ページの画像
PDF
ePub

mass

These therefore are his own peculiar charge; Deciduous, when now November dark
No meaner hand may discipline the shoots, Checks vegetation in the torpid plant
None but his steel approach them. What is weak, Exposed to his cold breath, the task begins.
Distempered, or has lost prolific powers, Warily, therefore, and with prudent heed,
Impaired by age, his unrelenting hand

He seeks a favoured spot; that where he builds
Dooms to the knife: nor does he spare the soft Th' agglomerated pile his frame may front
And succulent, that feeds its giant growth, The sun's meridian disk, and at the back
But barren, at th' expense of neighbouring twigs Enjoy close shelter, wall, or reeds, or hedge
Less ostentatious, and yet studded thick Impervious to the wind. First he bids spread
With hopeful gems. The rest, no portion left Dry fern or littered hay, that may imbibe
That may disgrace his art, or disappoint Th’ascending damps; then leisurely impose,
Large expectation, he disposes neat

And lightly, shaking it with agile hand
At measured distances, that air and sun, From the full fork, the saturated straw.
Admitted freely may afford their aid,

What longest binds the closest forms secure
And ventilate and warm the swelling buds. The shapely side, that as it rises takes,
Hence Summer has her riches, Autumn hence, By just degrees, an overhanging breadth,
And hence e'en Winter tills his withered hand Sheltering the base with its projected eaves;
With blushing fruits, and plenty not his own.* Th’ uplifted frame, compact at every joint,
Fair recompense of labour well bestowed, And overlaid with clear translucent glass,
And wise precaution; which a clime so rude He settles next upon the sloping mount,
Makes needful still, whose Spring is but the child Whose sharp declivity shoots off' secure
Of churlish Winter, in her froward moods From the dashed pane the deluge as it falls.
Discovering much the temper of her sire. He shuts it close, and the first labour ends.
For oft, as if in her the stream of mild

Thrice must the voluble and restless earth
Maternal nature had reversed its course, Spin round upon her axle, ere the warmth
She sings her infants forth with many smiles; Slow gathering in the midst, through the square
But, once delivered, kills them with a frown.
He therefore, timely warned himself, supplies Diffused, attain the surface; when, behold!
Her want of care, screening and keeping warm

A pestilent and most corrosive steam,
The plenteous bloom, that no rough blast may

Like a gross fog Bæotian, rising fast,
sweep

And fast condensed upon the dewy sash,
His garlands from the boughs. Again, as oft Asks egress; which obtained, the overcharged
As the sun peeps and vernal airs breathe mild, And drenched conservatory breathes abroad,
The fence withdrawn, he gives them every beam, In volumes wheeling slow, the vapour dank ;
And spreads his hopes before the blaze of day. And, purified, rejoices to have lost
To raise the prickly and green-coated gourd

Its foul inhabitant. But to assuage
So grateful to the palate, and when rare Th’ impatient fervour, which it first conceives
So coveted, else base and discsteemed-

Within its reeking bosom, threatning death
Food for the vulgar merely—is an art

To his young hopes, requires discreet delay,
That toiling ages have but just matured,

Experience, slow preceptress, teaching oft
And at this moment unessayed in song.

The way to glory by miscarriage foul,
Yet gnats have had, and frogs and mice, long Must proinpt him, and admonish how to catch
since,

Th’auspicious moment, when the tempered heat,
Their eulogy; those sang the Mantuan bard,

Friendly to vital motion, may afford
And these the Grecian, in ennobling strains;

Soft fomentation, and invite the seed.
And in thy numbers, Philips, shines for aye

The seed, selected wisely, plump and smooth,
The solitary shilling. Pardon then,

And glossy, he commits to pots of size
Ye sage dispensers of poetic fame,

Diminutive, well filled with well-prepared
Th' ambition of one meaner far, whose powers,

And fruitful soil, that has been treasured long,
Presuming an attempt not less sublime, And drank no moisture from the dripping clouds.
Pant for the praise of dressing to the taste These on the warm and genial earth, that hides
Of critic appetite, no sordid fare,

The smoking manure, and o'erspreads it all,
A cucumber, while costly yet and scarce. He places lightly, and, as time subdues
The stable yields a stercoraceous heap,

The rage of fermentation, plunges deep
Impregnated with quick fermenting salts, In the soft medium, till they stand immersed.
And potent to resist the freezing blast:

Then rise the tender germs, upstarting quick, For, e'er the beech and elm have cast their leaf And spreading wide their spongy lobes ; at first

Pale, wan, and livid; but assuming soon, • "Miraturque novos fructus et non sua porna. Virg. If fanned by balmy and nutritious ait,

!

