« PreviousContinue »
He likes the country, but in truth must own, Nor yet the swarms, that occupy the brain,
Where dreams of dress, intrigue, and pleasure Poor Jack-no matter who for when I blame,
reign; I pity, and must therefore sink the name,
Nor such as useless conversation breeds, Livd in his saddle, lov'd the chase, the course, Or lust engenders, and indulgence feeds. And always, ere he mounted, kiss'd his horse. Whence, and what are we? to what end ordain'd? The estate, his sires had own'd in ancient years, What means the drama by the world sustain'd! Was quickly distancu, match'd against a peer's. Business or vain amusement, care or mirth, Jack vanish'd, was regretied and forgot;
Divide the frail inhabitants of Earth. 'Tis wild good-nature's never-failing lot.
Is duty a mere sport, or an employ? At length, when all had long suppos'd him dead, Life an intrusted talent, or a toy? By cold submersion, razor, rope, or lead,
Is there, as reason, conscience, Scripture, say, My lord, alighting at his usual place,
Cause to provide for a great future day, The Crown, took notice of an ostler's face,
When, Earth's assign'd duration at an end, Jack knew his friend, but hop'd in that disguise Man shall be summond, and the dead attend ? He might escape the most observing eyes, The trumpet—will it sound ? the curtain rise ? And whistling, as if unconcern’d and gay,
And show th’ august tribunal of the skies, Curried his nag, and look'd another way.
Where no prevarication shall avail, Convinc'd at last, upon a nearer view,
Where eloquence and artifice shall fail,
Yet let me stand excus’d, if I esteem
Thus some retire to nourish hopeless woe; And, after poising her advent'rous wings,
Far more intelligent and better taught
The strenuous use of profitable thought, Some sway'd by fashion, some by deep disgust; Than ye, when happiest and enlighten'd most, Some self-impov'rish'd, and because they must; And highest in renown, can justly boast. But few, that court Retirement, are aware
A mind unnerv’d, or indispos'd to bear Of half the toils they must encounter there. The weight of subjects worthiest of her care, Lucrative offices are seldom lost
Whatever hopes a change of scene inspires, For want of pow'rs proportion’d to the post : Must change ber nature, or in vain retires. Give ev'n a dunce th' employment he desires, An idler is a watch, that wants both hands; And he soon finds the talents it requires ;
As useless if it goes, as when it stands. A business with an income at its heels
Books therefore, not the scandal of the shelves, Furnishes always oil for its own wheels.
In which lewd sensualists print out themselves; But in his arduous enterprise to close
Nor those, in which the stage gives vice a blow, His active years with indolent repose,
With what success let modern manners show ; He finds the labors of that state exceed
Nor his, who, for the bane of thousands born, His utmost faculties, severe indeed.
Built God a church, and laugh'd his word to scorn, 'Tis easy to resign a toilsome place,
Skilful alike to seem devout and just, But not to manage leisure with a grace;
And stab religion with a sly side-thrust; Absence of occupation is not rest,
Nor those of learn'd philologists, who chase
A panting syllable through time and space,
But such as learning without false pretence,
The friend of truth, th' associate of sound sense, There feels a pleasure perfect in its kind,
And such as in the zeal of good design, Ranges at liberty, and snuffs the wind :
Strong judgment lab'ring in the Scripture mine, But when his lord would quit the busy road, All such as manly and great souls produce, To taste a joy like that he had bestow'd,
Worthy to live, and of eternal use: He
proves, less happy than his favor'd brute, Behold in these what leisure hours demand, A life of ease a difficult pursuit.
Amusement and true knowledge hand in hand. Thought, to the man that never thinks, may seem Luxury gives the mind a childish cast, As natural as when asleep to dream ;
And, while she polishes, perverts the taste; But reveries (for human minds will act)
Habits of close attention, thinking heads, Specious in show, impossible in fact,
Become more rare as dissipation spreads, Those flimsy webs, that break as soon as wrought, Till authors hear at length one gen'ral cry. Attain not to the dignity of thought:
Tickle and entertain us, or we die.
