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GAY.

While with the mounting sun the meadow glows,
The fading herbage round he loosely throws:
But, if some sign portend a lasting shower,
Th' experienc'd swain foresees the coming hour;
His sun-burnt hands the scattering fork forsake,
And ruddy damsels ply the saving rake;
In rising hills the fragrant harvest grows,
And spreads along the field in equal rows.

* * * * *
Or when the ploughman leaves the task of day,
And trudging homeward, whistles on the way;
When the big-udder'd cows with patience stand,
Waiting the strokings of the damsel's hand;
No warbling cheers the woods; the feather'd choir,
To court kind slumbers, to the sprays retire:
When no rude gale disturbs the sleeping trees,
Nor aspen leaves confess the gentlest breeze;
Engag'd in thought, to Neptune's bounds I stray,
To take my farewell of the parting day;
For in the deep the Sun his glory hides,
A streak of gold the sea and sky divides :
The purple clouds their amber linings show,
And, edg’d with flame, rolls every wave below:
Here pensive I behold the fading light,
And o'er the distant billow lose my sight.

* * * * *
Now let the fisherman his toils prepare,
And arm himself with every watery snare;
His hooks, his lines, peruse with careful eye,
Increase his tackle, and his rod re-tye.

When floating clouds their spongy fleeces drain,
Troubling the streams with swift descending rain ;
And waters tumbling down the mountain's side,
Bear the loose soil into the swelling tide;
Then soon as vernal gales begin to rise,
And drive the liquid burthen through the skies,
The fisher to the neighbouring current speeds,
Whose rapid surface purls unknown to weeds: .
Upon a rising border of the brook
He sits him down, and ties the treacherous hook;:.
Now expectation cheers his eager thought,
His bosom glows with treasures yet uncaught;
Before his eyes a banquet seems to stand,

Far up the stream the twisted hair he throws, Which down the murmuring current gently flows; When, if or chance or hunger's powerful sway Directs the roving trout this fatal way, He greedily sucks in the twining bait, And tugs and nibbles the fallacious meat: Now, happy fisherman, now twitch the line ! How thy rod bends! behold, the prize is thine !

When a brisk gale against the current blows, And all the watery plain in wrinkles flows, Then let the fisherman his art repeat, Where bubbling eddies favour the deceit. If an enormous salmon chance to spy The wanton errors of the floating fly, He lifts his silver gills above the flood, And greedily sucks in th' unfaithful food; Then downward plunges with the fraudful prey, And bears with joy the little spoil away: Soon in smart pain he feels the dire mistake, Lashes the wave, and beats the foamy lake; With sudden rage he now aloft appears, And in his eye convulsive anguish bears; And now again, impatient of the wound, He rolls and wreathes his shining body round; Then headlong shoots beneath the dashing tide, The trembling fins the boiling wave divide. Now hope exults the fisher's beating heart, Now he turns pale, and fears his dubious art; He views the tumbling fish with longing eyes, While the line stretches with th' unwieldy prize; Each motion humours with his steady hands, And one slight hair the mighty bulk commands ; Till, tir'd at last, despoil'd of all his strength, The game athwart the stream unfolds his length. He now, with pleasure, views the gasping prize Gnash his sharp teeth, and roll his blood-shot eyes; Then draws him to the shore, with artful care, And lifts his nostrils in the sickening air: Upon the burthen'd stream he floating lies, Stretches his quivering fins, and gasping dies.

THE FARMER'S WIFE AND THE RAVEN.

A FABLE.

“ Why are those tears ? why droops your head?
Is then your other husband dead?
Or does a worse disgrace betide ?
Hath no one since his death apply'd ?".

« Alas! you know the cause too well;
The salt is spilt, to me it fell;
Then, to contribute to my loss,
My knife and fork were laid across;
On Friday too! the day I dread!
Would I were safe at home in bed !
Last night (I vow to Heaven 'tis true)
Bounce from the fire a coffin flew.
Next post some fatal news shall tell :
God send my Cornish friends be well!"

“ Unhappy widow, cease thy tears,
Nor feel affliction in thy fears;
Let not thy stomach be suspended;
Eat now, and weep when dinner's ended;
And, when the butler clears the table,
For thy desert I'll read my Fable.”

Betwixt her swagging panniers' load
A farmer's wife to market rode,
And, jogging on, with thoughtful care,
Summ'd up the profits of her ware ;
When, starting from her silver dream,
Thus far and wide was heard her scream.

“ That raven on yon left-hand oak
(Curse on his ill-betiding croak !)
Bodes me no good.” No more she said,
When poor blind Ball, with stumbling tread,
Fell prone; o'erturn'd the pannier lay,
And her mash'd eggs bestrow'd the way.

She, sprawling in the yellow road, Rail'd, swore, and curs’d: “ Thou croaking toad, A murrain take thy whoreson throat ! I knew misfortune in the note.”

