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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Country Life

By Ludwig Heinrich Christoph Hölty (1748–1776)

From Fraser’s Magazine

HAPPY the man who has the town escaped!

To him the whistling trees, the murmuring brooks,

The shining pebbles, preach

Virtue’s and wisdom’s lore.

The whispering grove a holy temple is

To him, where God draws nigher to his soul;

Each verdant sod a shrine,

Whereby he kneels to Heaven.

The nightingale on him sings slumber down;

The nightingale rewakes him, fluting sweet,

When shines the lovely red

Of morning through the trees.

Then he admires thee in the plain, O God!

In the ascending pomp of dawning day,—

Thee in thy glorious sun,

The worm, the budding branch;

Where coolness gushes, in the waving grass,

Or o’er the flowers streams the fountain, rests:

Inhales the breath of prime,

The gentle airs of eve.

His straw-decked thatch, where doves bask in the sun,

And play and hop, invites to sweeter rest

Than golden halls of state

Or beds of down afford.

To him the plumy people sporting chirp,

Chatter, and whistle, on his basket perch,

And from his quiet hand

Pick crumbs, or peas, or grains.

Oft wanders he alone, and thinks on death;

And in the village church-yard by the graves

Sits, and beholds the cross,

Death’s waving garland there,

The stone beneath the elders, where a text

Of Scripture teaches joyfully to die,

And with his scythe stands Death,

An angel too with palms.

Happy the man who thus hath ’scaped the town:

Him did an angel bless when he was born,

The cradle of the boy

With flowers celestial strewed.