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Woods vanish, hills subside, and valleys rise ;
And streams, as if created for his use,
Pursue the tract of his directing wand,
Sinuous or straight, now rapid and now slow,
Now murm’ring soft, now roaring in cascades
E’en as he bids! Th' enraptur’d owner smiles.
'Tis finish’d, and yet, finish'd as it seems,
Still wants a grace, the loveliest it could show,
A mine to satisfy th' enormous cost.
Drain’d to the last poor item of its wealth,
He sighs, departs, and leaves th' accomplishid plan,
That he has touch'd, retouch'd, many a long day
Labour'd, and many a night pursu'd in dreams,
Just when it meets his hopes, and proves the heav'n
He wanted, for a wealthier to enjoy!
And now perhaps the glorious hour is come,
When, having no stake left, no pledge t'endear;
Her int’rests, or that gives her sacred cause
A moment's operation on his love,
He burns with most intense and flagrant zeal
To serve his country. Ministerial grace
Deals him out money from the publick chest ;
Or, if that mine be shut, some private purse
Supplies his need with a usurious loan,
To be refunded duly, when his vote
Well-manag'd shall have earn'd its worthy price.
O innocent, compar’d with arts like these,
Crape, and cock'd pistol, and the whistling ball
Sent through the trav’ller's temples! He, that finds
One drop of Heav'n's sweet mercy in his cup,
Can dig, beg, rot, and perish, well content,
So he may wrap himself in honest rags

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At his last gasp ; but could not for a world
Fish up his dirty and dependent bread
From pools and ditches of the commonwealth,
Sordid and sick’ning at his own success.

Ambition, av’rice, penury incurr'd
By endless riot, vanity, the lust
Of pleasure and variety, despatch,
As duly as the swallows disappear,
The world of wand'ring knights and squires to town.
London ingulfs them all! The shark is there,
And the shark's prey; the spendthrift, and the leech
That sucks him : there the sycophant, and he
Who with bareheaded and obsequious bows,
Begs a warm office, doom’d to a cold jail
And groat per diem, if his patron frown.
The levee swarms, as if in golden pomp
Were character'd on ev'ry statesman's door,
Batter'd and bankrupt fortunes mended here.'
These are the charms, that sully and eclipse
The charms of nature. 'Tis the cruel gripe,
That lean, bard-handed Poverty inflicts,
The hope of better things, the chance to win,
The wish to shine, the thirst to be amus'd,
That at the sound of Winter's hoary wing
Unpeople all our counties of such herds
Of flutt'ring, loit'ring, cringing, begging, loose,
And wanton vagrants, as make London, vast
And boundless as it is, a crowded coop.

O thou, resort and mart of all the earth, Checker'd with all complexions of mankind, And spotted with all crimes; in whom I see Much that I love, and more that I admire, YOL, II.

9*

And all that I abhor; thou freckled fair,
That pleasest and yet shock’st me, I can laughi,
And I can weep, can hope, and can despond,
Feel wrath and pity, when I think on thee!
Ten righteous would have sav'd a city once,
And thou hast many righteous.—Well for thee
That salt preserves thee ; more corrupted else,
And therefore more obnoxious, at this hour,
Than Sodom in her day had pow'r to be,
For whom God heard his Abr’ham plead in vain.

THE TASK.

BOOK IV.

ARGUMENT OF THE FOURTH BOOK.

T'he post comes in.-The newspaper is read.-The world contemplated at a distance.-Address to Winter.—'The rural amusements of a winter evening compared with the fashionable ones.-Address to Evening.—A brown study.-Fall of snow in the evening.-The wagoner --A poor familypiece ~ The rural thief.-Publick houses. The multitude of them censured,The farmer's daughter : what she was—what she is.—The simplicity of country manners almost lost.–Causes of the change. Desertion of the country by the rich.—Neglect of magistrates. The militia principally in fault. The new recruit and his transformation.-Reflection on bodies corporate. -The love of rural objects natural to all, and never to be totally extinguished.

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