Twelve years have elaps'd, since I last took a view
Of my favourite field, and the bank where they grew;
And now in the grass behold they are laid,
And the tree is my seat, that once lent me a shade.

The blackbird is fled to another retreat,

Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat, And the scene, where his melody charm'd me before, Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more.

My fugitive years are all hasting away,
And I must ere long lie as lowly as they,
With a turf on my breast, and a stone at my head,
Ere another such grove shall arise in it's stead.

"Tis a sight to engage me, if any thing can,
To muse on the perishing pleasures of man;
Though his life be a dream, his enjoyments, I see,
Have a being less durable even than he*.

* Mr. Cowper afterward altered this last stanza in the following manner :

The change both my heart and my fancy employs,
I reflect on the frailty of man, and his joys;
Short-liv'd as we are, yet our pleasures, we see,
Have a still shorter date, and die sooner than we.


POPULEÆ cecidit gratissima copia silvæ,
Conticuêre susurri, omnisque evanuit umbra.
Nullæ jam levibus se miscent frondibus auræ,
Et nulla in fluvio ramorum ludit imago.

Hei mihi! bis senos dum luctu torqueor annos,
cogor silvis suetoque carere recessu,
Cum serò rediens, stratasque in gramine cernens,
Insedi arboribus, sub queîs errare solebam.

Ah ubi nunc merulæ cantus? Felicior illum
Silva tegit, duræ nondum permissa bipenni;
Scilicet exustos colles camposque patentes
Odit, et indignans et non rediturus abivit.

Sed qui succisas doleo succidar et ipse,
Et priùs huic parilis quàm creverit altera silva
Flebor, et, exequiis parvis donatus, habebo
Defixum lapidem tumulique cubantis acervum.

Tam subitò periisse videns tam digna manere,
Agnosco humanas sortes et tristia fata-

Sit licèt ipse brevis, volucrique simillimus umbræ,
Est homini brevior citiùsque obitura voluptas.


O MATUTINI rores, auræque salubres,
O nemora, et lætæ rivis felicibus herbæ,
Graminei colles, et amænæ in vallibus umbræ!
Fata modò dederint quas olim in rure paterno
Delicias, procul arte, procul formidine novi,
Quam vellem ignotus, quod mens mea semper

Ante larem proprium placidam expectare senectam,
Tum demùm, exactis non infeliciter annis,

Sortiri tacitum lapidem, aut sub cespite condi!



SUB sepe exiguum est, nec rarò in margine ripæ,
Reptile, quod lucet nocte, dieque latet.
Vermis habet speciem, sed habet de lumine nomen;
At prisca à famâ non liquet, unde micet.
Plerique à caudâ credunt procedere lumen;
Nec desunt, credunt qui rutilare caput.
Nam superas stellas quæ nox accendit, et illi
Parcam eadem lucem dat, moduloque parem.
Forsitan hoc prudens voluit Natura caveri,
Ne pede quis duro reptile contereret.
Exiguam, in tenebris ne gressum offenderet ullus,
Prætendi voluit forsitan illa facem.

Sive usum hunc Natura parens, seu maluit illum,
Haud frustra accensa est lux, radiique dati.
Ponite vos fastus, humiles nec spernite, magni;

Quando habet et minimum reptile, quod niteat.




BENEATH the hedge, or near the stream,
A worm is known to stray;

That shows by night a lucid beam,
Which disappears by day.


Disputes have been, and still prevail,
From whence his rays proceed;

Some give that honour to his tail,

And others to his head.


But this is sure-the hand of might,

That kindles up the skies,

Gives him a modicum of light

Proportion'd to his size.


Perhaps indulgent Nature meant,
By such a lamp bestow'd,

To bid the trav'ller, as he went,

Be careful where he trod:

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