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Or too incautious, to preserve thy sweets
Unmixed with drops of bitter, which neglect
Or temper sheds into thy crystal cup;
Thou art the nurse of Virtue, in thine arms
She smiles, appearing, as in truth she is,
Heaven-born, and destined to the skies again.
Thou art not known where Pleasure is adored,
That reeling goddess with the zoneless waist
And wandering eyes, still leaning on the arm
Of Novelty, her fickle, frail support;
For thou art meek and constant, hating change,
And finding in the calm of truth-tried love
Joys that her stormy raptures never yield.


(From “The Task.”)
O WINTER! ruler of the inverted year,
Thy scattered hair with sleet like ashes filled,
Thy breath congealed upon thy lips, thy cheeks
Fringed with a beard made white with other spows
Than those of age, thy forehead wrapp'd in clouds,
A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy throne
A sliding car, indebted to no wheels,
But urged by storms along its slippery way;
I love thee, all unlovely as thou seem'st,
And dreaded as thou art. Thou hold'st the sun
A prisoner in the yet undawning east,
Shortening his journey between morn and noon,
And hurrying him, impatient of his stay,
Down to the rosy west; but kindly still
Compensating his loss with added hours
Of social converse and instructive ease,
And gathering, at short notice, in one group
The family dispersed, and fixing thought,
Not less dispersed by daylight and its cares.
I crown thee King of intimate delights,
Fireside enjoyments, homeborn happiness,
And all the comforts that the lowly roof
Of undisturbed retirement, and the hours
Of long uninterrupted evening know.


(From “ The Task.”) GREAT princes have great playthings. Some have play At hewing mountains into men, and some At building human wonders mountain high.

Some have amused the dull sad years of life,
Life spent in indolence, and therefore sad,
With schemes of monumental fame; and sought
By pyramids and mausolean pomp,
Short-lived themselves, to immortalize their bones.
Some seek diversion in the tented field,
And make the sorrows of mankind their sport.
But war's a game, which, were their subjects wise,
Kings would not play at. Nations would do well
To extort their truncheons from the puny hands
Of heroes, whose infirm and baby minds
Are gratified with mischief, and who spoil,
Because men suffer it, their toy the world.


(From "The Task.”)

THERE is yet a liberty unsung
By poets, and by senators unpraised,
Which monarchs cannot grant, nor all the powers
Of earth and hell confederate take away;
A liberty which persecution, fraud,
Oppression, prisons, have no power to bind;
Which whoso tastes can be enslaved no more;
'Tis liberty of heart, derived from Heaven,
Bought with His blood who gave it to mankind,
And sealed with the same token. It is held
By charter, and that charter sanctioned sure
By the unimpeachable and awful oath
And promise of a God. His other gifts

All bear the royal stamp that speaks them His,
And are august, but this transcends them all.

BETWEEN Nose and Eyes a strange contest arose,

The Spectacles set them unhappily wrong;
The point in dispute was, as all the world knows,

To which the said Spectacles ought to belong.
So Tongue was the lawyer, and argued the cause

With a great deal of skill, and a wig full of learning; While Chief-Baron Ear sat to balance the laws,

So famed for his talent in nicely discerning. “In behalf of the Nose it will quickly appear,

And your lordship,” he said, “ will undoubtedly find, That the Nose has had Spectacles always in wear,

Which amounts to possession time out of mind."

Then holding the Spectacles up to the Court

“Your lordship observes they are mad with a straddle, As wide as the ridge of the Nose is; in short,

Designed to sit close to it, just like a saddle.


“ Again, would your lordship a moment suppose

('T is a case that has happened, and may be again) That the visage or countenance had not a Nose,

Pray who would, or who could, wear Spectacles then ?

“On the whole it appears, and my argument shows,

With a reasoning the Court will never condemn, That the Spectacles plainly were made for the Nose,

And the Nose was as plainly intended for them.”

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Then shifting his side (as a lawyer knows hot. ),

He pleaded again in behalf of the Eyes;
But what were his arguments few people know,

For the Court did not think they were equally wise.

So his lordship decreed with a grave, solemn tone,

Decisive and clear, without one if or but“That, whenever the Nose put his Spectacles on,

By daylight or candlelight - Eyes should be shut!”


God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform ;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,

And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines,

With never-failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,

And works his sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;

The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust him for his grace:
Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,

And scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,

And he will make it plain.


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Yon cottager, who weaves at her own door -
Pillow and bobbins all her little store
Content, though mean, and cheerful if not gay,
Shuffling her threads about the livelong day,
Just earns · scanty pittance, and at night
Lies down secure, her heart and pocket light;
She, for her humble sphere by nature fit,
Had little understanding and no wit;
Receives no praise, but though her lot be such -
Toilsome and indigent - she renders much ;
Just knows, and knows no more, her Bible true
A truth the witty Frenchman never knew;
And in that charter reads, with sparkling eyes,
Her title to a treasure in the skies.
Oh happy peasant! Oh unhappy bard I
His the mere tinsel, hers the rich reward;
He, praised perhaps for ages yet to come,
She, never heard of half a mile from home;
He, lost in errors his vain heart prefers,
She, safe in the simplicity of hers.

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