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The Virgin's* branch had chased the orb of day,
And Perseus' orient sword no longer flames ; The Queen of Night illumes the Boor's lone way;
While all his soul with her reflects bright claims To heavenly origin : right high descent ! Essentially above what earth e'er lent.
Through dusky clouds she shoots a partial gleam,
Investing with a smile a well-known height: The sire, the husband, kindles at the beam ;
The oozy pace moves quicker at the sight; His swelling heart collects its plaints and ire, Intent to vapour them at friendship’s fire.
Of life's steep mount when gloom the brow enfolds,
Should some kind rays round man's dark footsteps shine, Upon the top swift Hope her mirror holds ;
Behind the gloom the scattered rays combine: So o'er life's twilight, when night's shadows roll, Bursts forth the gladdening sunshine of the soul.
This alludes to the sun's place, and the relative position of the heavens, at the period of the autumnal equinox.
The glistening mount bore on its lofty breast
What to our rustic was inceptive heaven, His loving wife, his boy, his Bible blessed
In frequent prayer, as having kindly driven Hell's terrors from the soul, and on the woe Of mortal man bid joy eternal flow.
His thatch-built roof, imbosomed in the rock
That o’er it in retiring cliffs arose, Had oft escaped the storm, and lightning's shock :
Encircling crags had bush, and still repose, For tribes by tempest chased from heath, or thorn, To wait the early dawn of peaceful morn.
Around it grew, on cliffs of clayey soil,
Prolific roots, and herbs of various hue ; All nurslings of industrious evening toil,
When flowers upon the lowly plain wept dew, Accusing softly, to the twilight chill, The sun still lingering on the peasant's hill.
At eve, when in the furrow cooled the plough,
Its guide at home oft plied departing day; Did sow, or reap, for fuel cut the bough,
By door and window twine the willing spray Of ivy green, or woodbine's fragrant flower, Would prune the tree, or frame the rural bower.
When hoe and dibble, pruning-knife and spade,
'Mid tools, and stuff of various use and kind, On ceiling crossed with many a spar, were laid,
The cat, and dog, and boy, amused the hind, Who, in their harmless sport, was taught to scan What rules best suit the fleeting life of man.
While thus relaxing, near a tortuous tree
From crevice swelling o'er him shapeless shade, The Boor, discerning, happy, kind, and free,
Through nature and religion's glass surveyed Poor human life, beheld effect and cause, Comparing earthly with celestial laws.
His canopy, once borne on wing or gale,
A solitary seed, oft met his eye,
Of Aaky bark, appearing to defy
Unpolished manners, homely garb and fare,
Were not the emblems of his inborn mind; They had on earth, by chance, become his share,
As office, wealth, or rank, to birth confined, Or splendid independence, power, and fame, That may true worth adorn, but cannot shame.
When western clouds had bent their latest die,
Where daring goat still caught the airy blade, In haste increasing as the night drew nigh,
She paused to hear, her master's voice obeyed ; Brought bome, with aching dugs, her mountain store, And made the bowl of present wants run o'er.
Her tinklings stilled, she joins the evening sport
The playful dog repels in reared defence, Or mocks him from the crag, her safe resort,
While on the bough puss keeps him in suspense: Cur begs one look, then leaps, and barks alarm, His foes pursues, but knows he must not harm.
The frugal meal announced, they all retire,
The perfect concord of the golden age,
Or can procure, amid a nation's rage
The lambent flame did light and heat afford
To all expectant round the social hearth; Warm cake and milk now crown'd the humble board,
And various roots, unbosom’d by the earth,
As faithful need called on her to disclose
The hopes that past experience did repose.