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ARGUMENT OF THE SIXTH BOOK.
Bells at a distance.-Their effect.-A fine noon in winter.-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 all things.—An invocation and an invitation of him, who shall bring it to pass.-The retired man vindicated from the charge of uselessness.—Conclusion.
THERE is in fouls a fympathy with founds,
And as the mind is pitched the ear is pleased
With melting airs or martial, brisk or grave,
Some chord in unifon with what we hear
Is touched within us, and the heart replies.
How foft the mufic of thofe village bells,
Falling at intervals upon the ear
In cadence fweet, now dying all away,
Now pealing loud again, and louder still,
Clear and fonorous, as the gale comes on!
With easy force it opens all the celis
Where memory flept. Wherever I have heard
A kindred melody, the fcene recurs,
And with it all its pleasures and its pains.
Such comprehenfive views the spirit takes,
That in a few fhort moments I retrace
(As in a map the voyager his course)
The windings of my way through many years.
Short as in retrospect the journey seems,
It seemed not alway short; the rugged path,
And profpect oft fo dreary and forlorn,
Moved many a figh at its difheartening length.
Yet feeling prefent evils, while the paft
Faintly imprefs 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 miffed that happiness we might have found!
Some friend is gone, perhaps his fon's best friend,
A father, whofe authority, in show
When moft severe, and mustering all its force,
Was but the graver countenance of love;
Whofe favour, like the clouds of spring, might dower,
And utter now and then an awful voice,
But had a bleffing 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 fide, and wilfully forewent
That converfe, which we now in vain regret.
How gladly would the man recall to life
The boy's neglected fire! a mother too,
That fofter friend, perhaps more gladly still,
Might he demand them at the gates of death.
Sorrow has, fince they went, fubdued and tamed
The playful humour; he could now endure,
(Himself grown fober in the vale of tears)
And feel a parent's prefence no reftraint.
But not to understand a treasure's worth
Till time has ftolen away the flighted 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 amifs,
And, feeking grace to improve the prize they hold,
Would urge a wiser suit than asking more.
The night was winter in his rougheft mood; The morning fharp and clear. But now at noon Upon the fouthern fide of the flant hills, And where the woods fence off the northern blaft, The season fmiles, refigning all its rage,
And has the warmth of May. The vault is blue Without a cloud, and white without a fpeck
The dazzling splendour of the scene below.
Again the harmony comes o'er the vale;
And through the trees I view the embattled tower,
Whence all the mufic. I again perceive
The foothing influence of the wafted ftrains,
And fettle in foft mufings as I tread
The walk, ftill verdant, under oaks and elms,
Whofe outspread branches overarch the glade.
The roof, though moveable through all its length
As the wind fways it, has yet well fufficed,
And intercepting in their filent fall
The frequent flakes, has kept a path for me.
No noise is here, or none that hinders thought.
The redbreaft warbles ftill, but is content
With flender notes, and more than half fuppreffed:
Pleafed with his folitude, and flitting light
From fpray to fpray, where'er he refts he fhakes
From many a twig the pendent drops of ice,
That tinkle in the withered leaves below.
Stillness, accompanied with founds fo foft,
Charms more than filence. Meditation here
May think down hours to moments.
May give an useful leffon to the head,
And learning wifer grow without his books.
Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one,
Have oft-times no connexion. Knowledge dwells
In heads replete with thoughts of other men ;