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CHOICE OF A RURAL SITUATION, AND ALLEGORICAL
PICTURE OF THE QUARTAN AGUE,
Ye who amid this feverish world would wear
A body free of pain, of cares a mind;
Fly the rank city, shun its turbid air;
Breathe not the chaos of eternal smoke
And volatile corruption, from the dead,
The dying, sick’ning, and the living world
Exhal'd, to sully heaven's transparent dome
With dim mortality. It is not air
That from a thousand lungs reeks back to thine,
Sated with exhalations rank and fell,
The spoil of dunghills, and the putrid thaw
Of nature; when from shape and texture she
Relapses into fighting elements :
It is not air, but floats a nauseous mass
Of all obscene, corrupt, offensive things.
Much moisture hurts; but here a sordid bath,
With oily rancour fraught, relaxes more
The solid frame than simple moisture can.
Besides, immur'd in many a sullen bay
That never felt the freshness of the breeze,
This slumb'ring deep remains, and ranker grows
With sickly rest: and (though the lungs abhor
To drink the dun fuliginous abyss)
Did not the acid vigour of the mine,
Roll'd from so many thundering chimnies, tame
The putrid steams that overswarm the sky;
This caustic venom would perhaps corrode
Those tender cells that draw the vital air,
In vain with all the unctuous rills bedew'd;
Or by the drunken venous tubes, that yawn
In countless pores o'er all the pervious skin
Imbib'd, would poison the balsamic blood,
And rouse the heart to every fever's rage.
While yet you breathe, away; the rural wilds
Invite; the mountains call you, and the vales ;
The woods, the streams, and each ambrosial breeze
That fans the ever-undulating sky;
A kindly sky! whose fost'ring power regales
Man, beast, and all the vegetable reign,
Find then some woodland scene where nature smiles
Benign, where all her honest children thrive.
To us there wants not many a happy seat!
Look round the smiling land, such numbers rise
We hardly fix, bewilder'd in our choice.
See where enthron'd in adamantine state,
Proud of her bards, imperial Windsor sits;
Where choose thy seat in some aspiring grove
Fast by the slowly-winding Thames; or where
Broader she laves fair Richmond's green retreats,
(Richmond that sees an hundred villas rise
Rural or gay). O! from the summer's rage
O! wrap me in the friendly gloom that hides
Umbrageous Ham!-But if the busy town
Attract thee still to toil for power or gold,
Sweetly thou may'st thy vacant hours possess
In Hampstead, courted by the western wind;
Or Greenwich, waving o'er the winding flood;
Or lose the world amid the sylvan wilds
Of Dulwich, yet by barbarous arts unspoil d.
Green rise the Kentish hills in cheerful air;
But on the marshy plains that Lincoln spreads
Build not, nor rest too long thy wandering feet.
For on a rustic throne of dewy turf,
With baneful fogs her aching temples bound,
Quartana there presides; a meagre fiend
Begot by Eurus, when his brutal force
Compress'd the slothful Naiad of the Fens.
From such a mixture sprung, this fitful pest
With fev'rish blasts subdues the sick’ning land :
Cold tremors come, with mighty love of rest,
Convulsive yawnings, lassitude, and pains
That sting the burden'd brows, fatigue the loins,
And rack the joints, and every torpid limb;
Then parching heat succeeds, till copious sweats
O’erflow: a short relief from former ills.
Beneath repeated shocks the wretches pine;
The vigour sinks, the habit melts away:
The cheerful, pure, and animated bloom
Dies from the face, with squalid atrophy
Devour'd, in sallow melancholy clad.
And oft the sorceress, in her sated wrath,
Resigns them to the furies of her train:
The bloated Hydrops, and the yellow fiend
Ting'd with her own accumulated gall.
RECOMMENDATION OF A HIGH SITUATION ON THE
MEANTIME, the moist malignity to shun
Of burthen'd skies; mark where the dry champaign
Swells into cheerful hills: where marjoram
And thyme, the love of bees, perfume the air;
And where the cynorrhodon with the rose
For fragrance vies; for in the thirsty soil
Most fragrant breathe the aromatic tribes.
There bid thy roofs high on the basking steep
Ascend, there light thy hospitable fires.
And let them see the winter morn arise,
The summer evening blushing in the west;
While with umbrageous oaks the ridge behind
O'erhung, defends you from the blust'ring north,
And bleak affliction of the peevish east.
Oh! when the growling winds contend, and all
The sounding forest fluctuates in the storm;
To sink in warm repose, and hear the din
Howl o'er the steady battlements, delights
Above the luxury of vulgar sleep.
The murmuring rivulet, and the hoarser strain
Of waters rushing o'er the slippery rocks,
Will nightly lull you to ambrosial rest.
To please the fancy is no trifling good,
Where health is studied; for whatever moves
The mind with calm delight, promotes the just
And natural movements of th' harmonious frame, Besides, the sportive brook for ever shakes The trembling air; that floats from hill to hill, From vale to mountain, with incessant change Of purest element, refreshing still - Your airy seat, and uninfected gods. Chiefly for this I praise the man who builds. High on the breezy ridge, whose lofty sides Th' ethereal deep with endless billows chafes. His purer mansion nor contagious years Shall reach, nor deadly putrid airs annoy.
FROM BOOK II, ENTITLED "DIET.'
Now come, ye Naiads, to the fountains lead;
Now let me wander through your gelid reign,
I burn to view th' enthusiastic wilds
By mortal else untrod. I hear the din
Of waters thund'ring o'er the ruin'd cliffs.
With holy reverence I approach the rocks
Whence glide the streams renown'd in ancient song.
Here from the desert down the rumbling steep
First springs the Nile; here bursts the sounding Po
In angry waves; Euphrates hence devolves
A mighty flood to water half the east;
And there in gothic solitude reclin'd,
The cheerless Tanais pours his hoary urn.
What solemn' twilight! what stupendous shades