« ПретходнаНастави »
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.
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.
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 30.
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.
In the lowest deep a lower deep. Ibid. iv. 76.
Et ambigua de Vespasiano fama: solusque omnium ante se Principum, in melius mutatus est.-Tacitus Hist. i. 50.
30 For eloquence the soul, song charms the sense.
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 3
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
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.
With acrid salts; his very heart athirst
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; 455
The lowering 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 33,
That palls and satiates, and makes languid life
A pedler'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
33 Like cats in air pumps, to subsist we strive
On joys too thin to keep the soul alive.
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 34.
These speak a loud memento. Yet even these
Themselves love life, and cling to it, as he
That overhangs a torrent to a twig.
They love it, and yet loathe 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 inveterate 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 noonday bed;
And save me too from theirs whose haggard eyes
Flash desperation, and betray their pangs
the gay assembly's gayest room Is but an upper story to some tomb.
35 And farewell merry heart,
The gift of guiltlesse minds.
Spenser. Epitaph on Sir P. Sidney.