His wasted spirits quickly, by long toil Incurring short fatigue; and, though our years As life declines fpeed rapidly away, And not a year but pilfers as he goes Some youthful grace that age would gladly keep; A tooth or auburn lock, and by degrees Their length and colour from the locks they spare; Th’ elastic spring of an unwearied foot That mounts the stile with ease, or leaps the fence, That play of lungs, inhaling and again Respiring freely the fresh air, that makes Swift pace or steep ascent no toil to me, Mine have not pilfer'd yet; nor yet impair’d . My relish of fair prospect; scenes that sooth'd Or charm’d me young, no longer young, I find Still soothing, and of pow'r to charm me still. And witness, dear companion of my walks, Whose arm this twentieth winter I perceive Fast lock’d in mine, with pleasure fuch as love, Confirm’d by long experience of thy worth

[ocr errors]

And well-tried virtues, could alone inspire-
Witness a joy that thou hast doubled long.
Thou know'st my praise of nature most sincere,
And that my raptures are not conjur'd up
To serve occasions of poetic pomp,
But genuine, and art partner of them all.
How oft upon yon eminence our pace
Has Nacken’d to a pause, and we have born
The rufiling wind, scarce conscious that it blew,
While admiration, feeding at the eye,
And still unsated, dwelt upon the scene.
Thence with what pleasure have we just discern'd
The distant plough Now moving, and beside
His lab’ring team, that swerv'd not from the track,
The sturdy fwain diminish'd to a boy!
Here Ouse, now winding through a level plain
Of spacious meads with cattle sprinkled o’er,
Conducts the eye along his finuous course
Delighted. There, faft rooted in their bank,
Stand, never overlook’d, our fav’rite elms,

That screen the herdsman's folitary hut;
While far beyond, and overthwart the stream
That, as with molten glass, inlays the vale,
The sloping land recedes into the clouds;
Displaying on its varied side the grace
Of hedge-row beauties numberless, square tow'r,
Tall spire, from which the sound of cheerful bells
Just undulates upon the list’ning ear,
Groves, heaths, and smoking villages, remote.
Scenes must be beautiful which, daily view'd,
Please daily, and whose novelty survives
Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years,
Praise justly due to those that I describe.

Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds, Exhilarate the spirit, and restore The tone of languid Nature. Mighty winds, That sweep the skirt of fome far-spreading wood Of ancient growth, make music not unlike The dash of ocean on his winding shore,


And lull the spirit while they fill the mind;
Unnumber'd branches waving in the blast,
And all their leaves fast Autt'ring, all at once.
Nor less composure waits upon the roar
Of distant foods, or on the softer voice
Of neighb’ring fountain, or of rills that Nip
Through the cleft rock, and, chiming as they fall
Upon loose pebbles, lose themselves at length
In matted grass, that with a livelier green
Betrays the secret of their silent course.
Nature inanimate employs sweet founds,
But animated nature sweeter still,
To sooth and satisfy the human ear.
Ten thousand warblers cheer the day, and one
The live-long night: nor these alone, whose notes
Nice finger'd art must emulate in vain,
But cawing rooks, and kites that swim sublime
In still repeated circles, screaming loud,
The jay, the pie, and ev’n the boding owl
That hails the rising moon, have charms for me.

Sounds inharmonious in themselves and harsh, Yet heard in scenes where peace for ever reigns, And only there, please highly for their fake.

Peace to the artist, whose ingenious thought Devis’d the weather-house, that useful toy! Fearless of humid air and gathering rains, Forth steps the man—an emblem of myself! More delicate, his tim’rous mate retires. When Winter soaks the fields, and female feet, Too weak to struggle with tenacious clay, Or ford the rivulets, are best at home, The task of new discov’ries falls on me. At such a season, and with such a charge, Once went I forth; and found, till then unknown, A cottage, whither oft we since repair: 'Tis perch'd upon the green-hill top, but close Environ’d with a ring of branching elms That overhang the thatch, itself unseen Peeps at the vale below; so thick beset

« ForrigeFortsett »