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In that blest moment Nature, throwing wide
Her veil opaque, discloses with a smile
The author of her beauties, who, retired
Behind his own creation, works unseen
By the impure, and hears his power denied.
Thou art the source and centre of all minds,
Their only point of rest, eternal Word!
From thee departing they are lost, and rove
At random without honour, hope, or peace.
From thee is all, that sooths the life of man,
His high endeavour, and his glad success,
His strength to suffer, and his will to serve.
But oh thou bounteous Giver of all good,
Thou art of all thy gifts thyself the crown!
Give what thou canst, without thee we are poor;
And with thee rich, take what thou wilt away.

THE TASK.

BOOK VI.

THE WINTER WALK AT NOON.

The Argument. Bells at a distance.—Their effect.— \ fine noon in winter.—i-A sheltered walk.—Meditation better than books.—Our familiarity with the course of nature makes it appear less wonderful than it is.— The transformation that spring effects in a shrubbery described.—A mistake concerning the course of nature corrected.—God maintains it by an unremitted act.—The amusements fashionable at this hour of the day reproved.—Animals happy, a delightful sight.—Origin of cruelty to animals—That it is a great crime proved from scripture.—That proof illustrated by a tale.—A line drawn between the lawful and unlawful destruction of them.— Their good and useful properties insisted on.— Apology for the encomiums bestowed by the author on animals.—Instances of man's extravagant praise of man.—The groans of the creation shall have an end.—A view taken of the restoration of nil things.—An invocation and an invitation of him who shall bring it to pass.—The retired man vindicated from the charge of uselessness.—Conclusion.

Ihrre is in souls a sympathy with sounds, \acl a* the mind is pitched the ear is pleased

With melting airs or martial, brisk or grave, ^
Some chord in unison with what we hear
Js touched within us, and the heart replies.
How soft the music of those village bells,
Falling at intervals upon the ear
In cadence sweet, now dying all away,
Now pealing loud again, and louder still,
Clear and sonorous, as the gale comes on!
With easy force it opens all the cells
Where memory slept. Wherever I have heard
A kindred melody, the scene recurs,
And with it all its pleasures and its pains.
Such comprehensive views the spirit takes,
That in a few short moments I retrace
(As in a map the voyager his course)
The windings of my way through many years.
Short as in>etrospect the journey seems,
It seemed not always short; the rugged path,
And prospect eft so dreary and forlorn,
Moved many a sigh at its disheartening length.
Yet feeling present evils, while the past
Faintly impress the mind, or not at all,
How readily we wish time spent revoked,
That we might try the ground again, where once
(Through inexperience, as we now perceive)
We missed that happiness we might have found'.
Some friend is gone, perhaps his son's best friend,

A father, whose authority, in show

When most severe, and mustering all its force,

Was but the graver countenance of love;

Whose favour, like the clouds of spring, might lower,

And utter now and then an awful voice,

But had a blessing in its darkest frown,

Threatening at once and nourishing the plant.

We loved, but not enough, the gentle hand,

That reared us. At a thoughtless age, allured

By every gilded folly we renounced

His sheltering side, and wilfully forewent

That converse, which we now in rain regret.

How gladly would the man recall to life

The boy's neglected sire! a mother too,

That softer friend, perhaps more gladly still,

Might he demand them at the gates of death.

Sorrow has, since they went, subdued and tamed

The playful humour; he could now endure,

(Himself grown sober in the vale of tears)

And feel a parent's presence no restraint.

But not to understand a treasure's worth

Till time has stolen away the slighted good,

Is cause of half the poverty we feel,

And makes the world the wilderness it is.

The few that pray at all pray oft amiss,

And, seeking grace to improve the prize they hold,

Would urge a wiser suit than asking more.

VOL. II. P

The night was winter in his roughest mood; The morning sharp and clear. But now at noon Upon the southern side of the slant hills, And where the woods fence off the northern blast, The season smiles, resigning all its rage, And has the warmth of May. The vault is blue Without a cloud, and white without a speck The dazzling splendour of the scene below. Again the harmony comes over the vale; And through the trees I view the embattled tower, Whence all the music. I again perceive The soothing influence of the wafted strains, And settle in soft musings as I tread The walk, still verdant, under oaks and elms, Whose outspread branches overarch the glade. The rcof, though moveable through all its length As the wind sways it, has yet well sufficed, And intercepting in their silent fall The frequent flakes, has kept a path for me. No noise is here, or none that hinders thought. The redbreast warbles still, but is content With slender notes, and more than half suppressed Pleased with his solitude, and flitting light From spray to spray, wherever he rests he shakes From many a twig the pendant drops of ice, That tinkle in the withered leaves below. Stillness, accompanied with sounds so soft,

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