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A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy throne
A sliding car indebted to no wheels,
But urged by storms along its slippery way;
I love thee, all uplovely as thou seem'st,
And dreaded as thou art! Thon hold'st the sun
A prisoner in the yet undawning east,
Shortening his journey between morn and noon,
And hurrying him, impatient of his stay,
Down to the rosy west ; but kindly still
Compensating his loss with added hours
Of social converse and instructive ease,
And gathering, at short
notice, in one group
The family dispersed, and fixing thought
Not less dispersed by daylight and its cares.
I crown thee king of intimate delights,
Fireside enjoyments, home-born happiness,
And all the comforts that the lowly roof
Of undisturbed retirement, and the hours
Of long uninterrupted evening, know. . . ,
Come, Evening, once again, season of peace;
Return, sweet Evening, and continue long
Methinks I see thee in the streaky west,
With matron-step, slow-moving while the night
Treads on thy sweeping train; one hand employed
In letting fall the curtain of repose
On bird and beast, the other charged for man
With sweet oblivion of the cares of day:
Not sumptuously adorned, nor needing aid,
Like homely-featured Night, of clustering gems,
A star or two just twinkling on thy brow
Suffices thee; save that the moon is thine
No less than hers: not worn indeed on high
With ostentations pageantry, but set
With modest grandeur in thy purple zone,
Resplendent less, but of an ampler round.
Come then, and thou shalt find thy votary calm,
Or make me so. Composure is thy gift;
And whether I devote thy gentle hours
To books, to music, or the poet's toil;
To weaving nets for bird-alluring fruit;
Or twining silken threads round ivory reels,
When they command whom man was born to please,
I slight thee not, but make thee welcome still."
Love of Nature.-
From the same. "Tis born with all: the love of Nature's works Is an ingredient in the compound, man, Infused at the creation of the kind. And, though the Almighty Maker has throughout Discriminated each from each, by strokes And touches of his hand, with so much art Diversified, that two were never found Twins at all points-yet this obtains in all, That all discern a beauty in his works. And all can taste them: minds that have been formed And tutored, with a relish more exact, But none without some relish, none unmoved. It is a flame that dies not even there, Where nothing feeds it : neither business, crowds, Nor habits of luxurious city life, Whatever else they smother of true worth
In human bosoms, quench it or abate.
The villas with which London stands begirt,
Like a swarth Indian with his belt of beads,
Prove it. A breath of unadulterate air,
The glimpse of a green pasture, how they cheer
The citizen, and brace his languid frame!
Even in the stifling bosom of the town,
A garden in which nothing thrives, has charms
That soothe the rich possessor; much consoled
That here and there some sprigs of mournful mint,
Of nightshade or valerian, grace the wall
He cultivates. These serve him with a hint
That Nature lives; that sight-refreshing green
Is still the livery she delights to wear,
Though sickly samples of the exuberant whole.
What are the casements lined with creeping herbs,
The prouder sashes fronted with a range
Of orange, myrtle, or the fragrant weed,
The Frenchman's darling ?* Are they not all proofs
That man, immured in cities, still retains
His inborn inextinguishable thirst
Of rural scenes, compensating his loss
By supplemental shifts the best he may ?
The most unfurnished with the means of life,
And they that never pass their brick-wall bounds
To range the fields, and treat their lungs with air,
Yet feel the burning instinct; overhead
crazy boxes, planted thick,
And watered duly. There the pitcher stands
A fragment, and the spoutless tea-pot there;
Sad witnesses how close-pent man regrets
The country, with what ardour he contrives
A peep at nature, when he can no more,
English Liberty.-- From the same.
The king who loves the law, respects his bounds,
And reigns content within them; him we serve i
Freely and with delight, who leaves us free:
But recollecting still that he is man,
We trust him not too far. King though he be,
And king in England too, he may be weak,
And vain enough to be ambitious still;
May exercise amiss his proper powers,
Or covet more than freemen choose to grant:
Beyond that mark is treason. He is ours
To administer, to guard, to adorn the state,
But not to warp or change it. We are his
To serve him nobly in the common cause,
True to the death, but not to be his slaves.
