The Poems of John Dyer/The Country Walk
THE COUNTRY WALK
The morning's fair; the lusty sun
With ruddy cheek begins to run,
And early birds, that wing the skies,
Sweetly sing to see him rise.
I am resolv'd, this charming day,5
In the open field to stray,
And have no roof above my head,
But that whereon the gods do tread.
Before the yellow barn I see
A beautiful variety 10
Of strutting cocks, advancing stout,
And flirting empty chaff about:
Hens, ducks, and geese, and all their brood,
And turkeys gobbling for their food,
While rustics thrash the wealthy floor,15
And tempt all to crowd the door.
What a fair face does Nature show!
Augusta! wipe thy dusty brow;
A landscape wide salutes my sight
Of shady vales and mountains bright;20
And azure heavens I behold,
And clouds of silver and of gold.
And now into the fields I go,
Where thousand flaming flowers glow,
And every neighb'ring hedge I greet,25
With honey-suckles smelling sweet.
Now o'er the daisy-meads I stray,
And meet with, as I pace my way,
Sweetly shining on the eye,
A riv'let gliding smoothly by,30
Which shows with what an easy tide
The moments of the happy glide:
Here, finding pleasure after pain,
Sleeping, I see a weary'd swain,
While his full scrip lies open by,35
That does his healthy food supply.
Happy swain! sure happier far
Than lofty kings and princes are!
Enjoy sweet sleep, which shuns the crown,
With all its easy beds of down.40
The sun now shows his noon-tide blaze,
And sheds around me burning rays.
A little onward, and I go
Into the shade that groves bestow,
And on green moss I lay me down,45
That o'er the root of oak has grown;
Where all is silent, but some flood,
That sweetly murmurs in the wood;
But birds that warble in the sprays,
And charm ev'n Silence with their lays.50
Oh! pow'rful Silence! how you reign
In the poet's busy brain!
His num'rous thoughts obey the calls
Of the tuneful water-falls;
Like moles, whene'er the coast is clear,55
They rise before thee without fear,
And range in parties here and there.
Some wildly to Parnassus wing,
And view the fair Castalian spring,
Where they behold a lonely well60
Where now no tuneful Muses dwell,
But now and then a slavish hind
Paddling the troubled pool they find.
Some trace the pleasing paths of joy,
Others the blissful scene destroy,65
In thorny tracks of sorrow stray,
And pine for Clio far away.
But stay Methinks her lays I hear,
So smooth! so sweet! so deep! so clear!
No, it is not her voice I find;70
'Tis but the echo stays behind.
Some meditate Ambition's brow,
And the black gulf that gapes below;
Some peep in courts, and there they see
The sneaking tribe of Flattery:75
But, striking to the ear and eye,
A nimble deer comes bounding by!
When rushing from yon rustling spray
It made them vanish all away.
I rouse me up, and on I rove;80
'Tis more than time to leave the grove.
The sun declines, the evening breeze
Begins to whisper thro' the trees;
And as I leave the sylvan gloom,
As to the glare of day I come,85
An old man's smoky nest I see
Leaning on an aged tree,
Whose willow walls, and furzy brow,
A little garden sway below:
Thro' spreading beds of blooming green,90
Matted with herbage sweet and clean,
A vein of water limps along,
And makes them ever green and young.
Here he puffs upon his spade,
And digs up cabbage in the shade:95
His tatter'd rags are sable brown,
His beard and hair are hoary grown;
The dying sap descends apace,
And leaves a wither'd hand and face.
Up Grongar Hill I labour now,100
And catch at last his bushy brow.
Oh! how fresh, how pure, the air!
Let me breathe a little here.
Where am I, Nature? I descry
Thy magazine before me lie.105
Temples!—and towns!—and towers!—and woods!—
And hills!—and vales!—and fields!—and floods!
Crowding before me, edg'd around
With naked wilds and barren ground.
See, below, the pleasant dome,110
The poet's pride, the poet's home,
Which the sunbeams shine upon
To the even from the dawn.
See her woods, where Echo talks,
Her gardens trim, her terrace walks, 115
Her wildernesses, fragrant brakes,
Her gloomy bow'rs and shining lakes.
Keep, ye Gods! this humble seat
For ever pleasant, private, neat.
See yonder hill, uprising steep, 120
Above the river slow and deep;
It looks from hence a pyramid,
Beneath a verdant forest hid;
On whose high top there rises great
The mighty remnant of a seat, 125
An old green tow'r, whose batter'd brow
Frowns upon the vale below.
Look upon that flow'ry plain,
How the sheep surround their swain,
How they crowd to hear his strain! 130
All careless with his legs across,
Leaning on a bank of moss,
He spends his empty hours at play,
Which fly as light as down away.
And there behold a bloomy mead, 135
A silver stream, a willow shade,
Beneath the shade a fisher stand,
Who, with the angle in his hand,
Swings the nibbling fry to land.
In blushes the descending sun140
Kisses the streams, while slow they run;
And yonder hill remoter grows,
Or dusky clouds do interpose.
The fields are left, the labouring hind
His weary oxen does unbind;145
And vocal mountains, as they low,
Re-echo to the vales below;
The jocund shepherds piping come,
And drive the herd before them home;
And now begin to light their fires,150
Which send up smoke in curling spires;
While with light hearts all homeward tend,
To Aberglasney I descend.
But, oh! how bless'd would be the day
Did I with Clio pace my way,155
And not alone and solitary stray.