The Farmer's Boy
Part 2 out of 2
Thine was the note that rous'd the list'ning wood,
Rekindling every joy with tenfold force,
Through all the mazes of the tainted course.
Still foremost thou the dashing stream to cross,
And tempt along the animated horse;
Foremost o'er fen or level mead to pass,
And sweep the show'ring dew-drops from the grass;
Then bright emerging from the mist below
To climb the woodland hill's exulting brow.
Pride of thy race! with worth far less than thine,
Full many human leaders daily shine!
Less faith, less constancy, less gen'rous zeal!...
Then no disgrace mine humble verse shall feel;
Where not one lying line to riches bows,
Or poison'd sentiment from rancour flows;
Nor flowers are strewn around Ambition's car:...
An honest dog's a nobler theme by far.
Each sportsman heard the tidings with a sigh,
When Death's cold touch had stopt his tuneful cry;
And though high deeds, and fair exalted praise,
In memory liv'd, and flow'd in rustic lays,
Short was the strain of monumental woe:
"_Foxes, rejoice! here buried lies your foe.[A]_"
[Footnote A: Inscribed on a stone in Euston Park wall.]
In safety hous'd, throughout NIGHT'S _length'ning_ reign,
The Cock sends forth a loud and piercing strain;
More frequent, as the glooms of midnight flee,
And hours roll round, that brought him liberty,
When Summer's early dawn, mild, clear, and bright,
Chas'd quick away the transitory night:...
Hours now in darkness veil'd; yet loud the scream
Of Geese impatient for the playful stream;
And all the feather'd tribe imprison'd raise
Their morning notes of inharmonious praise;
And many a clamorous Hen and cockrel gay,
When daylight slowly through the fog breaks way,
Fly wantonly abroad: but ah, how soon
The shades of twilight follow hazy noon,
Short'ning the busy day!... day that slides by
Amidst th' unfinish'd toils of HUSBANDRY;
Toils still each morn resum'd with double care,
To meet the icy terrors of the year;
To meet the threats of _Boreas_ undismay'd,
And _Winter's_ gathering frowns and hoary head.
THEN welcome, COLD; welcome, ye _snowy_ nights!
Heaven midst your rage shall mingle pure delights,
And confidence of hope the soul sustain,
While devastation sweeps along the plain:
Nor shall the child of poverty despair,
But bless THE POWER that rules the _changing year_;
Assur'd,... tho' horrors round his cottage reign,...
That _Spring_ will come, and Nature smile again.
_Tenderness to cattle. Frozen turnips. The cow-yard. Night.
The farm-house. Fire-side. Farmer's advice and instruction. Nightly cares
of the stable. Dobbin. The post-horse. Sheep-stealing dogs. Walks
occasioned thereby. The ghost. Lamb time. Returning Spring. Conclusion._
With kindred pleasures mov'd, and cares opprest,
Sharing alike our weariness and rest;
Who lives the daily partner of our hours,
Thro' every change of heat, and frost, and show'rs;
Partakes our cheerful meals, partaking first
In mutual labour and in mutual thirst;
The kindly intercourse will ever prove
A bond of amity and social love.
To more than man this generous warmth extends,
And oft the team and shiv'ring herd befriends;
Tender solicitude the bosom fills,
And Pity executes what Reason wills:
Youth learns compassion's tale from every tongue,
And flies to aid the helpless and the young;
When now, unsparing as the scourge of war,
Blasts follow blasts, and groves dismantled roar,
Around their home the storm-pinch'd CATTLE lows,
No nourishment in frozen pastures grows;
Yet frozen pastures every morn resound
With fair abundance thund'ring to the ground.
For though on hoary twigs no buds peep out,
And e'en the hardy bramble cease to sprout,
Beneath dread WINTER'S level sheets of snow
The sweet nutritious _Turnip_ deigns to grow.
Till now imperious want and wide-spread dearth
Bid Labour claim her treasures from the earth.
On GILES, and such as Giles, the labour falls,
To strew the frequent load where hunger calls.
On driving gales sharp hail indignant flies,
And sleet, more irksome still, assails his eyes;
Snow clogs his feet; or if no snow is seen,
The field with all its juicy store to screen,
Deep goes the frost, till every root is found
A rolling mass of ice upon the ground.
No tender ewe can break her nightly fast,
Nor heifer strong begin the cold repast,
Till _Giles_ with pond'rous beetle foremost go,
And scatt'ring splinters fly at every blow;
When pressing round him, eager for the prize,
From their mixt breath warm exhalations rise.
If now in beaded rows drops deck the spray,
While _Phoebus_ grants a momentary ray,
Let but a cloud's broad shadow intervene,
And stiffen'd into gems the drops are seen;
And down the furrow'd oak's broad southern side
Streams of dissolving rime no longer glide.
THOUGH NIGHT approaching bids for rest prepare,
Still the flail echoes through the frosty air,
Nor stops till deepest shades of darkness come,
Sending at length the weary laborer home.
From him, with bed and nightly food supplied,
Throughout the yard, hous'd round on every side,
Deep-plunging Cows their rustling feast enjoy,
And snatch sweet mouthfuls from the passing boy,
Who moves unseen beneath his trailing load,
Fills the tall racks, and leaves a scatter'd road;
Where oft the swine from ambush warm and dry
Bolt out, and scamper headlong to their sty,
When _Giles_ with well-known voice, already there,
Deigns them a portion of his evening care.
_Him_, though the cold may pierce, and storms molest,
Succeeding hours shall cheer with warmth and rest:
Gladness to spread, and raise the grateful smile,
He hurls the faggot bursting from the pile,
And many a log and rifted trunk conveys,
To heap the fire, and to extend the blaze
That quiv'ring strong through every opening flies,
Whilst smoaky columns unobstructed rise.
For the rude architect, unknown to fame,
(Nor symmetry nor elegance his aim)
Who spread his floors of solid oak on high,
On beams rough-hewn, from age to age that lie,
Bade his _wide Fabric_ unimpair'd sustain
_Pomona's_ store, and cheese, and golden grain;
Bade from its central base, capacious laid,
The well-wrought chimney rear its lofty head;
Where since hath many a savoury ham been stor'd,
And tempests howl'd, and Christmas gambols roar'd.
FLAT on the _hearth_ the glowing embers lie,
And flames reflected dance in every eye:
There the long billet, forc'd at last to bend,
While frothing sap gushes at either end,
Throws round its welcome heat:... the ploughman smiles,
And oft the joke runs hard on sheepish _Giles_,
Who sits joint tenant of the corner-stool,
The converse sharing, though in duty's school;
For now attentively 'tis his to hear
Interrogations from the Master's chair.
'LEFT ye your bleating charge, when daylight fled,
'Near where the hay-stack lifts its snowy head?
'Whose fence of bushy furze, so close and warm,
'May stop the slanting bullets of the storm.
'For, hark! it blows; a dark and dismal night:
'Heaven guide the traveller's fearful steps aright!
'Now from the woods, mistrustful and sharp-ey'd,
'The _Fox_ in silent darkness seems to glide,
'Stealing around us, list'ning as he goes,
'If chance the Cock or stamm'ring cockerel crows,
'Or Goose, or nodding Duck, should darkling cry,
'As if appriz'd of lurking danger nigh:
'Destruction waits them, _Giles_, if e'er you fail
'To bolt their doors against the driving gale.
'Strew'd you (still mindful of the unshelter'd head)
'Burdens of straw, the cattle's welcome bed?
'Thine heart should feel, what thou may'st hourly see,
'_That duty's basis is humanity._
'Of pain's unsavoury cup tho' thou may'st taste,
'(The wrath of Winter from the bleak north-east,)
'Thine utmost suff'rings in the coldest day
'A period terminates, and joys repay.
'Perhaps e'en now, while here those joys we boast,
'Full many a bark rides down the neighb'ring coast,
'Where the high northern waves tremendous roar,
'Drove down by blasts from _Norway's_ icy shore.
'The _Sea-boy_ there, less fortunate than thou,
'Feels all thy pains in all the gusts that blow;
'His freezing hands now drench'd, now dry, by turns;
'Now lost, now seen, the distant light that burns,
'On some tall cliff uprais'd, a flaming guide,
'That throws its friendly radiance o'er the tide.
'His labours cease not with declining day,
'But toils and perils mark his watry way;
'And whilst in peaceful dreams secure _we_ lie,
'The ruthless whirlwinds rage along the sky,
'Round his head whistling;... and shall thou repine,
'While this protecting roof still shelters thine?'
Mild, as the vernal show'r, his words prevail,
And aid the moral precept of his tale:
His wond'ring hearers learn, and ever keep
These first ideas of the restless deep;
And, as the opening mind a circuit tries,
Present felicities in value rise.
Increasing pleasures every hour they find,
The warmth more precious, and the shelter kind;
Warmth that long reigning bids the eyelids close,
As through the blood its balmy influence goes,
When the cheer'd heart forgets fatigues and cares,
And drowsiness alone dominion bears.
Sweet then the ploughman's slumbers, hale and young,
When the last topic dies upon his tongue;
Sweet then the bliss his transient dreams inspire,
Till chilblains wake him, or the snapping fire:
He starts, and ever thoughtful of his team,
Along the glitt'ring snow a feeble gleam
Shoots from his lantern, as he yawning goes
To add fresh comforts to their night's repose;
Diffusing fragrance as their food he moves
And pats the jolly sides of those he loves.
Thus full replenish'd, perfect ease possest,
From night till morn alternate food and rest,
No rightful cheer withheld, no sleep debar'd,
Their each day's labour brings its sure reward.
Yet when from plough or lumb'ring cart set free,
They taste awhile the sweets of liberty:
E'en sober _Dobbin_ lifts his clumsy heels
And kicks, disdainful of the dirty wheels;
But soon, his frolic ended, yields again
To trudge the road, and wear the clinking chain.
Short-sighted DOBBIN!... thou canst only see
The trivial hardships that _encompass_ thee:
Thy chains were freedom, and thy toils repose,
Could the poor _post-horse_ tell thee all his woes;
Shew thee his bleeding shoulders, and unfold
The dreadful anguish he endures for gold:
Hir'd at each call of business, lust, or rage,
That prompt the trav'eller on from stage to stage.
Still on _his_ strength depends their boasted speed;
For them his limbs grow weak, his bare ribs bleed;
And though he groaning quickens at command,
Their extra shilling in the rider's hand
Becomes his bitter scourge:... 'tis _he_ must feel
The double efforts of the lash and steel;
Till when, up hill, the destin'd inn he gains,
And trembling under complicated pains,
Prone from his nostrils, darting on the ground,
His breath emitted floats in clouds around:
Drops chase each other down his chest and sides,
And spatter'd mud his native colour hides:
Thro' his swoln veins the boiling torrent flows,
And every nerve a separate torture knows.
His harness loos'd, he welcomes eager-eyed
The pail's full draught that quivers by his side;
And joys to see the well-known stable door,
As the starv'd mariner the friendly shore.
Ah, well for him if here his suff'rings ceas'd,
And ample hours of rest his pains appeas'd!
But rous'd again, and sternly bade to rise,
And shake refreshing slumber from his eyes,
Ere his exhausted spirits can return,
Or through his frame reviving ardour burn,
Come forth he must, tho' limping, maim'd, and sore;
He hears the whip; the chaise is at the door:...
The collar tightens, and again he feels
His half-heal'd wounds inflam'd; again the wheels
With tiresome sameness in his ears resound,
O'er blinding dust, or miles of flinty ground.
Thus nightly robb'd, and injur'd day by day,
His piece-meal murd'rers wear his life away.
What say'st thou, _Dobbin?_ what though hounds await
With open jaws the moment of thy fate,
No better fate attends _his_ public race;
His life is misery, and his end disgrace.
Then freely bear thy burden to the mill;
Obey but one short law,... thy driver's will.
Affection, to thy memory ever true,
Shall boast of mighty loads that _Dobbin_ drew;
And back to childhood shall the mind with pride
Recount thy gentleness in many a ride
To pond, or field, or village fair, when thou
Held'st high thy braided mane and comely brow;
And oft the Tale shall rise to homely fame
Upon thy gen'rous spirit and thy name.
Though faithful to a proverb, we regard
The midnight chieftain of the farmer's yard,
Beneath whose guardianship all hearts rejoice,
Woke by the echo of his hollow voice;
Yet as the Hound may fault'ring quit the pack,
Snuff the foul scent, and hasten yelping back;
And e'en the docile Pointer know disgrace,
Thwarting the gen'ral instinct of his race;
E'en so the MASTIFF, or the meaner Cur,
At times will from the path of duty err,
(A pattern of fidelity by day;
By night a _murderer_, lurking for his prey);
And round the pastures or the fold will creep,
And, coward-like, attack the peaceful _sheep_:
Alone the wanton mischief he pursues,
Alone in reeking blood his jaws imbrues;
Chasing amain his fright'ned victims round,
Till death in wild confusion strews the ground;
Then wearied out, to kennel sneaks away,
And licks his guilty paws till break of day.
