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again, and again to this earthly sphere, to It is unrecessary to state, that happiness, warn us of the danger of delay, to cherish in one shape or another, is the great end we our heavenward aspirations, and to teach us have in view, in all our pursuits and avocathat there is a love, (Oh! how unlike the tions; whether that happiness consists in love of' man!) as constant and untiring in its amassing or expending money; in our perfaithfulness, as slow to avenge disobedience sonal and sensual gratifications, or in the and neglect.

aggrandisement of others; in maintaining the station to which, by birth or education, we have become attached, or in raising our

selves to a higher scale of society; in obtainTHE POETRY OF RURAL LIFE. ing and securing to ourselves the refine

ments and luxuries of life, or in cultivating Berore entirely quitting the fascinating the mental powers ; in looking far and deep, employment of tracing out the poetical asso both into the visible and the intellectual ciations of particular objects in nature, it is world, for those principles of consistency, necessary to add a few remarks upon the beauty, and harmony, which owe their deeffect produced upon the mind by rural velopment to an almighty hand; and in scenery in general.

recognising the work of that hand in every The great difficulty in the task I have un- thing around and within us, from the siindertaken, a difficulty which presents itself plest object of sense, to the moat sublime and most strikingly at this stage of the work, is majestic source of contemplation. to avoid the folly of being too sentimental, The question is not, under which of these or rather to escape the charge of wishing to forms mankind is most addicted to look for lead the mind away from what is substan- happiness, but under which of these forms tially useful, to that which is merely vision- the happiness there in found, is likely to be ary. If the major part of society in the most conducive to the cultivation and refinepresent day consisted of love-stricken poets ment of that part of his nature whiich is comand languishing girls, mine would indeed be mitted to him as a sacred trust, and will a scheme unnecessary and ii devised; but have to be rendered up, either elevated or as the tendency of our present system of ed-debased, for eternity. I know that poetry ucation, our conversation, habits, and modes is not religion; and that a man may dwell of thinking, is towards the direct opposite of in a region of poetical ideas, yet far from his sentimentality, we may fairly presume, that God: but we learn from the Holy Scripin t: e opinion of all candid and competent tures, whose whole language is that of poejudges, this work will be considered harm- try, as well as by the slightest experimental less, to say the least of it; and that the wri- knowledge of the subject, thai poetry may ter will have due credit given for an earnest be intimately associated with religion, and endeavor to assist in rescuing the spirit of that, so far from weakening its practical inpoesy from the oppression of vulgar tyran- fluence, it may be woven in with our familiar ny, and in guarding the temple of the muses duties, so as to beautify what would otherfrom the profanations of avarice and dis- wise be repulsive, to sweeten what is bitter, cord.

and to elevate what we have been accusThe character of the cultivated portion of tomed to regard as mean or degraded. the present race of mankind is too practical, It is not thus with sordid or artificial life. too bustling, too commercial, I might almost Poetry neither can, nor will dwell there. say, too material, to admit of the least ap- The atmosphere is too dense, and those who prehension that ideas should be brought to inhale it acquire a taste for its impurities, stand in the place of facts, that learning upon the same principle as that on which should be superseded by sensibility, or that the victim of habits more gross and vicious vague notions about the essences of things learns to love the odour of the deleterious should be preferred to a just and circum- bowl, because it is associated with the gratistantial knowledge of the actual substances fication of his brutal appetites. of those things themselves.

I am tar from wishing that all men were

poets; or that the practical and necessary poet of eminence in his art, and but few inrules of education, should give place to the tellectual characters remarkable for the best lawless vagaries of fancy, or the impulse of use of the highest endowments, ever lived, feelings uncontrolled: but I do wish that who had not at some time or other of their these rules and the attention they require, lives, studied nature for demselves, imbibed did not occupy the whole season of youth, strong impressions from their own observawithout leaving time then to feel that they tion of the external world, and from these are essential. I do wish that men and wo- impressions drawn conclusions of the utmosi men too, would sometimes pause in their importance to society at large. hurry alter mere verbal knowledge, to think He whose mind is once deeply imbued for themselves; and turn away occasionally with poetic feeling, may afterwards entei from the pile of fresh books which every day into the ordinary concerns of life, and ever sees placed before them, to study that which engage in the active commerce of the world, never was, and never can be written—the without losing his elevated character. It is wide field of nature; not only as it lies spread only when substituted for common sense, before their actual view, but as it expands in that poetic feeling can be absurd or contheir own minds, teaching them by the temptible. Blended with our domestic ocgradual unfolding of the eternal principles cupations, its office is to soften, hırmonize, of truth, that we have faculties of the heart, and refine; and carried along with us as well as of the head, and that we must through the more conspicuous duties of hereatter render an account of a moral as social and public life, it is well calculated to well as of an intellectual nature.

