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When most severe, and must'ring all its force,
Was but the graver countenance of love ;
Whose favour, like the clouds of spring, might low'r,
And utter now and then an awful voice,
But had a blessing in its darkest frown,
Threat’ning at once and nourishing the plant,
We lov’d, but not enough, the gentle hand
That rear'd us. At a thoughtless age, allur'd
By ev'ry gilded folly, we renounc'd
His shelt'ring side, and wilfully forewent
That converse which we now in vain regret.
How gladly would the man recall to life
The boy's neglected fire! a mother too,
That softer friend, perhaps more gladly still,
Might he demand them at the gates of death.
Sorrow has, since they went, subdu'd and tam'd
The playful humour; he could now endure,
(Himself grown sober in the vale of tears)
And feel a parent's presence no restraint.
But not to understand a treasure's worth
'Till time has stol'n away the sighted good,
Is cause of half the poverty we feel,
And makes the world the wilderness it is.
The few that pray at all pray oft amiss,
And, seeking grace t'improve the prize they hold,
Would urge a wiser suit than asking more,
The night was winter in his roughest mood, The morning sharp and clear. But now at noon Upon the southern side of the Nant hills, And where the woods fence off the northern blast, The season fmiles, resigning all its rage, And has the warmth of May. The vault is blue Without a cloud, and white without a speck The dazzling splendour of the scene below. Again the harmony comes o'er the vale, And through the trees I view th’embattled tow'r Whence all the niusic. I again perceive The foothing influence of the wafted strains, And settle in soft musings as I tread
The walk still verdant, under oaks and elms,
Whose outspread branches overarch the glade.
The roof, though moveable through all its length
As the wind sways it, has yet well suffic'd,
And intercepting in their silent fall
The frequent flakes, has kept a path for me.
No noise is here, or none that hinders thought.
The red-breast warbles still, but is content
With slender notes and more than half suppress’d:
Pleas'd with his folitude, and fitting light
From spray to spray, where'er he rests he shakes
From many a twig the pendent drops of ice,
That tinkle in the wither'd leaves below.
Stillness, accompanied with sounds so soft,
Charms more than filence. Meditation here
May think down hours to moments. Here the heart
May give an useful lesson to the head,
And learning, wiser grow without his books,
Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one,
Have oft-times no connexion. Knowledge dwells
In heads replete with thoughts of other men, Wisdom in minds attentive to their own. Knowledge, a rude unprofitable mass, The mere materials with which wisdom builds, 'Till smooth'd and squar'd and fitted to its place, Does but incumber whom it seems t enrich. Knowledge is proud that he has learn’d so much, Wisdom is humble that he knows no more. Books are not seldom talismans and spells, By which the magic art of shrewder wits Holds an unthinking multitude enthrall’d. Some, to the fascination of a namie Surrender judgment, hood-wink'd. Some, the style Infatuates, and through labyrinths and wilds Of error leads them, by a tune entranc'd. While noth seduces more, too weak to bear The insupportable fatigue of thought, And swallowing, therefore, without pause or choice, The total grist unsifted, husks and all. But trees, and rivulets whose rapid course 7
Defies the check of winter, haunts of deer,
And sheep-walks, populous with bleating lambs,
And lanes, in which the primrose ere her time
Peeps through the moss that cloaths the hawthorn root,
Deceive no student. Wisdom there, and truth,
Not shy, as in the world, and to be won
By Now folicitation, seize at once
The roving thought, and fix it on themselves.
What prodigies can pow'r divine perform
More grand than it produces year by year,
And all in sight of inattentive man?
Familiar with th' effect we slight the cause,
And, in the constancy of nature's course,
The regular return of genial months,
And renovation of a faded world,
See nought to wonder at. Should God again,
As once in Gibeon, interrupt the race
Of the undeviating and punctual fun,
How would the world admire! but speaks it less