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ornaments of his house he is silent; and he appears to have reserved all the minuter touches of his pencil for the library, the chapel, and the banqueting-room of Timon. “Le savoir de notre siècle," says Rousseau,“ tend beaucoup plus à détruire qu'à édifier. On censure d'un ton de maître; pour proposer, il en faut prendre un autre."
It is the design of this Epistle to illustrate the virtue of True Taste; and to show how little she requires to secure, not only the comforts, but even the elegancies of life. True Taste is an excellent Economist. She confines her choice to few objects, and delights in producing great effects by small means: while False Taste is for ever sighing after the new and the rare; and reminds us, in her works, of the Scholar of Apelles, who, not being able to paint his Helen beautiful, determined to make her fine.
An Invitation The Approach to a Villa described-Its SituationIts few Apartments--Furnished with Casts from the Antique, &c. -The Dining Room-The Library-A Cold-bath-A Winter-walk -A Summer-walk-The Invitation renewed - Conclusion.
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 ;
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 Masque 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;