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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:


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Let the loud tempest rattle on the roof,
While they, secure within, warm cribs enjoy, 100
And swell their Fleeces, equal to the worth
Of cloath'd Apuliant, by softwarmth improv’d;
Or let them inward heat and vigour find
By food of cole or turnip, hardy plants.
Besides, the lock of one continued growth 105
Imbibes a clearer and more equal dye.

But lightest wool is theirs who poorly toil
Thro' a dull round in unimproving farins
Of common fields. Inclose, inclose, ye Swains !
Why will you joy in common field, where pitch, 110
Noxious to woul, must stain your motley flock,
To mark your property ? the mark dilates,
Enters the flake depreciated, defild,
Unfit for beauteous tint. Besides, in fields
Promiscuous held all culture languishes :

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
Increasing beggary, and Nature's frowns.
Add too, the idle pilf’rer easier there
Eludes detection, when a lamb or ewe
From intermingled flocks he steals ; or when,
With loosen'd tether of his horse or cow, 130
The milky stalk of the tall green-ear'd corn,
The year's slow rip’ning fruit, the anxious hope
Of his laborious neighbour, he destroys.

There are who over-rate our spungy stores,
Who deem that Nature grants no clime but ours 135
To spread upon its fields the dews of heav'n,
And feed the silky Fleece; that card nor comb
The hairy wool of Gaul can ne'er subdue,
To form the thread, and mingle in the loom,
Unless a third from Britain swell the heap: 140
Illusion all; tho' of our sun and air
Not trivial is the virtue, nor their fruit
Upon our snowy flocks of small esteem :
The grain of brightest tin&ture none so well
Imbibes : the wealthy Gobelins must to this 145
Bear witness, and the costliest of their looms.

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.


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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.

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Gives Nature value, multiplies her stores,
Varies, improves, creates : it's art and toil 185
Teaches her woody hills with fruits to shine,
The pear and tasteful apple; decks with flow'rs
And foodful pulse the fields that often rise,
Admiring to behold their furrows wave
With yellow corn. What changes cannot Toil, 190
With patient Art, effect? There was a time
When other regions were the swain's delight,
And shepherdless Britannia's rushy vales,
Inglorious, neither trade nor labour knew,
But of rude baskets, homely rustic geer,
Woven of the flexile willow; till at length,
The plains of Sarum open’d to the hand
Of patient Culture, and o'er sinking woods
High Cotswold show'd her summits. Urchinfield,
And Lemster's crofts, beneath the pheasant's brake
Long lay unnoted. Toil new pasture gives,
And in the regions oft' of active Gaul
O'er less'ning vineyards spreads the growing turf.

In eldest times, when kings and hardly chiefs
In bleating sheepfolds met, for purest wool 205
Phoenicia's hilly tracks were most renown'd,
And fertile Syria's and Judea's land,
Hermon and Seir, and Hebron's brooky sides.
Twice with the murex, crimson hue, they ting'd
The shining Fleeces; hence their gorgeous wealth ;
And hence arose the walls of ancient Tyre.

Next busy Colchis, bless'd with frequent rains



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