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ARGUMENT OF THE FOURTH BOOK.
The post comes in.—The nerus paper is read. The world
contemplated at a distance... Address to Winter.- Tbe rural amusimerts of a winter's evening compared with the fashionable ones.ay
- Address to evening.—A brown study.--Fall of snow in the evening : --The waggoner. - A pour family-piece.--The rural thief - Public bouses. The multitude of them cenfured.-The far. mer's d'ughter: what she was-what she is.—The forplici'y of country manners almost loft.-Causes of the ckange --Desertion of the country by the rich.Nezieet of magiftrates.-The militia principally in fault. - I be new rıcruit and his transformation.Reflection on bodies corporate.--The love of rural objets natural to all, and never to be totally extir. guished.
Hark! 'tis the twanging horn o'er yonder bridge,
That with its wearisome but needful length
Bestrides the wintry flood, in which the moon
Sees her unwrinkled face reflected bright;
He comes, the herald of a noisy world,
With spatter'd boots, strapp'd waist, and frozen locks;
News from all nations lumb'ring at his back.
True to his charge, the close-pack'd load behind,
Yet careless what he brings, his one concern
Is to conduct it to the destin'd inn;
And, having dropp'd th' expected bag, pass on.
He whistles as he goes, light-hearted wretch,
Cold and yet cheerful: messenger of grief
Perhaps to thousands, and of joy to fome;
To him indiff'rent whether grief or joy.
Houfes in ashes, and the fall of stocks,
Births, deaths, and marriages, epiftles wet
With tears, that trickled down the writer's cheeks
Fast as the periods from his fluent quill,
Or charg'd with am'rous fighs of absent swains,
Or nymphs responsive, equally affect
His horse and him, unconscious of them all.
But oh th' important budget! usher'd in
With such heart-shaking music, who can say
What are its tidings ? have our troops awak'd ?
Or do they still, as if with opium drugg’d,
Snore to the murmurs of th' Atlantic wave?
Is India free? and does she wear her plum'd
And jewell'd turban with a smile of peace,
Or do we grind her ftill? The grand debate,
The popular harangue, the tart reply,
The logic and the wisdom, and the wit,
And the loud laugh-I long to know them all;
I burn to set the imprison'd wranglers free,
And give them voice and utt'rance once again.
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast, Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round, And, while the bubbling and loud hifling urn
Throws up a fteamy column, and the cups,
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful ev'ning in.
Not such his ev'ning, who with shining face
Sweats in the crowded theatre, and, squeez'd
And bor'd with elbow-points through both his fides,
Out-scolds the ranting actor on the stage:
Nor his, who patient stands till his feet throb,
And his head thumps, to feed upon the breath
Of patriots, bursting with heroic rage,
Or placemen, all tranquillity and smiles.
This folio of four pages, happy work!
Which not ev'n critics criticise; that holds
Inquisitive attention, while I read,
Fast bound in chains of filence, which the fair,
Though eloquent themselves, yet fear to break;
What is it, but a map of busy life,
Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns ?
Here runs the mountainous and craggy ridge
That tempts ambition. On the summit fee
The seals of office glitter in his eyes ;
He climbs, he pants, he grasps them! At his heels,
Clofe at his heels, a demagogue ascends,
And with a dext'rous jerk foon twists him down,
And wins them, but to lose them in his turn.
Here rills of oily eloquence in soft
Meanders lubricate the course they take; The modest speaker is alham'd and griev'd T'engross a moment's notice, and yet begs, Begs a propitious car for his poor thoughts, However trivial all that he conceives. Sweet bashfulness ! it claims at least this praise; The dearth of information and good sense That it foretells us always comes to pass. Cat'racts of declamation thunder here; There forests of no meaning spread the page, In which all comprehension wanders, loit; While fields of pleasantry amuse us there With merry descants on a nation's woes. The rest appears a wilderness of firange But gay confusion; roses for the cheeks, And lilies for the brows of faded age, Teeth for the toothless, ringlets for the bald, Heav'n, earth, and ocean, plunder'd of their sweets, Nectareous essences, Olympian dews, Sermons, and city feasts, and fav’rite airs, Æthereal journies, submarine exploits, And Katterfelto, with his hair on end At his own wonders, wond’ring for his bread.
'Tis pleasant through the loop-holes of retreat To peep at such a world; to see the itir