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And as revolving seasons changed the sceno
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 harvest, 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 some eminence he takes his stand,
To judge the smiling produce of the land.
Here Vanity slink 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 uprears.
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-whair,
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 knows,
And rival wits with more than rustic grace
Confess the presence of a pretty face.
A spring o'erhang 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 nodded · 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 verge,
scene. O let 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 Maid.' swell;
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 ily, 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, far,
'Midst the deep gloom methought I heard Defy e'en summer's noontide power, The daring progress of the storm. When August in his burning car Withholds the clouds, withholds the How would each sweeping ponderous shower.
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 ?
sheathedHow 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
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,
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,
His heart rekindles, and his cheek appears
A thousand times more lovely through his tears.
From the first glimpse of day, a busy scene
Was that high-swelling lawn, that destined green,
Which shadowless expanded far and wide,
The mansion's ornament, the hamlet's pride;
To cheer, to order, to direct, contrive,
Even old Sir Ambrose had been up at five;
There his whole household laboured in his view-
But light is labour where the task is new.
Some wheeled the turf to build a grassy throne
Round a huge thorn that spread his boughs alone,
Rough-ringed and bold, as master of the place;
Five generations of the Higham race
Had plucked his flowers, and still he held his sway,
Waved his white head, and felt the breath of May.
Some from the green-house ranged exotics round,
To bask in open day on English ground:
And 'midst them in a line of splendour drew
Long wreaths and garlands gathered in the dew.
Some spread the snowy canvas, propped on high,
O'er-sheltering tables with their whole supply;
Some swung the biting scythe with merry face,
And cropped the daisies for a dancing space;
Some rolled the mouldy barrel in his might,
From prison darkness into cheerful light,
And fenced him round with cans; and others bore
The creaking hamper with its costly store,
Well corked, well flavoured, and well taxed, that came
From Lusitanian mountains dear to fame,
Whence Gama steered, and led the conquering way
To eastern triumphs and the realms of day.
A thousand minor tasks filled every hour,
Till the sun gained the zenith of his power,
When every path was thronged with old and young:
And many a skylark in his strength upsprung
To bid them welcome. Not a face was there
But, for May-day at least, had banished care;
No cringing looks, no pauper tales to tell,
No timid glance-they knew their host too well
Freedom was there, and joy in every eye:
Such scenes were England's boast in days gone by.
Beneath the thorn was good Sir Ambrose found,
His guests an ample crescent formed around;
Nature's own carpet spread the space between,
Where blithe domestics plied in gold and green,
The venerable chaplain waved his wand,
And silence followed as he stretched his hand:
The deep carouse can never boast the bliss,
The animation of a scene like this.
At length the damasked cloths were whisked away
Like fluttering sails upon a summer's day;
The heyday of enjoyment found repose;
The worthy baronet majestic rose.
They viewed him, while his ale was filling round,
The monarch of his own paternal ground.
His cup was full, and where the blossoms bowed
Over his head, Sir Ambrose spoke aloud,
Nor stopped a dainty form or phrase to cull.
His heart elated, like his cup was full:
. be your hopes, and rich the crops that fall I
Health to my neighbours, happiness to all.'
Dull must that clown be, dull as winter's sleet,
Who would not instantly be on his feet:
An echoing health to mingling shouts give place,
"Sir Ambrose Higham and his noble race!
May-day with the Muses.
The Soldier's Home.
The topic is trite, but in Mr. Bloomfield's hands it almost assumes a character of
novelty. Burns's “ Soldier's Return” is not, to our taste, one whit superior.?—PRO-
My untried Muse shall no high tone assume,
Nor strut in arms-farewell my cap and plume!
Brief be my verse, a task within my power;
I tell my feelings in one happy hour :
But what an hour was that when from the main
I reached this lovely valley once again !
A glorious harvest filled my eager sight,
Half shocked, half waving in a flood of light;
On that poor cottage roof where I was born,
The sun looked down as in life's early morn.
I gazed around, but not a soul appeared ;
I listened on the threshold, nothing heard;
I called my father thrice, but no one came;
It was not fear or grief that shook my frame,
But an o'erpowering sense of peace and home,
Of toils gone by, perhaps of joys to come.
The door invitingly stood open wide;,
I shook my dust, and set my staff aside.
How sweet it was to breathe that cooler air,
And take possession of my father's chair !
Beneath my elbow, on the solid frame,
Appeared the rough initials of my name,
Cut forty years before ! The same old clock
Struck the same bell, and gave my heart a shock
I never can forget. A short breeze sprung,
And while a sigh was trembling on my tongue,
Caught the old dangling almanacs behind,
And up they flew like banners in the wind;
Then gently, singly, down, down, down they wente
And told of twenty years that I had spent
Far from my native land. That instant came
A robin on the threshold ; though so tame,
At first he looked distrustful, almost shy,
And cast on me his coal-black steadfast eye,
And seemed to say--past friendship to renew
Ah ha! old worn-out soldier, is it you?'
Through the room ranged the imprisoned humble bee,
And bombed, and bounced, and struggled to be free;
Dashing against the panes with sullen roar,
That threw their diamond sunlight on the floor;
That floor, clean sanded, where my fancy strayed,
O'er undulating waves the broom had made;
Reminding me of those of hideous forms
That met us as we passed the Cape of Storms,
Where high and loud they break, and peace comes never;)
They roll and foam, and roll and foam for ever.
But here was peace, that peace which home can yield;
The grasshopper, the partridge in the field,
And ticking clock, were all at once become
The substitute for clarion, fife, and drum.,