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Could those few pleasant days again appear,
Might one wish bring them, would I wish them here?
So little to be loved, and thou so much,
That I should ill requite thee to constrain
Thou, as a gallant bark from Albion's coast,° (The storms all weathered and the ocean crossed,) Shoots into port at some well-havened isle, Where spices breathe, and brighter seasons smile, There sits quiescent on the floods that show Her beauteous form reflected clear below, While airs impregnated with incense play Around her fanning light her streamers gay; So thou, with sails how swift! hast reached the shore, "Where tempests never beat nor billows roar, And thy loved consort on the dangerous tide Of life long since has anchored by thy side. But me, scarce hoping to attain that rest, Always from port withheld, always distressed— Me howling blasts drive devious, tempest-tossed, Sails ripped, seams opening wide, and compass lost, And day by day some current's thwarting force Sets me more distant from a prosperous course. 105 Yet O, the thought, that thou art safe, and he! That thought is joy, arrive what may to me.
My boast is not, that I deduce my birth°
And while the wings of Fancy still are free,
THE NEEDLESS ALARM
THERE is a field, through which I often pass
Which rural gentlemen call sport divine.
Oaks intersperse it, that had once a head,
Not yet the hawthorn bore her berries red, With which the fieldfare, wintry guest, is fed; Nor Autumn yet had brushed from every spray, With her chill hand the mellow leaves away; But corn was housed, and beans were in the stack;
Now therefore issued forth the spotted pack,
With tails high mounted, ears hung low, and throats,
Though ears she gave me two, gave me no ear.
The sun, accomplishing his early march,
His lamp now planted on Heaven's topmost arch, 30 When, exercise and air my only aim,
And heedless whither, to that field I came,
Ere yet with ruthless joy the happy hound
Told hill and dale that Reynard's track was found,
Sheep grazed the field; some with soft bosom pressed
The herb as soft, while nibbling strayed the rest;
But when the huntsman with distended cheek, 'Gan make his instrument of music speak, And from within the wood that crash was heard, 45 Though not a hound from whom it burst appeared, The sheep recumbent, and the sheep that grazed, All huddling into phalanx, stood and gazed, Admiring, terrified, the novel strain,
Then coursed the field around, and coursed it round again;
But, recollecting with a sudden thought,
That flight in circles urged advanced them nought,
The man to solitude accustomed long Perceives in everything that lives a tongue, Not animals alone, but shrubs and trees, Have speech for him, and understood with ease; After long drought when rains abundant fall, He hears the herbs and flowers rejoicing all; Knows what the freshness of their hue implies,
How glad they catch the largess of the skies;
Birds of all feather, beasts of ev'ry name,
That serve mankind, or shun them, wild or tame-
He spells them true by intuition's light,
This truth premised was needful as a text, To win due credence to what follows next.
Awhile they mused; surveying every face, Thou hadst supposed them of superior race; Their periwigs of wool, and fears combined Stamped on each countenance such marks of mind, That sage they seemed as lawyers o'er a doubt. Which, puzzling long, at last they puzzle out; Or academic tutors, teaching youths, Sure ne'er to want them, mathematic truths; When thus a mutton, statelier than the rest, A ram, the ewes and wethers sad, addressed.
"Friends! we have lived too long. I never heard Sounds such as these, so worthy to be feared. Could I believe, that winds for ages pent
In Earth's dark womb have found at last a vent, And from their prison-house below arise,