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A Country Life described.
Age too shines out; and garrulous, recounts
The feats of youth. Thus they rejoice; nor think 1230
That, with to-morrow's sun, their annual toil
Begins again the never-ceasing round.
Oh 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, 1235
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 flatterers false, and in their turn abus'd?
Vile intercourse! What tho' the glittering robe, 1240
Of every 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
1245 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? 1250
A Country Life described.
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
To disappointment, and fallacious hope:
Rich in content, in Nature's bounty rich,
In herbs and fruits; whatever greens the Spring,
When heaven descends in showers; or bends the bough
When Summer reddens, and when Autumn beams; 1260
Or in the wintry glebe whatever lies
Conceald, 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 fountain clear. 1270
Here too dwells simple truth; plain innocence;
Unsullied beauty; sound unbroken youth,
Pleasures of a Country Life.
Patienť of labour, with a little pleas'd;
Health ever blooming; unambitious toil ;
Calm contemplation, and poetic ease.
Let others brave the flood in quest of gain,
And beat, for joyless months, the gloomy wave.
Let such as deem it glory to destroy,
Rush into blood, the sack of cities seek;
Unpierc'd, exulting in the widow's wail,
The virgin's shriek, and infant's trembling cry.
Let some, far distant from their native soil,
Urg'd or by want or hardened avarice,
Find other lands beneath another sun.
Let this through cities work his eager way,
By legal outrage and establish'd guile,
The social sense extinct; and that ferment
Mad into tumult the seditious herd,
Or melt them down to slavery. ' Let these
Insnare the wretched in the toils of law,
Fomenting discord, and perplexing right,
An iron race! and those of fairer front,
But equal inhumanity, in courts,
Delusive pomp, and dark cabals, delight;
Wreathe the deep bow, diffuse the lying smile, 1295
And tread the weary labyrinth of state,
While he, from all the stormy passions free
That restless Men involve, hears, and but hears,
At distance safe, the human tempest roar,
Wrapt close in conscious peace. The fall of kings,
rage of nations, and the crush of states,
Move not the Man, who, from the world escap'd,
In still retreats, and flowery solitudes,
To Nature's voice attends, from month to month,
And day to day, through the revolving year; 1305
Admiring, sees her in her every shape;
Feels all her sweet emotions at his heart;
Takes what she liberal gives, nor thinks of more.
He, when young Spring protrudes the bursting germs,
Marks the first bud, and sucks the heathful gale 1310
Into his freshened soul; her genial hours
He full enjoys; and not a beauty blows,
And not an opening blossom breathes in vain.
In Summer he, beneath the living shade,
Such as o'er frigid Tempe wont to wave,
1315 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 vigorous year.
When Autumn's yellow lustre gilds the world, 1320
And tempts the sickled swain into the field,
Seiz'd by the general joy, his heart distends
With gentle throws; and through the tepid gleams
Deep musing, then he best exerts his song.
Even Winter wild to him is full of bliss.
1325 The mighty tempest, and the hoary waste, Abrụpt, 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 every lustre on th' exalted eye.
1330 A friend, a book, the stealing hours secure, And mark them down for wisdom. With swift wing, O'er land and sea imagination roams; Or truth, divinely breaking on his mind, Elates his being, and unfolds his powers; 1335 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