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With all his canvas set, and inexpert,
And therefore heedless, can withstand thy power?
Praise from the ri veiled lips of toothless, bald
Decrepitude, and in the looks of lean
And craving poverty, and in the bow Respectful of the smutched artificer, Is oft too welcome, and may much disturb
The bias of the purpose. How
much more Poured forth by beauty splendid and
In language soft as adoration breathes?
Ah, spare your idol! think him human still;
Charms he may have, but he has frailties too;
Dote not too much, nor spoil what ye admire.
[From The Tali.)
He is the freeman whom the truth
makes free, And all are slaves beside. There's
not a chain That hellish foes confederate for his
Can wind around him, but he casts it off
With as much ease as Samson his
green withes. He looks abroad into the varied field Of nature, and though poor perhaps,
compared With those whose mansions glitter
in his sight, Calls the delightful scenery all his
His are the mountains, and the valleys his, And the resplendent rivers.
Yes—you may fill your garners, ye
that reap The loaded soil, and ye may waste
In senseless riot; but ye will not find In feast or in the chase, in song or dance,
A liberty like his, who unimpeached Of usurpation, and to no man's wrong.
Appropriates nature as his Father's work,
And has a richer use of yours, than you.
He is indeed a freeman; free by birth Of no mean city, planned or e'er the hills
Were built, the fountains opened, or the sea
With all his roaring multitude of waves.
His freedom is the same in every state;
And no condition of this changeful life,
So manifold in cares, whose every day
Brings its own evil with it, makes it less:
For he has wings that neither sickness, pain,
Nor penury can cripple or confine.
No nook so narrow but he spreads them there
With ease, and is at large. The oppressor holds
His body bound, but knows not what a range
His spirit takes, unconscious of a chain,
And that to bind him is a vain attempt
Whom God delights in, and in whom he dwells.
[From The Task:]
THE WINTER'S EVENING.
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loudhissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups,
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in. Not such his evening, who with shining face
Sweats in the crowded theatre, and, squeezed
And bored with elbow-points through
both his sides, Outscokls the ranting actor on the
Nor his, who patient stands till his
feet throb, • And his head thumps, to feed upon
the breath Of patriots, bursting with heroic rage, Or placemen, all tranquillity and
This folio of four pages, happy work! Which not even critics criticize; that holds
.Inquisitive attention, while I read, Fast bound in chains of silence, which the fair.
Though eloquent themselves, yet fear
to break; What is it but a map of busy life, Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns?
'Tis pleasant, through the loopholes
of retreat, To peep at such a world; to see the
Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd;
To hear the roar she sends through
all her gates At a safe distance, where the dying
Falls a soft murmur on the uninjured ear.
Thus sitting, and surveying thus at ease
The globe and its concerns, I seem advanced
To some secure and more than mortal height,
That liberates and exempts me from them all.
It turns submitted to my view, turns round
With.all its generations; I behold The tumult, and am still. The sound of war
Has lost its terrors ere it reaches me; Grieves, but alarms me not. I mourn
the pride And avarice, that make man a wolf
Hear the faint echo of those brazen throats,
By which he speaks the language of
his heart, And sigh, but never tremble at the
He travels and expatiates, as the bee From flower to flower, so he from
land to land; The manners, customs, policy, of all Pay contribution to the store he
He sucks intelligence in every clime, And spreads the honey of his deep research
At his return,—a rich repast for me. He travels, and I too. I tread his deck,
Ascend his topmast, through his
peering eyes Discover countries, with a kindred
Suffer his woes, and share in his escapes;
While fancy, like the finger of a clock,
Runs the great circuit, and is still at home.
0 winter, ruler of the inverted year, Thy scattered hair with sleet like
Thy breath congealed upon thy lips, thy cheeks
Fringed with a beard made white with other snows
Than those of age, thy forehead wrapped in clouds,
A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy throne
A sliding car, indebted to no wheels,
But urged by storms along its slippery way,
I love thee, all unlovely as thou
And dreaded as thou art! Thou
hold'st the sun A prisoner in the yet undawning
Shortening his journey between morn
and noon, And hurrying him, impatient of his
Down to the rosy west; but kindly still
Compensating his loss with added hours
Of social converse and instructive ease,
And gathering at short notice, in one group
The family dispersed, and fixing thought,
Not less dispersed by daylight and its cares.
I crown thee king of intimate delights,
Fireside enjoyments, homeborn happiness,
And all the comforts that the lowly roof
Of undisturbed retirement, and the hours
Of long uninterrupted evening, know. No rattling wheels stop short before
these gates; No powdered pert proficient in the
Of sounding an alarm assaults these doors
Till the street rings; no stationary steeds
Cough their own knell, while, heedless of the sound.
The silent circle fan themselves, and quake:
But here the needle plies its busy task,
The pattern grows, the well-depicted flower,
Wrought patiently into the snowy lawn,
Unfolds its bosom; buds, and leaves, and sprigs,
And curling tendrils, gracefully disposed,
Follow the nimble finger of the fair;
A wreath, that cannot fade, of flowers, that blow
With most success when all besides decay.
