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Whence all the music. I again perceive
The soothing influence of the wafted strains,
And settle in soft musings as I tread
The walk still verdant under oaks and elms,
Whose outspread branches overarch the glade.
The roof though moveable through all its length
As the wind sways it, has yet well sufficed,
And intercepting in their silent fall
The frequent flakes, has kept a path for me.
No noise is here, or none that hinders thought.
The redbreast warbles still, but is content
With slender notes and more than half suppress'd.
Pleased with his solitude, and flitting light
From spray to spray, where'er he rests he shakes
From many a twig the pendent drops of ice,
That tinkle in the wither'd leaves below.
Stillness accompanied with sounds so soft
Charms more than silence. Meditation here
May think down hours to moments. Here the heart 85
May give an useful lesson to the head,
And learning wiser grow without his books.
Knowledge and wisdom1, far from being one,
I do not fancy this relative, mendicant, and precarious understanding; for though we could become learned by other men's reading, I am sure a man can never become wise but by his own wisdom.-Cotton's Montaigne, i. 24.
No man is the wiser for his learning, it may administer matter to work in, or objects to work upon; but wit and wisdom are born with man.- -Selden's Table Talk.
The curious hand of knowledge doth but pick
Bare simples. Wisdom pounds them for the sick,
Knowledge, when Wisdom is too weak to guide her,
Is like a headstrong horse that throws the rider.
Have ofttimes no connection. Knowledge dwells
In heads replete with thoughts of other men,
Wisdom" in minds attentive to their own.
Knowledge, a rude unprofitable mass,
The mere materials with which wisdom builds,
Till smooth'd and squared and fitted to its place,
Does but encumber whom it seems to enrich.
Knowledge is proud that he has learn'd so much;
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
Books are not seldom talismans and spells
By which the magic art of shrewder wits
Holds an unthinking multitude enthrall'd.
Some to the fascination of a name 6
Surrender judgement hood-wink'd. Some the style?
Of unmade happiness
The rude material,-Wisdom add to this
Wisdom, the sole artificer of bliss.
But knowledge is a food, and needs no less
Her temperance over appetite, to know
In measure what the mind may well contain;
Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns
Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind.
6 What woeful stuff this madigral would be
In some starved hackneyed sonneteer or me!
But let a Lord once own the happy lines,
How the wit brightens! how the style refines!
Pope. Essay on Crit. 418.
7 Others for language all their care express,
And value books, as women men, for dress:
Their praise is still-the style is excellent,
The sense they humbly take upon content.
Her voice is all these tuneful fools admire.
Infatuates, and through labyrinths and wilds
Of error, leads them by a tune entranced.
While sloth seduces more, too weak to bear
The insupportable fatigue of thought,
And swallowing therefore without pause or choice
The total grist unsifted, husks and all.
But trees, and rivulets whose rapid course
Defies the check of winter, haunts of deer,
And sheep-walks populous with bleating lambs,
And lanes in which the primrose ere her time
Peeps through the moss that clothes the hawthorn root,
Deceive no student. Wisdom there, and truth,
Not shy as in the world, and to be won
By slow solicitation, seize at once
The roving thought, and fix it on themselves.
What prodigies can power divine perform More grand, than it produces year by year, And all in sight of inattentive man! Familiar with the effect we slight the cause, And in the constancy of nature's course, The regular return of genial months,
And renovation of a faded world,
See nought to wonder at.
As once in Gibeon, interrupt the race
Of the undeviating and punctual sun,
How would the world admire! But speaks it less
An agency divine, to make him know
His moment when to sink and when to rise
Age after age, than to arrest his course?
All we behold is miracle, but seen
So duly, all is miracle in vain.
Where now the vital energy that moved,
While summer was, the pure and subtle lymph
Through the imperceptible meandering veins
Of leaf and flower? It sleeps; and the icy touch
Of unprolific winter has impress'd
A cold stagnation on the intestine tide.
But let the months go round, a few short months, 140 And all shall be restored. These naked shoots, Barren as lances, among which the wind
Makes wintry music, sighing as it goes,
Shall put their graceful foliage on again,
And more aspiring and with ampler spread
Shall boast new charms, and more than they have lost.
Then, each in its peculiar honours clad,
Shall publish even to the distant eye
Its family and tribe. Laburnum rich
In streaming gold; syringa ivory pure;
The scented and the scentless rose; this red
And of an humbler growth, the other tall,
And throwing up into the darkest gloom
Of neighbouring cypress or more sable yew
Her silver globes, light as the foamy surf
That the wind severs from the broken wave.
The lilac various in array, now white,
Now sanguine, and her beauteous head now set
With purple spikes pyramidal, as if
Studious of ornament, yet unresolved
Which hue she most approved, she chose them all.
And what your bounded view, which only saw
A little part, deem'd evil is no more :
The storms of wintry time will quickly pass,
And one unbounded Spring encircle all.
Copious of flowers the woodbine, pale and wan,
But well compensating their sickly looks
With never-cloying odours, early and late.
Hypericum all bloom, so thick a swarm
Of flowers like flies clothing her slender rods
That scarce a leaf appears. Mezerion too,
Though leafless, well attired, and thick beset
With blushing wreaths investing every spray.
Althea with the purple eye; the broom,
Yellow and bright as bullion unalloy'd
Her blossoms; and luxuriant above all
The jasmine, throwing wide her elegant sweets,
The deep dark green of whose unvarnish'd leaf
Makes more conspicuous, and illumines more
The bright profusion of her scatter'd stars.
These have been, and these shall be in their day;
And all this uniform uncoloured scene
Shall be dismantled of its fleecy load,
And flush into variety again.
From dearth to plenty, and from death 10 to life,
Is Nature's progress when she lectures man
In heavenly truth; evincing as she makes
The grand transition ", that there lives and works
A soul in all things, and that soul is God.
The beauties of the wilderness are his,
That make so gay the solitary place
Where no eye sees them. And the fairer forms
10 The earth, that's nature's mother, is her tomb, What is her burying place that is her womb.
11 Builds life on death, on change duration founds.