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The HAPPINESS of a COUNTRY LIFE.
O HAPPY plains, remote from war's alarms,
And all the ravages of hostile arms !
And happy shepherds, who, secure from fear,
On open downs preserve your fleecy care!
Whose spacious barns groan with increasing store,
And whirling flails disjoint the cracking floor :
No barb'rous soldier, bent on cruel spoil,
Spreads desolation o'er your fertile soil;
No trampling steed lays waste the ripen'd grain,
Nor crackling fires devour the promis'd gain;
No flaming beacons cast their blaze afar,
The dreadful signal of invasive war; ·
No trumpet's clangor wounds the mother's ear,
And calls the lover from his swooning fair.
What happiness the rural maid attends,
In cheerful labour while each day she spends !
She gratefully receives what heav'n has sent,
And, rich in poverty, enjoys content :
Such happiness, and such unblemish'd fame,
Ne'er glad the bosom of the courtly dame)
She never feels the spleen's imagin'd pains,
Nor melancholy stagnates in her veins;
She never loses life in thoughtless ease,
Nor on the velvet couch invites disease:
Her home-spun dress in simple neatness lies.
And for no glaring equipage she sighs;
Her reputation, which is all her boast,
In a malicious visit ne'er was lost;
No midnight masquerade her beauty wears,
And health, not paint, the fading bloom repairs.
If love's soft passion in her bosom reign,
An equal passion warms her happy swain ;
No home-bred jars her quiet state controul,
Nor watchful jealousy torments her soul;
With secret joy she sees her little race
Hang on her breast and her small cottage grace;
The fleecy ball their busy fingers cull,
Or from the spindle draw the length'ning wool:
Thus flow her hours with constant peace of mind,
Till age the latest thread of life unwind.
Ye happy fields, unknown to noise and strife,
The kind rewarders of industrious life;
Ye shady woods, where once I us'd to rove,
Alike indulgent to the muse and love;
Ye murm'ring streams that in meanders roll,
The sweet composers of the pensive soul,
Farewel.-The City calls me from your bow'rs:
Farewel amusing thoughts and peaceful hours.
The ADVANTAGES of WALKING.
THE MISERABLE FATE OF A BEAU.
OYE associate walkers, O my friends,
Upon your state what happiness attends!
What, tho' no coach to frequent visits rolls,
Nor for your shilling chairmen sling their poles;
Yet still your nerves rheumatic pains defy,
Nor lazy jaundice dulls your saffron eye;
No wasting cough discharges sounds of death,
Nor wheezing asthma heaves in vain for breath;
Nor from your restless couch is heard the groan
Of burning gout or sedentary stone.
Let others in the jolting coach confide,
Or in the leaky boat the Thames divide ;
Or, box'd within the chair, contemn the street,
And trust their safety to another's feet:
Still let me walk; for oft the sudden gale
Ruffles the tide, and shifts the dang'rous sail
Then shall the passenger too late deplore
The whelming billow, and the faithless oar.
The drunken chairman in the kennel spurns,
The glasses shatters, and his charge o'erturns.
Who can recount the coach's various harms,
The legs disjointed, and the broken arms?
I've seen a beau, in some ill-fated hour, When o'er the stones choak'd kennels swell the show'r, In gilded chariot loll; he with disdain Views spatter'd passengers all drench'd in rain : With mud fill'd high, the rumbling cart draws near, Now rule thy prancing steeds, lac'd charioteer !
The dustman lashes on with spiteful rage,
His pond'rous spokes thy painted wheel engage;
Crush'd is thy pride, down falls the shrieking beau,
The slabby pavement crystal fragments strow,
Black floods of mire th' embroider'd coat disgrace,
And mud enwraps the honours of his face.
So when dread Jove the son of Phoebus hurl'd,
Scar'd with dark thunder, to the nether world;
The headstrong coursers tore the silver reins,
And the sun's beamy ruin gilds the plains.
PANACEA: Or, The GRAND RESTORATIVE.
