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THE love of Nature's works Is an ingredient in the compound man, Infus'd at the creation of the kind. And, though th’ Almighty Maker has throughout Discriminated each from each, by strokes And touches of his hand, with so much art Diversified, that two were never found Twins at all points--yet this obtains in all, That all discern a beauty in his works, And all can taste them: minds that have been
form'd And tutor’d, with a relish more exact, But none without some relish, none unmov’d. It is a flame that dies not even there, Where nothing feeds it: neither business, crowds, Xor habits of luxurious city-life;
Whatever else they smother of true worth
In human bosoms; quench it, or abate.
The villas with which London stands begirt,
Like a swarth Indian with his belt of beads,
Prove it. A breath of unadult'rate air,
The glimpse of a green pasture, how they cheer
The citizen, and brace his languid frame!
Ev’n in the stilling bosom of the town,
A garden, in which nothing thrives, has charms
That soothe the rich possessor; much consold,
That here and there some sprigs of mournful mint,
Of nightshade, or valerian, grace the well
He cultivates. These serve him with a hint
That Nature lives; that sight-refreshing green
Is still the liv'ry she delights to wear,
Though sickly samples of the exub'rant whole.
What are the casements lin’d with creeping herbs,
The pronder sashes fronted with a range
Of orange, myrtle, or the fragrant weed,
The Frenchman's* darling ? are they not all proofs
That man, immur'd in cities, still retains
His inborn inextinguishable thirst
Qf rural scenes, compensating his loss
By supplemental shifts, the best he may ?
The most unfurnish'd with the means of life,
And they that never pass their brick-wall bounds
To range the fields and treat their lungs with air,
Yet feel the burning instinct: over-head
Suspend their crazy boxes, planted thick,
And water'd duly. There the pitcher stands
A fragment, and the spoutless tea-pot there;
Sad witnesses how close-pent man regrets
The country, with what ardour he contrives
A peep at nature, when he can no more,
Tis morning; and the sun, with ruddy orb
Ascending, fires th' horizon; while the clouds,
That crowd away before the driving wind,
More ardent as the disk emerges more,
Resemble most some city in a blaze,
Seen through the leafless wood. His slanting ray
Slides ineffectual down the snowy vale,
And, tinging all with his own rosy hue,
From ev'ry herb and ev'ry spiry blade
Stretches a length of shadow o'er the field.
Mine, spindling into longitude immense,
In spite of gravity, and sage remark
That I myself am but a fleeting shade,
Provokes me to a smile. With
askance I view the muscular proportion'd limb Transform'd to a lean shank. The shapeless pairg As they design’d to mock me, at my side Take step for step; and, as I near approach
The cottage, walk along the plaster'd wall,
Prepost'rous sight! the legs without the man.
The verdure of the plain lies buried deep
Beneath the dazzling deluge; and the bents,
And coarser grass, upspearing o'er the rest,
Of late unsightly and unseen, now shine
Conspicuous, and, in bright apparel clad
And fledg’d with icy feathers, nod superb.
The cattle mourn in corners where the fence
Screens them, and seem half petrified to sleep
In unrecumbent sadness. There they wait
Their wonted fodder; not like hung’ring man,
Fretful if unsupplied; but silent, meek,
And patient of the slow-pac'd swain's delay..