The poet's or historian's page by one
Made vocal for the amusement of the
The sprightly lyre, whose treasure of
sweet sounds The touch from many a trembling
chord shakes out; And the clear voice symphonious, yet
And in the charming strife triumphant still,
Beguile the night, and set a keener edge
On female industry: the threaded steel
Flies swiftly, and unf elt the task proceeds.
[From The Tatk.]
I Would not enter on my list of friends,
(Though graced with polished manners and fine sense, Yet wanting sensibility,) the man Who needlessly sets" foot upon a worm.
An inadvertent step may crush the snail
That crawls at evening in the public path;
But he that has humanity, forewarned,
Will tread aside, and let the reptile live.
The creeping vermin, loathsome to
the sight, And charged perhaps with venom,
that intrudes, A visitor unwelcome, into scenes Sacred to neatness and repose, the
The chamber, or refectory, may die:
And guiltless of offence, they range the air
Or take their pastime in the spacious field.
There they are privileged; and he that hunts
Or harms them there is guilty of a wrong.
Disturbs the economy of Nature's realm,
Who, when she formed, designed them an abode.
The sum is this: If man's convenience, health,
Or safety interfere, his rights and claims
Are paramount, and must extinguish theirs.
Else they are all — the meanest things
that are — As free to live, and to enjoy that life, As God was free to form them at the
Who in his sovereign wisdom made them all.
Ye, therefore, who love mercy, teach
your sons To love it too.
[From The Task.]
Hark! 'tis the twanging horn! o'er yonder bridge, That with its wearisome but needless length
Bestrides the wintry flood; in which
the moon Sees her unwrinkled face reflected
bright: — He comes, the herald of a noisy world, With spattered boots, strapped waist,
and frozen locks, News from all nations lumbering at
True to his task, the close-packed
load behind. Yet careless what he brings, his one
Is to conduct it to the destined inn: And having dropped the expected
bag, pass on. He whistles as he goes, light-hearted
Cold and yet cheerful: messenger of grief
Perhaps to thousands, and of joy to some: (joy. To him indifferent whether grief or
THE SOUL' S PROGRESS CHECKED BY TOO ABS0RB1XQ LOVE.
As woodbine weds the plant within
her reach, Rough elm, or smooth-grained ash,
or glossy beech, In spiral rings ascends the trunk, and
Her golden tassels on the leafy sprays, But does a mischief while she lends a grace,
Straitening its growth by such a strict embrace,
So love that clings around the noblest minds,
Forbids the advancement of the soul he binds.
I Am monarch of all I survey,
From the centre all round to the sea,
O solitude! where are the charms That sages have seen in thy face?
Better dwell in the midst of alarms, Than reign in this horrible place.
I am out of humanity's reach,
I must finish my journey alone, Never hear the sweet music of speech;
I start at the sound of my own. The beasts that roam over the plain,
My form with indifference see. They are so unacquainted with man,
Their tameness is shocking to me.
Society, friendship, and love,
Divinely bestowed upon man. Oh, had I the wings of a dove,
How soon would I taste you again! My sorrows I then might assuage
In the ways of religion and truth. Might learn from the wisdom of age,
And be cheered by the sallies of youth.
Religion! what treasure untold
More precious than silver and gold,
Or all that this earth can afford. But the sound of the church-going bell,
These valleys and rocks never heard,
Ne'er sighed at the sound of a knell, Or smiled when a Sabbath appeared.
Ye winds that have made me your sport,
Convey to this desolate shore, Some cordial endearing report
Of a land I shall visit no more. My friends, do they now and then send
A wish or a thought after me? O tell me I yet have a friend, Though a friend I am never to see.
How fleet is the glance of the mind! Compared with the speed of its flight,
The tempest itself lags behind, And the swift-winged arrows of light.
When I think of my own native land,
But alas! recollection at hand
But the sea-fowl has gone to her nest,
The beast is laid down in his lair, Even here is a season of rest,
And 1 to my cabin repair. There's mercy in every place,
And mercy, encouraging thought! Gives even affliction a grace,
And reconciles man to his lot.
The twentieth year is well nigh past Since first our sky was overcast; — Ah, would that this might be the last!
Thy spirits have a fainter flow,
Thy needles, once a shining store,
For though thou gladly wouldst fulfil
But well thou play'dst the housewife's part,
And all thy threads with magic art, Have wound themselves about this heart,
Thy indistinct expressions seem
Thy silver locks, once auburn bright, Are still more lovely in my sight Than golden beams of orient light, My Mary!
For could I view nor them nor thee, What sight worth seeing could I see?
The sun would rise in vain for me,
Partakers of thy sad decline,
Such feebleness of limb thou provest,
And still to love, though pressed with ill,
In wintry age to feel no chill.
But ah! by constant heed I know, How oft the sadness that I show Transforms thy smiles to looks of woe 1 My Mary!
And should my future lot be cast With much resemblance of the past, Thy worn-out heart will break at last, My Mary!