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That errs not, and find raptures still renew'de
Is free to all men-universal prize.
Strange that so fair a creature should yet want
Admirers, and be destined to divide
With meaner objects e’en the few she finds !
Stripp'd of her ornaments, her leaves and flowers,
She loses all her influence. Cities then
Attract us, and neglected Nature pines
Abandon'd as unworthy of our love.
But are not wholesome airs, though unperfumed
By roses ; and clear suns, though scarcely felt;
And groves, if unharmonious, yet secure
From clamour, and whose very silence charms;
To be preferr'd to smoke, to the eclipse
That metropolitan volcanoes make,
Whose Stygian throats breathe darkness all day long,
And to the stir of Commerce, driving slow,
And thundering loud, with his ten thousand wheels?
They would be, were not madness in the head,
And folly in the heart; were England now,
What England was, plain, hospitable, kind,
And undebauch'd. But we have bid farewell
To all the virtues of those better days,
And all their honest pleasures. Mansions once
Knew their own masters; and laborious hinds,
Who had survived the father, served the son.
Now the legitimate and rightful lord
Is but a transient guest, newly arrived,
As soon to be supplanted. He, that saw
His patrimonial timber cast its leaf,
Sells the last scantling, and transfers the price
To some shrewd sharper, ere it buds again.
Estates are landscapes, gazed upon a while,
Then advertised, and auctioneer'd away.
The country starves, and they, that feed the o'ercharged
And surfeited lewd town with her fair dues,
By a just judgment strip and starve themselves.
The wings, that waft our riches out of sight,
Grow on the gamester's elbows; and the alert
And nimble motion of those restless joints,
That never tire, soon fans them all away.
Improvement too, the idol of the age,
Is fed with many a victim. Lo, he comes !
The omnipotent magician, Brown, appears!
Down falls the venerable pile, the abode
Of our forefathers-a grave whisker'd race,
But tasteless. Springs a palace in its stead,
But in a distant spot; where more exposed
It may enjoy the advantage of the north,
And auguish east, till time shall have transform'd
Those naked actes to a sheltering grove.
He speaks. The lake in front becomes a lawn:
Woods vanish, hills subside, and valleys rise;
And streams, as if created for his use,
E'en as he bids?' The enraptured
Pursue the track of his directing wand,
Sinuous or straight, now rapid and now slow,
Now murmuring soft, now roaring in cascades-
"Tis finish'd, and yet, finished as it seems,
Still wants a grace, the loveliest it could shew,-
A mine to satisfy the enormous cost.
Drain'd to the last poor item of his wealth,
He sighs, departs, and leaves the accomplish'd plan,
Labour'd, and many a night pursued in dreams,
That he has touch'd, retouch'd, many a long day
Just when it meets his hopes, and proves the heaven
He wanted, for a wealthier to enjoy!
And now perhaps the glorious hour is come,
When having no stake left, no pledge to endear
Her interests, or that gives her sacred cause
He burns with most intense and flagrant zeal
To serve his country. Ministerial grace
Deals him out money from the public chest;
Or, if that mine be shut, some private purse
Supplies his need with a usurious loan,
To be refunded duly when his vote
Well managed shall have earn'd its worthy price.
Crape, and cock'd pistol, and the whistling ball
innocent, compared with arts like these,
Sent through the traveller's temples! He, that finds
One drop of Heaven's sweet mercy in his cup,
So he may wrap himself in honest rags
Can dig, beg, rot, and perish,
At his last gasp: but could not for a world
Fish up his dirty and dependent bread
From pools and ditches of the commonwealth,
Sordid and sickening at his own success.
Ambition, avarice, penury incurr'd
By endless riot, vanity, the lust
of pleasure and variety, despatch,
As duly as the swallows disappear,
The world of wandering knights and squires to town.
London ingulphs them all! The shark is there,
And the shark's prey; the spendthrift, and the leech
That sucks him; there the sycophant, and he
Who, with bareheaded and obsequious bows,
Begs a warm office, doum'd to a cold jail
And groat per diem, if his patron frown.
The levee swarms, as if in golden pomp
Were character'd on every statesman's door,
* Batter'd and bankrupt fortunes mended here.'
