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Rural Ode for January.
STROPHE. Let thy horrors chill their soul,
Winter, the crowd may fear thy power ;
Wisdom spurns thy mad control,
Maid, enlarge my opening mind,
Who shrink when wintry storms appear. Are there no joys but those which Spring affords?
Say, shall not Nature please on every view? Summer prepares the loved autumnal hoards ;
But bas not surly Winter charms for you? Canst thou not still adore that awful God, Who midnight darkness wreathes, and pours his
WINTER. A PINDARIC ODE, BY W. JEXKS, D.D.; WRITTEN JANGARY,
1796, ÆT. st£, 17. STROPHE. Wrapt in joyless night and storm,
Far in the frozen north, his throne
Winter holds, terrific form,
Waiting the desired command,
Shrill icy blasts, tempest, and hail, and
Sees here established her perennial way ; While thro' the midnight, throne-involving cloud,
A voice thus forces its resistless way ; Seek, Powers tumultuous, dignified employ ; Go, wreak your rage on man, each blissful scene
destroy!' ANTISTROPHE. All obey, and shouts, that tear
The vaulted heavens, his mandate hail ;
They for destined joy prepare,
Lo! the dreaded, hideous train
While terror seizes every breast.
No more the verdant prospect charms the eye,
The child of sorrow heaves a pitying sigh. Yet, holding stern their course, the cheering day, And gladness, peace, and hope, they frighten far away. EPode. This is thy dreaded sway,
Such terrors, Winter, thine.
Her glaring eyeballs shine,
Darting a thrilling ray,
On the midnight whirlwind tost,
See the spectres, shadowy, pale ! Heard you that feeble, hollow-sounding wail ? The rocking tempest howls ; their shrieks are lost.
Fear chills the beating heart. Each dreary pause
Hark! I hear. Sure they are near,
Heaven preserve my aching sight!
ANTISTROPHE. Calm and studious may I sit,
By the dim taper's glimmering ray,
Musing on airy forms, that flit
Or the blooming portraits view,
And pour instruction on the heart.
Fair Freedom, in her Grecian robes arrayed:
And foul barbaric ignorance dismayed. Recall to view each patriot's sacred name, Who fought, and, dying, swelled the loud-tongued
trump of Fame.
EPode. Nor be forgot the band,
Who wisdom brought from heaven ;
To minds like theirs is given
To bless their native land,
Thus the imperial eagle soars.
While gazing crowds below admire, He bares his broad breast meridian fire, Exerting all his cloud-surmounting powers.
Oft may I wander o'er poetic plains,
With bards of eldest time high converse hold; Oft too may Fancy's wildly-warbled strains Rouse, calm, direct the passion-moulded soul.
Such joys for me, till when I see
Even gloomy Winter pleasure yields.
Cowper's "Winter Ebening."
The post comes in. The newspaper is read. The world
contemplated at a distance. Address to Winter. The rural amusements of a winter evening compared with the fashionable ones. Address to Evening. A brown study. Fall of snow in the evening.
The wagoner. family piece. The rural thief. Public houses. The multitude of them censured. The farmer's daughter : what she was, what she is. The simplicity of country manners almost lost. Causes of the change. Desertion of the country by the rich. Neglect of magistrates. The militia principally in fault. The new recruit and his transformation. Reflection on bodies corporate. The love of rural objects natural to all, and never to be totally extinguished.
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
THE NEWSPAPER DESCRIBED. - A MAP OF LIFE.
THE POLITICAL ASPIRANT. -THE SUPPLE DEMAGOGUE.
THE MAIL. THE POSTMAN AND HIS BUDGET.
THE NEWS,' FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.
On the summit see
THE POLITICIAN'S MOCK MODESTY.
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 foretells us, always come to pass.
VARIED CONTENTS OF THE NEWSPAPER. --A MEDLEY.
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;
THE COMFORTABLE WINTER EVENING FIRESIDE. THE
THEATRE. PARLIAMENT. Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Teeth for the toothless, ringlets for the bald,
Shortening his journey between morn and noon,
'T is pleasant through the loop-holes of retreat
OUT BEING BETRAYED BY HUMAN PASSIONS.
