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That lean hard-handed poverty inflicts,
The hope of better things, the chance to win,
The wish to thine, the thirst to be amused,
That at the found of winter's hoary wing
Unpeople all our counties of such herds
Of fluttering, loitering, cringing, begging, loose
And wanton vagrants, as make London, vaft
And boundless as it is, a crowded coop.

Oh thou, refort and mart of all the earth, Chequered with all complexions of mankind, And spotted with all crimes; in whom I see Much that I love, and more that I admire, And all that I abhor; thou freckled fair, That pleaseft and yet sockest me, I can laugh And I can weep, can hope, and can despond, Feel wrath and pity, when I think on thee ! Ten righteous would have saved a city once, And thou haft many righteous.-Well for thee That salt preserves thee; more corrupted else, And tlierefore more obnoxious, at this hour Than Sodom in her day had power to be, For whom God heard his Abraham plead in vain.

THE TASK.

BOOK IV.

ARGUMENT OF THE FOURTH BOOK.

The post comes in.-The newspaper is read.--The

world contemplated at a distance. --Address to Winter. The rural amusements of a winter evening compared with the fashionable ones.--Address to evening.--A brown study:-Fall of snow in the evening. The waggoner.--A poor family-piece.-The rural thief - Public houses.The multitude of them censured -The farmer's daughter : what she waswhat she is.The simplicity of country manners almost lost.-Causes of the change.- Desertion of the country by the rich.-Neglect of magistrates. The militia principally in fault.-The new recruit and his transformation.--Reflection on bodies corporate.---The love of rural objects natural to all, and never to be totally extinguished.

THE TASK.

BOOK IV.

THE WINTER EVENING.

Hark! 'tis the twanging horn o'er yonder bridge,
That with its wearisome but needful length
Beftrides the wintry flood, in which the moon
Sees her unwrinkled face reflected bright;
He comes, the herald of a noisy world,
With spattered boots, ftrapped waist, and frozen locks;
News fronı all nations lumbering at his back.
True to his charge, the close-packed load behind,
Yet careless what he brings, his one concern
Is to conduct it to the destined inn;
And, having dropped the 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 some;
To him indifferent whether grief or joy.
Houses in alhes, and the fall of ftocks,
Births, deaths, and marriages, epiftles wet
With tears, that trickled down the writer's cheeks
Fast as the periods from his fluent quill,
Or charged with amorous fighs of abfent swains,
Or nymphs responsive, equally affect
His horse and him, unconscious of them all.
But on the important budget! ushered in
With such heart-shaking music, who can say
What are its tidings ? have our troops awaked ?
Or do they still, as if with opium drugged,
Snore to the murmurs of the Atlantic wave ?
Is India free? and does she wear her plumed
And jewelled 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 imprisoned wranglers free,
And give them voice and utterance once again:

Now ftir the fire, and close the shutters fast, Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round, And while the bubbling and loud hissing urn

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