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How often have I bless'd the coming day,
When toil remitting, lent its turn to play,
And all the village train from labour free,
Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree!
While many a pastime circled in the shade,
The young contending as the old survey'd :
And many a gambol frolick'd o'er the ground,
And slights of arts and feats of strength went round:
And still, as each repeated pleasure tir'd,
Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspir'd:
The dancing pair, that simply sought renown,
By holding out to tire each other down;
The swain, mistrustless of his smutted face,
While secret laughter titter'd round the place:
The bashful virgin's sidelong looks of love,
The matron's glance, that would those looks reprove.
Sweet was the sound, when oft at evening's close,
Up yonder hill the village murmur rose.
There as I pass'd with careless steps and slow,
The mingling notes came soften'd from below.
The swain responsive as the milkmaid sung;
The sober herd that low'd to meet their young;
The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool;
The playful children just let loose from school;
The watch dog's voice, that bay'd the whisp'ring wind;
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind;
These all, in soft confusion, sought the shade,
And filled each pause the nightingale had made.
V.-The Painter who pleased Nobody and Every Body.
LEST men suspect your tale untrue,
Keep probability in view.
The trav'ller leaping o'er those bounds,
The credit of his book confounds,
Who with his tongue hath armies routed,
Makes e'en his real courage doubted.
`But flatt'ry never seems absurd;
The flatter'd always take your word;
Impossibilities seem just;
They take the strongest praise on trust;
Hyperboles, though e'er so great,
Will still come short of self-conceit.
He lost his friends; his practice fail'd;
Truth should not always be reveal'd;
In dusty piles his pictures lay,
For no one sent the second pay.
Two busto's, fraught with ev'ry grace,
A Venus' and Apollo's face,
He plac'd in view, resolv'd to please,
Whoever sat, he drew from these ;
From these corrected ev'ry feature,
And spirited each awkward creature.
All things were set; the hour was come,
His palette ready o'er his thumb:
My Lord appear'd, and seated right,
In proper attitude and light.
The painter look'd, he sketch'd the piece;
Then dipp'd his pencil, talk'd of Greece,
Of Titian's tints, of Guido's air,
"Those eyes, my Lord, the spirit there,
Might well a Raphael's hand require,
To give them all their native fire;
The features, fraught with sense and wit,
You'll grant, are very hard to hit :
But yet, with patience, you shall view
As much as paint or art can do:
Observe the work."-My Lord reply'd,
"Till now I thought my mouth was wide:
Besides, my nose is somewhat long;
Dear sir, for me 'tis far too young.".
"O pardon me," the artist cry'd,
"In this, we painters must decide.
The piece e'en common eyes must strike
I warrant it extremely like."
My Lord examin'd it anew,
No looking-glass seem'd half so true.
A lady came. With borrow'd grace,
He from his Venus form'd her face.
Her lover prais'd the painter's art,
So like the picture in his heart!
To ev'ry age some charms he lent;
E'en beauties were almost content.
Through all the town his art they prais'd,
His custom grew, his price was rais'd.
Had he the real likeness shown,
Would any man the picture own?
But when thus happily he wrought,
Each found the likeness in his thought.
VI.-Diversity in the Human Character.
VIRTUOUS and vicious every man must be, Few in th' extreme, but all in th' degree: The rogue and fool by fits are fair and wise, And e'en the best, by fits what they despise.
'Tis but by part we follow good or ill, For, Vice or Virtue, self directs it still; Each individual seeks a sev'ral goal;
But Heaven's great view is one, and that the whole;
That counterworks each folly and caprice;
That disappoints th' effect of ev'ry vice;
That happy frailties to all ranks apply'd-
Shame to the virgin, to the matron pride,
Fear to the statesman, rashness to the chief,
To kings presumption, and to crowds belief.
That Virtue's end from vanity can raise,
Which seeks no int'rest, no reward but praise;
And build on wants, and on defects of mind,
The joy, the peace, the glory of mankind.
Heaven, forming each on other to depend, A master, or a servant, or a friend,
Bids each on other for assistance call,
Till one man's weakness grows the strength of all.
Wants, frailties, passions, closer still ally
The common int'rest, or endear the tie.
To those we owe true friendship, love sincere,
Each homefelt joy that life inherits here;
Yet from the same, we learn in its decline,
Those joys, those loves, those int'rests to resign.
Taught half by reason, half by mere decay,
To welcome death, and calmly pass away.
Whate'er the passion, knowledge, fame, or pelf, Not one would change his neighbour with himself. The learn'd is happy, nature to explore,
The fool is happy that he knows no more ;
The rich is happy in the plenty given,
The poor contents him with the care of heav'n :
See the blind beggar dance, the cripple sing,
The sot a hero, lunatic a king;
The starving chymist in his golden views
Supremely blest, the poet in his muse.
See some strange comfort ev'ry state attend,
And pride, bestow'd on all, a common friend;
See some fit passion ev'ry age supply,
Hope travels through, nor quits us when we die.
