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Of patriots, bursting with heroic rage,
Pay contribution to the store he gleans ;
He sucks intelligence in every clime,
And spreads the honey of his deep research
He travels, and I too. I tread his deck,
Suffer his woes, and share in his escapes ;
While fancy, like the finger of a clock,
O Winter, ruler of the inverted year,
Thy scatter'd hair with sleet like ashes fillid,
Fringed with a beard made white with other snows
A sliding car, indebted to no wheels,
But urged by storms along its slippery way,
Short’ning his journey between morn and noon,
Of social converse and instructive case, There fo rests of no meaning spread the page, And gathering, at short notice, in one group In which all comprehension wanders lost; The family dispersed, and fixing thought, While fields of pleasantry amuse us there
Not less dispersed by daylight and its cares. With merry descants on a nation's woes.
I crown thee king of intimate delights, The rest appears a wilderness of strange
Fireside enjoyments, homeborn happiness, But gay confusion ; roses for the cheeks,
And all the comforts, that the lowly roof And lilies for the brows of faded age,
Of undisturb'd Retirement, and the hours Teeth for the toothless, ringlets for the bald; Of long uninterrupted ev'ning know. Heaven, earth,and ocean, plunder'd of their sweets; No rattling wheels stop short before these gates ; Nectareous essences, Olympian dews,
No powder'd pert proficient in the art Sermons, and city feasts, and fav’rite airs, Of sounding an alarm assaults these doors Æthereal journeys, submarine exploits,
Till the street rings ; no stationary steeds And katerfelto, with his hair on end
Cough their own knell, while, heedless of the sound, At his own wonders, wond'ring for his bread. The silent circle fan themselves, and quake :
'Tis pleasant, through the loopholes of retreat, But here the needle plies its busy task, To peep at such a world ; to see the stir
The pattern grows, the well-depicted Hower, Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd ; Wrought patiently into the snowy lawn, To hear the roar she sends through all her gates Unfolds its bosom ; buds, and leaves, and sprigs, At a safe distance, where the dying sound And curling tendrils, gracefully disposed, Falls a soft murmur on the uninjured ear. Follow the nimble finger of the fair ; Thus sitting, and surveying thus at ease
A wreath, that cannot fade, of towers, that blow The globe and its concerns, I seem advanced With most success when all besides decay. To some secure and inore than mortal height, The poet's or historian's page by one That lib'rates and exempts me from them all. Made vocal for th' amusement of the rest ; It turns submitted to my view, turns round The sprightly lyre, whose treasure of sweet sounds With all its generations : I behold
The touch from many a trembling chordshakes out; The tumult, and am still. The sound of war And the clear voice symphonious, yet distinct, Has lost its terrors ere it reaches me ;
And in the charming strife triumphant still ; Grieves, but alarms me not. I mourn the pride Beguile the night, and set a keener edge And avarice, that make man a wolf to man ; On female industry : the threaded steel Hear the faint echo of those brazen throats, Flies swiftly, and unfelt the task proceeds. By which he speaks the language of his heart, The volume closed, the customary rites And sigh, but never tremble, at the sound. Of the last meal commence. A Roman meal ; He travels and expatiates, as the bee
Such as the mistress of the world once found From flower to flower, so he from land to land ; Delicious, when her patriots of high note, The manners, customs, policy, of all
Perhaps by moonlight, at their humble doors,
And under an old oak’s domestic shade, Enjoy'd, spare feast ! a radish and an egg. Discourse ensues, not trivial, yet not dull, Nor such as with a frown forbids the play Of fancy, or proscribes the sound of mirth : Nor do we madly, like an impious world, Who deem religion frenzy, and the God, That made them, an intruder on their joys, Start at his awful name, or deem his praise A jarring note. Themes of a graver tone, Exciting oft our gratitude and love, While we retrace with Mem'ry's pointing wand, That calls the past to our exact review, The dangers we have 'scaped, the broken snare, The disappointed foe, deliverance found Unlook'd for, life preserved, and peace restored, Fruits of omnipotent, eternal love. O evenings worthy of the gods ! exclaim'd The Sabine bard O evenings, I reply, More to be prized, and coveted than yours, As more illumined, and with nobler truths, That I, and mine, and those we love, enjoy.
FROM BOOK VI. Bells at a distance-Fine Noon in Winter-Meditation
better than Books.