VOYAGES AND TRAVELS AT HOME.
APOSTROPHE TO WINTER.
READING ALOUD TO THE FAMILY CIRCLE ; MUSIC.
The poet's or historian's page by one Made vocal for the amusement of the rest ; The sprightly lyre, whose treasure of sweet sound The touch from many a trembling chord shakes out; And the clear voice symphonious, yet distinct, And in the charming strife triumphant still ; Beguile the night, and set a keener edge On female industry : the threaded steel Flies swiftly, and unfelt the task proceeds.
THE RURAL SUPPER.
The volume closed, the customary rites Of the last meal commence. A Roman meal ; Such as the mistress of the world once found Delicious, when her patriots of high note, Perhaps by moonlight, at their humble doors, And under an old oak's domestic shade, Enjoyed, spare feast ! a radish and an egg.
FAMILY CONVERSATION. MIRTH CIASTENED BY PIETY.
WINTER A SOVEREIGN DISPENSER OF HOME PLEASURES ; WIN
Thou hold'st the sun A prisoner in the yet undawning east,
Discourse ensues, not trivial, yet not dull, Nor such as with a frown forbids the play Of fancy, or proscribes the sound of mirth : Nor do we madly, like an impious world, Who deem religion frenzy, and the God That made them an intruder on their joys, Start at His awful name, or deem His praise A jarring note.
1 A famous juggler and conjurer of the day.
PROVIDENCES ESPECIALLY IN OUR SPIRITUAL PROGRESS.
But truce with censure. Roving as I rove, Where shall I find an end, or how proceed ?
Themes of a graver tone, Exciting oft our gratitude and love, While we retrace with Memory's pointing wand, That calls the past to our exact review, The dangers we have 'sca ped, the broken snare, The disappointed foe, deliverance found Unlooked for, life preserved, and peace restored, Fruits of omnipotent, eternal Love. O evenings worthy of the gods ! exclaimed The Sabine bard. O evenings, I reply, More to be prized and coveted than yours, As more illumined, and with nobler truths, That I, and mine, and those we love, enjoy.
FASHIONABLE FOLLIES. - A SIMILE. As he that travels far oft turns aside To view some rugged rock or mouldering tower, Which seen delights him not ; then coming home Describes and prints it, that the world may know How far he went for what was nothing worth ; So I, with brush in hand and palette spread, With colors mixed for a far different use, Paint cards, and dolls, and every idle thing, That fancy finds in her excursive flights.
DESCRIPTIVE APOSTROPHE TO EVENING, -TIE EVENING STAR.
THE THEATRE NOT NECESSARY TO THE ENJOYMENT OF TIIE
Is Winter hideous in a garb like this? Needs he the tragic fur, the smoke of lamps, The pent-up breath of an unsavory throng, To thaw him into feeling ; or the smart And snappish dialogue, that flippant wits Call comedy, to prompt him with a smile ? The self-complacent actor, when he views (Stealing a sidelong glance at a full house) The slope of faces from the floor to the roof (As if one master-spring controlled them all), Relaxed into a universal grin, Sees not a countenance there that speaks of joy Half so refined or so sincere as ours.
Come, Evening, once again, season of peace ! Return, sweet Evening, and continue long! Methinks I see thee in the streaky west, With matron step slow moving, while the Night Treads on thy sweeping train ; one hand employed In letting fall the curtain of repose On bird and beast, the other charged for man With sweet oblivion of the cares of day : Not sumptuously adorned, not needing aid, Like homely-featured Night, of clustering gems; A star or two, just twinkling on thy brow, Suffices thee ; save that the moon is thine No less than hers, not worn indeed on high With ostentatious pageantry, but set With modest grandeur in thy purple zone, Resplendent less, but of an ampler round.
CARDS UNNECESSARY. THE WINGS OF TIME.
