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And lifts on contemplation's wings
Above the sphere of mortal things.
Walk forth, and tread those dewy plains
Where night in awful silence reigns ;
Thy sky's serene, the air is still,
The woods stand list’ning on each hill,
To catch the sounds that sink and swell,
Wide-floating from the ev'ning bell,
While foxes howl, and beetles hum,
Sounds which make silence still more dumb :
And try if folly, rash and rude,
Dare on the sacred hour intrude.
Then turn your eyes to heaven's broad frame,
Attempt to quote those lights by name,
Which shine so thick, and spread so far ;
Conceive a sun in ev'ry star,
Round which upnumber'd planets roll,
While comets shoot athwart the whole ,
From system still to system ranging,
Their various benefits exchanging,
And shaking from their flaming hair
The things most needed ev'ry where
Explore this glorious scene, and say, .
That night discovers less than day;
That 'tis quite useless, and a sign.
That chance disposes, not design :
Whoe'er maintains it, I'll pronounce
Him either mad, or else a dunce ;
For reason, though 'tis far from strong,
Will soon find out that nothing's wrong,
From signs and evidences clear
Of wise contrivance ev'ry where.
The Hermit ended, and the youth
Became a convert to the truth;
At least he yielded, and confess'd
That all was order'd for the best. WILKIE.
Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain,
Where health and plenty cheer'd the labiring swain;
Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
And parting summer's ling’ring blooms delay'd ;
Dear lovely bow'rs of innocence and ease,
Seats of my youth, when ev'ry sport could please,
How often have I loiter'd o'er thy green,
Where humble happiness endear'd each scene !
How often have I pausd on ev'ry charm,
The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm,. .
The never-failing brook, the busy mill,
The decent church that topp'd the neighb’ring hill,
The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
For talking age and youthful converse made !
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 sleights of art and feats of strength went round.
These were thy charms, sweet village ! sports like these,
With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to please ;
These round thy bow'rs their cheerful influence shed;
These were thy charms,--but all these charms are fled.
Sweet smiling village! loveliest of the lawn,
Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn;
Amidst thy bow'rs the tyrant's band is seen,
And desolation saddens all thy green:
One only master grasps the whole domain,
And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain.
No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,
But chok'd with sedges, works its weedy way; .
Along thy glades, a solitary guest,
The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest; '
Amidst thy desert walks, the lapwing flies,
And tires their echoes with unvaried cries.
Sunk are thy bow'rs in shapeless ruin all,
And the long grass o’ertops the mould'ring wall;
And trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand, in
Far, far away thy children leave the land.
Ill fares the land, to hast’ning ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay.
Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;
A breath can make them, as a breath has made :
But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,
When once destroy'd can never be supplied.
A time there was, ere England's griefs began,
When ev'ry rood of ground maintain’d its man ;
For him light labour spread her wholesome store;
Just gave what life requir'd, but gave no more :
His best companions, innocence and health ;
And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.
But times are alter'd ; trade's unfeeling train
Usurp the land, and dispossess the swain.
Along the lawn, where scatter'd hamlets rose,
Unwieldy wealth and cumb'rous pomp repose ;
And ev'ry want to luxury allied,
And ev'ry pang that folly pays to pride.
Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,
Those calm desires that ask'd but little room,
Those healthful sports that grac'd the peaceful scene
Liv'd in each look and brighten'd all the green .
These, far departing, seek a kinder shore,
And rural mirth and manners are no more.
Sweet Auburn ! parent of the blissful hour,
Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's pow'r.
Here as I take my solitary rounds,
Amidst thy tangling walks, and ruin'd grounds ; .
And many a year elaps’d, return to yiew
Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew ;
Rememb'rance wakes with all her busy train,
Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.
In all my wand'rings round this world of care,
In all my griefs-and God has giv'n my share.com
I still had hopes, my latest hours to crown,
Amidst these humble bowr's to lay me down ;
To husband out life's taper at the close,
And keep the flame from wasting, by repose :
I still had hopes, for príde attends us still,
Amidst the swains to show my book-learn'd skill ;
Around my fire an evening group to draw,
And tell of all I felt, and all I saw :
And, as a hare, whom hounds and horns pursue,
Pants to the place from whence at first he flew,
I still had hopes, my long vexations past,
Here to return and die at home at last.
O blest retirement, friend to life's decline,
Retreat from care, that never must be mine
How blest is be, who crowns, in shades like these, ..
A youth of labour with an age of ease';
Who quits a world where strong temptations try,
And, since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly!
For him no wretches, born to work and weep, i
Explore the mine, or tempt the dang'rous deep;..
No surly porter stands in guilty state,
To spurn imploring famine from the gate ;
But on he moves to meet his latter end,
Angels around befriending virtue's friend ;
Sinks to the grave with unperceiy'd decay,
While resignation gently slopes the way;
And, all his prospects bright ning to the last,
His heav'n commences ere the world be past !
Sweet was the sound, when oft, at ev’ning'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 milk maid 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 tbat bay'd the whispåring wind,
And the loud laugh, that spoke the vacant mind;
These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
And fill?d each pause the nightingale had made.
But now the sounds of population fail,
No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,
No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread,
But all the bloomy flush of life is fled:
All but yon widow'd, solitary thing,
That feebly bends beside the plashy spring ;
She, wretched matron! forc'd in age, for bread,
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,
To pick her wintry fagot from the thorn,
To seek her nightly shed, and weep till morn;
She only left of all the harmless train,
The sad historian of the pensive plain!
Near yonder copse, where once the garden smil'd, And still where many a garden flow'r grows wild, There where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, The village,preacher's modest mansion rose. A man he was, to all the country dear, And passing rich, with forty pounds a year;
Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
Nor e'er had chang'd, nor wisb’d to change, his place.
Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for pow'r,
By doctrines fashion's to the varying hour; .
Far other aims his heart had learn'd to prize,
More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.
His house was known to all the vagrant train;
He chid their wand'rings, but reliev'd their paip.
The long-remember'd beggar was his guest,
Whose beard descending swept his aged breast;
The ruin'd spendthrift, now no longer proud,
Claim'd kindred there, and had his claims allow'd:
The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay,
Sat by his fire, and talk'd the night away;
Wept o'er his wounds, or tales of sorrow done,
Shoulder'd his crutch, and show'd how fields were won.
Pleas'd with his guests, the good man learn'd to glow,
And quite forgot their vices in their wo;
Careless their merits or their faults to scan;
His pity gave ere charity began.
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
And e'en his failings lean'd to virtue's side :
But, in his duty prompt at ev'ry call,
He watch'd and wept, he pray'd and felt for all :
. And, as a bird each fond endearment tries,
To tempt her new-fledg'd offspring to the skies ;
He tried eacı art, reprov'd each dull delay,
Allur'd to brighter worlds, and led the way.
Beside the bed, where parting life was laid,
And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismay'd,
The rev'rend champion stood. At his control
Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;
Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise,
And his last falt'ring accents whisper'd praise.
At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
His looks adorn'd the venerable place;
Truth from his lips prevail'd with double sway :
And fools who came to scoff, remain'd to pray.
The service past, around the pious man,
With ready zeal each honest rustic ran;
E’en children follow'd with endearing wile,
And pluck'd his gown, to share the good man's smile.
His ready smile a parent's warmth expressid ;
Their welfare pleas'd him, and their cares distress’da