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(If power she be that works but to confound)
To mix her wild vagaries with thy laws.
Yet thus we dote, refusing while we can
Instruction, and inventing to ourselves

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Gods such as guilt makes welcome, Gods that sleep,
Or disregard our follies, or that sit
Amused spectators of this bustling stage.
Thee we reject, unable to abide
Thy purity, till pure as thou art pure,

880 Made such by thee, we love thee for that cause For which we shunn'd and hated thee before. Then we are free: then liberty like day Breaks on the soul, and by a flash from heaven Fires all the faculties with glorious joy.

885 A voice is heard that mortal ears hear not Till thou hast touch'd them; 'tis the voice of song, A loud Hosanna sent from all thy works, Which he that hears it with a shout repeats, And adds his rapture to the general praise. In that blest moment, Nature throwing wide Her vale opaque, discloses with a smile The Author of her beauties, who retired Behind his own creation, works unseen By the impure, and hears his power denied. 895 Thou art the source and centre of all minds, Their only point of rest, eternal Word ! From thee departing, they are lost and rove 30 At random, without honour, hope, or peace. From thee is all that sooths the life of man, 30 With thee conversing, I forget all time.

Par. Lost, iv. 639.

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His high endeavour, and his glad success,
His strength to suffer, and his will to serve.
But oh thou bounteous Giver of all good,
Thou art of all thy gifts thyself the crown!
Give what thou canst, without thee we are poor, 905
And with thee rich, take what thou wilt away.

THE TASK.

BOOK VI.

ARGUMENT OF THE SIXTH BOOK.

Bells at a distance. Their effect. A fine noon in winter. A

sheltered walk. Meditation better than books. Our familiarity with the course of nature makes it appear less wonderful than it is. The transformation that spring effects in a shrubbery described. A mistake concerning the course of nature corrected. God maintains it by an unremitted act. The amusements fashionable at this hour of the day reproved. Animals happy, a delightful sight. Origin of cruelty to animals. That it is a great crime proved from Scripture. That proof illustrated by a tale. A line drawn between the lawful and the unlawful destruction of them. Their good and useful properties insisted on. Apology for the encomiums bestowed by the author on animals. Instances of man's extravagant praise of man. The groans of the creation shall have an end. A view taken of the restoration of all things. An Invocation and an Invitation of him who shall bring it to pass. The retired man vindicated from the charge of uselessness. Conclusion,

THE TASK.

BOOK VI.

THE WINTER WALK AT NOON.
There is in souls a sympathy with sounds,
And as the mind is pitch'd the ear is pleased
With melting airs or martial, brisk or grave.
Some chord in unison with what we hear
Is touch'd within us, and the heart replies.
How soft the music of those village bells
Falling at intervals upon the ear
In cadence sweet! now dying all away,
Now pealing loud again and louder still,
Clear and sonorous as the gale comes on.
With easy force it opens all the cells
Where memory slept'. Wherever I have heard

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| How sweet the tuneful bells' responsive peal!

As when at opening morn, the fragrant breeze
Breathes on the trembling sense of wan disease,
So piercing to my heart their force 1 feel.
And hark! with lessening cadence now they fall;
And now along the white and level tide
They fing the melancholy music wide;
Bidding me many a tender thought recall
Of summer days, and those delightful years
When by my native streams, on life's fair prime,
The mournful magic of their mingling chime
First waked my wondering childhood into tears !

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