“ Dame," quoth the raven, “ spare your oaths, Unclench your fist, and wipe your clothes. But why on me those curses thrown?

For, had you laid this brittle ware
On Dun, the old sure-footed mare,
Though all the ravens of the hundred
With croaking had your tongue out-thundered,
Sure-footed Dun had kept her legs,
And you, good woman, sav'd your eggs.”

A CONTEMPLATION ON NIGHT.
WHETHER amid the gloom of night I stray,
Or my glad eyes enjoy revolving day,
Still nature's various face informs my sense,
Of an all-wise, all-powerful Providence.

When the gay sun first breaks the shades of night,
And strikes the distant eastern hills with light,
Colour returns, the plains their livery wear,
And a bright verdure clothes the smiling year;
The blooming flowers with opening beauties glow,
And grazing flocks their milky fleeces show;
The barren cliffs with chalky fronts arise,
And a pure azure arches o'er the skies.
But when the gloomy reign of night returns,
Stript of her fading pride all nature mourns :
The trees no more their wonted verdure boast,
But weep in dewy tears their beauty lost:
No distant landscapes draw our curious eyes;
Wrapt in night's robe the whole creation lies.
Yet still, ev'n now, while darkness clothes the land,
We view the traces of th' Almighty hand;
Millions of stars in heaven's wide vault appear,
And with new glories hangs the boundless sphere:
The silver moon her western couch forsakes,
And o'er the skies her nightly circle makes ;
Her solid globe beats back the sunny rays,
And to the world her borrow'd light répays.

WILLIAM SOMERVILLE, the descendant of an ancient and illustrious family, was born at Edston, Warwickshire, in 1692. He was educated at Winchester; and was elected thence to New College, Oxford. In his earlier life he wrote some skilful and graceful poems-chiefly odes to distinguished men and his personal friends. But it was not until he was somewhat advanced in years that he produced “ The Chace"the poem which places him among the British Poets. Having been born to an inheritance of fifteen hundred a year, he was enabled to pursue his tastes, and, as a keen sportsman, wrote of what he saw and felt:

“ Bold to attempt, and happy to excel,

His numerous verse, the huntsman's art shall tell."

He resided chiefly in the country, “stepping from exercise to learned ease," and, according to one of his biographers, " set a good example to men of his own class, by devoting part of his time to elegant knowledge.” He was at once a skilful sportsman and a man of letters.

Unhappily, however, he lacked prudence; and the rational enjoyments of the field led to the irrational joys of the table. The “elegant competence" he inherited was wasted by thoughtless hospitality; and before age came upon him, he had to encounter pecuniary difficulties, which he took the most mistaken of all modes to enable him to endure. His fast friend, Shenstone, who states that he loved him because of his flocci-nauci-nihili-pillification of money, thus writes of his death: “I can now excuse all his foibles—impute them to age and distress of circumstances; the last of these considerations wrings my very soul to think on. Por a man of high spirit, conscious of having (at least in one production) generally pleased the world, to be plagued and threatened by wretches that are very low in every sense; to be forced to drink himself into pains of the body, in order to get rid of the pains of the mind, is a misery !"

This is a melancholy picture of one whose " foibles" overcame duty; and whose naturally sound understanding and amiable disposition were insufficient to preserve him from ruin of constitution and property :

" For, prodigal of life, in one rash night

He lavished more than might support three days." He died in 1742, in the fiftieth year of his age, and was buried at Wotton, near Henley, in Arden. He is described as "a man of great benevolence and very agreeable manners."

" The Chase," besides the exceeding merit of its composition, will always be, as it has always been, highly popular. It describes so eloquently, and with so much truth and accuracy-so as to satisfy as well as please the sportsman---the various modes and circumstances under which “ the field " may lead to health and enjoyment. It is so full of life and fire; and changes admirably its character with the more pensive and retired or bustling and exciting scenes which it describes. The jovial huntsman-the contemplative angler-alike find themselves and their choicest pleasures portrayed by one who was capable of understanding and appreciating both. The “ Field Sports" is chiefly confined to the ancient but now almost forgotten sport of hawking. He introduces it, indeed, as a supplement to “The Chase," desiring to give some account of all the more polite entertainments of the field to those gentlemen who have had “the goodness to encourage them."

His occasional poems are very numerous, and embrace a variety of topics-familiar epistles, odes, translations or imitations, ballads, hunting songs, and fables ; some of the latter are unfit to meet the eye of the general reader; among them, however, there are several which contain a fine moral, and they are rendered more effective by the interest of the story and the vividness of the descriptions.

Dr. Johnson limits his praise of Somerville to the adınission, that " he wrote very well for a gentleman;" a harsh and unjust conclusion; he is, at times, vigorous and elevated--and, in the treatment of a subject worthy of the Muse, yet presenting many difficulties, he has succeeded better than any other writer in our language. His minor productions are also frequently graceful and elegant, and always easy and

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