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From pangs

O may I live exempted (while I live
Guiltless of pamper'd appetite obscene)

arthritic, that infest the toe
Of libertine Excess. The SOFA suits
The gouty limb, 'tis true; but gouty limb,
Though on a sofa, may

I

never feel: For I have lov'd the rural walk through lanes Of grassy swarth, close cropp'd by nibbling sheep, And skirted thick with intertexture firm Of thorny boughs; have lov'd the rural walk O'er hills, through vallies, and by rivers' brink, E’er since a truant boy I pass’d my bounds, T enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames; And still remember, nor without regret Of hours, that sorrow since has much endear', How oft, my slice of pocket store consumid, Still hung'ring, pennyless, and far from home, I fed on scarlet hips and stony laws, Or blushing crabs, or berries, that emboss The bramble, black as jet, or sloes austere. Hard fare! but such as boyish appetite Disdains not; nor the palate, undeprav'd By culinary arts, unsav'ry deems. No SOFA then awaited

my return;

he

Nor sofa then I needed. Youth repairs
His wasted spirits quickly, by long toil
Incurring short fatigue; and, though our years,
As life declines, speed rapidly away,
And not a year but pilfers as goes
Some youthful grace, that age would gladly keep;
A tooth or auburn lock, and by degrees
Their length and colour from the locks they spare;
The elastic spring of an unwearied foot,
That mounts the stile with ease, or leaps the fence,
That play of lungs, inhaling and again
Respiring freely the fresh air, that makes
Swift pace or steep ascent no toil to me,
Mine have not pilfer'd yet; nor yet impair’d
My relish of fair prospect; scenes that sooth'd
Or charm'd me young, no longer young, I find
Still soothing, and of pow'r to charm me still.
And witness, dear companion of my walks,
Whose arm this twentieth winter I perceive
Fast lock'd in mine, with pleasure such as love,
Confirm’d by long experience of thy worth
And well-tried virtues, could alone inspire-
Witness a joy that thou hast doubled long.
Thou know'st my praise of nature most sincere,

And that my raptures are not conjur'd up
To serve occasions of poetic pomp,
But genuine, and art partner of them all.
How oft upon yon

eminence our pace
Has slacken’d to a pause, and we have borne
The ruffling wind, scarce conscious that it blew,
While Admiration, feeding at the eye,
And still unsated, dwelt

the scene. Thence with what pleasure have we just discern'd The distant plough slow moving, and beside His lab'ring team, that swerv'd not from the track, The sturdy swain diminish'd to a boy! Here Ouse, slow winding through a level plain Of spacious meads with cattle sprinkled o’er, Conducts the eye along his sinuous course Delighted. There, fast rooted in their bank, Stand, never overlook’d, our fav’rite elms, That screen the herdsman's solitary hut; While far beyond, and overthwart the stream, That, as with molten glass, inlays the vale, The sloping land recedes into the clouds; Displaying on it's varied side the grace Of hedge-row beauties numberless, square tow'r, Tall spire, from which the sound of cheerful bells

upon

Just undulates upon the list’ning ear,
Groves, heaths, and smoking villages, remote.
Scenes must be beautiful, which daily view'd
Please daily, and whose novelty survives
Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years.
Praise justly due to those that I describe.

Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds, Exhilarate the spirit, and restore The tone of languid Nature. Mighty winds, That sweep the skirt of some far-spreading wood Of ancient growth, make music not unlike The dash of Ocean on his winding shore, And lull the spirit while they fill the mind; Unnumber'd branches waving in the blast, And all their leaves fast flutt'ring, all at once. Nor less composure

waits

upon Of distant floods, or on the softer voice Of neighb’ring fountain, or of rills that slip Through the cleft rock, and, chiming as they fall Upon loose pebbles, lose themselves at length In matted grass, that with a livelier green Betrays the secret of their silent course. Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds,

the roar

But animated nature sweeter still,
To sooth and satisfy the human ear,
Ten thousand warblers cheer the day, and one
The livelong night: nor these alone, whose notes
Nice-finger'd Art must emulate in vain,
But cawing rooks, and kites that swim sublime
In still repeated circles, screaming loud,
The jay, the pie, and ev'n the boding owl,
That bails the rising moon, have charms for me.
Sounds inharmonious in themselves and harsh,
Yet heard in scenes where peace for ever reigns,
And only there, please highly for their sake.

Peace to the artist, whose ingenious thought Devis'd the weatherhouse, that useful toy! Fearless of humid air and gath'ring rains, Forth steps the man-an emblem of myself! More delicate his tim'rous mate retires. When Winter soaks the fields, and female feet, Too weak to struggle with tenacious clay, Or ford the rivulets, are best at home, The task of new discov'ries falls on me. At such a season, and with such a charge, Once went I forth; and found, till then unknown,

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