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As circles on a smooth canal:
The mountains round, unhappy fate!
Sooner or later, of all height,
Withdraw their summits from the skies,
And lessen as the others rise:
Still the prospect wider spreads,
Adds a thousand woods and meads;
Still it widens, widens still,
And sinks the newly-risen hill.
Now I gain the mountain's brow,
What a landscape lies below!
No clouds, no vapours intervene ;
But the gay the open scene
Does the face of nature show
In all the hues of heaven's bow,
And, swelling to embrace the light,
Spreads around beneath the sight.
Old castles on the cliffs arise,
Proudly towering in the skies;
Rushing from the woods, the spires
Seem from hence ascending fires;
Half his beams Apollo sheds
On the yellow mountain heads,
Gilds the fleeces of the flocks,
And glitters on the broken rocks.
Below me, trees unnumber'd rise,
Beautiful in various dyes;
The gloomy pine, the poplar blue,
The yellow beach, the sable yew,
The slender fir, that taper grows,
The sturdy oak with broad-spread boughs;
And beyond the purple grove,
Haunt of Phyllis, queen of love!
Gaudy as the opening dawn,
Lies a long and level lawn,
On which a dark hill, steep and high,
Holds and charms the wandering eye:
Deep are his feet in Towy's flood,
His sides are cloth'd with waving wood,
And ancient towers crown his brow,
That cast an awful look below;
Whose ragged walls the ivy creeps,
And with her arms from falling keeps ;
So both a safety from the wind
On mutual dependence find.
"T is now the raven's bleak abode; Tis now the' apartment of the toad;
And there the fox securely feeds,
And there the poisonous adder breeds,
Conceal'd in ruins, moss, and weeds;
While ever and anon there falls
Huge heaps of hoary moulder'd walls,
Yet time has seen, that lifts the low
And level lays the lofty brow,
Has seen this broken pile complete,
Big with the vanity of state:
But transient is the smile of Fate!
A little rule, a little sway,
A sunbeam in a winter's day,
Is all the proud and mighty have
Between the cradle and the grave.
And see the rivers how they run
Through woods and meads, in shade and sun!
Sometimes swift, sometimes slow,
Wave succeeding wave, they go
A various journey to the deep,
Like human life to endless sleep!
Thus is nature's vesture wrought,
To instruct our wandering thought;
Thus she dresses green and
To disperse our cares away.
When will the landscape tire the view!
The fountain's fall, the river's flow,
The woody vallies, warm and low;
The windy summit, wild and high,
Roughly rushing on the sky!
The pleasant seat, the ruin'd tow'r,
The naked rock, the shady bow'r;
The town and village, dome and farm,
Each give each a double charm,
As pearls upon an Ethiop's arm.
See on the mountain's southern side,
Where the prospect opens wide,
Where the evening gilds the tide,
How close and small the hedges lie!
What streaks of meadows cross the eye!
A step, methinks, may pass the stream,
So little distant dangers seem;
So we mistake the future's face,
Ey'd through Hope's deluding glass;
As yon summits soft and fair,
Clad in colours of the air,
Which, to those who journey near.
Barren, brown, and rough appear;
Still we tread the same coarse way;
The present's still a cloudy day.
I with myself agree,
And never covet what I see!
Content me with an humble shade,
My passion's tam'd, my wishes laid;
For while our wishes wildly roll,
We banish quiet from the soul:
'Tis thus the busy beat the air,
And misers gather wealth and care.
Born (probably) 1707—Died 1788.
COTTON was a physician, remarkable for his success and humanity in the treatment of mental disorders. He kept an asylum for insane patients in the town of St. Albans, and called it the College. Cowper was for some time under his care. Few particulars of his life have been preserved, but there are many testimonies to the excellence of his character. Among these is the following affectionate tribute to his memory from one of the letters of Cowper. "I reckon it one instance of the Providence that has attended me throughout this whole event, that instead of being delivered into the hands of one of the London physicians, who were so much nearer that I wonder I was not, I was carried to Dr. Cotton. I was not only treated by him with the greatest tenderness while I was ill, and with the utmost diligence, but when my reason was restored to me, and I had so much need of a religious friend to converse with, to whom I could open my mind upon the subject without reserve, I could hardly have found a fitter person for the purpose. My eagerness and anxiety to settle my opinions on that long neglected point made it necessary that while my mind was yet weak, and my spirits uncertain, I should have some assistance. The Doctor was as ready to administer relief to me in this article likewise, and as well qualified to do it, as in that which was more immediately his province. How many physicians would have thought this an irregular appetite and a symptom of remaining madness! But if it were so, my friend was as mad as myself, and it is well for me that he was so."
Mr Hayley observes of Dr. Cotton, that he was "a scholar and a poet, who to many accomplishments added a peculiar sweetness of manners in very advanced life."
His writings do not display an original genius, but are full of good sense, benevolence, and piety. The Fireside is a beau
DEAR Chloe, while the busy crowd,
The vain, the wealthy, and the proud,
In folly's maze advance;
Though singularity and pride
Be call'd our choice, we'll step aside,
Nor join the giddy dance.
From the gay world we'll oft retire
To our own family and fire,
Where love our hours employs;
No noisy neighbour enters here,
No intermeddling stranger near,
To spoil our heartfelt joys.
If solid happiness we prize,
Within our breast this jewel lies;
And they are fools who roam;
The world hath nothing to bestow,
From our ownselves our bliss must flow,
And that dear hut-our home.
Of rest was Noah's dove bereft,
When with impatient wing she left
That safe retreat, the ark;
Giving her vain excursions o'er,
The disappointed bird once more
Explor'd the sacred bark.
Though fools spurn Hymen's gentle powers,
We who improve his golden hours,
By sweet experience know,
That marriage, rightly understood,
Gives to the tender and the good
A paradise below!
Our babes shall richest comforts bring;
If tutor❜d right they'll prove a spring
Whence pleasures ever rise:
We'll form their mind with studious care,
To all that's manly, good, and fair,
And train them for the skies.
While they our wisest hours engage,
They'll joy our youth, support our age,
And crown our hoary hairs;
They'll grow in virtue every day,
And thus our fondest loves repay,
And recompense our cares.
No borrow'd joys! they're all our own,
While to the world we live unknown,
Or by the world forgot:
Monarchs! we envy not your state,
We look with pity on the great,
And bless our humble lot.
Our portion is not large, indeed,
But then how little do we need,
For Nature's calls are few!
In this the art of living lies,
To want no more than may suffice,
And make that little do.
We'll therefore relish with content
Whate'er kind Providence has sent,
Nor aim beyond our power;
For, if our stock be very small,
"T is prudence to enjoy it all,
Nor lose the present hour,
To be resign'd when ills betide,
Patient when favours are denied,
And pleas'd with favours given :
Dear Chloe, this is wisdom's part,
This is that incense of the heart,
Whose fragrance smells to Heaven.
We'll ask no long-protracted treat,
Since winter-life is seldom sweet;
But, when our feast is o'er,
Grateful from table we'll arise,
Nor grudge our sons, with envious eyes,
The relics of our store.
Thus hand in hand through life we'll go ;
Its chequer'd paths of joy and woe
With cautious steps we 'll tread;
Quit its vain scenes without a tear,
Without a trouble or a fear,
And mingle with the dead.
While conscience, like a faithful friend,
Shall through the gloomy vale attend,
And cheer our dying breath;
Shall, when all other comforts cease,
Like a kind angel whisper peace,
And smooth the bed of death.