Yet let a poet (poetry disarms
The fiercest animals with magic charms)
Risk an intrusion on thy pensive mood,
And woo and win thee to thy proper good.
Pastoral images and still retreats,
Umbrageous walks and solitary seats,
Sweet birds in concert with harmonious streams,
Soft airs, nocturnal vigils, and day dreams,
Are all enchantments in a case like thine,
Conspire against thy peace with one design,
Soothe thee to make thee but a surer prey
And feed the fire that wastes thy powers away.
Up !—God has formed thee with a wiser view,
Not to be led in chains, but to subdue,
Calls thee to cope with enemies, and first
Points out a conflict with thyself, the worst.
Woman indeed, a gift he would bestow
When he designed a paradise below,
The richest earthly boon his hands afford,
Deserves to be beloved, but not adored.
Post away swiftly to more active scenes,
Collect the scattered truths that study gleans,
Mix with the world, but with its wiser part,
No longer give an image all thine heart;
Its empire is not hers, nor is it thine,
'Tis God's just claim, prerogative divine.

Virtuous and faithful Heberden, whose skill
Attempts no task it cannot well fulfil,
Gives melancholy up to Nature's care,
And sends the patient into purer air.
Look where he comes,—in this embowered alcove,
Stand close concealed, and see a statue move:
Lips busy, and eyes fixed, foot falling slow,
Arms hanging idly down, hands clasped below,
Interpret to the marking eye distress,
Such as its symptoms can alone express.
That tongue is silent now,—that silent tongue
Could argue once, could jest or join the song,
Could give advice, could censure or commend,
Or charm the sorrows of a drooping friend.
Renounced alike its office and its sport,
Its brisker and its graver strains fall short,
Both fail beneath a fever's secret sway,
And like a summer brook are past away.
This is a sight for pity to peruse
Till she resemble faintly what she views,
Till sympathy contract a kindred pain,
Pierced with the woes that she laments in vain.
This of all maladies that man infest,

1 Arms crossed, brows bent, eyes fixed, feet marching slow,
A band of malcontents with spleen o'crfiow.

Churchhill, Rescind, 487. Claims most compassion and receives the least;

Job felt it when he groaned beneath the rod,

And the barbed arrows of a frowning God,

And such emollients as his friends could spare,

Friends such as his for modern Jobs prepare.

Blest (rather curst) with hearts that never feel,

Kept snug in caskets of close-hammered steel,

With mouths made only to grin wide and eat,

And minds that deem derided pain a treat;

With limbs of British oak and nerves of wi re,

And wit that puppet-prompters might inspire,

Their sovereign nostrum is a clumsy joke,

On pangs enforced with God's severest stroke.

But with a soul that ever felt the sting

Of sorrow, sorrow is a sacred thing:

Not to molest, or irritate, or raise

A laugh at its expense, is slender praise;

He that has not usurped the name of man,

Does all, and deems too little, all he can,

To assuage the throbbings of the festered part,

And stanch the bleedings of a broken heart.

'Tis not, as heads that never ache suppose,

Forgery of fancy and a dream of woes;

Man is a harp whose chords elude the sight,

Each yielding harmony, disposed aright,

The screws reversed, (a task which if he please

God in a moment executes with ease,)

Ten thousand thousand strings at once go loose,

Lost, till he tune them, all their power and use.

Then neither heathy wilds, nor scenes as fair

As ever recompensed the peasant's care,

Nor soft declivities with tufted hills,

Nor view of waters turning busy mills,

Parks in which art preceptress nature weds,

Nor gardens interspersed with flowery beds,

Nor gales that catch the scent of blooming groves,

And waft it to the mourner as he roves,

Can call up life into his faded eye,

That passes all he sees unheeded by:

No wounds like those a wounded spirit feels,

No cure for such, till God who makes them heals.

And thou sad sufferer under nameless ill,

That yields not to the touch of human skill,

Improve the kind occasion, understand

A father's frown, and kiss his chastening hand:

To thee the day-spring and the blaze of noon,

The purple evening and resplendent moon,

The stars, that sprinkled o'er the vault of night

Seem drops descending in a shower of light,

Shine not, or undesired and hated shine,

Seen through the medium of a cloud like thine;

Yet seek Him, in his favour life is found,

All bliss beside, a shadow or a sound:

Then heaven eclipsed so long, and this dull earth

Shall seem to start into a second birth;

Nature assuming a more lovely face,

Borrowing a beauty from the works of grace,

Shall be despised and overlooked no more,

Shall fill thee with delights unfelt before,

Impart to things inanimate a voice,

And bid her mountains and her hills rejoice;

The sound shall run along the winding vales,

And thou enjoy an Eden ere it fails.

