Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Amidst Books and Solitude

Richard Payne Knight (1751-1824), The Landscape, I.309-334:
    Hence, proud ambition's vain delusive joys!
Hence, worldly wisdom's solemn empty toys!      310
Let others seek the senate's loud applause,
And, glorious, triumph in their country's cause!
Let others, bravely prodigal of breath,
Go grasp at honour in the jaws of death;—
Their toils may everlasting glories crown,      315
And Heaven record their virtues with its own!
    Let me, retir'd from bus'ness, toil, and strife,
Close amidst books and solitude my life;
Beneath yon high-brow’d rocks in thickets rove,
Or, meditating, wander through the grove;      320
Or, from the cavern, view the noontide beam
Dance on the rippling of the lucid stream,
While the Wild woodbine dangles o'er my head,
And various flowers around their fragrance spread;
Or where, 'midst scatter'd trees, the op'ning glade      325
Admits the well-mix'd tints of light and shade;
And as the day's bright colours fade away,
Just shews my devious solitary way:
While thick'ning glooms around are slowly spread,
And glimm'ring sun-beams gild the mountain's head:      330
Then homeward as I saunt'ring move along,
The nightingale begins his ev'ning song;
Chaunting a requiem to departed light,
That smooths the raven down of sable night.

Thomas Lawrence, Portrait of
Richard Payne Knight

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