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And dreaded as thou art! Thou hold'st the sun
A pris’ner in the yet undawning east,
Short’ning his journey between morn and noon,
And hurrying him, impatient of his stay,
Down to the rosy west; but kindly still
Compensating his loss with added hours
Of social converse and instructive ease,
And gath’ring, at short notice, in one group,
The family dispers'd, and fixing thought,
Not less dispers’d by day-light and its cares.
I crown thee king of intimate delights,
Fire-side enjoyments, home-born happiness,
And all the comforts that the lowly roof
Of undisturb'd retirement, and the hours
Of long uninterrupted ev'ning, know.
COME, Ev’ning, once again, season of peace;
Return, sweet Ev’ning, and continue long!
Methinks I see thee in the streaky west,
With matron-step slow-moving, while the night
Treads on thy sweeping train; one hand employ'd
In letting fall the curtain of repose
On bird and beast, the other charg’d for man
With sweet oblivion of the cares of day:
Not sumptuously adorn'd, nor needing aid,
Like homely featur'd night, of clust'ring gems;
A star or two, just twinkling on thy brow,
Suffices thee; save that the moon is thine
No less than her’s, not worn indeed on high
With ostentatious pageantry, but set
With modest grandeur in thy purple zone,
Resplendent less, but of an ampler round.
Come then, and thou shalt find thy vot’ry calm,
Or make me so. Composure is thy gift:
And, whether I devote thy gentle hours
To books, to musick, or the poet's toil;
To weaving nets for bird-alluring fruit;
Or twining silken threads round iv'ry reels,
When they command whom man was born to pleas :
I slight thee not, but make thee welcome still.
Just when our drawing-rooms begin to blaze With lights, by clear reflection multiplied From many a mirror, in which he of Gath, Goliath, might have seen his giant bulk Whole without stooping, tow'ring crest and all, My pleasures, too, begin. But me, perhaps, The glowing hearth may satisfy awhile With faint illumination, that uplifts The shadow to the ceiling, there by fits Dancing uncouthly, to the quiv'ring flame. Not undelightful is an hour to me So spent in parlour twilight: such a gloom Suits well the thoughtful or unthinking mind, The mind contemplative, with some new theme Pregnant, or indispos’d alike to all. Laugh ye, who boast your more mercurial pow'rs, That never feel a stupor, know no pause, Nor need one; I am conscious, and confess, Fearless, a soul that does not always think.
Me oft has fancy, ludicrous and wild,
Sooth’d with a waking dream of houses, tow'rs,
Trees, churches, and strange visages, express'd
In the red cinders, while with poring eye
I gaz'd, myself creating what I saw.
Nor less amus'd have I quiescent watch'd
The sooty films that play upon the bars,
Pendulous, and foreboding, in the view
Of superstition, prophesying still,
Though still deceiv’d, some stranger's near approach.
'Tis thus the understanding takes repose
In indolent vacuity of thought,
And sleeps and is refresh'd. Meanwhile the face
Conceals the mood lethargic with a mask
Of deep deliberation, as the man
Were task'd to his full strength, absorb'd and lost.
Thus oft, reclin'd at ease, I lose an hour
At ev'ning, till at length the freezing blast,
That sweeps the bolted shutter, summons home
The recollected pow'rs; and snapping short
The glassy threads, with which the fancy weaves
Her brittle toys, restores me to myself.
How calm is my recess; and how the frost,
Raging abroad, and the rough wind, endear
The silence and the warmth enjoy'd within!
goes the nightly thief prowling abroad For plunder, much solicitous how best He may compensate for a day of sloth By works of darkness and nocturnal wrong. Woe to the gard'ner's pale, the farmer's hedge, Plash'd neatly, and secur'd with driven stakes Deep in the loamy bank. Uptorn by strength, Resistless in so bad a cause, but lame To better deeds, he bundles up the spoilAn ass's burden-and, when laden most And heaviest, light of foot, steals fast away. Nor does the boarded hovel better guard The well-stack'd pile of riven logs and roots From his pernicious force. Nor will he leave Unwrench'd the door, howerer well seeur’d, Where Chanticleer, amidst his haram, sleeps In unsuspecting pomp. Twitch'd from the perch, He gives the princely bird, with all his wives,