Whose favour, like the clouds of spring, might
low'r, And utter now and then an awful voice, But had a blessing in its darkest frown, Threat'ning at once and nourishing the plant. We loved, but not enough, the gentle hand That rear'd us. At a thoughtless age, allured By every gilded folly, we renounced His shelt'ring side, and wilfully forewent That converse, which we now in vain regret. How gladly would the man recal to life The boy's neglected sire ! a mother too, That softer friend, perhaps more gladly still, Might he demand them at the gates of death. Sorrow has, since they went, subdued and tamed The playful humour ; he could now endure, (Himself grown sober in the vale of tears) And feel a parent's presence no restraint. But not to understand a treasure's worth, Till time has stolen away the slighted good, Is cause of half the poverty we feel, And makes the world the wilderness it is. The few that pray at all pray oft amiss, And, seeking grace t’improve the prize they hold, Would urge a wiser suit than asking more.
The night was winter in his roughest mood; The morning sharp and clear. But now at noon Upon the southern side of the slant hills, And where the woods fence off the northern blast, The season smiles, resigning all its rage, And has the warmth of May. The vault is blue Without a cloud, and white without a speck The dazzling splendour of the scene below. Again the harmony comes o'er the vale ; And through the trees I view th’embattled tower, 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 over-arch 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 sup
press'd : Pleased with his solitude, and fitting 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 May give a useful lesson to the head, And Learning wiser grow without his books.
THERE is in souls a sympathy with sounds,
A land-breeze shook the shrouds,
And she was overset ;
With all her crew complete.
Brave Kempenfelt is gone; His last sea-fight is fought ;
His work of glory done. It was not in the battle ;
No tempest gave the shock ;
She ran upon no rock.
His fingers held the pen,
With twice four hundred men. Weigh the vessel up,
Once dreaded by our foes ! And mingle with our cup
The tear that England owes. Her timbers yet are sound,
And she may float again, Full charged with England's thunder,
And plough the distant main.
His victories are o'er;
Shall plough the wave no more.
It seems idolatry with some excuse,
Of amnesty, the meed of blood divine,
Thou wast a bauble once, a cup and ball
So Fancy dreams. Disprove it, if ye can,
Thou fell’st mature ; and, in the loamy clod
By thee I might correct, erroneous oft,
woods ; And Time hath made thee what thou art-a cave For owls to roost in. Once thy spreading boughs O'erhung the champaign; and the num'rous flock's That grazed it stood beneath that ample cope Uncrowded, yet safe shelter'd from the storin. No flock frequents thee now. Thou hast outlived Thy popularity, and art become (Unless verse rescue thee awhile) a thing Forgotten, as the foliage of thy youth.
While thus through all the stages thou hast push'd Of treeship- first a seedling, hid in grass ; Then twig ; then sapling ; and, as cent'ry rollid Slow after century, a giant-bulk Of girth enormous, with moss-cushion'd root Upheaved above the soil, and sides emboss'd With prominent wens globose—till at the last The rottenness, which time is charged to infiict On other mighty ones, found also thee.
SURVIVOR sole, and hardly such, of all
(* Cowper wrote this very noble poem to induce Government to the attempt of weighing up poor Kempenfelt's vessel. If song could have induced men to the trial, this surely should have had the effect. The Royal George has been weighed up since the poet wrote, by the ingenuity of Colonel Pasley, but in a less noble way.)
What exhibitions various hath the world Yet life still lingers in thee, and puts forth Witness'd of mutability in all
Proof not contemptible of what she can, That we account most durable below!
Even where death predominates. The Spring Change is the diet on which all subsist,
Finds thee not less alive to her sweet force Created changeable, and change at last
Than yonder upstarts of the neighb'ring wood, Destroys them. Skies uncertain, now the heat So much thy juniors, who their birth received Transmitting cloudless, and the solar beam Half a millennium since the date of thine. Now quenching in a boundless sea of clouds But since, although well qualified by age Calm and alternate storm, moisture and drought, To teach, no spirit dwells in thee, nor voice Invigorate by turns the springs of life
May be expected from thee, seated here In all that live, plant, animal, and man,
On thy distorted root, with hearers none, And in conclusion mar them. Nature's threads, Or prompter, save the scene, I will perform Fine passing thought, e'en in her coarsest works, Myself the oracle, and will discourse Delight in agitation, yet sustain
In my own ear such matter as I may. The force that agitates not unimpaird;
One man alone, the father of us all, But, worn by frequent impulse, to the cause Drew not his life from woman ; never gazed, Of their best tone their dissolution owe.
With mute unconsciousness of what he saw, Thought cannot spend itself, comparing still On all around him ; learn'd not by degrees, The great and little of thy lot, thy growth
Nor owed articulation to his ear; From almost nullity into a state
But, moulded by his Maker into man Of matchless grandeur, and declension thence, At once, upstood intelligent, survey'd Slow, into such magnificent decay.
