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Reechoing pious anthems! while beneath
The chequer'd earth seems restless as a flood
Brush'd by the wind. So sportive is the light
Shot through the boughs, it dances as they dance,
Shadow and sunshine intermingling quick,
And darkening and enlightening, as the leaves
Play wanton, every moment, every spot.
And now with nerves new-braced and spirits cheer'd
We tread the wilderness, whose well-roll'd walks
With curvature of slow and easy sweep,—
Deception innocent,-give ample space
To narrow bounds. The grove receives us next;
Between the upright shafts of whose tall elms
We may discern the thresher at his task.
Thump after thump, resounds the constant flail,
That seems to swing uncertain, and yet falls
Full on the destined ear. Wide flies the chaff,
The rustling straw sends up a frequent mist
Of atoms sparkling in the noon-day beam.
Come hither, ye that press your beds of down
And sleep not,-see him sweating o'er his bread
Before he eats it.-'Tis the primal" curse,
A church in every grove that spreads
Its living roof above our heads.
Wordsworth. Labourer's Hymns.
Here aged trees Cathedral walks compose.
Pope. Imit. of Cowley.
This line may have given the hint to Warburton.
27 O, my offence is rank, it smells to Heaven, It hath the primal eldest curse upon it.
Hamlet, Act iii. Sc. 3.
On me the curse aslope
But soften'd into mercy; made the pledge
Of cheerful days, and nights without a groan.
By ceaseless action, all that is subsists.
Constant rotation of the 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 freshening impulse, and are cleansed
By restless undulation. Even the oak
Thrives by the rude concussion of the storm;
He seems indeed indignant, and to feel
The 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 scorns,
More fixt 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,
Glanced on the ground, with labour I must earn
My bread-What harm? idleness had been worse.
Par. Lost, x. 1053.
It polishes anew
By that collision all the fine machine :
Else rust would rise, and foulness by degrees
Incumbering, choke at last what Heaven design'd
For ceaseless motion and a round of toil.
Akenside. Pleasures of Imagination, ii. 161.
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 even the rest he loves 28.
Not such the alert and active. Measure life
By its true worth, the comforts it affords,
And theirs alone seems worthy of the name.
Good health, and its associate in the most,
Good temper; spirits prompt to undertake,
And not soon spent, though in an arduous task;
The powers of fancy and strong thought are theirs ;
Even age itself seems privileged in them
With clear exemption from its own defects.
A sparkling eye beneath a wrinkled front
The veteran shows, and gracing a grey beard
With youthful smiles, descends towards the grave
Sprightly, and old almost without decay.
Like a coy maiden, ease, when courted most,
Farthest retires,-an idol, at whose shrine
Who oftenest sacrifice are favour'd least.
She marked thee there
Stretch'd on the rack of a too easy chair,
And heard thy everlasting yawn confess
The pains and penalties of idleness.
With anxious care they labour to be glad,
What bodily fatigue is half so bad?
The love of Nature, and the scenes 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 unscented fictions of the loom;
Who satisfied with only pencil'd scenes,
Prefer to the performance of a God
The 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 29,
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 every sense 0.
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 power
29 Who shows me that which I shall never see.
A liberty of expression justified by high authority-
So hand in hand they pass'd, the loveliest pair
That ever since in love's embraces met,
Adam the goodliest man of men since born
His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.
30 For eloquence the soul, song charms the sense.
Par. Lost, iv. 321.
Ibid. iv. 76.
In the lowest deep a lower deep. Et ambigua de Vespasiano fama: solusque omnium ante se Principum, in melius mutatus est.-Tacitus Hist. i. 50.
Peculiar, and exclusively her own.
Beneath the open sky she spreads the feast;
'Tis free to all,-'tis every day renew'd,
Who scorns it, starves deservedly at home.
He does not scorn it, who imprison'd long 31
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 every breeze.
He does not scorn it, who has long endured
A fever's agonies, and fed on drugs.
Nor yet the mariner 32, his blood inflamed
Fair the face of spring,
To every eye; but how much more to his
Round whom the bed of sickness long diffused
Its melancholy gloom! how doubly fair
When first with fresh-born vigour he inhales
The balmy breeze, and feels the blessed sun
Warm at his bosom, from the springs of life
Chasing oppressive damps and languid pain.
Akenside, Pleasures of Imagination, ii. 88.
32 So by a calenture misled
The mariner with rapture sees
On the smooth ocean's azure bed
Enamel'd fields and verdant trees;
With eager haste he longs to rove
In that fantastic scene, and thinks
It must be some enchanted grove,—
And in he leaps and down he sinks.
Swift. South Sea.