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And well-tried virtues could alone inspire
Witness a joy that thou hast doubled long.
Thou know'st my praise of nature most sincere,
And that my raptures are not conjured up
To serve occasions of poetic pomp,
But genuine, and art partner of them all.
How oft upon yon eminence, our pace
Has Nacken'd to a pause, and we have borne
The ruffling wind scarce conscious that it blew,
While admiration feeding at the eye,
And still unsated, dwelt upon the scene !
Thence with what pleasure have we just discern'd
The distant plough Now-moving, and beside
His lab'ring team that swerv'd not from the track,
The sturdy swain diminish'd to a boy!
Here Ouse, now winding through a level plain
Of spacious meads with cattle sprinkled o'er,
Conducts the eye along his sinuous course
Delighted. There, fast rooted in his bank
Stand, never overlook’d, our fav’rite elms
That screen the herdsman's folitary hut;
While far beyond and overthwart the stream
That as with molten glafs inlays the vale,
The floping 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 found of chearful bells
Just undulates upon the lift'ning ear;
Groves, heaths, and smoking villages remote.
Scenes must be beautiful which daily view'd
Please daily, and whose novelty survives
Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years,
Praise justly due to those that I describe,
Nor rural lights alone, but rural founds Exhilarate the spirit, and restore The tone of languid Nature. Mighty winds That sweep the skirt of some far-fpreading wood Of ancient growth, make music not unlike The dash of ocean on his winding shore,
And lull the fpirit while they fill the mind,
Unnumber'd branches waving in the blast,
And all their leaves fast fute’ring, all at once.
Nor less composure waits upon the roar
Of distant floods, or on the softer voice
Of neighb'ring fountain, or of rills that dip
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 filent course.
Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds,
But animated Nature sweeter still
To footh and satisfy the human ear.
Ten thousand warblers chear the day, and one
The live-long night: nor these alone whose notes
Nice-finger'd art must emulate in vain,
But cawing rooks, and kites that swiin sublime
In still repeated circles, screaming loud,
The jay, the pie, and ev'n the boding owl
That hails the rising moon, have charms for me.
Sounds inharmonious in themselves and harsh, Yet heard in scenes where peace for ever reigns, And only there, please highly for their fake.
Peace to the artist, whose ingenious thought Devised the weather-house, that useful toy! Fearless of humid air and gathering rains Forth steps the man, an emblem of myself, More delicate his tim'rous mate retires. When Winter soaks the fields, and female feet Too weak to struggle with tenacious clay, Or ford the rivulets, are best at home,
The task of new discov'ries falls on me.
At such a seafon and with such a charge
Once went I forth, and found, till then unknown,
A cottage, whither oft we since repair :
'Tis perch'd upon the green-hill top, but close
Inviron’d with a ring of branching elms
That overhang the thatch, itself unseen,
Peeps at the vale below; fo thick beset
With foliage of such dark redundant growth,
I call'd the low-roof'd lodge the peasant's nest.
And hidden as it is, and far remote
From such unpleasing sounds as haunt the ear
In village or in town, the bay of curs
Inceffant, clinking hammers, grinding wheels,
And infants clam'rous whether pleas'd or pain'd,
Oft have I wish'd the peaceful covert mine.
Here, I have said, at least I should possess
The poet's treasure, silence, and indulge
The dreams of fancy, tranquil and secure.
Vain thought! the dweller in that still retreat
Dearly obtains the refuge it affords.
Its elevated scite forbids the wretch
To drink sweet waters of the chrystal well;
He dips his bowl into the weedy ditch,
And heavy-laden brings his bev'rage home
Far-fetch'd and little worth ; nor seldom waits,
Dependent on the baker's punctual call,
To hear his creaking panniers at the door,