The deed discover'd, and the news once spread,
Vengeance hangs o'er the unknown culprit's head:
And careful _Shepherds_ extra hours bestow
In patient _watchings_ for the common foe;
A foe most dreaded now, when rest and peace
Should wait the season of the flock's increase.
In part these nightly terrors to dispel,
GILES, ere he sleeps, his little Flock must tell.
From the fire-side with many a shrug he hies,
Glad if the full-orb'd Moon salute his eyes,
And through the unbroken stillness of the night
Shed on his path her beams of cheering light.
With saunt'ring step he climbs the distant stile,
Whilst all around him wears a placid smile;
There views the white-rob'd clouds in clusters driv'n,
And all the glorious pageantry of heav'n.
Low, on the utmost bound'ry of the sight,
The rising vapours catch the silver light;
Thence Fancy measures, as they parting fly,
Which first will throw its shadow on the eye,
Passing the source of light; and thence away,
Succeeded quick by brighter still than they.
For yet above these wafted clouds are seen
(In a remoter sky, still more serene,)
Others, detach'd in ranges through the air,
Spotless as snow, and countless as they're fair;
Scatter'd immensely wide from east to west,
The beauteous 'semblance of a _Flock_ at rest.
These, to the raptur'd mind, aloud proclaim
Their MIGHTY SHEPHERD'S everlasting Name.
Whilst thus the loit'rer's utmost stretch of soul
Climbs the still clouds, or passes those that roll,
And loos'd _Imagination_ soaring goes
High o'er his home, and all his little woes,
TIME glides away; neglected Duty calls:
At once from plains of light to earth he falls,
And down a narrow lane, well known by day,
With all his speed pursues his sounding way,
In thought still half absorb'd, and chill'd with cold;
When, lo! an object frightful to behold;
A grisly SPECTRE, cloth'd in silver-gray,
Around whose feet the waving shadows play,
Stands in his path!... He stops, and not a breath
Heaves from his heart, that sinks almost to death.
Loud the owl halloos o'er his head unseen;
All else is silent, dismally serene:
Some prompt ejaculation, whisper'd low,
Yet bears him up against the threat'ning foe;
And thus poor Giles, though half inclin'd to fly,
Mutters his doubts, and strains his stedfast eye.
''Tis not my crimes thou com'st here to reprove;
'No murders stain my soul, no perjur'd love:
'If thou'rt indeed what here thou seem'st to be,
'Thy dreadful mission cannot reach to me.
'By parents taught still to mistrust mine eyes,
'Still to approach each object of surprise
'Lest Fancy's formful visions should deceive
'In moon-light paths, or glooms of falling eve,
'This then's the moment when my heart should try
'To scan thy motionless deformity;
'But oh, the fearful task! yet well I know
'An aged ash, with many a spreading bough,
'(Beneath whose leaves I've found a Summer's bow'r,
'Beneath whose trunk I've weather'd many a show'r,)
'Stands singly down this solitary way,
'But far beyond where now my footsteps stay.
'Tis true, thus far I've come with heedless haste;
'No reck'ning kept, no passing objects trac'd:...
'And can I then have reach'd that very tree?
'Or is its reverend form assum'd by thee?'
The happy thought alleviates his pain:
He creeps another step; then stops again;
Till slowly, as his noiseless feet draw near,
Its perfect lineaments at once appear;
Its crown of shiv'ring ivy whispering peace,
And its white bark that fronts the moon's pale face.
Now, whilst his blood mounts upward, now he knows
The solid gain that from conviction flows;
And strengthen'd Confidence shall hence fulfill
(With conscious Innocence more valued still)
The dreariest task that winter nights can bring,
By church-yard dark, or grove, or fairy ring;
Still buoying up the timid mind of youth,
Till loit'ring Reason hoists the scale of Truth.
With these blest guardians _Giles_ his course pursues,
Till numbering his heavy-sided ewes,
Surrounding stillness tranquilize his breast,
And shape the dreams that wait his hours of rest.
As when retreating tempests we behold,
Whose skirts at length the azure sky unfold,
And full of murmurings and mingled wrath,
Slowly unshroud the smiling face of earth,
Bringing the bosom joy: so WINTER flies!...
And see the Source of Life and Light uprise!
A height'ning arch o'er southern hills he bends;
Warm on the cheek the slanting beam descends,
And gives the reeking mead a brighter hue,
And draws the modest _primrose_ bud to view.
Yet frosts succeed, and winds impetuous rush,
And hail-storms rattle thro' the budding bush;
And night-fall'n LAMBS require the shepherd's care,
And teeming EWES, that still their burdens bear;
Beneath whose sides tomorrow's dawn may see
The milk-white strangers bow the trembling knee;
At whose first birth the pow'rful instinct's seen
That fills with champions the daisied green:
For ewes that stood aloof with fearful eye,
With stamping foot now men and dogs defy,
And obstinately faithful to their young,
Guard their first steps to join the bleating throng.
But casualties and death from damps and cold
Will still attend the well-conducted fold:
Her tender offspring dead, the dam aloud
Calls, and runs wild amidst the unconscious crowd:
And orphan'd sucklings raise the piteous cry;
No wool to warm them, no defenders nigh.
And must her streaming milk then flow in vain?
Must unregarded innocence complain?
No;... ere this strong solicitude subside,
Maternal fondness may be fresh apply'd,
And the adopted stripling still may find
A parent most assiduously kind.
For this he's doom'd awhile disguis'd to range,
(For fraud or force must work the wish'd-for change;)
For this his predecessor's skin he wears,
Till cheated into tenderness and cares,
The unsuspecting dam, contented grown,
Cherish and guard the fondling as her own.
Thus all by turns to fair perfection rise;
Thus twins are parted to increase their size:
Thus instinct yields as interest points the way,
Till the bright flock, augmenting every day,
On sunny hills and vales of springing flow'rs
With ceaseless clamour greet the vernal hours.
The humbler _Shepherd_ here with joy beholds
The approv'd economy of crowded folds,
And, in his small contracted round of cares,
Adjusts the practice of each hint he hears:
For Boys with emulation learn to glow,
And boast their pastures, and their healthful show
Of well-grown Lambs, the glory of the Spring;
And field to field in competition bring.
E'en GILES, for all his cares and watchings past,
And all his contests with the wintry blast,
Claims a full share of that sweet praise bestow'd
By gazing neighbours, when along the road,
Or village green, his curly-coated throng
Suspends the chorus of the spinner's song;
When Admiration's unaffected grace
Lisps from the tongue, and beams in every face:
Delightful moments!... Sunshine, Health, and Joy,
Play round, and cheer the elevated Boy!
'_Another_ SPRING!' his heart exulting cries;
'_Another_ YEAR! with promis'd blessings rise!...
'ETERNAL POWER! from whom those blessings flow,
'Teach me still more to wonder, more to know:
'_Seed-time_ and _Harvest_ let me see again;
'Wander the _leaf-strewn_ wood, _frozen_ plain:
'Let the first Flower, corn-waving Field, Plain, Tree,
'Here round my home, still lift my soul to THEE;
'And let me ever, midst thy bounties, raise
'An humble note of thankfulness and praise!'--
APRIL 22, 1798.
_A fav'rite morsel with the Rook, &c._ P. 9, l. 104.
In these verses, which have much of picturesque, there is a severe charge
against _Rooks and Crows_, as very formidable depredators; and their
destruction, as such, seems to be recommended. Such was the prevalent
opinion some years back. It is less general now: and I am sure the
humanity of the Author, and his benevolence to Animals in general, will
dispose him to rejoice in whatever plea can be offered in stay of
execution of this sentence. And yet more so, if it shall appear that
ROOKS, at least, deserve not only mercy, but _protection_ and
_encouragement_ from the Farmer.
I shall quote a passage from BEWICK'S interesting HISTORY of BIRDS: the
narrative part of which is often as full of information as the
embellishments cut in wood are beautiful.... It is this.
Speaking of Birds of the PIE-KIND in general, he says "Birds of this kind
[Footnote: P. 63] are found in every part of the known world, from
Greenland to the Cape of Good Hope. In many respects they may be said to
be of singular benefit to mankind: principally by destroying great
quantities of noxious insects, worms, and reptiles. ROOKS, in particular,
are fond of the erucae of the _hedge-chaffer_, or chesnut _brown beetle_:
for which they search with indefatigable pains. These insects," he adds in
a note, "appear in hot weather in formidable numbers: disrobing the fields
and trees of their verdure, blossoms, and fruit; spreading desolation and
destruction wherever they go.... They appeared in great numbers in IRELAND
during a hot summer, and committed great ravages. In the year 1747 whole
meadows and corn-fields were destroyed by them in SUFFOLK. The decrease of
Rookeries in that County was thought to be the occasion of it. The many
Rookeries with us is in some measure the reason why we have so few of
these destructive animals."[Footnote: Wallis's History of Northumberland.]
"Rooks," he subjoins, "are often accus'd of feeding on the corn just after
it has been sown, and various contrivances have been made both to kill and
frighten them away; but, in our estimation, the advantages deriv'd from
the destruction which they make among grubs, earth-worms, and noxious
insects of various kinds, will greatly overpay the injury done to the
future harvest by the small quantity of corn they may destroy in searching
after their favourite food." [Footnote: Mr. Bewick does not seem to have
been quite aware that much of this mischief, as I have been informed by a
sensible neighboring Farmer and Tenant, is done in the grub-state of the
chaffer by biting through the _roots_ of grass, &c. A latent, and
imperceptibly, but rapidly spreading mischief, against which the _rooks_
and birds of similar instinct are, in a manner, the sole protection. C.
"In general they are sagacious, active, and faithful to each other. They
live in pairs; and their mutual attachment is constant. They are a
clamorous race: mostly build in trees, and form a kind of society in which
there appears something like a regular government. A Centinel watches for
the general safety, and gives notice on the appearance of danger."
Under the Title, "ROOKS," (p. 71) Mr. BEWICK repeats his observations on
the useful property of this Bird.
I confess myself solicitous for their safety and kind treatment.
We have two which were lam'd by being blown down in a storm (a calamity
which destroys great numbers almost every spring). One of them is
perfectly domesticated. The other is yet more remarkable; since although
enjoying his natural liberty completely, he recognizes, even in his
flights at a distance from the house, his adoptive home, his human
friends, and early protectors.
The ROOK is certainly a very beautiful and very sensible Bird; very
confiding, and very much attach'd. It will give me a pleasure, in which I
doubt not that the Author of this delightful Poem will partake, if any
thing here said shall avail them with the Farmer; and especially with the
_Destroys life's intercourse; the social plan._ P. 46, l. 341.
"Allowing for the imperfect state of sublunary happiness, which is
comparative at best, there are not, perhaps, many nations existing whose
situation is so desirable; where the means of subsistence are so easy, and
the wants of the people so few. The evident distinction of ranks, which
subsists at _Otaheite_, does not so materially affect the felicity of the
nation as we might have supposed. The simplicity of their whole life
contributes to soften the appearance of distinctions, and to reduce them
to a level. Where the climate and the custom of the country do not
absolutely require a perfec: garment; where it is easy at every step to
gather as many plants as form not only a decent, but likewise a customary
covering; and where all the necessaries of life are within the reach of
every individual, at the expence of a trifling labour; ambition and envy
must in a great measure be unknown. It is true, the highest classes of
people possess some dainty articles, such as pork, fish, fowl, and cloth,
almost exclusively; but the desire of indulging the appetite in a few
trifling luxuries can at most render individuals, and not whole nations,
unhappy. Absolute want occasions the miseries of the lower class in some
civiliz'd states, and is the result of the unbounded voluptuousness of
their superiors. At _Otaheite_ there is not, in general, that disparity
between the highest and the meanest man, that subsists in England between
a reputable tradesman and a labourer. The affection of the Otaheitans for
their chiefs, which they never fail'd to express upon all occasions, gave
us great reason to suppose that they consider themselves as one family,
and respect their eldest borm in the persons of their chiefs. The lowest
man in the nation speaks as freely with his king as with his equal, and
has the pleasure of seeing him as often as he likes. The king, at times,
amuses himself with the occupations of his subjects; and not yet deprav'd
by false notions of empty state, he often paddles his own canoe, without
considering such an employment derogatory to his dignity. How long such an
happy equality may last is uncertain: and how much the introduction of
foreign luxuries may hasten its dissolution cannot be too frequently
repeated to Europeans. If the knowledge of a few individuals can only be
acquired at such a price as the happiness of nations, it were better for
the discoverers and the discovered that the _South Sea_ had still remain'd
unknown to _Europe_ and its restless inhabitants."
