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Full swell the woods; their every music wakes,
Mix'd in wild concert with the warbling brooks
Increas'd, the distant bleatings of the hills,
And hollow lows responsive from the vales,
Whence, blending all, the sweeten’d zephyr springs.
Meantime, refracted from yon eastern cloud,
Bestriding earth, the grand ethereal bow
Shoots up immense; and every hue unfolds,
In fair proportion running from the red,
To where the violet fades into the sky.
Here, awful Newton, the dissolving clouds
Form, fronting on the sun, thy showery prism;
And to the sage-instructed eye unfold
The various twine of light, by thee disclos’d
From the white mingling maze. Not so the boy ;
He wondering views the bright enchantment bend,
Delightful, o'er the radiant fields, and runs
To catch the falling glory; but, amaz’d,
Beholds th' amusive arch before him fly,
Then vanish quite away.
Short is the doubtful empire of the night; And soon, observant of approaching day, The meek-ey'd Morn appears, mother of dews, At first faint gleaming in the dappled east; Till far o'er ether spreads the widening glow; And, from before the lustre of her face, White break the clouds away. With quicken'd step, Brown Night retires : young Day pours in a pace, And opens all the lawny prospect wide. The dripping rock, the mountain's misty top, . Swell on the sight, and brighten with the dawn. Blue, through the dusk, the smoking currents shine ; And from the bladed field the fearful hare Limps, awkward: while along the forest-glade The wild deer trip, and often turning gaze At early passenger. Music awakes The native voice of undissembled joy ; And thick around the woodland hymns arise. Roused by the cock, the soon-clad shepherd leaves His mossy cottage, where with peace he dwells ; and from the crowded fold, in order drives His flock, to taste the verdure of the morn.
Confess'n from yonder slow extinguish'd clouds,
All ether softening, sober evening takes
Her wonted station in the middle air ;
A thousand shadows at her beck. First this
She sends on earth; then that of deeper dye,
Steals soft behind ; and then a deeper still,
Iu circle following circle, gathers round,
To close the face of things. A fresher gale
Begins to wave the wood, and stir the stream,
Sweeping with shadowy gust the fields of corn;
While the quail clamours for his running mate.
Wide o'er the thistly lawn, as swells the breeze,
A whitening shower of vegetable down
Amusive floats. The kind impartial care
Of nature nought disdains : thoughtful to feed
Her lowest sons, and clothe the coming year,
From field to field the feather'd seeds she wings.
His folded flock secure, the shepherd home
Hies, merry-hearted; and by turns relieves
The ruddy nilk-maid of her brimming pail:
The beauiy whom perhaps his witless heart,
Unknowing what the joy-mixt anguish means,
Sincerely loves, by that best language shown
Of cordial glances, and obliging deeds.
Onward they pass, o'er many a panting height,
And valley sunk and unfrequented; where
At fall of eve the fairy people throng,
In various game and revelry, to pass
The summer night, as village stories tell.
But far about they wander from the grave
Of him, whom his ungentle fortue urg'd
Against his own sad breast to lift the hand
of impious violence. The lonely lower
Is also shunn'd; whose mournful chambers hold,
So night-struck fancy dreams, the yelling ghost.
Among the crooked lanes, on every hedge,
The glow worm lights his gein; and, through the dark,
A moving radiance twinkles. Evening yields
The world to night; nüt in her winter-robe
Of massy siygian woof, but luose array'd
In mantle dun. A faint erroneous ray,
Glanc'd from th' imperfect surfaces of things,
Flings half an image on the straining eye;
While wavering woods, and villages, and streams,
And rocks, and mountain-tops, that long retain'd
Th’ascending gleam, are all one swimming scene,
Uncertain if beheld.
But see the fading many-colour'd woods,
Shade deepening over shade, the country round
Imbrown; a crowded umbrage, dusk and dun,
Of every hue, from wan declining green
To sooty black. These now the lonesome Muse,
Low whispering, lead into thrir leaf-strown walks,
And give the season in its latest view.
Meantime, light-shadowing all, a sober calm
Fleeces unbounded ether; whose least wave
Stands tremulous, uncertain where to turn
The gentle current: while illumin’d wide,
The dewy-skirted clouds imbibe the sun,
And through their lucid veil his soften’d force
Shed o'er the peaceful world. Then is the time,
For those whoin wisdom and whom nature charm,
To steal themselves from the degenerate crowd,
And soar above this little scene of things;
To tread low-thoughted vice beneath their feet;
To soothe the throbbing passions into peace ;
And woo lone Quiet in her silent walks.
