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Where'er the oak's thick branches stretch

A broader, browner shade,

Where'er the rude and moss-grown beech
O'er-canopies the glade,

Beside some water's rushy brink

With me the Muse shall sit, and think

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To Contemplation's sober eye
Such is the race of Man :

And they that creep, and they that fly,
Shall end where they began.

Alike the Busy and the Gay

But flutter thro' life's little day,

In Fortune's varying colours drest:

Brush'd by the hand of rough Mischance,
Or chill'd by Age, their airy dance
They leave, in dust to rest.

Methinks I hear in accents low

The sportive kind reply :
Poor moralist! and what art thou?
A solitary fly!

Thy joys no glittering female meets,
No hive hast thou of hoarded sweets,
No painted plumage to display:
On hasty wings thy youth is flown;
Thy sun is set, thy spring is gone—
We frolic while 'tis May.

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T. Gray





The poplars are fell'd; farewell to the shade
And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade;
The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves,
Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives.

Twelve years have elapsed since I first took a view
Of my favourite field, and the bank where they grew :
And now in the grass behold they are laid,

And the tree is my seat that once lent me a shade !

The blackbird has fled to another retreat


Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat; 10
And the scene where his melody charm'd me before
Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more.

My fugitive years are all hasting away
And I must ere long lie as lowly as they,
With a turf on my breast and a stone at my head,
Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead.
The change both my heart and my fancy employs ;
I reflect on the frailty of man and his joys:
Short-lived as we are, yet our pleasures, we see,
Have a still shorter date, and die sooner than we.


W. Cowper

On turning her up in her nest, with the plough,
November, 1785

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie,

O what a panic's in thy breastie !




Thou need na start awa sae hasty,

Wi' bickering brattle!

I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee


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I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave

'S a sma' request:

I'll get a blessin' wi' the lave,
And never miss't!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin :
And naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!

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An' bleak December's winds ensuin'
Baith snell an' keen!

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That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!

Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,

To thole the winter's sleety dribble

An' cranreuch cauld!

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Mine be a cot beside the hill;

A bee-hive's hum shall soothe my ear;
A willowy brook that turns a mill,
With many a fall shall linger near.

The swallow, oft, beneath my thatch
Shall twitter from her clay-built nest;
Oft shall the pilgrim lift the latch,
And share my meal, a welcome guest.

Around my ivied porch shall spring



Each fragrant flower that drinks the dew;
And Lucy, at her wheel, shall sing
In russet-gown and apron blue.


The village-church among the trees,

Where first our marriage-vows were given,
With merry peals shall swell the breeze
And point with taper spire to Heaven.

S. Rogers




If aught of oaten stop or pastoral song
May hope, O pensive Eve, to soothe thine ear
Like thy own solemn springs,

Thy springs, and dying gales;

O Nymph reserved,-while now the bright-hair'd sun 5
Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,

With brede ethereal wove,

O'erhang his wavy bed;

Now air is hush'd, save where the weak-eyed bat
With short shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing,

Or where the beetle winds

His small but sullen horn,

As oft he rises midst the twilight path,

Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum,--
Now teach me, maid composed,

To breathe some soften'd strain



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