REFLECTIONS ON OTAHEITE: Cook's second Voyage.
When the FIRST EDITION of this POEM appear'd in March last, I intimated a
design of accompanying it with some CEITICAL REMARKS. With that design
various Engagements have since greatly interfer'd. From one of the most
laborious and constant of those, that of the office of a Justice of the
Peace for the County of Suffolk, I am now discharg'd. Why those who are in
power have done this, they have not explain'd: and it being an office from
which any one who holds it is removable at _pleasure_, they are not call'd
to explain. Had it been for Crime or Misconduct as a Magistrate, of course
Trial and Conviction should have preceded my Removal. As it is, I feel, as
I have publicly declar'd, no shame in the removal. I have held an office
honorable because extensively useful; because unprofitable and burthensome
to the individual; because independently and conscientiously exercis'd,
with a devotion, such as it requir'd, of my time, my thoughts, and my best
faculties, daily to its discharge. My Collegues,--and they are and have
been, during a course of seventeen years, those of them who now act, and
those who are dead or absent, men with whom to have acted was indeed
satisfactory and pleasant,--my late Collegues part with me, and I with
them, regrettingly. Our reciprocal Esteem is not lessen'd by this
abruption of our official intercourse. And as every man who feels what
Society is, ought to determine to be serviceable to the Public, my removal
from this office neither weakens the determination, nor probably will be
found to have impair'd the means of effecting it. I am therefore well
content;--as I ought to be. I sought not the office. I have never sought
any. It solicited my acceptance; unask'd and unexpected. I owe my
appointment to the Duke of GRAFTON, very soon after I came to reside in
this County. He was then _Lord Lieutenant_. I have not yielded that
appointment to disgust; though there were those who were not sparing in
their endeavours to disgust me with it: I have not relinquished it to suit
my convenience; though in times like these an office of no little expence,
and which shut me out from sources of professional emolument, was to me
certainly not convenient: I have not consulted my ease or health by a
voluntary retirement. I am remov'd, I am superseded, I am struck out from
an office of incredible and hourly increasing anxiety. Circumstances like
this are not new. They have repeatedly taken place in relation to very
high offices; and the Public remembers men to whom they have happen'd
whose internal dignity and worth is above any official dignity. Had I felt
that I _merited_ to be remov'd, I should not have thought myself a fit
Editor of the FARMER'S BOY; a Poem which breathes every where modest
independence, benevolence, innocence, and virtue. As it is, I think myself
no way less fit than ever for any laudable and becoming employ. And I have
accordingly announc'd my intention of resuming my profession as a
BARRISTER. In the mean time, the leisure which has thus been thrown to me
may properly and usefully be devoted to the Remarks which I had before
meditated; and for which I had in some measure pledg'd myself to the
The FIRST of these will naturally be that which relates to the _manner_
and circumstances of the Composition. There is such proof in it of Genius
disregarding difficulty, and of powers of retention and arrangement, that
it will be believ'd I could not overpass it: and that it would have been
stated at the first if it had been then in my power to state it.
I now lay it before the Public in the words of Mr. SWAN: who in a Letter
address'd to me in _The Ladies Museum_ of this Month, after congratulating
me on my "successful efforts," (and with such a Production to propose to
public Attention how could they be unsuccessful?) "in rescuing from
oblivion a Poem, which for the harmony of its numbers, the beauty of its
imagery, originality of thought, elegance and chasteness of diction,
(every circumstance consider'd,) stands unrivall'd in the Annals of
English Literature, and will descend to Posterity with increasing
celebrity," states the _motive_ on which he writes: (a motive well
meriting a Letter and a public statement:) "to throw light upon the manner
of the composition of the Farmer's Boy; which appears to him (and most
justly) no inconsiderable addition to the well-earn'd laurels of the
For the pleasure of the view which it includes of the character and
manners of Mr. BLOOMFIELD, I shall, with the Author of this interesting
Letter, go beyond the mere fact; and give his narration of the cause and
manner of the _Discovery_, as well at the Discovery itself.
Mr. SWAN thus expresses himself:
"From the pleasure I receiv'd in reading the FARMER'S BOY, and from some
strange coincidences in the early part of Mr. Bloomfield's life with my
own, I was naturally enough anxious to become acquainted with the Author.
For this purpose I obtain'd his address, and found him ... the modest, the
unambitious person you describe; wondering at the praise and admiration
with which his Poem has been receiv'd; whose utmost ambition was to have
presented a fair copy to his aged Mother, as a pledge of filial affection,
and a picture of his juvenile avocations. So unexpected was the fame of
his production, that the whole of his good fortune appears to him as a
dream."--'I had no more idea,' says he, 'to be sent for by the Duke of
Grafton, and be so kindly and generously treated, than of the hour I shall
"I gave him," Mr. SWAN continues, "my card of address, an invitation to my
house, and a sincere profession of friendship; if, among his numerous
admirers, and noble and royal patrons, the latter was worthy of
"Last Sunday afternoon [Footnote: The Letter is dated 12 July, 1800.] I
was highly pleas'd with his company, and gratified and entertain'd with
his conversation.--Sir, he is all ... nay, more than you have describ'd."
"Among other subjects of conversation respecting the _Farmer's Boy_, I
wish'd to be inform'd of his manner of composition. I enquir'd, as he
compos'd it in a garret, amid the bustle and noise of six or seven fellow
workmen, whether he us'd a slate; or wrote it on paper with a pencil, or
pen and ink. But what was my surprize when told that he had us'd
neither.--My business, during the greatest part of my life having led me
into the line of litterary pursuits, and made me acquainted with litterary
men, I am, consequently, pretty well inform'd of the methods us'd by
authors for the retention of their productions. We are told, if my
recollection is just, that Milton took his Daughters as his amanuenses;
that Savage, when his poverty precluded him the conveniency of pen, ink,
and paper, us'd to study in the streets, and go into shops to record the
productions of his fertile genius; that Pope, when on visits at Lord
Bolingbroke's, us'd to ring up the servants at any hour in the night for
pen and ink, to write any thought that struck his lively and wakeful
imagination; that Dr. Blacklock, though blind, had the happy faculty of
writing down, in a very legible hand, the chaste and elegant productions
of his Muse."