1

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Strained through the friendly mats, a vivid geeen. | Live there, and prosper. Those Ausonia claims,
Two leaves produced, two rough indented leaves, Levantine regions these; the Azores send
Cautious he pinches from the second stalk Their jessamine, her jessamine remote
A pimple, that portends a future sprout, Caffraria; foreigners from many lands,
And interdicts its growth. Thence straight succeed They form one social shade, as if convened
The branches, sturdy to his utmost wish; By magic summons of th' Orphean lyre.
Prolific all, and harbingers of more.

Yet just arrangement, rarely brought to pass
The crowded roots demand enlargement now, But by a master's hand, disposing well
And transplantation in an ampler space, The gay diversities of leaf and flower,
Indulged in what they wish, they soon supply Must lend its aid t' illustrate all their charms,
Large foliage, overshadowing golden flowers, And dress the regular yet various scene.
Blown on the summit of th' apparent fruit. Plant behind plant aspiring, in the van
These have their sexes! and, when summer shines, The dwarfish, in the rear retired, but still,
The bee transports the fertilizing meal

Sublime above the rest, the statelier stand.
From flower to flower, and e'en the breathing air So once were ranged the sons of ancient Rome
Wafts the rich prize to its appointed use.

A noble show! while Roscius trod the stage,
Not so when winter scowls. Assistant art And so, while Garrick, as renowned as he,
Theri acts in Nature's office, brings to pass The sons of Albion; fearing each to lose
The glad espousals, and ensures the crop. Some note of Nature's music from his lips,
Grudge not, ye rich, (since Luxury must have And covetous of Shakspeare's beauty, seen
His dainties, and the world's more numerous half In every flash of his far-beaming eye.
Lives by contriving delicates for you,)

Nor taste alone and well contrived display
Grudge not the cost. Ye little know the cares, Suflice to give the marshalled ranks the grace
The vigilance, the labour, and the skill,

Of their complete effect. Much yet remains
That day and night are exercised, and hang Unsung, and many cares are yet behind,
Upon the ticklish balance of suspense,

And more laborious; cares on which depends
That ye may garnish your profuse regales Their vigour, injured soon, not soon restored.
With summer fruits brought forth by wintry suns. The soil must be renewed, which, often washed,
Ten thousand dangers lie in wait to thwart Loses its treasure of salubrious salts,
The process. Heat and cold, and wind, and steam, And disappoints the roots; the slender roots
Moisture and drought, mice, worms, and swarm-Close interwoven, and where they meet the vase
ing flies,

Must smooth be shorn away; the sapless branch
Minute as dust, and numberless, oft work Must fly before the knife; the withered leaf
Dire disappointment, that admits no cure, Must be detached, where it strews the floor
And which no care can obviate. It were long, Swept with a woman's neatness, breeding else
Too long, to tell th' expedients and the shifts, Contagion, and disseminating death.
Which he that fights a season so severe

Discharge but these kind offices, (and who
Devises, while he guards his tender trust; Would spare, that loves them, offices like these ?)
And oft at last in vain. The learned and wise Well they reward the toil. The sight is pleased,
Sarcastic would exclaim, and judge the song The scent regaled, each odoriferous leaf,
Cold as its theme, and like its theme, the fruit Each opening blossom freely breathes abroad
Of too much labour, worthless when produced. Its gratitude, and thanks him with its sweets.

