« PreviousContinue »
Sustain'd alone by providential Heaven,
Nor toil alone they scorn ; exalting love,
molest, Amid the neighbouring bush they silent drop, And whirring thence, as if alarm’d, deceive The unfeeling schoolboy. Hence around the
head Of wandering swain the white-winged plover
wheels Her sounding flight, and then directly on, In long excursion, skims the level lawn To tempt him from her nest. The wild-duck
hence O'er the rough moss, and o'er the trackless
waste The heath-hen flutters : pious fraud! to lead The hot-pursuing spaniel far astray.
James Thomson.-Born 1700, Died 1748.
Pleasure, or food, or secret safety, prompts ;
nests : Others apart, far in the grassy dale Or 'roughening waste their humble texture
weave: But most in woodland solitudes delight, In unfrequented glooms or shaggy banks, Steep and divided by a babbling brook, Whose murmurs soothe them all the live-long
day, When by kind duty fix'd. Among the roots Of hazel pendent o'er the plaintive stream, They frame the first foundation of their
domes, Dry sprigs of trees, in artful fabric laid, And bound with clay together. Now 'tis
nought But restless hurry through the busy air, Beat by unnumber'd wings. The swallow
sweeps The slimy pool, to build his hanging house Intent: and often from the careless back Of herds and flocks a thousand tugging bills Steal hair and wool; and oft, when unob
served, Pluck from the barn a straw; till soft and
warm, Clean and complete, their habitation grows.
As thus the patient dam assiduous sits, Not to be tempted from her tender task Or by sharp hunger or by smooth delight, Though the wholo loosen'd spring around her
blows, Her sympathising lover takes his stand High on the opponent bank, and ceaseless
sings The tedious time away; or else supplies Her place a moment, while she sudden flits To pick the scanty meal. The appointed
time With pious toil fulfill'd, the callow young, Warm’d and expanded into perfect life, Their brittle bondage break, and come to
light; A helpless family! demanding food With constant clamour: 0 what passions
then, What melting sentiments of kindly care, On the new parent seize! away they fly Affectionate, and, undesiring, bear The most delicious morsel to their young, Which, equally distributed, again The search begins. Even so a gentle pair, By fortune sunk, but form’d of generous
mould, And charm'd with cares beyond the vulgar
breast, In some lone cot amid the distant woods,
866.- DOMESTIC HAPPINESS. But happy they! the happiest of their
kind! Whom gentler stars unite, and in one fate Their hearts, their fortunes, and their beings
blend. 'Tis not the coarser tie of human laws, Unnatural oft, and foreign to the mind, That binds their peace, but harmony itself, Attuning all their passions into love ; Where friendship full exerts her softest
power, Perfect esteem, enliven'd by desire Ineffable, and sympathy of soul ; Thought meeting thought, and will preventing
will, With boundless confidence: for nought but
love Can answer love, and render bliss secure. Let him, ungenerous, who, alone intent To bless himself, from sordid parents buys The loathing virgin, in eternal care, Well merited, consume his nights and days ; Let barbarous nations, whose inhuman love Is wild desire, fierce as the suns they feel ; Let Eastern tyrants, from the light of Heaven Seclude their bosom-slaves, meanly possess'd Of a mere, lifeless, violated form : While those whom love cements in holy
faith, And equal transport, free as Nature live, Disdaining fear. What is the world to them, Its pomp, its pleasure, and its nonsense all ! Who in each other clasp whatever fair High fancy forms, and lavish hearts can
Something than beauty dearer, should they
Or from her swelling soul in stifled sighs.
gaze In full luxuriance rose. Butdesperate
But ill-conceal'd; and now with streaming
Such maddening draughts of beauty to the
soul, As for awhile o'erwhelm'd his raptured
thought With luxury too daring. Check’d, at last, By love's respectful modesty, he deem'd The theft profane, if aught profane to love Can e'er be deem'd; and, struggling from the
shade, With headlong hurry fled: but first these
lines, Traced by his ready pencil, on the bank With trembling hand he threw : “Bathe on,
Blue, through the dusk, the smoking currents
shine ; And from the bladed field the fearful hare Limps awkward; while along the forest
glade The wild deer trip, and often turning gaze At early passenger. Music awakes The native voice of undissembled joy ; And thick around the woodland hymns arise. Roused by the cock, the soon-clad shepherd
leaves His mossy cottage, where with peace he
dwells ; And from the crowded fold, in order, drives His flock, to taste the verdure of the morn.
James Thomson.-Born 1700, Died 1748.
