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COWPER, William

The Task

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For I have loved the rural walk through lanes

Of grassy swarth, close cropped by nibbling sheep

And skirted thick with intertexture firm

Of thorny boughs; have loved the rural walk

O’er hills, through valleys, and by rivers’ brink,

E’er since a truant boy I passed my bounds

To enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames;

And still remember, nor without regret

Of hours that sorrow since has much endeared,

How oft, my slice of pocket store consumed,

Still hungering, penniless and far from home,

I fed on scarlet hips and stony haws,

Or blushing crabs, or berries that emboss

The bramble, black as jet, or sloes austere.

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How oft upon yon eminence our pace

Has slackened to a pause, and we have borne

The ruffling wind, scarce conscious that it blew,

While admiration feeding at the eye,

And still unsated, dwelt upon the scene.

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