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And bless'd the cot where every pleasure rose;
And kiss'd her thoughtless babes with many a tear
And clasp'd them close, in sorrow doubly dear;
Whilst her fond husband strove to lend relief
In all the silent manliness of grief.—
O luxury; thou curs'd by Heaven's decree,
How ill exchang'd are things like these for thee!
How do thy potions, with insidious joy,
Diffuse their pleasures only to destroy!
Kingdoms by thee, to sickly greatness grown,
Boast of a florid vigour not their own;
At every draught more large and large they grow,
A bloated mass of rank unwieldy wo;
Till sapp'd their strength, and every part unsound,
Down, down they sink, and spread a ruin round.
Even now the devastation is begun,
And half the business of destruction done;
Even now, methinks, as pondering here I stand,
I see the rural Virtues leave the land...
Down where yon anchoring vessel spreads the sail,
That idly waiting flaps with every gale,
Downward they move, a melancholy band,
Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand.
Contented Toil, and hospitable Care,
And kind connubial Tenderness, are there:
And Piety with wishes plac'd above,
And steady Loyalty and faithful Love.
And thou, sweet Poetry, thou loveliest maid,
Still first to fly where sensual joys invade;
Unfit in these degenerate times of shame,
To catch the heart, or strike for honest fame;
Dear charming nymph, neglected and decried,
My shame in crowds, my solitary pride;
Thou source of all my bliss, and all my wo,
Thou found'st me poor at first, and keep'st me so =
Thou guide by which the nobler arts excel,
Thou nurse of every virtue, fare thee well.
Born 1728-Died 1790.
THOMAS WARTON was descended from an ancient and honorable family in England, and his father was a clergyman of the Established Church. The poet was educated at Oxford University, which he entered at the age of sixteen, and
of which he continued "a member and an ornament," for forty-seven years. He was elected Professor of Poetry in 1757, and Professor of History in 1785. His most important productions are his Observations of Spenser, in two volumes, and the History of English Poetry, first published in three volumes, which he did not live to complete according to his original plan.
He was a man of great and various erudition, an acute critic, an able antiquary, and a poet of considerable though not often original genius. A few of his compositions are very beautiful, exhibiting a refined taste, and affording some uncommonly natural and pleasing rural pictures. The moral influence of his poetry is always virtuous.
His personal character was gentle, friendly, and forgiving. He was equable in his temper, tender-hearted, peculiarly affectionate to children, and generally humane. He enjoyed broad humour and a hearty laugh, and in these respects exhibited some amusing eccentricities. "During his visits to his brother, Dr. Joseph Warton, the reverend professor became an associate and confidant in all the sports of the school boys. When engaged with them in some culinary operation, and when alarmed by the sudden approach of the master, he has been known to hide himself in a dark corner of the kitchen, and has been dragged from thence by the Doctor, who had taken him for some great boy. He also used to help the boys in their exercises, generally putting in as many faults as would disguise the assistance.'
INSCRIPTION IN A HERMITAGE.
BENEATH this stony roof reclin'd,
I soothe to peace my pensive mind;
And while to shade my lowly cave,
Embowering elms their umbrage wave;
And while the maple dish is mine,
The beechen cup, unstain'd with wine;
I scorn the gay licentious crowd,
Nor heed the toys that deck the proud.
Within my limits lone and still
The blackbird pipes in artless trill;
Fast by my couch, congenial guest,
The wren has wove her mossy nest;
From busy scenes, and brighter skies,
To lurk with innocence, she flies;
Here hopes in safe repose to dwell,
Nor aught suspects the sylvan cell.
At morn I take my custom'd round,
To mark how buds yon shrubby mound
And every opening primrose count,
That trimly paints my blooming mount:
Or o'er the sculptures, quaint and rude,
That grace my gloomy solitude,
I teach in winding wreaths to stray
Fantastic ivy's gadding spray.
At eve, within yon studious nook,
I ope my brass-embossed book,
Pourtray'd with many a holy deed
Of martyrs, crown'd with heavenly meed:
Then as my taper waxes dim,
Chant, ere I sleep, my measur'd hymn;
And, at the close, the gleams behold
Of parting wings bedropt with gold.
While such pure joys my bliss create,
Who but would smile at guilty state?
Who but would wish his holy lot
In calm Oblivion's humble grot?
Who but would cast his pomp away,
To take my staff, and amice gray;
And to the world's tumultuous stage
Prefer the blameless hermitage?
