Page images
PDF

Who never fasts, no banquet e'er enjoys;

Who never toils or watches, never sleeps.

Let nature rest: And when the taste of joy

Grows keen, indulge; hut shun satiety.

'Tis not for mortals always to be blest; But him the least th« dull or painful hours

Of life oppress, whom sober Sense conducts

And Virtue, thro' this labyrinth we tread.

Virtue and Sense I mean not to disjoin;

Virtue and Sense are one: and trust me, he

Who has not virtue is not truly wise.

Virtue (for mere good-nature is a fool)

Is sense and spirit, with humanity:

Tis sometimes angry, and its frown confounds;

Tis even vindictive, but in vengeance just.

Knaves fain would laugh at it; some great ones dare >

But at his heart the most undaunted son

Of fortune dreads its name and awful charms.

To noblest uses this determines wealth:

This is the solid pomp of prosperous days;

The peace and shelter of adversity.

And if you pant for glory, build your fame

On this foundation, which the secret shock

Defies of Envy and all-sapping Time.

The gaudy gloss of Fortune only strikes

The vulgar eye: The suffrage of the wise,

The praise that's worth ambition, is attain'd

By Sense alone, and dignity of mind.

Virtue, the strength and beauty of the soul,
Is the best gift of heav'n; a happiness
That even above the smiles and frowns of fate . .
Exalts great Nature's favourites; a wealth
That ne'er encumbers, nor to baser hands.
Can be transferr'd: it is the only good
Man justly boasts of, or can call his own..
lticl.es are oft by guilt and baseness earn'd;
Or dealt by chance, to shield a lucky knave,
Or throw a cruel sun-shine on a fool.'

But for one end, oue much neglected use,
Are riches worth your,care (for Nature's want*
Are few, and without opulence supplied);
This noble end is, to produce the Soul:
To shew the virtues in their fairest light ;.
To make Humanity the Minuter

Of bounteous Providence: and teach the breast
That generous luxury the Gods enjoy.

Thus, in his graver vein, the friendly Sage
Sometimes declaim'd. Of Right and Wrong he taught
Truths as refin'd as ever Athens heard;
And (strange to tell!) he practis'd what he preach'd.

The Passion of the Groves.

(THOMSON.)
As rising from the vegetable world
My theme ascends, with equal wing ascend,
My panting muse; and hark! how loud the woods
Invite you forth in all their gayest trim.
Lend me your song, ye nightingales! oh pour
The mazy-running soul of melody
Into my varied verse! while I deduce,
From the first note the hollow cuckoo sings,
The symphony of spring, and touch a theme
Unknown to fame, tlte i'assion .of the Groves.
When first the soul of love is sent abroad,
Warm thro' the vital air, and on the heart
Harmonious seizes, the gay troops begin,
In gallant thought, to plume the painted wing,
And try again the long-forgotteh strain,
At first faint-warbled. But no sooner grows
The soft infusion prevalent, and wide,
Than, all alive, at once their joy o'erflows
In music unconfin'd. Up springs the lark,
Shrill voie'd, and loud, the messenger of morn;
Ere yet the shadows fly, he mounted sings
Amid the dawning clouds, and from their haunta
Calls up the tuneful nations. Ev'ry copse
Deep-tangled, tree irregular, and bush
Bending with dewy moisture, o'er the heads
Of the coy quiristers that lodge within,
Are prodigal of harmony. The thrush
And wood-lark, o'er the kind, contending throng
Superior heard, run thro' the sweetest length
Of notes; when listening Philomela deigns
To let them joy, and purposes, in thought
Elate, to make her night excel their day.
The black-bird whistles from the thorny brake;
The mellow bullfinch answers fr.om the grove:

Nor are the linnets, o'er the flowering furze
Pour'd out profusely, silent. Join'd to these,
Innumerous songsters, in the freshening shade
Of new-sprung leaves, their modulation mix
Mellifluous. The jay, the rook, the daw,
And each harsh pipe, discordant heard alone,
Aid the full concert: while the stock-dove breathes
A melancholy murmur thro' the whole.

Tis love creates their melody, and all
This waste of music is the voice of love; ,

That even to birds, and beasts, the tender arts
Of pleasing teaches. Hence the glossy kind
Try every winning way inventive love
Can dictate, and in courtship to their mates
Pour forth their little souls. First, wide around,
With distant awe, in airy rings they rove,
Endeavouring by a thousand tricks to catch
The cunning, conscious, half.averted glance
Of their regardless charmer. Should she seem
Softening the least approvance to bestow,
Their colours burnish, and by hope inspir'd,
They brisk advance; then, on a sudden struck,
Retire disorder'd.; then again approach;
In fond rotation spread the spotted wing,
And shiver every feather with desire.