"With these and many other methods of composition we are acquainted; but
that of a great part of _the Farmer's Boy_ stands, in my opinion, first on
the List of Litterary [Footnote: I have ventur'd to restore litterary to
that mode of spelling, with the double _t_, which the Analogy of our
language seems to require. L.] Phaenomena.--Sir, Mr. Bloomfield, either
from the contracted state of his pecuniary resources to purchase Paper, or
from other reasons, compos'd the latter part of his _Autumn_ and the whole
of his _Winter_ in his head, without committing one line to paper.--This
cannot fail to surprize the Litterary World: who are well acquainted with
the treacherousness of memory, and how soon the most happy ideas, for want
of sufficient quickness in noting down, are lost in the rapidity of
"But this is not all.--He went still a step farther.--He not only compos'd
and committed that part of the work to his retentive memory, but he
corrected it all in his head. And, as he said, when it was thus
prepar'd,... _I had nothing to do but to write it down_."
"By this new and wonderful mode of composition he studied and completed
his Farmer's Boy in a garret; among six or seven workmen, without their
ever suspecting any thing of the matter."
"Sir, this to me was both new and wonderful: and induc'd me rather to
communicate the information to you through the medium of the Press than by
writing; that it may meet the eye of many, who will be equally struck and
pleas'd with the novelty of the idea as myself."
I have on this part of the subject, only, after quoting thus much at
present from the Letter of Mr. SWAN, to add, that I entirely agree with
him, I believe, as to the force, clearness, and comprehensiveness of
intellect manifested by this experiment, and its success.
I now pass to part of what has been fully and excellently said by Dr.
DRAKE of HADLEIGH, while investigating the merits of this astonishing
In a Letter from HADLEIGH [Footnote: 9 March, 1800.] Dr. DRAKE had given
me this distinct and vivid representation of his general idea of the Poem.
"I have read THE FARMER'S BOY with a mixture of astonishment and delight.
There is a pathetic simplicity in his sentiments and descriptions that
does honour to his head and heart."
"His copies from Nature are truly original and faithful, and are touched
with the hand of a Master.... His versification occasionally displays an
energy and harmony which might decorate even the pages of a DARWIN."
"The general characteristics of his Style, however, are sweetness and
ease. In short, I have no hesitation in declaring, that I think it, as a
Rural and descriptive Poem, superior to any production since the days of
"It wants no reference to its Author's uneducated poverty to render its
excellence the more striking; they are such as would confer durable Fame
on the first and most polish'd Poet in the Kingdom."
I shall now take the liberty of extracting part of the CRITIQUE which Dr.
DRAKE, agreeably to his intimation to me, has made of the FARMER'S BOY in
his LITTERARY HOURS.[Footnote: Vol. II, Ess. xxxix, p. 444.]
"From the pleasing duty of describing such a 'character' (meaning the
personal character of Mr. BLOOMFIELD) let us now turn our attention to
the species of composition of which his Poem is so perfect a specimen. It
has been observ'd in my sixteenth number that PASTORAL POETRY in this
country, with very few exceptions, has exhibited a tame and servile
adherence to classical imagery and costume; at the same time totally
overlooking that profusion of picturesque beauty, and that originality of
manner and peculiarity of employment, which our climate and our rustics
every where present."
"A few Authors were mention'd in that Essay as having judiciously deviated
from the customary plan: to these may now be added the name of
_Boomfield_; the _Farmers Boy_, though not assuming the form of an
Eclogue, being peculiarly and exclusively, throughout, a _pastoral
Composition_; not like the Poem of _Thomson_, taking a wide excursion
through all the phenomena of the _Seasons_, but nearly limited to the
rural _occupation_ and business of the fields, the dairy, and the farm
"As with these employments, however, the vicissitudes of the Year are
immediately and necessarily connected, Mr. Bloomfield has, with propriety,
divided his Poem into _Four_ Books, affixing to those Books the Titles of
"Such indeed are the merits of this Work, that in true _pastoral_ imagery
and simplicity I do not think any production can be put in competition
with it since the days of Theocritus." [Footnote: I have heard that the
opinion of no less a Judge than Dr. WATSON, Bishop of LLANDAFF, is by no
means short of the encomium implied in this comparison, high and ample as
it is. L.]
"To that charming simplicity which particularizes the Grecian, are added
the individuality, [Footnote: Much of these qualities indeed is certainly
in _Theocritus_ also. L.] fidelity, and boldness of description, which
render Thomson so interesting to the lovers of Nature."
"GESNER possesses the most engaging sentiment, and the most refin'd
simplicity of manners; but he wants that rustic wildness and naivete in
delineation characteristic of the Sicilian, and of the composition before
"WARNER and DRAYTON have much to recommend them: but they are very
unequal; and are devoid of the _sweet and pensive morality_ which pervade
almost every page of _the Farmers Boy_; nor can they establish any
pretensions to that fecundity in painting the oeconomy of rural life,
which this Poem, drawn from actual experience, so richly displays."
"It is astonishing indeed what various and striking circumstances,
peculiar to the occupation of the _British Farmer_, and which are adapted
to all the purposes of the _pastoral_ Muse, had escaped our Poets,
previous to the publication of Mr. _Bloomfield's_ Work."
"Those who are partial to the _Country_;--and where is the man of Genius
who feels not a delight approaching to ecstasy from the contemplation of
its scenery, and the happiness which its cultivation diffuses?--those who
have paid attention to the process of husbandry, and who view its
occurrences with interest; who are at the same time alive to all the
minutiae of the animal and vegetable creation; who mark
'_How Nature paints for colours, how the Bee
Sits on the bloom, extracting liquid sweet_,'
will derive from the study of this Poem a gratification the most permanent
Though I have thus largely extracted I cannot omit transferring hither the
ANALYSIS of the Poem, as given by Dr. Drake.
"The _first_ Book, intitled _Spring_, opens with an appropriate
invocation. A transition is then made to the artless character of _Giles_,
the _Farmer's Boy_; after which the scene near _Euston_ in Suffolk is
describ'd, and an amiable portrait of Mr. _Austin_, immediately follows.
"Seed-time, harrowing, the devastation of the rooks,[Footnote: I will not
say much: but I was glad to see since the second Edition of this Poem the
cause of the Rooks had again been advocated, in the _Newcastle Chronicle_.
L.] wood-scenery, the melody of birds, cows milking, and the operations of
the dairy, occupy the chief part of this Season: which is clos'd by a
beautiful Personification of the Spring and her attendants, and an
admirable delineation of the sportive pleasures of the young Lambs."
