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And well-tried virtues could alone inspire-
Witness a joy that thou hast doubled long.
Thou know'ft my praise of nature most fincere,
And that my raptures are not conjured up
To ferve occafions of poetic pomp,
But genuine, and art partner of them all.
How oft upon yon eminence, our pace
Has flacken'd to a pause, and we have borne
The ruffling wind fcarce confcious that it blew,
While admiration feeding at the eye,
And still unfated, dwelt upon the scene!
Thence with what pleasure have we just discern'd
The diftant plough flow-moving, and befide
His lab'ring team that fwerv'd not from the track,
The sturdy fwain diminish'd to a boy!
Here Oufe, flow winding through a level plain
Of fpacious meads with cattle sprinkled o'er,
Conducts the eye along his finuous courfe
Delighted. There, faft rooted in his bank
Stand, never overlook'd, our fav'rite elms
That fcreen the herdfman's folitary hut;
While far beyond and overthwart the stream
That as with molten glafs inlays the vale,
The floping land recedes into the clouds ;
Difplaying on its varied fide, the grace
Of hedge-row beauties numberlefs, fquare tow'r,
Tall spire, from which the found of chearful bells
Juft undulates upon the lift'ning ear;
Groves, heaths, and smoking villages remote.
Scenes must be beautiful which daily view'd
Please daily, and whofe novelty furvives.
Long knowledge and the fcrutiny of years,
Praise justly due to those that I describe,
Nor rural fights alone, but rural founds Exhilarate the fpirit, and restore The tone of languid Nature. Mighty winds That sweep the skirt of fome far-fpreading wood Of ancient growth, make mufic not unlike The dash of ocean on his winding fhore,
And lull the fpirit while they fill the mind,
Unnumber'd branches waving in the blaft,
And all their leaves faft flutt'ring, all at once.
Nor lefs compofure waits upon the roar
Of distant floods, or on the softer voice
Of neighb'ring fountain, or of rills that dip
Through the cleft rock, and chiming as they fall
Upon loose pebbles, lose themselves at length
In matted grafs, that with a livelier green
Betrays the fecret of their filent course.
Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds,
But animated Nature fweeter still
To footh and fatisfy the human ear.
Ten thousand warblers chear the day, and one
The live-long night: nor these alone whose notes
Nice-finger'd art must emulate in vain,
But cawing rooks, and kites that swim fublime
In ftill repeated circles, fcreaming loud,
The jay, the pie, and ev'n the boding owl
That hails the rifing moon, have charms for me.
Sounds inharmonious in themselves and harsh, Yet heard in scenes where peace for ever reigns, And only there, please highly for their fake.
Peace to the artift, whofe ingenious thought Devised the weather-house, that useful toy! Fearlefs of humid air and gathering rains Forth steps the man, an emblem of myself, More delicate his tim'rous mate retires.
When Winter foaks the fields, and female feet
Too weak to struggle with tenacious clay,
Or ford the rivulets, are best at home,
The task of new difcov'ries falls on me.
At such a season and with fuch a charge
Once went I forth, and found, till then unknown,
A cottage, whither oft we fince repair :
'Tis perch'd upon the green-hill top, but close Inviron'd with a ring of branching elms
That overhang the thatch, itself unseen,
Peeps at the vale below; fo thick befet
With foliage of fuch dark redundant growth,
I call'd the low-roof'd lodge the peasant's nest.
And hidden as it is, and far remote
From fuch unpleafing founds as haunt the ear
In village or in town, the bay of curs
Inceffant, clinking hammers, grinding wheels,
And infants clam'rous whether pleas'd or pain'd,
Oft have I wish'd the peaceful covert mine.
Here, I have faid, at least I should poffefs
The poet's treasure, filence, and indulge
The dreams of fancy, tranquil and secure.
Vain thought! the dweller in that still retreat
Dearly obtains the refuge it affords.
Its elevated fcite forbids the wretch
To drink fweet waters of the chrystal well;
He dips his bowl into the weedy ditch,
And heavy-laden brings his bev'rage home
Far-fetch'd and little worth; nor feldom waits,
Dependent on the baker's punctual call,
To hear his creaking panniers at the door,