Connubial leagues agreed, to the deep woods
They haste away, all as their fancy leads,
Pleasure, or food, or secret safety prompts;
That Nature's great command may be obey'd:
Nor are the sweet sensations they perceive
Indulg'd in vain. Some to the holly-hedge
.Nestling repair, and to the thicket some; .
Some to the rude protection of the thorn
Commit their feeble offspring: the cleft tree
Offers its kind concealment to a few,
Their food its insects, and its moss their nests.
Others apart far in the grassy dale,
Or roughening waste, their humble texture weave.
But most in woodland solitudes delight,
In unfrequented glooms, or shaggy banks,
Steep, and divided by a babbling brook,
"Whose murmurs soothe them all the live-long day,
When by kind duty fix'd. Among the roots
Of hazel, pendant o'er the plaintive stream,

They frame the first foundation of their domes; Diy sprigs of trees, in artful fabric laid, . And bound with clay together. Now 'tis nought But restless hurry thro' the busy air, Beat by nnnnmber'd wings. The swallow sweeps The slimy pool, to build his hanging house . Intent. And often, from the careless back Of herds and flocks, a thousand tugging bills Pluck hair and wool; and oft, when unobserv'd, Steal from the barn a straw: till soft and warm, Clean, and complete, their habitation grows.:

As thus the patient dam assiduous sits, Not to be tempted from her tender task, Or by sharp hunger, or by smooth delight, Tho' the whole loosen'd spring around her blows, Her sympathizing lover takes his stand 'High on th' opponent bank, and ceaseless sings The tedious time away; or else supplies Her place a moment, while she sudden flits To pick the scanty meal. Th' appointed time With pious toil fulfill'd, the callow young, Warm'd and expanded into perfect life, Their brittle bondage break, and come to light, A helpless family, demanding food With constant clamour: O what passions then, What melting sentiments of kindly care, On the new parents seize! Away they fly Affectionate, and undesiring bear The most delicious morsel to their ; oung; Which equally distributed, again The search begins. Even so a gentle pair, By fortune sunk, but form'd of generous mold, And charm'd with cares beyond the vulgar breast, In some lone cot amid the distant woods, Sustain'd alone by providential heaven, Oft, as they weeping eye their infant train, Check their own appetites, and give them all.

Nor toil alone they scorn; exalting love, Ey the great Father of the Spring inspir'd, Gives instant courage to the fearful race, And to the simple art. With stealthy wing, Should some rude foot their woody haunts molest, Amid a neighbouring bush they silent drop, And whirring thence, as if alarm'd, deceive

Th' unfeeling school-boy. Hence, around the head
Of wandering swain, the white-wing'd plover wheels
Her sounding flight, and then directly on.
Jn long excursions skims the level lawn,
1*o tempt him from her nest. The wild-duck, hence,
O'er the rough moss, and o'er the trackless wast©
The heath-ben flutters, (pious fraud !) to lead
The hot pursuing spaniel far astray.

Be not the Muse asham'd, here to bemoan
Her brothers of the grove, by tyrant man
Inhuman caught, and in the narrow cage'

From liberty confin'd, and boundless air.
Dull are the pretty slaves, their plumage dull,
Ragged, and all its brightening lustre lost;
Nor is that sprightly wildness in their notes,
Which, clear and vigorous, warbles from the beech.
O then, ye friends of love and love-taught song,
Spare the .soft tribes, this barbarous art forbears
If on your bosom innocence can win,
Music engage, or piety persuade.

But let not chief the nightingale lament
Her ruin'd care, too delicately fram'd
To brook the harsh confinement of the cage:
Oft, when returning with her loaded bill,
Th' astonish'd mother finds a vacant nest,
By the hard hand of unrelenting clowns
Kobb'd, to the ground the vain provision falls;
Her pinions raffle, and low-drooping scarce
Can bear the mourner to the poplar shade;
Where, all abandon'd to despair, she sings
Her sorrows thro' the night; and, on the bou^h,
Sole sitting, still at ev'ry dying fail
Takes up again her lamentable strain
Of winding woe; till, wide around, the woods
Sigh to her song, and with her wail resound.

But now the feather'd youth their former bounds,
Ardent, disdain; and, weighing oft their wings,
Demand the free possession of the sky: ° v

This one glad office more, and then dissolves
Parental love at once, now needless grown.
Unlavish wisdom never works in vain.
'Tis on some evening, sunny, grateful, mild,
When nought but balm is breathing thro' the woods,
With yellow lustre bright, that the'new tribes

« PreviousContinue »