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My fancy, ere yet liberty of choice
Had found me, or the hope of being free.
My very dreams were rural; rural, too,
The first born efforts of my youthful muse,
Sportive, and jingling her poetic bells
Ere yet her ear was mistress of their pow'rs.
No bard could please me but whose lyre was tun'd
To Nature's praises. Heroes and their feats
Fatigued me, never weary of the pipe
Of Tityrus, assembling, as he sang,
The rustic throng beneath his fav’rite beech.
Then Milton had indeed a poet's charms:
New to my taste, his Paradise surpass’d
The struggling efforts of my boyish-tongue
To speak its excellence. I danc'd for joy.
I marvel'd much that, at so ripe an age
As twice sev’n years, his beauties had then first
Engag'd my wonder ; and, admiring still,
And still admiring, with regret suppos’d
The joy half loft because not sooner found.

There, too, enamour'd of the life I lov'd,
Pathetic in its praise, in its pursuit
Determin'd, and poffeffing it at last
With transports such as favour'd lovers feel,
I itudied, priz'd, and wish'd that I had known,
Ingenious Cowley! and, though now reclaim'd
By modern lights from an erroneous taste,
I cannot but lament thy splendid wit
Entangled in the cobwebs of the schools.
I still revere thee, courtly though retird;
Though stretch'd at ease in Chertsey's filent bow'rs,
Not unemploy’d; and finding rich amends
For a lost world in solitude and verse.

'Tis born with all: the love of Nature's works
Is an ingredient in the compound man,
Infus'd at the creation of the kind.
And, though th' Almighty Maker has throughout
Discriminated each from each, by strokes
And touches of his hand, with so much art
Diversified, that two were never found

Twins at all points-yet this obtains in all,
That all discern a beauty in his works,
And all can taste them : minds that have been form'd

And tutor’d, with a relish more exact,
But none without some relish, none uninov'd.
It is a flame that dies not even there,
Where nothing feeds it: neither business, crowds,
Nor habits of luxurious city-life;
Whatever else they (mother of true worth
In human bosoms; quench it, or abate.
The villas with which London stands begirt,
Like a swarth Indian with his belt of beads,

Prove it. A breath of unadult'rate air,

The glimpse of a green pasture, how they cheer
The citizen, and brace his languid frame !
Ev’n in the stilling bosom of the town,
A garden, in which nothing thrives, has charms
That soothe the rich possessor ; much consolid,
That here and there some sprigs of mournful mint,
Of nightshade, or valerian, grace the well

He cultivates. These serve him with a hint

That Nature lives; that sight-refreshing green
Is still the liv'ry she delights to wear,
Though fickly samples of th' exub'rant whole.
What are the casements lind with creeping herbs,
The prouder falhes fronted with a range
Of orange, myrtle, or the fragrant weed,
The Frenchman's * darling ? are they not all proofs
That man, immur'd in cities, still retains
His inborn inextinguishable thirst
Of rural scenes, compensating his lofs
By supplemental shifts, the best he may ?
The most unfurnish'd with the means of life,
And they that never pass their brick-wall bounds
To range the fields and treat their lungs with air,
Yet feel the burning instinct : over-head
Suspend their crazy boxes, planted thick,
And water'd duly. There the pitcher stands

* Mignonette,

A fragmenit, and the spouclefs tea-pot there';
Sad witnesses how clofe-pént man regrets
The country, with what árdour he contrivés
A peep at nature, when he can no more.

Hail, therefore, patronefs of health, and ease, And contemplation, heart-consoling joys And harmless pleasures, in the throng'd abode Of multitudes unknown! hail, rural life ! Address himself who will to the pursuit Of honours, or emoluments, or fame; I shall not add myself to such a chase, Thwart his attempts, or envy his success. Some must be great. Great offices will have Great talents. And God gives to ev'ry man. The virtue, temper, understanding, tafte, That lifts him into life ; and lets him fall Just in the niche he was ordain'd to fill. To the deliv'rer of an injur'd land He gives a tongue enlarge upon, an heart

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