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Nor castle walls, nor dungeons deep,
Exclude his quickening beams;
And dwell on heavenly themes.
A joy beyond compare;
No pride can enter there.
And sweetens all my pains,
Consoles me and sustains.
I fear no ill, resent no wrong,
Nor feel a passion move,
Such patience is in love.
SCENES FAVOURABLE TO MEDITATION.
Wilds horrid and dark with o'ershadowing trees,
Rocks that ivy and briers infold, Scenes nature with dread and astonishment sees,
But I with a pleasure untold;
Though awefully silent, and shaggy, and rude,
I am charm’d with the peace ye afford, Your shades are a temple where none will intrude,
The abode of my Lover and Lord.
I am sick of thy splendour, O Fountain of day,
And here I am hid from its beams; Here safely contemplate a brighter display
Of the noblest and holiest of themes.
Ye Forests, that yield me my sweetest repose,
Where stillness and solitude reign, To you I securely and boldly disclose
The dear anguish of which I complain.
Here, sweetly forgetting and wholly forgot
By the world and its turbulent throng,
That aids meditation and song.
Love wears me and wastes me away ;
Ere yet I perceive it is day.
My sorrows are sadly rehearsed;
And the last is as sweet as the first.
Here I and the beasts of the deserts agree;
Mankind are the wolves that I fear,
But nobody questions it here.
Though little is found in this dreary abode
That appetite wishes to find,
And appetite wholly resign'd.
Ye desolate scenes, to your solitude led,
My life I in praises employ, And scarce know the source of the tears that I shed,
Proceed they from sorrow or joy.
There's nothing I seem to have skill to discern;
I feel out my way in the dark,
Yet hardly distinguish the spark.
I live, yet I seem to myself to be dead;
Such a riddle is not to be found;
I have nothing, and yet I abound.
Though dimly, yet surely I see
In the soul that is chosen of thee.
Ah send me not back to the race of mankind,
Perversely by folly beguiled,
The spirit and heart of a child ?
A little one whom they despise,
Shall be holy and happy and wise.
ADVERTISEMENT. The history of the following production is briefly this. A lady, fond of blank verse, demanded a poem of that kind from the author, and gave him the Sofa for a subject. He obeyed; and having much leisure, connected another subject with it; and pursuing the train of thought to which his situation and turn of mind led him, brought forth at length, instead of the trifle which he at first intended, a serious affair,-a Volume.
In the poem on the subject of Education he would be very sorry to stand suspected of having aimed his censure at any particular school. His objections are such as naturally apply themselves to schools in general. If there were not, as for the most part there is, wilful neglect in those who manage them, and an omission even of such discipline as they are susceptible of, the objects are yet too numerous for minute attention; and the aching hearts of ten thousand parents, mourning under the bitterest of all disappointments, attest the truth of the allegation. His quarrel therefore is with the mischief at large, and not with any particular instance of it.
ARGUMENT OF THE FIRST BOOK.
Historical deduction of seats, from the stool to the Sofa. A
schoolboy's ramble. A walk in the country. The scene described. Rural sounds as well as sights delightful, Another walk. Mistake concerning the charms of solitude corrected. Colonnades commended. Alcove, and the view from it. The Wilderness. The Grove. The Thresher. The necessity and the benefits of exercise. The works of nature superior to and in some instances inimitable by art. The wearisomeness of what is commonly called a life of pleasure. Change of scene sometimes expedient. A common described, and the character of crazy Kate introduced upon it. Gipsies. The blessings of civilized life. That state most favourable to virtue. The South Sea islanders compassionated, but chiefly Omai. His present state of mind supposed. Civilized life friendly to virtue, but not great cities. Great cities, and London in particular, allowed their due praise, but censured. Féte champêtre. The book concludes with a reflection on the fatal effects of dissipation and effeminacy upon our public measures.