Mark now the difference, ye that boast your love
Of kings, between your loyalty and ours.
We love the man, the paltry pageant you;
We the chief patron of the commonwealth,
You the regardless author of its woes;
We, for the sake of liberty, a king,
You chains and bondage for a tyrant's sake;
Our love is principle, and has its root
In reason, is judicious, manly, free;
Yours, a blind instinct, crouches to the rod,
And licks the foot that treads it in the dust.
Were kingship as true treasure as it seems,
Sterling, and worthy of a wise man's wish,
I would not be a king to be beloved
Causeless, and daubed with undiscerning praise,
Where love is mere attachment to the throne,
Not to the man who fills it as he ought.
"Tis liberty alone that gives the flower
Of fleeting life its lustre and perfume;
And we are weeds without it. All constraint,
ccept what wisdom lays on evil men, Is evil; hurts the faculties, impedes Their progress in the road of science, blinds The eysight of discovery, and begets In those that suffer it a sordid mind, Bestial, a meagre intellect, unfit To be the tenant of man's noble form. Thee therefore still, blameworthy as thou art, With all thy loss of empire, and though squeezed By public exigence, till annual food Fails for the craving hunger of the state, Thee I account still happy, and the chief Among the nations, seeing thou art free. My native nook of earth! thy clime is rude, Replete with vapours, and disposes much All hearts to sadness, and none more than mine Thine unadulterate manners are less soft And plausible than social life requires, And thou hast need of discipline and art To give thee what politer France receives From nature's bounty-that humane address And sweetness, without which no pleasure is In converse, either starved by cold reserve, Or, flushed with fierce dispute, a senseless brawl. Yet being free, I love thee: for the sake Of that one feature can be well content, Disgraced as thou hast been, poor as thou art, To seek no sublunary rest beside. But once enslaved, farewell! I could endure Chains nowhere patiently; and chains at home, Where I am free by birthright, not at all. Then what were left of roughness in the grain Of British natures, wanting its excuse That it belongs to freemen, would disgust And shock me. I should then with double pain Feel all the rigour of thy fickle clime; And, if I must bewail the blessing lost, For which our Hampdens and our Sidneys bled, I would at least bewail it under skies Milder, among a people less austere ; In scenes which, having never known me free, Would not reproach me with the loss I felt, Do I forebode impossible events, And tremble at vain dreams? Heaven grant I may!' But the age of virtuous politics is past, And we are deep in that of cold pretence. Patriots are grown too shrewd to be sincere, And we too wise to trust them. He that takes Deep in his soft credulity the stamp Designed by loud declaimers on the part Of liberty, themselves the slaves of lust,
Incurs derision for his easy faith,
And lack of knowledge, and with cause enough:
For when was public virtue to be found
Where private was not? Can he love the whole
Who loves no part ?-he be a nation's friend,
Who is in truth the friend of no man there?
Can he be strenuous in his country's cause
Who slights the charities, for whose dear sake
That country, if at all, must be beloved ?
From 'Yardley Oak.'*
Relic of ages !-could a mind, imbued
With truth from heaven, created thing adore,
I might with reverence kneel and worship thee. ...
Thou wast a bauble once; a cup and ball,
Which babes might play with ; and the thievish jay,
Seeking her food, with ease might have purloined
The auburn nut that held thee, swallowing down
The yet close-folded latitude of boughs,
And all thy embryo vastness, at a gulp.
But fate thy growth decreed ; autumnal rains,
Beneath thy parent tree, mellowed the soil
Designed thy cradle; and a skipping deer,
With pointed hoof dibbling the glebe, prepared
The soft receptacle in which, secure,
Thy rudiments should sleep the winter through.
Who lived when thou wast euch ? Oh, couldst thou speak,
As in Dodona once thy kindred trees
Oracular, I would not curious ask
The future, best unknown, but at thy mouth
Inquisitive, the less ambiguous past.
