Retirement

Poem By Elizabeth Bentley

HAPPY the mind with self-enjoyment blest,
Who makes the tranquil paths of life her choice;
Seeks gentle Peace, 'mid tumults ne'er possest,
And in Retirement hears her soothing voice.
Not in sequester'd cells or cloister'd gloom,
Whose haunts each social energy destroy,
And like the dark recesses of the tomb,
In void oblivion bury every joy:
But in the rustic mansion's simple seat,
Views Nature clad in artless robes of green;
From every cultured spot exhales a sweet,
And roves delighted o'er the sylvan scene.
The mossy lawn, with frolic lambs o'erspread,
The garden, where salubrious herb abound,
That, mix'd with flowers, their spicy odours shed,
The waving fields with embryo harvests crown'd.
The clustering grove, whose thickly-woven shade
Invites the parent bird to rear her young;
The kind protection gratefully repaid,
With melting notes from many a warbling tongue.
O'er musing Meditation's walks to stray,
What placid bliss th' enraptur'd spirit knows,
Creative Wisdom's products to survey,
Where rich variety new charms bestows.
Or oft th' instructive pleasing page explore,
Where just Description breathes in every line,
Where noblest sentiments sublimely soar,
And glowing Genius stamps the work divine.
Or lonely seek some pensive, still recess,
Or taste pure Friendship's soul-enchanting pow'r;
Thy shades, Retirement, equally can bless
The social or the solitary hour.
'Tis thine to fan Devotion's sacred fire,
To soaring Thought a stronger pinion lend,
To bid young Fancy seize the sphere-tuned lyre,
And notes of praise as incense sweet ascend.
Sure these are joys celestial spirits know,
In transient gleams to man thro' mercy giv'n,
To cheer the gloomy walks of life below,
And rouze the slothful mind to toil for heav'n.

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