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152

RURAL SIGHTS AND SOUNDS.

Has slacken’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 slow-moving, and beside
His labouring team that swerved not from the

track,
The sturdy swain diminish'd to a boy!
Here Ouse, slow 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 favourite 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 récedes into the clouds,
Displaying on its varied side the grace
Of hedgerow beauties numberless, square tower,
Tall spire from which the sound of cheerful bells
Just undulates upon the listening 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 which I describe.

Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds Exhilarate the spirit, and restore The tone of languid nature. Mighty winds, That sweep the skirt of some far-spreading wood

RURAL SIGHTS AND SOUNDS.

153

roar

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 blast,
And all their leaves fast flutt’ring all at once.
Nor less composure waits upon

the
Of distant floods, or on the softer voice
Of neighbouring fountain, or of rills that slip
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,
To soothe and satisfy the human ear.
Ten thousand warblers cheer the day, and one
The livelong night: nor these alone whose notes
Nice-finger'd art must emulate in vain,
But cawing rooks, and kites that swim sublime
In still repeated circles, screaming loud,
The jay, the pie, and even the boding owl
That hails the rising moon, have charms for me:
Sounds in harmonious in themselves and harsh,
Yet heard in scenes where peace for ever reigns,
And only there please highly for their sake.

COWPER.

PEACE. .
I HAVE found peace in the bright earth,

And in the sunny sky;

154

CHILDREN'S GLEE.

By the low voice of summer seas,

And where streams murmur by.
I find it in the quiet tone

Of voices that I love;
By the flickering of a twilight fire,

And in a leafless grove :
I find it in the silent flow

Of solitary thought,
In calm half-meditated dreams,

And reasonings self-taught.
But seldom have I found such peace

As in the soul's deep joy,
Of passing onward free from harm

Through every day's employ.
If gems we seek, we only tire,

And lift our hopes too high :
The constant flowers that line our way

Alone can satisfy.

ALFORD

CHILDREN'S GLEE.

It was a gladsome sight to see

The Indian children, with what glee
They breathed their native air of liberty.
Food, to the weary man with toil forespent,

Not more refreshment brings,
Than did the forest breeze upon its wings

NATIONAL STRENGTH.

155

To these true younglings of the wilderness :
A happy sight, a sight of heart's content !

For blithe were they
As swallows, wheeling in the summer sky

At close of day;
As insects, when on high
Their mazy dance they thread,

In myriads overhead,
Where sunbeams through the thinner foliage

gleam,
Or spin in rapid circles as they play,

Where winds are still,
Upon the surface of the unrippled stream:
Yea, gamesome in their innocence were they
As lambs in fragrant pasture, at their will

The udder when to press,

They run for hunger less
Than joy, and very love, and wantonness.

SOUTHEY.

NATIONAL STRENGTH.

What is it makes a nation truly great ?
Her sons

her sons alone; not theirs, but they !
Glory and gold are vile as wind and clay,
Unless the hands that grasp them consecrate.
And what is that in man, by which a state
Is clad in splendour like the noontide day?
Virtue: Dominion ebbs, and Arts betray;
Virtue alone abides. But what is that

156

THE WORLD IS TOO MUCH WITH US.

Which Virtue's self doth rest on; that which

yields her Light for her feet, and daily heavenly bread ; Which from demoniac pride and madness shields

her, And storms that most assail the loftiest head? The Christian's humble faith — that faith which

cheers The orphan's quivering heart, and stays the wi

dow's tears.

AUBREY DE VERE.

THE WORLD IS TOO MUCH WITH US.

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers ;
Little we see in nature that is ours ;
We have given our hearts away- -a sordid boon!
The sea, that bares her bosom to the moon ;
The winds, that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gather'd now like sleeping flowers ;
For this, for every thing we are out of tune ;
It moves us not.-Great God! I'd rather be
A
pagan,

suckled in a creed out-worn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn-
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea,
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

WORDSWORTH.

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