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Indulgent nurse of ev'ry tender gale,
Parent of flowrets, old Arcadia, hail!
Here in the cool my limbs at ease I spread,
Here let thy poplars whisper o'er my head:
Still slide thy waters, soft among the trees
Thy aspins quiver in a breathing breeze!
Smile, all ye vallies, in eternal spring,
Be hush'd, ye winds, while Pope and Virgil sing.
In English lays, and all sublimely great,
Thy Homer warms with all his ancient heat;
He shines in council, thunders in the fight,
And flames with ev'ry sense of great delight.
Long has that poet reign'd, and long unknown,
Like monarchs sparkling on a distant throne;
In all the majesty of Greek retir'd,
Himself unknown, his mighty name admir'd;
His language failing, wrapt him round with night;
Thine, rais'd by thee, recalls the work to light.
So wealthy mines, that ages long before
Fed the large realms around with golden ore,
When chok'd by sinking banks, no more appear,
And shepherds only say, 'The mines were here:'
Should some rich youth (if Nature warm his heart,
And all his projects stand inform'd with art)
Here clear the caves, there ope the leading vein,
The mines detected flame with gold again.
How vast, how copious, are thy new designs!
How ev'ry music varies in thy lines!
Still, as I read, I feel my bosom beat,
And rise in raptures by another's heat.
Thus in the wood, when summer dress'd the days,
While Windsor lent us tuneful hours of ease,
Our ears the lark, the thrush, the turtle, blest,
And Philomela sweetest o'er the rest:
The shades resound with song—O softly tread,
While a whole season warbles round ray head.
This to my friend—and when a friend inspires,
My silent harp its master's hand requires,
Shakes off the dust, and makes these rocks resound;
For Fortune placed me in unfertile ground;
Far from the joys that with my soul agree,
From wit, from learning—very far from thee.
Here moss-grown trees expand the smallest leaf;
Here half an acre's corn is half a sheaf;
Here hills with naked heads the tempest meet,
Rocks at their sides, and torrents at their feet;
Or lazy lakes, unconscious of a flood,
Whose dull brown Naiads ever sleep in mud:
Yet here content can dwell, and learned ease,
A friend delight me, and an author please;
E'en here I sing, when Pope supplies the theme,
Show my own love, though not increase his fame.