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His wasted spirits quickly, by long toil
Incurring short fatigue ; and though our years
As life declines, speed rapidly away,
And not a year but pilfers as he goes
Some youthful grace that age would gladly keeps
A tooth or auburn lock, and by degrees
Their length and colour from the locks they spare ;
Th' elastic spring of an unwearied foot
That mounts the stile with ease, or leaps the fence,
That play of lungs, inhaling and again
Respiring freely the fresh air, that makes
Swift pace or steep ascent no toil to me,
Mine have not pilfer'd yet; nor yet impair’d
My relish of fair prospect ; scenes that footh'd
Or charm'd me young, no longer young, I find
Still soothing, and of power to charm me ftill.
And witness, dear companion of my walks,
Whose arm this twentieth winter I perceive
Fast lock'd in mine, with pleasure such as love,
Confirm'd by long experience of thy worth
And well-tried virtues, could alone inspire
Witness a joy that thou hast doubled long:
Thou know'st my praise of nature most sincere,
And that my raptures are not conjur'd up
To serve occasions of poetic pomp,
But genuine, and art partner of them all.
How oft upon yon eminence our pacę
Has slacken'd to a pause, and we have borne
The ruling wind, scarce conscious that it blew,
While admiration feeding at the eye,
And still unsated, dwelt upon the scene.
Thence with what pleasure have we just discern'd
The distant plough Now-moving, and beside
His lab'ring team, that swerv'd not from the track,
The sturdy swain diminish'd to a boy!
Here Ouse, slow winding through a level plain
Of spacious meads with cattle fprinkled o'er,
Conducts the eye along his finuous course
Delighted. There, fast rooted in their bank
Stand, never overlook'd, our fav'rite elms,
That screen the herdsman's folitary hut;
While far beyond, and overthwart the stream
That as with molten glass inlays the vale,
The noping land recedes into the clouds ;
Displaying on its varied fide the grace
Of hedge-row beauties numberless, square tow'r,
Tall spire, from which the sound of chearful bells
Just undulates upon the lift'ning ear;
Groves, heaths, and smoaking villages remote.
Scenes must be beautiful which daily view'd
Please daily, and whose novelty survives
Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years.
Praise justly due to those that I describe.
Nor rural lights alone, but rural sounds
Exhilarate the spirit, and restore
The tone of languid Nature. Mighty winds,
That sweep the skirt of some far-spreading wood
Of anci.nt growth, make music not unlike
The dalh of ocean on his winding shore,
And lull the spirit while they fill the mind;
Unnumber'd branches waving in the blast,
And all their leaves fast flutt'ring, all at once.
Nor less composure waits upon the roar
Of distant floods, or on the softer voice
Of neighb’ring fountain, or of rills that nip
Through the cleft rock, and chiming as they fall
Upon loose pebbles, lose themselves at length
In matted grass, that with a livelier green
Betrays the secret of their silent course.
Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds,
But animated Nature sweeter still,
To soothe and satisfy the human ear.
Ten thousand warblers chear the day, and one
The live-long night : nor these alone, whose notes
Nice-finger'd art must emulate in vain,
But cawing rooks, and kites that swim sublime
In still repeated circles, screaming loud;
The jay, the pie, and ev'n the boding owl
That hails the rising moon, have charms for me,
Sounds inharmonious in themselves and harsh, Yet heard in scenes where peace for ever reigns, And only there, please highly for their fake.
Peace to the artist, whose ingenious thought Devis'd the weather-house, that useful toy! Fearless of humid air and gathering rains Forth steps the man, an emblem of myself, More delicate his tim'rous mate retires.
When Winter soaks the fields, and female feet,
Too weak to struggle with tenacious clay,
Or ford the rivulets, are best at home,
The task of new discov'ries falls on me.
At such a seafon and with such a charge
Once went I forth, and found, till then unknown,
A cottage, whither oft we fince repair :
'Tis perch'd upon the green-hill top, but close
Environ’d with a ring of branching elms
That overhang the thatch, itself unfeen
Peeps at the vale below; so thick beset