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This observation, as it chanc'd, not made,
Or, if the thought occurr'd, not duly weigh’d,
He sighs—for after all by slow degrees
The spot he lov'd has lost the pow'r to please;
To cross his ambling pony day by day,
Seems at the best but dreaming life away;
The prospect, such as might enchant despair,
He views it not, or sees no beauty there;
With aching heart, and discontented looks,
Returns at noon to billiards or to books,
But feels, while grasping at his faded joys,
A secret thirst of his renounc'd employs.
He chides the tardiness of ev'ry post,
Pants to be told of battles won or lost,
Blames his own indolence, observes, though late,
'Tis criminal to leave a sinking state,
Flies to the levee, and, receiv'd with grace,
Kneels, kisses hands, and shines again in place.
Suburban villas, highway-side retreats,
That dread th’encroachment of our growing streets,
Tight boxes, neatly sash'd, and in a blaze
With all a July sun's collected rays,
Delight the citizen, who, gasping there,
Breathes clouds of dust, and calls it country air.
O sweet retirement, who would balk the thought,
That could afford retirement, or could not?
'Tis such an easy walk, so smooth and straight,
The second milestone fronts the garden gate;
A step if fair, and, if a show'r approach,
You find safe shelter in the next stagecoach.
There, prison'd in a parlour snug and small,
Like bottled wasps upon a southern wall,
The man of business and his friends compress’d
Forget their labours, and yet find no rest;
But still 'tis rural-trees are to be seen
From ev'ry window, and the fields are green;
Ducks paddle in the pond before the door,
And what could a remoter scene show more!
A sense of elegance we rarely find
The portion of a mean or vulgar mind,
And ignorance of better things makes man,
Who cannot much, rejoice in what he can;
And he, that deems his leisure well bestow'd
In contemplation of a turnpike road,
Is occupied as well, employs his hours
As wisely, and as much improves his pow'rs,
As he, that slumbers in pavilions grac'd
With all the charms of an accomplish'd taste.
Yet hence, alas! insolvencies; and hence
Th’unpitied victim of ill-judg'd expense,
From all his wearisome engagements freed,
Shakes hands with business, and retires indeed.
Your prudent grand-mammas, ye modern belles,
Content with Bristol, Bath, and Tunbridge wells,
When health requir’d, it would consent to roam,
Else more attach'd to pleasures found at home.
But now alike, gay widow, virgin, wife,
Ingenious to diversify dull life,
In coaches, chaises, caravans, and hoys,
Fly to the coast for daily, nightly joys,
And all, impatient of dry land, agree
With one consent to rush into the sea.
Ocean exhibits, fathomless and broad,
Much of the pow'r and majesty of God.
He swathes about the swelling of the deep,
That shines and rests, as infants smile and sleep;
Vast as it is, it answers as it flows
The breathings of the lightest air that blows;
Curling and whitning over all the waste,
The rising waves obey th' increasing blast,
Abrupt and horrid as the tempest roars,
Thunder and flash upon the stedfast shores,
Till he, that rides the whirlwind, checks the rein,
Then all the world of waters sleeps again.-
Nereids or Dryads, as the fashion leads,
Now in the floods, now panting in the meads,
Vot'ries of Pleasure still, where'er she dwells,
Near barren rocks, in palaces, or cells,
O grant a poet leave to recommend
(A poet fond of Nature, and your friend)
Her slighted works to your admiring view;
Her works must needs excel, who fashion'd you.
Would ye, when rambling in your morning ride,
With some unmeaning coxcomb at your side,
Condemn the prattler for his idle pains,
To waste unheard the music of his strains,
And, deaf to all th' impertinence of tongue,
That, while it courts, affronts and does you wrong,
Mark well the finish'd plan without a fault,
The seas globose and huge, th’ o'erarching vault,
Earth’s millions daily fed, a world employ'd
In gath’ring plenty yet to be enjoy'd,
Till gratitude grew vocal, in the praise
Of God, beneficent in all his
Anticipated rents, and bills unpaid, Force many a shining youth into the shade, Not to redeem his time, but his estate, And play the fool, but at a cheaper rate. There, bid in loath'd obscurity, remov'd From pleasures left, but never more belov'd, He just endures, and with a sickly spleen Sighs o'er the beauties of the charming scene. Nature indeed looks prettily in rhyme; Streams tinkle sweetly in poetic chime: The warblings of the blackbird, clear and strong, Are musical enough in Thomson's song; And Cobham's groves, and Windsor's green retreats, When Pope describes them, have a thousand sweets; He likes the country, but in truth must own, Most likes it, when he studies it in town.
Poor Jack -- no matter who-for when I blame, I pity, and must therefore sink the name, Liv'd in his saddle, lov'd the chase, the course, And always, ere he mounted, kiss'd his horse. The estate, his sires had own’d in ancient years, Was quickly distanc'd, match'd against a peer's. Jack vanish’d, was regretted and forgot; 'Tis wild good-nature's never-failing lot.