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The dearth of information and good sense,
That it foretels us, always comes to pass.
Cataracts of declamation thunder here;
There forests of no meaning spread the page,
In which all comprehension wanders lost;
While fields of pleasantry amuse us there
With merry descants on a nation's woes.
The rest appears a wilderness of strange
gay confusion; roses for the cheek,
And lilies for the brows of faded age;
Teeth for the toothless, ringlets for the bald,
Heaven, earth, and ocean plunderd of their sweets,
Nectareous essences, Olympian dews,
Sermons, and city-feasts, and favourite airs,
Etherial journeys, submarine exploits,
And Katerfelto, with his hair on end
At his own wonders, wondering for his bread.
'Tis pleasant through the loop-holes of retreat
peep at such a world ; to see the stir
Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd ;
To hear the roar she sends through all her gates
At a safe distance, where the dying sound
Falls a soft murmur on the uninjured ear.
Thus sitting, and surveying thus at ease
The globe and its concerns, I seem advanced
To some secure and more than mortal height,
That liberates and exempts me from them all.
It turns submitted to my view, turns round
With all its generations; I behold
The tumult, and am still. The sound of war
Has lost its terrors ere it reaches me;
Grieves, but alarms me not. I mourn the pride
And avarice, that make man a wolf to man;
Hear the faint echo of those brazen throats,
By which he speaks the language of his heart,
And sigh, but never tremble at the sound
He travels and expatiates, as the bee
From flower to flower, so he from land tu land;
The manners, customs, policy, of all
Pay contribution to the store he gleans;
He sucks intelligence in every clime,
And spreads the honey of
At his return-a rich repast for me.
He travels, and I too. I tread his deck,
Ascend his topmast, through his peering eyes
Discover countries; with a kindred heart
Suffer his woes, and share in his escapes ;
While fancy, like the finger of a clock,
Runs the great circuit, and is still at home.
O Winter, ruler of the inverted year,
Thy scatter'd hair with sleet like ashes fill'd,
Thy breath congeal'd upon thy lips, thy cheeks
Fring'd with a beard made white with other snows
Than those of age, thy forehead wrapp'd in clouds,
A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy throne
A sliding car, indebted to no wheels,
But urged by storms along its slippery way
I love thee, all unlovely as thou seem'st,
And dreaded as thou art! Thou hold'st the sun
A prisoner in the yet undawning east,
Shortening his journey between morn and noon,
And hurrying him, impatient of his stay,
Down to the rosy west; but kindly still
Compensating his loss with added hours
Of social converse and instructive ease,
And gathering, at short notice, in one group
The family dispersed, and fixing thought,
Not less dispersed by daylight and its cares.
I crown thee king of intimate delights,
Fire-side enjoyments, home-born happiness,
And all the comforts that the lowly roof
Of undisturb'd Retirement, and the hours
Cf long uninterrupted evening, know.
No rattling wheels stop short before these gates;
No powder'd pert, proficient in the art
Of sounding an alarm, assaults these doors
Till the street rings; no stationary steeds
Cough their own knell, while heedless of the sound,
The silent circle fan themselves, and quake:
But here the needle plies its busy task,
The pattern grows, the well depicted flower,
Wrought patiently into the snowy lawn,
Unfolds its bosom; buds, and leaves, and sprigs,
And curling tendrils, gracefully disposed,
THE WINTER EVENING.
Follow the nimble finger of the fair ;
A wreath, that cannot fade, of flowers that blou
With most success when all besides decay.
The poet's or historian's page by
Made vocal for the amusement of the rest;
Of the last meal commence.
The sprightly lyre, whose treasure of sweet sounds
The touch from many a trembling chord shakes out,
And the clear voice symphonious, yet distinct,
And in the charming strife triumphant still;
Beguile the night, and set a keener edge
On female industry: the threaded steel
Flies swiftly, and unfelt the task proceeds.
The volume closed, the customary rites
A Roman meal ;
Such as the mistress of the world once found
Delicious, when her patriots of high note,
Perhaps by moonlight, at their humble doors,
And under an old oak's domestic shade,
Enjoyd spare feast! a radish and an egg.