These are the charms that sully and eclipse
'The charms of nature. 'Tis the cruel gripe
That lean, hard-handed Poverty inflicts,
The hope of better things, the chance to win,
The wish to shine, the thirst to be amused,
That at the sound of Winter's hoary wing
Unpeople all our counties of such herds
Of fluttering, loitering, cringing, begging, loose,
And wanton vagrants, as make London, vast
And boundless as it is, a crowded coop.
O thou, resort and mart of all the earth,
Chequerd with all complexions of mankind,
And spotted with all crimes; in whom I see
Much that I love, and more that I admire,
And all that I abhor; thou freckled fair,
That pleasest and yet shock'st me, I can laugh,
And I can weep, can hope, and can despond,
Feel wrath and pity, when I think on thee !
Ten righteous would have saved a city once,
And thou hast many righteous. Well for thee
That salt preserves thee; more corrupted else,
And therefore more obnoxious, at this hour,
Than Sodom in her day had power to be,
For whom God heard his Abraham plead in vain
The post comes in. The newspaper is read. The world contem plated at a distance. -Address to Winter. The rural amuse ments of a winter evening compared with the fashionable ones -Address to Evening.- brown study.-Fall of snow in the evening:- The waggoner.-A poor family-piece. -- The rural thief.--Public houses.- The multitude of them censured. - The farmer's daughter : what she was-what she is. - The simpli eity of country manners almost lost.-Causes of the change.Desertion of the country by the rich.– Neglect of magistratex -The militia principally in fault.--The new recruit and his transformation.-Reflection on bodies corporate. --The love of rural objects natural to all, and never to be totally extin guished
THE WINTER EVENING. HARK ! 'tis the twanging horn o'er yonder bridge That with its wearisome but needful length Bestrides the wintry flood, in which the moon Sees her unwrinkled face reflected bright ;He comes, the herald of a noisy world, With spatter'd boots, strapp'd waist, and frozen locks; News from all nations lumbering at his back. True to his charge, the close pack'd load behind, Yet careless what he brings, his one concern Is to conduct it to the destin'd inn; And, having dropp'd the expected bag, pass on. He whistles as he goes, light-hearted wretch, Cold and yet cheerful : messenger of grief Perhaps to thousands, and of joy to some; To him indifferent whether grief or joy. Houses in ashes, and the fall of stocks, Births, deaths, and marriages, epistles wet With tears, that trickled down the writer's cheeks Fast as the periods from his fluent quill, Or charged with amorous sighs of absent swains, Or nymphs responsive, equally affect His horse and him, unconscious of them all. But 0 the important budget ! usher'd in With such heart-shaking music, who can say What are its tidings? have our trcops awaked ? Or do they still, as if with opium drugg'd, Spore to the murmurs of the Atlantic wave? Is India free? and does she wear her plumed
And jewell'd turban with a smile of peacı?;
Or do we grind her still? The grand debate,
The popular harangue, the tart reply,
The logic, and the wisdom and the wit,
And the loud laugh-I long to know them all,
I burn to set the imprison'd wranglers free,
And give them voice and utterance once again.
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups,
That cheer but pot inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
Not such his evening, who with shining face
Sweats in the crowded theatre, and squeezed
And bored with elbow-points through both his sides,
Outscolds the ranting actor on the stage:
Nor his, who patient stands till his feet throb,
And his head thumps, to feed upon the breath
Of patriots bursting with heroic rage,
Or placemen, all tranquillity and smiles.
This folio of four pages, happy work !
Which not e'en critics criticise; that holds
Inquisitive Attention, while I read,
Fast bound in chains of silence, which the fair,
Though eloquent themselves, yet fear to break;
What is it, but a map of busy life,
Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns ?
Here runs the mountainous and craggy ridge,
That tempts Ambition. On the summit see
The seals of office glitter in his eyes ;
He climbs, he pants, he grasps them! At his heels,
Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends,
And with a dextrous jerk soon twists him down,
And wins them, but to lose them in his turn.
Here rills of oily eloquence in soft
Meanders lubricate the course they take;
The modest speaker is ashamed and grieved,
To engross a moment's notice; and yet begs,
Begs a propitious ear for his poor thoughts,
However trivial all that he conceives.
Sweet bashfulness ! it claims at least this praise :