صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

tions of adversity. Man must be in a certain degree the artificer of his own happiness; the tools and materials may be put into his hands by the bounty of Providence, but the workmanship must be his own.

I lately took a journey into a distant county, upon a visit to a gentleman of fortune, whom I shall call Attalus. I had never seen him since his accession to a very considerable estate ; and as I have met with few acquaintance in life of more pleasant qualities, or a more social temper than Attalus, before this great property unex pectedly devolved upon him, I flattered myself that fortune had in this instance bestowed her fayours upon one who deserved them; and that I should find in Attalus's society the pleasing gratification of seeing all those maxims, which I had hitherto revolved in my mind as matter of fpecu- . lation only, now brought forth into actual practice; for amongst all my observations upon human affairs, few have given me greater and more frequent disappointment, than the almost general abuse of riches. Those rules of liberal ceconomy, which would make wealth a bleffing to it's owner and to all he were connected with, seem so obvious to me, who have no other interest in the subject than what meditation affords, that I am apt to wonder how men can make

such

such false estimates of the true enjoyments of life, and wander out of the way of happiness, to which the heart and understanding feem to point the road too plainly to admit of a mistake.

With these fanguine expectations I pursued my journey towards the magnificent seat of Attalus, and in my approach it was with pleasure Į remarked the beauty of the country about it; I recollected how much he used to be devoted to rural exercises, and I found him situated in the very spot most favorable to his beloved amusements; the soil was clean, the hills easy, and the downs were chequered with thick copses, that seemed the finest nurseries in nature for a sportsman's game: When I entered upon his ornamented demesne, nothing could be more enchanting than the scenery; the ground was finely shaped into hill and vale ; the horizon every where bold and romantic, and the hand of art had evidently improved the workmanship of, nature with consummate taste ; upon the broken declivity stately groves of beech were happily disposed; the lawn was of the finest verdure gently floping from the house ; a rapid river of the purest transparency ran through it and fell over a rocky channel into a noble lake within view of the mansion ; behind this upon the northern and eastern Banks I could discern the tops of very stately trees, that sheltered a spacious enclosure of pleasure-ground and gardens, with all the delicious accompaniments of hothouses and conservatories.

tops

It was a scene to seize the imagination with rapture ; a poet's language would have run fpontaneously into metre at the fight of it; « What a subject,” said I within myself, “ is «here present for those ingenious bards, who « have the happy talent of describing nature in « her fairest forms! Oh! that I could plant the

delightful author of The Task in this very spot!

Perhaps, whilst his eye-in a fine phrensy roll« ing-glanced over this enchanting prospect, « he might burst forth into the following, or "something like the following, rhapsody”.

Blest above men, if he perceives and feels
The bleffings he is heir to, He ! to whom
His provident forefathers have bequeath'd
In this fair diftri&t of their native ille
A free inheritance, compact and clear.
How sweet the yivifying dawn to him,
Who with a fond paternal eye can trace
Beloved scenes, where rivers, groves and lawns
Rife at the touch of his Orphéan hand,
And Nature, like a docile, child, repays
Her kind disposer's care ! Master and friend
Of all that blooms or breathes within the verge
of this wide-stretcht horizon, he surveys
His upland pastures white with fleecy flocks,

[ocr errors]

Rich meadows dappled o’er with grazing herds
And vallies waving thick with golden grain.

Where can the world display a fairer scene ?
And what has Nature for the sons of men
Better provided than this happy ille ?
Mark! how she's girded by her watery zone,
Whilst all the neighb’ring continent is trench'd
And furrow'd with the ghastly, seams of war:
Barriers and forts and arm'd battalions stand
On the fierce confines of each rival state,
Jealous to guard, or eager to invade;
Between their hostile camps a field of blood,
Behind them desolation void and drear,
Where at the summons of the surly drum
The rising and the setting sun reflects
Nought but the gleam of arms, now here, now there
Flasing amain, as the bright phalanx moves :
Wasteful and wide the blank in Nature's map,
And far far distant where the scene begins,
of human habitation, thinly group'a
Over the meager earth ; for there no youth,
No sturdy peasant, who with limbs and strength
Might fill the gaps of battle, dares approach;
Old age instead, with weak and trembling hand
Feebly folicit's the indignant soil
For a precarious meal, poor at the best.

Oh, Albion ! oh, blest ise, on whose white cliffs Peace builds her halcyon neft, thou, who embrac'd By the uxorious ocean sit'st secure, Smiling and gay and crown'd with every wreath, That Art can fashion or rich Commerce waft To deck thee like a bride, compare these scenes With pity not with scorn, and let thy heart, Not wanton with prosperity, but warm VOL.IV.

с

With

With grateful adoration, send up praise
To the great Giver-thence thy bleilings come.

The soft luxurious nations will complain
Of thy rude wintry clime, and chide the winds
That ruffle their fine forms; trembling they view
The boisterous barrier that defends thy coast,
Nor dare to pass it till their pilot bird,
The winter-sleeping swallow, points the way ;
But envy not their suns, and ligh not thou
For the clear azure of their cloudless skies;
The same strong blast, that beds the knotted oak
Firm in his clay-bound cradle, nerves the arm
Of the stout hind, who fells him to the ground.
These are the manly offspring of our ille ;
Their's are the pure delights of rural life,
Freedom their birth-right and their dwelling peace ;

The vine, that mantles o'er their cottage roof,
Gives them a shade no tyrant dares to spoil.

Mark! how the sturdy peasant breasts the storm,
The white snow fleeting o'er his brawny chest ;
He heeds it not, but carols as he goes
Some jocund measure or love-ditty, foon
In sprightlier key and happier accent fung
To the kind wench at home, whose ruddy cheeks
Shall thaw the icy winter on his lips,
And melt his frozen features into joy:
Bist who, chat ever heard the hunter's shout, ,
When the thrill fox-hound doubles on the scent,
Which of you, fons and fathers of the chace,
Which of your hardy, bold, adventurous band
Will pine and murmur for Italian skies?
Hark! from the covert-fide your game is view'd !
Music, which none but British dryads hear,
Shouts, which no foreign echoes can repeat,
Ring thro' the hollow wood and sweep the vale.

Now,

« السابقةمتابعة »