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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 was—what 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,
News from all nations lumbering at his back.
Snore to the murmurs of the Atlantic wave? his Is India free? and does she wear her plumed
And jewelled turban with a smile of peace,
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
Sweats in the crowded theatre, and, squeezed
Which not e'en critics criticize; that holds Inquisitive attention, while I read, Fast bound in chains of silence, which the fair, Though eloquent themselves, yet fear to break; What is it but a map of busy life, Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns ? Here runs the mountainous and craggy ridge That tempts Ambition. On the summit see The seals of office glitter in his eyes ; He climbs, he pants, he grasps
them! At his heels, Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends, And with a dexterous jerk soon twists him down, And wins them, but to lose them in his turn. Here rills of oily eloquence in soft Meanders lubricate the course they take; The modest speaker is ashamed and grieved To engross a moment's notice; and yet begs, Begs a propitious ear for his poor thoughts, However trivial all that he conceives. Sweet bashfulness! it claims at least this praise The dearth of information and good sense, That it foretells us, always comes to pass. Cataracts of declamation thunder here; There forests of no meaning spread the page, In which all comprehension wanders lost; While fields of pleasantry amuse us there With merry
descants on a nation's woes. The rest appears a wilderness of strange But gay confusion ; roses for the cheeks, And lilies for the brows of faded age,