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And Ignorance, with sceptic eye, (view: Unfold thy robes of purest white, Hope's patient smile shall wondering Unsullied from their darksome grave,

one grave, Or mock her fond credulity,

And thy soft petals' silvery light As her soft tears the spot bedew.

In the mild breeze unfettered wave

Sweet smile of hope, delicious tear !

The sun, the shower indeed shall come;
The promised verdant shoot appear,
And nature bid her blossoms bloom.

So Faith shall seek the lowly dust

Where humble Sorrow loves to lie, And bid her thus her hopes intrust,

And watch with patient, cheerful eye;

And thou, O virgin queen of spring! And bear the long, cold, wintry night,

Shalt, from thy dark and lowly bed, And bear her own degraded doom; Bursting thy green sheath's silken string, And wait till Heaven's reviving light,

Unveil thy charms, and perfume shed; Eternal spring! shall burst the gloom,

ROBERT BLOOMFIELD. ROBERT BLOOMFIELD (1766–1823), author of the 'Farmer's Boy.' and other poems illustrative of English rural life and customs, was born at Honington, near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. His father, a tailor, died whilst the poet was a child, and he was placed under his uncle, a farmer. Here he remained only two years, being too weak and diminutive for field-labour, and he was taken to London by an elder brother, and brought up to the trade of a shoemaker. His two years of country service, and occasional visits to his friends in Suffolk, were of inestimable importance to him as a poet, for they afforded materials for his ‘Farmer's Boy,' and gave a freshness and reality to his descriptions. It was in the shoemaker's garret, however, that his poetry was chiefly composed; and the merit of introducing it to the world belongs to Mr. Capel Lofft, a literary gentleman residing at Troston, near Bury, to whom the manuscript was shewn, after being rejected by several London booksellers. Mr. Lofft warmly befriended the poet, and had the satisfaction of seeing his prognostications of success fully verified. At this time Bloomfield was thirtytwo years of age, was married, and had three children. The ‘Farmer's Boy' immediately became popular; the Duke of Grafton patronised the poet, settling on him a small annuity, and through the influence of this nobleman, he was appointed to a situation in the Sealoffice. In 1810, Bloomfield published a collection of 'Rural Tales,' which fully supported his reputation; and to these were afterwards added · Wild Flowers,' 'Hazelwood Hall,' a village drama, and * Mayday with the Muses.' The last was published in the year of his death, and opens with a fine burst of poetical, though melancholy feeling

O for the strength to paint my joy once more!
That joy I feel when winter's reign is o'er :
When the dark despot lifts his hoary brow,
And seeks his polar realm's eternal snow:
Though bleak November's fogs oppress my brain,
Shake every nerve, and struggling fancy chain;
Though time creeps o'er me with his palsied hand,
And frost-like bids the stream of passion stand.

The worldly circumstances of the author seem to have been such as to confirm the common idea as to the infelicity of poets. His situation in the Seal-office was irksome and laborious, and he was forced to resign it from ill-health. He engaged in the bookselling business, but was unsuccessful. In his latter years he resorted to making Æolian harps, which he sold among his friends. We have been informed by the poet's son-a modest and intelligent man, a printerthat Mr. Rogers exerted himself to procure a pension for Bloomfield, and Mr. Southey also took much interest in his welfare; but his last days were embittered by ill-health and poverty. So severe were the sufferings of Bloomfield from continual headache and nervous irritability, that fears were entertained for his reason, when, happily, death stepped in, and released him from the world's poor strife.' He died at Shefford, in Bedfordshire, on the 19th of August 1823. The first remarkable feature in the poetry of this humble bard is the easy smoothness and correctness of his versification. His ear was attuned to harmony, and his taste to the beauties of expression, before he had learned anything of criticism, or had enjoyed opportunities for study. This may be seen from the opening of his principal poem:

Humble Pleasures.
O come, blest Spirit! whatsoe'er thou art,
Thou kindling warmth that hover'st round my heart;
Sweet inmate hail ! thou source of sterling joy,
That poverty itself cannot destroy,
Be thou my Muse, and faithful still to me,
Retrace the steps of wild obscurity.
No deeds of arms my humble lines rehearse;
NO Alpine wonders thunder through my verse,
The roaring cataract, the snow-topt hill,
Inspiring awe till breath itself stands still:
Nature's sublimer scenes ne'er charmed mine eyes,
Nor science led me through the boundless skies;
From meaner objects far my raptures flow :
O point these raptures ! bid my bosom glow,
And lead my soul to ecstacies of praise
For all the blessings of my infant days!
Bear me through regions where gay Fancy dwells;
But mould to Truth's fair form what memory tells.

Live, trifling incidents, and grace my song,
That to the humblest menial belong :
To him whose drudgery unheeded goes,
His joys unreckoned, as his cares or woes :
Though joys and cares in every path are sowa,
And youthful minds have feelings of their own
Quick-springing sorrows, transient as the dew,
Delights from trifles, trifles ever new,
'Twas thus with Giles, meek, fatherless, and poor,
Labour his portion, but he felt no more;
No stripes, no tyranny his stays pursued,
His life was constant. cheerful servitude;
Strange to the world, he wore a bashful look,
The fields his study, nature was his book;

And as revolving seasons changed the scene
From heat to cold, tempestuous to serene,
Through every change still varied his employ,

Yet each new duty brought its share of joy. It is interesting to contrast the cheerful tone of Bloomfield's descriptions of rural life in its hardest and least inviting forms, with those of Crabbe, also a native of Suffolk. Both are true, but coloured with the respective peculiarities, in their style of observation and feeling, of the two poets. Bloomfield describes the various occupations of a farm-boy in seed-time, at barvest, tending cattle and sheep, and other occupations. In his tales, he embodies more moral feeling and painting, and his incidents are pleasing and well arranged. His want of vigour and passion, joined to the humility of his themes, is perhaps the cause of his being now little read; but he is one of the most characteristic and faithful of our national poets.

A glorious sight, if glory dwells below,
Where heaven's munificence makes all things shew,
O'er every field and golden prospect found,
That glads the ploughman's Sunday-morning's round;
When on spme eminence he takes his stand,
To judge the smiling produce of the land.
Here Vanity slinks back, her head to hide:
What is there here to flatter human pride ?
The towering fabrtc, or the dome's loud roar,
And steadfast columns may astonish more,
Where the charmed gazer long delighted stays,
Yet traced but to the architect the praise;
Whilst here the veriest clown that treads the sod
Without one scruple gives the praise to God;
And twofold joys possess his raptured mind,
From gratitude and admiration joined.
Here midst the boldest triumphs of her worth,
Nature herself invites the reapers forth;
Dares the keen sickle from its twelvemonth's rest,
And gives that ardour which in every breast
From infancy to age alike appears,
When the first sheaf its plumy top úprears.
No rake takes here what Heaven to all bestows
Children of want, for you the bounty flows!
And every cottage from the plenteous store
Receives a burden nightly at its door.

Hark! where the sweeping scythe now rips along;
Each sturdy mower, emulous and strong,
Whose writhing form meridian heat defies,
Bends o'er his work, and every sinew tries;
Prostrates the waving treasure at his feet,
But spares the rising clover, short and sweet.
Come Health! come Jollity! light-footed come:
Here hold your revels, and make this your home.
Each heart awaits and hails you as its own :
Each moistened brow that scorns to wear a frown;
The uppeopled dwelling mourns its tenants strayed:
E'en the domestic laughing dairymaid
Hies to the field the general toil to share.
Meanwhile the farmer quits his elbow-chair,

His cool brick floor, his pitcher, and his ease,
And braves the sultry beams, and gladly sees
His gates thrown open, and his team abroad,
The ready group attendant on his word
To turn the swath, the quivering load to rear,
Or ply the busy rake the land to clear.
Summer's light garb itself now cumbrous grown,
Each his thin doublet in the shade throws down:
Where oft the mastiff skulks with half-shut eye,
And rouses at the stranger passing by;
While unrestrained the social converse flows,
And every breast Love's powerful impulse know,
And rival wits with more than rustic grace
Confess the presence of a pretty face.

Rosy Hannah.
A spring o'erhung with many a flower, Through downy moss the wild thyme
The gray sand dancing in its bed,

grew; Embanked beneath a hawthorn bower, Nor moss elastic, flowers though sweet, Sent forth its waters near my head.

Matched Hannah's cheek of rosy hue. A rosy lass approached my view;

I caught her blue eyes' modest beam; I met her where the dark woods wave, The stranger podded · How-d'ye-do?' And shaded verdure skirts the plain; And leaped across the infant stream. And when the pale moon rising gave

New glories to her rising train. The water heedless passed away;

From her sweet cot upon the moor, With me her glowing image stayed ; Our plighted vows to heaven are flown; I strove, from that auspicious day,

Truth made me welcome at her door, To meet and bless the lovely maid.

And rosy Hannah is my own. I met her where beneath our feet

Lines addressed to my Children. Occasioned by a visit to Whittlebury Forest, Northamptonshire, in August 1800. Genius of the forest shades !

The deep-toned low from either hill. Lend thy power, and lend thine ear; Down hazel aisles and arches greenA stranger trod thy lonely glades,

The herd's rude tracks from rill to rillAmidst thy dark and bounding deer; Roared echoing through the solemn Inquiring childhood claims the verse,

scene. Olet them not inquire in vain; Be with me while I thus rehearse

From my charmed heart the numbers The glories of thy silvan reign.


Though birds had ceased the choral lay, Thy dells by wintry currents worn,

I poured wild raptures from my tongue, Secluded haunts, how deaf to me!

And gave delicious tears their way. From all but nature's converse born, Then, darker shadows seeking still, No ear to hear, no eye to see.

Where human foot had seldom strayed, There honoured leaves the green oaks I read aloud to every hill reared,

Sweet Emma's love, the Nut-brown And crowned the upland's graceful


Shaking his matted mane on high, While answering through the vale was The grazing colt would raise his head, heard

Or timorous doe would rushing fly, Each distant heifer's tinkling bell. And leave to me her grassy bed ;

Where, as the azure sky appeared Hail, greenwood shades, that, stretching Through bowers of ever-varying form,

'Midst the deep gloom methought I heard Defy e'en summer's noontide power, The daring progress of the storm, When August in his barning car Withholds the clouds, withholds the How would each sweeping ponderous shower.


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Resist, when straight the whirlwind Now, at the dark wood's stately side, cleaves,

Well pleased I met the sun again ;
Dashing in strengthening eddies through Here fleeting fancy travelled wide:
A roaring wilderness of leaves ?

My seat was destined to the main.
How would the prone descending shower For many an oak lay stretched at length,
From the green canopy rebound?

Whose trunks--with bark no longer How would the lowland torrents pour?

sheathed How deep the pealing thunder sound? Had reached their full meridian strength

Before your father's father breathed! But peace was there: no lightnings blazed;

No clouds obscured the face of heaven; Down each green opening while I gazed, Perhaps they 'll many a conflict brave, My thoughts to home and you were And many a dreadful storm defy; given.

Then, groaning o'er the adverse wave, Oh, tender minds ! in life's gay morn, Bring home the flag of victory. Some clouds must dim your coming Go, then, proud oaks; we meet no more! day;

Go, grace the scenes to me denied, Yet bootless pride and falsehood scorn, The white cliffs round my native shore, And peace like this shall cheer your And the loud ocean's swelling tide. way.

Description of a Blind Youth.
For from his cradle he had never seen
Soul-cheering sunbeams, or wild nature's green.
But all life's blessings centre not in sight;
For Providence, that dealt him one long night,
Had given, in pity, to the blooming boy
Feelings more exquisitely tuned to joy.
Fond to excess was he of all that grew,
The morning blossom sprinkled o'er with dew,
Across his path, as if in playful freak,
Would dash his brow and weep upon his cheek;
Each varying leaf that brushed where'er he came,
Pressed to his rosy lip he called by name;
He grasped the saplings, measured every bough,
Inhaled the fragrance that the spring's months throw
Profusely round, till his young heart confessed
That all was beanty, and himself was blessed.
Yet when he traced the wide extended plain,
Or clear brook side; he felt a transient pain;
The keen regret of goodness, void of pride,
To think he could not roam without a guide.

May-day with the Muses.

Banquet of an English Squire.
Then came the jovial day, no streaks of red
O'er the broad portal of the morn were spread, )
But one high-sailing mist of dazzling white,
A screen of gossamer, a magic light,
Doomed instantly, by simplest shepherd's ken,
To reign a while, and be exhaled at ten.
O'er leaves, o'er blossoms, by his power restored,
Forth came the conquering sun, and looked abroad :
Millions of dew-drops fell, yet millions hung,
Like words of transport trembling on the tongue,
Too strong for utterance. Thus the infant boy,
With rosebud cheeks, and features tuned to joy,
Weeps while he struggles with restraint or pain;
But change the scene, and make him laugh again,

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