THE hinds how blest, who ne'er beguil'd
To quit their hamlet's hawthorn wild;
Nor haunt the crowd, nor tempt the main,
For splendid care, and guilty gain!
When morning's twilight-tinctur'd beam
Strikes their low thatch with slanting gleam,
They rove abroad in ether blue,
To dip the scythe in fragrant dew;
The sheaf to bind, the beech to fell,
That nodding shades a craggy dell.
Midst gloomy glades, in warbles clear,
Wild nature's sweetest notes they hear :
On green untrodden banks they view
The hyacinth's neglected hue:
In their lone haunts, and woodland rounds,
They spy the squirrel's airy bounds:
And startle from her ashen spray,
Across the glen, the screaming jay:
Each native charm their steps explore
Of Solitude's sequester'd store.
For them the moon with cloudless ray
Mounts, to illume their homeward way:
Their weary spirits to relieve,
The meadows incense breathe at eve.
No riot mars the simple fare,
That o'er the glimmering hearth they share;
But when the curfew's measur'd roar
Duly, the darkening vallies o'er,
Has echoed from the distant town,
They wish no beds of cygnet-down,
No trophied-canopies, to close
Their drooping eyes in quick repose.
Their little sons, who spread the broom
Of health around the clay-built room,
Or through the primros'd coppice stray,
Or gambol in the new-mown hay:
Or quaintly braid the cowslip twine,
Or drive afield the tardy kine;
Or hasten from the sultry hill,
To loiter at the shady rill;
Or climb the tall pine's gloomy crest,
To rob the raven's ancient nest.
Their humble porch with honied flowers
The curling woodbine's shade imbowers:
From the small garden's thymy mound
Their bees in busy swarms resound:
Nor fell Disease, before his time,
Hastes to consume life's golden prime:
But when their temples long have wore
The silver crown of tresses hoar;
As studious still calm peace to keep,
Beneath a flowery turf they sleep.
THE APPROACH OF SUMMER.
WHEN in each fair and fertile field
Beauty begins her bower to build :
While Evening, veil'd in shadows brown,
Puts her matron mantle on,
And mists in spreading steams convey,
More fresh, the fumes of new-shorn hay
Then, Goddess, guide my pilgrim feet
Contemp'ation hoar to meet,
As slow he winds in useful mood,
Near the rush'd marge of Cherwell's flood;
Or o'er old Avon's magic edge,
Whence Shakspeare cull'd the spiky sedge,
All playful yet, in years unripe,
To frame a shrill and simple pipe.
There through the dusk but dimly seen,
Sweet evening objects intervene :
His wattled cotes the shepherd plants,
Beneath her elm the milk-maid chants,
The woodman, speeding home, awhile
Rests him at a shady stile.
Nor wants their fragrance to dispense
Refreshment o'er my soothed sense;
Nor tangled woodbines' balmy bloom,
Nor grass besprent to breathe perfume:
Nor lurking wild-thyme's spicy sweet
To bathe in dew my roving feet:
Nor wants there note of Philomel,
Nor sound of distant tinkling bell:
Nor lowings faint of herds remote,
Nor mastiff's bark from bosom'd cot;
Rustle the breezes lightly borne
O'er deep embattled ears of corn:
Round ancient elm, with humming noise,
Full loud the chaffer-swarms rejoice.
Meantime, a thousand dies invest
The ruby chambers of the west!
That all aslant the village tower,
A mild reflected radiance pour,
While, with the level streaming rays
Far seen its arched windows blaze;
And the tall grove's green top is dight
In russet tints, and gleams of light:
So that the gay scene by degrees
Bathes my blithe heart in ecstacies;
And Fancy to my ravish'd sight
Pourtrays her kindred visions bright.
At length the parting light subdues
My soften'd soul to calmer views,
And fainter shapes of pensive joy,
As twilight dawns, my mind employ,
Till from the path 1 fondly stray
In musings lap'd, nor heed the way;
Wandering through the landscape, still
Till melancholy has her fill;
And on each moss-wove border damp
The glow-worm hangs his fairy lamp.
But when the sun, at noon-tide hour,
Sits throned in his highest tow'r;
Me, heart-rejoicing Goddess, lead
To the tann'd haycock in the mead :
To mix in rural mood among
The nymphs and swains, a busy throng;
Or, as the tepid odours breathe,
The russet piles to lean beneath: