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And jewelled turban with a smile of peace,
Or do we grind her still? The grand debate,
The popular harangue, the tart reply,
The logic, and the wisdom, and the wit,
And the loud laugh-I long to know them all;
I burn to set the imprisoned wranglers free,
And give them voice and utterance once again.
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And while the bubbling and loud-hissing 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,
Outscolds the ranting actor on the stage;
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 placeman, all tranquillity and smiles.
This folio of four pages, happy work!
Which not e'en critics criticise; 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?
Here runs the mountainous and craggy ridge
That tempts ambition. On the summit see
The seals of office glitter in his eyes;
He climbs, he pants, he grasps them! At his heels,
Close at his heels a demagogue ascends,
And with a dexterous jerk soon twists him down,
And wins them but to lose them in his turn.
Here rills of oily eloquence, in soft
Meanders, lubricate the course they take;
The modest speaker is ashamed and grieved
To engross a moment's notice, and yet begs,
Begs a propitious ear for his poor thoughts,
However trivial all that he conceives.
Sweet bashfulness! it claims at least this praise;
The dearth of information and good sense
That it foretels us, always comes to pass.
Cataracts of declamation thunder here;
There forests of no meaning spread the page,
In which all comprehension wanders lost;
While fields of pleasantry amuse us there,
With merry descants on a nation's woes.
The rest appears a wilderness of strange
But gay confusion; roses for the cheeks,
And lilies for the brows of faded age,
Teeth for the toothless, ringlets for the bald,
Heaven, earth, and ocean, plundered of their sweets,
Nectareous essences, Olympian dews,
Sermons and city feasts, and favourite airs,
Ethereal journeys, submarine exploits,
And Katterfelto', with his hair on end
At his own wonders, wondering for his bread.
PRAISE OF THE COUNTRY. Man in society is like a flower Blown in its native bed : 'tis there alone His faculties, expanded in full bloom, Shine out; there only reach their proper use, But man, associated and leagued with man, By regal warrant, or self-joined by bond For interest-sake, or swarming into clans, Beneath one head, for purposes of war, Like flowers selected from the rest, and bound And bundled close to fill some crowded vase, Fades rapidly; and, by compression marred, Contracts defilement not to be endured. Hence chartered boroughs are such public plagues; And burghers, men immaculate perhaps In all their private functions, once combined, Become a loathsome body, only fit For dissolution, hurtful to the main. Hence merchants, unimpeachable of sin Against the charities of domestic life, Incorporated, seem at once to lose Their nature; and disclaiming all regard For mercy and the common rights of man, Build factories with blood, conducting trade At the sword's point, and dyeing the white robe Of innocent commercial justice red. Hence too, the field of glory, as the world Misdeems it, dazzled by its bright array, With all its majesty of thundering pomp, Enchanting music and immortal wreaths,
1 Katterselto, a celebrated juggler.
Is but a school, where thoughtlessness is taught
On principle, where foppery atones
For folly, gallantry for every vice.
But slighted as it is, and by the great
Abandon'd, and, which still more I regret,
Infected with the manners and the modes
It knew not once, the country wins me still.
I never framed a wish, or form’d a plan,
That flattered me with hopes of earthly bliss,
But there I laid the scene. There early strayed
My fancy, ere yet liberty of choice
Had found me, or the hope of being free.
My very dreams were rural; rural too
The first-born efforts of my youthful Muse,
Sporting and jingling her poetic bells,
Ere yet her ear was mistress of their powers.
No bard could please me but whose lyre was tuned
To Nature's praises. Heroes and their feats
Fatigued me; never weary of the pipe
Of Tityrus', assembling, as he sang,
The rustic throng beneath his favourite beech.
Then Milton had indeed a poet's charms:
New to my taste, his Paradise surpassed
The struggling efforts of my boyish tongue
To speak its excellence. I danced for joy.
I marvelled much, that at so ripe an age
As twice seven years, his beauties had then first
Engaged my wonder; and admiring still,
And still admiring, with regret supposed
The joy half lost, because not sooner found.
Thee, too, enamoured of the life I loved,
Pathetic in its praise, in its pursuit
Determined, and possessing it at last
With transports, such as favour'd lovers feel,
I studied, prized, and wished that I had known,
Ingenious Cowley3! and, though now reclaimed
By modern lights from an erroneous taste,
I cannot but lament thy splendid wit
Entangled in the cobwebs of the schools.
I still revere thee, courtly though retired;
Though stretch'd at ease in Chertsey's silent bowers,
Not unemployed; and finding rich amends
For a lost world, in solitude and verse.
Is an ingredient in the compound man,
Infused at the creation of the kind.
And, though the Almighty Maker has throughout
Discriminated each from each, by strokes
And touches of his hand, with so much art
Diversified, that two were never found
Twins at all points—yet this obtains in all,
That all discern a beauty in his works,
And all can taste them: minds that have been formed
And tutored, with a relish more exact,
But none without some relish, none unmoved.
It is a flame that dies not even there,
Where nothing feeds it: neither business, crowds,
Nor habits of luxurious city-life,
Whatever else they smother of true worth
In human bosoms, quench it or abate.
The villas, with which London stands begirt,
Like a swarth Indian with his belt of beads,
Prove it. A breath of unadulterate air,
The glimpse of a green pasture, how they cheer
The citizen, and brace his languid frame!
Even in the stifling bosom of the town,
A garden, in which nothing thrives, has charms,
That soothe the rich possessor; much consoled,
That here and there some sprigs of mournful mint,
Of nightshade, or valerian, grace the wall
He cultivates. These serve him with a hint
That Nature lives; that sight-refreshing green
Is still the livery she delights to wear,
Though sickly samples of the exuberant whole.
What are the casements lined with creeping herbs,
The prouder sashes fronted with a range
Of orange, myrtle, or the fragrant weed“,
The Frenchman's darling? Are they not all proofs
That man, immured in cities, still retains
His inborn inextinguishable thirst
Of rural scenes, compensating his loss
By supplemental shifts, the best he may?
The most unfurnished with the means of life,
And they that never pass their brick-wall bounds,
To range the fields and treat their lungs with air,
Yet feel the burning instinct: over-head
Suspend their crazy boxes, planted thick,
And watered duly. There the pitcher stands,
A fragment, and the spoutless teapot there;
4 fragrant weed, mignonette.
Sad witnesses how close-pent man regrets
The country, with what ardour he contrives
A peep at nature, when he can no more.
Hail, therefore, patroness of health and ease,
And contemplation, heart-consoling joys
And harmless pleasures, in the thronged abode
Of multitudes unknown; hail, rural life!
Address himself who will to the pursuit
Of honours, or emolument, or fame;
I shall not add myself to such a chase,
Thwart his attempts, or envy his success.
Some must be great. Great offices will have
Great talents; and God gives to every man
The virtue, temper, understanding, taste,
That lifts him into life, and lets him fall
Just in the niche he was ordained to fill.
To the deliverer of an injured land
He gives a tongue to enlarge upon, a heart
To feel, and courage to redress, her wrongs;
To monarchs, dignity; to judges, sense;
To artists, ingenuity and skill;
To me, an unambitious mind, content
In the low vale of life, that early felt
A wish for ease and leisure, and, ere long,
Found here that leisure and that ease I wished.
THOMAS CHATTERTON Was born in Bristol A.D. 1752. At an early age he practised an extraordinary piece of deception; producing some poems written in the Old English style, which he asserted to have been the productions of a monk named Rowley. Many were deceived by these forgeries, but the imposture was finally detected. The remainder of his history is brief and melancholy; his own improvidence brought him to indigence; some improprieties of conduct alienated his friends. and in 1770 he committed suicide ;-a melancholy example of the inutility of the most splendid talents, when not regulated by discretion and upright principle.
Chatterton's poems, published with his name, are inferior to the Rowley forgeries, but they display enough of poetic abilities to make us regret that so great a genius was so fatally misdirected.
A HYMN FOR CHRISTMAS-DAY.
ALMIGHTY framer of the skies!
O let our pure devotion rise,
Like incense in thy sight!
Wrapt in impenetrable shade
The texture of our souls were made
Till thy command gave light.