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EPISTLE TO A FRIEND.
When, with a REAUMUR's skill, thy curious mind
opens to my field,
In vain, alas, a village-friend invites
Still must my partial pencil love to dwell On the home-prospects of my
hermit-cell ; The mossy pales that skirt the orchard-green, Here hid by shrub-wood, there by glimpses seen; And the brown pathway, that, with careless flow, Sinks, and is lost among the trees below. Still must it trace (the flattering tints forgive) Each fleeting charm that bids the landscape live. Oft o'er the mead, at pleasing distance, pass Browsing the hedge by fits the panniered ass ; The idling shepherd-boy, with rude delight, Whistling his dog to mark the pebble's flight; And in her kerchief blue the cottage-maid, With brimming pitcher from the shadowy glade. Far to the south a mountain-vale retires, Rich in its groves, and glens, and village-spires ; Its upland-lawns, and cliffs with foliage hung, Its wizard-stream, nor nameless nor unsung: And through the various year, the various day, What scenes of glory burst, and melt away!
When April-verdure springs in Grosvenor-square, And the furred Beauty comes to winter there, She bids old Nature mar the plan no more ; Yet still the seasons circle as before.
Ah, still as soon the young Aurora plays,
There let her strike with momentary ray,
Here no state-chambers in long line unfold,
What tho' no marble breathes, no canvas glows, From every point a ray of genius flows !
Be mine to bless the niore mechanic skill,
in a second mine;
Soon as the morning-dream my pillow flies,
But could thine erring friend so long forget
Selected shelves shall claim thy studious hours ; There shall thy ranging mind be fed on flowers !* There, while the shaded lamp's mild lustre streams, Read ancient books, or dream inspiring dreams; And, when a sage's bust arrests thee there, Pause, and his features with his thoughts compare. -Ah, most that Art my grateful rapture calls, Which breathes a soul into the silent walls ;t Which gathers round the Wise of every Tongue, All on whose words departed nations hung; Still prompt to charm with many a converse sweet; Guides in the world, companions in retreat ! Tho'
thatched bath no rich Mosaic knows, A limpid spring with unfelt current flows. Emblem of Life! which, still as we survey, Seems motionless, yet ever glides away! The shadowy walls record, with Attic art, The strength and beauty which its waves impart. Here Thetis, bending, with a mother's fears Dips her dear boy, whose pride restrains his tears.
apis Matina More modoque
Grata carpentis thyma :-Hor. † Postea verò quam Tyrannio mihi libros disposuit, mens addita videtur meis ædibus.-Cic.