Who loves a garden loves a green-house too. So manifold, all pleasing in their kind,
Unconscious of a less propitious clime,

All healthful, are th' employs of rural life,
There blooms exotic beauty, warm and snug,

Reiterated as the wheel of time
While the winds whistle, and the snows descend. Runs round; still ending, and beginning still.
The spiry myrtle with unwithering leaf Nor are these all. To deck the shapely knoll,
Shines there and flourishes. The golden boast That softly swelled and gayly dressed appears
Of Portugal and western India there,

A flowery island, from the dark green lawn
The ruddier orange, and the paler lime, Emerging, must be deemed a labour due
Peep through the polished foliage at the storm, To no mean hand, and asks the touch of taste.
And seem to smile at what they need not fear. Here also grateful mixture of well-matched
Th' amomum there, with intermingling flowers And sorted hues (each giving each relief,
And cherries hangs her twigs. Geranium boasts And by contrasted beauty shining more)
Her crimson honours; and the spangled beau, Is needful. Strength may wield the ponderous
Ficoides, glitters bright the winter long.

spade,
Al plants, of every leaf, that can endure May turn the clod, and wheel the compost home;
The winter's frown, if screened from his shrewd But elegance, chief grace the garden shows,
bite,

And most attractive, is the fair result

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

moons

[ocr errors]

Of thought, the creature of a polished mind. Hopeless, indeed, that dissipated minds,
Without it all is gothic as the scene,

And profligate abusers of a world
To which the insipid citizen resorts

Created fair so much in vain for them,
Near yonder heath; where Industry mispent, Should seek the guiltless joys, that I describe,
But proud of his uncouth ill-chosen task, Allured by my report: but sure no less,
Has made a heaven on earth; with suns and That self-condemned they must neglect the prize,

And what they will not taste must yet approve. Of close rammed stones has charged th' encum- What we admire we praise; and, when we praise bered soil,

Advance it into notice, that, is worth And fairly laid the zodiac in the dust.

Acknowledged, others may admire it too.
He, therefore, who would see his flowers disposed I therefore recommend, though at the risk
Sightly and in just order, ere he gives

Of popular disgust, yet boldly still,
The beds the trusted treasure of their seeds, The cause of piety, and sacred truth,
Forecasts the future whole; that when the scene And virtue, and those scenes, which God ordained
Shall break into its preconceived display, Should best secure them, and promote them most,
Each for itself, and all as with one voice

Scenes that I love, and with regret perceive
Conspiring, may attest his bright design. Forsaken, or through folly not enjoyed.
Nor even then, dismissing as performed Pure is the nymph, though liberal of her smiles,
His pleasant work may he suppose it done. And chaste, though unconfined, whom I extol,
Few self-supported flowers endure the wind Not as the prince in Shushan, when he called,
Uninjured, but expect th' upholding aid Vainglorious of her charms, his Vashti forth,
Of the smooth-shaven prop, and, neatly tied, To grace the full pavilion. His design
Are wedded thus, like beauty to old age, Was but to boast his own peculiar good,
For interest sake, the living to the dead. Which all might view with envy, none partake.
Some clothe the soil that feeds them, far diffused My charmer is not mine alone; my sweets,
And lowly creeping, modest and yet fair, And she that sweetens all my bitters too,
Like virtue, thriving most where little seen: Nature, enchanting Nature, in whose form
Some more aspiring catch the neighbour shrub And lineaments divine I trace a hand
With clasping tendrils, and invest his branch, That errs not, and find raptures still renewed,
Else unadorned, with many a gay festoon Is free to all men-universal prize.
And fragrant chaplet, recompensing well Strange that so fair a creature should yet want
The strength they borrow with the grace they Admirers and be destined to divide
lend.

With meaner objects e'en the few she finds;
All hate the rank society of weeds,

Stripped of her ornaments, her leaves and flowers,
Noisome, and ever greedy to exhaust

She loses all her influence. Cities then
Th' impoverished earth; an overbearing race. Attract us, and neglected Nature pines
That, like the multitude made faction-mad, Abandoned, as unworthy of our love.
Disturb good order, and degrade true worth. But are not wholesome airs, though unperfumed
O blest seclusion from a jarring world,

By roses; and clear suns, though scarcely felt;
Which he, thus occupied, enjoys! Retreat And groves, if unharmonious, yet secure
Can not indeed to guilty man restore

From clamour, and whose very silence charms;
Lost innocence, or cancel follies past;

To be preferred to smoke, to the eclipse But it has peace, and much secures the mind That metropolitan volcanoes make, From all assaults of evil; proving still

Whose Stygian throats breathe darkness all day A faithful barrier, not o'erleaped with ease

long? By vicious Custom, raging uncontrolled

And to the stir of Commerce, driving slow, Abroad, and desolating public lite.