Yet unbeheld, save by the sacred eye
saw, Her terrors vanish'd, and a softer train Of mixt emotions, hard to be described, Her sudden bosom seized : shame void of guilt, The charming blush of innocence, esteem And admiration of her lover's flame, By modesty exalted : even a sense Of self-approving beauty stole across Her busy thought. At length, a tender calm Hush'd by degrees the tumult of her soul ; And on the spreading beech, that o'er the
stream Incumbent hung, she with the sylvan pen Of rural lovers this confession carved, Which soon her Damon kiss'd with weeping
joy : “Dear youth! sole judge of what these verses
mean, By fortune too much favour'd, but by love, Alas! not favour'd less, be still as now Discreet: the time may come you need not
869.-A SUMMER EVENING. Low walks the sun, and broadens by degrees, Just o’er the verge of day. The shifting
clouds Assembled gay, a richly gorgeous train, In all their pomp attend his setting throne. Air, earth, and ocean smile immense. And
now, As if his weary chariot sought the bowers Of Amphitrite, and her tending nymphs, (So Grecian fable sung) he dips his orb; Now half immersed ; and now a golden curve Gives one bright glance, then total dis
appears. Confess'd from yonder slow-extinguish'd
clouds, All ether softening, sober evening takes Her wonted station in the middle air ; A thousand shadows at her beck. First
this She sends on earth ; then that of deeper dye Steals soft behind; and then a deeper still, In circle following circle, gathers round, To close the face of things. A fresher gale Begins to wave the wood, and stir the
stream, Sweeping with shadowy gust the fields of
While the quail clamours for his running
mate. Wide o'er the thistly lawn, as swells the
breeze, A whitening shower of vegetable down Amusive floats. The kind impartial care Of nature nought disdains: thoughtful to
feed Her lowest sons, and clothe the coming year, From field to field the feather'd seeds she
wings. His folded flock secure, the shepherd home Hies merry-hearted; and by turns relieves The ruddy milkmaid of her brimming pail ; The beauty whom perhaps his witless heart
Unknowing what the joy-mix'd anguish
streams, And rocks, and mountain-tops, that long
retain'd The ascending gleam, are all one swimming
scene, Uncertain if beheld. Sudden to heaven Thence weary vision turns; where, leading
soft The silent hours of love, with purest ray Sweet Venus shines; and from her genial
rise, When daylight sickens till it springs afresh, Unrivall’d reigns, the fairest lamp of night.
James Thomson.-Born 1700, Died 1748.
When the dew wets its leaves; unstain'd and
“ What pity! that so delicate a form,
Of setting life, shone on her evening hours : Not less enraptured than the happy pair; Who flourish'd long in tender bliss, and rear'd A numerous offspring, lovely like themselves, And good, the grace of all the country round.
James Thomson.-Born 1700, Died 1748.
871.—THE HARVEST STORM. Defeating oft the labours of the year, The sultry south collects a potent blast. At first, the groves are scarcely seen to stir Their trembling tops, and a still murmur
Romantic' wish! would this the daughter
were !” When, strict enquiring, from herself he
found She was the same, the daughter of his friend, Of bountiful Acasto; who can speak The mingled passions that surprised his heart, And through his nerves in shivering transport
ran? Then blazed his smother'd flame, avow'd, and
bold; And, as he view'd her, ardent, o'er and o'er, Love, gratitude, and pity, wept at once. Confused, and frighten'd at his sudden tears, Her rising beauties flush'd a higher bloom, As thus Palemon, passionate and just, Pour'd out the pious rapture of his soul.
" And art thou then Acasto's dear remains ? She, whom my restless gratitude has sought So long in vain ? 0 Heavens! the very
same, The soften'd image of my noble friend, Alive his every look, his every feature, More elegantly touch'd. Sweeter than Spring! Thou sole surviving blossom from the root That nourish'd up my fortune ! say, ah where, In what sequester'd desert, hast thou drawn The kindest aspect of delighted Heaven? Into such beauty spread, and blown so fair ; Though poverty's cold wind, and crushing
rain, Beat keen and heavy on thy tender years ? O let me now, into a richer soil, Transplant thee safe! where vernal suns, and
showers, Diffuse their warmest, largest influence; And of my garden be the pride and joy! Ill it befits thee, oh! it ill befits Acasto's daughter, his whose open stores, Though vast, were little to his ampler heart, The father of a country, thus to pick The very refuse of those harvest-fields, Which from his bounteous friendship I enjoy. Then throw that shameful pittance from thy
hand, But ill applied to such a rugged task; The fields, the master, all, my fair, are thine ; If to the various blessings which thy house Has on me lavish'd, thou wilt add that bliss, That dearest bliss, the power of blessing
thee!” Here ceased the youth, yet still his speaking
eye Espress'd the sacred triumph of his soul, With conscious virtue, gratitude, and love, Above the vulgar joy divinely raised. Nor waited he reply. Won by the charm Of goodness irresistible, and all In sweet disorder lost, she blush'd consent. The news immediate to her mother brought, While, pierced with anxious thought, she pined
away The lonely moments for Lavinia's fate; Amazed, and scarce believing what she heard, Joy seized her wither'd veins, and one bright
Along the soft-inclining fields of corn.
rain, Swept from the black horizon, broad, de
scends In one continuous flood. Still over head The mingling tempest weaves its gloom, and
still The deluge deepens ; till the fields around Lie sunk and flatted, in the sordid wave. Sudden, the ditches swell; the meadows
swim. Red, from the hills, innumerable streams Tumultuous roar; and high above its banks The river lift; before whose rushing tide, Herds, flocks, and harvest, cottages, and
swains, Roll mingled down; all that the winds had
spared In one wild moment ruin'd; the big hopes And well-earn'd treasures of the painful year. Fled to some eminence, the husbandman Helpless beholds the miserable wreck Driving along : his drowning ox at once Descending, with his labours scatter'd round, He sees ;
and instant o'er his shivering thought Comes Winter unprovided, and a train Of claimant children dear. Ye masters,