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I blame, whene'er the linnet sings,
My want of song or want of wings.
The piercing hawk, with towering flight,
Reminds me of deficient sight.
And when the generous steed I view,
Is not his strength my envy too?
I thus at birds and beasts repine,
And wish their various talents mine.
Fool as I am, who cannot see
Reason is more than all to me.
My landlord boasts a large estate,
Rides in his coach, and eats in plate.
What! shall these lures bewitch my eye?
Shall they extort the murmuring sigh?
Say, he enjoys superior wealth—
Is not my better portion health?
Before the sun has gilt the skies,
Returning labour bids me rise;
Obedient to the hunter's horn,
He quits his couch at early morn.
By want compell'd, I dig the soil;
His is a voluntary toil.
For truth it is, since Adam's fall,
His sons must labour one and all.
No man's exempted by his purse;
Kings are included in the curse.
Would monarchs relish what they eat?
"Tis toil that makes the manchet sweet;
Nature enacts before they're fed,
That prince and peasant earn their bread.
• Hence wisdom and experience show,
That bliss in equal currents flow;
That happiness is still the same,
Howe'er ingredients change their name.
Nor doth this theme our search defy;
"Tis level to the human eye.
Distinctions, introduced by men,
Bewilder and obscure our ken.
I'll store these lessons in my heart,
And cheerful act my proper part.
If sorrows rise, as sorrows will,
I'll stand resign'd to every ill;
Convinced that wisely every pack
Is suited to the bearer's back.'
That the complaints of mankind against their several stations and provinces in life are often frivolous, and always unwarrantable.
THE FARMER AND THE HORSE.
"TIs a vain world, and all things show it;
I thought so once, but now I know it'.'
Ah! Gay! is thy poetic page
The child of disappointed age?
Talk not of threescore years and ten,
For what avails our knowledge then?
But grant that this experienced truth
Were ascertain'd in early youth;
Reader, what benefit would flow?
I vow I'm at a loss to know!
The world alarms the human breast,
Because in savage colours dress'd.
"Tis treated with invective style,
And stands impeach'd of fraud and guile.
All in this heavy charge agree:
But who's in fault-the world, or we?
The question's serious, short, and clear,
The answer claims our patient ear.
Yet if this office you decline-
With all my heart-the task be mine.
I'm certain, if I do my best,
Your candour will excuse the rest.
A Farmer, with a pensive brow, One morn accompanied his plough. The larks their cheerful matins sung, The woods with answering music rung The sun display'd his golden ray, And Nature hail'd the rising day. But still the peasant all the while Refused to join the general smile. He, like his fathers long before, Resembled much the Jews of yore; Whose murmurs impious, weak, and vain Nor quails nor manna could restrain. Did accidental death prevail? How prone to tell his piteous tale! Pregnant with joys did plenty rise? How prone to blame indulgent skies! Thus ever ready to complain; For plenty sinks the price of grain.
At length he spake Ye powers divine,
Was ever lot so bard as mine?
From infant life an arrant slave,
Close to the confines of the grave.
Have not I follow'd my employ
Near threescore winters, man and boy?
But since I call'd this farm
What scenes of sorrow have I known!
Alas! if all the truth were told,
Hath not the rot impair'd my fold?
Hath not the measles seized my swine?
Hath not the murrain slain my kine?
Or say that horses be my theme,
Hath not the staggers thinn'd my team?
Have not a thousand ills beside
Deprived my stable of its pride?
When I survey my lands around,
What thorns and thistles spread my ground!
Doth not the grain my hopes beguile,
And mildews mock the thrasher's toil? .
However poor the harvests past,
What so deficient as the last!
But though nor blasts nor mildews rise,
My turnips are destroy'd by flies;
My sheep are pined to such degree
That not a butcher comes to me.
Seasons are changed from what they were; And hence too foul, or hence too fair. Now scorching heat and drought annoy, And now returning showers destroy. Thus have I pass'd my better years Midst disappointments, cares, and tears. And now, when I compute my gains, What have I reap'd for all my pains?
'Oh! had I known in manhood's prime
These slow convictions wrought by time;
Would I have braved the various woes
Of summer suns and winter snows?
Would I have tempted every sky,
So wet, so windy, or so dry?
With all the elements at strife?
Ah! no-I then had plann'd a life,
Where wealth attends the middle stage,
And rest and comfort wait on age:
Where rot and murrain ne'er commence,
Nor pastures burn at my expense;
Nor injured cows their wants bewail,
Nor dairies mourn the milkless pail;
Nor barns lament the blasted grain,
Nor cattle curse the barren plain.'
Dun hobbled by his master's side; And thus the sober brute replied
'Look through your team, and where's the steed Who dares dispute with me his breed? Few horses trace their lineage higher, Godolphin's Arab was my sire; My dam was sprung from Panton's stud, My grandam boasted Childers' blood. But ah! it now avails me not By what illustrious chief begot! Spavins pay no regard to birth, And failing vision sinks my worth. The Squire, when he disgusted grew, Transferr'd his property to you. And since poor Dun" became your own, What scenes of sorrow have I known!" Hath it not been my constant toil, To drag the plough, and turn the soil? Are not my bleeding shoulders wrung By large and weighty loads of dung? When the shorn meadows claim your care, And fragrant cocks perfume the air; When Ceres' ripen'd fruits abound, And Plenty waves her sheaves around; True to my collar, home I bear The treasures of the fruitful year.