And thundering loud, with his ten thousand When fierce Temptation, seconded within

· wheels;
By traitor Appetite, and armed with darts They would be, were not madness in the head,
Tempered in hell, invades the throbbing breast, And folly in the heart; were England now
To combat may be glorious, and success

What England was,-plain, hospitable, kind,
Perhaps may crown us; but to fly is safe. And undebauched. But we have bid farewell
Had I the choice of sublunary good,

To all the virtues of those better days,
What could I wish, that I possess not here? And all their honest pleasures. Mansions once
Health, leisure, means t' improve it, friendship, Knew their own masters; and laborious hinds,
peace,

Who had survived the father, served the son.
No loose or wanton, though a wandering muse, Now the legitimate and rightful lord
And constant occupation without care.

Is but a transient guest, newly arrived,
Thus blest I draw a picture of that bliss ; As soon to be supplanted. He, that saw

1

His patrimonial timber cast its leaf,

Well-managed, shall have earned its worthy price, Sells the last scantling, and transfers the price O innocent, compared with arts like these, To some shrewd sharper, ere it buds again. Crape, and cocked pistol, and the whistling ball Estates are landscapes, gazed upon awhile Sent through the traveller's temples! He that finds Then advertised, and auctioneered away. One drop of heaven's sweet mercy in his cup, The country starves, and they, that feed th' o'er- Can dig, beg, rot, and perish, well content, charged

So he may wrap himself in honest rags And surfeited lewd town with her fair dues, At his last gasp; but could not for a world By a just judgment strip and starve themselves. Fish up his dirty and dependent bread The wings, that waft our riches out of sight, From pools and ditches of the commonwealth, Grow on the gamester's elbows; and th' alert Sordid and sickening at his own success. And nimble motion of those restless joints, Ambition, avarice, penury incurred That never tire, soon fans them all away. By endless riot, vanity, the lust Improvement too, the idol of the age,

Of pleasure and variety, despatch, Ls fed with many a victim. Lo, he comes! As duly as the swallows disappear, The omnipotent magician, Brown, appears! The world of wandering knights and squires to Down falls the venerable pile, th' abode

town. Of our forefathers—a grave whiskered race, . London ingulfs them all! The shark is there, But tasteless. Springs a palace in its stead, And the shark's prey; the spendthrift, and tho But in a distant spot; where more exposed

leech It may enjoy th' advantage of the north,

That sucks him; there the sycophant, and he And aguish east, till time shall have transformed Who with bareheaded and obsequious bows Those naked acres to a sheltering grove. : Begs a warm office, doomed to a cold jail He speaks. The lake in front becomes a lawn; And groat per diem, if his patron frown. Woods vanish, hills subside, and valleys rise; The levee swarms, as if in golden pomp And streams, as if created for his use,

Were charactered on every statesman's door, Pursue the tract of his directing wand,

' Battered and bankrupt fortunes mended here." Sinuous or straight, now rapid and now slow, These are the charms, that sully and eclipse Now murmuring soft, now roaring in cascades—, The charms of nature. 'Tis the cruel gripe, Een as he bids! Th' enraptured owner smiles. That lean, hard-handed Poverty inflicts, Tis finished, and yet, finished as it seems, The hope of better things, the chance to win, Still wants a grace, the loveliest it could show, The wish to shine, the thirst to be amused, A mine to satisfy th' enormous cost.

That at the sound of Winter's hoary wing Drained to the last poor item of its wealth, Unpeople all our counties of such herds He sighs, departs, and leaves th' accomplished Of futtering, loitering, cringing, begging, loose, plan

And wanton vagrants, as mako London, vast That he has touched, retouched, many a long day And boundless as it is, a crowded coop. Laboured, and many a night pursued in dreams, O thou, resort and mart of all the carth, Just when it meets his hopes, and proves the Checkered with all complexions of mankind, heaven

And spotted with all crimes; in whom I see He wanted, for a wealthier to enjoy!

Much that I love, and more that I admire, And now perhaps the glorious hour is come, And all that I abhor; thou freckled fair, When, having no stake left, no pledge t' endear That pleasest and yet shock'st me, I can laugh, Her interests, or that gives her sacred cause And I can weep, can hope, and can despond, A moment's operation on his love,

Feel wrath and pity, when I think on thee! He burns with most intense and flagrant zeal Ten righteous would have saved a city once, To serve his country. Ministerial grace And thou hast many righteous.- Well for thee Deals him out money from the public chest; That salt prescrves thee; more corrupted else, Or, if that mine be shut, some private purse And therefore more obnoxious, at this hour, Supplies his need with a usurious loan,

Than Sodom in her day had power to be, To be refunded duly, when his vote,

For whom God heard his Abraham plead in vain.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The Task.

