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THE WINTER EVENING. 153 Her brittle toys, restores me to myself. .. How calm is my recess; and how the frost, Raging abroad, and the rough wind, endear The silence and the warmth enjoy’d within! I saw the woods and fields, at close of day, A variegated show; the meadows green, Though faded ; and the lands, where lately wav'd . The golden harvest, of a mellow brown, Upturn’d so lately by the forceful share, I saw far off the weedy fallows smile With verdure not unprofitable, graz’d By flocks, fast feeding, and selecting each His fav’rite herb; while all the leafless groves, That skirt th’ horizon, wore a sable hue, Scarce notic'd in the kindred dusk of eve. To-morrow brings a change, a total change! Which even now, though silently perform’d, And Nowly, and by most unfelt, the face Of universal nature undergoes. Fast falls a fleecy show'r; the downy flakes,
Descending, and with never-ceasing lapfe,
Softly alighting upon all below,
Assimilate all objects. Earth receives
Gladly the thick’ning mantle; and the green
And tender blade, that fear'd the chilling blaft,
Escapès unhurt beneath so warm a veil.
In such a world; so thorny, and where none
Finds happiness unblighted; or, if found,
Without some thiftly forrow at its side ;
It seems the part of wisdom, and no fin
Against the law of love, to measure lots
With less distinguish'd than ourselves; that thuş
We may with patience bear our mod’rate ills,
And sympathize with others, suff’ring more.
Ill fares the trav'ller now, and he that stalks
In pond'rous boots beside his seeking team.
The wain goes heavily, impeded sore
By congregated loads adhering close
To the clogg'd wheels ; and in its Nuggish pace,
Noiseless, appears a moving hill of snow.
The toiling steeds expand the nostríl wide,
While ev'ry breath, by respiration strong
Forc'd downward, is consolidated foon
Upon their jutting chests. He, form’d to bear .
The pelting brunt of the tempestuous night,
With half-shut eyes, and pucker'd cheeks, and teeth
Presented bare against the storm, plods on.
One hand secures his hat, save when with both
He brandishes his pliant length of whip,
Resounding oft, and never heard in vain.
Oh happy; and, in my account, denied
That sensibility of pain with which
Refinement is endued, thrice happy thou!
Thy frame, robust and hardy, feels indeed
The piercing cold, bụt feels it unimpair’d.
The learned finger never need explore
Thy vig'rous pulse; and the unhealthful east,
That breathes the spleen, and searches ev'ry bone
Of the infirm, is wholesome air to thee.
Thy days roll on, exempt from household care;
Thy waggon is thy wife; and the poor beasts,
That drag the dull companion to and fro,
Thine helpless charge, dependent on thy care.
Ah, treat them kindly! rude as thou appear'st,
Yet show that thou hast mercy! which the great,
With needless hurry whirld from place to place,
Humane as they would feem, not always show.
Poor, yet industrious, modeft, quiet, neat ; Such claiin compassion in a night like this, . And have a friend in ev'ry feeling heart. : Warm’d, while it lafts, by labour, all day long They brave the season, and yet find at eve, Ill clad and fed but sparely, time to cool. The frugal housewife trembles when the lights Her scanty stock of brush-wood, blazing .clear, But dying soon, like all terrestrial joys. The few small embers left she nurses well ; And, while her infant race, with outspread hands
And crowded knees, fit cow'ring o’er the sparks,
Retires, content to quake, so they be warm’d.
The man feels least, as more inur:d than she
To winter, and the current in his veins.
More briskly mov'd by his severer toil;
Yet he, too, finds his own distress in their’s.
The taper foon extinguish’d, which I saw
Dangled along at the cold finger's end
Just when the day declin'd, and the brown loaf
Lodg'd on the shelf, half-eaten, without fauce
Of fav'ry cheese, or butter, costlier still;
Sleep seems their only refuge: for, alas,
Where penury is felt the thought is chain’d,
And sweet colloquial pleasures are but few!
With all this thrift they thrive not. All the care :
Ingenious parsimony takes but just
Saves the small inventory, bed, and stool,
Skillet, and old cary'd chest, from public sale..
They live, and live without extorted almś . .
From grudging hands; but other boast have none