The loud demand, from year to year the same, His soul exults, hope animates his lays,
And wilds, familiar with a lion's roar,
Ring with ecstatic sounds unheard before : And novels (witness every month's review) 'Tis love like his, that can alone defeat Belie their name, and offer nothing new.
The foes of man, or make a desert sweet. The mind, relaxing into needful sport,
Religion does not censure or exclude
Unnumber'd pleasures harmlessly pursued ;
The grain, or herb, or plant, that each demands
In color these, and those delight the smell, Well-born, well-disciplin'd, who, plac'd apart Sends Nature forth the daughter of the skies, From vulgar minds, have honor much at heart, To dance on Earth, and charm all human eyes ; And, though the world may think th' ingredients odd, To teach the canvas innocent deceit, The love of virtue, and the fear of God! Or lay the landscape on the snowy sheetSuch friends prevent what else would soon succeed, These, these are arts pursued without a crime, A temper rustic as the life we lead,
That leave no stain upon the wing of Time. And keep the polish of the manners clean,
Me poetry (or rather notes that aim As theirs who hustle in the busiest scene; Feebly and vainly at poetic fame) For solitude, however some may rave,
Employs, shut out from more important views, Seeming a sanctuary, proves a grave,
Fast by the banks of the slow-winding Ouse ;
Content if thus sequester'd I may raise
The history of the following production is briefly O sacred art, to which alone lise owes
this : A lady, fond of blank verse, demanded a Its happiest seasons, and a peaceful close,
poem of that kind from the author, and gave him Scorn'd in a world, indebted to that scorn
the Sofa for a subject. He obeyed; and, having For evils daily felt and hardly borne,
much leisure, connected another subject with it: Not knowing thee, we reap with bleeding hands
and, pursuing the train of thought to which his Flow'rs of rank odor upon thorny lands,
situation and turn of mind led him, brought forth
at length, instead of the trifle which he at first And, while experience cautions us in vain,
intended, a serious affair-a volume. Grasp seeming happiness, and find it pain. Despondence, self-deserted in her grief,
In the poem on the subject of Education, he would Lost by abandoning her own relief,
be very sorry to stand suspected of having aimed Murmuring and ungrateful Discontent,
his censure at any particular school. His obThat scorns afflictions mercifully meant,
jections are such as naturally apply themselves Those humors tart as wines upon the fret,
to schools in general. If there were not, as for Which idleness and weariness beget;
the most part there is, wilful neglect in those
who manage them, and an omission even of These, and a thousand plagues, that haunt the breast, Fond of the phantom of an earthly rest,
such discipline as they are susceptible of, the Divine communion chases, as the day
objects are yet too numerous for minute attenDrives to their dens th' obedient beasts of prey.
tion; and the aching hearts of ten thousand See Judah's promis'd king bercft of all,
parents, mourning under the bitterest of all disDriv'n out an exile from the face of Saul,
appointments, attest the truth of the allegation.
His quarrel, therefore, is with the mischief at To distant caves the lonely wand'rer flies, To seek that peace a tyrant's frown denies.
large, and not with any particular instance of it. Hear the sweet accents of his tuneful voice, Hear him, o'erwhelm'd with sorrow, yet rejoice ;
Воок І. No womanish or wailing grief has part,
THE SOFA. No, not a moment, in his royal heart; "Tis manly music, such as martyrs make,
Argument. Suff'ring with gladness for a Savior's sake; Ilistorical deduction of seats, from the stool to the
Sofa. A school-boy's ramble. A walk in the * Bruyere.
