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Poets, ancient and modern.
Demand; but who can count the stars of heaven;
The British Muse; joined hand in hand they walk, 533
Darkling, full up the middle steep to fame. ,
See on the hallowed hour that none intrude, 545 Save a few chosen friends, who sometimes deign ** To bless my humble roof, with sense refined, *1 Learning digested well, exalted faith, -
Unstudied wit, and humour ever gay. -
Yet is his life the more endearing song. " .
Each active worth, each manly virtue lay,
Why wert thou ravished from our hope so soon : *
What now avails that noble thirst of fame,
* Which stung thy fervent breast : that treasured store
Of knowledge, early gained 2 that eager zeal
* With them would search, if Nature's boundless frame
Was called, late-rising from the void of night,
i Should next conduct us through the deeps of time.
Shew us how empire grew, declined, and fell,
In scattered states ; what makes the nations smile,
And why they pine beneath the brightest skies, In Nature's richest lap. As thus we talked, Our hearts would burn within us, would inhale. That portion of divinity, that ray 595 Of purest heaven, which lights the public soul Of patriots, and of heroes. But if doomed, In powerless humble fortune, to repress These ardent risings of the kindling soul ; * Then, even superior to ambition, we - 600 Would learn the private virtues; how to glide Through shades and plains, along the smoothest stream Of rural life; or, snatched away by hope, Through the dim spaces of futurity, With earnest eye anticipate those scenes , 695 Of happiness and wonder; where the mind, In endless growth and infinite ascent, Rises from state to state, and world to world. But when with these the serious thought is foiled, We, shifting for relief, would play the shapes 6] Q Of frolic fancy ; and incessant form Those rapid pictures, that assembled train of fleet ideas, never joined before, Whence lively Wit excites to gay surprise ; Or folly-painting Humour, grave himself, 615 Calls Laughter forth, deep-shaking every nerve, Meantime the village rouses up the fire ; While well attested, and is well believed, Heard solemn, goes the goblin-story round ; Till superstitious horror creeps o'er all. 620 Or, frequent in the sounding hall, they wake The rural gambol. Rustic mirth goes round ; +The simple joke that takes the shepherd's heart, Easily pleased ; the long loud laugh, sincere ;
Amusements of Evening.
The kiss, snatched hasty from the side-long maid 625
* A character in the Conscious Lovers, written by Sir Richard Steele.
O Thou, whose wisdom, solid, yet refined, Whose patriot virtues, and consummate skill To touch the finer springs that move the world, Joined to whate'er the Graces can bestow, And all Apollo's animating fire, 660 Give thee, with pleasing dignity, to shine *At once the guardian, ornament, and joy, Of polished life ; permit the Rural Muse, O CHESTERFIELD, to grace with thee her song | Ere to the shades again she humbly flies, 665 Indulge her fond ambition in thy train, (For every Muse has in thy train a place) To mark thy various full-accomplished mind ; To mark that spirit, which, with British scorn, Rejects the allurements of corrupted power ; . 670 That elegant politeness, which excels, Even in the judgment of presumtuous France, The boasted manners of her shining court ; That wit, the vivid energy of sense, The truth of Nature, which, with Attic point, 675 And kind well-tempered satire, smoothly keen, Steals through the soul, and without pain corrects. Or, rising thence with yet a brighter flame, O let me hail thee on some glorious day, When to the listening senate, ardent, croud 680 BRITANNIA's sons to hear her pleaded cause. Then dressed by thee more amiably fair, Truth the soft robe of mild persuasion wears: Thou to assenting reason givest again Her own enlightened thoughts ; called from the heart, The obedient passions on thy voice attend ; 685 And even reluctant party feels awhile