remind us, that there is a higher ambition How far my impressions in favor of a than that of accumulating wealth, and that country life, may arise from early habit and we have capabilities for intellectual happiassociation, I am not prepared to say; and ness, which may be freely and fully exerI must be candid enough to grant, that the cised without interference with our worldly state of society in remote and isolated dis- interests.

ll tricts, does not present an aspect at all calcu It is not then by merely dwelling in the lated to support the idea that our moral facul- country, that men become poetical; nor by ties are improved in proportion to the means working their way by fair and honourable we enjoy of cultivating an acquaintance means, to pecuniary independence, that they i with external nature; but the fact that this necessarily sacrifice the best part of their opportunity alone is insufficient to produce nature: though it must be contessed, that the effect, by no means proves, that in con- the ordinary routine of city life, as it is genejunction with other advantages it is not pow- rally conducted, has a tendency to extinerfully conducive to the end desired. In the guish, rather than excite poetic genius. The country, man may be as brutah, as stultified, principal reason why it does this, is obvious and as incapable of every gentle or sublime to the candid observer. The mind as well emotion, as in the city he may be gross, sel as the body is always in need of food, and fish and insensible to the happiness and this necessity it naturally prefers to supply, misery of others: but it is no more the fault with the least possible expense of pain or of nature when the eye has not been opened labour. If facts of great number and variety to behold her beauties, than it is the fault of are continually set before us, little attention the musician when his auditors are without will be paid to principles; because facts can the sense of hearing. I speak of the enjoy- be received with no exertion, while princiment which nature is capable of affording, ples must be investigated and examined, to not of that which it necessarily forces upon be in any degree understood. In towns, the man, whether he looks for it or not; nor news of the day is eagerly inquired after, goes the fact, that remote dwellers in the and public journals, travellers, and frequent country have amongst themselves a very meetings, furnish for the general demand a low standard of intelectual merit, prove any constant supply of facts; while in the counthing against my argument; since I believe try even facts have often to be sought for it may be asserted with confidence, that no with considerable labour and indue:ry, and

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can only be enjoyed, with long intervals be the glory of the earth, for reasons which tween every fresh accession of intelligence. neither you nor we can understand; and Thus a real energetic mind, learns to con that man, when he boasts too proudly of his nect an immense number of ideas, with the superiority in the creation, forgets that in few facts which do transpire in the country; the most malignant and injurious attribute but a mind of quiet and lethargic character, of the brute he is at least his equal. sinks into nothingness, and one of still lower And then our returning swallows, our grade, active only for loose or malicious seedtime, and harvest our rains and thun

purposes, fills up the void in social commu- der storms, of which you think so little; why || nion, with inferences falsely drawn, uncharit- ' they supply us with inexhaustible food for

able inuendos ingeniously thrown out, and deep anxiety, earnest calculation, ardent | conclusions too frequently botii injurious and hope, and trembling fear; and sometimes unjust.

| with gratitude as warm as if the success I have said that a great deal may be made / which crowned our labours, was visibly and of the few facts which do transpire in the palpably bestowed immediately by the hand country. “Impossible !” exclaims the pre- of the Giver of all good. We hail the birds cocious youth, learned alone in civic lore. of spring, as the blessed messengers of hope "You only hear the news once a week, and the seed is scattered in faith-the harvest

as to your facts, what are they? The re- is reaped in joy—the rains descend, and we | turn of the swallow, seedtime, and harvest, give thanks for the opening of those foun

a shower of rain, or a thunder storm; and tains, whose source, and whose seal is above what is all this to the community at large ?" |—the thunders roll, and we bow before the I answer, it is a great deal to those indivi- terrors of the Almighty. duals who choose to reflect. It is true we Man may, unquestionably, enjoy the same are sometimes a week later than you, in sensations in the city. Surrounded by the learning what have been the movements of work of human hands, he may look up and a critain foreign army, that a cabinet minis- bless the power which bestowed such faculter has been dismissed, and that an elope- ties and means upon his creatures; but it ment has taken place in high life. There is a fact which few will pretend to deny, are even facts similar to these, which occur that the more the mind is interested and oe

