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THE WINTER WALK AT NOON.
THERE is in fouls a fympathy with founds,
And as the mind is pitch'd the ear is pleas'd
With melting airs or martial, brisk or grave.
Some chord in unifon with what we hear
Is touch'd within us, and the heart replies.
How foft the mufic of those village bells
Falling at intervals upon the ear
In cadence fweet! now dying all away,
Now pealing loud again and louder ftill,
Clear and fonorous, as the gale comes on..
With eafy force it opens all the cells
Where mem'ry flept. Wherever I have heard
A kindred melody, the fcene recurs,
And with it all its pleasures and its pains.
Such comprehenfive views the spirit takes,
That in a few short moments I retrace
(As in a map the voyager his courfe)
The windings of my way through many years.
Short as in retrofpect the journey feems,
It feem'd not always fhort: the rugged path,
And profpect oft fo dreary and forlorn,
Moy'd many a figh at its difheart'ning length.
Yet feeling prefent evils, while the past
Faintly impress the mind, or not at all.
How readily we wifh time spent revok'd,
That we might try the ground again, where once
(Through inexperience as we now perceive)
We mifs'd that happiness we might have found!
Some friend is gone, perhaps his fon's best friend,
A father, whofe authority, in fhow
When most severe, and muft'ring all its force,
Was but the graver countenance of love ;
Whofe favour, like the clouds of spring, might
And utter now and then an awful voice,
But had a bleffing in its darkest frown,
Threat'ning at once and nourishing the plant.
We lov'd, but not enough, the gentle hand
That rear'd us. At a thoughtless age, allur'd
By ev'ry gilded folly, we renounc'd
His fhelt'ring fide, and wilfully forewent
That converse which we now in vain regret.
How gladly would the man recall to life
The boy's neglected fire! a mother too,
That softer friend, perhaps more gladly still,
Might he demand them at the gates of death.
Sorrow has, fince they went, fubdu'd and tam'd
The playful humour; he could now endure,
(Himself grown fober in the vale of tears)
And feel a parent's prefence no restraint.
But not to understand a treasure's worth
"Till time has ftol'n away the flighted good,,
Is cause of half the poverty we feel,
And makes the world the wilderness it is...
The few that pray at all pray oft amifs,
And, feeking grace t'improve the prize they hold,
Would urge a wifer fuit than afking more.
The night was winter in his rougheft mood,
The morning fharp and clear... But now at noon
Upon the southern fide of the flant hills,
And where the woods fence off the northern blast,
The feafon fmiles, refigning all its rage,
And has the warmth of May. The vault is blue
Without a cloud, and white without a speck
The dazzling splendour of the scene below.
Again the harmony comes o'er the vale,
And through the trees I view th' embattled tow'r
Whence all the mufic. I again perceive
The foothing influence of the wafted ftrains,
And fettle in foft mufings as I tread
The walk ftill verdant, under oaks and elms,
Whofe outspread branches over-arch the glade.
The roof, though moveable through all its length
As the wind fways it, has yet well fuffic'd,
And intercepting in their filent fall
The frequent flakes, has kept a path for me.
No noife is here, or none that hinders thought.
The red-breaft warbles ftill, but is content
With flender notes and more than half suppress'd
Pleas'd with his folitude, and flitting light
From fpray to fpray, where'er he refts he fhakes
From many a twig the pendent drops of ice,
That tinkle in the wither'd leaves below.
Stillness, accompanied with founds so foft,
Charms more than filence. Meditation here
May think down hours to moments. Here the
May give an useful leffon to the head,
And learning, wifer grow without his books.
Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one,
Have oft-times no connexion. Knowledge dwells
In heads replete with thoughts of other men,
Wifdom in minds attentive to their own.
Knowledge, a rude unprofitable mafs,
The mere materials with which wisdom builds, 'Till fmooth'd and fquar'd and fitted to its place,
Does but incumber whom it feems t' enrich.
Knowledge is proud that he has learn'd so much,
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
Books are not seldom talismans and spells,
By which the magic art of fhrewder wits
Holds an unthinking multitude enthrall'd.
Some, to the fascination of a name
Surrender judgment, hood-wink'd. Some, the
Infatuates, and through labyrinths and wilds
Of error leads them, by a tune entranc'd.
While floth feduces more, too weak to bear
The insupportable fatigue of thought,
And swallowing, therefore, without pause or choice,
The total grift unfifted, hufks and all.
But trees, and rivulets whofe rapid courfe
Defies the check of winter, haunts of deer,
And sheep-walks populous with bleating lambs,
And lanes, in which the primrose ere her time
Peeps through the mofs that clothes the hawthorn
Deceive no ftudent. Wisdom there, and truth,
Not shy, as in the world, and to be won
By flow folicitation, feize at once
The roving thought, and fix it on themselves.
What prodigies can pow'r divine perform
More grand than it produces year by year,