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Canst thou the stag's laborious chase direct,
Or the strong fox, through all his arts, detect ?
The theme demands a more experienc'd lay:
Ye mighty bunters, spare this weak essay.

O happy plains, remote from war's alarms,
And all the ravages of hostile arms !
And happy shepherds! who, secure from fear,
On open downs preserve your fleecy care ;
Whose spacious barns groan with increasing stor
And whirling flails disjoint the cracking floor :
No barb'rous soldier, bent on cruel spoil,
Spreads desolation o'er your fertile soil:
No trampling steed lays waste the ripen'd grain,
Nor crackling fires devour the promis'd gain :
No flaming beacons cast their blaze afar,
The dreadful signal of invasive war:
No trumpet's clangour wounds the mother's ear
And calls the lover from his swooning fair.

What happiness the rural maid attends, In cheerful labour while each day she spends ! She gratefully receives what heav'n has sent; And, rich in poverty, enjoys content. : (Such happiness, and such unblemish'd fame, Ne'er glad the bosom of the courtly dame.) She never feels the spleen's imagin'd pains, Nor melancholy stagnates in her veins;

She never loses life in thoughtless ease,
Nor on the velvet couch invites disease ;
Her home-spun dress in simple neatness lies,
And for no glaring equipage she sighs;
Her reputation, which is all her boast,
In a malicious visit ne'er was lost;
No midnight masquerade her beauty wears,
And health, not paint, the fading bloom repairs.
If love's soft passion in her bosom reign,
An equal passion warms her happy swain ;
No homebred jars her quiet state controul,
Nor watchful jealousy torments her soul.
With secret joy she sees her little race
Hang on her breast, and her small cottage grace :
The fleecy ball their busy fingers cull,
Or from the spindle draw the length’ning wool.
Thus flow her hours with constant peace of mind,
Till age the latest thread of life unwind.

Ye happy fields, unknown to noise and strife, The kind rewarders of industrious life; Ye shady woods, where once I us'd to rove, Alike indulgent to the Muse and love; Ye murm'ring streams, that in meanders roll, The sweet composers of the pensive soul; . Farewell!—The city calls me from your bow'rs : Farewell, amusing thoughts and peaceful hours!

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While thee, my friend, the City's scenes detain,
The cheerful scenes where trade and pleasure reign,
Where glittering shops their varied stores display,
And passing thousands crowd the public way;
Where Painting's forms, and Music's sound delight,
And Fashion's frequent novelties invite,
And Conversation's sober social hours
Engage the mind, and elevate its powers; .
Far different scenes for us the country yields,
Deserted roads and unfrequented fields :
Yet deem not, lonely as they are, that these
Boast nought to charm the eye, the ear to please.
Though here the tyrant Winter holds command, ..
And bids rude tempests desolate the land;
Sometimes the Sun extends his cheering beam,
And all the landcape casts a golden gleam: use
Clear is the sky, and calm and soft the air, ....
And through thin mist each object looks more fair.

Then, where the villa rears its sheltering grove, Along the southern lawn 'tis sweet to rove: There dark green pines, behind, their boughs extend, And bright spruce firs, like pyramids, ascend, And round their tops, in many a pendent row, Their scaly cones of shining auburn show; There the broad cedar's level branches spread, And the tall cypress lifts its spiry head; With alaternus ilex interweaves, And laurels mix their glossy oval leaves; And gilded holly crimson fruit displays, And white viburnum o'er the border strays.

Where these from storms the spacious green house

screen,
Ev'n now the eye beholds a flowery scene;
There crystal sashes ward th' injurious cold,
And rows of benches fair exotics hold;
Rich plants, that Afric's sunny cape supplies,
Or o'er the isles of either India rise.

While strip'd geranium shows its tufts of red,
And verdant myrtles grateful fragrance shed;
A moment stay to mark the vivid bloom,
A moment stay to catch the high perfume,
And then to rural scenes--Yon path, that leads
Down the steep bourn and 'cross the level meads,

Soon mounts th' opponent hill, and soon conveys
To where the farm its pleasing group displays:
The rustic mansion's form, antiquely fair ;
The yew-hedg’d garden, with its grass-plat square;
The barn’s long ridge, and doors expanded wide ;
The stable's straw-clad eves and clay-built side ;
The cart-shed's roof, of rough-hewn round wood made,
And loose on heads of old sere pollards laid;
The granary's floor that smooth-wrought posts sustain,
Where hungry vermin strive to climb in vain :
And many an ash that wild around them grows,
And many an elm that shelter o'er them throws,

Then round the moat we turn, with pales inclos'd, And midst the orchard's trees in rows dispos’d, Whose boughs thick tufts of misletoe adorn With fruit of lụcid white on joints of yellow borne.

Thence up the lane, romantic woods among,
Beneath old oaks with ivy overhung,
(O'er their rough trunks the hairy stalks intwine,
And on their arms the sable berries shine :)
Here oft the sight, on banks bestrewn with leaves,
The early primrose' opening bud perceives;
And oft steep dells or ragged cliffs unfuld
The prickly furze with bloom of brightest gold;

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