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- A THICK-TWISTED brake, in the time of a storm,
- Seem'd kindly to cover a sheep:
- So snug, for a while, he lay shelter'd and warm,
- It quietly sooth'd him asleep.
- The clouds are now scatter'd--the winds are at peace,
- The sheep to his pasture inclin'd;
- But ah! the fell thicket lays hold of his fleece,
- His coat is left forfeit behind.
- My friend, who the thicket of law never try'd,
- Consider before you get in;
- Tho' judgment and sentence are pass'd on your side,
- By Jove, you'll be fleec'd to your skin.
- John Cunningham
- A Song
- PALEMNON, in the hawthorn bower,
- With fond impatience lay,
- He counted every anxious hour
- That stretch'd the tedious day.
- The rosy dawn, Pastora nam'd,
- And vow'd that she'd be kind;
- But ah! the setting sun proclaim'd
- That woman's vows are--wind.
- The fickle sex, the boy defy'd!
- And swore, in terms profane,
- That beauty in her brightest pride
- Might sue to him in vain.
- When Delia from the neighb'ring glade
- Appear'd in all her charms,
- Each angry vow Palemon made
- Was lost in Delia's arms.
- The lovers had not long reclin'd
- Before Pastora came;
- "Inconstancy," she cry'd, "I find
- In every heart's the same.
- "For young Alexis sigh'd and press'd,
- With such bewitching power,
- I quite forgot the wishing guest
- That waited in the bower."
- John Cunningham
- A Pastoral
- O'ER moorlands and mountains, rude, barren, and
- As wilder'd and weary'd I roam,
- A gentle young shepherdess sees my despair,
- And leads me--o'er lawns--to her home,
- Yellow sheaves from rich Ceres her cottage had crown'd,
- Green rushes were strew'd on her floor,
- Her casement sweet woodbines crept wantonly round,
- And deck'd the sod seats at her door.
- We sat ourselves down to a cooling repast:
- Fresh fruits! and she cull'd me the best:
- While, thrown from my guard by some glances she cast,
- Love slily stole into my breast!
- I told my soft wishes; she sweetly reply'd,
- (Ye virgins, her voice was divine!)
- I've rich ones rejected, and great ones deny'd,
- But take me, fond shepherd--I'm thine.
- Her air was so modest, her aspect so meek!
- So simple, yet sweet, were her charms!
- I kiss'd the ripe roses that glow'd on her cheek,
- And lock'd the lov'd maid in my arms!
- Now jocund together we tend a few sheep,
- And if, by yon prattler, the stream,
- Reclin'd on her bosom, I sink into sleep,
- Her image still softens my dream.
- Together we range o'er the slow-rising hills,
- Delighted with pastoral views,
- Or rest on the rock whence the streamlet distils,
- And point out new themes for my muse.
- To pomp or proud titles she ne'er did aspire,
- The damsel's of humble descent;
- The cottager, Peace, is well known for her fire,
- And shepherds have nam'd her Content.
- John Cunningham
- Rura mihi et irrigui placeant in vallibus omnes.
- NOW that summer's ripen'd bloom
- Frolics where the winter frown'd,
- Stretch'd upon these banks of broom,
- We command the landscape round.
- Nature in the prospect yields
- Humble dales and mountains bold,
- Meadows, woodlands, heaths--and fields
- Yellow'd o'er with waving gold.
- Goats upon that frowning steep
- Fearless with their kidlings browse;
- Here a flock of snowy sheep,
- There an herd of motley cows.
- On the uplands ev'ry glade
- Brightens in the blaze of day;
- O'er the vales the sober shade
- Softens to an ev'ning gray.
- Where the rill by slow degrees
- Swells into a crystal pool,
- Shaggy rocks and shelving trees
- Shoot to keep the waters cool.
- Shiver'd by a thunderstroke
- From the mountain's misty ridge,
- O'er the brook a ruin'd oak
- Near the farmhouse forms a bridge.
- On her breast the sunny beam
- Glitters in meridian pride,
- Yonder as the virgin stream
- Hastens to the restless tide.
- Where the ships by wanton gales
- Waft'd o'er the green waves run,
- Sweet to see their swelling sails
- Whiten'd by the laughing sun.
- High upon the daisy'd hill,
- Rising from the slope of trees,
- How the wings of yonder mill
- Labour in the busy breeze!--
- Cheerful as a summer's morn,
- Bouncing from her loaded pad,
- Where the maid presents her corn,
- Smirking to the miller's lad.
- O'er the green a festal throng
- Gambols in fantastic trim
- As the full cart moves along:
- Hearken!--'tis the harvest hymn.
- Linnets on the crowded sprays
- Chorus--and the woodlarks rise,
- Soaring with a song of praise
- Till the sweet notes reach the skies.
- Torrents in extended sheets
- Down the cliffs dividing break;
- 'Twixt the hills the water meets,
- Settling in a silver lake.
- From his languid flocks the swain,
- By the sunbeams sore opprest,
- Plunging on the wat'ry plain,
- Ploughs it with his glowing breast.
- Where the mantling willows nod
- From the green bank's slopy side,
- Patient, with his well-thrown rod,
- Many an angler breaks the tide.
- On the isles, with osiers drest,
- Many a fair-plum'd halcyon breeds;
- Many a wild bird hides her nest,
- Cover'd in yon crackling reeds.
- Fork-tail'd prattlers, as they pass
- To their nestlings in the rock,
- Darting on the liquid glass,
- Seem to kiss the mimic'd flock.
- Where the stone cross lifts its head,
- Many a saint and pilgrim hoar
- Up the hill was wont to tread
- Barefoot in the days of yore.
- Guardian of a sacred well,
- Arch'd beneath yon rev'rend shades,
- Whilome in that shatter'd cell
- Many a hermit told his beads.
- Sultry mists surround the heath
- Where the Gothic dome appears,
- O'er the trembling groves beneath
- Tott'ring with a load of years.
- Turn to the contrasted scene,
- Where, beyond these hoary piles,
- Gay upon the rising green,
- Many an Attic building smiles.
- Painted gardens--grots--and groves,
- Intermingling shade and light,
- Lengthen'd vistas, green alcoves,
- Join to give the eye delight.
- Hamlets--villages, and spires,
- Scatter'd on the landscape lie,
- Till the distant view retires,
- Closing in an azure sky.
- John Cunningham
Poets' Corner .
H O M E .