Thus solitary, and in pensive guise, Oft let me wander d'er the russet mead, And through the sadden'd grove, where scarce is heard One dying strain, to cheer the woodman's toil. Haply some widow'd songster pours his plaint, Far, in faint warblings, through the tawny copse: While congregated thrushes, linnets, larks, And each wild throat, whose artless strains so late Swell's all the music of the swarming shades, Robb’d of their tuneful souls, now shivering sit On the dead tree, a dull despondent flock; With not a brightness waving o'er their plumes, And nought save chattering discord in their note. O let not, aim'd from sume inhuman eye, The gun the music of the coming year Destroy; and harmless, unsuspecting harm, Lay the weak tribes, a miserable prey, In mingled murder, fluttering on the ground.
The pale descending year, yet pleasing still,
A gentler mood inspires ; for now the leaf
Incessant rustles from the mournful grove;
Oft startling such as, studious, walk below,
And slowly circles through the waving air.
But should a quicker breeze amid the boughs
Sob, o'er the sky the leafy deluge streains ;
Till chok'd, and matted with the dreary shower,
The forest-walks, at every rising gale,
Roll wide the wither'd waste, and whistle bleak.
Fled is the blasted verdure of the fields ;
And, shrunk into their beds, the flowery race
Their sunny robes resign. Even what remain'd
Of stronger fruits, falls from the naked tree;
And woods, fields, gardens, orchards, all around,
The desolated prospect thrills the soul.
THE PLEASURES OF RURAL RETIREMENT.
The rage of nations, and the crush of states,
Move not the man, who, from the world escap'd,
In still retreats, and flowery solitudes,
To Nature's voice attends, from month to month,
And day to day, through the revolving year ;
Admiring, sees her in her every shape;
Feels all her sweet emotions at his heart;
Takes what she liberal gives, nor thinks of more.
He, when young spring protrudes the bursting germ,
Marks the first bud, and sucks the healthful gale
Into his freshen'd soul; her genial hours
He full enjoys; and not a beauty blows,
And not an opening blossom breathes in vain.
In suminer he, beneath the living shade,
Such as o'er frigid Tempe wont to wave,
Or Hemus cool, reads what the muse, of these
Perhaps, has in immortal numbers sung ;
Or what she dictates writes: and, oft an eye
Shot round, rejoices in the vigorous year.
When autumn's yellow lustre gilds the world, And tempts the sickled swain into the field, Seiz’d by the general joy, his heart distends With gentle throes; and, through the tepid gleams Deep musing, then he best exerts his song. Even winter wild to him is full of bliss. The mighty tempest, and the hoary waste, Abrupt, and deep, stretch'd o'er the buried earth, Awake to solemn thought. At night the skies, Disclos?d and kindled by refining frost, Pour every lustre on th' exalted eye. A friend, a book, the stealing hours secure, And mark them down for wisdom. With swift wing O’er land and sea imagination roams; Or truth, divinely breaking on his mind, Elates his being, and unfolds his powers; Or in his breast heroic virtue burns.
The touch of kindred too and love he feels :
The modest eye, whose beams on his alone
Ecstatic shine ; the little strong embrace
Of prattling children, twin'd around his neck,
And emulous to please him, calling forth
The fond parental soul. Nor purpose gay,
Amusement, dance, or song, he sternly scorns ;
For happiness and true philosophy
Are of the social still, and smiling kind.
This is the life which those who fret in guilt,
And guilty cities never knew; the life,
Led by primeval ages, uncorrupt,
When angels dwelt, and God himself with man.
Tás keener tempests rise : and fuming dun From all the livid east, or piercing north, Thick clouds ascend, in whose capacious womb A vapoury deluge lies, to snow congeal'd. Heavy they roll their fleecy world along; And the sky saddens with the gather'd storm. Through the hush'd air the whitening shower descends, At first thin wavering ; till at last the flakes Fall broad, and wide, and fast, dimming the day, With a continual flow. The cherish'd fields Put on their winter robe of purest white. 'T is brightness all; save where the new snow melts Along the mazy current. Low the woods Bow their hoar head; and ere the languid sun Faint from the west emits his evening ray, Earth's universal face, deep hid, and chill, Is one wild dazzling waste, that burns wide The works of man. Drooping, the labourer-ox Stands cover'd o’er with snow, and then demands The fruit of all his toil. The fowls of Heaven, Tam’d by the cruel season, crowd around The winnowing store, and claim the little boon Which Providence assigns them. One alone, The red-breast, sacred to the household gods, Wisely regardful of th' embroiling sky, In joyless fields, and thorny thickets, leaves His shivering mates, and pays to trusted man His annual visit. Half afraid, he first Against the window beats; then, brisk, alights On the warm hearth; then hopping o'er the floor, Eyes all the smiling family askance, And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is ; Till more familiar grown, the table-crumbs Attract his slender feet. The foodless wilds