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When she would enter on her tender scheme
Of teaching comprehension with delight,
And mingling playful with pathetic thoughts.

The surfaces of artificial life

And manners finely wrought, the delicate race
Of colors, lurking, gleaming up and down
Through that state arras woven with silk and gold;
This wily interchange of snaky hues,

Willingly or unwillingly revealed,

I neither knew nor cared for; and as such
Were wanting here, I took what might be found
Of less elaborate fabric. - At this day
I smile, in many a mountain solitude
Conjuring up scenes as obsolete in freaks
Of character, in points of wit as broad,
As aught by wooden images performed
For entertainment of the gaping crowd.
At wake or fair. And oftentimes do flit
Remembrances before me of old men,

Old humorists, who have been long in their graves,
And having almost in my mind put off
Their human names, have into phantoms passed
Of texture midway between life and books.

I play the loiterer: 't is enough to note That here in dwarf proportions were expressed The limbs of the great world; its eager strifes Collaterally portrayed, as in mock fight, A tournament of blows, some hardly dealt,

Though short of mortal combat; and whate'er
Might in this pageant be supposed to hit
An artless rustic's notice, this way less,
More that way, was not wasted upon me, -
And yet the spectacle may well demand
A more substantial name, no mimic show,
Itself a living part of a live whole,

A creek in the vast sea; for all degrees

And shapes of spurious fame and short-lived praise Here sat in state, and fed with daily alms Retainers won away from solid good;

And here was Labor, his own bond-slave; Hope,
That never set the pains against the prize;
Idleness halting with his weary clog,

And poor misguided Shame, and witless Fear,
And simple Pleasure foraging for Death;
Honor misplaced, and Dignity astray;
Feuds, factions, flatteries, enmity, and guile
Murmuring submission, and bald government,
(The idol weak as the idolater,)

And Decency and Custom starving Truth,
And blind Authority beating with his staff
The child that might have led him; Emptiness
Followed as of good omen, and meek Worth
Left to herself unheard of and unknown.

Of these and other kindred notices

I cannot say what portion is in truth
The naked recollection of that time,

And what may rather have been called to life


By after-meditation. But delight

That, in an easy temper lulled asleep,
Is still with Innocence its own reward,

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This was not wanting. Carelessly I roamed,
As through a wide museum from whose stores
A casual rarity is singled out

And has its brief perusal, then gives way
To others, all supplanted in their turn;
Till, 'mid this crowded neighborhood of things
That are by nature most unneighborly,

The head turns round and cannot right itself;
And though an aching and a barren sense
Of gay confusion still be uppermost,
With few wise longings and but little love,
Yet to the memory something cleaves at last,
Whence profit may be drawn in times to come.

Thus in submissive idleness, my Friend!
The laboring time of autumn, winter, spring,
Eight months! rolled pleasingly away; the ninth
Came and returned me to my native hills.




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