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Thy gracious auspices impart,
And for thy temple choose my heart.
They, whom thou deignest to inspire,
Thy science learn, to bound desire;
By happy alchymy of mind
They turn to pleasure all they find;
They both disdain in outward mien
The grave and solemn garb of Spleen,
And meretricious arts of dress,
To feign a joy, and hide distress:
Unmov'd when the rude tempest blows,
Without an opiate they repose;
And cover'd by your shield, defy
The whizzing shafts, that round them fly:
Nor meddling with the god's affairs,
Concern themselves with distant cares;
But place their bliss in mental rest,
And feast upon the good possess'd.
Forc'd by soft violence of pray'r,
The blithsome Goddess soothes my care,
I feel the deity inspire,
And thus she models my desire.
Two hundred pounds half-yearly paid,
Annuity securely made,
A farm some twenty miles from town,
Small, tight, salubrious, and my own;
Two maids, that never saw the town,
A serving-man not quite a clown,
A boy to help to tread the mow,
And drive, while t'other holds the plough;
A chief of temper form'd to please,
Fit to converse, and keep the keys;
And better to preserve the peace,
Commission'd by the name of niece;
With understandings of a size
To think their master very wise.
May heav'n ('tis all I wish for) send
One genial rooin to treat a friend,
Where decent cup-board, little plate,
Display benevolence, not state.
And may my humble dwelling stand
Upon some chosen spot of land:
A pond before full to the brim,
Where cows may cool, and geese may swim:
Behind, a green like velvet neat,
Soft to the eye, and to the feet;
Where od rous plants in ev'ning fair
Breathe all around ambrosial air;
From Eurus, foe to kitchen-ground,
Fenc'd by a slope with bushes crown'd,
Fit dwelling for the feather'd throng,
Who pay their quit-rents with a song;
With op'ning views of hill and dale,
Where sense and fancy too regale,
Where the half-cirque, which vision bounds,
Like amphitheatre surrounds:
And woods impervious to the breeze,
Thick phalanx of embodied trees,
From hills through plains in dusk array
Extended far, repel the day.
Here stillness, height, and solemn shade
Invite, and contemplation aid:
Here nymphs from hollow oaks relate
The dark decrees and will of fate,
And dreams beneath the spreading beech
Inspire, and docile fancy teach,
While soft as breezy breath of wind,
Impulses rustle through the mind:
Here Dryads, scorning Phoebus' ray,
While Pan melodious pipes away,
In measur'd motions frisk about,
'Till old Silenus puts them out.
There see the clover, pea, and bean,
Vie in variety of green;
Fresh pastures speckled o'er with sheep,
Brown fields their fallow sabbaths keep,
Plump Ceres golden tresses wear,
And poppy top-knots deck her hair,
And silver streams through meadows stray, And Naiads on the margin play,
And lesser nymphs on side of hills
From play-thing urns pour down the rills.
Thus shelter'd, free from care and strife,
May I enjoy a calm through life;
See faction, safe in low degree,
As men at land see storms at sea,
And laugh at miserable elves,
Not kind so much as to themselves,
Curs'd with such souls of base alloy,
As can possess, but not enjoy;
Debarr'd the pleasure to impart
By av'rice, sphincter of the heart,
Who health, hard earn'd by guilty cares,
Bequeath untouch'd to thankless heirs.
May I, with look ungloom'd by guile,
And wearing Virtue's liv'ry smile,
Prone the distressed to relieve,
And little trespasses forgive,
With income not in Fortune's
And skill to make a busy hour,
With trips to town life to amuse,
To purchase books, and hear the news,
To see old friends, brush off the clown,
And quicken taste at coming down,
Unhurt by sickness' blasting rage,
And slowly mellowing in age,
When Fate extends its gathering gripe,
Fall off like fruit grown fully ripe,
Quit a worn being without pain,
In hope to blossom soon again.
ELEGY to a YOUNG NOBLEMAN leaving the
ERE yet, ingenuous youth, thy steps retire
From Cam's smooth margin, and the peaceful vale,
Where Science call'd thee to her studious quire,
And met thee musing in her cloysters pale;
O! let thy friend (and may he boast the name)
Breathe from his artless reed one parting lay;
A lay like this thy early virtues claim,
And this let voluntary friendship pay.
