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SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE.
Where mix'd, yet uniform, appears
The wisdom of a thousand years!
In that pure spring the bottom view,
Clear, deep, and regularly true,
And other doctrines thence imbibe,
Than lurk within the sordid scribe:
Observe how parts with parts unite
In one harmonious rule of right;
See countless wheels distinctly tend
By various laws to one great end;
While mighty Alfred's piercing soul
Pervades and regulates the whole.
Then welcome business, welcome strife,
Welcome the cares, the thorns of life;
The visage wan, the pur-blind sight,
The toil by day, the lamp at night;
The tedious forms, the solemn prate,
The pert dispute, the dull debate;
The drowzy bench, the babbling hall;
For thee, fair Justice, welcome all!
Thus tho' my noon of life be pass'd,
Yet let my setting sun, at last,
Find out the still, the rural cell,
Where sage Retirement loves to dwell!
There let me taste the home-felt bliss
Of innocence, and inward peace;
Untainted by the guilty bribe;
Uncurs'd amid the harpy tribe;
No orphan's cry to wound my ear;
My honour, and my conscience clear:
Thus may I calmly meet my end,
Thus to the grave in peace descend!
Written in Spring.
"TIS past: the iron North has spent his rage;
Stern Winter now resigns the lengthening day;
The stormy howlings of the winds assuage,
And warm o'er ether western breezes play.
Of genial heat and cheerful light the source,
From southern climes, beneath another sky,
The sun, returning, wheels his golden course;
Before his beams all noxious vapours fly.
Far to the north grim Winter draws his train
To his own clime, to Zembla's frozen shore;
Where, thron'd on ice, he holds eternal reign;
Where whirlwinds madden, and where tempests
Loos'd from the bands of frost, the verdant ground
Again puts on her robe of cheerful green,
Again puts forth her flowers; and all around,
Smiling, the cheerful face of Spring is seen.
Behold! the trees new deck their wither'd boughs;.
Their ample leaves, the hospitable plain,
The taper elm, and lofty ash, disclose;
The blooming hawthorn variegates the scene,
The lily of the vale, of flowers the queen,
Puts on the robe she neither sew'd nor spun:
The birds on ground, or on the branches green,
Hop to and fro, and glitter in the sun.
Soon as o'er eastern hills the morning peers,
From her low nest the tufted lark upsprings;
And cheerful singing, up the air she steers;
Still high she mounts, still loud and sweet she sings.
On the green furze, clothed o'er with golden blooms
That fill the air with fragrance all around,
The linnet sits, and tricks his glossy plumes,
While o'er the wild his broken notes resound.
While the sun journeys down the western sky,
Along the green sward, mark'd with Roman
Beneath the blithsome shepherd's watchful eye,
The cheerful lambkins dance and frisk around.
Now is the time for those who wisdom love,
Who love to walk in Virtue's flowery road,
Along the lovely paths of Spring to rove,
And follow Nature up to Nature's God.
Thus Zoroaster studied Nature's laws;
Thus Socrates, the wisest of mankind;
Thus heav'n-taught Plato trac'd the' Almighty cause,
And left the wondering multitude behind.
Thus Ashley gather'd academic bays;
Thus gentle Thomson, as the Seasons roll, Taught them to sing the great Creator's praise, And bear their poet's name from pole to pole. Thus have I walk'd along the dewy lawn;
My frequent foot the blooming wild hath worn; Before the lark I've sung the beauteous dawn, And gather'd health from all the gales of morn. And, ev'n when Winter chill'd the aged year, I wander'd lonely o'er the hoary plain : Though frosty Boreas warn'd me to forbear, Boreas, with all his tempests, warn'd in vain. Then, sleep my nights, and quiet bless'd my days; I fear'd no loss, my Mind was all my store; No anxious wishes e'er disturb'd my ease; Heav'n gave content and health-I ask'd no more. Now, Spring returns: but not to me returns The vernal joy my better years have known; Dim in my breast life's dying taper burns,
And all the joys of life with health are flown,
Starting and shivering in the' inconstant wind,
Meagre and pale, the ghost of what I was,
Beneath some blasted tree I lie reclin'd,
And count the silent moments as they pass:
The winged moments, whose unstaying speed
No art can stop, or in their course arrest;
Whose flight shall shortly count me with the dead,
And lay me down in peace with them that rest.
Oft morning-dreams presage approaching fate;
And morning-dreams, as poets tell, are true:
Led by pale ghosts, I enter Death's dark gate,
And bid the realms of light and life adieu.
I hear the helpless wail, the shriek of woe;
I see the muddy wave, the dreary shore,
The sluggish streams that slowly creep below,
Which mortals visit, and return no more.
Farewell, ye blooming fields! ye cheerful plains!
Enough for me the church-yard's lonely mound,
Where melancholy with still silence reigns,
And the rank grass waves o'er the cheerless ground.
There let me wander at the shut of eve,
When sleep sits dewy on the labourer's eyes; The world and all its busy follies leave,
And talk with Wisdom where my Daphnis lies.
There let me sleep forgotten in the clay,
When death shall shut these weary aching eyes; Rest in the hopes of an eternal day,
Till the long night is gone, and the last morn arise.
BENEATH the beech, whose branches bare, Smit with the lightning's livid glare, O'erhang the craggy road,
And whistle hollow as the wave;
Within a solitary grave,
A Slayer of himself holds his accurs'd abode.
Lour'd the grim morn, in murky dies
Damp mists involv'd the scowling skies,
And dimm'd the struggling day;
As by the brook, that lingering laves
Yon rush-grown moor with sable waves,
Full of the dark resolve he took his sullen way.
I mark'd his desultory pace,
His gestures strange, and varying face,
With many a mutter'd sound;
And ah! too late aghast I view'd
The reeking blade, the hand embrued;
He fell, and groaning grasp'd in agony the ground.
Full many a melancholy night
He watch'd the slow return of light;
And sought the powers of sleep,
To spread a momentary calm
O'er his sad couch, and in the balm
Of bland oblivion's dews his burning eyes to steep.
Full oft, unknowing and unknown,
He wore his endless noons alone,
Amid the' autumnal wood :
Oft was he wont, in hasty fit,
Abrupt the social board to quit,
And gaze with eager glance upon the tumbling