Page images
PDF
EPUB

In

I read his awful name, emblazon'd high
With golden letters on th' illumin’d sky;
Nor less the mystic characters I see
Wrought in each flower, inscrib'd on every tree;
In ev'ry leaf that trembles to the breeze
I hear the voice of God among the trees,

Mrs. BARBAULD. The country is favourable to contentment and tranquility of mind.

I envy none their pageantry and show ;
I envy none the gilding of their woe.
Give me, indulgent gods, with mind serene,
And guiltless heart, to range the sylvan scene,
No splendid poverty, no smiling care,
No well-bred hate, or servile grandeur there :
There pleasing objects useful thoughts suggest;
The sense is ravish'd, and the soul is blest ;
On every thorn delightful wisdom grows;

every rill a sweet instruction flows. YOUNG. Far removed from the agitations, vexations, and disappointments of a public station, in country life, a man can converse with his own heart, and take the calmest view, and form the most rational estimate, of all terrestrial things.

What various beauties, what unbounded charms, The still retreats of country-life afford; How much unlike the city's crowded scenes, The scenes of dissipation, guilt, and care, Where sober meditation seldom comes. Every object presented to our view has a tendency to hush the tumultuous passions to peace, and to awaken in our souls the most tender and pleasing emotions.

The fall of kings,
The rage of nations, and the crush of states,
Move not the man, who, from the world escap'd,
In still retreats and flow'ry solitudes
To nature's yoice attends.
Lady Manners thus addresses Contentment:--

Contentment! rosy, dimpled fair,

Thou brightest daughter of the sky,
Why dost thou to the hut repair,

And from the gilded palace fly?

I've trac'd thee on the peasant's cheek ;

I've mark'd thee in the milk-maid's smile ;
I've heard thee loudly laugh and speak,

Amid the sons of want and toil.
Yet, in the circles of the great,

Where fortune's gifts are all combin'd,
I've sought thee early, sought thee late,

And ne'er thy lovely form could find.
Since then from wealth and pomp you flee,

I ask but competence and thee.
He who has a taste for the beauties of nature will
feel the advantages of a country life, and may always
find pleasure in contemplating the enchanting scenes
extended before him ; he may exclaim, with Thom
son,-

I care not, fortune, what you me deny:

You cannot rob me of free nature's grace;
You cannot shut the windows of the sky,

Through which Aarora shews her briglot'ning face;
You cannot bar my constant feet to trace

The woods and lawns, by living stream, at eve
Let health my nerves and finer fibres brace,

And I their toys to the great children leave;
Of fancy, reason, virtue, nought can me bereave.
In order to enjoy the beauties of nature, the soul
should be free from degrading passions and depraved
habits; and possess lively sensibilities, elevated sentị
ments, and devout affections.--

Would you then taste the tranquil scene?
Be sure your bosoms be serene;
Devoid of haste, devoid of strife,
Devoid of all that poisons life:
And much it 'vails you, in their place

To graft the love of human race. SHENSTONE.
A view of the harmony of external nature, produces
harmony in the mind of man. For ,

Who can forbear to smile with nature--can
The stormy passions in the bosom roll,
While every gale is peace, and every grove

Is melody?
The most_sublime piety will be the result of this
harmony. For they-

[ocr errors]

Whom Nature's works can charm, with God himself
Hold converse ; grow familiar, day by day,
With his conceptions, act upon his plan;
And form to his the relish of their souls.

AKINSIDE. The country is favourable to health.

There health $0 wild and gay, with bosom bare,
And rosy cheek, keen eye, and flowing hair,
Trips with a smile the breezy scenes along,

And pours the spirit of content in song! The air, enriched with the fragrance of vegetation, is much more salubrious than the dense and beavy atmosphere of crowded cities, thickened by clouds of smoke, and infocted by the pestiferous exhalations and unwholesome effluvia arising from narrow and confined situations, warehouses, and manufactories.

