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some measure be conceived from the satisfaction which most men have at times experienced in chang. ing the smoky atmosphere and close corrupted vapour of a crowded town, for the pure elastic breeze of a furze-hill, or the balmy perfume of a bean-field.

With such increased enjoyment do I now feel the pleasures of the country, after being, as Milton says,

long in populous city pent.' A very pressing invitation from my friend Colonel Caustic prevailed over that indolence, which was always a part of my constitution, and which I feel advanced life nowise tend to diminish. Having one day missed half-adozen acquaintance, one after another, who, I was informed, had gone into the country, I came home in the evening, found a second letter from the Colonel, urging my visit, read part of Virgil's second Georgic, looked from my highest window on the sun just about to set amidst the golden clouds of a beautiful western sky, and, coming down stairs, ordered my man to pack up my portmanteau, and next morning set out for my

friend's country-seat, whence I now address my readers.

To me, who am accustomed to be idle without being vacant, whose thoughts are rather wandering than busy, and wliose fancy rather various than vivid, the soft and modest painting of nature in this beautiful retirement of my friend's is particularly suited. Here where I am seated at this moment, in a little shady arbour with a sloping lawn in front covered with some sheep that are resting in the noonday heat, with their lambkins around them; with a grove of pines on the right hand, through which a scarcely stirring breeze is heard faintly to whisper; with a brook on the left, to the gurgle of which the willows on its side seem to listen in silence; this Jandscape, with a back ground of distant hills, on which one can discover the smoke of the shepherd's in the exercise of their new powers, and invigorated by the benignity of the air and the luxuriancy of their pastures.

My friend Colonel Caustic, though I will venture to say for him, that he is neither without the sensibility of mind, nor the emotions of pious gratitude, which my correspondent justly supposes the contemplation of the rural scene to excite, yet surveys it not with feelings of quite so placid a sort as in some other minds it will be apt to produce. Here, as every where else, he stamps on the surrounding objects somewhat of the particular impression of his character. That sentiment, which, like the genius of Socrates, perpetually attends him, the child of virtue and of philanthropy, nursed by spleen, though here it puts on a certain tenderness which it has not in town, and is rather disposed to complain than to censure, yet walks with him, not unemployed, through his woods and his fields, and throws on the finest of their beauties a tint of its own colouring, as the glass of the little instrument called a Claude Lorraine, dims the landscape which is viewed through it.

I have not been able to convince him that the weather is not very much changed from what it was in his younger days, and he quotes many observations in support of the milder temperature of the air in those long past seasons.

But his sister, a very respectable maiden lady, a few years younger than the Colonel, who keeps house for him, insists on the difference in stronger terms, and is surprised at my unbelief, even though it is confirmed by the register. Of her faith in this article she shows the sincerity by her practice in household matters, having, as she tells me, for these fifteen or sixteen years past, taken out the greens from the fireplaces at least a fortnight earlier than furmerly, and

VOL. XXX,

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quieted by the anxiety of maintaining a possession of which he cannot be deprived. How truly may he exclaim with the poet

I care not, Fortune, what you me deny;
You cannot rob me of free Nature's grace ;
You cannot shut the windows of the sky,
Through which Aurora shows her brightening face:
You cannot bar my constant feet to trace
The woods and lawns, by living stream, at eve:

Let health my nerves and finer fibres brace;
Of Fancy, Reason, Virtue, nought can me bereave.*

. To a mind of that happy conformation which the poet here describes, the sources of pleasure are infinite. Nature is not less delightful in her general impressions than when surveyed in detail; and to the former of these the verses above-quoted seem chiefly to refer. It is certain that we experience a high degree of pleasure in certain emotions excited by the general contemplation of nature, when the attention does not dwell minutely upon any of the objects that surround us. Sympathy, the most powerful principle in the human composition, has a strong effect in constituting the pleasure here alluded to. The stillness of the country, and the tranquillity of its scenes, have a sensible effect in calming the disorder of the passions, and inducing a temporary serenity of mind. By the same sympathy, the milder passions are excited, while the turbulent are laid asleep. That man must be of a hardened frame indeed, who can hear unmoved the song

of the feathered tribes, when Spring calls forth - all Nature's harmony,' or who can behold, without a corresponding emotion of joy and of gratitude, the sprightliness of the young race of animals wantoning

* Thomson's Castle of Indolence.

to say

in the exercise of their new powers, and invigorated by the benignity of the air and the luxuriancy of their pastures.' My friend Colonel Caustic, though I will venture

for him, that he is neither without the sensi. bility of mind, nor the emotions of pious gratitude, which my correspondent justly supposes the contemplation of the rural scene to excite, yet surveys it not with feelings of quite so placid a sort as in some other minds it will be apt to produce. Here, as every where else, he stamps on the surrounding objects somewhat of the particular impression of his character. That sentiment, which, like the genius of Socrates, perpetually attends him, the child of virtue and of philanthropy, nursed by spleen, though here it puts on a certain tenderness which it has not in town, and is rather disposed to complain than to censure, yet walks with him, not unemployed, through his woods and his fields, and throws on the finest of their beauties a tint of its own colouring, as the glass of the little instrument called a Claude Lorraine, dims the landscape which is viewed through it.

I have not been able to convince him that the weather is not very much changed from what it was in his younger days, and he quotes many observations in support of the milder temperature of the air in those long past seasons. But his sister, a very respectable maiden lady, a few years younger than the Colonel, who keeps house for him, insists on the difference in stronger terms, and is surprised at my unbelief, even though it is confirmed by the register. Of her faith in this article she shows the sincerity by her practice in household matters, having, as she tells me, for these fifteen or sixteen years past, taken out the greens from the fireplaces at least a fortnight earlier than furmerly, and

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not uncarpetting the rooms, nor taking down the window-curtains, till near a month later than she was wont to do.

On the appearance of his own fields the Colonel does not say quite so much, the culture he has bestowed on them counteracting in that particular the natural deterioration ; but wherever nature has been left to herself, her productions, according to him, have grown more scanty.

When we start a hare, or flush a partridge in our walks, the Colonel always tells me there is not one for ten in his grounds that he used to see formerly ; and he rather

seemed to enjoy than condole with my want of sport, when I went yesterday a-fishing on the very same part of the river from which he informed me he was of old sure of catching a dish of trouts in an hour's time any day of the season. Nor was he quite well pleased with his man John's attempting to account for it, by his neighbour Lord Grubwell's having lately sent down a casting net for the use of his game-keeper.

On the subject of Lord Grubwell, however, in other matters, he is generally apt enough himself to expatiate." This man,' said he, whose father acquired the fortune, which afterwards procured the son his title, has started into the rank without the manners or the taste of a gentleman. The want of the first would only be felt those two or three times in the year when one is obliged to meet with him; but the perversion of the latter, with a full purse to give it way, makes his neighbourhood a very unfortunate one. That rising ground on the left, which was formerly one of the finest in the world, he has put yon vile Gothic tower on, as he calls it, and has planted half-a-dozen little carronades on the top of it, which it is a favourite amusement with him to fire on holidays and birth.

green swells

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