The longer I heard, I esteemed

The work of my fancy the more, And ev'n to myself never seemed

So tuneful a poet before.

Though the pleasures of London exceed

In number the days of the year, Catharina, did nothing impede,

Would feel herself happier here; For the close woven arches of limes

On the banks of our river, I know, Are sweeter to her many times

Than all that the city can show.

So it is, when the mind is endued

With a well-judging taste from above,
Then, whether embellished or rude,

Tis nature alone that we love.
The achievements of art may amuse,

And even our wonder excite,
But groves, hills, and vallies, diffuse

A lasting, a sacred delight.

Since then in the rural recess

Catharjna alone can rejoice, May it still be her lot to possess

The scene of her sensible choice! To inhabit a mansion remote

From the clattsr of street-pacing steeds, And by Philomel's annual note

To measure the life that she leads.

With her book, and her voice, and her lyre,

To wing all her moments at home,
And with scenes that new rapture inspire

As oft as it suits her to roam,
She will have just the life she prefers,

With little to wish or to fear,
And ours will be pleasant as hers,

Might we view her enjoying it here.



A Hermit (or if'chance you hold
That title now too trite and old)
A man, once young, who lived retired
As hermit could have well desired,
His hours of study closed at last,
And finished his concise repast,
Stoppled his cruse, replaced his book
Within its customary nook,
And, staff in hand, set forth to share
The sober cordial of sweet air,
Like Isaac, with a mind applied
To serious thought at evening-tide.

Autumnal rains had made it chill,
And from the trees, that fringed his hill,
Shades slanting at the close of day
Chilled more his else delightful way.
Distant a little mile he spied
A western bank's still sunny side,
And right toward the favoured place
Proceeding with his nimblest pace,
In hope to bask a little yet,
Just reached it when the sun was set.
Your hermit, young and jovial sirs!
Learns something from whate'er occurs—
And hence, he said, my mind computes
The real worth of man's pursuits.
His object chosen, wealth or fame,
Or other sublunary game,
Imagination to his view
Presents it decked with every hue,
That can seduce him not to spare
His powers of best exertion there,
But youth, health, vigour to expend
On so desirable an end.
Ere long approach life's evening shades,
The glow that fancy gave it fades;
And, earned too late, it wants the grace
Which first engaged him in the chase.


True, answered an angelic guide,
Attendant at the senior's side—
But whether all the time it cost
To urge the fruitless chase be lost,
Must be decided by the worth
Of that, which called his ardour forth.
Trifles pursued, whate'er the event,
Must cause him shame or discontent;
A vicious object still is worse,
Successful there he wins a curse;
But he, whom ev'n in life's last stage
Endeavours laudable engage,
Is paid, at least in peace of mind,
And sense of having well designed;
And if, ere he attain his end,
His sun precipitate descend,
A brighter prize than that he meant
Shall recompence his mere intent.
No virtuous wish can bear a date
Either too early or too late.


There was a time when ^Etna's silent fire Slept unperceived, the mountain yet entire; When, conscious of no danger from below,

She towered a cloud-capt pyramid of snow.

No thunders shook with deep intestine sound

The blooming groves, that girdled her around.

Her unctuous olives, and her purple vines

(Unfelt the fury of those bursting mines)

The peasant's hopes, and not in vain, assured,

In peace upon her sloping sides matured.

When on a day like that of the last doom,

A conflagration labouring in her womb,

She teemed and heaved with an infernal birth,

That shook the circling seas and solid earth.

Dark and voluminous the vapours rise,

And hang their horrors in the neighbouring skies,

While through the stygian veil, that blots the day,

In dazzling streaks the vivid lightnings play.

But oh! what muse, and in what powers of song>

Can trace the torrent as it burns along?

Havoc and devastation in the van,

It marches o'er the prostrate works of man.

Vines, olives, herbage, forests disappear,

And all the charms of a Sicilian year.

Revolving seasons, fruitless as they pass,
See it an uninformed and idle mass;
Without a soil to invite the tiller's care,
Or blade, that might redeem it from despair.

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