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O Nymph, approach! while yet the temperate sun
With bashful forehead, thro" the cool moist air
Throws his young maiden beams,
And with chaste kisses woos
The earth's fair bosom; while the streaming veil
Of lucid clouds with kind and frequent shade
Protects thy modest blooms
From his severer blaze,
Sweet is thy reign, but short; the red Dog-star
Shall scorch thy tresses, and the mower's scythe
Thy greens, thy flow'rets all,
Remorseless shall destroy.
Reluctant shall I bid thee then farewell;
For O! not all that Autumn's lap contains,
Nor Summer's ruddiest fruits,
Can aught for thee attone.
Fair Spring! whose simplest promise more delights
Than all their largest wealth, and thro' the heart
Each joy and new-born hope
With softest influence breathes.
CHAP. X X VI I
Domestic Love and Happiness.
Happy they! the happiest of their kind! Whom gentler stars unite, and in one fate Their hearts, their fortunes, and their beings blend, "Tis not the coarser tie of human laws Unnatural oft, and foreign to the mind,
That binds their peace, but harmony itself,
Attuning all their passions into love;
Where Friendship full exerts her softest power: Perfect esteem, enliven'd by desire
Ineffable, and sympathy of soul;
Thought meeting thought, and will preventing
With boundless confidence: for nought but love Can answer love, and render bliss secure.
Let him, ungenerous, who alone, intent
To bless himself, from sordid parents buys
The loathing virgin, in eternal care,
Well-merited, consume his nights and days:
Let barbarous nations, whose inhuman love
Is wild desire, fierce as the suns they feel;
Let eastern tyrants from the light of heaven
Seclude their bosom-slaves, meanly possess'd
Of a mere lifeless, violated form:
While those whom love cements in holy faith
And equal transport, free as nature live,
Disdaining fear. What is the world to them,
Its pomp, its pleasure, and its nonsense all?
Who in each other clasp whatever fair
High fancy forms, and lavish hearts can wish;
Something than beauty dearer, should they look
Or on the mind, or mind-illumin'd face;
Truth, Goodness, Honour, Harmony, and Love,
The richest bounty of indulgent Heaven.
Mean-time a smiling offspring rises round
And Mingles both their graces. By degrees,
The human blossom blows; and every day,
Soft as it rolls along, shews some new charm,
The father's lustre, and the mother's bloom.
Then infant Reason grows apace, and calls
For the kind hand of an assiduous care.
Delightful task! to rear the tender Thought,
To teach the young Idea how to shoot,
To pour the fresh instruction o'er the mind,
To breathe enlivening spirit, and to fix
The generous purpose in the glowing breast
Oh! speak the joy! ye whom the sudden tear
Surprises often, while you look around,
And nothing strikes your eye but sights of bliss ;
All various nature pressing on the heart:
An elegant sufficiency, content,
Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books,
Ease and alternate labour, useful life,
Progressive virtue, and approving Heaven.
These are the matchless joys of virtuous love;
And thus their moments fly. The Seasons thus,
As ceaseless round a jarring world they roll,
Still find them happy; and consenting Spring
Sheds her own rosy garland on their heads:
Till evening comes at last, serene and mild:
When after the long vernal day of life,
Enamour'd more, as more resemblance swells,
With many a proof of recollected love,
Together down they sink in social sleep;
Together freed, their gentle spirits fly
To scenes where love and bliss immortal reign.
The Pleasures of Retirement.
knew he but his happiness! of men, The happiest he, who far from public rage, Deep in the vale, with a choice few retir'd Drinks the pure pleasures of the rural life. What tho the dome be wanting, whose proud
Each morning vomits out the sneaking crowd Of flatt'rers false, and in their turn abus'd? Vile intercourse! What tho' the glittering robe, every hue reflected light can give,
Or floated loose or stiff with mazy gold,
The pride and gaze of fools, oppress him not?
What tho', from utmost land and sea purvey'd,
For him each rarer tributary life
Bleeds not, and his insatiate table heaps
With luxury and death? What tho' his bowl
Flames not with costly juice; nor sunk in beds
Oft of gay Care, he tosses out the night,
Or melts the thoughtless hours in idle state?
What tho' he knows not those fantastic joys,
That still amuse the wanton, still deceive;
A face, of pleasure but a heart of pain;
Their hollow moments undelighted all
Sure peace is his; a solid life, estrang'd
To disappointment and fallacious hope:
Rich in Content, in Nature's bounty rich,
In herbs and fruits; whatever greens the spring,
When heaven descends in show'is; or bends the
When summer reddens, and when automn beams;
Or in the wint'ry glebe whatever lies
Conceal'd, and fattens with the richest sap:
These are not wanting: nor the milky drove,
Luxuriant, spread o'er all the lowing vale:
Nor bleating mountains; nor the chide of streams,
And hum of bees, inviting sleep sincere
Into the guiltless breast, beneath the shade,
Or thrown at large amid the fragrant hay ;
Nor aught besides of prospect, grove, or song,
Dim grottoes, gleaming lakes, and fountain clear.
Here too dwells simple Truth; plain Innocence;
Unsullied Beauty; sound unbroken Youth,
Patient of labour, with a little pleas'd;
Health ever blooming; unambitious Toil;
Calm Contemplation, and poetic Ease.
The rage of nations, and the crush of states, Move not the man, who, from the world escap'd, In still retreats, and flow'ry solitudes,
To Nature's voice attends, from month to month, And day to day, thro' the revolving year; Admiring, sees her in her every shape;
Feels all her sweet emotions at his heart;
Takes what she lib'ral gives, nor thinks of more. He, when young spring protrudes the bursting
Marks the first bud, and sucks the healthful gale
Into his freshen'd soul; her genial hours
He full enjoys; and not a beauty blows,
And not an opening blossom, breathes in vain.
In Summer he, beneath the living shade
Such as o'er frigid Tempe wont to wave,
Or Hemus cool, reads what the Muse, of these
Perhaps, has in immortal numbers sung;
Or what she dictates, writes: and oft an eye
Shot round, rejoices in the vigorous year.
When Automn's yellow lustre gilds the world
And tempts the sickled swain into the field,
Seiz'd by the general joy his heart distends
With gentle throes; and thro' the tepid gleams
Deep musing, then he best exerts his song.
Even Winter wild to him is full of bliss:
The mighty tempest, and the hoary waste,
Abrupt, and deep, stretch'd o'er the buried earth
Awake to solemn thought. At night the skies,
Disclos'd and kindled by refining frost,
Pour ev'ry lustre on th' exalted eye.
A friend, a book, the stealing hours secure,
And mark them down for wisdom. With swift
O'er land and sea the imagination roams;
Or Truth divinely breaking on his mind,
Elates his being, and unfolds his
Or in his breast heroic virtue burns.
The touch of kindred too and love he feels;
The modest eye, whose beams on his alone
Ecstatic shine: the little, strong embrace
Of prattling children, twisted round his neck
And emulous to please him, calling forth
The fond parental soul. Nor purpose gay,
Amusement, dance, or song, he sternly scorns :
For happiness and true philosophy
Are of the social, still, and smiling kind.
This is the life which those who fret in guilt,
And guilty cities, never knew the life,
Led by primeval ages, uncorrupt,
When Angels dwelt, and God himself, with man!
ROM heav'n my strains begin; from heav'n descends
The flame of Genius to the human breast >
And love and beauty, and poetic joy
And inspiration. Ere the radiant sun