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Where, as you pensive pace along,
You catch the distant shepherd's song,
Or brush from herbs the pearly dew,
Or the rising primrose view:
Devotion lends her heaven-plum'd wings,
You mount, and nature with you sings.
But when mid-day fervours glow,
To upland airy shades you go,
Where never sunburnt woodman came,
Nor sportsman chas'd the timid game;
And there, beneath an oak reclin❜d,
With drowsy waterfalls behind,
You sink to rest :
Till the tuneful bird of night
From the neighbouring poplar's height,
Wake you with her solemn strain,
And teach pleas'd Echo to complain.
With you roses brighter bloom,
Sweeter every sweet perfume;
Purer every fountain flows,
Stronger every wilding grows.
Let those toil for gold who please,
Or for fame renounce their ease.
What is fame? an empty bubble;
Gold? a transient, shining trouble.
Let them for their country bleed,
What was Sidney's, Raleigh's meed?
Man's not worth a moment's pain,
Base, ungrateful, fickle, vain,
Then let me, sequester'd fair,
To your sybil grot repair;
On yon hanging cliff it stands,
Scoop'd by Nature's savage hands,
Bosom'd in the gloomy shade
Of cypress, not with age decay'd:
Where the owl still hooting sits,
Where the bat incessant flits,
There in loftier strains I'll sing
Whence the changing seasons spring;
Tell how storms deform the skies,
Whence the waves subside and rise,
Trace the comet's blazing tail,
Weigh the planets in a scale;
Bend, great God! before thy shrine,
The bourneless microcosm is thine.
Save me! what's yon shrouded shade,
That wanders in the dark-brown glade?
It beckons me!- -vain fears, adieu!
Mysterious ghost, I follow you.
Ah me! too well that gait I know:
My youth's first friend, my manhood's wo!
Its breast it bares! what! stain'd with blood?
Quick let me stanch the vital flood.
O spirit, whither art thou flown?
Why left me comfortless alone?
O Solitude, on me bestow
The heartfelt harmony of wo,
Such, such, as on th' Ausonian shore,
Sweet Dorian Moschus trill'd of yore:
No time should cancel thy desert,
More, more than Bion* was, thou wert.
O goddess of the tearful eye,
The never-ceasing stream supply,
* Alluding to the death of a friend.
Let us with retirement go
To charnels, and the house of wo;
O'er friendship's hearse low-drooping mourn,
Where the sickly tapers burn,
Where Death and nun-clad Sorrow dwell,
And nightly ring the solemn knell.
The gloom dispels, the charnel smiles,
Light flashes through the vaulted isles,
Blow silky soft, thou western gale,
O goddess of the desert, hail!
She bursts from yon cliff-riven cave;
Insulted by the wintry wave;
Her brow an ivy garland binds,
Her tresses wanton with the winds,
A lion's spoils, without a zone,
Around her limbs are careless thrown;
Her right hand wields a knotted mace,
Her eyes roll wild, a stride her pace;
Her left a magic mirror holds,
In which she oft herself beholds.
O goddess of the desert, hail!
And softer blow, thou western gale!
'Since in each scheme of life I've fail'd,
And disappointment seems entail'd;
Since all on earth I valued most,
My guide, my stay, my friend is lost:
You, only you, can make me blest,
And hush the tempest in my breast.
Then gently deign to guide my feet
To your hermit-trodden seat,
Where I may live at last my own,
Where I at last may die unknown.'
I spoke, she turn'd her magic ray,
And thus she said, or seem'd to say:
"Youth, you're mistaken, if you think to find
In shades a medicine for a troubled mind;
Wan Grief will haunt you wheresoe'er you go,
Sigh in the breeze, and in the streamlet flow.
There pale Inaction pines his life away,
And, satiate, curses the return of day:
There naked Frenzy, laughing wild with pain ;
Or bares the blade, or plunges in the main:
There Superstition broods o'er all her fears,
And yells of demons in the zephyr hears,
But if a hermit you're resolv'd to dwell,
And bid to social life a last farewell;
God never made an independent man,
"Twould jar the concord of his general plan:
See every part of that stupendous whole,
"Whose body Nature is, and God the soul?”
To one great end, the general good, conspire,
From matter, brute, to man, to seraph, sire.
Should man through nature solitary roam,
His will his sovereign, every where his home,
What force would guard him from the lion's jaw?
What swiftness wing him from the panther's paw?
Or should fate lead him to some safer shore,
Where panthers never prowl, nor liens roar;
Where liberal Nature all her charms bestows,
Suns shine, birds sing, flowers bloom, and water
Fool, dost thou think he'd revel on the store,
Absolve the care of Heaven, nor ask for more?
Though waters flow'd, flowers bloom'd, and Pho-
He'd sigh, he'd murmur that he was alone.
For know, the Maker on the human breast
A sense of kindred, country, man, impress'd;
And social life to better, aid, adorn,
With proper faculties each mortal's born.
"Though nature's works the ruling mind declare,
And well deserve inquiry's serious care,
The God (whate'er misanthropy may say)
Shines, beams in man, with most unclouded ray.
What boots it thee to fly from pole to pole?
Hang o'er the sun, and with the planets roll?
What boots through space's farthest bourns to
If thou, O man! a stranger art at home?
Then know thyself, the human mind survey,
The use, the pleasure, will the toil repay.
Hence inspiration plans his manner'd lays;
Hence Homer's crown; and, Shakspeare! hence
Hence he, the pride of Athens and the shame,
The best and wisest of mankind became.
Nor study only, practise what you know;
Your life, your knowledge, to mankind you owe.
With Plato's olive wreath the bays entwine;
Those who in study, should in practice shine.
Say, does the learned lord* of Hagley's shade
Charm man, so much by mossy fountains laid,
As when, arous'd, he stems corruption's course,
And shakes the senate with a Tully's force?
When freedom gasp'd beneath a Cæsar's feet,
Then public virtue might to shades retreat:
But where she breathes, the least may useful be,
And freedom, Britain, stiil belongs to thee!