All creatures—with precision understood Time was, when, settling on thy leaf, a fly Their purport, uses, properties-assign'd Could shake thee to the root-and time has been To each his name significant, and, fillid When tempests could not. At thy firmest age
With love and wisdom, render'd back to Heaven Thou hadst within thy bole solid contents
In praise harmonious the first air he drev. That might have ribb'd the sides and plank'd the deck He was excused the penalties of dull Of some flagg'd admiral ; and tortuous arms,
Minority. No tutor charged his hand The shipwright's darling treasure, didst present
With the thought-tracing quill, or task'd his mind To the four-quarter'd winds, robust and bold, With problems. History, not wanted yet, Warp'd into tough knee-timber, many a load !
Lean'd on her elbow, watching Time, whose cours,
The twentieth year is well nigh past,
Since first our sky was overcast; Achieved a labour which had, far and wide,
Ah would that this might be the last ! By man perform’d, made all the forest ring.
My Mary! Embowell’d now, and of thy ancient self
Thy spirits have a fainter flow, Possessing nought but the scoop'd rind that seems I see thee daily weaker growAn huge throat calling to the clouds for drink, 'Twas my distress that brought thee low, Which it would give in rivulets to thy root,
My Mary! Thou temptest none, but rather much forbidd'st The feller's toil, which thou couldst ill requite.
Thy needles, once a shining store, Yet is thy root sincere, sound as the rock,
For my sake restless heretofore,
Now rust disused, and shine no more; A quarry of stout spurs and knotted fangs,
My Mary! Which, crook'd into a thousand whimsies, clasp The stubborn soil, and hold thee still erect.
For though thou gladly wouldst fulfil So stands a kingdom, whose foundation yet
The same kind office for me still, Fails not, in virtue and in wisdom laid,
Thy sight now seconds not thy will, Though all the superstructure, by the tooth
My Mary! Pulverized of venality, a shell
[t Cowper never bestowed more labour on any of his Stands now, and semblance only of itself !
compositions than upon the “ Yardley Oak;” por did he Thine arms have left thee. Winds have rent
ever labour more successfully.-SOUTHEY, Life of Coup,
vol. iii. p. 17.] them off
(† About this time it was that he addressed to her Long since ; and rovers of the forest wild [left (Mrs. Unwin) one of the most touching, and certainly With bow and shaft, have burnt them. Some have the most widely-known, of all his poems, for it has been A splinter'd stump bleach'd to a snowy white ;
read by thousands who have never perused « The Tusk," And some, memorial none where once they grew.
nor perhaps seen or heard of any other of his works. SOUTHEY, Life of Cowper, vol. iii. p. 150.]
LINES ON HIS MOTHER'S PICTURE.
But well thou play'dst the housewife's part,
My Mary! Thy silver locks, once auburn bright, Are still more lovely in my sight Than golden beams of orient light,
My Mary! For, could I view nor them nor thee, What sight worth seeing could I see? The sun would rise in vain for me,
My Mary! Partakers of thy sad decline, Thy hands their little force resign ; Yet gently prest, press gently mine,
My Mary! Such feebleness of limbs thou provest, That now at every step thou movest Upheld by two ; yet still thou lovest,
And still to love, though prest with ill,
My Mary! And should my future lot be cast With much resemblance of the past, Thy worn-out heart will break at last,
O that those lips had language ! Life has pass'd
Faithful remembrancer of one so dear,
My mother! when I learn’d that thou wast dead,
Where once we dwelt our name is heard no more, Children not thine have trod my nurs'ry floor ; And where the gard'ner Robin, day by day, Drew me to school along the public way, Delighted with my bauble coach, and wrapp'd In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet-capt, 'Tis now become a history little known, That once we called the past’ral house our own. Short-lived possession ! but the record fair, That mem’ry keeps of all thy kindness there, Still outlives many a storm, that has effaced A thousand other themes less deeply traced. Thy nightly visits to my chamber made, That thou mightst know me safe and warmly laid;
TO MY COUSIN ANNE BODHAM,
ON RECEIVING FROM HER A NETWORK PURSE, MADE BY
My gentle Anne, whom heretofore,
Than plaything for a nurse,
I thank thee for my purse.
Gold pays the worth of all things here ; But not of Love ;-that gem's too dear
For richest rogues to win it : I, therefore, as a proof of Love, Esteem thy present far above
The best things kept within it.