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Found too where most offensive, in the skirts

Of the robed pedagogue. Else, let the arraigned

Stand up unconscious and refute the charge.

So when the Jewish Leader stretched his arm

And waved his rod divine, a race obscene

Spawned in the muddy beds of Nile, came forth

Polluting Egypt. Gardens, fields, and plains

Were covered with the pest. The streets were filled;

The croaking nuisance lurked in every nook,

Nor palaces nor even chambers 'scaped,

And the land stank, so numerous was the fry.

BOOK III.—THE GARDEN

ARGUMENT.

Self-recollection and reproof—Address to domestic happiness—Some account of myself—The vanity of many of their pursuits who are reputed wiseJustification of my censures—Divine illumination necessary to the most expert philosopher—The question, What is truth? answered by other questions —Domestic happiness addressed again—Few lovers of the country—My tame hare—Occupations of a retired gentleman in his garden—Pruning—Framing —Greenhouse—Sowing of flower-seeds—The country preferable to the town even in the winter— Reasons why it is deserted at that season—Ruinous effects of gaming and of expensive improvement—Book concludes with an apostrophe to the metropolis.

As one who long in thickets and in brakes

Entangled, winds now this way and now that,

His devious course uncertain, seeking home;

Or having long in miry ways been foiled

And sore discomfited, from slough to slough

Plunging, and half despairing of escape,

If chance at length he find a green-sward smooth

And faithful to the foot, his spirits rise,

He chirrups brisk his ear-erecting steed,

And winds his way with pleasure and with ease;

So I, designing other themes, and called

To adorn the sofa with eulogium due,

To tell its slumbers and to paint its dreams,

Have rambled wide. In country, city, seat

Of academic fame, (howe'er deserved,)

Long held and scarcely disengaged at last.

But now with pleasant pace, a cleanlier road

I mean to tread. I feel myself at large,

Courageous, and refreshed for future toil,

If toil await me, or if dangers new.

Since pulpits fail, and sounding-boards reflect
Most part an empty ineffectual sound,
What chance that I, to fame so little known,
Nor conversant with men or manners much,
Should speak to purpose, or with better hope
Crack the satiric thong? 'Twere wiser far
For me enamoured of sequestered scenes,

And charmed with rural beauty, to repose

Where chance may throw me, beneath elm or vine,

My languid limbs when summer sears the plains,

Or when rough winter rages, on the soft

And sheltered sofa, while the nitrous air

Feeds a blue flame and makes a cheerful hearth;

There undisturbed by folly, and apprized

How great the danger of disturbing her,

To muse in silence, or at least confine

Remarks that gall so many, to the few

My partners in retreat. Disgust concealed

Is oft-times proof of wisdom, when the fault

Is obstinate, and cure beyond our reach.

Domestic happiness, thou only bliss
Of paradise that has survived the fall!
Though few now taste thee unimpaired and pure,
Or tasting, long enjoy thee, too infirm
Or too incautious to preserve thy sweets
Unmixed with drops of bitter, which neglect
Or temper sheds into thy crystal cup;
Thou art the nurse of virtue. In thine arms
She smiles, appearing, as in truth she is,
Heaven-born and destined to the skies again.
Thou art not known where pleasure is adored,
That reeling goddess with the zoneless waist
And wandering eyes, still leaning on the arm
Of novelty, her fickle frail support;
For thou art meek and constant, hating change,
And finding in the calm of truth-tied love
Joys that her stormy raptures never yield.
Forsaking thee, what shipwreck have we made
Of honour, dignity, and fair renown,
Till prostitution elbows us aside
In all our crowded streets, and senates seem
Convened for purposes of empire less,
Than to release the adulteress from her bond.
The adulteress! what a theme for angry verse,
What provocation to the indignant heart
That feels for injured love ! but I disdain
The nauseous task to paint her as she is,
Cruel, abandoned, glorying in her shame.
No. Let her pass, and charioted along
In guilty splendour, shake the public ways!
The frequency of crimes has washed them white;
And verse of mine shall never brand the wretch,
Whom matrons now of character unsmirched
And chaste themselves, are not ashamed to own.
Virtue and vice had boundaries in old time
Not to be passed; and she that had renounced
Her sex's honour, was renounced herself
By all that prized it; not for prudery's sake,
But dignity s, resentful of the wrong.

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'Twas hard perhaps on here and there a waif

Desirous to return and not received;

But was a wholesome rigour in the main,

And taught the unblemished to preserve with care

That purity, whose loss was loss of all.

Men too were nice in honour in those days,

And judged offenders well. And he that sharped,

And pocketed a prize by fraud obtained,

Was marked and shunned as odious. He that sold

His country, or was slack when she required

His every nerve in action and at stretch,

Paid with the blood that he had basely spared

The price of his default. But now, yes, now,

We are become so candid and so fair,

So liberal in construction, and so rich

In Christian charity, a good-natured age!

That they are safe, sinners of either sex,

Transgress what laws they may. Well dressed, well bred,

Well equipaged, is ticket good enough

To pass us readily through every door.