WELCOME to Baia's streams, ye sons of spleen,
Who rove from spa to spa-to shift the scene.
While round the streaming fount you idly throng,
Come, learn a wholesome secret from my song.
Ye fair, whose roses feel th' approaching frost, And drops supply the place of spirits lost: Ye 'squires, who, rack'd with gout, at heav'n repine, Condemn'd to water for excess in wine: Ye portly cits, so corpulent and full, Who eat and drink 'till appetite grows dull : For whets and bitters then unstring the purse, Whilst nature more opprest grows worse and worse: Dupes to the craft of pill-prescribing leeches: You nod or laugh at what the parson preaches : Hear then a rhiming-quack, who spurns your wealth, And gratis gives a sure receipt for health. No more thus vainly rove o'er sea and land, When, lo a sovereign remedy's at hand; 'Tis temperance-stale cant !-'Tis fasting, then ; Heaven's antidote against the sins of men. Foul luxury's the cause of all your pain: To scour th' obstructed glands, abstain! abstain! Fast and take rest, ye candidates for sleep, Who from high food tormenting vigils keep: Fast and be fat-thou starveling in a gown; Ye bloated, fast-'twill surely bring you down. Ye nymphs that pine o'er chocolate and rolls, Hence take fresh bloom, fresh vigour to your souls.
Fast and fear not-you'll need no drop nor pill:
Hunger may starve, excess is sure to kill.
CLAUDIAN'S OLD MAN of VERONA.
HAPPY the man, who his whole time doth bound Within th' inclosure of his little ground.
Happy the man, whom the same humble place
(Th' hereditary cottage of his race)
From his first rising infancy has known,
And by degrees sees gently bending down,
With natural propension, to that earth
Which both preserv'd his life and gave him birth.
Him no false distant lights, by fortune set,
Could ever into foolish wand'rings get.
He never dangers either saw or fear'd;
'The dreadful storms at sea he never heard.
He never heard the shrill alarms of war,
Or the worse noises of the lawyer's bar;
No change of consuls marks to him the year,
The change of seasons is his calendar.
The cold and heat winter and summer shows;
Autumn by fruits, the spring by flowers he knows.
He measures time by land-marks, and has found
For the whole day the dial of his ground.
A neighbouring wood, born with himself, he sees,
And loves his own contemporary trees.
He has only heard of near Verona's name,
And knows it, like the Indies, but by fame;
Does with a like concernment notice take
Of the Red-sea, and of Benacus' lake.
Thus health and strength he to a third age enjoys,
And sees a long posterity of boys.
About the spacious world let others roam,
The voyage, life, is longest made at home.
HAIL, old patrician trees, so great and good!
Hail, ye plebeian underwood!
Where the poetic birds rejoice,
And for their quiet nests and plenteous food
Pay with their grateful voice.
Hail, the poor muses' richest manor seat !
Ye country houses and retreat,
Which all the happy gods so love,
That for you oft they quit their bright and great
Here nature does a house for me erect;
Nature the wisest architect,
Who those fond artists does despise
That can the fair and living trees neglect,
Yet the dead timber prize.
Here let me, careless and unthoughtful lying,
Hear the soft winds, above me flying,
With all their wanton boughs dispute,
And the more tuneful birds to both replying,
Nor be myself, too, mute.
A silver stream shall roll his waters near,
Gilt with the sun-beams here and there,
On whose enamell'd bank I'll walk,
And see how prettily they smile, and hear
How prettily they talk.
Ah wretched and too solitary he,
Who loves not his own company!
He'll feel the weight of't many a day,
Unless he call in sin or vanity
To help to bear't away.
Oh solitude, first state of human kind!
Which blest remain'd, till man did find
Ev'n his own helper's company.
As soon as two (alas!) together join'd,
The serpent made up three.
Tho' God himself, through countless ages, thee
His sole companion chose to be,
Thee, sacred solitude, alone,
Before the branchy head of number's tree
Sprang from the trunk of one.