country. The scene described. Rural sounds
as well as sights delightful. Another walk. These for the rich; the rest whom Fate had plac'd Mistake concerning the charms of solitude cor- In modest mediocrity, content rected. Colonnades commended. Alcove, and with base materials, sat on well-tann'd hides, the view from it. The wilderness. The grove. Obdurate and unyielding, glassy smooth, The thresher. The necessity and the bene- With here and there a tuft of crimson yarn, fits of exercise. The works of nature superior Or scarlet crewel, in the cushion fix’d, to, and, in some instances, inimitable by, art. If cushion might be calld, what harder seem d The wearisomeness of what is commonly called 'Than the firm oak, of which the frame was form'd a life of pleasure. Change of scene sometimes No want of timber then was felt or fear'd expedient. A common described, and the cha- In Albion's happy isle. The lumber stood racter of Crazy Kate introduced. Gypsies. Pond'rous and fix'd by its own massy weight. The blessings of civilized life. The state most But elbows still were wanting; these, some say, favorable to virtue. The South-Sea islanders An alderman of Cripplegate contriv'd; compassionated, but chiefly Omai. His present And some ascribe th' invention to a priest, state of mind supposed. Civilized life friendly Burly, and big, and studious of his ease. to virtue, but not great cities. Great cities, and But rude at first, and not with easy slope London in particular, allowed their due praises, Receding wide, they press'd against the ribs, but censured. Fête-champêtre. The book con. And bruis'd the side; and, elevated high, cludes with a reflection on the fatal effects of Taught the rais'd shoulders to invade the ears. dissipation and effeminacy upon our public mea- Long time elaps’d or ere our rugged sires
Complain'd, though incommodiously pent in,
And ill at ease behind. The ladies first I sing the Sofa. I, who lately sang
'Gan murmur, as became the softer ser. Truth, Hope, and Charity, and touch'd with awe Ingenious Fancy, never better pleas'd The solemn chords, and with a trembling hand, Than when employ'd t' accommodate the fair, Escap'd with pain from that advent'rous flight, Heard the sweet moan with pity, and devis'd Now seek repose upon an humbler theme; The soft settee; one elbow at each end, The theme though humble, yet august and proud And in the midst an elbow it received, Th' occasion, for the Fair commands the song. United yei divided, twain at once.
Time was, when clothing sumptuous or for use, So sit two kings of Brentford on one throne ; Save their own painted skins, our sires had none. And so two citizens who take the air, As yet black breeches were not; satin smooth, Close-pack'd, and smiling, in a chaise and one. Or velvet sofi, or plush with shaggy pile :
But relaxation of the languid frame, The hardy chief upon the rugged rock
By soft recumbency of out-stretch'd limbs, Wash'd by the sea, or on the grav'ly bank Was bliss reserv'd for happier days. So slow Thrown up by wintry torrents roaring loud, The growth of what is excellent; so hard Fearless of wrong, repos'd his weary strength. t" attain perfection in this nether world. Those barb'rous ages past, succeeded next Thus first Necessity invented stools, The birth-day of Invention; weak at first, Convenience next suggested elbow-chairs, Dull in design, and clumsy to perform.
And Luxury th' accomplish'd Sofa lasi.
To sleep within the carriage more secure;
The tedious rector drawling o'er his head;
And sweet the clerk below. But neither sleep By worms voracious eaten through and through. Of lazy nurse, who snores the sick man dead ; At length a generation more refind
Nor his, who quits the box at midnight hour, Improv'd the simple plan ; made three legs four, To slumber in the carriage more secure; Gave them a twisted form vermicular,
Nor sleep enjoy'd by curate in his desk; And o'er the seat, with plenteous wadding stuff'd, Nor yet the dozings of the clerk, as sweet, Induc'd a splendid cover, green and blue, Compard with the repose the Sofa yields. Yellow and red, of tap'stry richly wrought
O may I live exempted (while I live And woven close, or needle-work sublime. Guiltless of pamper'd appetite obscene) There might ye see the piony spread wide, From pangs arthritic, that infest the toe The full-blown rose, the shepherd and his lass, of libertine Excess. The Sofa suits Lapdog and lambkin with black staring eyes, The gouty limb, 'tis true; but gouty limb, And parrots with twin cherries in their beak. Though on a Sosa, may I never feel :
Now came the cane from India smooth and bright For I have lov'd the rural walk through lanes With Nature's varnish ; sever'd into stripes, of grassy swarth. close-cropp'd by nibbling sheep, That interlac'd each other, these supplied
And skirted thick with intertexture firm Of texture firm a lattice-work, that brac'd
Of thorny boughs; bave lov'd the rural walk The new machine, and it became a chair.