Yet know, the time arrives, the dangerous time,
When all those virtues opening now so fair,
Transplanted to the world's tempestuous clime,
Must learn each passion's boist'rous breath to bear.
There, if Ambition, pestilent and pale,
Or Luxury should taint their vernal glow;
If cold Self-interest, with her chilling gale,
Should blast th' unfolding blossoms ere they blow;
If mimic hues, by Art or Fashion spread,
Their genuine, simple colouring should supply;
O! with them may these laureat honors fade;
And with them (if it can) my fri
And do not blame, if, tho' thysel aspire,
Cautious I strike the panegyric string;
The muse full oft pursues a meteor-fire,
And, vainly vent'rous, soars on waxen wing.
Too actively awake at Friendship's voice,
The poet's bosom pours the fervent strain,
Till sad reflection blames the hasty choice,
And oft invokes oblivion's aid in vain.
Go then, my friend, nor let thy candid breast
Condemn me, if I check the plausive string;
Go to the wayward world; complete the rest;
Be, what the purest muse would wish to sing.
Be still thyself; that open path of truth,
Which led thee here, let manhood firm pursue;
Retain the sweet simplicity of youth,
And, all thy virtue dictates, dare to do.
Still scorn, with conscious pride, the mask of art;
On vice's front let fearful caution lour,
And teach the diffident, discreeter part
Of knaves that plot, and fools that fawn for power.
So, round thy brow when age's honours spread,
When Death's cold hand unstrings thy MASON's lyre,
When the green turf lies lightly on his head,
Thy worth shall some superior bard inspire :
He, to the amplest bounds of Time's domain,
On Rapture's plume shall give thy name to fly
For trust, with rev'rence trust this Sabine strain:
"The Muse forbids the virtuous man to die."
SHEEP-SHEARING: SONG on that OCCASION: SHEEPSHEARING FEAST and MEKRIMENTS.
Now, jolly swains, the harvest of your cares
Prepare to reap, and seek the sounding caves
Of high Brigantium*, where, by ruddy flames,
Vulcan's strong sons, with nervous arm, around
*The caves of Brigantium-the forges of Sheffield, in Yorkshire, where the shepherd's shears and all edge-tools are made.
The steady anvil, and the glaring mass, Clatter their heavy hammers down by turn, Flatt'ning the steel; from their rough hands receive The sharpen'd instrument, that from the flock Severs the fleece. If verdant elder spreads Her silver flow'rs; if humble daisies vield To yellow crow-foot, and luxuriant grass, Gay shearing-time approaches. First, howe of, Drive to the double told upon the brim Of a clear river, gently drive the flock, And plunge them one by one into the flood: Plung'd in the flood, not long the struggler sinks, With his white flakes, that glisten thro' the tide; The sturdy rustic, in the middle wave, Awaits to seize him rising; one arm bears His lifted head above the limpid stream, While the full clammy fleece the other laves Around, laborious, with repeated toil; And then resigns him to the sunny bank, Where, bleating loud, he shakes his dripping locks. Shear them the fourth or fifth return of morn, Lest touch of busy fly-blows wound their skin : Thy peaceful subjects without murmur yield Their yearly tribute: 'tis the prudent part To cherish and be gentle, while ye strip The downy vesture from their tender sides, Press not too close; with caution turn the points; And from the head in reg'lar rounds proceed: But speedy, when ye chance to wound, with tar Prevent the wingy swarm and scorching heat; And careful house them, if the low'ring clouds Mingle their stores tumultuous: through the gloom Then thunder oft with pond'rous wheels rolls loud, And breaks the crystal urns of heav'n: adown Falls streaming rain. Sometimes among the steeps Of Cambrian glades (pity the Cambrian glades), Fast tumbling brooks on brooks enormous swell, And sudden overwhelm their vanish'd fields: Down with the flood away the naked sheep, Bleating, in vain, are borne, and straw-built huts, And rifted trées, and heavy enormous rocks, Down with the rapid torrent to the deep. At shearing-time, along the lively vales, Rural festivities are often heard: