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Or throw them up to livery-nags and grooms,
Or turn them into shops and auction-rooms ?--
A captious question, sir, (and yours is one),
Deserves an answer similar, or none.
Wouldst thou, possessor of a flock, employ
(Apprized that he is such) a careless boy,
And feed him well, and give him handsome pay,
Merely to sleep, and let them run astray?
Survey our schools and colleges, and see
A sight not much unlike my simile.
From education, as the leading cause,
The public character its colour draws;
Thence the prevailing manners take their cast.
Extravagant or sober, loose or chaste.
And though I would not advertise them yet,
Nor write on each- This building to be let,
Unless the world were all prepared to embrace
A plan well worthy to supply their place;
Yet, backward as they are, and long have been,
To cultivate and keep the morals clean,
(Forgive the crime) I wish them, I confess,
Or better managed, or encouraged less.
An Invitation into the Country,
The swallows in their torpid state
Compose their useless wing,
And bees in hives as idly wait
The call of early Spring.
The keenest frost that binds the stream
The wildest wind that blows,
Are neither felt nor fear'd by them,
Secure of their repose.
But man, all feeling and awake,
The gloomy scene surveys;
With present ills his heart must ache,
And pant for brighter days.
Old Winter, halting o'er the mead,
Bids me and Mary mourn;
But lovely Spring peeps o'er his head,
And whispers your return.
Then April, with her sister May,
Shall chase him from the bowers,
And weave fresh garlands every day,
To crown the smiling hours.
And if a tear, that speaks regret
Of happier times, appear,
A glimpse of joy, that we have met,
Shall shine, and dry the tear.
ADDRESSED TO MISS STAPLETON,
(NOW MRS. COURTNEY.) SHE came-she is gone we have met
And meet perhaps never again ; The sun of that moment is set,
And seems to have risen in vain. Catharina has fled like a dream
(So vanishes pleasure, alas !) But has left a regret and esteem,
That will not so suddenly pass. The last ev'ning ramble we made,
Catharina, Maria, and I, Our progress was often delay'd
By the nightingale warbling nigh. We paused under many a tree,
And much she was charm'd with a tone Less sweet to Maria and me,
Who so lately had witness'd her own. My numbers that day she had sung,
And gave them a grace so divine. As only her musical tongue
Could infuse into numbers of mine. The longer I heard, I esteem'd
The work of my fancy the more,
And e'en to myself never seem'd
So tuneful a poet before.
Though the pleasures of London exceed
In number the days of the year,
Catharina, did nothing impede,
Would feel herself happier here; For the close-woven arches of limes
On the banks of our river, I know, Are sweeter to her many times
Than aught that the city can shew.
So it is, when the mind is endued
With a well-judging taste from above; Then, whether embellish'd or rude,
'Tis nature alone that we love.
The achievements of art may amuse,
May even our wonder excite;
But groves, hills, and valleys, diffuse
A lasting, a sacred delight.
Since then in the rural recess
Catharina alone can rejoice, May it still be her lot to possess
The scene of her sensible choice! To inhabit a mansion remote
From the clatter of street-pacing steeds, And by Philomel's annual note
To measure the life that she leads.
With her book, and her voice, and her lyre,
To wing all her moments at home;
And with scenes that new rapture inspire,
As oft as it suits her to roam;
She will have just the life she prefers,
With little to hope or to fear,
And ours would be pleasant as hers,
Might we view her enjoying it here.
A HERMIT, (or if chance you hold
That title now too trite and old)
A man, once young, who lived retired
As hermit could have well desired,
His hours of study closed at last,
And finish'd his concise repast,
Stoppled his cruise, replaced his book
Within its customary nook,
And, staff in hand, set forth to share
The sober cordial of sweet air,
Like Isaac, with a mind applied
To serious thought at ev'ning-tide.
Autumnal rains had made it chill,
And from the trees that fringed his hill,
Shades slanting at the close of day,
Chill’d more his else delightful way.
Distant a little mile he spied
A western bank's still sunny side,
And right toward the favour'd place
Proceeding with his nimblest pace,
In hope to bask'a little yet,
Just reach'd it when the sun was set.
Your hermit, young and jovial sirs !
Learns something from whate'er occurs
And hence, he said, my mind computes
The real worth of man's pursuits.
His object chosen, wealth or fame,
Or other sublunary game,
Imagination to his view
Presents it deck'd with every hue,
That can seduce him not to spare
powers of best exertion there,
But youth, health, vigour to expend
On so desirable an end.
Ere long approach life's evening shades,
The glow, that fancy gave it, fades;
And earn'd too late, it wants the grace
That first engaged him in the chase.
True, answer'd an angelic guide,
Attendant at the senior's side
But whether all the time it cost,
To urge the fruitless chase be lost,
Must be decided by the worth
Of that which call'd his ardour forth,
Trifles pursued, whate'er the event,
Must cause him shame or discontent;
A vicious object still is worse,
Successful there he wins a curse ;