« PreviousContinue »
To i. at such a world; to see the stir
Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd;
To hear the roar she sends through all her gates
At a safe distance, where the dying sound
Falls a soft murmur on th’ uninjur'd ear.
Thus sitting, and surveying thus at ease
The globe and its concerns, I seem advanc'd
To some secure and more than mortal height,
That lib’rates and exempts me from them all.
It turns submitted to my view, turns round
With all its generations; I behold
The tumult, and am still. The sound of war
Has lost its terrors ere it reaches me ;
Grieves, but alarms me not. I mourn the pride
And av’rice, that makes man a wolf to man;
Here the faint echo of those brazen throats,
By which he speaks the language of his heart,
And sigh, but never tremble at the sound.
He travels and expatiates, as the bee
From flow'r to flow'r, so he from land to land;
The manners, customs, policy, of all
Pay contribution to the store he gleans;
He sucks intelligence in ev'ry clime,
And spreads the honey of his deep research
At his return—a rich repast for me.
He travels, and I too. I tread his deck,
Ascend his topmast, through his peering eyes
Discover countries, with a kindred heart
Suffer his woes, and share in his o
ile fancy, like the finger of a clock,
Runs the great circuit, and is still at home.
O, Winter, ruler of th’ inverted year, Thy scatter'd hair with sleet like ashes fill’d, Thy breath congeal’d upon thy lips, thy cheeks Fring’d with a beard made white with other snows Than those of age, thy forehead wrapp'd in clouds, A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy throne A sliding car, indebted to no wheels,
But urg’d by storms along its slipp'ry way,
I love thee, all unlovely as thou seem'st,
And dreadful as thou art' Thou hold'st the sun
A pris'ner in the yet undawning east,
Short’ning his journey between morn and noon,
And hurrying him, impatient of his stay,
Down to the rosy west; but kindly sti
Compensating his loss with added hours
Of social converse, and instructive ease,
And gath'ring, at short notice, in one group
The family dispersed, and fixing thought,
Not less dispers’d by daylight and its cares.
I crown thee king of intimate delights,
Fire-side enjoyments, homeborn happiness,
And all the comforts, that the lowly roof
Of undisturb’d Retirement, and the hours
Of long uninterrupted ev’ning, know.
No rattling wheels stop short before these gates;
No powder'd pert proficient in the art
Of sounding an alarm assaults these doors
Till the street rings; no stationary steeds
Cough their own knell, while, heedless of the sound,
The silent circle fan themselves, and quake:
But here the needle plies its busy task,
The pattern grows, the well depicted flow'r,
Wrought patiently into the snowy lawn,
Unfolds its bosom; buds, and leaves, and sprigs,
And curling tendrils, gracefully dispos'd,
Follow the nimble finger of the fair;
A wreath, that cannot fade, of flow’rs, that blow
with most success when all besides decay.
The poet's or historian's page by one
Made vocal for th’ amusement of the rest;
The sprightly lyre, whose treasure of sweet sounds
The touch from many a trembling chord shakes out;
And the clear voice symphonious, yet distinct,
And in the charming strife triumphant still;
Beguile the night, and set a keener edge
On female industry: the threaded steel Flies swiftly, and unfelt the task proceeds. The volume clos'd, the customary rites Of the last meal commence. A Roman meal; Such as the mistress of the world once found Delicious, when her patriots of high note, Perhaps, by moonlight, at their humble doors, And under an old oak's domestic shade, Enjoy’d, spare feast! a radish and an egg. Discourse ensues, not trivial, yet not dull, Nor such as with a frown forbids the pla Of fancy, or proscribes the sound of oi. Nor do we madly, like an impious world, Who deem religion frenzy, and the God That made them, an intruder on their joys, Start at his awful mame, or deem his praise A jarring note. Themes of a graver tone, Exciting oft our gratitude and love, While we retrace with Mem'ry’s pointing wand, That calls the past to our exact review, The dangers we have 'scap'd, the broken snare, The disappointed foe, deliv'rance found Unlook’d for, life preserv’d, and peace restor'd, Fruits of omnipotent, eternal love. “ O, ev’nings worthy of the gods!” exclaim'd The Sabine bard. “O, ev’nings,” 1 reply, “More to be priz'd and coveted than yours, As more illumin'd, and with nobler truths, That I, and mine, and those we love, enjoy.” Is Winter hideous in a garb like this? Needs he the tragic fur, the smoke of lamps, The pent-up breath of an unsav’ry throng, To thaw him into feeling; or the smart. And snappish dialogue, that flippant wits Call comedy, to prompt him with a smile? The self-complacent actor, when he views (Stealing a sidelong glance at a full house) The slope of faces from the floor to th’ roof
As if one master-spring controll'd them all)
elax’d into a universal grin, -
Sees not a countenance there that speaks of joy
Half so refin’d or so sincere as ours.
Cards were superfluous here, with all the tricks,
That idleness has ever yet contriv'd
To fill the void of an unfurnish’d brain,
To palliate dullness, and give time a shove.
Time, as he passes us, has a dove's wing,
Unsoil'd, and swift, and of a silken sound;
But the world’s Time is Time in masquerade 1
Theirs, should I paint him, has his pinions o:
With motley plumes; and where the peacock shows
His azure eyes, is tinctur'd black and red
With spots quadrangular of diamond form,
Ensanguin’d hearts, clubs W. of strife,
And spades, the emblem of untimely graves.
What should be and what was an hour-glass once,
Becomes a dice-box and a billiard-mace
Well does the work of his destructive scythe.
Thus deck'd, he charms a world whom fashion blinds
To his true worth, most pleas'd when idle most;
Whose only happy are their wasted hours.
E’en misses, at whose age their mothers wore
The backstring and the bib, assume the dress
Of womanhood, fit pupils in the school
Of card-devoted Time, and night by night
Plac'd at some vacant corner of the board,
Learn ev'ry trick, and soon play all the game.
But truce with censure. Roving as I rove
Where shall I find an end, or how proceed?
As he that travels far oft turns aside,
To view some rugged rock or mould'ring tow'r,
Which seen delights him not; then coming home
Describes and prints it, that the world may know
How far he went for what was nothing worth;
So I, with brush in hand, and palette spread,
With colours mix’d for a far diff'rent use,
Paint cards, and dolls, and ev'ry idle thing,
That fancy finds in her excursive flights. ...
Come, Ev’ning, once again, season of peace;
Return, sweet Ev’ning, and continue long !
Methinks I see thee in the streaky west
With matron step slow moving, while the Night
Treads on thy sweeping train; one hand od
In letting fall the curtain of repose
On bird and beast, the other charg’d for man
With sweet oblivion of the cares of day:
Not sumptuously adorn'd, not needing aid,
Like homely-featured Night, of clustring gems;
A star or two, just to: on thy brow,
Suffices thee; save that the moon is thine
No less than hers, not worn indeed on high
With ostentatious pageantry, but set
With modest grandeur in thy purple zone,
Resplendent less, but of an ampler round.
Come then, and thou shalt find thy vot'ry calm,
Or make me so. Composure is thy gift:
And, whether I devote thy gentle hours
To books, to music, or the poet's toil;
To weaving nets for bird-alluring fruit;
Or twining silken threads round iv'ry reels,
When they command whom man was born to reus,
I slight thee not, but make thee welcome still.
Just when our drawing-rooms begin to blaze
With lights, by clear reflection multiplied
From many a mirror, in which he of Gath,
Goliah, might have seen his giant bulk
Whole j stooping, tow’ring crest and all,
My pleasures too begin. But me, pop",
The glowing hearth may satisfy awhile
With faint illumination, that uplifts
The shadows to the ceiling, there by fits
R.; uncouthly to the quiv'ring flame.
Not undelightful is an hour to me
So spent in parlour-twilight: such a gloom