"Pastoral Stanzas." by Mary Darby Robinson (1758-1800)
BY the side of a mountain, o'er-shadow'd with trees,
With thick clusters of vine intermingled and wove;
I behold my thatch'd cottage, dear mansion of ease,
The seat of contentment, of friendship, and love!
Each morn when I open the latch of my door,
My heart throbs with rapture to hear the birds sing;
And at night, when the dance in the village is o'er,
On my pillow I strew the fresh roses of spring.
When I hide in the forest from noon's scorching beam,
While the torrent's deep murmurs re-echoing sound;
When the herds quit their pasture to quaff the clear stream,
And the flocks in the vale lie extended around:
I muse, but my thoughts are contented and free,
I regret not the splendours of riches and pride;
The delights of retirement are dearer to me
Than the proudest appendage to greatness ally'd.
I sing, and my song is the carol of joy;
My cheek glows with health, like the wild rose in bloom;
I dance; yet forget not tho' blithesome and gay,
That I measure the footsteps which lead to the tomb.
Contented to live–yet not fearful to die,
With a conscience unspotted I pass thro' life's scene;
On the wings of delight every moment shall fly,
And the end of my days be resign'd and serene.