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And patient of the now-pac'd swain's delay.
He from the stack carves out th' accustom'd load,
Deep-plunging, and again deep plunging oft
His broad keen knife into the solid mass;
Smooth as a wall the upright remnant stands,
With such undeviating and even force
He severs it away': no needless care
Left storms should overset the leaning pile
Deciduous, or its own unbalanc'd weight.
goes the woodman, leaving unconcern'd
The cheerful haunts of man, to wield the axe
And drive the wedge in yönder forest drear,
From morn to eve his solitary task.
Shaggy, and lean, and shrewd, with pointed ears
And tail cropp'd short, half lurcher and half cur,
His dog attends him. Close behind his heel
Now creeps he now; and now with many a frisk
Wide-scamp'ring, snatches up the drifted snow
With iv'ry teeth, or ploughs it with his snout ;
Then shakes his powder'd coat, and barks for joy.
Heedless of all his pranks, the sturdy churl
Moves right toward the mark; nor stops for aught,
But, now and then, with pressure of his thumb
T'adjust the fragrant charge of a short tube
That fumes beneath his nose : the trailing cloud
Streams far behind him, fcenting all the air.
Now from the rooft, or from the neighbʼring pale,
Where, diligent to catch the first faint gleam
Of smiling day, they gossip'd side by side,
Come trooping at the housewife's well-known call
The feather'd tribes domestic. Half on wing,
And half on foot, they brush the fleecy flood,
Conscious, and fearful of too deep a plunge.
The sparrows peep, and quit the shelt'ring eaves
To seize the fair occasion. Well they eye
The scatter'd grain, and thievilhly resolv'd
T'escape th' impending famine, often scar’d
As oft retutn, a pert voracious kind.
Clean riddance quickly made, one only care
Remains to each, the search of sunny nook,
Or shed impervious to the blast. Resign'd
To fad necessity, the cock foregoes
His wonted strut, and wading at their head
With well-consider'd steps, seems to resent
His alter'd gait and stateliness retrench’d.
How find the myriads, that in summer cheer
The hills and vallies with their ceaseless songs,
Due sustenance, or where subsist they now?
Earth yields them nought: th' imprison'd worm is fafe
Beneath the frozen clod; all feeds of herbs
Lie cover'd close, and berry-bearing thorns
That feed the thrush (whatever some suppose)
Afford the smaller minstrels no supply.
The long protracted rigor of the year
Thins all their num'rous flocks. In chinks and holes
Ten thousand seek an unmolested end,
As instinct prompts; self buried ere they die.
The very rooks and daws forsake the fields,
Where neither grub nor root nor earth-nut now
Repays their labor more ; and perch'd aloft
By the way-side, or stalking in the path,
Lean pensioners upon the trav’llers track,
Pick up their nauseous dole, though sweet to them;
Of voided pulse or half-digested grain.
The streams are loft amid the splendid blank,
O’erwhelming all distinction. On the flood,
Indurated and fixt, the snowy weight
Lies undiffolv'd; while silently beneath,
And unperceiv'd, the current steals away.
Not so, where scornful of a check it leaps
The mill-dam, dashes on the restless wheel,
And wantons in the pebbly guiph below:
No frost can bind it there; its utmost force
Can but arrest the light and smokey mist
That in its fall the liquid sheet throws wide.
And see where it has hung th' embroider'd banks
With forms fo various, that no pow'rs of art,
The pencil or the pen, may trace the scene !
Here glitt'ring turrets rise, upbearing high
(Fantasticmifarrangement !) on the roof
Large growth of what may seem the sparkling trees
And shrubs of fáiry land. The crystal drops
That trickle down the branches, fast congeal’d,
Shoot into pillars of pellucid length,
the pile they but adorn'd before.
The sun-beam: there imboss'd and fretted wild,
The growing wonder takes a thousand shapes
Capricious, in which fancy seeks in vain
The likeness of some object seen before.
Thus nature works as if to mock at art,
And in defiance of her rival pow'rs ;
By these fortuitous and random strokes
Performing such inimitable feats,
As she with all her rules can never reach.
Less worthy of applause, though more admir’d,
Because a novelty, the work of man,
Imperial mistress of the fur-clad Russ!
Thy most magnificent and mighty freak,
The wonder of the North. No foreft fell