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Discourse ensues, not trivial, yet not dull,
Nor such as with a frown forbids the play
Of fancy, or profcribes 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. Themes of a graver tone,
Exciting oft our gratitude and love,
While we retrace with mem'ry's pointing wand,
That calls the past to our exact review,
The dangers we have 'fcap'd, the broken snare,
The disappointed foe, deliv’rance found
Unlook'd for, life preserv'd and peace restor'd,
Fruits of omnipotent eternal love.
Oh evenings worthy of the Gods ! exclaim'd
The Sabine bard. Oh evenings, I reply,
More to be priz’d and coveted than yours,
As more illumin'd, and with nobler truths,
That I and mine, and those we love, enjoy.
Is winter hideous in a garb like this?
Needs he the tragic fur, the smoke of lamps,
The pent-up breath of an unsav'ry throng,
To thaw him into feeling, or the smart
And snappith dialogue, that flippant wits
Call comedy, to prompt him with a smile ?
The self-complacent actor, when he views
(Stealing a fide-long glance at a full house)
The slope of faces, from the floor to th' roof
(As if one master-spring contrould them all)
Relax'd into an univerfal grin,
Sees not a countenance there that speaks a joy
Half so refin'd or so sincere as ours.
Cards were superfluous here, with all the tricks,
That idleness has ever yet contriv'd
To fill the void of an unfurnish'd brain,
To palliate dulness, and give time a shove.
Time as he passes us, has a dove's wing,
Unfoil'd and swift, and of a filken found;
But the world's time, is time in masquerade.
Theirs, should I paint him, has his pinions fledg’d
With motley plumes, and where the peacock
His azure eyes, is tinctur'd black and red
With spots quadrangular of di'mond form,
Ensanguin'd hearts, clubs typical of strife,
And spades, the emblem of untimely graves.
What should be, and what was an hour-glass once,
Becomes a dice-box, and a billiard mast
Well does the work of his destructive scythe.
Thus deck's, he charms a world whom fashion
blinds To his true worth, most pleas'd when idle moft, Whose only happy are their wasted hours. Ev'n misses, at whose age
their mothers wore The back-string and the bib, assume the dress
Of womanhood, fit pupils in the school
Of card-devoted time, and, night by night,
Plac'd at some vacant corner of the board,
Learn ev'ry trick, and soon play all the game.
But truce with censure. Roving as I rove,
Where shall I find an end, or how proceed?
As he that travels far, oft turns aside
To view some rugged rock or mould'ring tow'r,
Which seen, delights him not; then coming
Describes and prints it, that the world may know
How far be went for what was nothing worth ;
So I, with brush in hand and pallet spread,
With colours mix'd for a far diff'rent use,
Paint cards and dolls, and ev'ry idle thing
That fancy finds in her excursive flights.
Come, Evening, once again, season of peace, Return, sweet Evening, and continue long! Methinks I see thee in the streaky weft, With matron-step flow-moving, while the night Treads on thy sweeping train ; one hand employ'd In letting fall the curtain of repose On bird and beaft, the other charg'd for man With sweet oblivion of the cares of day : Not fumptuously adorn'd, nor needing aid, Like homely featur'd night, of clust'ring 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 oftentatious pageantry, but fet
With modest grandeur in thy purple zone,
Resplendent less, but of an ampler round.
Come then, and thou shalt find thy vot'ry calm.
Or make me so. Composure is thy gift :
And whether I devote thy gentle hours
To books, to mufic, or the poet's toil;
To weaving nets for bird-alluring fruit ;
Or twining filken threads round iv'ry reels,
When they command whom man was born to
I flight thee not, but make thee welcome ftill.
Just when our drawing-rooms begin to blaze With lights, by clear reflection multiplied From many a mirrour, in which he of Gath, Goliah, might have seen his giant bulk Whole, without stooping, tow'ring crest and all, My pleasures too begin. But me, perhaps, The glowing hearth may satisfy awhile With faint illumination, that uplifts The shadow to the cieling, there by fits Dancing uncouthly to the quiv'ring flame. Not undelightful is an hour to me So spent in parlour twilight; fuch a gloom Suits well the thoughtful or unthinking mind, The mind contemplative, with some new theme Pregnant or indispos’d alike to all.
Laugh ye, who boast your more mercurial pow'rs
That never feel a stupor, know no pause,
Nor need one; I am conscious, and confess,
Fearless, a foul that does not always think.
Me oft has fancy, ludicrous and wild,
Sooth'd with a waking dream of houses, tow'rs,
Trees, churches, and strange visages, express’d
In the red cinders while with poring eye
I gaz'd, myself creating what I saw.
Nor less amus'd have I quiescent watch'd
The footy films that play upon the bars
Pendulous and foreboding, in the view
Of superstition, prophesying ftill,
Though still deceiv'd, fome stranger's near ap-
'Tis thus the understanding takes repose
In indolent vacuity of thought,
And fleeps and is refresh'd. Meanwhile the face
Conceals the mood lethargic with a malk
Of deep deliberation, as the man
Were talk'd to his full strength, absorb'd and loft.
Thus oft, reclin'd at ease, I lose an hour
At evening, till at length the freezing blast,
That sweeps the bolted shutter, summons home
The recollected powers, and snapping short
The glassy threads, with which the fancy weaves
Her brittle toys, reitores me to myself.
How calm is my recess, and how the frost,