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Of Fays and Fairies. Here they nightly meet,
I love to see the little goldfinch pluck
The chimney-haunting swallow too, my eye And ear well pleases. I delight to see
How suddenly he skims the glassy pool,
The bee observe;
How peaceable and solemn a retreat This wood affords! I love to quit the glare Of sultry day for shadows cool as these: The sober twilight of this winding way Lets fall a serious gloom upon the mind, Which checks, but not appals. Such is the haunt Religion loves, a meek and humble maid, Whose tender eye bears not the blaze of day. And here with Meditation hand in hand She walks, and feels her often-wounded heart Renew'd and heald. Speak softly. We presume. A whisper is too loud for solitude So mute and still.
FROM ADRIANO, OR THE FIRST OP JUNE.
He said, and led her to the cottage door, Dispos'd the basket, comforted and kiss'd her. Then to the garden bow'r together both, Link d arm in arm, proceeded. There they sat, And he his melancholy tale rehears'd, And she was all attention. He began, And told her of his youth and boyish days Till manhood came, his aged parents died, And he, a sighing lover, sought a wife. Twice was he wedded, and his former love Bore him a son, the cause of all his woe. He train d him, as he thought, to deeds of praise ; He taught him virtue, and he taught him truth, And sent him early to a public school. Here, as it seem'd, (but he had none to blame,) Virtue forsook him, and habitual vice Grew in her stead. He laugh'd at honesty, Became a sceptic, and could raise a doubt E'en of his father's truth. 'Twas idly done To tell him of another world, for wits Knew better; and the only good on earth Was pleasure ; not to follow that was sin. • Sure he that made us, made us to enjoy ; And why,' said he, 'should my fond father prate Of virtue and religion? They afford No joys, and would abridge the scanty few Of nature. Nature be my deity, Her let me worship, as herself enjoins, At the full board of plenty. Thoughtless boy ! So to a libertine he grew, a wit, A man of honour; boastful empty names That dignify the villain. Seldom seen, And when at home, under a cautious mask Concealing the lewd soul, his father thought He grew in wisdom as he grew in years. He fondly deem'd he could perceive the growth Of goodness and of learning shooting up, Like the young offspring of the shelter'd hop, Unusual progress in a summer's night. He call’d him home, with great applause dismiss a By his glad tutors--gave him good advice
Bless'd him, and bade him prosper. With warm heart
So joyful he to Alma Mater went
So Toby fares, nor heeds, Till terms are wasted, and the proud degree, Soon purchas'd, comes his learned toils to crown. He swears, and swears he knows not what, nor caies; Becomes a perjur'd graduate, and thinks soon To be a candidate for Orders. Ah ! Vain was the hope. Though many a wolf as fell Deceive the shepherd and devour the flock, Thou none shalt injure. On a luckless day, Withdrawn to taste the pleasures of the town, Heated with wine, a vehement dispute With a detested rival shook the roof. He penn'd a challenge, sent it, fought, and fell; And, if there be for such delinquents room In God's eternal mansions, went to heav'n.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD was born in 1766, at Honington, near Bury St. Edmunds, where his father was a tailor, and his mother, who was left a widow during his infancy, laboured to support her family by keeping a village school. Having learned to read, he was placed with his uncle, a farmer. His employment as "a farmer's boy" was too laborious for his naturally delicate frame, and be went to live in London with his elder brother, a shoemaker. He learnt the trade, and continued during several years to work at it as a journeyman in the Metropolis. While residing with his brother in "a light garret fit for a mechanic to work in," he occasionally procured books, and among others the London Magazine, to "the Poet's Corner" of which he “always looked.” “One day, having repeated a song which he composed to an old tune,” he was persuaded to try whether the editor of a newspaper would print it: the attempt succeeded, and Robert Bloomfield became a poet. In 1790, he married, but "like most poor men, he got a wife first, and had to get household stuff afterwards." He hired a room at 14, Bell-alley, Coleman-street, and laboured to mend shoes and compose the Farmer's Boy—“celebrating the little events of his boy bood;" “ nine-tenths of it,” according to his own most interesting account, "were put together while he sat at work." His desire to see it published led to applications to booksellers, and consequent rebuffs :- by one he was told he was not to expect an opinion from a stranger-by another, that poetry was out of his line, and by another, that it would not do for publication. He was, however, ardent in his hope “to send his mother a PRINTED COPY:"—the patronage of Capel Lofft prepared it for the press, with notes, and some account of the author. The journeyman shoemaker - who had long lived “in sickness and trouble”-at once became an object of universal attraction. The sunshine of his life, however, lasted but a very little while; the curse of patronage was upon him; a few dinners at the tables of the great, and a few grudged guineas from their purses, led him to imagine that care and sorrow were to be thenceforward banished from the Poet's home. The wonder excited by a shoemaker writing verses soon subsided, and the name of Robert Bloomfield was added to the long list of unhappy men who have been lured to ruin by the Muse. The natural consequences followed ;-poverty, despondency, disease and death. In 1823, he died; and there had been just grounds for apprehending that if his life had been prolonged the mind would have perished before the body.
Yet the character of Bloomfield is almost without spot or blemish. Celebrity did not make him arrogant, uor did want lead him into meanness. When reputation failed to procure him bread, he returned to his trade; and might have found the awl more profitable than the lyre, if his health, always precarious, had not sunk during the trial. His brother describes his person :-"He is of a slender make, of about five feet four inches high, very dark complexion." He finishes the picture by a powerful touch:-"I never knew his fellow for mildness of temper and goodness of disposition.” – Those who read the poetry of Robert Bloomfield will be satisfied of the accuracy of the portrait.
“Uneducated poets” have been less rare since “the Farmer's Boy" was ushered into the world; some whose destiny was not more fortunate than that of Bloomfield, have possessed genius far higher than his; but he was by no means of a common order, and little deserved the neglect and indifference which followed his brief popularity. One of the keys to his success, perhaps, is the fact that he never attempted any thing to which his simple and natural mind was unequal. He wrote only of what he had seen or felt :-and as his opportunities were limited, so are his subjects. In the treatment of topics familiar to persons of his class—the humble labourers in our fields or alleys-he is, we think, even now unequalled. Peasants and mechanics have in our day written more vigorous and more correct verse;-the meadows of Northamptonshire, and the factories of Sheffield, have heard finer and bolder strains from those who live by toil among them;-one of the mightiest minds of the age produced his poems while working at the anvil, and still, apart from patronage, pursues his worldly calling. But the themes of his selection are not of a lowly character; or if he walks through green lanes and looks upon the reaper or the ploughman, it is with loftier thoughts and feelings than those which led the gentle Bloomfield to seek fame ng the poets.