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Rural Odes for August .
The moisture of thy oozy brink ;
This little rill that from the springs of yonder grove its current brings, Plays on the slope a while, and then Goes prattling into groves again, Oft to its warbling waters drew My little feet when life was new. When woods in early green were drest, And from the chambers of the west The warmer breezes, travelling out, Breathed the new scent of flowers about, My truant steps from home would stray, Upon its grassy side to play ; To crop
the violet on its brim, And listen to the throstle's hymn, With blooming cheek and open brow, As young and gay, sweet rill, as thou.
Thou changest not
— but am changed, Since first thy pleasant banks I ranged ; And the grave stranger, come to see The play-place of his infancy, Has scarce a single trace of him Who sported once upon thy brim. The visions of my youth are past Too bright, too beautiful, to last. I've tried the world - it wears no more The coloring of romance it wore. Yet well has nature kept the truth She promised to my earliest youth ; The radiant beauty, shed abroad On all the glorious works of God, Shows freshly, to my sobered eye, Each charm it wore in days gone by.
And when the days of boyhood came, And I had grown in love with fame, Duly I sought thy banks, and tried My first rude numbers by thy side. Words cannot tell how glad and gay The scenes of life before me lay. High visions, then, and lofty schemes, Glorious and bright as fairy dreams, And daring hopes, that now to speak Would bring the blood into my cheek, Passed o'er me ; and I wrote on high A name I deemed should never die.
A few brief years shall pass away, And I, all trembling, weak, and gray, Bowed to the earth, which waits to fold My ashes in the embracing mould, If haply the dark will of fate Indulge my life so long a date, May come for the last time to look Upon my childhood's favorite brook. Then dimly on my eye shall gleam The sparkle of thy dancing stream ; And faintly on my ear shall fall Thy prattling current's merry call ; Yet shalt thou flow as glad and bright As when thou met'st my infant sight.
Years change thee not. Upon yon hill The tall old maples, verdant still, Yet tell, in proud and grand decay, How swift the years have passed away, Since first, a child, and half afraid, I wandered in the forest shade. But thou, gay, merry rivulet, Dost dimple, play, and prattle, yet ; And sporting with the sands that pavo The windings of thy silver wave, And dancing to thy own wild chime, Thou laughest at the lapse of time. The same sweet sounds are in my ear My early childhood loved to hear ; As pure thy limpid waters run, As bright they sparkle to the sun ; As fresh the herbs that crowd to drink
And I shall sleep - and on thy side, As ages after ages glide, Children their early sports shall try, And pass to hoary age, and die. But thou, unchanged from year to year, Gayly shalt play and glitter here ; Amid young flowers and tender grass Thy endless infancy shalt pass ; And, singing down thy narrow glen, Shalt mock the fading race of men.
STREET — ANACREON
Thee country hinds with gladness hear,
STREET'S “AUGUST.” An August day! a dreamy haze
Films air, and mingles with the skies ; Sweetly the rich, dark sunshine plays,
Bronzing each object where it lies. Outlines are melted in the gauze
That Nature veils ; the fitful breeze
Then dies in flutterings midst the trees.
- a tap - is heard Through the dry leaves, in grass and bush, As insect, animal, and bird,
Rouse brief from their lethargic hush.
And a dread stillness all things lock :
The monarch pine's deep trance to waken,
The air in woven purple glimmering,
Gave one brief sigh — the slumberous shimmering
With some sweet charm, that soft, serene,
Mellows the gold — the blue
And melts the sounds that intervene,
CLARE'S “SUMMER INSECTS." Tuese tiny loiterers on the barley's beard, And happy units of a numerous herd Of playfellows, the laughing Summer brings ; Mocking the sunshine on their glittering wings; How merrily they creep, and run, and fly! No kin they bear to labor's drudgery, Smoothing the velvet of the pale hedge-rose, And where they fly for dinner no one knows; The dew-drop feeds them not; they love the shine Of noon, whose suns may bring them golden wine.
All day they're playing in their Sunday dress
One almost fancies that such happy things,
ANACREON'S « GRASSHOPPER.”
TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK BY COWLEY.
MILTON'S “ EVENING.”
HAPPY insect, what can be In happiness compared to thee? Fed with nourishment divine, The dewy morning's gentle wine ! Nature waits upon thee still, And thy verdant cup does fill ; 'T is filled wherever thou dost tread, Nature's self's thy Ganymede. Thou dost drink, and dance, and sing, Happier than the happiest king! All the fields which thou dost see, All the plants, belong to thee; All that summer hours produce, Fertile made with early juice. Man for thee does sow and plough ; Farmer he, and landlord thou ! Thou dost innocently enjoy ; Nor does thy luxury destroy. The shepherd gladly heareth thee, More harmonious than he.
