Under an OAK,

Here Traveller ! pause awhile. This ancient Oak
Will parasol thee if the sun ride high,
Or should the sudden shower be falling fast,
Here may'st thou rest umbrella'd. All around
Is good and lovely : hard by yonder wall
The kennel stands; the horse-flesh hanging near
Perchance with scent unsavoury may offend
Thy delicate nostrils, but remember thou
How sweet a perfume to the hound it yields,
And sure its useful odours will regale
More gratefully thy philosophic nose,
Than what the unprofitable violet
Wastes on the wandering wind. Nor wilt thou want
Such music as benevolence will love,
For from these fruitful boughs the acorns fall
Abundant, and the swine that grub around,

Shaking with restless pleasure their brief tails
That like the tendrils of the vine curl up,
Will grunt their greedy joy. Dost thou not love
The sounds that speak enjoyment? oh if not,
If thou would'st rather with inhuman ear
Hark to the warblings of some wretched bird
Bereft of freedom, sure thine heart is dead
To each good feeling, and thy spirit void
Of all that softens or ennobles man.




A forest's deep gloom was the noiseless retreat

From the follies and vices of life,
Of a sage whose tired heart could in unison beat,
To no joy of the living, save fellowship sweet

With one only companion, his wife.

Long time here they lived, in this desolate nook,

Forgotten their woes as a dream ; Green herbs were their food, and their drink the clear brook, That by their lone cot its meandering took ;

Their bed was the flag of the stream.

Heaven sent them a boy, only pledge of their love,

But denied him a mother to know ; 'Twas her last fondest wish that her infant might prove Seclusion's sure blessings, nor ever remove

To a world of temptation and woe.

Death came and beneath the tall grass was she laid,

That waved by the side of the cot. Here the good man his visits at morn and eve paid, Her ave with sweet flowrets he duly array'd,

And it seem'd to asswage his hard lot.

To his wife's last injunction the father long true,

Each inquisitive sally withstood; His son, now a youth, thought no other but two, Himself, and his father, the vital air drew;

And the world was compris'd in a wood.

They roved thro' the thickets and glades all the day,

And reposed when the shadows fell fast : Ere the sun drank the dew from the glittering spray, In the early grey dawn they together would stray,

To seek for their blameless repast.

At noon, as it droop'd on the heath that was nigh,

The sage mark'd the violet and said,
Just so when the sun of prosperity's high,
Does virtue first blossom, then wither and die,

For want of obscurity's shade.

But see, cried the youth, yon grey Alder beneath,

One, beauteous in hue and in form ; Yet it can't be compared with the flower on the heath, For it scents not the air with its odorous breath,

Tho' defended from sunshine and storm.

The father stood musing in conscious surprise,

At the lore which simplicity taught ;
Yet trembled for fear of the doubtful disguise,
Which hides even truth from the ken of the wise ;

And puzzles the tremulous thought.

But my boy still in secret, he cried, will I try,

From the waste of existence to save ; Where the phantoms of pleasure dance thick to the eye, But the wretch who pursues them, as luring they fly,

Often finds but a treacherous grave.

Still this wide-spreading wood shall protection afford,

From man, vile associate man! Kind nature still cater our homely-spread board; Still for winter the fruits of rich Autumn we'll hoard;

And the brook shall replenish our can.

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