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A teaching voice; but 'tis the praise of thine,
That whom it teaches it makes prompt to learn,
And with the boon gives talents for its use.
Till thou art heard, imaginations vain
Possess the heart, and fables false as hell ;
Yet, deem'd oracular, lure down to death
The uninform’d and heedless souls of men.
We give to chance, blind chance, ourselves as blind,
The glory of thy work; which yet appears
Perfect and unimpeachable of blame,
Challenging human scrutiny, and proved
Then skilful most when most severely judged.
But Chance is not; or is not where thou reign'st;
Thy providence forbids that fickle power
(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
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,
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.
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 veil 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.

• Darwin has founded his “ Temple of Nature” on this beautiful idea, but without eliciting from it the same Christian inference.

Thou art the source and centre of all minds,
Their only point of rest, eternal Word !
From thee departing they are lost, and rove
At random without honour, hope, or peace.
From thee is all that soothes the life of man,
His high endeavour, and his glad success,
His strength to suffer, and his will to serve.
But 0 thou bounteous Giver of all good,
Thou art of all thy gifts thyself the crown!
Give what thou canst, without thee we are poor ;
And with thee rich, take what thou wilt away,

THE TASK.

BOOK VI,

THE WINTER WALK AT NOON.

· 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 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.

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
A kindred melody, the scene recurs,
And with it all its pleasures and its pains.
Such comprehensive views the spirit takes, .

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That in a few short moments I retrace (As in a map the voyager his course) The windings of my way through many years. Short as in retrospect the journey seems, It seem'd not always short; the rugged path, And prospect oft so dreary and forlorn, Moved many a sigh at its disheartening length. Yet feeling present evils, while the past Faintly impress the mind, or not at all, How readily we wish time spent revoked, That we might try the ground again, where once (Through inexperience, as we now perceive) We miss'd that happiness we might have found !' Some friend is gone, perhaps his son's best friend, A father, whose authority, in show When most severe, and mustering all its force, Was but the graver countenance of love; Whose favour, like the clouds of spring, might lower And utter now and then an awful voice, But had a blessing in its darkest frown, Threatening at once and nourishing the plant. We loved, but not enough, the gentle hand That reard us. At a thoughtless age, allured By every gilded folly, we renounced His sheltering side, and wilfully forewent That converse which we now in vain regret. How gladly would the man recall to life The boy's neglected sire! a mother too, That softer friend, perhaps more gladly still, Might he demand them at the gates of death. Sorrow has, since they went, subdued and tamed The playful humour; he could now endure, (Himself grown sober in the vale of tears,) And feel a parent's presence no restraint. But not to understand a treasure's worth, Till time has stolen away the slighted good, Is cause of half the poverty we feel, And makes the world the wilderness it is. The few that pray at all pray oft amiss, And, seeking grace to improve the prize they bold, Would urge a wiser suit than asking more,

The night was winter in his roughest mood;
The morning sharp and clear. But now, at noon,
Upon the southern side of the slant hills,
And where the woods fence off the northern blast,
The season smiles, resigning all its rage,
And has the warmth of May. The vault is blue
Without a cloud, and white without a speck
The dazzling splendour of the scene below.
Again the harniony comes o'er the vale ;
And through the trees I view the embattled tower,
Whence all the music. I again perceive
The soothing influence of the wafted strains,
And settle in soft musings as I tread
The walk, still verdant, under oaks and elms,
Whose outspread branches overarch the glade.
The roof, though moveable through all its length
As the wind sways it, has yet well sufficed,
And, intercepting in their silent fall
The frequent flakes, has kept a path for me.
No noise is here, or none that hinders thought.

The redbreast warbles still, but is content
With slender notes, and more than half suppress'd;
Pleased with his solitude, and flitting light
From spray to spray, where'er he rests he shakes
From many a twig the pendent drops of ice,
That tinkle in the wither'd leaves below.
Stillness, accompanied with sounds so soft,
Charms more than silence. Meditation here
May think down hours to moments. Here the heart
May give a useful lesson to the head,
And learning wiser grow without his books."
Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one,
Have ofttimes no connection. Knowledge dwells
In heads replete with thoughts of other men;
Wisdom in minds attentive to their own.
Knowledge, a rude unprofitable mass,
The mere materials with which wisdom builds,
Till smooth'd, and squared, and fitted to its place,
Does but encumber whom it seems to enrich,
Knowledge is proud that he has learn'd so much ;
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.

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