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Where blows the woodbine, faintly streak'd with Nor estimates alone one blessing's worth,
Say, ye that know, ye who have felt and seen For casual as for certain want prepares,
Though ever moist his self-improving meads Ye who can smile, to wisdom no disgrace,
Supply his dairy with a copious flood, At the arch meaning of a kitten's face :
And seems to promise unexhausted food; If spotless innocence, and infant mirth,
That promise fails, when buried deep in snow, Excites to praise, or gives reflection birth, And vegetative juices cease to flow. In shades like these pursue your favourite joy, For this, his plough turns up the destined lands, Midst nature's revels, sports that never cloy. Whence stormy Winter draws its full demands; A few begin a short but vigorous race,
For this, the seed minutely small, he sows, And indolence abash'd soon flies the place ; Whence, sound and sweet, the hardy turnip grows, Thus challenged forth, see thither one by one, But how unlike to April's closing days ! From every side assembling playmates run ; High climbs the sun, and darts his powerful rays ; A thousand wily antics mark their stay,
Whitens the fresh-drawn mould, and pierces through A starting crowd, impatient of delay.
The cumbrous clods that tumble round the plough. Like the fond dove from fearful prison freed, O'er heaven's bright azure, hence with joyful eyes, Each seems to say, “Come, let us try our speed;" The farmer sees dark clouds assembling rise ; Away they scour, impetuous, ardent, strong, Borne o'er his fields a heavy torrent falls, The green turf trembling as they bound along; And strikes the earth in hasty driving squalls. Adown the slope, then up the hillock climb, “ Right welcome down, ye precious drops," he Where every molehill is a bed of thyme ; There panting stop; yet scarcely can refrain ; But soon, too soon, the partial blessing flies. A bird, a leaf, will set them off again :
“ Boy, bring the harrows, try how deep the rain Or, if a gale with strength unusual blow,
Has forced its way.” He comes, but comes in Scattering the wild-briar roses into snow,
vain, Their little limbs increasing efforts try,
Dry dust beneath the bubbling surface lurks Like the torn flower the fair assemblage fly. And mocks his pains the more, the more he works ; Ah, fallen rose ! sad emblem of their doom; Still, midst huge clods, he plunges on forlorn, Frail as thyself, they perish while they bloom ! That laugh his harrows and the shower to scorn. Though unoffending innocence may plead, E'cn thus the living clod, the stubborn fool, Though frantic ewes may mourn the savage deed, Resists the stormy lectures of the school, Their shepherd comes, a messenger of blood, Till tried with gentler means, the dunce to please, And drives them bleating from their sports and food. His head imbibes right reason by degrees : Care loads his brow, and pity wrings his heart, As when from eve till morning's wakeful hour, For lo, the murdering butcher, with his cart, Light, constant rain evinces secret power, Demands the firstlings of his flock to die,
And, ere the day resumes its wonted smiles, And makes a sport of life and liberty!
Presents a cheerful, easy task for Giles. His gay companions Giles beholds no more ; Down with a touch the mellow'd soil is laid, Closed are their eyes, their fleeces drench'd in gore. And yon tall crop next claims his timely aid ; Nor can compassion, with her softest notes, Thither well pleased he hies, assured to find Withhold the knife that plunges through their throats. Wild, trackless haunts, and objects to his mind. Down, indignation ! hence, ideas foul!
Shot up from broad rank blades that droop below, Away the shocking image from my soul!
The nodding wheat-ear forms a graceful bow, Let kindlier visitants attend my way,
With milky kernels starting full, weigh'd down,
Loud chirping sparrows welcome on the day,
Drop one by one upon the bending corn.
Giles with a pole assails their close retreats
And round the grass-grown, dewy border beats, Turnip sowing. Wheat ripening. Sparrows. Insects. On either side completely overspread, The skylark. Reaping, &c. Harvest-field. Dairy. Here branches bend, there corn o’erstoops his head. maid, &c. Labourers of the barn. The gander. Night: Green covert, hail! for through the varying year a thunder-storm. Harvest-home. Reflections, &c.
