Hilton Hall. A Poem

Rural felicity, sweet beauteous name,
When first to this low earth from heav'n she came,
In Eden's happy groves she fixed her reign,
Extending wide her blessings o'er the plain,
Till our first parents, O unhappy day!
That fatal doctrine learnt to disobey;
Away with banish'd innocence she flew
Back to the skies, and bade mankind adieu.
Since that on earth she seldom has been seen,
With her enliv'ning looks to grace the green;
Till lately, looking o'er Britannia's isle,
With eyes benign I saw the goddess smile.
" Once more, " she cry'd, " " on earth I'll deign to dwell,
" And bid awhile the realms above farewel:
" Mortals I come, obedient to your call,
" And chuse my blest retreat at Hilton Hall. "
Twas said, 'twas done, for quickly down she flew,
And pitch'd her dwelling, here, blest fair with you.
O could my muse but paint the sweet retreat,
Where all the charms of nature center'd meet;
Would Thomson's genius, or would Shakespeare's fire,
Assist my languid numbers to inspire,
Then Hilton! should thy fame illustrious shine,
Thy matchless beauties glow in every line;
Before my strains e'en Pope's lov'd theme should fall,
And Windsor forest yield to Hilton Hall.
But tho' my feeble muse can never climb
To their descriptive elegance sublime,
Yet with simplicity and artless ease,
In humbler accents will I hope to please:
The wide extensive prospect to command,
On yonder terrace let me take my stand;
First mark yon cloud-capt hills, whose tow'ring pride
The prospect terminates, and far and wide;
When Sol shines bright, or milder Cynthia pale,
Cast many a lengthen'd shadow o'er the vale;
Whilst hov'ring round their sides the purple mist
Presents a grandeur not to be exprest;
Opulent towns, with glitt'ring gilded spires,
The roving eye with rapture next admires;
Where swelling domes magnificently rise,
And mingled clouds of smoke ascend the skies.
Those are the busy scenes of social life,
But Hilton, not like thine, exempt from strife;
Villas embower'd amid some verdant wood,
Or on the margin of the silver flood,
In various spots diversify the scene,
With shady groves, and flowery fields between:
Perhaps in each kind charity resides,
And generous hospitality presides.
Unnumber'd villages, whose rustic swains
With chearful labour cultivate the plains,
Around their humble habitations spread,
Where peace and innocence their influence shed;
For far from courts contentment flies to cells,
And in the homely thatch-clad cottage dwells.
Within the circle of yon bending skies,
What varied scenes of smiling plenty rise!
Nature's whole fund, an inexhausted store,
Wealth in possession, and in prospect more;
The ravish'd heart with secret rapture glows,
Expands with gratitude, and overflows,
To that Almighty Power! whose bounteous hand
Diffuses blessings o'er the happy land.
Long in this sweet abode may you blest pair,
Health and contentment, peace and plenty share;
Spend all your days below in mutual love,
And then ascend to taste the joys above!
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