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But, swain forsworn 1 whoe'er thou art,
This hallow'd spot forbear;
Remember Colin's dreadful fate,
And fear to meet him there. ,
H ! form'd by Nature and refin’d by art,
With charms to win and sense to fix the heart, By thousands sought, Clotilda I canst thou free Thy crowd of captives and descend to me; Content in shades obscure to waste thy life, A hidden beauty and a country wife 2 O! listen while thy summers are my theme, Ah sooth thy partner in his waking dream. In some small hamlet on the lonely plain Where Thames through meadowsrolls his mazy train; Or where high Windsor, thick with greens array'd, Waves his old oaks and spreads his ample shade, Fancy has figur'd out our calm retreat ; Already round the visionary seat Our limes begin to shoot, our flowers to spring, The brooks to murmur, and the birds to sing. Where dost thou lie, thou thinly-peopled green, Thou nameless lawn and village yet unseen, Where sons contented with their native ground Ne'er travell'd further than ten furlongs round, And the tann'd peasant and his ruddy bride Were born together, and together died; Where early larks best tell the morning light, And only Philomel disturbs the night 2 *Midst gardens here my humble pile shall rise, With sweets surrounded often thousand dies; All savage where the embroider'd gardens end, The haunt of echoes shall my woods ascend; And oh! if Heav'n the ambitious thought approve, A rill shall warble cross the gloomy grove;
A little rill, o'er pebbly beds convey’d,
Gush down the steep and glitter through the glade.
What cheering scents these bordering banks exhale!
How loud that heifer lows from yonder vale !
That thrush how shrill ! his note so clear, so high,
He drowns each feather'd minstrel of the sky.
Here let me trace beneath the purpled morn,
The deep-mouth'd beagle and the sprightly horn,
Or lure the trout with well-dissembled flies,
Or fetch the fluttering partridge from the skies.
Nor shall thy hand disdain to crop the vine,
The downy peach or flavour’d nectarine,
Or rob the bee-hive of its golden hoard,
And bear the unbought luxuriance to thy board.
Sometimes my books by day shall kill the hours,
While from thy needle rise the silken flow’rs,
And thou by turns, to ease my feeble sight,
Resume the volume and deceive the night.
Oh! when I mark thy twinkling eyes opprest,
Soft whispering let me warn my love to rest,
Then watch thee, charm’d, while sleep locks every
And to sweet Heav'n commend thy innocence 1
Thus reign'd our fathers o'er the rural fold,
Wise, hale, and honest, in the days of old ;
Till courts arose, where substance pays for show,
And specious joys are bought with real woe.
See Flavia's pendants large, well spread and right;
The ear that wears them hears a fool each night.
Mark how the' embroider'd col'nel sneaks away
To shun the withering dame that made him gay.
That knave to gain a title lost his fame;
That rais'd his credit by a daughter's shame :
This coxcomb's ribband cost him half his land,
And oaks unnumber'd bought that fool a wand.
Fond man, as all his sorrows were too few, Acquires strange wants that Nature never knew ;
By midnight lamps he emulates the day,
And sleeps perverse the cheerful suns away;
From goblets high-embost his wine must glide,
Round his clos'd sight the gorgeous curtain slide.
Fruits ere their time to grace his pomp must rise,
And three untasted courses glut his eyes:
For this are Nature's gentle calls withstood,
The voice of conscience and the bonds of blood ;
This wisdom thy reward for every pain,
And this gay glory all thy mighty gain:
Fair phantems woo'd and scorn’d from age te age,
Since bards began to laugh or priests to rage,
And yet just curse on man's aspiring kind
Prone to ambition, to example blind.
Our children's children shall our steps pursue,
And the same errors be for ever new.
Meanwhile in hope a guiltless country swain,
My reed with warblings cheers the imagin'd plain.
Hail humble shades! where truth and silence dwell;
Thou noisy Town and faithless Court! farewell;
Farewell ambition, once my darling flame, .
The thirst of lucre and the charm of fame;
In life'sby-road, that winds through paths unknown,
My days though number'd shall be all my own:
Here shall they end, (O might they twice begin)
And all be white the Fates intend to spin.
Inscribed, with all due Reverence, to
Once Countess of Macclesfield."
Decet haec dare dona Novercam. Ov. Met.
IN gayer hours, when high my fancy ran,
The Muse, exulting, thus her lay began.
“Blest be the Bastard's birth ! through wondrous
ways - -
He shines eccentric, like a comet's blaze :
No sickly fruit of faint compliance he
He stampt in nature's mint of ecstasy!
He lives to build, not boast a generous race;
No tenth transmitter of a foolish face.
His daring hope, no sire's example bounds;
His firstborn lights, no prejudice confounds;
He, kindling from within, requires no flame:
He glories in a Bastard's glowing name.
* Born to himself, by no possession led,
In freedom foster'd, and by fortune fed, -
Nor guides, nor rules, his sovereign choice controul,
His body independent as his soul;
Loos'd to the world's wide range—enjoin’d no aim,
Prescrib'd no duty, and assign'd no name:
Nature's unbounded son, he stands alone,
His heart unbiass'd, and his mind his own."
“O Mother, yet no Mother —'tis to you
My thanks for such distinguish’d claims are due.
You, unenslav'd to Nature's narrow laws,
Warm championess for freedom's sacred cause,
From all the dry devoirs of blood and line,
From ties maternal, moral, and divine,
Discharg'd my grasping soul; push'd me from
shore, - -
And launch'd me into life without an oar-
“What had I lost, if conjugally kind,
By nature hating, yet by vows confin'd,
Untaught the matrimonial bounds to slight,
And coldly conscious of the husband's right,
You had faint-drawn me with a form alone,
A lawful lump of life by force your own
Then, while your backward will retrench’d desire,
And unconcurring spirits lent no fire,
I had been born your dull, domestic heir,
Load of your life, and motive of your care;
Perhaps been poorly rich, and meanly great,
The slave of pomp, a cipher in the state,
Lordly neglectful of a worth unknown,
And slumbering in a seat, by chance my own.
‘Far nobler blessings wait the Bastard's lot;
Conceiv'd in rapture, and with fire begot!
Strong as necessity, he starts away,
Climbs against wrongs, and brightens into day.”
Thus unprophetic, lately misinspir’d,
I sung: gay fluttering hope my fancy fir'd ;
Inly secure, through conscious scorn of ill,
Nor taught by wisdom, how to balance will,
Rashly deceiv'd, I saw no pits to shun,
But thought to purpose, and to act, were one;
Heedless what pointed cares pervert his way,
Whom caution arms not, and whom woes betray;
But now expos'd, and shrinking from distress,
I fly to shelter, while the tempests press;
My Muse to grief resigns the varying tone,
The raptures languish, and the numbers groan. -
O memory ! thou soul of joy and pain!
Thou actor of our passions o'er again!
Why dost thou aggravate the wretch's woef
Why add continuous smart to every blow