Now came still Evening on, and twilight gray Had in her sober livery all things clad ; Silence accompanied : for beast and bird — They to their grassy couch, these to their nests Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale. She all night long her amorous descant sung ; Silence was pleased : now glowed the firmament With living sapphires ; Hesperus, that led The starry host, Tode brightest till the Moon, Rising in clouded majesty, at length Apparent queen, unveiled her peerless light, And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.
Delille's "Country Gentleman."
TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH BY JOHN MAUNDE.
How a proprietor should live in the country. Beauties
of nature. Folly of many desires. Meanness and disappointment resulting from town life ; country amusements, choice of. The sage's enjoyment in the country. Spring and autumn, their different scenes. Summer. Winter, its pleasures. Backgammon. Chess. Lecture. Spring, its amusements. Angling Shooting Staghunting, death of the stag. Arts. Pleasures of friendship necessary. Hospitality to the living. Hospitality to the dead. Honors paid to authors. Incitements to generosity. Rural industry. Rustic poverty relieved. The village pastor, village schoolmaster. Infant dispositions. Infant abilities. Superstition, advice against. Rustic amusements. Bowls, archery, dancing.
VIRTUE NECESSARY TO CONTEXT. - WITHOUT INNOCENCE ALL
PLEASURES PALL ; DISCONTENT OF THE LISTLESS HEIR. Wouldst thou, sequestered ʼmidst thy rustic bowers, In calm contentment pass the tranquil hours ? Thy sylvan gods, that guard the sacred round, With incense pure must see their altars crowned ; Not like yon heir corrupt, of simple sire, Who, ere enjoyment comes, has lost desire ; Whose veering wishes, ever on the range, Shift, like his current coin, in endless change. See him in town : scarce does the morning rise, The town fatigues, and to the fields he flies ; There scarce arrived before his mansion gate, Disgust and vapored Spleen his coming wait : Scarce has his eye the gay parterre surveyed, The Chinese temple, and the greenhouse shade ; Tired of the scene, by new-born wishes drawn, He hastes to Paris, at the play to yawn. Thus palled with pleasures, ever seeking new, He blames the town, reviles the country too : The fault is his alone, the ceaseless strife Of meeting wishes sours the stream of life.
RCRAL POETRY. -BOILEAU. - VIRGIL.
From Boileau's muse, of bold and haughty tone, The rigid laws of polished verse are known ; The Mantuan bard has bid the docile field With readier zeal its tardy produce yield. Fain would my numbers teach the human heart That pure enjoyment which our fields impart : How vain the wish! so shall the sylvan muse Each pedant rule, each harsher note, refuse ; Show Nature's form in smiling beauty drest, And call mankind to view her and be blest!
INVOCATION TO COUNTRY QUIET AND VIRTUE.
Come, then, ye blissful scenes, ye soft retreats Where life flows pure, the heart more calmly beats; Where harmless pleasure lulls the tranquil mind, Nor leaves the sting of dire reproach bebind ! Inspire my pen ! that, drawn in Nature's cause, With genuine pleasure mingles Virtue's laws. WHO BEST ENJOY THE COUNTRY. – SUFFERERS FROM THE
SIMPLICITY. - POMP AND PARADE OUT OF PLACE IN THE COUNTRY; THE WEALTHY CLOWN; THE OFFICE-SEEKER.
Amidst thy fields, whence simplest pleasures flow, Search not the labored pomp of empty show ; Else wilt thou find, a prey to useless pride, Thy mind depressed, thy heart dissatisfied. Too oft does Man, with Nature still at war, In proud conceit, her fairest prospects mar : With pitying eye I mark the wealthy clown, That to the country brings the city down, With splendid pomp adorns his house and board, And at the village acts the sumptuous lord. With added grief each upstart heir I view, Who rashly bids his father's house adieu, Courts the gay world, and, in the public eye, Squanders the rent his rich domains supply ; With mean attendance guards the great man's gate, With eager look his passing glance to wait ; Pleased if some placeman beckon him aside, And fan with flattering hopes his empty pride.