O'er hills, through valleys, and by rivers' brink, But restless was the chair; the back erect E’er since a truant boy I pass'd my bounds, Distress'd the weary loins, that felt no ease ; T' enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames; The slipp’ry seat betray'd the sliding part
And still remember, nor without regret, That press'd it, and the feet hung dangling down, Of hours, that sorrow since has much endear'd, Anxious in vain to find the distant floor,
How oft, my slice of pocket-store consum'd,
Still hung'ring, penniless, and far from home, And all their leaves fast flutt'ring, all at once.
Nor less composure waits upon the rcar
Of distant foods, or on the softer voice
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,
But animated nature sweeter still,
Ten thousand warblers cheer the day, and one
The livelong night: nor these alone, whose notes
But cawing rooks, and kites that swim sublime
The jay, the pie, and ev’n the boding owl,
Sounds inharmonious in themselves and harsh,
Yet heard in scenes where peace for ever reigns Swift pace or steep ascent no toil to me,
And only there, please highly for their sake.
Peace to the artist, whose ingenious thought
At such a season, and with such a charge,
A cottage, whither oft we since repair :
"Tis perch'd upon the green hill top, but close But genuine, and art partner of them all.
Environ'd with a ring of branching elms,
That overhang the thatch, itself unseen
I call'd the low-roof'd lodge the Peasant's Nest.
And, hidden as it is, and far remote
And infants clam'rous whether pleas'd or pain'd
Vain thought! the dweller in that still retreat That screen the herdsman's solitary hut;
Dearly obtains the refuge it affords.
And, heavy laden, brings his bev'rage home,
To hear his creaking panniers at the door, Groves, heaths, and smoking villages, remote. Angry, and sad, and his last crust consum'd: Scenes must be beautiful, which daily view'd So farewell envy of the Peasant's Nest ! Please daily, and whose novelty survives If solitude make scant the means of life Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years, Society for me!—thou seeming sweet, Praise justly due to those that I describe. Be still a pleasing object in my view;
Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds, My visit still, but never mine abode. Exhilarate the spirit, and restore
Not distant far a length of colonnade The tone of languid Nature. Mighty winds, Invites us. Monument of ancient taste, That sweep the skirt of some far-spreading wood Now scorn'd, but worthy of a better fate. of ancient growth, make music not unlike Our fathers knew the value of a screen The dash of Ocean on his winding shore, From sultry suns; and in their shaded walks And lull the spirit while they fill the mind; And long-protracted bow'rs, enjoy'd at noon Unnumber'd branches waving in the blast, The gloom and coolness of declining day.
We bear our shades about us: self-depriv'd
Hence the declivity is sharp and short, Of other screen, the thin umbrella spread,
And such the re-ascent; between then wespe And range an Indian waste without a tree.
A lille naiad her impov'rish'd un Thanks to Benevolus*-he spares me yet
All summer long, which wintes fills again. These chestnuts rang’d in corresponding lines; The folded gates would bar my progress now, And, though himself so polish'd, still reprieves But that the lordt of this incloe'd demesne, The obsolete prolixity of shade.
Communicative of the good he owns, Descending now (but cautious, lest too fast) Admits me to a share; the guiltless eye A sudden steep upon a rustic bridge,
Commits no wrong, nor wastes what it enjoys. We pass a gulf, in which the willows dip
Refreshing change! where now the blazing Sun! Their pendent boughs, stooping as if to drink. By short transition we have lost his glare, Hence, ancle-deep in moss and flow'ry thyme, And stepp'd at once into a cooler clime. We mount again, and feel at ev'ry step
Ye fallen avenues! once more I mourn Our foot half-sunk in billocks green and soft, Your fate unmerited, once more rejoice Rais'd by the mole, the miner of the soil.
