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An invitation–The approach to a Villa described—Its situation
-Its few apartments—Furnished with casts from the An-
tique, &c.—The dining-room-The library-A cold-bath-
A winter-walk-A summer-walk-The invitation renewed-
When, with a Reaumur's skill, thy curious mind
Has classed the insect-tribes of human-kind,
Each with its busy hum, or gilded wing,
Its subtle web-work, or its venomed sting;
Let me, to claim a few unvalued hours,
Point out the green lane rough with fern and flowers;
The sheltered gate that opens to my field,
And the white front thro' mingling elms revealed.
In vain, alas, a village-friend invites
To simple comforts, and domestic rites,
When the gay months of Carnival resume
Their annual round of glitter and perfume;
When London hails thee to its splendid mart,
Its hives of sweets, and cabinets of art;
And, lo, majestic as thy manly song,
Flows the full tide of human life along.
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 path-way, 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,
Tho' moons and flambeaux trail their broadest blaze;
As soon the sky-lark pours his matin-song,
Tho' Evening lingers at the mask so long.
There let her strike with momentary ray,
As tapers shine their little lives away;
There let her practise from herself to steal,
And look the happiness she does not feel;
The ready smile and bidden blush employ
At Faro-routs that dazzle to destroy;
Fan with affected ease the essenced air,
And lisp of fashions with unmeaning stare.
Be thine to meditate an humbler flight,
When morning fills the fields with rosy light;
Be thine to blend, nor thine a vulgar aim,
Repose with dignity, with Quiet fame.
Here no state-chambers in long line unfold,
Bright with broad mirrors, rough with fretted gold;
Yet modest ornament, with use combined,
Attracts the eye to exercise the mind.
Small change of scene, small space his home requires,
Who leads a life of satisfied desires.
What tho' no marble breathes, no canvas glows,
From every point a ray of genius flows !
Be mine to bless the more mechanic skill,
That stamps, renews, and multiplies at will;
And cheaply circulates, thro' distant climes,
The fairest relics of the purest times.
Here from the mould to conscious being start
Those finer forms, the miracles of art;
Here chosen gems, imprest on sulphur, shine,
That slept for ages in a second mine;
And here the faithful graver dares to trace
A MICHAEL's grandeur, and a RAPHAEL's grace!
Thy gallery, Florence, gilds my humble walls;
And my low roof the Vatican recalls !
Soon as the morning-dream my pillow flies,
To waking sense what brighter visions rise !
O mark! again the coursers of the Sun,
At Guido's call, their round of glory run!
Again the rosy Hours resume their flight,
Obscured and lost in floods of golden light!
But could thine erring friend so long forget
(Sweet source of pensive joy and fond regret)
That here its warmest hues the pencil flings,
Lo! here the lost restores, the absent brings;
And still the Few best loved and most revered
Rise round the board their social smile endeared ?
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; †
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' my 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.
There Venus, rising, shrinks with sweet surprise,
As her fair self reflected seems to rise !
Far from the joyless glare, the maddening strife,
And all the dull impertinence of life,
apis Matinæ More modoque
Grata carpentis thyma .-Hor. + Postea verò quàm Tyrannio mihi libros disposuit, mens addita videtur meis ædibus.--Cic.