By thee I might correct, erroneous oft,
The clock of history, facts and events
Timing more punctual, unrecorded facts.
Recovering, and misstated setting right-
Desperate attempt, till trees shall speak again!
What exhibitions various hath the world
Witnessed of mutability in all
That we account most durable below!
Change is the diet on which all subsist,
Created changeable, and change at last
Destroys them. Skies uncertain, now the heat
Transmitting clondless, and the solar beam
Now quenching in a boundless sea of clouds-
Calm and alternate storm, moisture and drought,
Invigorate by turns the springs of life
In all that live, plant, animal, and man,
And in conclusion mar them. Nature's threads,
Fine passing thought, even in her coarsest works,
Delight in agitation, yet sustain
The force that agitates, not unimpaired;
But worn by frequent impulse, to the cause
Of their best tone their dissolution owe.
Thought cannot spend itself, comparing still
The great and little of thy lot, thy growth
From almost nullity into a state
Of matchless grandeur, and declension thence,
Slow, into such magnificent decay.
Time was, when, settling on thy leaf, a fly
* A tree in Yardley Chace, near Olney, said to have been planted by Judith, daughter of William the Conqueror, and wife of Earl Waltheof,
Could shake thee to the root-and time has been
When tempest could not. At thy firmest age
Thou hadst within thy bole solid contents,
That might have ribbed the sides and planked the deck
Of some flagged admiral; and tortuous arms,
The shipwright's darling treasure, didst present
To the four-quartered winds, robust and bold,
Warped into tough knee-timber, many a load!
But the axe spared thee. In those thriftier days
Oaks fell not, hewn by thousands, to supply
The bottomless demands of contest waged
For senatorial honours. Thus to time
The task was left to whittle thee away
With his sly scythe, whose ever-nibbling edge,
Noiseless, an atom, and an atom more,
Disjoining from the rest, has, unobserved,
Achieved a labour, which had, far and wide,
By man performed, made all the forest ring.
Embowelled now, and of thy ancient self
Possessing nought but the scooped rind--that seems
An huge throat calling to the clouds for drink,
Which it would give in rivulets to thy root-
Thou temptest none, but rather much forbiddest
The feller's toil, which thou couldst ill requite.
Yet is thy root sincere, sound as the rock,
A quarry of stout spurs and knotted fangs,
Which crooked into a thousand whimsies, clasp
The stubborn soil, and hold thee still erect.
So stands a kingdom, whose foundation yet
Fails not, in virtue ::nd in wisdom laid,
Though all the superstructure, by the tooth
Pulverized of venality, a shell
Stands now, and semblance only of itself !
The Diverting History of John Gilpin.-Showing how he went farther
than he intended, and came safe home again. John Gilpin was a citizen
“I am a linen-draper bold, Of credit and renown,
As all the world doth know, A train-band captain eke was he
And my good friend the calender Of famous London town.
Will lend his horse to go.' John Gilpin's spouse said to her dear : Quoth Mrs. Gilpin : "That's well said; • Though wedded we have been
And for that wine is dear,
These twice ten tedious years, yet we We will be furnished with our own,
No holiday have seen.
Which is both bright and clear.' “To-morrow is our wedding-day,
John Gilpin kissed his loving wife; And we will then repair
O'erjoyed was he to find Unto the Bell at Edmonton
That, though on pleasure she was beut All in a chaise and pair. w
She had a frugal mind. •My sister, and my sister's child,
The morning came, the chaise wae Myself and children three,
brought, Will fill the chaise; so you must ride But yet was not allowed On horseback after we.'
To drive up to the door, lest all
Should say that she was proud.
He soon replied: 'I do admire
Of womankind but one,
So three doors off the chaise was stayed,
And you are she, my dearest dear; Where they did all get in;
Therefore it shall be done.
Six precious souls, and all agog.
To dash through thick and thin.