! without ever reaching us at all, which is a cupied with artificial things, the more it is proof that they are of as little importance to carried away from the truth that is in nature; us, as the building of our rooks, the scatter- and the greater the number of objects which ing of our grain, or the reaping of our corn intervene between us and the great First to you. You snatch up the Morning Post Cause of all, the less fixed and reverential and read of this interesting elopement; we are our views of heaven. We know by realearn with as much interest that the kite has soning that God is no more present in the seized our favourite dove. You read that a rolling thunder than in the social meeting, once popular statesman has been over- or the secret thought; but our impressions thrown, by the strength of opposing party; are often stronger and deeper than our reawe hear that a former servant of our own, soning: and when we stand alone in the sihas been dismissed from his place. You lent night, and look up to the starry heavens; read of the dismemberment of Poland; we when we watch the play of the lightning, or are startled with the intelligence, a few listen to the roaring blast; when we gaze hours earlier, that the fox has been making upon the wide expanse of heaving ocean, or dreadful ravages amongst our poultry on the peaceful bosc m of the lake, slumberWhat follows ? Our conclusions are at ing in its mountain cradle at the feet of its least as philosophical as yours, and if you majestic guardians, whose brows are the take time to reflect, it is most probable they sky, mantled with clouds, or crowned with will both amount to this—that the weak golden glory; when we watch the silvery must be the victims of the strong, all the fall of summer's evening dew, the sunset world over; that propensities to rapine, in the west, or the moon's uprising over the cruelty, and wrong, are permitted to deface i eastern hills, we naturally look upon these in

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teresting phenomena as immediately influ- and vitality-the production of flowers and enced by an omnipotent hand, and advancing fruits—the source or streanıs-the planetary one step farther, penetrate within the veil, system-chemical agency--and the stuiy of and find ourselves alone with God.

electricity, that mighty and mysterious pow. With regard to the mere amusements ofer, which operates through earth aml air the country, it is very natural for townspeo- ' in a manner yet but partially understod, ple-such as are accustomed to games of though producing some of the most wonderskill and hazard-to dress-sarties, plays, ful and sublime phenomena in nature. and concerts, to ask in what they can possi Are these amusements of a kind to be bly consist. Let us in the first place observe neglected or contemned by a rational and in- i a group of children at play beneath the tellectual being? Are they not rather such flowery hawthorn, their checks suffused with as we ought to seek every possible means the rosy hue of health, and their bright eyes of rendering familiar and attractive to the snarkling with that inward joy wlich natu- youthful mind? And surely there can be rally animates the infant mind. Nobody no means more likely than to retire somecan tell what they are playing at-they do times within the bosom of nature, where the not know themselves. They have no names development of Almighty power is obvious or set rules by which their gambols are re- above, around, and beneath us. strained; but when they start otl from their But above almost all other peculiarities sequestered retreat, bounding over the grass belonging to a country lite, I would place like young fawng, you see at once that that homefeeling which has the power it is the fresh air, the glowing health, and through the whole course of our lives to above all, the glorious liberty of the country bring back the wandering affections, and which constitutes their enjoyment. Then centre them in one point of space-one point ihey have an intimate and familiar acquaint- of importance, to a very limited portion of ance with every thing around them, with the community, but a portion consisting of the woods and the winding paths, the song our nearest and dearest connexions. In of the different birde, and the course of the towns there can be comparatively little of streams that come down from the hills. Up- this feeling. A man steps out of his door on all or most of these the seasons have con- immediately upon common ground. The siderable influence, and the welcome ap- house he lives in is precisely like his neiglipearance of spring, the withering of autumn, bour's, one of a number which he returns to the heat of summer, and the winter's snow, without attachment, and leaves without rehave trains of association in the youthful gret. But in the country, not only the grass mind, which supply them with a perpetual we tread on, the paths, the trees, the birds source of amusement, blended with instruc- that sing above our heads, and the flowers tion. Added to which, they not unfrequent- that bloom beneath our feet, but the very ly have the care of domestic animals, and atmosphere around us, seem to be our own. feel almost as much interest in their fate as There is a feeling of possession in our fielus, in that of their fellow-creatures. They soon our gardens, and our home, which nothing learn that their kindness allures, and that but a cruel separation can destroy; and their rebukes repel. This makes them ob- when absent, far away upon the deep sea, servant of the happiness and the misery of travelling in foreign lands, or driven from the creatures committed to their charge, and that home for ever, we pine to trace again lays the foundation of social and benevolent the familiar walks, and wonder whether the feelings, which continue with them through woods and the green lawn are looking the the rest of their lives. As the mind acquires same as when they received our last firestrength and begins to investigate, what a well. In the haunts of busy life, the music field of inquiry then lies before them—the of our native streams comes murmuring fall of the rains-the density of the atmos- again upon our ear; we pause beneath the phere-the gathering of clouds--the fertility cage of the prisoned bird, because its voice of the earth—the principles of vegetation is the same as that which cheered our infan