CALM COMPOSURE THE GIFT OF EVENIXG. THE LIGHTED
Cards were superfluous here, with all the tricks That idleness has ever yet contrived To fill the void of an unfurnished brain, To palliate dulness, and give time a shove. Time, as he passes us, has a dove's wing, Unsoiled, and swift, and of a silken sound; But the world's time is time in masquerade ! Theirs, should I paint him, has his pinions fledged With motley plumes ; and, where the peacock shows His azure eyes, is tinctured black and red With spots quadrangular of diamond form, Ensanguined hearts, clubs typical of strife, And spades, the emblem of untimely graves.
DICE. - BILLIARDS. - FASHION. What should be and what was an hour-glass once, Becomes a dice-box, and a billiard-mace Well does the work of his destructive scytho. Thus decked, he charms & world whom fashion
blinds To his true worth, most pleased when idle most ; Whose only happy are their wasted hours.
Como, then, and thou shalt find thy votary calm.
Just when our drawing-rooms begin to blaze
THE PRECOCIOUSLY FASHIONABLE MISS.
PARLOR TWILIGIIT. - VISIONS IN THE EMBERS; SIGXS ON THX
But me perhaps The glowing hearth may satisfy a while With faint illumination, that uplifts The shadows to the ceiling, there by fits Dancing uncouthly to the quivering flame. Not undelightful is an hour to mo So spent in parlor twilight : such a gloom Suits well the thoughtful or unthinking mind, The mind contemplative, with some new theme Pregnant, or indisposed alike to all. Laugh ye, who boast your more mercurial powers,
Even misses, at whose age their mothers wore The backstring and the bib, assume the dress Of womanhood, fit pupils in the school Of card-devoted time ; and night by night, Placed at some vacant corner of the board, Learn every trick, and soon play all the game.
It seems the part of wisdom, and no sin
may with patience bear our moderate ills, And sympathize with others suffering more.
That never felt a stupor, know no pause,
REVERY A REPOSE OF THE MIND.
TRAVELLING THROUGH THE SNOW.
He, formed to bear
COMFORT WITHIN ; THE STORM WITHOUT. - SCENERY BEFORE
THE FIRST SNOW. How calm is my recess, and how the frost, Raging abroad, and the rough wind, endear The silence and the warmth enjoyed within ! I saw the woods and fields at close of day A variegated show; the meadows green, Though faded ; and the lands, where lately waved The golden harvest, of a mellow brown, Upturned so lately by the forceful share. I saw far off the weedy fallows smile With verdure not unprofitable, grazed By flocks, fast feeding, and selecting each His favorite herb ; while all the leafless groves That skirt the horizon wore a sable huo, Scarce noticed in the kindred dusk of eve.
UCMANITY TO TEAMS IX WINTER. Thy days roll on exempt from household care ; Thy wagon is thy wife ; and the poor beasts, That drag the dull companion to and fro, Thine helpless charge, dependent on thy care, Ah, treat them kindly! rude as thou appear'st, Yet show that thou hast mercy! which the great, With needless hurry whirled from place to place, Humane as they would seem, not always show.
THE FIRST SNOW-STORM.
TIE COTTAGE LABORERS IN WINTER. THEIR SCANTY FCEL.
To-morrow brings a change, a total change ! Which even now, though silently performed, And slowly, and by most unfelt, the faco Of universal nature undergoes. Fast falls a fleecy shower : the downy flakes Descending, and with never-ceasing lapse, Softly alighting upon all below, Assimilate all objects. Earth receives Gladly the thickening mantle ; and the green And tender blade, that feared the chilling blast, Escapes unhurt beneath so warm a veil.
Poor, yet industrious, modest, quiet, neat, Such claim compassion in a night like this, And have a friend in every feeling heart. Warmed, while it lasts, by labor, all day long They brave the season, and yet find at eve, Ill clad and fed but sparely, time to cool. The frugal housewife trembles when she lights Fler scanty stock of brushwood, blazing clear, But dying soon, like all terrestrial joys. The few small embers left she nurses well ; And, while her infant race, with outspread bands, And crowded knees, sit cowering o'er the sparks, Retires, content to quake, so they be warmed.
The man feels least, as more inured than she | To Winter, and the current in his veins