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The grateful burden to receive, awaits, 70 Like strong Briareus, with his hundred hands.
In the same Fleece diversity of wool Grows intermingled, and excites the care Of curious skill to sort the sey'ral kinds. But in this subtle science none exceed
75 Th' industrious Belgians, to the work who guide Each feeble hand of want : their spacious domes, With boundless hospitality, receive Each nation's outcasts : there the tender eye May view the inaim'd, the blind, the lame, employd, And unrejected age : ev’n childhood there 81 Its little fingers turning to the toil Delighted : nimbly, with habitual speed, They sever lock from lock, and long, and short, And soft, and rigid, pile in sev'ral heaps. This the dusk hatter asks; another shines Tempting the clothier; that the hosier seeks ; The long bright lock is apt for airy stuffs ; But often it deceives the artist's care, Breaking unuseful in the steely comb:
१० For this long spungy wool no more increase Receives while winter petrifies the fields : The growth of autumn stops ; and what tho’spring Succeeds with rosy fingers, and spins on The texture ; yet in vain she strives to link 95 The silver twine to that of Autumn's hand. Be then the swain advis'd to shield his flocks From winter's dead’ning frosts and whelming snows:
Let the loud tempest rattle on the roof,
But lightest wool is theirs who poorly toil
IIS The glebe, exhausted, thin supply receives; Dull waters rest upon the rushy flats And barren furrows : none the rising grove There plants for late posterity, nor hedge To shield the flock, nor copse for cheering fire; 120 And in the distant village every hearth Devours the grassy swerd, the verdant food Of injur'd herds and flocks, or what the plough Should turn and moulder for the bearded grain :
† The shepherds of Apulia, Tarentum, and Attica, rised to clothe their sheep with skins. to proscrve and improve their Fleeces.
Pernicious habit! drawing gradual on 125
There are who over-rate our spungy stores,
And tho' with hue of crocus or of rose No pow'r of subtle food, or air, or soil, Can dye the living Fleece; yet ’t will avail To note their influence in the tinging vase : 150 Therefore from her bage of old pastur'd plains, Chief from the matted turf of azure marl Where
the whitest locks, collect thy stores.
The miry soil appears ; nor ev’n the streams
155 Of Yare or silver Stroud can purify Their frequent sully'd Fleece ; nor what rough winds Keen biting on tempestuous hills, embrown.
Yet much may be perform’d to check the force Of Nature's rigour : the high heath, by trees 160 Warm shelter’d, may despise the rage of storms: Moors, bogs, and weeping fens, may learn to smile, And leave in dykes their soon-forgotten tears. Labour and Art will every aim achieve Of noble bosums. Bedford Levelt, erst 165 A dieary pathless waste, the coughing flock Was wont with hairy Fleeces to deform, And, smiling with her lure of summer flow'rs, The heavy ox vain struggling to ingulf; Till one of that high honour'd patriot name, 170 Russel ! arose, who drain’d the rushy fen, Confind the waves, bade groves and gardens bloom, And thro' his new creation led the Quze And gentle Camus, silver-winding streams: God-like beneficence! from chaos drear
175 To raise the garden and the shady grove.
But see Ierne's moors and hideous bogs, Immeasurable track! the traveller Slow tries his mazy step on th’yielding tuft, Shudd’ring with fear: ev'n such perfidious wilds, 180 By labour won, have yielded to the comb The fairest length of wool. See Deeping fens, And the long lawns of Bourn. 'Tis art and toil
+ Bedford Level, in Cambridgeshire.
Gives Nature value, multiplies her stores,
In eldest times, when kings and hardly chiefs
Next busy Colchis, bless'd with frequent rains