« AnteriorContinuar »
Whence solitude derives peculiar charms, From 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 knots, 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 flies 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, escapés 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 whirld 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, The 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,
Such were the days,-of days long past I sing,
To leave them distanced in the maddening race,
Methinks I hear the mourner thus impart The stifled murmurs of his wounded heart: "Whence comes this change, ungracious, irksome, cold?
Whence the new grandeur that mine eyes behold?
The blameless hope, the cheering sweet presage Of future comforts for declining age.
Can my sons share from this paternal hand
The aspect still of ancient joy puts on;
Heaven bless his memory! bless his honour'd name! (The poor will speak his lasting, worthy fame :) To souls fair-purposed strength and guidance give;
In pity to us still let goodness live:
Let labour have its due! my cot shall be
Acorns. Hogs in the wood. Wheat-sowing. The church. Village girls. The mad girl. The birdboy's hut. Disappointment; Reflections, &c. Eustonhall. Fox-hunting. Old Trouncer. Long nights. A welcome to Winter.
AGAIN, the year's decline, midst storms and floods,
Till the strong gale has shook them to the ground.
The trudging sow leads forth her numerous young, Playful, and white, and clean, the briars among. Till briers and thorns increasing, fence them round, Where last year's mouldering leaves bestrew the
And o'er their heads, loud lash'd by furious squalls,
Through tangling thickets headlong on they go,
Seek some warm slope with shagged moss o'er-
Dried leaves their copious covering and their bed.
And solemn silence, urge his piercing call.
Beyond bleak Winter's rage, beyond the Spring,
AGAIN, the year's decline, midst st
?The thundering chase, the yellow big Dive deep: and clinging, mixes with the mould
And all the cowyard's highly valued store,
Of upland coverts and the echoing d
The swineherd's halloo, or the bus No idling hours are here, when fancy trims
The restless, wandering tenants d
And in her thousand thousand colours dress'd,
The trudging sow leads forth her r
And o'er their heads, loud lash'd by f
Through tangling thickets heading
The roosting pheasant's short but fe Invites to rest; and huddling side by in closest ambush seek to i
At eve to hear beside their tranquil home
O thou, who bidst the vernal juices rise!
Shorn of their flowers that shed th' untreasured
The withering pasture, and the fading mead,
Though ineffectual pity thine may be,
I'll be a joyful herald to thine heart:"
Bereft of song, and ever-cheering green,
Far weightier cares and wider scenes expand;
| Of distant sportsmen, and the chiding hound;
Keen blows the blast, or ceaseless rain descends;
In earliest hours of dark and hooded morn,
Of dogs quick-mouth'd, and shouts that mingle
As bursting thunder rolls from cloud to cloud
O'er ditch, o'er fence, unconquerably bold,