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his trade as a shoemaker, and also sold Æolian and all the most eminent critics and poets of a harps of his own construction. He continued to later date. Dr. Drake, in his Literary Hours, has employ his poetical powers, and, besides contribu- taken a very masterly view of the merits of this ting several pieces to the Monthly Mirror, published poem, which he considers not inferior to the Seasons three volumes of poems, in 1802, 1804, and 1806, of Thomson, from which Bloomfield probably took successively. In 1811, appeared his Banks of the the idea of the Farmer's Boy ; though there is no Wye, the result of a tour made by him into New other ailinity between the two, than, as Mr. Lotlt South Wales, the mountain scenery of which observes, “ flowing numbers, feeling piety, poetic country made a novel and pleasing impression upon imagery and animation, a taste for the picturesque, his mind. Not long afterward, owing, as some force of thought, and a true sense of the natural say, to his engaging in the book trade, he became a and pathetic.” The great difference between the bankrupt; and about the same time, suffering much composition of Thomson and Bloomfield consists from the dropsy, he left London, and took up his in that of the latter being exclusively pastoral abode at Shetford, in Bucks, for the benefit of his throughout; and, indeed, says Dr. Drake, “such health. It seems, that the decreasing sale of his are its merits, that in true pastoral imagery and works, and an indiscriminate liberality toward his simplicity, I do not think any production can be friends and relations, who were poor and numerous, put in competition with it since the days of Theohad materially diminished his finances; and this, cratus.” A Latin version of the Farmer's Boy, by together with the illness before mentioned, preying Mr. Clubbe, was published in 1805, and it has been upon his mind, threw him into a state which translated, by M. Etienne Allard, into French, threatened to terminate in mental aberration. This under the title of le Valet du Fermier. We conevent was, however, prevented by his death, which clude our memoir of Bloomfield, who appears to took place at Sheiford, on the 19th of August, 1823, have blended with great genius, an innate modesty in the fifty-seventh year of his age. He left a and amiableness of character, with the following widow and four children; and had published, verse, from a very eloquent tribute to his memory, shortly before his death, May Day with the Muses, by Bernard Barton : and Hazlewood Hall, a Village Drama, in three
It is not quaint and local terms acts.
Besprinkled o'er thy rustic lay, The characteristics of the poem of the Farmer's Though well such dialect confirms Boy are too well known to need a repetition of them
Ils power unletter'd minds to sway;
But 'tis not these that most display here; it is sufficient to say, that the popularity of
Thy sweetest charms, thy gentlest thrall,the work is justified by the unqualified eulogy of Words, phrases, fashions, pass away, Parr, Southey, Aikin, Watson, (Bishop of Llandaff,) But Truth and Nature live through all.
Live trifling incidents, and grace my song,
That to the humblest menial belong :
To him whose drudgery unheeded goes,
His joys unreckon'd, as his cares or woes,
Though joys and cares in every path are sown, ARGUMENT.
And youthful minds have feelings of their own, Invocation, &c. Seed-time. Harrowing. Morning walks. Quick springing sorrows, transient as the dew,
Milking. The dairy. Suffolk cheese. Spring coming Delights from trifles, trifles ever new.
Labour his portion, but he felt no more ;
The fields his study, nature was his book!
And as revolving seasons changed the scene
From heat to cold, tempestuous to serene,
Where noble Grafton spreads his rich domains
There Giles, untaught and unrepining, stray'd For all the blessings of my infant days!
Through every copse, and grove, and winding glade; Bear me through regions where gay fancy dwells: There his first thoughts to nature's charms inclined, But mould to truth's fair form what memory tells. That stamps devotion on th’inquiring mind.
A little farm his generous master till’u,
These, hung in triumph round the spacious field, Who with peculiar grace his station filld;
At best will but a shortlived terror yield: By deeds of hospitality endear’d,
Nor guards of property ; (not penal law, Served from allection, for his worth revered; But harmless riflemen of rags and straw ;) A happy offspring blest his plenteous board, Familiarized to these, they boldly rove, His fields were fruitful, and his barns well stored, Nor heed such sentinels that never move. And fourscore eu'es he fed, a sturdy team,
Let then your birds lie prostrate on the earth And lowing kine that grazed beside the stream. In dying posture, and with wings stretch'd forth Inceasmg industry he kept in view;
Shift them at eve or morn from plac to place, And never lack'd a job for Giles to do.
