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COWPER, William

The Task


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.


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.