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Cont:acts defilement not to be endur'd.
Hence charter:d boroughs are such public pagues;
And burghers, men immaculate perhaps
In all their private functions, once combin'd,
Become a loathsome body, only fit
For dissolution, hurtful to the main.
Hence merchants, unimpeachable of sin
Against the charities of domestic life,
Incorporated, seem at once to lose
Their nature; and, disclaiming all regard
For mercy and the common rights of man,
Build factories with blood, conducting trade
At the sword's point, and dying the white robe
Of innocent commercial Justice red.
Hence, too, the field of glory, as the world
Misdeemis it, dazzled by its bright array,
With all its majesty of thundering pomp,
Enchanting music, and immortal wreaths,
Is but a school, where thoughtlessness is targht
In principle, where foppery atones
For folly, gallantry for every vice.
But slighted as it is, and by the great
Abandon'd, and, which still I more regret,
Infected with the manners and the modes
It knew not once, the country wins me still.
I never fram'd a wish, or form’d a plar.,
That flatter'd me with hopes of earthly bliss,
But there I laid the scene. There early stray'd
My fancy, cre yet liberty of choice
Had found me, or the hope of being free.
My very dreams were riral; rural too
The first-born efforts of my youthful musc,
Sportive and jingling her poetic bells,
Ere yet her ear was mistress of their pow'rg.
No bard could please me but whose lyre was tun'd
To Nature's praises. Heroes and their feats
Fatigu'd me, never weary of the pipe
Of Tityrus, assembling, as he sang,
The rustic throng beneath his fav’rite beech.
Then Milton had indeed a poet's charms :
New to my taste, his Paradise surpass'd
The struggling efforts of my boyish tongue
To speak its excellence. I danc'd for joy.
I marvelled much that, at so ripe an age
As twice seven years, his beauties had then
Engag'd my wonder; and admiring still,
And still admiring, with regret suppos'd
The joy half lost, because not sooner found.
There, too, enamour'd of the life I lov'd,
Pathetic in its praise, in its pursuit
Determin'd and possessing it at last,
With transports such as favour'd lovers feel,
I studied, priz'd, and wish'd that I had known,
Ingenious Cowley! and, though now reclaim'd
By modern lights from an erroneous taste,
I cannot but lament thy splendid wit
Entangled in the cobwebs of the schools.
I still revere thee, courtly though retir'd;
Though stretch'd at ease in Chertsey's silen
bow'rs, Not unemploy'd; and finding rich amends For a lost world in solitude and verse. Tis born with all · The love of Nature's werks
Is an ingredient in the compound nan,
Infus'd at the creation of the kind.
And, though th' Almighty Maker has throughout
Discriminated, each from each, by strokes
And touches of his hand, with so much art
Diversified, that two were never found
Twins at all points-yet this obtains in all,
That all discern a beauty in his works,
And all can taste them: minds that have been
And tutor'd with a relish more exact,
But none without some relish, none unmov'à.
It is a flame that dies not even there,
Where nothing feeds it: neither business, crowds,
Nor habits of luxurious city life,
Whatever else they smother of true worth
In human bosoms, quench it or abate.
The villas, with which London stands begir
Like a swarth Indian with his belt of beads
Prove it. A breath of unadult'rate air,
The glimpse of a green pasture, how they cheer
The citizen, and brace his languid frame!
E'en in the stifling bosom of the town
A garden, in which nothing thrives, has charms
That sooth the rich possessor; much consol'd,
That here and there some sprigs of mournful
mint, Of nightshade, or valerian, grace the well He cultivates. These serve him with a hint That nature lives; that sight-refreshing green Is still the liv'ry she delights to wear, 'Though sickly samples of the exhub'rant whole
What are the casements lin'd wit creeping
herls, The prouder sashes fronted with a range Of orange, myrtle, or the fragrant weed, The Frenchman's darling ?* are they not all
immur'd in cities, still retains His inborn inextinguishable thirst Of rural scenes, compensating his loss By supplemental shifts, the best he may ? The most unfurnish'd with the means of life, And they, that never pass their brick-wall
bounds, To range the fields, and treat their lungs with
air, Yet feel the burning instinct; over head Suspend their crazy boxes planted thick, And water'd duly. There the pitcher stands A fragment, and the spoutless teapot there; Sad witnesses how close-pent man regrets The country, with what ardour he contrives A peep at Nature, when he can no more.
Hail, therefore, patroness of health and ease And contemplation, heart-consoling joys, And harmless pleasures in the throng'd abod Of multitudes unknown ! hail, rural life! Address himself who will to the pursuit Of honours, or emoluments, or same; I shall not add myself to such a chase, Thwart his attempts, or envy his success.
Bome inust be great. Grea' ofhces will have
Great talents. And God gives to ev'ry man
The virtue, temper, understanding, taste,
That lifts him into life, and lets him fall
Just in the niche he was ordained to fill.
To the deliv'rer of an injur'd land
He gives a tongue t' enlarge upon a heart
To feel, and courage to redress his wrongs ;
To monarchs dignity ; to judges sense ;
To artists ingenuity and skill;
To me, an unambitious mind, content
In the low vale of life, that early felt
A wish for ease and leisure, and ere long
Found here that leisure and that ease I wish'd