POWER AND PLACE INIMICAL TO PEACE. - CITY CARES AND
How soon, alas ! by sad experience brought, Arrives disgust : disgust how dearly bought! Till, humbler grown, he seeks his fields again, Attends his vintage, or collects his grain :
Convinced at length, from state-intrigues aloof,
Ye that in courts 'midst storms and tumult live,
alas ! the dwelling of a day,
THE STUDY OF NATURE ENNOBLING ; EVER NEW AND INTER
ESTING. — THE VULGAR; THE SAGE. Let Molé, Sainval, crowned with just renown, With graceful skill enchant the listening town, In scenes sublime, distinguished wouldst thou shine, Tread Nature's stage, and that distinction 's thine. What softened charms her various scenes supply To those of finer taste and practised eye! The vulgar soul to no emotion yields : Though Spring or Summer deck the smiling fields. Senseless it sees the changing hours advance, Owns no distinction, and is pleased by chance. Not so the Sage : to varying nature true, To-day some new-born object strikes his view; To-morrow comes ; its short-lived beauty flies, And gives a fresh sensation as it dies.
NATURE REPAYS OUR PAINS.
I blame him not; but see, with proud delight, Triumphant Nature vindicate her right; Aided by Art, her native power resume, Live 'midst the great, and in the palace bloom. Soon shall your heart, by dreadful anguish rent, The fatal error of your choice lament; Look at your trees : no flattery they bestow; No worldly scorn nor arts ungrateful know ; And when they promise, in their friendly shade, A refuge sure, they keep the promise made.
THE PERPETUAL CHARM OF VARIETY IN NATURE.
INVITATION TO FORM A RURAL TASTE.
Try then to leave the city's peopled waste, And form, by soft degrees, a rural taste ; Let town-bred projects to the country yield ; Adorn your garden ; cultivate your field : And though, while rustic toils your mind employ, You miss, perhaps, the sage's purer joy, Self-love will soon the vacant place supply, And view its offspring with a parent's eye.
Thus will the soul to present pleasure spring, And grieve for that which struggles on the wing ; In all is pleased ; or when the freshened morn Gives life to flowers that hasten to be born ; Or should the sun, now verging to the main, Some languid traces of his fire retain. So Homer leaves the dreadful shock of arms, And loves to paint Aurora's rosy charms : So Lorraine's magic touch, as daylight dies, With yellow lustre gilds his evening skies. THE YEAR'S CHANGES ; ITS MORNING. - EFFECT OF SPRING OX
THE INSECT, SAGE, AND POET. Through all its change the rolling year pursue, That, like the day, can boast its morning too ! Yon insect light, now first from darkness freed, That flies exulting o'er the blossomed mead, Expands his wings, and on each opening flower, Young, gay, and brilliant, tastes the vernal shower, Not more enjoys his entrance into day Than does the sage, when Spring resumes its sway. Farewell the gloomy screen's seclusive fold ! Farewell to dusty books, and lecture cold ! Nature's rich volume, to the mind displayed, Invites the muse – and be her call obeyed !
THEATRICALS OUT OF PLACE IN THE COUNTRY ; CORRUPTING.
Ev'n in the fairest scenes, some pleasures still The rural hour at intervals must fill : Choose them with cautious care ; nor madly vain Beneath thy roof receive the Thespian train : Let the proud lord the gaudy throng admit, Whose marble dome such pompous shows befit, But in the cottage-walls theatric noise Usurps the peaceful scene of pastoral joys. While mirth escapes before the splendid view, How shall ourselves escape contagion too ? Slow o'er the breast the soft infection creeps, Till in our bed, perhaps, the actress sleeps.
MENTAL EFFECTS OF SPRING AND AUTUMN COXTRASTED.
Add, that the jealous clash of rival hate, The spiteful whisper, and the warm debate, Who princess, lover, king or clown, shall be, Form, 'midst the troop itself, a comedy. Oft, too, the mind, in empty pastime lost, Neglects those duties which concern it most ; See Mondor, Merope, with skilful art, Of sire or mother top the mimic part, Think'st thou at home their infants know their care? Vainly, alas ! you seek the parent there. Thus then, arrived at Folly's highest noon, Does man turn mimic, and the sage buffoon ; Thus Nero lived, amidst his motley court, His people's terror and his people's sport.
Sweet though the beauties of the new-born Spring, The later seasons other pleasures bring : The autumnal sun, that paler tints surround, The dying foliage, and the woods embrowned, Though bodings sad afflict the sorrowing sense, A mellow softness to the soul dispense. Spring lights up rapture in the gladdening eye, While Autumn bids us breathe the pensive sigh. The sunny day, that through the Winter slept, Like some loved friend, whose death we vainly wept, With unexpected presence cheers the sight, And e'en in quitting calls us to delight : Then 't is a parting friend, that, ere he goes, Each lingering moment on his friend bestows ; The moment given with ardor we retain, While fond regret augments the pleasing pain.
THE PRAISE OF SUMMER. SUMMER MOONLIGHT.
THE GAME OF CHESS.
