where penury is felt the thought is chain'd, And sweet colloquial pleasures are but few. With all this thrift they thrive not. All the care Ingenious Parsimony takes, but just Saves the small inventory, bed, and stool, Skillet, and old carv'd chest, from publick sale. They live, and live without extorted alms From grudging hands; but other boast have none, To soothe their honest pride, that scorns to beg, Nor comfort else, but in their mutual love. I praise you much, ye meek and patient pair, For ye are worthy ; choosing rather far A dry but independent crust, hard earn'd, And eaten with a sigh, than to endure The rugged frowns and insolent rebuffs Of knaves in office, partial in the work Of distribution ; lib'ral of their aid To clam'rous Importunity in rags, But ofttimes deaf to suppliants, who would blusla To wear a tatter'd garb however coarse, Whom famine cannot reconcile to filth: These ask with painful shyness, and, refus’d Because deserving, silently retire! But be ye of good courage ! Time itself Shall much befriend you. Time shall give increase i And all your num'rous progeny, well-train'd But helpless, in few years shall find their hands, And labour too. Meanwhile ye shall not want What, conscious of your virtues, we can spare, Nor what a wealthier than ourselves may send.

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mean the man, who, when the distant poor Need help, denies them nothing but his name.

But poverty with most, who whimper forth Their long complaints, is self-inflicted wo; The effect of laziness or sottish waste. Now goes the nightly thief prowling abroad For plunder; much solicitous how best He may compensate for a day of sloth By works of darkness and nocturnal wrong. Wo to the gard’ner's pale, the farmer's hedge, Plash'd neatly, and secur'd with driv'n stakes Deep in the loamy bank. Uptorn by strength, Resistless in so bad a cause, but lame To better deeds, he bundles up the spoil, An ass's burthen, and, when laden most And heaviest, light of foot steals fast away. Nor does the boarded hovel better guard The well-stack'd pile of riven logs and roots From his pernicious force. Nor will he leave Unwrench'd the door, however well securd, Where Chanticleer amidst his haram sleeps In unsuspecting pomp. Twitch'd from the perch He gives the princely bird, with all his wives, To his voracious bag, struggling in vain, And loudly wond'ring at the sudden change. Nor this to feed his own. "Twere some excuse, Did pity of their suff'rings warp aside His principle, and tempt him into sin For their support, so destitute. But they Neglected pine at home; themselves, as more Expos’d than others, with less scruple made His victims, robb’d of their defenceless all.

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