No hours so sweet, no scene to him so dear. The farmer's life displays in every part
Here wisdom's placid eye delighted sees A moral lesson to the sensual heart.
His frequent intervals of lonely ease, Though in the lap of plenty, thoughtful still, And with one ray his infant soul inspires, He looks beyond the present good or ill ; Just kindling there her never-dying fires,
Whence solitude derives peculiar charms, Prom infancy to age alike appears,
Here hold your revels, and make this your home. Their little lives by various powers sustain. Each heart awaits and hails you as its own; But what can unassisted vision do?
Each moisten'd brow, that scorns to wear a frown: What, but recoil where most it would pursue ; The unpeopled dwelling mourns its tenants His patient gaze but finish with a sigh,
stray'd; When music waking speaks the skylark nigh. E'en the domestic, laughing dairy-maid Just starting from the corn, he cheerly sings, Hies to the field, the general toil to share. And trusts with conscious pride his downy wings; Meanwhile the farmer quits his elbow chair, Still louder breaths, and in the face of day His cool brick floor, his pitcher, and his ease, Mounts up, and calls on Giles to mark his way. And braves the sultry beams, and gladly sees Close to his eyes his hat he instant bends, His gates thrown open, and his team abroad, And forms a friendly telescope, that lends The ready group attendant on his word, Just aid enough to dull the glaring light,
To turn the swarth, the quivering load to rear, And place the wandering bird before his sight, Or ply the busy rake, the land to clear. That oft beneath a light cloud sweeps along Summer's light garb itself now cumbrous grown, Lost for a while, yet pours the varied song ;
Each his thin doublet in the shade throws down ; The eye still follows, and the cloud moves by,
Where oft the mastiff skulks with half shut eye, Again he stretches up the clear blue sky;
And rouses at the stranger passing by ; His form, his motion, undistinguish'd quite, While unrestrain'd the social converse flows, Save when he wheels direct from shade to light: And every breast love's powerful impulse knows, E'en then the songster a mere speck became, And rival wits with more than rustic grace Gliding like fancy's bubbles in a dream,
Confess the presence of a pretty face. The gazer sees ; but yielding to repose,
For, lo! encircled there, the lovely maid, Unwittingly his jaded eyelids close.
In youth's own bloom and native smiles array'd; Delicious sleep! From sleep who could forbear, Her hat awry, divested of her gown, With guilt no more than Giles, and no more care ? Her creaking stays of leather, stout and brown; Peace o'er his slumbers waves her guardian wing, Invidious barrier ; why art thou so high, Nor conscience once disturbs him with a sting; When the slight covering of her neck slips by, He wakes refresh'd from every trivial pain, There half revealing to the eager sight, And takes his pole, and brushes round again. Her full, ripe bosom, exquisitely white ?
Its dark green hue, its sicklier tints all fail, In many a local tale of harmless mirth, And ripening harvest rustles in the gale.
And many a joke of momentary birth, A glorious sight, if glory dwells below,
She bears a part, and as she stops to speak, Where Heaven's munificence makes all the show Strokes back the ringlets from her glowing cheek. O'er every field and golden prospect found,
Now noon gone by, and four declining hours, That glads the ploughman's Sunday morning's round, The weary limbs relax their boasted powers ; When on some eminence he takes his stand, Thirst rages strong, the fainting spirits fail, To judge the smiling produce of the land.
And ask the sovereign cordial, home-brew'd ale; Here vanity slinks back, her head to hide ; Beneath some sheltering heap of yellow corn What is there here to flatter human pride ? Rests the hoop'd keg, and friendly cooling horn, The towering fabric, or the dome's loud roar,
That mocks alike the goblet's brittle frame, And steadfast columns may astonish more,
Its costlier potions, and its nobler name. Where the charm'd gazer long delighted stays, To Mary first the brimming draught is given, Yet traced but to the architect the praise ; By toil made welcome as the dews of heaven, Whilst here, the veriest clown that treads the sod, And never lip that press'd its homely edge Without one scruple gives the praise to God; Had kinder blessings, or a heartier pledge. And twofold joys possess his raptured mind,
Of wholesome viands here a banquet smiles, From gratitude and admiration join'd.
