Page images
PDF
EPUB

Reechoing pious anthems! while beneath
The chequer'd earth seems restless as a flood
Brush'd by the wind. So sportive is the light 345
Shot through the boughs, it dances as they dance,
Shadow and sunshine intermingling quick,
And darkening and enlightening, as the leaves
Play wanton, every moment, every spot.

And now with nerves new-braced and spirits cheer'd
We tread the wilderness, whose well-rolld walks
With curvature of slow and easy sweep,—
Deception innocent,-give ample space
To narrow bounds. The grove receives us next;
Between the upright shafts of whose tall elms
We
may

discern the thresher at his task. Thump after thump, resounds the constant flail, That seems to swing uncertain, and yet falls Full on the destined ear. Wide flies the chaff, The rustling straw sends up a frequent mist 300 Of atoms sparkling in the noon-day beam. Come hither, ye that

press your beds of down And sleep not,-see him sweating o'er his bread Before he eats it.—'Tis the primala curse,

355

A church in every grove that spreads
Its living roof above our heads.

Wordsworth. Labourer's Hymns.
Here aged trees Cathedral walks compose.

Pope. Imit. of Cowley.
This line may have given the hint to Warburton.
27 O, my offence is rank, it smells to Heaven,
It hath the primal eldest curse upon it.

Humlet, Act iii. Sc. 3.
On me the curse aslope

But soften'd into mercy; made the pledge 365 Of cheerful days, and nights without a groan.

By ceaseless action, all that is subsists. Constant rotation of the unwearied wheel That nature rides upon, maintains her health, Her beauty, her fertility. She dreads

370 An instant's pause, and lives but while she moves. Its own revolvency upholds the world. Winds from all quarters agitate the air, And fit the limpid element for use, Else noxious: oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams 375 All feel the freshening impulse, and are cleansed By restless undulation. Even the oak Thrives by the rude concussion of the storm ; He seems indeed indignant, and to feel The impression of the blast with proud disdain, 380 Frowning as if in his unconscious arm He held the thunder. But the monarch owes His firm stability to what he scorns, More fixt below, the more disturb'd above. The law by which all creatures else are bound, Binds man the lord of all. Himself derives No mean advantage from a kindred cause,

385

Glanced on the ground, with labour I must earn
My bread—What harm? idleness had been worse.

Par. Lost, x. 1053.

It polishes anew
By that collision all the fine machine :
Else rust would rise, and foulness by degrees
Incumbering, choke at last what Heaven design'd
For ceaseless motion and a round of toil.

Akenside. Pleusures of Imagination, ii. 161.

From strenuous toil his hours of sweetest ease.
The sedentary stretch their lazy length
When custom bids, but no refreshment find, 390
For none they need: the languid eye, the cheek
Deserted of its bloom, the flaccid, shrunk,
And wither'd muscle, and the vapid soul,
Reproach their owner with that love of rest
To which he forfeits even the rest he loves 28. 395
Not such the alert and active. Measure life
By its true worth, the comforts it affords,
And theirs alone seems worthy of the name.
Good health, and its associate in the most,
Good temper; spirits prompt to undertake,
And not soon spent, though in an arduous task ;
The powers of fancy and strong thought are theirs ;
Even

age itself seems privileged in them With clear exemption from its own defects. A sparkling eye beneath a wrinkled front

405 The veteran shows, and gracing a grey

beard With youthful smiles, descends towards the grave Sprightly, and old almost without decay.

Like a coy maiden, ease, when courted most, Farthest retires,—an idol, at whose shrine 410 Who oftenest sacrifice are favour'd least.

400

28

She marked thee there
Stretch'd on the rack of a too easy chair,
And heard thy everlasting yawn confess
The pains and penalties of idleness.

Dunciad, iv. 341.
With anxious care they labour to be glad,
What bodily fatigue is half so bad ?

Young. Sat. v.

The love of Nature, and the scenes she draws
Is Nature's dictate. Strange! there should be found
Who self-imprison'd in their proud saloons,
Renounce the odours of the open field

415
For the unscented fictions of the loom;
Who satisfied with only pencil'd scenes,
Prefer to the performance of a God
The inferior wonders of an artist's hand.
Lovely indeed the mimic works of art,

420 But Nature's works far lovelier. I admireNone more admires the painter's magic skill, Who shows me that which I shall never see 29, Conveys a distant country into mine, And throws Italian light on English walls. 425 But imitative strokes can do no more Than please the eye, sweet Nature every sense 30. The air salubrious of her lofty hills, The cheering fragrance of her dewy vales And music of her woods,—no works of man 430 May rival these; these all bespeak a power

29 Who shows me that which I shall never see.
A liberty of expression justified by high authority -

So hand in hand they pass'd, the loveliest pair
That ever since in love's embraces met,
Adam the goodliest man of men since born
His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.

Par. Lost, iv. 391. In the lowest deep a lower deep. Ibid. iv. 76. Et ambigua de Vespasiano fama : solusque omnium ante se Principum, in melius mutatus est.Tacitus Hist. i. 50. 30 For eloquence the soul, song charms the sense.

Par. Lost, ii. 556.

435

Peculiar, and exclusively her own.
Beneath the open sky she spreads the feast;
'Tis free to all,—'tis every day renew'd,
Who scorns it, starves deservedly at home.
He does not scorn it, who imprison'd long!
In some unwholesome dungeon, and a prey
To sallow sickness, which the vapours

dank
And clammy of his dark abode have bred,
Escapes at last to liberty and light.
His cheek recovers soon its healthful hue,
His eye relumines its extinguish'd fires,
He walks, he leaps, he runs,-is wing'd with joy,
And riots in the sweets of

every

breeze.
He does not scorn it, who has long endured
A fever's agonies, and fed on drugs.
Nor yet the mariner 32, his blood inflamed

440

445

31

Fair the face of spring,
To every eye; but how much more to his
Round whom the bed of sickness long diffused
Its melancholy gloom! how doubly fair
When first with fresh-born vigour he inhales
The balmy breeze, and feels the blessed sun
Warm at bis bosom, from the springs of life
Chasing oppressive damps and languid pain.

Akenside. Pleusures of Imagination, ii. 88.
32 So by a calenture misled

The mariner with rapture sees
On the smooth ocean's azure bed
Enamel'd fields and verdant trees

S;
With eager haste he longs to rove

In that fantastic scene, and thinks
It must be some enchanted grove,-
And in he leaps and down he sinks.

Swift. South Sea. 1721.
S. C.-9.

G

« PreviousContinue »