This idea is beautifully illustrated by Armstrong, the celebrated medical poet, in the following lines :

Ye, who amid this leverish world would wear
A body froe of pain, of cares a mind.
Fly the rank city ; shun its turbid air ;
Breathe not the chaos of eternal smoke
And wolatile corruption, from the dead.
The dying, sick’ning, and the living world
Exhal'd to sally heaven's transparent dome
With dim mortality. It is not air,
That from a thousand lungs reeks back to thine,
Sated with exhalations rank and fell,
The spoil of dunghills, and the putrid thaw
Of nature ; wben from shape and texture she
Relapses into fighting elements:
It is not air; bat foats a nauseous mass
Of all obscene, corrupt, offensive things.
While yet you breathe, away, the rural wilds
Invite; the mountains call you, and the vales;
The woods, the streams, and each anrbrosial breeze,
That fans the ever undulating sky;
A kindly sky! whose fostering show'r vegales

Man, beast, and all she vegetable reign. Shakspeare thas describes the pleasures of a shepherd's life :

O God! methinks it were a bappy life
To be no better than a homely swain ;

*

So many

To sit upon a hill as I do now;
To carve out dials quaintly, point by point,
Thereby to see the minutes how they run :
How many make the hour full complete,
How many hours bring about the day,
How many days will finish up the year,
How many years a mortal man may live:
When this is known, then to divide the time;

hours must I tend my flock;
So many hours must I take my rest;
So many hours must I contemplate ;
So many hours must I sport myself;
So many days my ewes have been with young ;
So many weeks ere the poor fools will yean;
So many months ere I shall shear the fleece;
So many minutes, hours, days,weeks, months, and years,
Past over, to the end they were created,
Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave,
Oh! what a life were this ! how sweet! how lovely!
Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade
To shepherds looking on their silly sheep,
Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy
To kings that fear their subjects' treachery?
Oh! yes, it doth: a thousand fold it doth .
And to conclude, the shepherd's homely curds,
His cold thin drink out of his leathern bottle,
His wonted sleep under a fresh tree's shade,
All which secure and sweetly he enjoys,
Is far beyond a prince's delicates,
His viand sparkling in a golden cup,
His body couched in a curious bed,

When cares, mistrust, and treason, wait on him.
Brown thus speaks of a country life:-

Oh ! let me in the country range ;
"Tis there we breathe, 'tis there we range ;
The beauteous scene of aged mountains,
Smiling valleys, murm’ring fountains ;
Lambs
in flow'ry pastures

bleating;
Echo every note repeating;
Bees with busy sounds delighting ;
Groves to gentle sleep inviting ;
Whispering winds the poplars counting i
Swains in rustic circles sporting;
Birds in cheerful notes expressing
Nature's bounty and their blessing :
These afford a lasting pleasure,
Without guilt, and without measure.

Thomson . must be allowed to give bis séntiments :

Oh! knew he but his happiness, of men
The happiest he, who, far from public rage,
Deep in the vale, with a choice few retird,
Drinks the pure pleasures of the rural life.
What! tho' the dome be wanting, whose proud gale
Each morning vomits out the sneaking crowd
Of flatterers false, and in their turn abus'd--
Vile intercourse what! tho' the glittering robe,
Of ev'ry hue reflected light can give,
Or floated loose, or stiff

with massy gold,
The pride and gaze of fools, oppress him not
What! tho' from utmost land and sea purvey'd,
For him each rater tributary life
Bleeds not, and his insatiate table heaps
With luxury and death !-what! tho' his bowl
Flames not with costly juice;' nor sunk in beds,
Oft of gay care, he tosses ouť the night,
Or melts the thoughtless hours in idle state-
What! tho' he knows not those fantastic joys,
That still amuse the wanton, still deceive,
A face of pleasure, bụt a heart of pain;
Their hollow moments undelighted all
Sure peace is his; a solid life, enstrang’d
To disappointment and fallacious hope.
Rich in content, in' nature's bounty rich,
In herbs and fruits; whatever greens the spring,
When hear'n descends in show'rs, or bends the bough,
When summer reddens, and when aútumn beams;

in the wintry glebe, whatever lies,
Conceal'd, and fattens with the richest sap';
These are not wanting ; nor the milky drove,
Luxuriant, spread o'er" all the lowing vale ;
Nor bleating mountains ; nor the chide of streams,
And hum of bees, inviting sleep sincere
Into the guiltless breast, beneath the shade,
Or thrown'at large amid the fragrant hay ;
Nor aught besides of prospect, grove, or song,
Dim grottos, gleaming lakes, and fountains clear:
Here too dwells simple truth; plain innocence;
Unsullied beauty; sound unbroken youth,
Patient of labour, with a little pleas'd;
Health ever blooming; unambitious toil;
Calm contemplation,

and poetic ease!

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

9.

2 L.

« PreviousContinue »