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The mountains round, unhappy fate !
Sooner or later, of all height,
Withdraw their summits from the skies,
And lessen as the others rise :
Still the prospect wider spreads,
Adds a thousand woods and meads,
Still it widens, widens still,
And sinks the newly-risen hill.
Now, I gain the mountain's brow,
What a landskip lies below!
No clouds, no vapours intervene,
But the gay, the open scene
Does the face of nature show,
In all the hues of heaven's bow !
And, swelling to embrace the light,
Spreads around beneath the sight.
Old castles on the cliffs arise,
Proudly towering in the skies;
Rushing from the woods, the spires
Seem from hence ascending fires ;
Half his beams Apollo sheds
On the yellow mountain-heads,
Gilds the fleeces of the flocks,
And glitters on the broken rocks.
Below me trees unnumbered rise,
Beautiful in various dyes :
The gloomy pine, the poplar blue,
The yellow beech, the sable yew,
The slender fir, that taper grows,
The sturdy oak with broad-spread boughs ;
And beyond the purple grove,
Haunt of Phillis, queen of love,
Gaudy as the opening dawn,
Lies a long and level lawn
On which a dark hill, steep and high,
Holds and charms the wandering eye..
Deep are his feet in Towy's flood,
His sides are cloth'd with waving wood,
And ancient towers crown his brow,
That cast an aweful look below;
Whose ragged walls the ivy creeps,
And with her arms from falling keeps ;
So both a safety from the wind
On mutual dependence find.
'Tis now the raven's bleak abode ;
'Tis now th' apartment of the toad;
And there the fox securely feeds ;
And there the poisonous adder breeds
Conceal'd in ruins, moss and weeds ;
While, ever and anon, there falls
Huge heaps of hoary mouldered walls.
Yet time has seen, that lifts the low,
And level lays the lofty brow,
Has seen this broken pile compleat,
Big with the vanity of state ;
Į But transient is the smile of fate !
A little rule, a little sway,
A sun beam in a winter's day,
Is all the proud and mighty have
Between the cradle and the grave.
And see the rivers how they run,
Thro' woods and meads, in shade and sun,
Sometimes swift, sometimes slow,
Wave succeeding wave, they go
A various journey to the deep,
Like human life to endless sleep!
Thus is nature's vesture wrought,
To instruct our wandering thought ;
Thus she dresses green and gay,
To disperse our cares away.
Ever charming, ever new,
When will the landskip tire the view!
The fountain's fall, the river's flow,
The woody valleys, warm and low;
The windy summit, wild and high,
Roughly rushing on the sky;
The pleasant seat, the ruined tower,
The naked rock, the shady bower;
The town and village, dome and farm,
Each give each a double charm,
As pearls upon an Æthiop's arm.
See on the mountain's southern side,
Where the prospect opens wide,
Where the evening gilds the tide ;
How close and small the hedges lie!
What streaks of meadows cross the eye!
A step methinks may pass the stream,
So little distant dangers seem ;
So we mistake the future's face,
Eyed thro' Hope's deluding glass;
As yon summits soft and fair
Clad in colours of the air,
Which to those who journey near,
Barren, brown, and rough appear;
Still we tread the same coarse way ;
The present's still a cloudy day.
O may I with myself agree,
And never covet what I see :
Content me with an humble shade,
My passions tamed, my wishes laid ;
For while our wishes wildly roll,
We banish quiet from the soul :
'Tis thus the busy beat the air ;
And misers gather wealth and care.
Now, ev'n now, my joys run high,
As on the mountain-turf I lie ;
While the wanton Zephyr sings,
And in the vale perfumes his wings ;
While the waters murmur deep ;
While the shepherd charms his sheep ;
While the birds unbounded fly,
And with musick fill the sky,
Now, ev'n now, my joys run high.
Be full, ye courts, be great who will ; Search for Peace with all your skill :
Open wide the lofty door,
Seek her on the marble floor,
In vain you search, she is not there ;
In vain ye search the domes of care !
Grass and flowers Quiet treads,
On the meads, and mountain-heads,
Along with Pleasure, close allied,
Ever by each other's side :
And often, by the murmuring rill,
Hears the thrush, while all is still,
Within the groves of Grongar Hill.
Ah gentle shepherd, thine the lot to tend,
Of all, that feel distress, the most assail'd,
Feeble, defenceless : lenient be thy care :
But spread around thy tenderest diligence,
In flow'ry spring-time, when the new-dropt lamb,
Tottering with weakness by his mothers side,
Feels the fresh world about him ; and each thorn,
Hillock, or furrow, trips his feeble feet : 1
O guard his meek sweet innocence from all
Th’ innumerous ills, that rush around his life;
Mark the quick kite, with beak and talons prone,
Circling the skies to snatch him from the plain ;
Observe the lurking crows ; beware the brake,
There the sly fox the careless minute waits ;
Nor trust thy neighbour's dog, nor earth, nor sky:
Thy bosom to a thousand cares divider
Eurus oft sings his hail ; the tardy fields.
Pay not their promised food ; and oft the dam
O'er her weak twins with empty udder mourns,
Or fails to guard, when the bold bird of prey
Alights, and hops in many turns around,
And tires her also turning : to her aid
Be nimble, and the weakest in thine arms
Gently convey to the warm cote, and oft,
Between the lark's note and the nightingale's,
His hungry bleating still with tepid milk:
In this soft office may thy children join,
And charitable habits learn in sport :
Nor yield him to himself, ere vernal airs
Sprinkle thy little croft with daisy flowers :
Nor yet forget him : life has rising ills :
Various as æther is the pastoral care :
Through slow experience, by a patient breast,
The whole long lesson gradual is attained,
By precept after precept, oft received
With deep attention : such as Nuceus singas
To the full vale near Soar's enamour'd brook,
While all is silence : sweet Hinclean swain !
Whom rude obscurity severely clasps :
The muse, howe'er, will deck thy
simple cell With purple violets and primrose nowers, Well-pleased thy faithful lessons to repay.
Now, jolly swains, the harvest of your cares Prepare to reap, and seek the sounding caves Of high Brigantium, where, by ruddy flames, Vulcan's strong sons with nervous arm around The steady anvil and the glaring mass, Clatter their heavy hammers down by turns, Flattening the steel ; from their rough hands receive The sharpened instrument, that from the flock Severs the fleece. If verdant elder spreads Her silver flowers ; if humble daisies yield To yellow crow-foot, and luxuriant grass, Gay shearing-time approaches. First, howe'er, Drive to the double fold, upon the brim Of a clear river, gently drive the flock, And plunge them one by one into the flood : Plunged in the flood, not long the struggler sinks, With his white flakes, that glisten thro' the tide ;