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(As if one master spring controll’d them all,)
220 Becomes a dicebox, and a billiard mace Well does the work of his destructive sithe. Thus deck'd, he charms a World whom Fashion blinds To his true worth, most pleas'd when idle most: Whose only happy, are their idle hours. E'en misses, at whose age their mothers wore The backstring and the bib, assume the dress Of womanhood, sit pupils in the school Of card devoted Time, and, night by night, Plac'd at some vacant corner of the board, 230 Learn ev'ry trick, and soon play all the game. But truce with censure. Roving as I rove, Where shall I find an end, or how proceed ? As he that travels far oft turns aside, To view some rugged rock or mould'ring tow'r, 235 Which seen, delights him not; then coming home, Describes and prints it, that the world may know How far he went for what was nothing worth : So I, with brush in hand and pallet spread, With colours mix'd for a far diff'rent use,
Paint cards, and dolls, and ev'ry idle thing,
Come, Ev’ning, onde again, season of peace,
245 With matron step slow-moving, while the Night Treads on thy sweeping train ; one hand employ'd In letting fall the curtain of repose On bird and beast, the other charg'd for man With sweet oblivion of the cares of day :
250 Not sumptuously adorn'd, por needing aid, Like bomely-featur'd Night, of clust'ring gems; A star or two, just twinkling on thy brow, Suffices thee; save that the moon is thine No less than hers, not worn indeed on high 255 With ostentatious pageantry, but set With modest grandeur in thy purple zone, Resplendent less, but of an ampler round. Come then, and thou shalt find thy votary calm, Or make me so. Composure is thy gift ; 260 And, whether I devote thy gentle hours To books, to musick, or the poet's toil ; To weaving nets for bird-alluring fruit ; Or twining silken threads round ivory reels, When they command whom man was born to please ; I slight thee not, but make thee welcome still. 266
Just when our drawing-rooms begin to blaze With lights, by clear reflection multiplied From many a mirror, in which he of Gath, Goliath, might have seen his giant bulk
270 Whole without stooping, tow’ring crest and all, My pleasures, too, begin. But me perhaps The glowing hearth may satisfy awhile With faint illumination, that uplifts The shadows to the ceiling, there by fits 275 Dancing uncouthly to the quív'ring flame, Not undelightful is an hour to me So spent in parlour twilight: such a gloom
Suits well the thoughtful or unthinking mind,
290 Nor less amus'd have I quiescent watch'd The sooty films that play upon the bars Pendulous, and foreboding in the view Of superstition, prophesying still, Though still deceiv'd, some stranger's near approach. 'Tis thus the understanding takes repose
296 In indolent vacuity of thought, And sleeps, and is refresh'd. Meanwhile the face Conceals the mood lethargick with a mask Of deep deliberation, as the man
300 Were task'd to his full strength, absorb’d and lost. Thus oft, reclin'd at ease, I lose an hour At ev'ning, till at length the freezing blast That sweeps the bolted shutter, summons home The recollected pow'rs ; and snapping short 205 The glassy threads, with which the Fancy weaves Her brittle toils, restores me to myself. How calm is my recess; and how the frost, Raging abroad, and the rough wind, endear The silence and warmth enjoy’d within ! 310 I saw the woods and fields at close of day, A variegated show; the meadows green, Though faded ; and the lands, where lately wav'd The golden harvest, of a mellow brown, Upturn'd so lately by the forceful share. I saw far off the weedy fallows smile
With verdure not unprofitable, grazid
325 Fast falls a fleecy show'r: the downy flakes Descending, and with never-ceasing lapse, Softly alighting upon all below, Assimilate all objects. Earth receives Gladly the thick’ning mantle ; and the green 330 And tender blade, that fear'd the chilling blast, Escapes unhurt beneath so warm a veil.
In such*a world, so thorny, and where none Finds happiness unblighted, or, if found, Without some thistly sorrow at its side; It seems the part of wisdom, and no sin Against the law of love, to measure lots With less distinguish'd than ourselves; that thus We may with patience bear our moderate ills, And sympathize with others suff'ring more. 340 Ill fares the trav’ller now, and he that stalks In pond'rous boots beside his reeking team The wain goes heavily, impeded sore By congregated loads adhering close To the clogg’d wheels; and in its sluggish pace 345 Noiseless appears a moving hill of snow. The toiling steeds expand the nostril wide, While ev'ry breath, by respiration strong Forc'd downward, is consolidated soon Upon their jutting chests. He, form’d to bear 350 The pelting brunt of the tempestuous night, With half shut eyes, and pucker'd cheeks, and teeth Presented bare against the storm, plods on. One hand secures his hat, save when with both Vol. II,
He brandishes his pliant length of whip,
355 Resounding oft, and never heard in vain. O happy; and in my account denied That sensibility of pain with which Refinement is endu'd, thrice happy thou! Thy frame, robust and hardy, feels indeed 360 The piercing cold, but feels it unimpair’d. The learn'd finger never need explore Thy vig’rous pulse ; and the unheathful east, That breathes the spleen, and searches ev'ry bone Of the infirm, is wholesome air to thee.
365 Thy days roll on exempt from household care ; Thy wagon is thy wife ; and the poor beasts, That drag tho dull companion to and fro, Thine helpless charge, dependent on thy care. Ah, treat them kindly ; rude as thou appear'st, 370 Yet show that thou hast mercy! which the great, With needless hurry whirl'd from place to place, Humane as they would seem, not always show.
Poor, yet industrious, modest, quiet, neat, Such claim compassion in a night like this, 375 And have a friend in ev'ry feeling heart. Warm’d, while it lasts, by labour, all day long They brave the season, and yet find at eve, Ill clad, and fed but sparely, time to cool. The frugal housewife trembles when she lights 380 Her scanty stock of brushwood blazing clear, But dying soon, like all terrestrial joys. The few small embers left she nurses well ; And, while her infant race, with outspread hands And crowded knees, sit cow'ring o'er the sparks, 385 Retires, content to quake, so they be warm’d. The man feels least, as more inur'd than she To winter, and the current in his veins More briskly mov'd by his severer toil; Yet he too finds his own distress in theirs. 390 The taper soon extinguish’d, which I saw Dangled along at the cold finger's end