That yet a remnant of your race survives. He, not unlike the great ones of mankind,
How airy and how light the graceful arch, Disfigures Earth; and, plotting in the dark,
Yet awful as the consecrated roof Toils much to earn a monumental pile,
Re-echoing pious anthems! while beneath That may record the mischiefs he has done. The chequer'd earth seems restless as a flood
The summit gain'd, behold the proud alcove Brush'd by the wind. So sportive is the light That crowns it! yet not all its pride secures Shot through the boughs, it dances as they dance The grand retreat from injuries impressid Shadow and sun-shine intermingling quick, By rural carvers, who with knives deface And dark’ning and enlight'ning, as the leaves The panels, leaving an obscure, rude name, Play wanton, ev'ry moment, ev'ry spot. (cheerd In characters uncouth, and spelt amiss.
And now, with nerves new-brac'd and spirito So strong the zeal t' immortalize himself
We tread the wilderness, whose well-roll'd walks, Beats in the breast of man, that ev'n a few, With curvature of slow and easy sweep Few transient years, won from ih' abyss abhorr'd Deception innocent-give ample space Of blank oblivion, seem a glorious prize,
To narrow bounds. The grove receives us next; And even to a clown. Now roves the eye ; Between the upright shafts of whose tall elms And, posted on his speculative height,
discern the thresher at his task. Exults in its command. The sheep-fold here Thump after thump resounds the constant flail, Pours out its fleecy tenants o'er the glebe. That seems to swing uncertain, and yet falls At first progressive as a stream, they seek
Full on the destin'd ear. Wide flies the chaff, The middle field ; but, scatter'd by degrees, The rustling straw sends up a frequent mist Each to his choice, soon whiten all the land. Of atoms, sparkling in the noon-day beam. There from the sun-burnt hay-field homeward creeps Come hither, ye that press your beds of down, The loaded wain; while, lighten'd of its charge, And sleep not; see him sweating o'er his bread The wain that meets it passes swiftly by ;
Before he eats it.—'Tis tbe primal curse, The boorish driver leaning o'er his team
But soflen'd into merey; made the pledge Vocil'rous, and impatient of delay.
Of cheerful days, and nights without a groan. Nor less attractive is the woodland scene,
By ceaseless action, all that is subsists. Diversified with trees of ev'ry growth,
Constant rotation of th' unwearied wheel, Alike, yet various. Here the grey smooth trunks That Nature rides upon, maintains her health, Of ash, or lime, or beech, distinctly shine,
Her beauty, her fertility. She dreads Within the twilight of their distant shades; An instant's pause, and lives but while she moves There, lost behind a rising ground, the wood Its own revolvency upholds the World. Seems sunk, and shorten’d to its topmost boughs. Winds from all quarters agitaie the air, No trec in all the grove but has its charms, And fit the limpid element for use, 'Though each its hue peculiar; paler some,
Else noxious; oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams. And of a wannish gray; the willow such,
All feel the fresh'ning impulse, and are cleans'd And poplar, that with silver lines his leaf,
By restless undulation : ev’n the oak And ash, far-stretching his umbrageous arm;
Thrives by the rude concussion of the storm: Or deeper green the elm; and deeper still, He seems indeed indignant, and to feel Lord of the woods, the long-surviving oak. Th'impression of the blast with proud disdain, Some glossy-leav'd, and shining in the sun, Frowning, as if in his unconscious arm The maple, and the beach of oily nuts
He held the thunder: but the monarch owes Prolific, and the lime at dewy eve
His firm stability to what he scorns, Diffusing odors : nor uonoted pass
More fix'd below, the more disturb'd above. The sycamore, capricious in attire,
The law, by which all creatures else are bound, Now green, now tawny, and, ere Autumn yet Binds man, the lord of all. Himself derives Have chang'd the woods, in scarlet honors bright. No mean advantage from a kindred cause, O'er these, but far beyond (a spacious map
From strenuous toil his hours of sweetest ease. Of hill and valley interpos'd between,)
The sedentary stretch their lazy length The Ouse, dividing the well-water'd land,
When Custom bids, but no refreshment find, Now glitters in the sun, and now retires,
For none they need : the languid eye, the cheek As bashful, yet impatient to be seen.
Deserted of its bloom, the flaccid, shrunk,
And wither'd muscle, and the vapid soul, * John Courtney Tbrockmorton, Esq. of Weston Un. derwood.
See the foregoing note.