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Nor stagnant mires where hoggets take delight;
Shaded by yonder elms and stately birch,
Those distant cabins skirt the Village Green, Where nimble youngsters at their plays are seen ; Some fling the stone, while others leap the pole, And some with well-skill'd science aim the bowl. There, too, the more expert at quoits are tried, And learn to foster emulative pride. Thus were the youths to active sports inured, And taught the toil that after-life endured, And thus served pastime, in each pleasing game, To nurture vigour, and to nerve the frame.
A murmuring rivulet flows through the lea, Meandering from the mountains to the sea, Whose foam-crown'd billows beat upon the shore, Just two miles off, --- hy road 'tis scarcely more,
That brook supplies the wheelrace of our mill,
In childhood I remember the wild lea,
If partial vacancy occurred elsewhereIf sad desertion came through want of care ; My native vale! thy recent face displays A charm beyond my pencil or its praise. Where late the low-thatched cabin held its place, A stately mansion serves the site to grace ; Where narrow borheen met the stranger's eye, The well-walld walk doth now its room supply ; And the rude bawn, its dung-heap, and its mire, Are gone-the where we scarcely need inquire.
This is not in some solitary case ; 'Tis everywhere-I scarce could name its place. Improvement has been rapid in its flightHere in its loveliness, and there in might; Even Architecture, in its simple way, Has here asserted, and been granted sway.
Such are the main complexions of our vale, The scene of many a wild and merry tale.
Now turn we to its master-spirits. There
Who claims the mansion hid in yonder dale,
There dwells the parish Pastor; thence he sees How thrives his flock, and how improve his peas; For he's a shepherd, and a gard'ner both; And even to farm is sometimes nothing loth, When neighbours can their men and cattle spare To till his fields without his helping care.
He is a man of stern and restless eye, That rather shuns than seeks the passer-by; His features cold-(his hair just ting'd with age) Betokening more the stoic than the sage. No heart grows warm to know the Rector near ; He claims respect, though few esteem him dear; His conduct can defy a single flaw; He does his duty, and fulfils the law. No works of supererogation were Laid to his charge, through twenty years of care; His sermons every year he wadeth through, Then turns them over, and begins anew ;
Thus many a clown, unaided by a note,
When Summer's bright and sunny days are o'er, And Nature spreads around her Autumn store, The Rector is not chary of a walk, But quite familiar grows, and fond of talk. He likes to hear the farmer calculate How much will profit yonder stacks of wheat, How much his oats—how much his barley yields, And what the produce of his other fields. All these he loves to hear,—'tis scarce a fault, For tithe, no doubt, is distant from his thought.
The Preacher is no bigot in his creed ; He's quite a liberal in word and deed. On terms of friendship stand the Priest and he, Displaying thus true Christian charity; And though they wage a controversial war, They'll drive together on each other's car ; Thus, while the Parson argues with the Priest, They both forget to fast, and oft together feast.
See you that tall neglected looking pile,
(Even if no sash reclined on slate or rule)
No wonder if the labouring pen should fail,
Behind the door is nailed a bonnet rack, Above the fire a large Sheet Almanack; Along the wall in goodly order set, Of various sizes hangs the Alphabet, While copy-books, in wild profusion flung, Are “Universals” loosely throwọ among, Desks ranged with forms extend in triple rows, Whose ink-dyed surfaces their use disclose, The high tribunal stands in state, alone, Bearing the great man's chair, his awful throne, Where, with his sceptre, a rough ashen rod, The trembling urohịns quake beneath his nod, Who to their seats in terror shrink appalled, Arrived too late to hear the roll o'ercalled.