Hypocrisy, detest her as we may,

(And no man's hatred ever wronged her yet,)

May claim this merit still, that she admits

The worth of what she mimics with such care,

And thus gives virtue indirect applause;

But she has burnt her mask not needed here,

Where vice has such allowance, that her shifts

And specious semblances have lost their use.

I was a stricken deer that left the herd
Long since; with many an arrow deep infixed
My panting side was charged when I withdrew
To seek a tranquil death in distant shades.^
There was I found by one who had himself
Been hurt by the archers. In his side he bore
And in his hands and feet the cruel scars.
With gentle force soliciting the darts
He drew them forth, and healed and bade me live.
Since then, with few associates, in remote
And silent woods I wander, far from those
My former partners of the peopled scene,
With few associates, and not wishing more.
Here much I ruminate, as much I may,
With other views of men and manners now
Than once, and others of a life to come.
I see that all are wanderers, gone astray,
Each in his own delusions; they are lost
In chase of fancied happiness, still wooed
And never won. Dream after dream ensues,
And still they dream that they shall still succeed,
And still are disappointed; rings the world
With the vain stir. I sum up half mankind,
And add two-thirds of the remainder half,

And find the total of their hopes and fears

Dreams, empty dreams. The million flit as gay

As if created only, like the fly

That spreads his motely wings in the eye of noon,

To sport their season and be seen no more.

The rest are sober dreamers, grave and wise,

And pregnant with discoveries new and rare.

Some write a narrative of wars and feats

Of heroes little known, and call the rant

A history; describe the man, of whom

His own coevals took but little note,

And paint his person, character and views,

As they had known him from his mother's womb.

They disentangle from the puzzled skein

In which obscurity has wrapped them up,

The threads of politic and shrewd design

That ran through all his purposes, and charge

His mind with meanings that he never had,

Or having, kept concealed. Some drill and bore

The solid earth, and from the strata there

Extract a register, by which we learn

That He who made it and revealed its date

To Moses, was mistaken in its age.

Some more acute and more industrious still

Contrive creation : travel nature up

To the sharp peak of her sublimest height,

And tell us whence the stars; why some are fixed,

And planetary some; what gave them first

Rotation, from what fountain flowed their light.

Great contest follows, and much learned dust

Involves the combatants, each claiming truth,

And truth disclaiming both. And thus they spend

The little wick of life s poor shallow lamp,

In playing tricks with nature, giving laws

To distant worlds and trifling in their own.

Is't not a pity now that tickling rheums

Should ever tease the lungs and blear the sight

Of oracles like these? Great pity too,

That having wielded the elements, and built

A thousand systems, each in his own way,

They should go out in fume and be forgot?

Ah! what is life thus spent? and what are they

But frantic who thus spend it? all for smoke,—

Eternity for bubbles, proves at last

A senseless bargain. When I see such games

Played by the creatures of a Power who swears

That he will judge the earth, and call the fool

To a sharp reckoning that has lived in vain;

And when I weigh this seaming wisdom well

And prove it in the infallible result

So hollow and so false,—I feel my heart

Dissolve in pity, and account the learned,

If this be learning, most of all deceived.

Great crimes alarm the conscience, but she sleeps

While thoughtful man is plausibly amused.

Defend me therefore common sense, say I,

From reveries so airy, from the toil

Of dropping buckets into smpty wells,

And growing old in drawing nothing up!

'Twere well, says one sage erudite, profound, Terribly arched and aquiline his nose, And overbuilt with most impending brows, 'Twere well could you permit the world to live As the world pleases. What's the world to you ?— Much. I was born of woman, and drew milk As sweet as charity from human breasts. I think, articulate, I laugh and weep And exercise all functions of a man. How then should I and any man that lives Be strangers to each other? Pierce my vein, Take of the crimson stream meandering there And catechise it well. Apply your glass, Search it, and prove now if it be not blood Congenial with thine own. And if it be, What edge of subtlety canst thou suppose Keen enough, wise and skilful as thou art, To cut the link of brotherhood, by which One common Maker bound me to the kino1 True; I am no proficient, I confess, In arts like yours. I cannot call the swift And perilous lightnings from the angry clouds, And bid them hide themselves in the earth beneath; I cannot analyse the air, nor catoh The parallax of yonder luminous point That seems half quenched in the immense abyss: Such powers I boast not ;—neither can I rest A silent witness of the headlong rage Or heedless folly by which thousands die, Bone of my bone, and kindred souls to mine.

God never meant that man should scale the heavens By strides of human wisdom. In his works Though wondrous, he commands us in his word To seek him rather, where his mercy shines. The mind indeed enlightened from above Views him in all; ascribes to the grand cause The grand effect; acknowledges with joy His manner, and with rapture tastes his style. But never yet did philosophic tube That brings the planets home into the eye Of observation, and discovers, else Not visible, his family of worlds, Discover Him that rules them; such a veil Hangs over mortal eyes, blind from the birth And dark in things divine. Full often too

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