"The _second_ Book, or _Summer_, commences with a characteristic sketch of
the prudent yet benevolent Farmer. The genial influence of the rain is
then welcom'd; to which succeeds a most delicious picture of a green and
woody covert with all its insect tribe. The ascension of the sky-lark, the
peaceful repose of _Giles_, a view of the ripening harvest, with some
moral reflections on Nature and her great Creator, are introduc'd:
follow'd by animated descriptions of reaping, gleaning, the honest
exultation of the Farmer, the beauty of the Country Girl, and the
wholesome refreshment of the field. Animals teazed by insects, the cruelty
of docking horses, the insolence of the gander, the apathy of the swine,
are drawn in a striking manner: and the Book concludes with masterly
pictures of a twilight repose, a midnight storm of thunder and lightning,
and views of the ancient and present mode of celebrating Harvest-home."
"The _third_ Book, _Autumn_, is introduc'd with a delineation of forest
scenery, and pigs fattening on fallen acorns. Sketches of wild ducks and
their haunts, of hogs settling to repose in a wood, and of wheat sowing,
succeed. The sound of village bells suggests a most pleasing digression:
of which the church and its pastor, the rustic amusements of a Sunday, the
Village Maids, and a most pathetic description of a distracted Female, are
the prominent features. Returning to rural business, _Giles_ is drawn
guarding the rising wheat from birds:--his little hut, with his
preparation for the reception of his playmates, their treachery and his
disappointment, are conceiv'd and colour'd in an exquisite style.
Fox-hunting, the Fox-hound's epitaph, the long autumnal evenings, a
description of domestic fowl, and a welcome to the snowy nights of Winter,
form the concluding topics of this Season."
"The _fourth_ Book, under the appellation of _Winter_, is usher'd in by
some humane injunctions for the treatment of storm-pinch'd cattle. The
frozen turnips are broken for them: and the cowyard at night is describ'd.
The conviviality of a Christmas evening, and the conversation round the
fire, with the admonitions from the Master's chair, are depicted in a
manner truly pleasing. The _Sea Boy_ and the _Farmers Boy_ are contrasted
with much effect: and the ploughman feeding his horses at night, with the
comparison between the cart-horse and post-horse, have great merit. The
mastiff turn'd sheep-biter is next delineated; succeeded by a description
of a moon-light night, and the appearance of a spectre."
"The counting of the Sheep in the fold, and the adopted Lambs, are
beautiful paintings: and with the Triumph of GILES on the conclusion of
the Year, and his Address to the DEITY, the Book and Poem close."
"Such are the Materials of which THE FARMER'S BOY is constructed. Several
of the topics, it will be perceiv'd, are new to Poetry; and of those which
are in their _title_ familiar to the readers of our descriptive Bards, it
will be found that the imagery and adjunctive circumstances are original,
and the effort of a mind practis'd in the rare art of selecting and
combining the most striking and picturesque features of an object."
Dr. Drake after this well accounts for the poetic singularity that the
Poetry of _Thomson_ should have past through a mind so enthusiastically
enamor'd of it, without impairing the originality of its character, when
exercis'd on a subject so much leading to imitation. This he explains, and
justly, by the vivid impressions on a most sensible and powerful
imagination in his earliest youth, anterior to the study of any Poet.
Dr. Drake expresses his astonishment at the VERSIFICATION and DICTION of
this Poem. And says most truly, "I am well aware that smooth and flowing
lines are of easy purchase, and the property of almost every poetaster of
the day: but the versification of Mr. _Bloomfield_ is of another
character; it displays beauties of the most positive kind, and those
witcheries of expression which are only to be acquir'd by the united
efforts of Genius and Study."
"The _general_ characteristics of his versification are facility and
sweetness; that ease which is, in fact, the result of unremitted labour,
and one of the most valuable acquisitions of litterature. It displays
occasionally likewise a vigour and a brilliancy of polish that might
endure comparison with the high-wrought texture of the Muse of DARWIN.
From the nature of his subject, however, this splendid mode of decoration
could be us'd but with a sparing hand: and it is not one of his least
merits that his diction and harmony should so admirably correspond with
the scene which he has chosen."
"To excel," Dr. DRAKE continues, "in rural IMAGERY, it is necessary that
the Poet should diligently study Nature for himself; and not peruse her as
is but too common, '_through the spectacles of Books_' [Footnote: The
happy illustration of DRYDEN in his admirable character of SHAKESPERE.]
He should trace her in all her windings, in her deepest recesses, in all
her varied forms. It was thus that LUCRETIUS and VIRGIL, that THOMSON and
COWPER were enabled to unfold their scenery with such distinctness and
truth: and on this plan, while wandering through his native fields,
attentive to '_each rural sight, each rural sound_,' has Mr. BLOOMFIELD
built his charming Poem."
"It is a Work which proves how inexhaustible the features of the World we
inhabit: how from objects which the mass of mankind is daily accustom'd to
pass with indifference and neglect. GENIUS can still produce pictures the
most fascinating, and of the most interesting tendency. For it is not to
_imagery_ alone, though such as here depicted might ensure the meed of
Fame, that the Farmer's Boy will owe its value with us and with posterity.
A _Morality_ the most _pathetic_ and pure, the feelings of a heart alive
to all the tenderest duties of humanity and religion, consecrate its
glowing landscapes, and shed an interest over them, a spirit of devotion,
that calm and rational delight which the goodness and greatness of the
Creator ought ever to inspire."
Dr. DRAKE confirms, by copious and very judicious _Extracts_ from the
various parts of the Poem, as they offer themselves to critical selection,
in accompanying the Farmer's Boy through the Circle of his year, the
Judgment which he has form'd with so much ability, taste, and feeling, and
has to agreeably express'd, of the Merits of our ENGLISH GEORGIC. And he
speaks in his _third_ and last Essay on it thus:
"From the review we have now taken of THE FARMER'S BOY, it will be
evident, I think, that owing to its harmony and sweetness of
versification, its benevolence of sentiment, and originality of imagery,
it is entitled to rank very high in the class of descriptive and
He concludes with an highly animated and feeling anticipation of that
public attention to the Poem and to its Author, merited in every view, and
which already has manifested itself in such an extent.
I understand there is a Paper on "_The Farmer's Boy_" in a Work lately
publish'd by Dr. ANDERSON; and assuredly from its subject well entitled to
attention, as well as from the abilities and public spirit of its
Editor;--AGRICULTURAL RECREATIONS. Where indeed with more appropriate
Honor could such a Poem be notic'd?