cy; and we love the flowers of a distant | deluge disappeared from the face of the co intry when they resemble those which earth--that the art of man is impotent bivomed in our own.

against the imperishable fabric upon which There are other wanderers besides those he rests--that the ploughshare never has who stray through foreign realms-wander been there—nor track of wandering beast, ers from the ways of God. Perchance we nor nest of soaring bird, nor hum of laden have spurned the restrictions of parental | bee-nothing but the winds, the rolling authority, and cast away the early visita- clouds, the lightning and thunder, those tretions of a holier love; but the homefeeling mendous agents of eternal Power, before which neither change of place nor character whom the boasted sovereign of creation lies can banish from our bosoms, renews the trembling in the dust.

memory of our social ties, and draws us What are his feelings when he reflects

back to the deserted hearth. Along with that such as this new and mighty world that memory, associated with the soothing appears to him, such it will remain when he of affection which we have lived to want, and his, with their ambitious hopes and enand the wisdom of sage counsel which ex- vied honours, are buried and forgotten! perience has proved true, the tide of convic- These are sensations peculiar to the situation rushes in upon the burdened heart, and tion, which words are inadequate to describe. the prodigal rousing himself from the stupor Too deep for utterance, too powerful for of despair, exclaims, “ I will arise and go to language, they teach a wisdom more promy father!"

found than is to be acquired in all the It is difficult for those whose hearts and schools of man's devise. I would ask again, homes are in the city, fully to appreciate the how the wanderer on the mountain's sum

enjoyment arising from rural scenery; but mit has looked back to the narrow sphere ll there are others whose homes are there, yet of social life which he has been wont to call

whose hearts are not wholly absorbed in city the world ? Its laws, conventional but arbinews, and scenes, and customs. These

trary, by which his past conduct has been have probably, at some time or other of their influenced, what are they here? Scarcely lives, known what it was, not merely to more important than those which regulate make an excursion to Richmond, Hamp- the movements of a community of insecis, stead, or Windsor, but to go far away into confined within the limits of a little mound the country, amongst the hills, and the val- of earth. Where now is the tremendous leys, where the rattling of wheels, or the and potent voice of public opinion, resoundcrack of the coachman's whip, was never | ing in authoritative tones from house to heard. What, let me ask, were their sensa- house, from heart to heart? Upon the tions, as they rose higher and higher up the mountain's brow, beneath the blue arch of side of the mountain, at every step taking in heaven, it is silent, lost, and forgotten. a wider view of the landscape, until it lay Where are the toils, the anxieties, the heartbeneath them like a garden, in which the aches, which consume the vitality of our exancient woods were fairy groves, and the istence, in the lower region of our sordid rivers threads of silver, now seen, now lost, and selfish avocations ? Already they have but never heard, even in their floods and assumed a different character; and, despisfalls, at that far height. What are the feel- | ing the nothingness-the worse than nongs of the traveller, when standing on the thingness of their ultimate end, he resolves topmast ridge, a mere speck in that stupen- to give them to the winds, and henceforth dous solitude, while the fresh breezes of an to live for some more exalted and noble unknown atmosphere sweep past him, and purpose. he muses upon the past, and feels the im There is no danger that man should feel pressive truth, that not only the firm rock on himself too little, or his Maker too great. which he stands, but the surrounding hills, If there were, he would do well to confine with their beetling brows, and rugged pin- himself to a sphere, in which nothing is so nacles, and hollow caves, are the same as obvious as the operation of man's ingenuity on that great day when the waters of the and power. But since we are all too much

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