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(As if one master spring controll’d them all,)
Relax'd into a universal grin,
Sees not a count'nance there, that speaks of joy 205
Half so refind or so sincere as ours.
Cards were superfluous here, with all the tricks
That idleness has ever yet contriv'd
To fill the void of an unfurnish'd brain,
To palliate dulness, and give time a shove. 210
Time, as he passes us, has a dove's wing,
Unsoil'd, and swift, and of a silken sound;
But the world's Time is Time in masquerade !
Theirs, should I paint him, has his pinions fledg'd,
With motley plumes; and where the peacock shows
His azure eyes, is tinctur'd black and red

With spots quadrangular of diamond form,
Ensanguin'd hearts, clubs typical of strife,
And spades, the emblem of untimely graves.
What should be, and what was an hourglass once, 220
Becomes a dicebox, and a billiard mace
Well does the work of his destructive sithe.
Thus deck'd, he charms a World whom Fashion blinds
To his true worth, most pleas'd when idle most:
Whose only happy, are their idle hours.
E’en misses, at whose age their mothers wore
The backstring and the bib, assume the dress
Of womanhood, sit pupils in the school
Of card devoted Time, and, night by night,
Plac'd at some vacant corner of the board, 230
Learn ev'ry trick, and soon play all the game.
But truce with censure. Roving as I

rove, Where shall I find an end, or how proceed ? As he that travels far oft turns aside, To view some rugged rock or mould'ring tow'r, 235 Which seen, delights him not; then coming home, Describes and prints it, that the world may know How far he went for what was nothing worth : So I, with brush in hand and pallet spread, With colours mix'd for a far diff'rent use,




Paint cards, and dolls, and ev'ry idle thing,
That Fancy finds in her excursive flights.

Come, Ev’ning, once again, season of peace,
Return, sweet Ev'ning, and continue long !
Methinks I see thee in the streaky west,

245 With matron step slow-moving, while the Night Treads on thy sweeping train ; one hand employd In letting fall the curtain of repose On bird and beast, the other charg'd for man With sweet oblivion of the cares of day :

250 Not sumptuously adorn'd, nor needing aid, Like homely-featur’d Night, of clust'ring gems; A star or two, just twinkling on thy brow, Suffices thee ; save that the moon is thine No less than hers, not worn indeed on high 255 With ostentatious pageantry, but set With modest grandeur in thy purple zone, Resplendent less, but of an ampler round. Come then, and thou shalt find 'thy votary calm, Or make me so. Composure is thy gift ; And, whether I devote thy gentle hours To books, to musick, or the poet's toil; To weaving nets for bird-alluring fruit ; Or twining silken threads round ivory reels, When they command whom man was born to please ; I slight thee not, but make thee welcome still. 266

Just when our drawing-rooms begin to blaze With lights, by clear reflection multiplied From many a mirror, in which he of Gath, Goliath, might have seen his giant bulk

270 Whole without stooping, tow’ring crest and all, My pleasures, too, begin. But me perhaps The glowing hearth may satisfy awhile With faint illumination, that uplifts The shadows to the ceiling, there by fits

275 Dancing uncouthly to the quiv'ring flame, Not undelightful is an hour to me So spent in parlour twilight : such a gloom


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Suits well the thoughtful or unthinking mind,
The mind contemplative, with some new theme 280
Pregnant, or indispos'd alike to all.
Laugh ye, who boast your more mercurial pow'rs,
That never feel a stupor, know no pause,
Nor need one ; I am conscious, and confess
Fearless, a soul that does not always think. 285
Me oft has Fancy, ludicrous and wild,
Sooth'd with a waking dream of houses, tow'rs,
Trees, churches, and strange visages, express'd
In the red cinders, while with poring eye
I gaz'd, myself creating what I saw.

