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To inhabit a mansion remote
From the clatter of street-pacing steeds, And by Philomel's annual note
To measure the life that she leads.
With her book, and her voice, and her lyre,
To wing all her moments at home;
And with scenes that new rapture inspire,
As oft as it suits her to roam;
She will have just the life she prefers,
With little to hope or to fear,
And ours would be pleasant as hers,
Might we view her enjoying it here.
A HERMIT (or if 'chance you hold
That title now too trite and old)
A man, once young, who liv'd retir'd
As hermit could have well desir'd,
His hours of study clos'd at last,
And finish'd his concise repast,
Stoppled his cruise, replac'd his book
Within it's customary nook,
And, staff in hand, set forth to share
The sober cordial of sweet air,
Like Isaac, with a mind applied
To serious thought at ev'ningtide.
Autumnal rains had made it chill,
And from the trees, that fring’d his hill,
Shades slanting at the close of day
Chilld more his else delightful way,
Distant a little mile he spied
A western bank's still sunny side,
And right toward the favour'd place
Proceeding with his nimblest pace,
In hope to bask a little yet,
Just reach'd it when the sun was set.
Your hermit, young and jovial sirs!
Learns something from whate’er occurs-
And hence, he said, my mind computes
The real worth of man's pursuits.
His object chosen, wealth or fame,
Or other sublunary game,
Imagination to his view
Presents it deck'd with ev'ry hue,
That can seduce him not to spare
His pow'rs of best exertion there,
But youth, health, vigour to expend
On so desirable an end.
Ere long approach life's ev'ning shades,
The glow, that fancy gave it, fades;
And, earn'd too late, it wants the grace,
That first engag’d him in the chase.
True, answer'd an angelic guide,
Attendant at the senior's side-
But whether all the time it cost,
the fruitless chase be lost,
Must be decided by the worth
Of that, which call’d his ardour forth.
Trifies pursu'd, whate'er th' event,
Must cause him shame or discontent;
A vicious object still is worse,
Successful there'he wins a curse;
But he, whom ev'n in life's last stage
Endeavours laudable engage,
Is paid, at least in peace of mind,
And sense of having well design'd;
And if, ere he attain his end,
His sun precipitate descend,
A brighter prize than that he meant
Shall recompense his mere intent.
No virtuous wish can bear a date
Either too early or too late.
The greenhouse is my summer seat; My shrubs displac'd from that retreat
Enjoy'd the open air; Two goldfinches, whose sprightly song Had been their mutual solace long,
Liv'd happy pris'ners there.
They sang, as blithe as finches sing,
That flutter loose on golden wing,
And frolic where they list;
Strangers to liberty, 'tis true,
But that delight they never knew,
And therefore never miss'd.
But nature works in ev'ry breast,
With force not easily suppress'd;
And Dick felt some desires,
That, after many an effort vain,
Instructed him at length to gain
A pass between his wires.