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Gods such as guilt makes welcome; gods that

sleep, Or disregard our follies, or that sit Amus'd spectators of this bustling stage. Thee we reject, unable to abide Thy purity, till pure as thou art pure, Made such by thee, we love thee for that causa For which we shunn'd and hated thee before. Then we are free. Then liberty, like day, Breaks on the soul, and by a flash from heav'n Fires all the faculties with glorious joy. A voice is heard that mortal ears hear not, Till thou hast touch'd them; 'tis the voice of song, A loud Hosanna sent from all thy works ; Which he that hears it, with a shout repeats, And adds his rapture to the general praise ! In that blest moment, Nature, throwing wide Her veil opaque, discloses with a smile The author of her beauties, who, retir'd Behind his own creation, works unseen By the impure, and hears his pow'r denied: Thou art the source and centre of all minds, Their only point of rest, eternal Word ! From thee departing, they are lost, and rove At random, without honour, hope, or peace. From thee is all that sooths the life of man, His high endeavour, and his glad success, His strength to suffer, and his will to serve. But O thou bounteous Giver of all good, Thou art of all thy gifts thyself the crown! Give what thou canst, without thee we are poor And with thee rich, take what thou wilt away.

THE TASK,

BOOK VI.

THE WINTER WALK AT NOON

ARGUMENT OF THE SIXTH BOOK Bells at a distance-Their effect-A fine noon in winter

A sheltered walk-Meditation better than books-OUT familiarity with the course of Nature makes it appear less wonderful than it is-The transformation that Spring effects in a shrubbery, described-A mistake concerning the course of Nature corrected-God main. tains it by an unremitted act-The amusements fashionable at this hour of the day reproved-Animals happy, a delightful sight-Origin of cruelty to animals -That it is a great crime proved from Scripture-That proof illustrated by a tale-A line drawn between the lawful and unlawful destruction of them-Their good and useful properties insisted on-Apologies for tho encomiums bestowed by the author on animals-Instancer of man's extravagant fraise of man-The groans of the creation shall have an end-A view taken of the resto ration of all things-An invocation and an invitation of Him who shall bring it to pass-The retired man vin dicated from the charge of uselessness---Conclusion 12

177

There is in souls a sympatay with sounds,
And as the mind is pitch'd, the ear is pleas'd
With melting airs or martial, brisk, or grave;
Some chord in unison with what we hear
Is touch'd within us, and the heart replies,
How soft the music of those village bells,
Falling at intervals upon the ear
In cadence sweet, now dying all away,
Now pealing loud again, and louder still,
Clear and sonorous, as the gale comes on!
With easy force it opens all the cells
Where Mem’ry slept. Wherever I have heard
A kindred melody, the scene recurs,
And with it all its pleasures and its pains.
Such comprehensive views the spirit takes,
That in a few short moments I retrace
(As in a map the voyager his course)
The windings of my way through many years.
Short as in retrospect the journey seems,
It seem'd not always short; the rugged path,
And prospect oft so dreary and forlorn,
Mov'd many a sigh at its disheart'ning length.
Yer feeling present evils, while the past
Faintly impress the mind or not at all,
How readily we wish time spent revok'd,
That we might try the ground again, where once
(Through inexperience as we now perceive)
We miss'd that happiness we might have found !
Some friend is gone, perhaps his son's best

friend! A father, whose authority, in show When most severe, ard must'ring all its force.

Was but the graver countenance of love,
Whose favour, like the clouds of spring, might

low'r,
And utter now and then an awful voice,
But had a blessing in its darkest frown,
Threat'ning at once and nourishing the plant.
We lov’d, but not enough, the gentle hand
That rear'd us. At a thoughtless age, allu'd
By ev'ry gilded folly, we renounced
His shelt’ring side, and wilfully forewent
That converse which we now in vain regret.
How gladly would the man recall to life
The boy's neglected sire! a mother too,
That softer friend, perhaps more gladly still,
Might he demand them at the gates of death.
Sorrow has, since they went, subdu'd and tam d
The playful humour: he could now endure,
¡Himself grown sober in the vale of tears,)
And feel a parent's presence no restraini.
But not to understand a treasure's worth,
Till time has stol'n away the slighted good,
Is cause of half the poverty we feel,
And makes the World the wilderness it is.
The few that pray at all, pray oft amiss,
And, seeking grace t' improve the prize they
hold,

wiser suit than asking more. The night was winter in its roughest mood, The morning sharp and clear. But now at noon Upon the southern side of the slant hills, And whers the woods fence off the northern

blast,

Would urge

The season smiles, resigning all its range,
And has the warmth of May. The vault is blue
Without a cloud, and white without a speck
The dazzling splendour of the scene below.
Again the harmony comes o'er the vale;
And through the trees I view th' embattled

tow'r,
Whence all the music. I again perceive
The soothing influence of the watted strains,
And settle in soft musings as I tread
The walk, still verdant, under oaks and elms,
Whose outspread branches overarch the glade
The roof, though movable through all its length
As the wind sways it, has yet well suffic'd,
And, intercepting in their silent fall
The frequent flakes, has kept a path for me.
No noise is here, or none that hinders thought
The red-breast warbles still, but is content
With slender notes, and more than half sup

press'd: Pleas'd with his solitude, and flitting light From spray to spray, where'er he rests he

shakes From many a twig the pendent drops of ice, That tinkle in the wither'd leaves below. Stillness, accompanied with sounds so soft, Charms more than silence. Meditation here May think down hours to moments. Here the

heart May give a useful lesson to the head, And Learning wiser grow without his books. Knowledge and Wisdom, far from being one,

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