A common cheer for all ;-e'en humble Giles,
Amidst the fragrance of the open field;
To ride in murky state the panting steed,
The bursting cloud reiterated roars, Destined aloft th' unloaded grain to tread,
Shakes his straw roof, and jars his bolted doors : Where, in his path as heaps on heaps are thrown, The slow-wing'd storm along the troubled skies He rears, and plunges the loose mountain down: Spreads its dark course ; the wind begins to rise ; Laborious task! with what delight when done And full-leafʼd elms, his dwelling's shade by day, Both horse and rider greet th' unclouded sun ! With mimic thunder give its fury way:
Yet by th' unclouded sun are hourly bred Sounds in his chimney-top a doleful peal The bold assailants that surround thine head, Midst pouring rain, or gusts of rattling hail; Poor, patient Ball! and with insulting wing With tenfold danger low the tempest bends, Roar in thine ears, and dart the piercing sting. And quick and strong the sulphurous flame deIn thy behalf the crest-waved boughs avail
scends : More than thy short-clipt remnant of a tail, The frighten'd mastiff from his kennel flies, A moving mockery, a useless name,
And cringes at the door with piteous cries.A living proof of cruelty and shame.
Where now's the trifler? where the child of Shame to the man, whatever fame he bore,
pride ? Who took from thee what man can ne'er restore, These are the moments when the heart is tried ! Thy weapon of defence, thy chiefest good, Nor lives the man, with conscience e'er so clear, When swarming fies contending suck thy blood. But feels a solemn, reverential fear; Nor thine alone the suffering, thine the care, Feels too a joy relieve his aching breast, The fretful ewe bemoans an equal share ;
When the spent storm bath howl'd itself to rest. Tormented into sores, her head she hides,
Still, welcome beats the long-continued shower, Or angry sweeps them from her new-shorn sides. And sleep protracted, comes with double power ; Penn'd in the yard, e'en now at closing day, Calm dreams of bliss bring on the morning sun, Unruly cows with mark'd impatience stay, For every barn is fill'd, and harvest done! And vainly striving to escape their foes,
Now, ere sweet Summer bids its long adieu, The pail kick down; a piteous current flows. And winds blow keen where late the blossom grew,
Is't not enough that plagues like these molest? The bustling day and jovial night must come, Must still another foe annoy their rest?
The long accustomed feast of harvest-home. He comes,
the pest and terror of the yard, No blood-stain'd victory, in story bright, His full-fledg'd progeny's imperious guard ; Can give the philosophic mind delight; The gander:-spiteful, insolent, and bold,
No triumph please, while rage and death destroy: At the colt's footlock takes his daring hold : Reflection sickens at the monstrous joy. There, serpent-like, escapes a dreadful blow, And where the joy, if rightly understood, And straight attacks a poor defenceless cow : Like cheerful praise for universal good ? Each booby goose th' unworthy strife enjoys, The soul nor check nor doubtful anguish knows, And hails his prowess with redoubled noise. But pure and free the grateful current flows. Then back he stalks, of self-importance full,
Behold the sound oak table's massy frame Seizes the shaggy foretop of the bull,
Beside the kitchen floor! nor careful dame Till whirl'd aloft he falls : a timely check, And generous host invite their friends around, Enough to dislocate his worthless neck:
For all that cleard the crop, or till’d the ground For lo! of old, he boasts an honour'd wound; Are guests by right of custom :-old and young ; Behold that broken wing that trails the ground! And many a neighbouring yeoman join the throng, Thus fools and bravoes kindred pranks pursue, With artizans that lent their dexterous aid, As savage quite, and oft as fatal too.