Majestic Summer! pardon that my lays Till now forbore to celebrate thy praise. The fervid splendor of thy mid-day sun With wonder strikes me, though its fire I shun. I love thee most, whene'er thy potent rage Or Autumn's breath or vernal gales assuage. Though Nature pant beneath thy noontide power, How sweet the freshness of thy evening hour ! What time the night, throughout the gelid air, Veils with her sable wings the solar glare ; Then loves the eye, that shrunk before the day, To drink refreshment from the moon's pale ray ; When modest Cynthia, clad in silver light, Expands her beauty on the brow of night, Sheds her soft beams upon the mountain side, Peeps through the wood, and quivers on the tide.
Yon serious pair, immersed in thought profound, Their peaceful squadrons range on checkered ground; Madly enamored of the mimic war, With warmth they combat, though from peril far : Through skilful rounds and intricate defiles They lead their ivory troops or ebon files : With equal force engage the rival bands, And conquest long in doubtful balance stands : One fatal check assures the victor's claim, Who loudly tells his adversary's shame : He o'er the chess-men bent, with saddened view, With pain believes that what he sees is true.
CARDS. -- BILLIARDS. - WINE.- READING ALOCD.
WINTER ; ITS PLEASANT SCENES.
Midst Winter's storm, the town I most approve ; E'en there, though absent from the scenes I love, Thanks to the poet and the painter's skill! In fancy's eye, I can enjoy them still. But if compelled to pass amidst the fields The Winter drear-e'en Winter pleasure yields : The dazzling snow, the hoary frost of morn, And icy lustres that the rock adorn. Wandering through air, if chance one solar beam, Herald of Spring, athwart the scene should gleam, That, like a graceful smile 'midst Sorrow's tears, With transient light the morning desert cheers, – More than the brightest glow of summer skies, Reviving Nature shall the stranger prize. If, o'er the barren waste, the searching eye One spot of verdure haply shall descry, How shall the heart the pleasing object greet, That brings with sweet remembrance hopes as sweet; And thus enjoy, amidst the rigid frost, The promised Spring, the Autumn that it lost!
Lotto, piquet, or whist's more solemn game, Amuse the hoary sire and dowried dame. On yonder side, a young and giddy train Chase the white balls along the verdant plain. But now the table, scene of social charms, Commands each play'r to lay aside his arms : Scarce from the teeming flask the nectar's poured, Ere sparkling wit allumes the festive board. The supper done, to lecture we repair, Peruse Racine, or dip into Voltaire :
THE DULL AUTHOR, A WINTER BORE. Or else, alas! some witling of the place Draws from his pocket, with important face, A treacherous scroll, which, as its author reads, Fatigue and vapor round the circle spreads ; One with a yawn the killing work admits, Another fairly sleeps and snores by fits, Till, roused from slumber by the applauding crowd, Sudden he starts, and claps his hands aloud. Thus does a laugh the tedious lecturer balk, And to a tale or sonnet shifts the talk. To-morrow comes, and, to the appoint true, Laughter and sport the self-same scenes renew. Winter, no more the god of stern command, Bids blithesome pleasure on his brow expand ; A laughing sire, that, 'neath the load of years, Loves to be pleased, and charms in hoary hairs.
THE WINTER FIRESIDE; SPORTS ; GAMES ; THE GAMESTER.
ACTIVE PLEASURES OF SPRING. HEALTH.
But should the tempest lower ; in yonder room, Where sparkling fagots chase the dreary gloom, With flambeaux lighted, and adorned with taste, I'll sit secure, and mock the northern blast; While various pastimes happily deceive The lingering moments of the stormy eve. Here, with the dice-box trembling in his hands, The practised gamester, calculating, stands ; Or, o'er the gammon fixed, with studious face Marks every chance, the full and vacant space. From side to side the shifting counter goes, One pile decreasing as the other grows. As fears or hope the panting bosom try, Through varied fortune runs the harassed die : Now from its prison thrown, with furious bound It leaps along the board, that echoes round, Still rolling on ; till one decisive stroke Pronounce the contest and the party broke.
The rising beauties of the vernal sky More lively scenes, more active joy, supply : Who then can bear, in sedentary place, The different colors of the cards to trace ? Man sighs for pleasure, and in health it lies ; That would he have, 't is found in exercise. Let Winter only, or the city, know Those gloomy sports from indolence that flow, Where, pleased with torment, and amused by vice, That Care may sleep, man wakens Avarice. Gives not the peopled flood, the sylvan fight, More harmless pleasure, more sincere delight? Come, then, thou Muse! to whose domain belong The wandering Dryads, and the rustic throng, Conduct my footsteps to their green retreat, Where primal man first caught poetic heat.