« AnteriorContinuar »
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;
At eve to hear beside their tranquil home
Though ineffectual pity thine may be,
The radiant path that Howard trod to heaven ; To stay the tottering step, the features trace ;- Thy slights can make the wretched more forlorn, Inestimable sweets of social peace !
And deeper drive affliction's barbed thorn. O thou, who bidst the vernal juices rise ! Say not, “ I'll come and cheer thy gloomy cell Thou, on whose blasts autumnal foliage flies ! With news of dearest friends ; how good, how Let peace ne'er leave me, por my heart grow cold,
well; Whilst life and sanity are mine to hold.
I'll be a joyful herald to thine heart:” Shorn of their flowers that shed th' untreasured Then fail, and play the worthless trifler's part, seed,
To sip flat pleasures from thy glass's brim, The withering pasture, and the fading mead, And waste the precious hour that's due to him. Less tempting grown, diminish more and more, mercy spare the base, unmanly blow : The dairy's pride ; sweet Summer's flowing store Where can he turn, to whom complain of you? New cares succeed, and gentle duties press, Back to past joys in vain his thoughts may stray, Where the fireside, a school of tenderness,
Trace and retrace the beaten, worn-out way, Revives the languid chirp, and warms the blood The rankling injury will pierce his breast, Of cold-nipt weaklings of the latter brood, And curses on thee break his midnight rest. That from the shell just bursting into day,
Bereft of song, and ever-cheering green, Through yard or pond pursue their venturous The soft endearments of the Summer scene, way.
New harmony pervades the solemn wood, Far weightier cares and wider scenes expand; Dear to the soul, and healthful to the blood : What devastation marks the new-sown land !
For bold exertion follows on the sound “ From hungry woodland foes go, Giles, and guard of distant sportsmen, and the chiding hound; The rising wheat; ensure its great reward: First beard from kennel bursting, mad with joy, A future sustenance, a Summer's pride,
Where smiling Euston boasts her good Fitzroy, Demand thy vigilance; then be it tried:
Lord of pure alms, and gifts that wide extend; Exert thy voice, and wield thy shotless gun; The farmer's patron and the poor man's friend. Go, tarry there from morn till setting sun.”
Whose mansion glitters with the eastern ray, Keen blows the blast, or ceaseless rain descends ; | Whose elevated temple points the way, The half-stripp'd hedge a sorry shelter lends. O'er slopes and lawns, the park's extensive pride, O for a hovel, e'er so small or low,
To where the victims of the chase reside, Whose roof, repelling winds or early snow,
Ingulf'd in earth, in conscious safety warm, Might bring home's comfort fresh before his eyes! Till lo! a plot portends their coming harm. No sooner thought, than see the structure rise, In earliest hours of dark and hooded morn, In some sequester'd nook, embank'd around, Ere yet one rosy cloud bespeaks the dawn, Sods for its walls, and straw in burdens bound:
Whilst far abroad the fox pursues his prey, Dried fuel hoarded is his richest store,
He's doom'd to risk the perils of the day, And circling smoke obscures his little door; From his strong hold block'd out; perhaps to bleed, Whence creeping forth, to duty's call he yields,
Or owe his life to fortune or to speed. And strolls the Crusoe of the lonely fields.
For now the pack, impatient running on, On whitethorns towering, and the leafless rose,
Range through the darkest coverts one by one ; A frost-nipt feast in bright vermilion glows : Trace every spot; whilst down each noble glade Where clustering sloes in glossy order rise,
That guides the eye beneath a changeful shade, He crops the loaded branch ; a cumbrous prize ; The loitering sportsman feels th' instinctive flame, And o'er the flame the sputtering fruit he rests,
And checks his steed to mark the springing game. Placing green sods to seat his coming guests ; Midst intersecting cuts and winding ways His guests by promise ; playmates young and gay:
The huntsman cheers his dogs, and anxious strays, But, ah ! fresh pastimes lure their steps away! Where every narrow riding, even shorn, He sweeps his hearth, and homeward looks in vain, Gives back the echo of his mellow born ; Till feeling disappointment's cruel pain,
Till fresh and lightsome, every power untried, His fairy revels are exchanged for rage,
The starting fugitive leaps by his side, His banquet marr’d, grown dull his hermitage. His listed finger to his ear he plies, The field beconies his prison, till on high
And the view halloo bids a chorus rise Benighted birds to shades and coverts fly.
Of dogs quick-mouth'd, and shouts that mingle Midst air, health, daylight, can he prisoner be?
loud, If fields are prisons, where is liberty ?
As bursting thunder rolls from cloud to cloud Here still she dwells, and bere her votaries stroll; With ears erect, and chest of vigorous mould, But disappointed hope untunes the soul:
O'er ditch, o'er fence, unconquerably bold, Restraints unfelt whilst hours of rapture flow, The shining courser lengthens every bound, When troubles press to chains and barriers grow. And his strong footlocks suck the moisten'd ground, Look then from trivial up to greater woes;
As from the confines of the wood they pour, From the poor bird-boy with his roasted sloes, And joyous villages partake the roar. To where the dungeon'd mourner heaves the sigh; O'er heath far stretch'd, or down, or valley low, Where not one cheering sunbeam meets his eye. The stiff-limb'd peasant glorying in the show,