When o'er each field the flaming sunbeams play'd. Happy the man that foils an envious elf,
Yet plenty reigns, and from her boundless hoard, Using the darts of spleen to serve himself. Though not one jelly trembles on the board, As when by turns the strolling swine engage Supplies the feast with all that sense can crave; The utmost efforts of the bully's rage,
With all that made our great forefathers brave, Whose nibbling warfare on the grunter's side Ere the cloy'd palate countless flavours tried, Is welcome pleasure to his bristly hide ;
And cooks had nature's judgment set aside. Gently he stoops, or stretch'd at ease along, With thanks to heaven, and tales of rustic lore, Enjoys the insults of the gabbling throng,
The mansion echoes when the banquet's o'er : That march exulting round his fallen head, A wider circle spreads, and smiles abound, As human victors trample on their dead. [thou! As quick the frothing horn performs its round;
Still twilight, welcome! Rest, how sweet art Care's mortal foe; that sprightly joys imparts Now eve o'erhangs the western cloud's thick brow: To cheer the frame and elevate their hearts. The far stretch'd curtain of retiring light,
Here, fresh and brown, the hazel's produce lies With fiery treasures fraught; that on the sight In tempting heaps, and peals of laughter rise, Flash from its bulging sides, where darkness lours, And crackling music, with the frequent song, In fancy's eye, a chain of mouldering towers ; Unheeded bear the midnight hour along. Or craggy coasts just rising into view,
Here once a year distinction lowers its crest, Midst javelins dire, and darts of streaming blue. The master, servant, and the merry guest,
Anon tired labourers bless their sheltering home, Are equal all; and round the happy ring When midnight, and the frightful tempest come. The reaper's eyes exulting glances fling, The farmer wakes, and sees with silent dread And, warm'd with gratitude, he quits his place, Tbe angry shafts of Heaven gleam round his bed ; | With sun-burnt hands and ale-enliven'd face,
Refills the jug, his honour'd host to tend, Heaven bless his memory! bless his honour'd manne! To serve at once the master and the friend; (The poor will speak his lasting, worthy fame :) Proud thus to meet his seniles, to sbare his tale, To souls fair-purposed strength and guidana His nuts, his conversation, and his ale.
give; Such were the days of days long past I sing, In pity to us still let goodness live: When pride gave place to mirth without a sting ; Let labour have its due ! my cot shall be Ere tyrant customs strength sufficient bore From chilling want and guilty murmurs free: To violate the feelings of the poor:
Let labour bave its due ; then peace is mine, To leave them distanced in the maddening race, And never, never shall my heart repine." Where'er refinement sbows its bated face: Nor causeless hated ;- 'tis the peasant's curse, That bourly makes his wretched station worse ; Destroys life's intercourse; the social plan
AUTUMN. That rank to rank cements, as man to man :
ARGUMENT. Wealth flows around him, fashion lordly reigns;
Acorns Hogs in the wood. Wheat sowing. The Yet poverty is his, and mental pains.
church. Village girls. The mad girl. The bir Methinks I hear the mourner thus impart
boy's hut. Disappointment; Reflections, &c. EnsThe stifled murmurs of his wounded heart:
hall. For-hunting. Old Trouncer. Long nighus. A " Whence comes this change, ungracious, irksome,
welcome to Winter. cold?
AGAIN, the year's decline, midst storms and floods, Whence the new grandeur that mine eyes behold? | The thundering chase, the yellow fading woods, The widening distance which I daily see,
Inrite my song ; that fain would boldly tell Has wealth done this ?-then wealth's a foe to me; Of upland coverts and the echoing dell, Foe to our rights; that leaves a powerful few By turns resounding loud, at eve and morn, The paths of emulation to pursue :
The swineherd's halloo, or the huntsman's born. For emulation stoops to us no more :
No more the fields with scatter'd grain supply The hope of humble industry is o'er :
The restless, wandering tenants of the sty; The blameless hope, the cheering sweet presage From oak to oak they run with eager haste, Of future comforts for declining age.
And wrangling share the first delicious taste Can my sons share from this paternal hand Of fallen acorns; yet but thinly found The profits with the labours of the land?
