Page images
PDF
EPUB

Few know thy value, and few taste thy sweets ;
Though many boast thy favours, and affect
To understand and choose thee for their own.
But foolish man föregoes his proper bliss,
Ev'n as his first progenitor, and quits,
Though plac'd in paradise, (for earth has still
Some traces of her youthful beauty left)
Substantial happiness for transient joy.
Scenes form’d for contemplation, and to nurse
The growing feeds of wisdom; that suggest,
By ev'ry pleasing image they present,
Reflections such as meliorate the heart,
Compose the paffions, and exalt the mind;
Scenes such as these 'tis his supreme delight
To fill with riot, and defile with blood.
Should fome contagion, kind to the poor brutes
We perfecute, annihilate the tribes
That draw the sportsman over hill and dale,
Fearless, and rapt away from all his cares;
Should never game-fowl hatch her eggs again,
Nor baited hook deceive the fish's eye;
Could

pageantry and dance, and feast and song,
De quell'd in all our summer-months' retreat ;
How many self-deluded nymphs and swains,
Who dream they have a taste for fields and groves,
Would find them hideous purs'ries of the spleen,

And crowd the roads, impatient for the town!
They love the country, and none else, who seek
For their own sake its filence and its shade.
Delights which who would leave, that has a heart
Susceptible of pity, or a mind
Cultur'd and capable of sober thought,
For all the favage din of the swift pack,
And clamours of the field ?- Detested sport,
That owes its pleasures to another's pain ;
That feeds upon the sobs and dying shrieks
Of harmless nature, dumb, but yet endu'd
With eloquence, that agonies inspire,
Of filent tears and heart-distending fighs ?
Vain tears, alas! and fighs, that never find
A corresponding tone in jovial souls!
Well--one at least is safe. One shelter'd hare
Has never heard the sanguinary yell
Of cruel man, exulting in her woes.
Innocent partner of my peaceful home,
Whom ten long years' experience of my care
Has made at last familiar; she has lost
Much of her vigilant instinctive dread,
Not needful here, beneath a roof like mine.
Yes-thou may'st eat thy bread, and lick the hand
That feeds thee; thou may'st frolic on the floor
At evening, and at night retire fecure

I

To thy straw couch, and Number unalarm’d;
For I have gaio'd thy confidence, have pledg’d
All that is human in me to protect
Thine unsuspecting gratitude and love.
If I farvive thee I will dig thy grave;
And, when I place thee in it, fighing fay,
I knew at least one hare that had a friend.

How various his employments, whom the world
Calls idle; and who justly, in return,
Esteems that busy world an idler too!
Friends, books, a garden, and perhaps his pen,
Delightful industry enjoy'd at home,
And nature in her cultivated trim
Dress'd to his taste, inviting him abroad-
Can he want occupation who has these?
Will he be idle who has much t’ enjoy?
Me, therefore, studious of laborious ease,
Not slothful; happy to deceive the time,
Not waste it; and aware that human life
: Is but a loan to be repaid with use,

When he shall call his debtors to account
From whom are all our blessings ; bus'ness finds
Er'n here : while sedulous I seek t'improve,
At least neglect not, or leave unemploy'd,
The mind he gave me; driving it, though fack

[blocks in formation]

Too oft, and much impeded in its work
By causes not to be divulg'd in vain,
To its just point-the service of mankind.
He that attends to his interior self,
That has a heart, and keeps it; has a mind
That hungers, and supplies it; and who seeks
A social, not a dislipated life,
Has business : feels himself engag'd t'atchieve
No uninportant, though a filent, talk.
A life all turbulence and noise, may seem,
To him that leads it, wise, and to be prais'd;
But wisdom is a pearl with most success

Sought in still water, and beneath clear skies. ¡ He that is ever occupied in storms,

Or dives not for it, or brings up instead, | Vainly industrious, a disgraceful prize.

The morning finds the self-sequester'd man Fresh for his task, intend what talk he may. Whether inclement seasons recommend His warm but simple home, where he enjoys, With her who shares his pleasures and his heart, Sweet converse, fipping calm the fragrant lymph Which neatly she prepares ; then to his book, Well chofen, and not sullenly perus'd In selfish Glence, but imparted oft

As aught occurs that she may smile to hear,
Or turn to nourishment, digested well.
Or, if the garden with its many cares,
All well repaid, demand him, he attends
The welcome call, conscious how much the hand
Of lubbard labour needs his watchful

eye,
Oft loit’ring lazily, if not o'erseen,
O: misapplying his upskilful strength.
Nor does he govern only or direct,
Bet much performs himself. No works indeed
That ask robuft tough finews, bred to toil,
Servile employ; but such as may amuse,
Not tire, demanding rather skill than force.
Proud of his well-spread walls, he views his trees
That meet (no barren interval between)
With pleasure more than ev'n their fruits afford,
Which, fave himself who trains them, none can feel :
Thefe, therefore, are his own peculiar charge ;
No meaner hand

may discipline the shoots, None but his steel approach them. What is weak, Diftemper'd, or has lost prolific pow'rs, Impair'd by age, his unrelenting hand Dooms to the knife: nor does he spare the soft And succulent, that feeds its giant growth, But barren, at th' expence of neighb’ring twigs Less oftentatious, and yet studded thick

« PreviousContinue »