In the _Critical Remarks_ I intended I find myself so much agreeing in
sentiment with Dr. Drake that I shall attempt little more than merely to
offer some few observations. One of these relates to the _coincidences_ of
thought and manner in the Farmer's Boy with other writings. These, as
would previously be expected from what has been said, are extremely few
indeed. And almost all that are particularly of moment in appreciating the
poetical excellences of the Work are most truly _coincidences_, and cannot
be otherwise consider'd.
For the first of these which I shall mention I am indebted to WILLIAM
SMITH, Esq. of BURY, who had largely his share of Public Admiration, when
he sustain'd for many years with great skill and judgment, and great
natural advantages, almost every character of our Drama which had been
eminently favor'd by either Muse; and who now enjoys retirement with
honor and merited esteem.
He mention'd to me in conversation, and since by Letter, a passage very
closely resembling one in the IDYLLIA of AUSONIUS. It is this in _Spring_.
Like the torn flower the fair assemblage fly.
Ah, fallen _Rose_! sad emblem of their doom;
Frail as thyself, _they perish while they bloom_! I.v. 388-40.
The passage to which Mr. Smith referr'd me is this. (It is not in my
Edition of _Ausonius_; but he sent me a Copy.)
"Conquerimur, Natura, brevis quod Gratia florum est;
Ostentara oculis illico dona rapis.
Quam longa una dies aetas tarn longa rosarum,
Ques _pubescentes juncta senecta pressit_."
I am favor'd with a Translation made by Mr. SMITH in his very early days.
And hope that as a brother _Etonian_ he allows me to quote it.
Nature, we grieve that thou giv'st flowers so gay,
Then snatchest Gifts thou shew'st so swift away.
A Day's a Rose's Life.--_How quickly meet_,
Sweet Flower, _thy Blossom and thy Winding sheet_!
In the _Procession_ of SPRING there is a fine series of allegorical
Advancing SPRING profusely spreads abroad
_Flowers of kinds, with sweetest fragrance stor'd_:
Where she treads LOVE gladdens every plain;
_Delight_ on tip-toe beats her lucid train;
Sweet _Hope_ with conscious brow _before_ her flies,
Anticipating wealth from summer skies.
I. v. 271--6.
Compare now this of LUCRETIUS.
It VER et VENUS et Veneris _praenuntius ante_
Prunatus _graditur_ Zephyrus vestigia propter.
FLORA quibus mater praespergens, ante viai
Cuncta coloribus egregiis et odoribus opplet.
DE NAT. RES. L. V. v. 736-9.
Ed. Brindley 1749.
There SPRING, and VENUS, and her Harbinger,
Near to her moves the winged Zephyrus,
For whom maternal FLORA strews the way
_With Flowers of every charming scent and hue_.
Or in the very words of BLOOMFIELD,
Flowers of all hues with sweetest fragrance stor'd.
_Hope_ here occupies the place of _Zephyrus_. DELIGHT on tip-toe
supporting the _lucid_ train of _Spring_,--the image and attitude so full
of life and beauty,--is our Poet's own. And what Poet, what _Painter_,
would not have been proud of it?
In another passage,
The splendid raiment of the Spring peeps forth
Her universal Green--
This of Lucretius will be found to have much similitude:
Camposque per omnes
Florida fulserunt viridami prata colore.
_O'er every plain
The flowery meadows beam with verdant hue._
And that exceedingly fine verse,
_All Nature feels her venorating sway_,
calls to mind the ever-memorable exordium of the _Roman_ Poet.
If we admire the imitative force of this line in the epic majesty of
Quadrupedante putrem sonitu qualit ungula campum:
_Shakes the resounding hoof the trembling plain:_
shall we not admire the imitative harmony of this; attun'd certainly with
not less felicity to the sweetness of the pastoral reed,
_The green turf trembling as they bound along._
The pause on the first syllable of the verse has been an admir'd beauty in
Homer and Milton.
[Greek: Nux ech d'espchsen enchos.] II.
And over them triumphant Death his dart
Shook, but delay'd to strike. P.L.
We have this beauty,--coinciding with the best examples, though underiv'd
from them,--in a cadence of most pathetic softness.
Joys which the gay companions of her prime
Sip, as they drift along the stream of time.
III. v. 169, 70.
The beautiful Description of the Swine and Pigs feeding on fallen Acorns
reminds me of a most picturesque one, not now at hand, in GILPIN on
The turn of this thought,
Say not, I'll come and cheer thy gloomy cell.
III. v. 241, &c.
I believe is from Scripture. Prov. iii. 28. And so I think certainly is
'Till Folly's wages, wounds and thorns, they reap.
But the most remarkable of all, and where I had no expectation of finding
a similitude, is in near the close of the _Winter_.
Far yet above these wafted clouds are seen
(In a remoter sky yet more serene)
Others, detach'd in ranges through the air,
Spotless as snow, and countless as they're fair;
Scatter'd immensely wide from east to west,
_The beauteous semblance of a Flock at rest_.
In HERCULES the LION-SLAYER there is this passage:
........ Tad epaeluthe piona maela,
Ech soianaes anionia mei aulia ie saechsie,
Ayiar epeiia soes, mala muriai, akkai ep allais
Erchomenai phainonth, osei NEPHE HYDATOENTA
'Hossat' en thrano eisi elaunomena prolepose
Aee Noloioio ziae ae Thraekos Boreao.
Ton meni thlis arithmos en aeeri ginei ionion,
Oui anusis lisa gar ie meia proloioi chulindei
Is anemth, iade i alla chorusselai authis ep allois
Toss aiei melopisthe zoon epi zthcholi aeei.
Pan dar eneplaesthae pedion, pasaile cheleuthai,
Idyll. Theocrito adscriptum. Brunckii Analect. I. 360.
........ On came the comely sheep,
From feed returning to their pens and fold.
And these the _Kine_, in multitudes, succeed;
One on the other rising to the eye;
As watery CLOUDS which in the Heavens are seen,
Driven by the south or Thracian _Boreas,
And, numberless, along the sky they glide:_
Nor cease; so many doth the powerful Blast
Speed foremost, and so many, fleece on fleece,
Successive rise, reflecting varied light
So still the herds of Kine successive drew
A far extended line: and fill'd the plain,
And all the pathways, with the coming troop.
* * * * *
I may possibly enlarge these Remarks in a future Edition. At present I am
happy to be stopt here, by so good a cause as the urgency of the
Publishers to complete a Third Edition; they informing me that the second
is entirely out of print. But it is pleasant to see these Coincidences
with CLASSIC POETS of other days and Nations in a CLASSIC of our own, of
the best School:
"_The fields his study, Nature was his book_."
TROSTON, 22 Aug. 1800.
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