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CLIFTON GROVE.

A Sketch in Verse.

Lo! in the west, fast fades the lingering light,
And day's last vestige take its silent Aight.
No more, is heard the woodman's measur'd stroke
Wbich, with the dawn, from yonder dingle broke;
No more, hoarse clamouring o'er the uplifted head,
The crows assembling, seek their wind-rock'd bed;
Stilld is the village hum--the woodland sounds
Have ceas'd to echo o'er the dewy grounds,
And general silence reigns, save when below,
The murmuring Trent is scarcely heard to flow;
And save when, swung by 'nighted rustic late,
Oft, on its hinge, rebounds the jarring gate:
Or, when the sheep-bell, in the distant vale,
Breathes its wild music on the downy gale.

Now, when the rustic wears the social smile,
Releas'd from day and its attendant toil,
And draws his household round their evening fire,
And tells the oft-told tales that never tire :
Or, where the town's blue turrets dimly rise,
And manufacture taints the ambient skies,
The pale mechanic leaves the labouring loom,
The air-pent hold, the pestilential room,
And rushes out, impatient to begin
The stated course of customary sin :

Now, now, my solitary way I bend
Where solemn groves in awful state impend,
And cliffs, that boldly rise above the plain,
Bespeak, blest Clifton! thy sublime domain.
Here, lonely wandering o'er the sylvan bower,
I come, to pass the meditative hour;
To bid awhile, the strife of passion cease,
And woo the calms of solitude, and peace.
And oh! thou sacred power, who rear'st on high
Thy leafy throne where waving poplars sigh!
Genius of woodland shades! whose mild controul
Steals with resistless witchery to the soul,
Come with thy wonted ardour, and inspire
My glowing bosom with thy ballowed fire.
And thou too, fancy! from thy starry sphere,
Where to the hymning orbs thou lend'st thine ear,
Do thou descend, and bless my ravish'd sight,
Veild in soft visions of serene delight.
At thy command the gale that passes by
Bears in its whispers mystic harmony.
Thou wav’st thy wand, and lo! what forms appear!
On the dark cloud what giant shapes career!
The ghosts of Ossian skim the misty vale,
And hosts of Sylphids on the moon-beam sail.

This gloomy alcove, darkling to the sight,
Where meeting trees create eternal night;
Save, when from yonder stream, the sunny ray,
Reflected gives a dubious gleam of day;

Recalls endearing to my alter'd mind,
Times, when beneath the boxen hedge recliu'd
I watch'd the lapwing to her clamourous brood;
Or lur'd the robin to its scatter'd food;
Or woke with song the woodland echo wild,
And at each gay response delighted, smil'd.
How oft, when childhood threw its golden ray
Of gay romance, o'er every happy day,
Here, would I run, a visionary boy,
When the hoarse tempest shook the vaulted sky,
And fancy-led, beheld the Almighty's form
Sternly careering on the eddying storm;
And heard, while awe congeald my inmost soul,
His voice terrific, in the thunders roll.
With secret joy, I view'd with vivid glare,
The volley'd lightnings cleave the sullen air;
And, as the warring winds around revil'd,
With awful pleasure big, -I beard and smil'd.
Belov'd remembrance !-Memory which endears
This silent spot to my advancing years.
Here, dwells eternal peace, eternal rest,
In shades like these to live, is to be blest.
While happiness evades the busy croud,
In rural coverts loves the maid to shroud.
And thou, too, Inspiration, whose wild flame
Shoots with electric swiftness through the frame,
Thou here, dost love to sit, with up-turn'd eye,
And listen to the stream that murmurs by,
The woods that wave, the grey-owls silken flight,
The mellow music of the listening night.

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Congenial calms! more welcome to my breast
Than maddening joy in dazzling lustre drest,
To Heaven my prayers, my daily prayers I raise,
That ye may bless my unambitious days,
Withdrawn, remote, from all the haunts of strife
May trace with me the lowly vale of life,
And when her banner death shall o'er me wave
May keep your peaceful vigils on my grave.
Now, as I rove, where wide the prospect grows,
A livelier light upon my vision flows.
No more above, the embracing branches meet;
No more the river gurgles at my feet,
But seen deep, down the cliffs impending side
Through hanging woods, now gleams its silver tide.
Dim is my up-land path,-across the Green
Fantastic shadows fling, yet oft between
The chequer'd glooms, the moon her chaste ray sheds,
Where knots of blue-bells droop their graceful heads,
And beds of violets blooming 'mid the trees,
Load with waste fragrance the nocturnal breeze.

Say, why does man, while to his opening sight, .
Each shrub presents a source of chaste delight,
And nature bids for bim her treasures flow,
And gives to him alone, bis bliss to know,
Why does he pant for vice's deadly charms ?
Why clasp the syren pleasure to his arms?
And suck deep draughts of her voluptuous breatlı,
Though fraught with ruin, infamy, and death?

Could he who thus to vile enjoyments clings,
Know what calm joy from purer sources springs,
Could he but feel how sweet, how free from strife,
The harmless pleasures of a harmless life,
No more his soul would pant for joys impure,
The deadly chalice would no more allure,
But the sweet potion he was wont to sip,
Would turn to poison on his conscious lip.

Fair Nature ! thee, in all thy varied charms,
Fain would I clasp for ever in my arms :
Thine, are the sweets which never, never sate,
Thine, still remain, through all the storms of fate.
Though not for me, 'twas Heaven's divine command
To roll in acres of paternal land,
Yet still, my lot is blest, while I enjoy
Thine opening beauties with a lover's eye.

Happy is he, who, though the cup of bliss
Has ever shunn'd him when he thought to kiss,
Who, still in abject poverty, or pain,
Can count with pleasure what small joys remain :
Though were his sight convey'd from zone to zone,
He would not find one spot of ground his own,
Yet, as he looks around, he cries with glee,
These bounding prospects all were made for me ;
For me, yon waving fields their burthen bear,
For me, yon labourer guides the shining share,
Wbile happy I, in idle ease recline,
And mark the glorious visions as they shine.

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