BOOK IV.

THE WINTER EVENING.

[ocr errors]

ARGUMENT.
The post comes in.-- The newspaper is read. — The world contemplated at a distance. --Address to Winter.—The rural
amusements of a winter evening compared with the fashionable ones.- Address to Evening. ---A brown study.-Fall of snow
in the evening. — The wagoner. -A poor family piece. --The rural thief.-Public houses. --The multitude of them cen.
sured. - The farmer's daughter; what she was-what she is.--The simplicity of country manners almost lost.-Causes of
the change.-Desertion of the country by the rich.--Neglect of magistrates --The militia principally in fault. -The new
recruit and his transformation. --Retection on bodies corporate. -The love of rural objects natural to all, aml never to be
totally extinguished.

Hark! 'tis the twanging horn o'er yonder bridge, Sweats in the crowded theatre, and, squeezed
That with its wearisome but needful length And bored with elbow-points through both his sides,
Bestrides the wintry flood, in which the moon Outscolds the ranting actor on the stage:
Sees her unwrinkled face reflected bright; Nor his, who patient stands till his feet throb,
He comes, the herald of a noisy world,

And his head thumps, to feed upon the breath
With spattered boots, strapped waist, and frozen Of patriots, bursting with heroic rage,
locks;

Or placemen, all tranquillity and smiles.
News from all nations lumbering at his back. This folio of four pages, happy work,
True to his charge, the close packed load behind, Which not e'en critics criticise; that holds
Yet careless what he brings, his one concern Inquisitive attention, while I read,
Is to conduct it to the destined inn;

Fast bound in chains of silence, which the fair,
And, having dropped th' expected bag, pass on. Though eloquent themselves, yet fear to break;
He whistles as he goes, light-hearted wretch, What is it, but a map of busy life,
Cold and yet cheerful: messenger of grief | Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns?
Perhaps to thousands, and of joy to some; Here runs the mountainous and craggy ridge,
To him indifferent whether grief or joy.

That tempts ambition. On the summit see
Houses in ashes, and the fall of stocks,

The seals of office glitter in his eyes: Births, deaths, and marriages, epistles wet He climbs, he pants, he grasps them! At his heels, With tears, that trickled down the writer's cheeks, Close at his hcels, a demagogue ascends, Fast as the periods from his fluent quill,

And with a dexterous jerk soon twists him down,
Or charged with amorous sighs of absent swains, And wins them, but to lose them in his tum.
Or nymphs responsive, equally affect

Here rills of oily eloquence in soft
His horse and him, unconscious of them all. Meanders lubricate the course they take a
But O, th' important budget! ushered in The modest speaker is ashamed and grieved,
With such heart-shaking music, who can say, T'engross a moment's notice; and yet begs,
What are its tidings ? have our troops awaked ? Begs a propitious ear for his poor thoughts,
Or do they still, as if with opium drugged

However trivial all that he conceives,
Snore to the murmurs of the Atlantic wave? Sweet bashfulness! it claims at least this praise :
Is India free? and does she wear her plumed The dearth of information and good sense,
And jewelled turban with a smile of peace, That it foretells us, always comes to pass.
Or do we grind her still? The grand debate, Cataracts of declamation thunder here;
The popular harangue, the tart reply,

There forests of no meaning spread the page, The logic, and the wisdom, and the wit,

In which all comprehension wanders lost ; And the loud laugh-I long to know them all ; While fields of pleasantry amuse us there I burn to set th' imprisoned wranglers free, With merry descants on a nation's woes. And give them voice and utterance once again. The rest appears a wilderness of strange

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast, But gay confusion; roses for the cheeks, Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round, And lilies for the brows of faded age, And, while the bubbling and loud hissing urn Teeth for the toothless, ringlets for the bald, Throws up a steamy column, and the cups, Heaven, earth, and ocean, plundered of their sweets, That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each, Nectareous essences, Olympian dews, So let us welcome peaceful evening in;

Sermons, and city feasts, and favourite airs, Not such his evening, who with shining face Æthereal journeys, submarine exploits,

« 前へ次へ »