Till the strong gale has shook them to the ground. No; though indulgent Heaven its blessing deigns, It comes; and roaring woods obedient wave : Where's the small farm to suit my scanty means ? Their home well pleased the joint adventurers Content, the poet sings, with us resides :
leave : In lonely cots like mine, the damsel hides ; The trudging sow leads forth her numerous young, And will he then in raptured visions tell
Playful, and white, and clean, the briars among. That sweet content with want can ever dwell ? Till briers and thorns increasing, fence them round, A barley loaf, 'tis true, my table crowns,
Where last year's mouldering leaves bestrew the That, fast diminishing in lusty rounds,
ground, Stops nature's cravings ; yet her sighs will flow And o'er their heads, loud lash'd by furious squalls, From knowing this,-that once it was not so. Bright from their cups the rattling treasure falls; Our annual feast, when earth her plenty yields, Hot, thirsty food; whence doubly sweet and cool When crown'd with boughs the last load quits the The welcome margin of some rush-grown pool, fields,
The wild duck's lonely haunt, whose jealous eye The aspect still of ancient joy puts on ;
Guards every point; who sits, prepared to fly, The aspect only, with the substance gone: On the calm bosom of her little lake, The selfsame horn is still at our command, Too closely screen’d for ruffian winds to shake; But serves none now but the plebeian hand : And as the bold intruders press around, For home-brew'd ale, neglected and debased, At once she starts, and rises with a bound: Is quite discarded from the realms of taste. With bristles raised the sudden noise they hear, Where unaffected freedom charm'd the soul, And ludicrously wild, and wing'd with fear, The separate table and the costly bowl,
The herd decamp with more than swinish speed, Cool as the blast that checks the budding Spring, And snorting dash through sedge, and rush, and A mockery of gladness round them fling.
reed : For oft the farmer, ere his heart approves,
Through tangling thickets headlong on they go, Yields up the custom which he dearly loves : Then stop and listen for their fancied foe; Refinement rushes on him like a tide;
The hindmost still the growing panic spreads, Bold innovations down its current ride,
Repeated fright the first alarm succeeds, That bear no peace beneath their showy dress, Till folly's wages, wounds and thorns, they reap; Nor add one tittle to his happiness.
Yet glorying in their fortunate escape, His guests selected ; rank's punctilios known; Their groundless terrors by degrees soon cease, What trouble waits upon a casual frown;
And night's dark reign restores their wonted peace Restraint's foul manacles his pleasures maim ; For now the gale subsides, and from each bough Selected guests selected phrases claim ;
The roosting pheasant's short but frequent crow Nor reigns that joy, when hand in hand they join, Invites to rest; and huddling side by side, That good old master felt in shaking mine. The herd in closest ambush seek to hide ;
seek some warm slope with shagged moss o’er- When, conscious of their charms, e'en age looks sly, spread,
And rapture beams from youth's observant eye. Dried leaves their copious covering and their bed. The pride of such a party, nature's pride, In vain may Giles, through gathering glooms that was lovely Ann, who innocently tried, fall,
With hat of airy shape and ribands gay, And solemn silence, urge his piercing call. Love to inspire, and stand in Hymen's way: Whole days and nights they tarry midst their store, But, ere her twentieth summer could expand, Nor quit the woods till oaks can yield no more. Or youth was render'd happy with her hand,
Beyond bleak Winter's rage, beyond the Spring, Her mind's serenity, her peace was gone, That rolling earth's un varying course will bring, Her eye grew languid, and she wept alone: Who tills the ground looks on with mental eye, Yet causeless seem'd her grief; for quick restrain’d, And sees next Summer's sheaves and cloudless sky, Mirth follow'd loud; or indignation reign'd; And even now, whilst nature's beauty dies, Whims wild and simple led her from her home, Deposits seed, and bids new harvest rise;
