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ELEGY.

WRITTEN IN THE HARVEST.

1 FAREWEL the pleasant violet-scanted shade;
2 The primros'd-hill, and daisy-mantled mead;
3 The furrow'd land, with springing corn array'd;
4 The sunny wall, with bloomy branches spread:
5 Farewel the bower with blushing roses gay;
6 Farewel the fragrant trefoil-purpled field;
7 Farewel the walk thro' rows of new-mown hay,
8 When evening breezes mingled odours yield!
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9 Farewel to these now round the lonely farms,
10 Where jocund Plenty deigns to fix her seat;
11 Th' autumnal landscape opening all its charms,
12 Declares kind Nature's annual work compleat.
13 In different parts what different views delight,
14 Where on neat ridges waves the golden grain;
15 Or where the bearded barley dazzling white,
16 Spreads o'er the steepy slope or wide champain.
17 The smile of Morning gleams along the hills;
18 And wakeful Labour calls her sons abroad;
19 They leave with chearful look their lowly vills,
20 And bid the fields resign their ripen'd load.
21 To various tasks address the rustic band,
22 And here the scythe, and there the sickle wield;
23 Or rear the new-bound sheaves along the land;
24 Or range in heaps the produce of the field.
25 Some build the shocks, some load the spacious wains,
26 Some lead to sheltering barns the fragrant corn.
27 Some form tall ricks that towering o'er the plains,
28 For many a mile the rural yards adorn.
29 Th' inclosure gates thrown open all around,
30 The stubble's peopled by the gleaning throng,
31 The rattling car with verdant branches crown'd,
32 And joyful swains that raise the clamorous song,
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33 Soon mark glad harvest o'er Ye rural lords,
34 Whose wild domains o'er Albion's isle extend;
35 Think whose kind hand your annual wealth affords,
36 And bid to heaven your grateful praise ascend.
37 For tho' no gift spontaneous of the ground
38 Rose these fair crops that made your vallies smile,
39 Tho' the blithe youth of every hamlet round
40 Pursued for these thro' many a day their toil.
41 Yet what avail your labours or your cares?
42 Can all your labours, all your cares supply
43 Bright suns, or softening showers, or tepid airs,
44 Or one indulgent influence of the sky?
45 For Providence decrees that we obtain
46 With toil each blessing destin'd to our use;
47 But means to teach us that our toil is vain,
48 If he the bounty of his hand refuse.
49 Yet Albion, blame not what thy crime demands,
50 While this sad truth the blushing muse betrays,
51 More frequent echoes o'er thy harvest lands
52 The voice of riot than the voice of praise.
53 Prolific tho' thy fields and mild thy clime,
54 Know realms once fam'd for fields and climes as fair,
55 Have fell the prey of famine, war, and time,
56 And now no semblance of their glory bear.
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57 Ask Palestine, proud Asia's early boast,
58 Where now the groves that pour'd her wine and oil,
59 Where the fair towns that crown'd her wealthy coast,
60 Where the glad swains that till'd her fertile soil?
61 Ask, and behold, and mourn her hapless fall!
62 Where rose fair towns, where wav'd the golden grain,
63 Thron'd on the naked rock and mouldering wall,
64 Pale Want and Ruin hold their dreary reign.
65 Where Jordan's vallies smil'd in living green,
66 Where Sharon's flowers disclos'd their varied hues;
67 The wandering pilgrim views the alter'd scene,
68 And drops the tear of pity as he views.
69 Ask Grecia, mourning o'er her ruin'd towers;
70 Where now the prospects charm'd her bards of old,
71 Her corn-clad mountains and Elysian bowers,
72 And silver streams thro' fragrant meadows roll'd?
73 Where Freedom's praise along the vale was heard,
74 And town to town return'd the favourite sound;
75 Where patriot War her awful standard rear'd,
76 And brav'd the millions Persia pour'd around?
77 There Freedom's praise no more the valley chears,
78 There patriot War no more her banner waves;
79 Nor bard, nor sage, nor martial chief appears,
80 But stern barbarians rule a land of slaves.
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81 Of mighty realms are such the poor remains?
82 Of mighty realms that fell when mad with power,
83 They lur'd each vice to revel on their plains;
84 Each monster doom'd their offspring to devour!
85 O Albion! would'st thou shun their mournful fates,
86 To shun their follies and their crimes be thine;
87 And woo to linger in thy fair retreats,
88 The radiant virtues, progeny divine!
89 Bright Truth, the noblest of the sacred band,
90 Sweet Peace whose brow no ruffling frown deforms,
91 Fair Charity with ever open hand,
92 And Courage smiling 'midst a thousand storms.
93 O haste to grace our isle, ye lovely train!
94 So may the power whose hand all blessing yields,
95 Give her fam'd glories ever to remain,
96 And crown with annual wealth her laughing fields.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): ELEGY. WRITTEN IN THE HARVEST.
Author: John Scott
Themes: nature; agriculture
Genres: heroic quatrain; elegy; lament
References: DMI 32301

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Source edition

A collection of poems in four volumes. By several hands. Vol. I. [The second edition]. London: printed for G. Pearch, 1770, pp. 260-264. 4v. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T116245; DMI 1122; OTA K093079.001)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.