Discourse ensues, not trivial, yet not dull,
Nor such as with a frown forbids the play
Of fancy, or prescribes the sound of mirth;
Who deem religion frenzy, and the God
That made them an intruder on their joys,
Start at his awful name, or deem his praise
A jarring note. Themes of a graver tone,
While we retrace with Memory's pointing wand,
The dangers we have'scaped, the broken snare,
Unlook'd for, life preserved, and peace restored,
evenings worthy of the gods ! exclaim'd
More to be prized and coveted than yours,
O evenings, I reply,
As more illumined, and with nobler truths,
That I, and mine, and those we love enjoy.
Is Winter hideous in a garb like this?
Needs he the tragic fur, the smoke of lamps,
The pent-up breath of an unsavoury throng.
Exciting oft our
gratitude and love,
That calls the past to our exact
The disappointed foe, deliverance
Fruits of omnipotent eternal love.
To thaw him into feeling: or the smart And snappish dialogue, that flippant wits Call comedy, to prompt him with a smile? The self-complacent actor, when lie views (Stealing a sidelong glance at a full house) The slope of faces, from the floor to th' roof (As if one master spring controlld them all) Relax'd into an universal grin, Sees not a countenance there that speaks of joy Half so refined or so sincere as ours. Cards were superfluous here, with all the tricks That idleness has ever yet contrived To fill the void of an unfurnish'd brain, To palliate dulness, and give time a shove. Time, as he passes us has a dove's wing, Unsoild and swift, and of a silken sound; But the world's Time, is Time in masquerade! Theirs, should I paint him, has his pinions fledged With motley plumes; and, where the peacock shews Ais azure eyes, is tinctured black and red, With spots quadrangular of diamond form, Ensanguined hearts, clubs typical of strife, And spades the emblem of untimely graves. What should be, and what was an hour-glass once, Becomes a dice-box and a billiard-mace: Well does the work of his destructive scythe Thus deck’d, he charms a world whom fashion blinds To his true worth, most pleased when idle most ; Whose only happy are their wasted hours. E'en misses, at whose age their mothers wore The backstring and the bib, assume the dress Of womanhood, fit pupils in the school Of card-devoted Time, and night by night Placed at some vacant corner of the board, Learn every trick, and soon play all the game. But truce with censure. Roving as I rore, Where shall I find an end, or how proceed ? As he that travels far oft turns aside, To view some rugged rock or mouldering tower, Which seen delights him not; then oming home Describes and prints it, that the worl may know How far he went for what was nothin cworth;
So 1, with brush in hand, and palette spread,
With colours mix'd for a far different use,
Paint cards, and dolls, and every idle thing,
That Fancy finds in her excursive flights.
Come, Evening, once again, season of peace;
Return, sweet Evening, and continue long!
Methinks I see thee in the streaky west,
With matron step slow moving, while the Night
Treads on thy sweeping train; one hand employ'd
In letting fall the curtain of repose
On bird and beast, the other charged for man
With sweet oblivion of the cares of day:
Not sumptuously adoru’d, not needing aid,
Like homely-featurd Night, of clustering gems ;
A star or two, just twinkling on thy brow,
Suffices thee; save that the moon is thine
No less than hers, not worn indeed on high
With ostentatious pageantry, but set
With modest grandeur in thy purple zone,
Resplendent less, but of an ampler round.
Come then, and thou shalt find thy votary calm,
Or make me so. Composure is thy gift:
And, whether I devote thy gentle hours
To books, to music, or the poet's toil,
To weaving nets for bird-alluring fruit ;
Or twining silken threads round ivory reels,
When they command whom man was born to plense
I slight thee not, but make thee welcome still.
Just when our drawing-rooms begin to blaze
With lights, by clear reflection multiplied
many a mirror, in which he of Gath,
Goliah, might have seen his giant bulk
Whole without stooping, towering crest and all,
My pleasures too begin. But me perhaps
The glowing hearth may satisfy awhile
With faint illumination, that uplifts
The shadows to the ceiling, there by fits
Dancing uncouthly to the quivering flame.
Not undelightful is an hour to me
so spent in parlour-twilight: such a gloom
Suits well the thoughtful or unthinking mind,
The mind contemplative, with some new theme