Ye groves, (the statesman at his desk exclaims, Sick of a thousand disappointed aims,) My patrimonial treasure and my pride, Beneath your shades your gray possessor hide! Receive me languishing for that repose The servant of the public never knows. Ye saw me once, (ah, those regretted days When boyish innocence was all my praise,) Hour after hour delightfully allot To studies then familiar, since forgot, And cultivate a taste for ancient song, Catching its ardour as I mused along; Nor seldom, as propitious heaven might send, What once I valued and could boast, a friend, Were witnesses how cordially I pressed His undissembling virtue to my breast; Receive me now, not uncorrupt as then, Nor guiltless of corrupting other men, But versed in arts that while they seem to stay A fallen empire, hasten its decay. To the fair haven of my native home, The wreck of what I was, fatigued I come; For once I can approve the patriot's voice, And make the course he recommends my choice; We meet at last in one sincere desire,— His wish and mine both prompt me to retire. 'Tis done;—he steps into the welcome chaise, Lolls at his ease behind four handsome bays, That whirl away from business and debate The disencumbered Atlas of the state. Ask not the boy, who when the breeze of morn First shakes the glittering drops from every thorn, Unfolds his flock, then under bank or bush Sits linking cherry-stones or platting rush, How fair is freedom ?—he was always free: To carve his rustic name upon a tree, To snare the mole, or with ill-fashioned hook To draw the incautious minnow from the brook, Are life's prime pleasures in his simple view, His flock the chief concern he ever knew: She shines but little in his heedless eyes,

The good we never miss we rarely prize.

But ask the noble drudge in state affairs,

Escaped from office and its constant cares,

What charms he sees in freedom's smile expressed,

In freedom lost so long, now repossessed;

The tongue whose strains were cogent as commands,

Revered at home, and felt in foreign lands,

Shall own itself a stammerer in that cause,

Or plead its silence as its best applause.

He knows indeed that whether dressed or rude,

Wild without art, or artfully subdued,

Nature in every form inspires delight,

Hut never marked her with so just a sight.

Her hedge-row shrubs, a variegated store,

With woodbine and wild roses mantled o'er,

Green balks and furrowed lands, the stream that spreads

Its cooling vapour o'er the dewy meads,

Downs that almost escape the inquiring eye,

That melt and fade into the distant sky,

Beauties he lately slighted as he passed,

Seem all created since he travelled last.

Master of all the enjoyments he designed,

No rough annoyance rankling in his mind,

What early philosophic hours he keeps,

How regular his meals, how sound he sleeps;

Not sounder he that on the mainmast head,

While morning kindles with a windy red,

Begins a long look-out for distant land,

Nor quits till evening-watch his giddy stand,

Then swift descending with a seaman's haste,

Slips to his hammock, and forgets the blast.

He chooses company, but not the squire's,

Whose wit is rudeness, whose good breeding tires;

Nor yet the parson's, who would gladly come,

Obsequious when abroad, though proud at home;

Nor can he much affect the neighbouring peer,

Whose toe of emulation treads too near,

But wisely seeks a more convenient friend,

With whom, dismissing forms, he may unbend,—

A man whom marks of condescending grace

Teach, while they flatter him, his proper place,—

Who comes when called, and at a word withdraws,

Speaks with reserve, and listens with applause;

Some plain mechanic, who without pretence

To birth or wit, nor gives nor takes offence,

On whom he rests well pleased his weary powers,

And talks and laughs away his vacant hours.

The tide of life, swift always in its course,

May run in cities with a brisker force,

But nowhere with a current so serene,

Or half so clear as in the rural scene.

Yet how fallacious is all earthly bliss,

What obvious truths the wisest heads may miss!

Some pleasures live a month, and some a year,

But short the date of all we gather here,

Nor happiness is felt, except the true,

That does not charm the more for being new.

This observation, as it chanced, not made,

Or if the thought occurred, not duly weighed,

He sighs,—for after all, by slow degrees,

The spot he loved has lost the power to please;

To cross his ambling pony day by day

Seems at the best but dreaming life away;

The prospect, such as might enchant despair,

He views it not, or sees no beauty there,

With aching heart and discontented looks,

Returns at noon to billiards or to books,

But feels while grasping at his faded joys

A secret thirst of his renounced employs;

He chides the tardiness of every post,

Pants to be told of battles won or lost,

Blames his own indolence, observes, though late,

'Tis criminal to leave a sinking state,

Flies to the levee, and received with grace,

Kneels, kisses hands, and shines again in place.

Suburban villas, highway-side retreats, That dread the encroachment of our growing street?, Tight boxes neatly sashed, and in a blaze With all a July sun's collected rays, Delight the citizen, who gasping there Breathes clouds of dust, and calls it country air. Oh, sweet retirement, who would baulk the thought That could afford retirement, or could not? 'Tis such an easy walk, so smooth and straight,— The second milestone fronts the garden gate; A step if fair, and if a shower approach You find safe shelter in the next stage-coach. There prisoned in a parlour snug and small, Like bottled wasps upon a southern wall, The man of business and his friends compressed, Forget their labours, and yet find no rest; But still 'tis rural,—trees are to be seen From every window, and the fields are green; Ducks paddle in the pond before the door, And what could a remoter scene show more? A sense of elegance we rarely find The portion of a mean or vulgar mind, And ignorance of better things makes man Who cannot much, rejoice in what he can; And he that deems his leisure well bestowed In contemplations of a turnpike road, Is occupied as well, employs his hours As wisely, and as much improves his powers, As he that slumbers in pavilions graced

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