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Poems, &c. (1790) Wherein It Is Attempted To Describe Certain Views Of Nature And Of Rustic Manners; And Also, To Point Out, In Some Instances, The Different Influence Which The Same Circumstances Produce On Different Characters   By: (1762-1851)

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POEMS, &c.

POEMS;

WHEREIN IT IS ATTEMPTED TO DESCRIBE

CERTAIN VIEWS OF NATURE

AND OF

RUSTIC MANNERS;

AND ALSO,

TO POINT OUT, IN SOME INSTANCES, THE DIFFERENT INFLUENCE WHICH THE SAME CIRCUMSTANCES PRODUCE ON DIFFERENT CHARACTERS.

LONDON:

PRINTED FOR J. JOHNSON, SAINT PAUL'S CHURCH YARD.

MDCCXC.

A WINTER DAY.

The cock, warm roosting 'midst his feather'd dames, Now lifts his beak and snuffs the morning air, Stretches his neck and claps his heavy wings, Gives three hoarse crows, and glad his talk is done; Low, chuckling, turns himself upon the roost, Then nestles down again amongst his mates. The lab'ring hind, who on his bed of straw, Beneath his home made coverings, coarse, but warm, Lock'd in the kindly arms of her who spun them, Dreams of the gain that next year's crop should bring; Or at some fair disposing of his wool, Or by some lucky and unlook'd for bargain. Fills his skin purse with heaps of tempting gold, Now wakes from sleep at the unwelcome call, And finds himself but just the same poor man As when he went to rest. He hears the blast against his window beat, And wishes to himself he were a lord, That he might lie a bed. He rubs his eyes, and stretches out his arms; Heigh ho! heigh ho! he drawls with gaping mouth, Then most unwillingly creeps out of bed, And without looking glass puts on his clothes. With rueful face he blows the smother'd fire, And lights his candle at the red'ning coal; First sees that all be right amongst his cattle, Then hies him to the barn with heavy tread, Printing his footsteps on the new fall'n snow. From out the heap of corn he pulls his sheaves, Dislodging the poor red breast from his shelter, Where all the live long night he slept secure; But now afrighted, with uncertain flight He flutters round the walls, to seek some hole, At which he may escape out to the frost. And now the flail, high whirling o'er his head, Descends with force upon the jumping sheave, Whilst every rugged wall, and neighboring cot Re echoes back the noise of his strokes.

The fam'ly cares call next upon the wife To quit her mean but comfortable bed. And first she stirs the fire, and blows the flame, Then from her heap of sticks, for winter stor'd, An armful brings; loud crackling as they burn, Thick fly the red sparks upward to the roof, While slowly mounts the smoke in wreathy clouds. On goes the seething pot with morning cheer, For which some little wishful hearts await, Who, peeping from the bed clothes, spy, well pleas'd, The cheery light that blazes on the wall, And bawl for leave to rise. Their busy mother knows not where to turn, Her morning work comes now so thick upon her. One she must help to tye his little coat, Unpin his cap, and seck another's shoe. When all is o'er, out to the door they run, With new comb'd sleeky hair, and glist'ning cheeks, Each with some little project in his head. One on the ice must try his new sol'd shoes: To view his well set trap another hies, In hopes to find some poor unwary bird (No worthless prize) entangled in his snare; Whilst one, less active, with round rosy face, Spreads out his purple fingers to the fire, And peeps, most wishfully, into the pot.

But let us leave the warm and cheerful house, To view the bleak and dreary scene without, And mark the dawning of a winter day. For now the morning vapour, red and grumly, Rests heavy on the hills; and o'er the heav'ns Wide spreading forth in lighter gradual fliades, Just faintly colours the pale muddy sky. Then slowly from behind the southern hills, Inlarg'd and ruddy looks the rising sun, Shooting his beams askance the hoary waste, Which gild the brow of ev'ry swelling height, And deepen every valley with a shade. The crusted window of each scatter'd cot, The icicles that fringe the thatched roof, The new swept slide upon the frozen pool, All lightly glance, new kindled with his rays; And e'en the rugged face of scowling Winter Looks somewhat gay. But for a little while He lifts his glory o'er the bright'ning earth, Then hides his head behind a misty cloud,

The birds now quit their holes and lurking sheds, Most mute and melancholy, where thro' night All nestling close to keep each other warm, In downy sleep they had forgot their hardships; But not to chant and carol in the air, Or lightly swing upon some waving bough, And merrily return each other's notes; No; silently they hop from bush to bush, Yet find no seeds to stop their craving want, Then bend their flight to the low smoking cot, Chirp on the roof, or at the window peck, To tell their wants to those who lodge within... Continue reading book >>




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