The heath, the common, or the fields to roam: Seed well prepared, and warm’d with glowing lime, Terror and joy alternate ruled her hours; Gainst earth-bred grubs, and cold, and lapse of time: Now blithe she sung, and gather'd useless flowers; For searching frosts, and various ills in vade, Now pluck'd a tender twig from every bough, Whilst wintry months depress the springing blade. To whip the hovering demons from her brow. The plough moves heavily, and strong the soil, I'll fated maid ! thy guiding spark is fed, And clogging narrows with augmented toil And lasting wretchedness awaits thy bed Dive deep: and clinging, mixes with the mould Thy bed of straw ! for mark, where even now A fattening treasure from the nightly fold, O'er their lost child afilicted parents bow ; And all the cowyard's highly valued store, Their wo she knows not, but perversely coy, That late bestrew'd the blackend surface o'er. Inverted customs yield her sullen joy ; No idling hours are here, when fancy trims Her midnight meals in secrecy she takes, Her dancing taper over outstretch'd limbs,
Low muttering to the moon, that rising breaks And in her thousand thousand colours dressid, Through night's dark gloom: O how much more Plays round the grassy couch of noontide rest:
forlorn Here Giles for hours of indolence atones
Her night, that knows of no returning morn! With strong exertion, and with weary bones, Slow from the threshold, once her infant seat, And knows no leisure, till the distant chime O'er the cold earth she crawls to her retreat ; Of Sabbath bell he hears at sermon time,
Quitting the cot's warm walls, unhoused to lie, That down the brook sound sweetly in the gale, Or share the swine's impure and narrow sty; Or strike the rising hill, or skim the dale.
The damp night air her shivering limbs assails : Nor his alone the sweets of ease to taste: In dreams she moans, and fancied wrongs bewails. Kind rest extends to all ;--save one poor beast, When morning wakes, none earlier roused than That true to time and pace, is doom'd to plod,
she, To bring the pastor to the House of God :
When pendant drops fall glittering from the tree; Mean structure ; where no bones of heroes lie ! But naught her rayless melancholy cheers, The rude inelegance of poverty
Or soothes her breast, or stops her streaming tears. Reigns here alone ; else why that roof of straw? Her matted locks unornamented flow; Those narrow windows with the frequent flaw? Clasping her knees, and waving to and fro;O’er whose low cells the dock and mallow spread, Her head bow'd down, her faded cheek to hide ;And rampant nettles list the spiry head,
A piteous mourner by the pathway side. Whilst from the hollows of the tower on high Some tufted molehill through the livelong day The gray-capp'd daws in saucy legions fly. She calls her throne; there weeps her life away! Round these lone walls assembling neighbours And oft the gayly-passing stranger stays meet,
His well-timed step, and takes a silent gaze, And tread departed friends beneath their feet; Till sympathetic drops unbidden start, And new-briar'd graves, that prompt the secret sigh, And pangs quick springing muster round his heart; Show each the spot where he himself must lie. And soft he treads with other gazers round,
Midst timely greetings village news goes round, And fain would catch her sorrow's plaintive sound : Of crops late shorn, or crops that deck the ground; One word alone is all that strikes the ear, Experienced ploughmen in the circle join ; One short, pathetic, simple word, “Oh dear !" While sturdy boys, in feats of strength to shine, A thousand times repeated to the wind, With pride elate, their young associates brave That wafts the sigh, but leaves the pang behind ! To jump from hollow-sounding grave to grave; For ever of the proffer'd parley shy, Then close consulting, each his talent lends She hears th' unwelcome foot advancing nigh; To plan fresh sports when tedious service ends. Nor quite unconscious of her wretched plight,
Hither at tiines, with cheerfulness of soul, Gives one sad look, and hurries out of sight.Sweet village maids from neighbouring hamlets Fair promised sunbeams of terrestrial bliss, stroll,
Health's gallant hopes, and are ye sunk to this? That like the light-heeld does o'er lawns that rove, For in life's road, though thorns abundant grow, Look shyly curious ; ripening into love ;
There still are joys poor Ann can never know ; For love's their errand : hence the tints that glow Joys which the gay companions of her prime On either cheek, a heighten'd lustre know: Sip, as they drift along the stream of time;