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THE TASK.

PIYOK V.

THE WINTER MORNING WALK.

ARGUMENT OF THE FIFTH BOOK. A frosty morning—The foddering of cattle-The woodman

and his dog-The poultry-Whimsical effects of a frost at a waterfall – The empress of Russia's pala of iceAmusements of monarchs, War, one of them-Wars, whence-And whence monarchy-The evils of it English and French loyalty contrasted - The Bastile, and a prisoner there--Liberty the chief recommenda. tion of this country-Modern patriotism questionable, and why—The perishable nature of the best human in stitutions-Spiritual liberty not perishable-The slavish state of man by nature-Deliver him, Deist, if you can -Grace must do it-The respective merits of patsiots and martyrs stated—Their different treatment-Happy freedom of the man whom grace makes free-His re lish of the works of God-Address to the Creator.

'Tis morning; and the sun, with ruddy orb Ascending, fires th' horizon; while the clouds That crowd away before the driving wind, More ardent as the disk emerges more,

Resemble most some city in a blaze,
Seen through the leafless wood. His slanting

ray
Slides ineffectual down the snowy vale,
And, tinging all with his own rosy hue,
From ev'ry herb and ev'ry spiry blade
Stretches a length of shadow o'er the field.
Mine spindling into longitude immense,
In spite of gravity, and sage remark
That I myself am but a fleeting shade,
Provokes me to a smile. With eye askance,
I view the muscular proportion'd limb
Transform'd to a lean shank. The shapeleza

pair, As they design'd to mock me, at my side, Take step for step; and, as I near approach The cottage, walk along the plaster'd wall, Prepost'rous sight! the legs without the man. The verdure of the plain lies buried deep Beneath the dazzling deluge; and the bents, And coarser grass, upspearing o'er the rest, Of late unsightly and unseen, now shine Conspicuous, and in bright apparel clad. And, fledg’d with icy feathers, nod surerb. The cattle mourn in corners, where the fence Screens them, and seem half petrified to sleep In unrecumbent sadness. There they wait Their wonted fodder; not like hung'ring mang Fretful if unsupplied; but silent, meek, And patient of the slow-paced swain's delay He from the sack carves out the accustom'd

load,

Deep-plunging, and again deep-plunging sli,
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,
Lest storm should overset the leaning pile
Deciduous, or its own unbalanc'd weight.
Forth goes the woodman, leaving unconcern'd
The cheerful haunts of man; to wield the axe,
And drive the wedge, in yonder 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

curHis dog attends him. Close behind his heel Now creeps he slow; and now, with many a

frisk Wide-scamp’ring, snatches up the drifted snow With iv'ry teeth, or plouglis 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, scenting all the air. Now from the roost, or from the neighb'ring

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 domestick. Half on wing, And half on foot, they brush the fleecy flood, Conscious and fearsul 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 thievishly resolv'd T'escape th' impending famine, often scar'd As oft return--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 sad 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 valleys with their ceaseless songs, Due sustenance, or where subsist they now? Earth yields them naught; th' imprison'd worm

is safe Beneath the frozen clod; all seeds 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 rigour 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 daw's forsake the fields,

Where neithcı grub, nor root, nor earth-nuta

now

Repays their labour more; and perch'd aloft
By the way-side, or stalking in the path,
Lean pensioners upon the trav’ller's track,
Pick up their nauseous dole, though sweet to

them,
Of voided pulse or half-digested grain.
The streams are lost amid the splendid blank,
O’erwhelming all distinction. On the flood,
Indurated and fix'd, the snowy weight
Lies undissolv'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 gulf below :
No frost cạn bind it there : its utmost force
Can but arrest the light and smoky mist,
That in its fall the liquid sheet throws wide.
And see where it has hung the embroider'd

banks With forms so various, that no pow'rs of art, The pencil, or the pen, may trace the scene ! Here glitt'ring turrets rise, upbearing high, Fantastick misarrangement !) on the roof Large growth of what may seem the sparkling

trees And shrubs of fairy land. The crystal drops That trickled down the branches, fast congeal: Shoot into pillars of pellucid length, And prop the pile they but adorn'd before. flere grotto within grotto safe defies

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