« ForrigeFortsett »
With foliage of such dark redundant growth,
I call’d the low-roofd lodge the peasant's nest.'
And, hidden as it is, and far remote
From such unpleasing sounds as haunt the ear
In village or in town, the bay of curs
Incessant, clinking hammers, grinding wheels,
And infants clam'rous whether pleas'd or pain’d,
Oft have I wish'd the peaceful covert mine.
Here, I have said, at least I should poffefs
The poet's treasure, filence, and indulge
The dreams of fancy, tranquil and secure.
Vain thought! the dweller in that still retreat
Dearly obtains the refuge it affords.
Its elevated scite forbids the wretch
To drink sweet waters of the crystal well;
He dips his bowl into the weedy ditch,
And, heavy-laden, brings his bev'rage home,
Far fetch'd and little worth; nor seldom waits,
Dependant on the baker's punctual call,
To hear his creaking panniers at the door,
Angry and sad, and his last crust consum'd.
So farewell envy of the peasant's nest !
If folitude make scant the means of life,
Society for me!—thou seeming sweet,
Be still a pleasing object in my view;
My visit still, but never mine abode.
Not distant far, a length of colonnade Invites us. Monument of ancient taste, Now scorn'd, but worthy of a better fate. Our fathers knew the value of a screen From sultry suns; and, in their shaded walks And long-protracted bow'rs, enjoy'd at noon The gloom and coolness of declining day. We bear our shades about us ; felf-depriv'd Of other screen, the chin umbrella spread, And range an Indian waste without a tree. Thanks to * Benevolus—he spares me yet
These chesnuts rang’d în corresponding lines; And, though himself so polish’d, still reprieves The obsolete prolixity of shade.
Descending now (but cautious, lest too fast) A sudden steep, upon a rustic bridge We pass a gulph, in which the willows dip
Their pendent boughs, stooping as if to drink.
Hence, ancle-deep in moss and Aow'ry thyme,
We mount again, and feel at ev'ry step
Our foot half funk in hillocks green and soft,
Rais'd by the mole, the miner of the soil.
He, not unlike the great ones of mankind,
· Disfigures earth; and, plotting in the dark,
Toils much to earn a monumental pile,
That may record the mischiefs he has done.
The summit gain’d, behold the proud alcove That crowns it! yet not all its pride secures The grand retreat from injuries impress’d
By rural carvers, who with knives deface
The pannels, leaving an obscure, rude name,
In characters uncouth, and spelt amiss.
Șo strong the zeal t’ immortalize himself
Beats in the breast of man, that ev'n a few
Few transient years, won from th' abyss abhorr’d
Of blank oblivion, seem a glorious prize,
And even to a clown. Now roves the eye;
And, posted on this speculative height,
Exults in its command. The sheep-fold here
Pours out its fleecy tenants o'er the glebe.
At first, progressive as a stream, they seek
The middle field; but, scatter'd by degrees,
Each to his choice, soon whiten all the land.
There, from the sun-burnt hay-field, homeward creeps
The loaded wain; while, lighten'd of its charge,
The wain that meets it passes swiftly by ;
The boorish driver leaning o'er his team
Vocif'rous, and impatient of delay.
Nor less attractive is the woodland scene,
Diversified with trees of ev'ry growth,
Alike, yet various. Here the gray smooth trunks
Of ash, or lime, or beech, diftinctly shine,
Within the twilight of their distant shades;
There, loft behind a rising ground, the wood
Seems funk, and shorten’d to its topmost boughs.
No tree in all the grove but has its charms,
Though each its hue peculiar ; paler some,
And of a wannish gray; the willow such,
And poplar, that with silver lines his leaf,
And ash far-stretching his umbrageous arm;
Of deeper green the elm; and deeper still,
Lord of the woods, the long-surviving oak.
Some glossy-leav'd, and shining in the sun,
The maple, and the beech of oily nuts
Prolific, and the lime at dewy eve
Diffusing odours: nor unnoted pass
The fycamore, capricious in attire,
Now green, now tawny, and, ere autumn yet
Have chang’d the woods, in scarlet honours bright.