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THE HAPPY SHEPHERD.
THRICE, oh, thrice happy, shepherd's life and state !
When courts are happiness' unhappy pawns ! His cottage low and safely humble gate
Shuts out proud Fortune with her scorns and fawns : No feared treason breaks his quiet sleep,
Singing all day, his flocks he learns to keep; Himself as innocent as are his simple sheep.
No Syrian worms he knows, that with their thread
Draw out their silken lives : nor silken pride : His lambs' warm fleece well fits his little need,
Not in that proud Sidonian tincture dyed : No empty hopes, no courtly fears him fright;
For begging wants his middle fortune bite; But sweet content exiles both misery and spite.
Instead of music, and base flattering tongues,
Which wait to first salute my lord's uprise ; The cheerful lark wakes him with early songs,
And birds' sweet whistling notes unlock his eyes :
Or sing, or dance unto the rural muses;
His certain life, that never can deceive him,
Is full of thousand sweets, and rich content: The smooth-leaved beeches in the field receive him
With coolest shades, till noontide rage is spent; His life is neither toss d in boist'rous seas
Of troublous world, nor lost in slothful ease : Pleased and full blest he lives, when he his God can please.
His bed of wool yields safe and quiet sleeps,
While by his side his faithful spouse hath place;
The lively picture of his father's face :
Less he could like, if less his God had sent him ;
HER finger was so small, the ring
Would not stay on which they did bring, It was too wide a peck: And, to say truth—for out it mustIt look'd like the great collar just
About our young colt's neck.
Her feet beneath her petticoat,
As if they fear'd the light:
Is half so fine a sight!
Her cheeks so rare a white was on,
Who sees them is undone ;
The side that's next the sun.
Her lips were red; and one was thin,
Some bee had stung it newly;
Than on the sun in July.
Her mouth so small, when she does speak,
That they might passage get :
Suckling DR JOHNSON ON HIS DICTIONARY.
I HAVE devoted this book, the labour of years, to the honour of my
country, that we may no longer yield the palm of philology, without a contest, to the nations of the continent. The chief glory of every people arises from its authors : whether I shall add anything by my own writings to the reputation of English literature, must be left to time; much of my life has been lost under the pressures of disease; much has been trifled away; and much has always been spent in provision for the day that was passing over me; but I shall not think my employment useless or ignoble, if, by my assistance, foreign nations and distant ages gain access to the propagators of knowledge, and understand the teachers of truth. .
In this work, when it shall be found that much is omitted, let it not be forgotten that much likewise is performed ; and though no book was ever spared out of tenderness to the author, and the world is little solicitous to know whence proceeded the faults of that which it condemns, yet it may gratify curiosity to inform it that the English Dictionary was written with little assistance of the learned, and without any patronage of the great ; not in the soft obscurities of retirement, or under the shelter of academic bowers, but amid inconvenience and distraction, in sickness and in sorrow. It may repress the triumph of malignant criticism to observe, that if our language is not here fully displayed, I have only failed in an attempt which no human powers have hitherto completed. If the lexicons of ancient tongues, now immutably fixed, and comprised in a few volumes, be yet, after the toil of successive ages, inadequate and delusive ; if the aggregated knowledge and co-operating diligence of the Italian academicians did not secure them from the censure of Beni; if the embodied critics of France, when fifty years had been spent upon their work, were obliged to change its economy, and give their second edition another form, I may surely be contented without the praise of perfection, which, if I could obtain in this gloom of solitude, what would it avail me? I have protracted my work till most of those whom I wished to please have sunk into the grave, and success and miscarriage are empty sounds. I therefore dismiss it with frigid tranquillity, having little to fear or hope from censure or from praise.