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Two hundred pounds half-yearly paid,
Annuity securely made;
A farm some twenty miles from town,
Small, tight, salubrious, and my own;
Two maids, that never saw the town,
A serving man, not quite a clown;
A boy to help to tread the mow,
And drive, while t'other holds the plough;
A chief of temper form'd to please,
Fit to converse, and keep the keys;
And, better to preserve the peace,
Commission'd by the name of niece;
With understandings of a size
To think their master very wise :..
May Heav'n ('tis all I wish for) send
One genial room to treat a friend,
Where decent cupboard, little plate,
Display benevolence, not state;
And may my humble dwelling stand
Upon some chosen spot of land;
A pond before full to the brim,
Where cows may cool, and geese may swim:
Behind, a green like velvet neat,
Soft to the eye, and to the feet;
Where od'rous plants in ev'ning fair
Breathe all around ambrosial air;
From Eurus, foe to kitchen ground,
Fenc'd by a slope with bushes crown'd,
Fit dwelling for the feather'd throng,
Who pay their quitrents with a song;
With op'ning views of hill and dale,
Which sense and fancy too regale,
Where the half cirque, which vision bounds,
Like amphitheatre surrounds:
And woods impervious to the breeze,
Thick phalanx of embodied trees,
From hills, through plains, in dusk array
Extended far, repel the day:
Here stillness, height, and solemn shade,
Invite, and contemplation aid;
Here nymphs from hollow oaks relate
The dark decrees and will of fate;
And dreams beneath the spreading beech
Inspire, and docile fancy teach;
While soft as breezy breath of wind
Impulses rustle through the mind:
Here Dryads, scorning Phoebus' ray,
While Pan melodious pipes away,
In measur'd motions frisk about,
Till old Silenus puts them out.
There see the clover, pea, and bean,
Vie in variety of green;
Fresh pastures speckled o'er with sheep,
Brown fields their fallow sabbaths keep,
Plump Ceres golden tresses wear,
And poppy topknots deck her hair,
And silver streams through meadows stray,
And Naiads on the margin play,
And lesser nymphs on side of hills
From plaything urns pour down the rills.
Thus shelter'd, free from care and strife,
May I enjoy a calm through life;
See faction, safe in low degree,
As men at land see storms at sea;
And laugh at miserable elves,
Not kind, so much as to themselves,
Curs'd with such souls of base alloy,
As can possess, but not enjoy;
Debarr'd the pleasure to impart,
By av'rice, sphincter of the heart,
Who wealth, hard earn'd by guilty cares,
Bequeath, untouch'd, to thankless heirs.
May I, with look ungloom'd by guile,
And wearing Virtue's liv'ry, smile,
Prone the distressed to relieve,
And little trespasses forgive,
With income not in Fortune's pow'r,
And skill to make a busy hour,
With trips to town life to amuse,
To purchase books, and hear the news,
To see old friends, brush off the clown,
And quicken taste at coming down.
SILENT nymph, with curious eye,
Who, the purple evʼning, lie
On the mountain's lonely van,
Beyond the noise of busy man,
Painting fair the form of things,
While the yellow linnet sings ; ?
Or the tuneful nightingale
Charins the forest with her tale;
Come with all thy various hues,
Come and aid thy sister Muse:
Now while Phoebus riding high
Gives lustre to the land and sky!
Grongar Hill invites my song,
Draw the landscape bright and strong;
Grongar, in whose mossy cells
Sweetly musing Quiet dwells;
Grongar, in whose silent shade,
For the modest Muses made,
So oft I have, the evening still,
At the fountain of a rill,
Sate upon a flow'ry bed,
With my hand beneath my
While stray'd my eyes o'er Towy's flood,
Over mead, and over wood,
From house to house, from hill to hill,
Till Contemplation had her fill.
About his chequer'd sides I wind,
And leave his brooks and meads behind,
And groves and grottoes where I lay,
And vistas shooting beams of day:
Wide and wider spreads the vale,
As circles on a smooth canal;
The mountains round, unhappy fate!
Soon or later, of all height,
Withdraw their summits from the skies,
And lessen as the others rise;
Still the prospect wider spreads,
Adds a thousand woods and meads,
Still it widens, widens still,
And sinks the newly-risen hill.
Now, I gain the mountain's brow;
What a landscape lies below?
No clouds, no vapours intervene,
But the gay, the open scene
Does the face of Nature show,
In all the hues of Heav'n's bow!
And, swelling to embrace the light,
Spreads around beneath the sight.
Old castles on the cliffs arise,
Proudly tow'ring in the skies;
Rushing from the woods, the spires
Seem from hence ascending fires!
Half his beams Apollo sheds
On the yellow mountain-heads!
Gilds the fleeces of the flocks,
And glitters on the broken rocks.
Below me trees unnumber'd rise,
Beautiful in various dyes :
The gloomy pine, the poplar blue,
The yellow beech, the sable yew,
The slender fir, that taper grows,
The sturdy oak, with broad-spread boughs,
And beyond, the purple grove,
Haunt of Phillis, queen of love!
Gaudy as the op'ning dawn,
Lies a long and level lawn,
On which a dark hill, steep and high,
Holds and charms the wand'ring eye;
Deep are his feet in Towy's flood,
His sides are cloth'd with waving wood,
And ancient towers crown his brow,
That cast an awful look below;
Whose ragged walls the ivy creeps,
And with her arms from falling keeps,
So both a safety from the wind
In mutual dependance find.
"Tis now the raven's bleak abode;
"Tis now th' apartment of the toad;
And there the fox securely feeds,
And there the pois'nous adder breeds,
Conceal'd in ruins, moss, and weeds:
While, ever and anon, there falls
Huge heaps of hoary moulder'd walls.
Yet time has been, that lifts the low,
And level lays the lofty brow,
Has seen the broken pile complete,
Big with the vanity of state :
But transient is the smile of fate;
A little rule, a little sway,
A sunbeam in a winter's day,
Is all the proud and mighty have
Between the cradle and the grave.
And see the rivers how they run,
Through woods and meads, in shade and sun,
Sometimes swiftly, sometimes slow,
Wave succeeding wave they go
A various journey to the deep,
Like human life to endless sleep!
Thus in Nature's vesture wrought,
To instruct our wand'ring thought;
Thus she dresses green and gay,
To disperse our cares away.
Ever charming, ever new,
When will the landscape tire the view!
The fountain's fall, the river's flow,
The woody vallies warm and low;
The windy summit, wild and high,
Roughly rushing on the sky;