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Now let me sit beneath the whit'ning thorn,
And mark thy spreading tints steal o'er the dale:
And watch with patient eye
Thy fair unfolding charms.
O Nymph! approach, while yet the temp'rate Sun,
With bashful forehead, through the cool moist air
Throws his young maiden beams,
And with chaste kisses woos
The Earth's fair bosom; while the streaming veil
Of lucid clouds with kind and frequent shade
Protects thy modest blooms
From his severer blaze.
Sweet is thy reign, but short: the red dogstar
Shall scorch thy tresses; and the mower's sithe
Thy greens, thy flow'rets all,
Remorseless shall destroy.
Reluctant shall I bid thee then farewell;
For O! not all that Autumn's lap contains,
Nor Summer's ruddiest fruits,
Can aught for thee atone,
Fair Spring! whose simplest promise more delights,
Than all their largest wealth, and through the heart
Each joy and new-born hope
With softest influence breathes.
DOMESTIC LOVE AND HAPPINESS.
O HAPPY they! the happiest of their kind!
Whom gentler stars unite, and in one fate
Their hearts, their fortunes, and their beings blend.
"Tis not the coarser tie of human laws,
Unnatʼral oft, and foreign to the mind,
That binds their peace, but harmony itself,
Attuning all their passions into love;
Where Friendship full exerts her softest pow'r,
Perfect esteem, enliven'd by desire
Ineffable, and sympathy of soul:
Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will,
With boundless confidence: for nought but love
Can answer love, and render bliss secure.
Let him, ungen'rous, who, alone intent
To bless himself, from sordid parents buys
The loathing virgin, in eternal care,
Well-merited, consume his nights and days;
Let barb'rous nations, whose inhuman love
Is wild desire, fierce as the suns they feel;
Let eastern tyrants from the light of Heav'n
Seclude their bosom slaves, meanly possess'd
Of a mere lifeless, violated form:
While those whom love cements in holy faith,
And equal transport, free as nature live,
Disdaining fear. What is the world to them,
It's pomp, it's pleasure, and it's nonsense all,
Who in each other clasp whatever fair
High fancy forms, and lavish hearts can wish;
Something than beauty dearer, should they look
Or on the mind, or mind-illumin'd face;
Truth, goodness, honour, harmony, and love,
The richest bounty of indulgent Heav'n?
Mean-time a smiling offspring rises round,
And mingles both their graces. By degrees
The human blossom blows; and ev'ry day,
Soft as it rolls along, shows some new charm,
The father's lustre, and the mother's bloom.
Then infant reason grows apace, and calls
For the kind hand of an assiduous care.
Delightful task! to rear the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to shoot,
pour the fresh instruction o'er the mind,
To breathe th' enliv'ning spirit, and to fix
The gen'rous purpose in the glowing breast.
O speak the joy! ye, whom the sudden tear
Surprises often, while you look around,
And nothing strikes your eye but sights of bliss;
All various Nature pressing on the heart;
An elegant sufficiency, content,
Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books,
Ease and alternate labour, useful life,
Progressive virtue, and approving Heav'n.
These are the matchless joys of virtuous love :
And thus their moments fly. The Seasons thus,
As ceaseless round a jarring world they roll,
Still find them happy; and consenting Spring
Sheds her own rosy garland on their heads:
Till ev'ning comes at last, serene and mild;
When, after the long vernal day of life,
Enamour'd more, as more resemblance swells
With many a proof of recollected love,
Together down they sink in social sleep;
Together freed, their gentle spirits fly
To scenes where love and bliss immortal reign.
THE PLEASURES OF RETIREMENT.
O KNEW he but his happiness, of men
The happiest he! who, far from public rage,
Deep in the vale, with a choice few retir'd,
Drinks the pure pleasures of the rural life,
What though the dome be wanting, whose proud gate
Each morning vomits out the sneaking crowd
Of flatt'rers false, and in their turn ábus'd!
Vile intercourse! What though the glitt'ring robe,
Of ev'ry hue reflected light can give,
Or floating loose, or stiff with mazy gold,
The pride and gaze of fools, oppress him not?
What though, from utmost land and sea purvey'd,
For him each rarer tributary life
Bleeds not, and his insatiate table heaps
With luxury and death? What though his bowl
Flames not with costly juice; nor sunk in beds,
Oft of gay care, he tosses out the night,
Or melts the thoughtless hours in idle state?
What though he knows not those fantastic joys,
That still amuse the wanton, still deceive;
A face of pleasure, but a heart of pain;
Their hollow moments undelighted all?
Sure peace is his; a solid life estrang'd
From disappointment and fallacious hope:
Rich in content, in Nature's bounty rich,
In herbs and fruits; whatever greens the Spring,
When Heav'n descends in show'rs; or bends the bough
When Summer reddens, and when Autumn beams ;
Or in the wintry glebe whatever lies
Conceal'd, and fattens with the richest sap :
These are not wanting; nor the milky drove,
Luxuriant, spread o'er all the lowing vale;
Nor bleating mountains; nor the chide of streams,
And hum of bees, inviting sleep sincere
Into the guiltless breast, beneath the shade,
Or thrown at large amid the fragrant hay;
Nor aught besides of prospect, grove, or song,
Dim grottoes, gleaming lakes, and fountains clear.
Here too dwells simple Truth; plain Innocence;
Unsullied Beauty; sound unbroken Youth,
Patient of labour, with a little pleas'd;
Health ever-blooming; unambitious Toil;
Calm Contemplation; and poetic Ease.
The rage of nations, and the crush of states,
Move not the man, who, from the world escap'd,
In still retreats and flow'ry solitudes,
To Nature's voice attends, from month to month,
And day to day, through the revolving year:
Admiring, sees her in her ev'ry shape;
Feels all her sweet emotions at his heart;
Takes what she lib'ral gives, nor thinks of more.
He, when young Spring protrudes the bursting gems,
Marks the first bud, and sucks the healthful gale
Into his freshen'd soul; her genial hours.
He full enjoys; and not a beauty blows,
And not an op'ning blossom breathes, in vain.
In summer he, beneath the living shade,
Such as o'er frigid Tempe wont to wave,
Or Hemus cool, reads what the Muse of these,
Perhaps, has in immortal numbers sung;
Or what she dictates writes: and, oft an eye
Shot round, rejoices in the vig'rous year.
When Autumn's yellow lustre gilds the world,
And tempts the sickled swain into the field,
Seiz'd by the gen'ral joy, his heart distends
With gentle throes; and, through the tepid gleams
Deep musing, then he best exerts his song.
Ev'n winter wild to him is full of bliss.
The mighty tempest, and the hoary waste,
Abrupt, and deep, stretch'd o'er the buried earth,
Awake to solemn thought. At night the skies,
Disclos'd and kindled by refining frost,
Pour ev'ry lustre on th' exalted eye.
A friend, a book, the stealing hours secure,
And mark them down for wisdom. With swift wing,
O'er land and sea th' imagination roams;
Or truth, divinely breaking on his mind,
Elates his being, and unfolds his pow'rs;
Or in his breast heroic virtue burns.
The touch of kindred too and love he feels;
The modest eye, whose beams on his alone
Ecstatic shine; the little strong embrace
Of prattling children, twisted round his neck,
And emulous to please him, calling forth
The fond parental soul. Nor purpose gay,
Amusement, dance, or song, he sternly scorns;
For happiness and true philosophy
Are of the social still, and smiling kind.
This is the life which those who fret in guilt,
And guilty cities, never knew; the life
Led by primeval ages, uncorrupt,
When angels dwelt, and God himself, with man.