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"Transplant thee fase! where vernal suns, and showers,
"Disfuse their warmest, largest influence;
"And of my garden be the pride, and joy!
'< 111 it besits thee, oh it ill besits
"Acasto's daughter, his whose open stores,
"Tho' vast, were little to his ampler heart,
"The father of a country, thus to pick
«« The very resuse of those harvest-sields,
"Which from his bounteous friendship I enjoy.
"Then throw that shamesul pittance from thy hand,
"But ill apply'd to such a rugged task;
"The sields, the master, all, my fair, are thine;
"If to the various blessings which thy house
"Has on Jie lavish'd, thou wilt add that bliss,
"That dearest bliss, the pow'r of blessing thee!"
Here ceas'd the youth: yet still his speaking eye
In his poem on Winter, he descibes the approach of that season, and the various storms of rain, wind and snow that usually succeed; which is followed by a landscape, or view, of the snow driven into mountains, and a pathetic tale of a husbandman bewilder'd and lost near his own home ; which naturally introduces reflections on the wants and miseries of mankind. He then speaks of the wolves descending from the Alft and Apennines, and describes a winter Evening, as spent by philosophers, by the country people, and by those in London. He then presents us with a srost, with a view of winter within the Polar Circle, and of a thaw, and concludes the poem with moral reflections on a suture state.
His reflections on midnight, and the address to the Su. preme Being, are pious and beautisul.
As yet 'tis midnight deep. The weary clouds,
Wh Ere now, ye lying vanities of lise!
Father of light and lise! thou Good Supreme!
The description of a deep snow, and of a husbandman lost in it, with the reflections on the wants and miseries of mankind, are seasonable and pathetic.
As thus, the snows arise; and foul, and sierce; All winter drives along the darken'd air; In his own loose-revolving sields, the swain Disastei'd stands; sees other hills ascend, Of unknown joyless brow; and other scenes, Of horrid prospect, shag the trackless plains: Nor sinds the river, nor the forest, hid Beneath the formless wild; but wanders on From hill to dale, still more and more astray; Impatient flouncing thro'' the drifted heaps, Stung with the thoughts of home; the thoughts of home Rush on his nerves, and call their vigour forth
In many a vain attempt. How sinks his soul!
What black despair, what horror sills his heart I
When for the dusky spot, which fancy seign'd
His tufted cottage rising thro' the snow,
He meets the roughness of the middle waste,
Far from the track, and blest abode of man;
While round him night resistless closes fast,
And every tempest, howling o'er his head,
Renders the favage wilderness more wild.
Then throng the busy shapes into his mind,
Of cover'd pits, unfathomably deep,
A dire descent! beyond the power of frost,
Of faithless bogs; of precipices huge,
Smooth'd up with snow; and, what is land, unknown,
What water, of the still unfrozen spring,
In the loose marsh or solitary lake,
Where the fresh fountain from the bottom boils.
These check his searsul steps; and down he sinks
Beneath the shelter of the shapeless drift,
Thinking o'er all the bitterness of death,
Mix'd with the tender anguish nature shoots
Thro' the wrung bosom of the dying man,
His wise, his children, and his friends unseen.
In vain for him th' officious wise prepares
The sire fair blazing, and the vestment warm;
In vain his little children, peeping out
Into the mingling storm, demand their sire,
With tears of artless innocence. Alas!
Nor wise, nor children, more shall he behold,
Nor friends, nor facred home. On every nerve
The deadly winter seizes; shuts up sense;
And, o'er his inmost vitals creeping cold,
Lays him along the snows, a stiftned corse,
Stretch'd out, and bleaching in the northern blast.
Ah little think the gay licentious proud,
His conclusion glows with a strain of piety wortHy of a christian poet and philosopher, and is too perspicuous and forcible to require or admit of any remark.
'Tis done! dread Winter spreads his latest gloom, And reigns tremendous o'er the conquer'd year. How dead the vegetable kingdom lies! How dumb the tunesul! Horror wide extends His desolate domain. Behold, fond man! See here thy pictur'd lise; pass some sew years, Thy flowering spring, thy summer's ardent strength, Thy sober autumn "sading into age, And pale concluding winter comes at last, And shuts the scene. Ah! whither now are fled, Those dreams of greatness? Those unsolid hopes Of happiness? Those longings after fame? Those restless cares? Those busy bustling days? Those gay-spent, sestive nights? Those veering thoughts Lost between good and ill, that shar'd thy lise? All now are vanish'd ! Virtue sole-survives, Immortal never-failing friend of man, His guide to happiness on high. And see! 'Tis come, the glorious morn! the second birth Of heaven, and earth! awakening nature hears The new-creating word, and starts to lise, In every heighten'd form, from pain and death For ever free. The great eternal scheme. Involving all, and in a perfetl whole Uniting, as the prospect wider spreads, To reason's eye resin'd clears up apace. Ye vainly wise! ye blind presumptuous! now, Confounded in the dust, adore that Power, And Wisdom oft arraign'd: see now the cause, Why unassuming worth in secret liv'd. And dy'd, neglected: why the good man's share In life was gall and bitterness of soul: Why the lone widow and her orphans pin'd In starving solitude; while luxury, In palaces, lay straining her low thought, To form unreal wants: why heaven-born truth, And moderation fair, wore the red marks Of superstition's scourge: why licens'd pain, That cruel spoiler, that embofom'd foe,
Jmbittei'd all our bliss. Ye good distrest!
THE method of writing Precepts in verse, and embellishing them with the graces of poetry, had its rise, we may suppose, from a due consideration of the frailties and perverscness of human nature; and was intended to engage the affections, in order to improve the mind and amend the heart.
Were it possible to inspect into the minds of men, and fee their inmost thoughts, we should sind, I am afraid, that most of the human race are fond of appearing wiser than they are, and though they wish for knowledge are unwilling to consess the want of it, or to seek after science for sear of being thought ignorant. Yet there are others, especially amongst our youth, who are under no apprehension of this kind, but fly from knowledge only because the roads to it are rugged, and the approaches difficult of access. To sooth therefore the vanity of the one, and to remove the indolence of the other, poetry was called in to the aid of science, which by its peculiar gracesulness and address could soften the appearance of instruction, and render rules that were dull and difagreeable, sprightly and entertaining. The inventor of didactic poetry knew not only the desects of mankind, but likewise the force and power of a genteel and winning address : He consider'd that ignorance and inattention were not the only enemies to science; but that pride, impatience, and affectation, were likewise to be vanquished; and therefore adorned and enriched his precepts, that pleasure might allure the one, and keep the other in countenance.