290 Nor less amus'd have I quiescent watch'd The sooty films that play upon the bars Pendulous, and foreboding in the view Of superstition, prophesying still, Though still deceivid, some stranger's near approach. "Tis thus the understanding takes repose

296 In indolent vacuity of thought, And sleeps, and is refresh'd. Meanwhile the face Conceals the mood lethargick with a mask Of deep deliberation, as the man

300 Were task'd to his full strength, absorb’d and lost. Thus oft, reclin'd at ease, I lose an hour At ev'ning, till at length the freezing blast That sweeps the bolted shutter, summons home The recollected pow'rs; and snapping short 305 The glassy threads, with which the Fancy weaves Her brittle toils, restores me to myself. How calm is my recess; and how the frost, Raging abroad, and the rough wind, endear The silence and the warmth enjoy'd within ! 310 I saw the woods and fields at close of day, A variegated show ; the meadows green, Though faded ; and the lands, where lately wav'd The golden harvest, of a mellow brown, Upturn'd so lately by the forceful share. I saw far off the weedy fallows smile


With verdure not unprofitable, graz'd
By flocks, fast feeding, and selecting each
His fav’rite herb: while all the leafless groves
That skirt th' horizon wore å sable hue,

Scarce notic'd in the kindred dusk of eve.
To-morrow brings à change, a total change!
Which even now, though silently perform’d,
And slowly, and by most unfelt, the face
Of universal nature undergoes.

325 Fast falls a fleecy show'r: the downy flakes Descending, and with never-ceasing lapse, Softly alighting upon all below, Assimilate all objects. Earth receives Gladly the thick’ning mantle ; and the green 330 And tender blade, that fear'd the chilling blast, Escapes unhurt beneath so warm a veil.

In such a world, so thorny, and where none Finds happiness unblighted, or, if found, Without some thistly sorrow at its side;

335 It seems the part of wisdom, and no sin Against the law of love, to measure lots With less distinguish'd than ourselves; that thus We

may with patience bear our moderate ills, And sympathize with others suff'ring more. 340 Ill fares the trav'ller now, and he that stalks In pond'rous boots beside his reeking team The wain goes heavily, impeded sore By congregated loads adhering close To the clogg'd wheels; and in its sluggish pace

345 Noiseless appears a moving hill of snow. The toiling steeds expand the nostril wide, While ev'ry breath, by respiration strong Forc'd downward, is consolidated soon Upon their jutting chests. He, form’d to bear 350 The pelting brunt of the tempestuous night, With half shut eyes, and pucker'd cheeks, and teeth Presented bare against the storm, plods on. One hand secures his hat, save when with both Vol. II.


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He brandishes his pliant length of whip,

355 Resounding oft, and never heard in vain. O happy ;'and in my account denied That sensibility of pain with which Refinement is endu'd, thrice happy thou ! Thy frame, robust and hardy, feels indeed 360 The piercing cold, but feels it unimpair’d. The learn'd finger never need explore Thy vig'rous pulse ; and the unheathful east, That breathes the spleen, and searches ev'ry bone Of the infirm, is wholesome air to thee.

365 Thy days roll on exempt from household care ; Thy wagon is thy wife ; and the poor beasts, That drag the dull companion to and fro, Thine helpless charge, dependent on thy care. Ah, treat them kindly ; rude as thou appear'st, 370 Yet show that thou hast mercy! which the great, With needless hurry whirl'd from place to place, Humane as they would seem, not always show.

Poor, yet industrious, modest, quiet, neat, Such claim compassion in a night like this, 375 And have a friend in ev'ry feeling heart. Warm’d, while it lasts, by labour, all day long They brave the season, and yet find at eve, Ill clad, and fed but sparely, time to cool. The frugal housewife trembles when she lights 380 Her scanty stock of brushwood blazing clear, But dying soon, like all terrestrial joys. The few small embers left she nurses well ; And, while her infant race, with outspread hands And crowded knees, sit cow'ring o'er the sparks, 385 Retires, content to quake, so they be warm’d. The man feels least, as more inur'd than she To winter, and the current in his veins More briskly mov'd by his severer toil; Yet he too finds his own distress in theirs. 390 The taper soon extinguish'd, which I saw Dangled along at the cold finger’s end

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