And death shall terrify the pilfering race; Fled now the sullen murmurs of the north, In the mid air, while circling round and round, The splendid raiment of the Spring peeps forth; They call their lifeless comrades from the ground; Her universal green, and the clear sky,
With quickening wing, and note of loud alarm, Delight still more and more the gazing eye. Warn the whole flock to shun th' impending harm. Wide o'er the fields, in rising moisture strong, This task had Giles, in fields remote from home : Shoots up the simple flower or creeps along
Oft has he wish'd the rosy morn to come: The mellow'd soil; imbibing fairer hues,
Yet never famed was he nor foremost found Or sweets from frequent showers and evening dews; To break the seal of sleep; his sleep was sound; That summon from their sheds the slumbering But when at daybreak summond from his bed, ploughs,
Light as the lark that carolld o'er his head.While health impregnates every breeze that blows. His sandy way, deep worn by hasty showers, No wheels support the diving, pointed share; O'erarch'd with onks that form’d fantastic bowers, No groaning ox is doom'd to labour there;
Waving aloft their towering branches proud, No helpmates teach the docile steed his road; In borrow'd tinges from the eastern cloud, (Alike unknown the ploughboy and the goad ;) Gave inspiration, pure as ever flow'd, But, unassisted through each toilsome day, And genuine transport in his bosom glow'd. With smiling brow the ploughman cleaves his way, His own shrill matin joind the various notes Draws his fresh parallels, and widening still, Of nature's music, from a thousand throats : Treads slow the heavy dale, or climbs the hill: The blackbird strove with emulation sweet, Strong on the wing his busy followers play, [day; And echo answer'd from her close retreat; Where writhing earth worms meet th’unwelcome The sporting whitethroat on some twig's end borne, Till all is changed, and hill and level down Pour'd hyinns to freedom and the rising morn; Assume a livery of sober brown:
Stopt in her song, perchance the starting thrush Again disturbid, when Giles with wearying strides Shook a white shower from the blackthorn bush, From ridge to ridge the ponderous harrow guides; Where dewdrops thick as early blossoms hung, His heels deep sinking every step he goes,
And trembled as the minstrel sweetly sung. Till dirt adhesive loads his clouted shoes.
Across his path, in either grove to hide, Welcome, green headland! firm beneath bis feet; The timid rabbit scouted by his side ; Welcome the friendly bank's refreshing seat; Or pheasant boldly stalk'd along the road, There, warm with toil, his panting horses browse Whose gold and purple tints alternate glow'd. Their sheltering canopy of pendent boughs;
But groves no further fenced the devious way, Till rest, delicious, chase each transient pain, A wide-extended heath before him lay, And new-born vigour dwell in every vein. Where on the grass the stagnant shower had run, Hour after our, and day to day succeeds;
And shone a mirror to the rising sun, Till every clod and deep-drawn furrow spreads Thus doubly seen to light a distant wood, To crumbling mould; a level surface clear, To give new life to each expanding bud; And strew'd with corn to crown the rising year; And chase away the dewy footmarks found, And o’er the whole Giles once transverse again, Where prowling Reynard trod his nightly round; In earth's moist bosom buries up the grain. To shun whose thefts was Giles's evening care, The work is done; no more to man is given; His feather'd victims to suspend in air, The grateful farmer trusts the rest to Heaven. High on the bough that nodded o'er his head, Yet oft with anxious heart he looks around,
And thus each morn to strew the field with dead. And marks the first green blade that breaks the His simple errand done, he homeward hies; ground:
Another instantly its place supplies. In fancy sees his trembling oats uprun,
The clattering dairy maid, immersed in steam, His tufted barley yellow with the sun;
Singing and scrubbing midst her milk and cream, Sees clouds propitious shed their timely store, Bawls out “Go fetch the cow's .!”—he hears no more; And all his harvest gather'd round his door, For pigs, and ducks, and turkeys throng the door, But still unsafe the big swoln grain below, And sitting hens, for constant war prepared ; A favourite morsel with the rook and crow; A concert strange to that which late he heard. From field to field the flock increasing goes: Straight to the meadow then he whistling goes ; To level crops most formidable foes;
With well known halloo calls his lazy cows;
Down the rich pasture heedlessly they graze,
For well they know the cowyard yields no more Will scatter death amongst them as they rise. Its tempting fragrance, nor its wintry store,
Reluctance marks their steps, sedate and slow; Where grandeur revels in unbounded stores;
Till London market, London price, resound
Through every town, round every passing load, Allow'd precedence, undisputed sway:
And dairy produce throngs the eastern road : With jealous pride her station is maintainid, Delicious veal, and butter, every hour, For many a broil that post of honour gain’d. From Essex lowlands, and the banks of Stour: At home, the yard affords a grateful scene; And further far, where numerous herds repose, For Spring makes e’en a'miry cowyard clean. From Orwell's brink, from Waveny, or Ouse. Thence from its chalky bed behold convey'd Hence Suffolk dairy wives run mad for cream, The rich manure that drenching Winter made, And leave their milk with nothing but its name; Which piled near home, grows green with many a Its name derision and reproach pursue, A promised nutriment for Autumn's seed. [weed, And strangers tell of “three times skimm'd sky. Forth comes the maid, and like the morning smiles ;
blue.” The mistress too, and follow'd close by Giles. To cheese converted, what can be its boast; A friendly tripod forms their humble seat,
What, but the common virtues of a post ! With pails bright scour'd, and delicately sweet. If drought o’ertake it faster than the knife, Where shadowing elms obstruct the morning ray, Most fair it bids for stubborn length of life, Begins the work, begins the simple lay;
And, like the oaken shelf whereon ’tis laid, The full charged udder yields its willing streams, Mocks the weak efforts of the bending blade; While Mary sings some lover's amorous dreams; Or in the hog-trough rests in perfect spite, And crouching Giles, beneath a neighbouring tree, Too big to swallow, and too hard to bite. Tugs o'er his pail, and chants with equal glee: Inglorious victory! Ye Cheshire meads, Whose hat with tatter'd brim, of nap so bare, Or Severn's flowery dales, where plenty treads, From the cow's side purloins a coat of hair, Was your rich milk to suffer wrongs like these, A mottled ensign of his harmless trade,
Farewell your pride ! farewell renowned cheese! An unambitious, peaceable cockade,
The skimmer dread, whose ravages alone, As unambitious too that cheerful aid
Thus turn the mead's sweet nectar into stone. The mistress yields beside her rosy maid:
Neglected now the early daisy lies : With joy she views her plenteous, reeking store, Nor thou, pale primrose, bloom'st the only prize! And bears a brimmer to the dairy door ;
Advancing Spring profusely spreads abroad Her cows dismiss'd the luscious mead to roam, Flowers of all hues, with sweetest fragrance stored ; Till eve again recalls them loaded home.
Where'er she treads, Love gladdens every plain, And now the dairy claims her choicest care, Delight on tiptoe bears her lucid train; And half her household find employment there : Sweet Hope with conscious brow before her flies, Slow rolls the churn, its load of clogging cream Anticipating wealth from summer skies; At once foregoes its quality and name;
All nature feels her renovating sway; From knotty particles first floating wide
The sheep-fed pasture, and the meadow gay, Congealing butter's dash'd from side to side; And trees, and shrubs, no longer budding seen, Streams of new milk through flowing coolers stray, Display the new-grown branch of lighter green; And snow-white curd abounds, and wholesome On airy downs the idling shepherd lies, whey.
And sees to-morrow in the marbled skies. Due north th’ unglazed windows, cold and clear Here then, my soul, thy darling theme pursue, For warming sunbeams are unwelcome here. For every day was Giles a shepherd too. Brisk goes the work beneath each busy hand, Small was his charge; no wilds had they to And Giles must trudge, whoever gives command;
roam ; A Gibeonite, that serves them all by turns : But bright enclosures circling round their home. He drains the pump, from him the fagot burns ; No yellow-blossom'd furze, nor stubborn thorn, From him the noisy hogs demand their food; The heath's rough produce, had their fleeces torn; While at his heels run many a chirping brood, Yet ever roving, ever seeking thee, Or down his path in expectation stand,
Enchanting spirit, dear Variety ! With equal claims upon his strewing hand. O happy tenants, prisoners of a day ! Thus wastes the morn, till each with pleasure sees Released to ease, to pleasure, and to play ; The bustle o’er, and press'd the new-made cheese. Indulged through every field by turns to range,
Unrivall'd stands thy country cheese, 0 Giles ! And taste them all in one continual change. Whose very name alone engenders smiles; For though luxuriant their grassy food, Whose fame abroad by every tongue is spoke, Sheep long confined but loathe the present good; The well-known butt of many a flinty joke, Bleating around the homeward gate they meet, That pass like current coin the nation through: And starve, and pine, with plenty at their feet. And, ah! experience proves the satire true. Loosed from the winding lane, a joyful throng, Provision's grave, thou ever craving mart, See, o'er yon pasture, how they pour along! Dependant, huge metropolis ! where art
Giles round their boundaries takes his usual stroll; Her poring thousands stows in breathless rooms, Sees every pass secured, and fences whole ; Midst poisonous smokes and steams, and rattling High fences, proud to charm the gazing eye, Jooms;
Where many a nestling first essays to fly;
Where blows the woodbine, faintly streak'd with Nor estimates alone one blessing's worth,
Say, ye that know, ye who have felt and seen For casual as for certain want prepares,
Though ever moist his self-improving meads Ye who can smile, to wisdom no disgrace,
Supply his dairy with a copious flood, At the arch meaning of a kitten's face :
And seems to promise unexhausted food; If spotless innocence, and infant mirth,
That promise fails, when buried deep in snow, Excites to praise, or gives reflection birth,
And vegetative juices cease to flow. In shades like these pursue your favourite joy, For this, his plough turns up the destined lands, Midst nature's revels, sports that never cloy. Whence stormy Winter draws its full demands; A few begin a short but vigorous race,
For this, the seed minutely small, he sows, And indolence abash'd soon flies the place ;
Whence, sound and sweet, the hardy turnip grows, Thus challenged forth, see thither one by one, But how unlike to April's closing days ! From every side assembling playmates run; High climbs the sun, and darts his powerful rays ; A thousand wily antics mark their stay,
Whitens the fresh-drawn mould, and pierces through A starting crowd, impatient of delay.
The cumbrous clods that tumble round the plough. Like the fond dove from fearful prison freed, O'er heaven's bright azure, hence with joyful eyes, Each seems to say, “ Come, let us try our speed;"
The farmer sees dark clouds assembling rise ; Away they scour, impetuous, ardent, strong, Borne o'er his fields a heavy torrent falls, The green turf trembling as they bound along;
And strikes the earth in hasty driving squalls. Adown the slope, then up the hillock climb, “ Right welcome down, ye precious drops," he Where every molehill is a bed of thyme;
cries; There panting stop; yet scarcely can refrain ; But soon, too soon, the partial blessing flies. A bird, a leaf, will set them off again :
“ Boy, bring the harrows, try how deep the rain Or, if a gale with strength unusual blow,
Has forced its way.” He comes, but comes in Scattering the wild-briar roses into snow,
vain, Their little limbs increasing efforts try,
Dry dust beneath the bubbling surface lurks Like the torn flower the fair assemblage fly. And mocks his pains the more, the more he works ; Ah, fallen rose ! sad emblem of their doom; Still, midst huge clods, he plunges on forlorn, Frail as thyself, they perish while they bloom ! That laugh his harrows and the shower to scorn. Though unoffending innocence may plead, E'cn thus the living clod, the stubborn fool, Though frantic ewes may mourn the savage deed, Resists the stormy lectures of the school, Their shepherd comes, a messenger of blood, Till tried with gentler means, the dunce to please, And drives them bleating from their sports and food. His head imbibes right reason by degrees : Care loads his brow, and pity wrings his heart, As when from eve till morning's wakeful hour, For lo, the murdering butcher, with his cart, Light, constant rain evinces secret power, Demands the firstlings of his flock to die,
And, ere the day resumes its wonted smiles, And makes a sport of life and liberty!
Presents a cheerful, easy task for Giles. His gay companions Giles beholds no more ; Down with a touch the mellow'd soil is laid, Closed are their eyes, their fleeces drench'd in gore. And yon tall crop next claims his timely aid; Nor can compassion, with her softest notes, Thither well pleased he hies, assured to find Withhold the knife that plunges through their throats. Wild, trackless haunts, and objects to his mind. Down, indignation! hence, ideas foul !
Shot up from broad rank blades that droop below, Away the shocking image from my soul !
The nodding wheat-ear forms a graceful bow, Let kindlier visitants attend my way,
With milky kernels starting full, weigh'd down,
Loud chirping sparrows welcome on the day,
Drop one by one upon the bending corn.
Giles with a pole assails their close retreats
And round the grass-grown, dewy border beats, Turnip sowing. Wheat ripening. Sparrows. Insects. On either side completely overspread,
The skylark. Reaping, &c. Harvest-field. Dairy. Here branches bend, there corn o'erstoops his head. maid, &c. Labourers of the barn. The gander. Night: Green covert, hail ! for through the varying year a thunder-storm. Harvest-home. Reflections, &c.
No hours so sweet, no scene to him so dear. The farmer's life displays in every part
Here wisdom's placid eye delighted sees A moral lesson to the sensual heart.
His frequent intervals of lonely ease, Though in the lap of plenty, thoughtful still, And with one ray his infant soul inspires, He looks beyond the present good or ill;
Just kindling there her never-dying fires,
Whence solitude derives peculiar charms,
From infancy to age alike appears, And heaven directed thought his bosom warms. When the first sheaf its plumy top uprears. Just where the parting boughs light shadows play, No rake takes here what Heaven to all bestowsScarce in the shade, nor in the scorching day, Children of want, for you the bounty Nows! Stretch'd on the turf he lies, a peopled bed, And every cottage from the plenteous store Where swarming insects creep around his head. Receives a burden nightly at its door. The small, dust-colour'd beetle climbs with pain Hark! where the sweeping scythe now slips O'er the smooth plantain leaf, a spacious plain!
along: Thence higher still, by countless steps convey'd, Each sturdy mower, emulous and strong, He gains the summit of a shivering blade,
Whose writhing form meridian heat defies, And flirts his filmy wings, and looks around, Bends o'er his work, and every sinew tries; Exulting in his distance from the ground.
Prostrates the waving treasure at his feet, The tender speckled moth here dancing seen, But spares the rising clover, short and sweet. The vaulting grasshopper of glossy green,
Come, health ! come, jollity! light-footed, come; And all prolific summer's sporting train,
Here hold your revels, and make this your home. Their little lives by various powers sustain. Each heart awaits and hails you as its own; But what can unassisted vision do ?
Each moisten'd brow, that scorns to wear a frown: What, but recoil where most it would pursue ; The unpeopled dwelling mourns its tenants His patient gaze but finish with a sigh,
stray'd; When music waking speaks the skylark nigh. E’en the domestic, laughing dairy-maid Just starting from the corn, he cheerly sings, Hies to the field, the general toil to share. And trusts with conscious pride his downy wings; Meanwhile the farmer quits his elbow chair, Still louder breaths, and in the face of day His cool brick floor, his pitcher, and his ease, Mounts up, and calls on Giles to mark his way. And braves the sultry beams, and gladly sees Close to his eyes his hat he instant bends,
His gates thrown open, and his team abroad, And forms a friendly telescope, that lends
The ready group attendant on his word, Just aid enough to dull the glaring light,
To turn the swarth, the quivering load to rear, And place the wandering bird before his sight, Or ply the busy rake, the land to clear. That oft beneath a light cloud sweeps along
Summer's light garb itself now cumbrous grown, Lost for a while, yet pours the varied song;
Each his thin doublet in the shade throws down; The eye still follows, and the cloud moves by, Where oft the mastiff skulks with half shut eye, Again he stretches up the clear blue sky;
And rouses at the stranger passing by ; His form, his motion, undistinguish'd quite,
While unrestraind the social converse flows, Save when he wheels direct from shade to light: And every breast love's powerful impulse knows, E’en then the songster a mere speck became,
And rival wits with more than rustic grace Gliding like fancy's bubbles in a dream,
Confess the presence of a pretty face. The gazer sees ; but yielding to repose,
For, lo! encircled there, the lovely maid, Unwittingly his jaded eyelids close.
In youth's own bloom and native smiles array'd; Delicious sleep! From sleep who could forbear, Her hat awry, divested of her gown, With guilt no more than Giles, and no more care? | Her creaking stays of leather, stout and brown; Peace o'er his slumbers waves her guardian wing, Invidious barrier; why art thou so high, Nor conscience once disturbs him with a sting; When the slight covering of her neck slips by, He wakes refresh'd from every trivial pain, There half revealing to the eager sight, And takes his pole, and brushes round again. Her full, ripe bosom, exquisitely white ?
Its dark green hue, its sicklier tints all fail, In many a local tale of harmless mirth, And ripening harvest rustles in the gale.
And many a joke of momentary birth, A glorions sight, if glory dwells below,
She bears a part, and as she stops to speak, Where Heaven's munificence makes all the show Strokes back the ringlets from her glowing cheek. O'er every field and golden prospect found,
Now noon gone by, and four declining hours, That glads the ploughman's Sunday morning's round, The weary limbs relax their boasted powers ; When on some eminence he takes his stand, Thirst rages strong, the fainting spirits fail, To judge the smiling produce of the land.
And ask the sovereign cordial, home-brew'd ale; Here vanity slinks back, her head to hide ; Beneath some sheltering heap of yellow corn What is there here to flatter human pride ? Rests the hoop'd keg, and friendly cooling horn, The towering fabric, or the dome's loud roar, That mocks alike the goblet's brittle frame, And steadfast columns may astonish more, Its costlier potions, and its nobler name. Where the charm’d gazer long delighted stays, To Mary first the brimming draught is given, Yet traced but to the architect the praise;
By toil made welcome as the dews of heaven, Whilst here, the veriest clown that treads the sod, And never lip that press'd its homely edge Without one scruple gives the praise to God; Had kinder blessings, or a heartier pledge. And twofold joys possess his raptured mind,
Of wholesome viands here a banquet smiles, From gratitude and admiration join'd.
A common cheer for all ;--e'en humble Giles,
Amidst the fragrance of the open field;