Behold the child, by nature's kindly law,
Pleas'd with a rattle, tickled with a straw;
Some livelier plaything gives his youth delight;
A little louder, but as empty quite;
Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage,
And cards and counters are the toys of age;
Pleas'd with this bauble still, as that before;
Till tir'd he sleeps, and life's poor play is o'er.
Meanwhile opinion gilds, with varying rays,
Those painted clouds that beautify our days;
Each want of happiness by hope supply'd,
And each vacuity of sense by pride.
These build as fast as knowledge can destroy :
In folly's cup still laughs the bubble, joy :
One prospect lost, another still we gain,
And not a vanity is giv'n in vain :
E'en mean self-love becomes, by force divine,
The scale to measure others wants by thine.
See! and confess, one comfort still must rise;
'Tis this: Though man's a fool, yet God is wise.
VII. The Toilet.
AND now unveil'd, the toilet stands display'd, Each silver vase in mystic order laid. First, rob'd in white, the nymph intent adores, With head uncover'd the cosmetic pow'rs. A heav'nly image in the glass appears; To that she bends, to that her eye she tears. Th' inferior priestess, at the altar's side, Trembling, begins the sacred rites of pride. Unnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here The various off'rings of the world appear; From each, she nicely culls, with curious toil, And decks the goddess with the glittering spoil. This casket India's glowing gems unlocks, And all Arabia breathes from yonder. box. The tortoise here, and elephant unite, Transform'd to combs, the speckled and the white ; Here files of pins extend their shining rows, Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet-doux. Now awful beauty puts on all its arms, The fair, each moment, rises in her charms, Repairs her smiles, awakens every grace, And calls forth all the wonders of her face.
VIII. The Hermit.
FAR in a wild, unknown to public view,
From youth to age, a rev'rend hermit grew.
The moss his bed, the cave his humble cell,
His food the fruits, his drink the chrystal well;
Remote from man, with God he pass'd the days;
Prayer all his bus'ness, all his pleasure praise.
A life so sacred, such serene repose,
Seem'd heav'n itself, till one suggestion rose :
That vice should triumph, virtue vice obey;
Thus sprung some doubt of Providence's sway.
His hopes no more a certain prospect boast,
And all the tenor of his soul is lost.
So when a smooth expanse receives, imprest,
Calm nature's image on its wat'ry breast,
Down bend the banks; the trees, depending grow;
And skies, beneath, with answ'ring colours glow;
But if a stone the gentle sea divide,
Swift ruffling circles curl on ev'ry side
And glimm'ring fragments of a broken sun,
Banks, seas, and skies, in thick disorder run.
To clear this doubt; to know the world by sight;
To find if books or swains report it right;
(For yet by swains alone the world he knew,
Whose feet came wand'ring o'er the nightly dew.)
He quits his cell; the pilgrim staff he bore,
And fix'd the scallop in his hat before;
Then, with the sun a rising journey went,
Sedate to think, and watching each event.
The morn was wasted in the pathless grass,
And long and lonesome was the wild to pass;
But when the southern sun had warm'd the day,
A youth came posting o'er a crossing way;
His raiment decent, his complexion fair,
And soft in graceful ringlets way'd his hair.
Then, near approaching, Father hail! he cry'd;
And, hail! my son, the rev'rend sire reply'd;
Words follow'd words; from question answer flow'd;
And talk of various kind deceiv'd the road;
Till, each with other pleas'd, and loth to part,
While in their age they differ, join in heart.
Thus stands an aged elm in ivy bound;
Thus youthful ivy clasps an elm around.
Now sunk the sun; the closing hour of day,
Came onward, mantled o'er with sober grey;
Nature, in silence, bid the world repose;
When, near the road, a stately palace rose ;
There, by the moon, through ranks of trees they pass,
Whose verdure crown'd their sloping sides with grass.
It chanc'd the noble master of the dome,
Still made his house the wand'ring stranger's home;
Yet still, the kindness, from a thirst of praise,
Prov'd the vain flourish of expensive ease.
The pair arrive; the liv'ry servants wait,
Their lord receives them at the pompous gate:
A table groans with costly piles of food;
And all is more than hospitably good.
Then, led to rest, the day's long toil they drown,
Deep sunk in sleep, and silk, and heaps of down.
At length 'tis morn; and at the dawn of day,
Along the wide canals the zephyrs play;
Fresh o'er the gay parterres, the breezes creep,
And shake the neighb'ring wood, to banish sleep.
Up rise the guests, obedient to the call;
An early banquet deck'd the splendid hall;
Rich luscious wine a golden goblet grac'd,
Which the kind master forc'd the guests to taste.
Then, pleas'd and thankful, from the porch they go,
And, but the landlord, none had cause of wo.
His cup was vanish'd; for, in secret guise,
The younger guest purloin'd the glitt'ring prize.