Sidor som bilder

But relaxation of the languid frame,
By soft recumbency of outstretch'd limbs,
Was bliss reservd for happier days. So flow
The growth of what is excellent; so hard
T' attain perfe&tion in this nether world.
Thus first necessity invented stools,
Convenience next suggested elbow-chairs,
And luxury th' accomplish'd sora laft.

The nurse fleeps sweetly, bir'd to watch the fick, Whom snoring she difturbs. “As sweetly he Who quits the coach-box at the midnight hour To sleep within the carriage more secure, His legs depending at the open door. Sweet sleep enjoys the curate in his desk, The tedious rector drawling o'er his head; And sweet the clerk below. But neither sleep Of lazy nurse, who snores the fick man dead, Nor his who quits the box at midnight hour To sumber in the carriage 'more secure, Nor sleep enjoy'd by curate in his desk, Nor yet the dozings of the clerk, are sweet, Compar'd with the repose the sofa yields.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Oh may I live exempted (while I live
Guiltless of pamper'd appetite obscene)
From pangs arthritic, that infest the toe
Of libertine excess. The sofa fuits
The gouty limb, 'tis true; but gouty limb,
Though on a sofa, may I never feel :
For I have lov'd the rural walk through lanes
Of grafly swarth, clofe cropt hy nibbling theep,
And skirted thick with intertexture firm
Of thorny boughs; have lov'd the rural walk
O'er hills, through vallies, and by rivers' brink,
E’er fince a truant boy I pass’d my bounds
T' enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames;
And still remember, nor without regret
Of hours that forrow since has much endear'd,
How oft, my slice of pocket store consumid,
Still hung'ring, pennyless and far from home,
I fed on scarlet hips and stony haws,
Or blushing crabs, or berries, that imboss
The bramble, black as jet, or floes austere.
Hard fare! but such as boyith appetite
Disdains not; nor the palate, updeprav'd
By culinary arts, unsav'ry deems,
No sofa then awaited my return;

Nor sofa then I needed. Youth repairs
His wasted spirits quickly, by long toil
Incurring fhort fatigue; and, though our years
As life declines speed rapidly away,
And not a year but pilfers as he goes
Some youthful grace that age would gladly keep;
A tooth or auburn lock, and by degrees
Their length and colour from the locks they spare;
Th'elastic spring of an unwearied foot
That mounts the style with eafe, or leaps the fence,
That play of lungs, inhaling and again
Respiring freely the fresh air, that makes
Swift pace or steep ascent no toil to me,
Mine have not pilfer'd yet; nor yet impair'd
My relish of fair profpeet; scenes that footh'd
Or charm'd me young, no longer young, I find
Still soothing, and of pow'r to charm me still.
And witness, dear companion of my walks,
Whose arm this twentieth winter I perceive
Fast lock'd in mine, with pleasure such as love,
Confirm'd by long experience of thy worth
And well-tried virtues, could alone inspire-
Witness a joy that thou hast doubled long.
Thou know'ft my praise of nature most sincere,

And that my raptures are not conjur'd up To serve occasions of poetic pomp, But genuine, and art partner of them all. How oft upon yon eminence our pace Has slacken’d to a pause, and we have born The ruffling wind, scarce conscious that it blew, Wbile admiration, feeding at the eye, And still unsated, dwelt upon the scene. Thence with what pleasure have we just discern'd The diftant plough flow moving, and beside His lab'ring team, that swerv'd not from the track, The sturdy swain diminish'd to a boy! Here Ouse, flow winding through a level plain Of spacious meads with cattle sprinkled o'er, Conducts the eye along his finuous course Delighted. There, faft rooted in their bank, Stand, never overlook'd, our fav’rite elms, That screen the herdsman's solitary hut; While far beyond, and overthwart the stream That, as with molten glass, inlays the vale, The sloping land recedes into the clouds; Displaying on its varied fide the grace Of hedge-row beauties numberless, square tow'r, Tall spire, from which the sound of cheerful bells

Just undulates upon the list’ning ear, Groves, heaths, and smoking villages, remote. (.! Scenes muft be beautiful, wbich, daily view'd, Please daily, and whose novelty survives Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years. Praise juftly due to those that I describe.

Nor rural fights alone, but rural sounds, Exbilarate the spirit, and restore The tone of languid Nature. Mighty winds, That sweep the skirt of some far-spreading wood Of ancient growth, make music not unlike The dash of ocean on his winding shore, And lull the spirit while they fill the mind: Unnumber'd branches waving in the blaft, And all their leaves fast flutt'ring, all at once. Nor less composure waits upon Of distant floods, or on the softer voice Of neighb'ring fountain, or of rills that flip Through the cleft rock, and, chiming as they fall Upon loose pebbles, lose themselves at length In matted grass, that with a livelier green Betrays the secret of their silent course. Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds,

the roar

« FöregåendeFortsätt »