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Man in society is like a flow'r
Blown in its native bed; 'tis there alone

660
His faculties, expanded in full bloom,
Shine out; there only reach their proper use.
But man, associated and leagued with man
By regal warrant or self-join’d by bond
For int’rest sake, or swarming into clans

665 Beneath one head for purposes of war, Like flow’rs selected from the rest, and bound And bundled close to fill some crowded vase, Fades rapidly, and, by compression marrd, Contracts defilement not to be endur’d.

670 Hence charter'd boroughs are such publick plagues And burghers, men immaculate perhaps In all their private functions, once combin'd, Become a loathsome body, only fit For dissolution, hurtful to the main. Hence merchants, unimpeachable of sin , Against the charities of domestick life, Incorporated, seem at once to lose Their nature; and, disclaiming all regard For mercy and the common rights of man, Build factories with blood, conducting trade At the sword's point, and dying the white robe' Of innocent commercial Justice red. . Hence, too, the field of glory, as the world Misdeems it, dazzled by its bright array,

685 With all its majesty of thund'ring pomp, Enchanting music, and immortal wreaths, Is but a school, where thoughtlessness is taught On principle, where foppery atones For folly, gallantry for ev'ry vice.

690 But slighted as it is, and by the great Abandon'd, and, which still I more regret, Infected with the manners and the modes It knew not once, the country wins me still. I never fram'd a wish, or form’d a plan, That flatter'd me with hopes of carthly bliss,

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But there I laid the scene. There carly stray'd
My fancy, ere yet liberty of choice
Had found me, or the hope of being free.
My very dreams were rural; rural too

700
The first-born efforts of my youthful muse,
Sportive and jingling her poetick bells,
Ere yet her ear was mistress of their pow'rs.
No bard could please me but whose lyre was tun'd
To Nature's praises. Heroes and their feats
Fatigu’d me never weary of the pipe
Of Tityrus, assembling, as he sang,
The rustick throng beneath his fav’rite beech.
Then Milton had indeed a poet's charms:
New to my taste, his Paradise surpass'd

710 The struggling efforts of my boyish tongue To speak its excellence. I danc'd for joy. I marvell’d much that, at so ripe an age As twice seven years, his beauties had then first Engag'd my wonder; and admiring still,

715 And still admiring, with regret suppos’d The joy half lost, because not sooner found. There, too, enamour'd of the life I lov'd, Pathetick in its praise, in its pursuit Determind and possessing it at last, With transports such as favour'd lovers feel, I studied, priz'd, and wish'd that I had known, Ingenious Cowley! and, though now reclaim'd By modern lights from an erroneous taste, I cannot but lament thy splendid wit

725 Entangled in the cobwebs of the schools. I still revere thee, courtly though retir’d; Though stretch'd at ease in Chertsey's silent bow'rs, Not unemploy’d; and finding rich amends For a lost world in solitude and verse. . 730 "Tis born with all: the love of Nature's works Is an ingredient in the compound man, Infus’d at the creation of the kind. And, though th’ Almighty Maker has throughout

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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 form'd
And tutor'd with a relish more exact,
But none without some relish, none unmov'd.
It is a flame that dies not even there,
Where nothing feeds it; neither business, crowds, .
Nor habits of luxurious city life,

745
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 unadult’rate air

750 The glimpse of a green pasture, how they cheer The citizen, and brace his languid frame! E'en in the stifling bosom of the town A garden, in which nothing thrives, has charms That soothe the rich possessor; much consol'd, 755 That here and there some sprigs of mournful mint Of nightshade, or valerian, grace the well a He cultivates. These serve him with a hint That Nature lives; that sight-refreshing green Is still the liv'ry she delights to wear,

760 Though sickly samples of th’ exub'rant whole. What are the casements lind 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 immur'd in cites, still retains i

766 His inborn inextinguishable thirst Of rural scenes, compensating his loss By supplemental shifts, the best he may? The most unfurnish'd with the means of life, And they that never pass their brick-wall bounds,

; * Magnionette.

To range the fields, and treat their lungs with air,
Yet feel their burning instinct; over head
Suspend their crazy boxes planted thick,
Ankwater'd duly. There the pitcher stands 775
A fragment, and the spoutless teapot there;
Sad witnesses how close-pent man regrets
The country, with what ardour he contrives
A peep at Nature, when he can no more.

Hail, therefore, patroness of health and ease, 780
And contemplation, heart-consoling joys,
And harmless pleasures in the throng'd abode
Of multitudes unknown! hail, rural life!
Address himself who will to the pursuit
Of; honours, or emolument, or fame;

785 I shall not add myself to such a chase, Thwart his attempts, or envy his success. Some must be great. Great offices will have Great talents. And God gives to ev'ry man The virtue, temper, understanding, taste,

790 That lifts him into life, and lets him fall Just in the niche he was ordain'd to fill.) To the deliv’rer of an injur'd land He gives a tongue to enlarge upon, a heart To feel, and courage to redress her wrongs;

795 To monarchs dignity; to judges sense; To artists ingenuity and skill; To me, an unambitious mind, content In the low vale of life, that early felt A wish for ease and leisure, and ere long

800 Found here that leisure and that ease I wish’d.

Vol. II.-9

THE TASK.

BOOK V.

THE WINTER MORNING WALK.

ARGUMENT OF THE FIFTH BOOK. A frosty morning-The foddering of cattle-The woodman and his dog--The poultry-Whimsical effects of a frost at a waterfall-The empress of Russia's palace of ice- Amusement of monarchs-War, one of them-Wars, whence- And whence monarchy-The evils of it-English and French loyalty contrasted - The Bastile, and a prisoner there-Liberty the chief recommendation of this country- Modern patriotism ques. tionable, and why-The perishable nature of the best human institutions-Spiritual liberty not perishable- The slavish state of man by nature-Deliver him, Deist, if you can-Grace must do it--The respective merits of patriots and martyrs stated --Their different treatment--Happy freedom of the man whom grace makes free--His relish of the works of God -Address to the Creator.

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'TIS morning; and the sun with ruddy orb
Ascending, fires the horizon; while the clouds
That crowd away before the driving wind,
More ardent as the disk emerges more,
Resemble most some city in a blaze,
Seen through the leafless wood. His slanting ray
Slides ineffectual down the snowy vale,
And tinging all with his own rosy hue,
From ev'ry herb and ev'ry spiry blade
Stretches a length of shadow o'er the field.
Mine spindling into longitude immense,
In spite of gravity, and sage remark

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