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By ceaseless action all that is subsists. Constant rotation of th’ unwearied wheel That nature rides upon maintains her health, Her beauty, her fertility. She dreads An instant's pause, and lives but while she moves. Its own revolvency upholds the world. Winds from all quarters agitate the air, And fit the limpid element for use, Else noxious : oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams, All feel the fresh’ning impulse, and are cleans'd By restless undulation : ev’n the oak Thrives by the rude concussion of the storm : He seems indeed indignant, and to feel Th'impression of the blast with proud disdain, Frowning, as if in his unconscious arm He held the thunder : but the monarch owes His firm stability to what he scornsMore fix'd below, the more disturb'd above. The law, by which all creatures else are bound, Binds man the lord of all. Himself derives No mean advantage from a kindred cause, From strenuous toil his hours of sweetest ease. The sedentary stretch their lazy length When custom bids, but no refreshment find, For none they need : the languid eye, the cheek Deserted of its bloom, the flaccid, shrunk, And wither'd muscle, and the vapid soul, Reproach their owner with that love of rest To which he forfeits ev’n the rest he loves. Not such th' alert and active. Measure life
By it true worth, the comforts it affords,
And theirs alone seems worthy of the name.
Good health, and, its associate in most,
Good temper ; spirits prompt to undertake,
And not soon spent, though in an arduous task ;
The pow'rs of fancy and strong thought are theirs ;
Ev'n age itself seems privileg'd in them,
With clear exemption from its own defects.
A sparkling eye beneath a wrinkled front
The vetran shows, and, gracing a gray beard
With youthful smiles, descends toward the grave
Sprightly, and old almost without decay.
Like a coy maiden, ease, when courted most,
Farthest retires-an idol, at whose shrine
Who oft'nest sacrifice are favour'd least.
The love of nature, and the scene she draws,
Is nature's dictate. Strange ! there should be found,
Who, self-imprison'd in their proud saloons,
Renounce the odours of the open field
For the ụnscented fictions of the loom ;
Who, satisfied with only pencil'd scenes,
Prefer to the performance of a God
Th' inferior wonders of an artist's hand!
Lovely indeed the mimic works of art;
But nature's works far lovelier. I admire-
None more admires the painter's magic skill,
Who shows me that which I shall never see,
Conveys a distant country into mine,
And throws Italian light on English walls :
But imitative strokes can do no more
Than please the eye-sweet nature ev'ry sense.
The air salubrious of her lofty hills,
The cheering fragrance of her dewy vales,
And music of her woods--no works of man
May rival these ; these all bespeak a pow'r
Peculiar, and exclusively her own.
Beneath the open sky she spreads the feast ;
'Tis free to all—'tis ev'ry day renew'd;
Who scorns it starves deservedly at home.
He does not scorn it, who, imprison'd long
In some unwholesome dungeon, and a prey
To sallow sickness, which the vapours, dank
And clammy, of his dark abode have bred,
Escapes at last to liberty and light:
His cheek recovers soon its healthful hue ;
His eye relumines its extinguish'd fires ;
He walks, he leaps, he runs—is wing'd with joy,
And riots in the sweets of ev'ry breeze.
He does not scorn it, who has long endur'd
A fever's agonies, and fed on drugs.
Nor yet the mariner, his blood inflam'd
With acrid salts ; his very heart athirst
• To gaze at nature in her green array,
Upon the ship's tall side he stands, possess'd
With visions prompted by intense desire :
Fair fields appear below, such as he left
Far distant, such as he would die to find
He seeks them headlong, and is seen no more.
The spleen is seldom felt where Flora reigns ; The low'ring eye, the petulance, the frown,
And sullen sadness, that o'ershade, distort,
And mar the face of beauty, when no cause
For such immeasurable woe appears,
These Flora banishes, and gives the fair
Sweet smiles, and bloom less transient than her own.
It is the constant revolution, stale
And tasteless, of the same repeated joys,
That palls and satiates, and makes languid life
A pedlar's pack, that bows the bearer down.
Health suffers, and the spirits ebb; the heart
Recoils from its own choice at the full feast
Is famish'd—finds no music in the song,
No smartness in the jest ; and wonders why.
Yet thousands still desire to journey on,
Though halt, and weary of the path they tread.
The paralytic, who can hold her cards,
But cannot play them, borrows a friend's hand
To deal and shuffle, to divide and sort,
Her mingled suits and sequences; and sits,
Spectatress both and spectacle, a sad
And silent cypher, while her proxy plays.
Others are dragg'd into the crowded room
Between supporters ; and, once seated, sit,
Through downright inability to rise,
Till the stout bearers lift the corpse again.
These speak a loud memento. Yet ev'n these
Themselves love life, and cling to it, as he
That overhangs a torrent to a twig.
They love it, and yet loath it ; fear to die,
Yet scorn the purposes for which they live.
Then wherefore not renounce them? No-the dread,
The slavish dread of solitude, that breeds
Reflection and remorse, the fear of shame,
And their invet'rate habits, all forbid.
\ Whom call we gay? That honour has been long
The boast of mere pretenders to the name.
The innocent are gay—the lark is gay,
That dries his feathers, saturate with dew,
Beneath the rosy cloud, while yet the beams
Of day-spring overshoot his humble nest.
The peasant too, a witness of his song,
Himself a songster, is as gay as he.
But save me from the gaiety of those
Whose head-aches nail them to a noon-day bed ;
And save me too from theirs whose haggard eyes.
Flash desperation, and betray their pangs
For property stripp'd off by cruel chance ;
From gaiety that fills the bones with pain,
The mouth with blasphemy, the heart with woe.
The earth was made so various, that the mind
Of desultory man, studious of change,
And pleas'd with novelty, might be indulg'd.
Prospects, however lovely, may be seen
Till half their beauties.fade ; the weary sight,
Too well acquainted with their smiles, slides off,
Fastidious, seeking less familiar scenes.
Then snug enclosures in the shelter'd vale,
Where frequent hedges intercept the eye,
Delight us; happy to renounce awhile,
Not senseless of its charms, what still we love,