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For the unscenţed fictions of the loom;
Who, satisfy'd with only pencil'd scenes,
Prefer to the performance of a God
Th’inferior wonders of an artist's hand.
Lovely indeed the mimic works of art,
But Nature's works far lovelier. I admire
None more admires the painter's magic skill,
Who shews me that which I shall never see,
Conveys a distant country into mine,
And throws Italian light on English walls :
But imitative strokes can do no more
Than please the eye, sweet Nature ev'ry sense.
The air falubrious of her lofty hills,
The chearing fragrance of her dewy vales,
And music of her woods-no works of man,
May rival these; these all bespeak a power
Peculiar, and exclusively her own.
Beneath the open sky she spreads the feast;
'Tis free to all—’tis ev'ry day renew'd ;
Who scorns it, starves deservedly at home,
He does not scorn it, who, imprison'd long
In fome unwholesome dungeon, and a prey
To fallow fickness, which the vapors, dank
And clammy, of his dark abode have bred,
Escapes at last to liberty and light:
His cheek recovers foon its healthful hue,
His eye relumines its extinguish'd fires ;
He walks, he leaps, he runs--is wing’d with joy,
And riots in the fweets of ev'ry breeze.
He does not fcorn it, who has long endur'd
A fever's agonies, and fed on drugs.
yet the mariner, his blood inflam'd With acrid falts; his
To gaze at Nature in her green array,
Upon the ship’s tall side he stands, poffess’d
With visions prompted by intense desire :
Fair fields appear below, such as he left
Far distant, such as he would die to find
He seeks them headlong, and is feen no more.
The spleen is seldom felt where Flora reigns ; The low'ring eye, the petulance, the frown, And sullen sadness, that o'ershade, distort, And mar the face of beauty, when no cause For such immeasurable woe appears, These Flora banishes, and gives the fair Sweet fmiles, and bloom less transient than her own. It is the constant reyolution, ftale And tasteless, of the fame repeated joys, That palls and satiates, and makes languid life A pedler's pack, that bows the bearer down. Health suffers, and the spirits ebb; the heart Recoils from its own choice--at the full feast Is famish’d-finds no music in the song, No smartness in the jest, and wonders why. Yet thousands still desire to journey on, Though halt and weary of the path they tread. The paralytic, who can hold her cards, But cannot play them, borrows a friend's hand To deal and shuffle, to divide and sort
Her mingled suits and sequences, and fits
Spectatress both and spectacle, a sad
And silent cypher, while her proxy plays.
Others are dragg'd into the crowded room
Between supporters; and, once seated, fit
Through downright inability to rise,
Till the stout bearers lift the corpfe again.
These speak a loud memento. Yet ev’n these
Themselves love life, and cling to it, as he
That overhangs a torrent, to a twig.
They love it, and yet loath it; fear to die,
Yet scorn the purposes for which they live.
Then wherefore not renounce them? No--the dread,
The slavish dread of solitude, that breeds
Reflection and remorse, the fear of shame,
And their invet’rate habits, all forbid.
Whom call we gay? That honor has been long
The boast of mere pretenders to the name.
The innocent are gay--the lark is gay,
That dries his feathers, saturate with dew,
Beneath the rosy cloud, while yet the beams
Of day-spring overshoot his hụmble nest.
The peasant too, a witness of his song,
Himself a songster, is as gay as he.
But save me from the gaiety of those
Whose head-aches nail them to a noon-day bed ;
And save me too from theirs whose haggard eyes
Flash desperation, and betray their pangs
For property stripp'd off by cruel chance;
From gaiety that fills the bones with pain,
The mouth with blasphemy, the heart with woe.
The earth was made fo various, that the mind
Of desultory man, studious of change,
And pleas'd with novelty, might be indulg'd.
Prospects, however lovely, may be seen
Till half their beauties fade ; the weary sight,
Too well acquainted with their smiles, sides off
Faftidious, seeking less familiar scenes.