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Would spare, that loves them, offices like these :)
Well they reward the toil. The fight is pleas'd,
The scent regal'd, each odorif'rous leaf,
Each opening blossom, freely breathes abroad
Its gratitude, and thanks him with its sweets.
So manifold, all pleasing in their kind,
All healthful, are th' employs of rural life,
Reiterated as the wheel of time
Runs round, still ending, and beginning still.
Nor are these all. To deck the shapely knoll,
That softly swell’d and gaily dress’d, appears
A flow'ry island, from the dark
lawn Emerging, must be deem'd a labor due To no mean hand, and asks the touch of taste. Here also grateful mixture of well-match'd And sorted hues, (each giving each relief, And by contrasted beauty shining more) Is needful. Strength may wield the pond'rous spade, May turn the clod, and wheel the compost home,
But elegance, chief grace the garden shows,
And most attractive, is the fair refult
Of thought, the creature of a polith'd mind.
Without it, all is Gothic as the scene
To which th' insipid citizen resorts
Near yonder heath ; where industry mispent,
But proud of his uncouth ill-chosen task,
Has made a heav'n on earth; with suns and moons
Of close-ramm'd stones has charg'd th’incumber'd soil,
And fairly laid the Zodiac in the dust.
He therefore who would see his flow'rs dispos’d
Sightly and in just order, ere he gives
The beds the trusted treafure of their seeds,
Forecasts the future whole; that when the scene
Shall break into its preconceiv'd display,
Each for itself, and all as with one voice
Conspiring, may attest his bright design.
Nor even then, dismiffing as perform’d
His pleafant work, may he suppose it done.
Few self-supported flow'rs endure the wind
Uninjur'd, but expect th' upholding aid
Of the smooth-shaven prop, and neatly tied,
Are wedded thus like beauty to old age,
For int’rest fake, the living to the dead.
Some cloath the soil that feeds them, far diffus'd
And lowly creeping, modest and yet fair,
Like virtue, thriving most where little seen.
Some, more aspiring, catch the neighbour shrub
With clasping tendrils, and invest his branch,
Elle unadorn'd, with many a gay
And fragrant chaplet, recompensing well
The strength they borrow with the grace they lend.
All hate the rank fociety of weeds,
Noisome, and ever greedy to exhaust
Th' impov'rish'd earth; an overbearing race,
That like the multitude, made faction-mad,
Disturb good order, and degrade true worth.
Oh blest feclusion from a jarring world, Which he, thus occupied, enjoys ! Retreat
Cannot indeed to guilty man restore
Loft innocence, or cancel follies past,
But it has peace, and much secures the mind
From all assaults of evil, proving still
A faithful barrier, not o’erleap'd with ease
By vicious custom, raging uncontrould
Abroad, and defolating public life.
When fierce temptation, seconded within
By traitor appetite, and arm'd with darts
Temperd in hell, invades the throbbing breast,
To combat may be glorious, and success
Perhaps may crown us, but to Ay is fafe.
Had I the choice of sublunary good,
What could I wish, that I poffess not here?
Health, leisure, means t' improve it, friendship, peace,
No loose or wanton, though a wand'ring muse,
And constant occupation without care.
Thus blest, I draw a picture of that bliss ;
Hopeless indeed that dissipated minds,
And profligate abusers of a world
Created fair so much in vain for them,
Should seek the guiltless joys that I describe,
Allur'd by my report: but sure no less,
That, self-condemn'd, they must neglect the prize.
And what they will not taste, must yet approve.
What we admire we praise; and when we praise,
Advance it into notice, that its worth
Acknowledg’d, others may admire it too.
I therefore recommend, though at the risk
Of popular disgust, yet boldly still,
The cause of piety and sacred truth,
And virtue, and those scenes which God ordain'd
Should best secure them and promote them most ;
Scenes that I love, and with regret perceive
Forsaken, or through folly not enjoy'd.
Pure is the nymph, though lib'ral of her smiles,
And chaste, though unconfin’d, whom I extol.
Not as the prince in Shushan, when he callid,
Vain-glorious of her charms, his Vashti forth
grace the full pavilion. His design