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His rising cares the Hermit spy'd, With answering care opprest; “And whence, unhappy youth,” he cry'd, “The sorrows of thy breast?
“From better habitation spurn'd,
Reluctant dost thou rove;
Or grieve for friendship unreturn'd,
Or unregarded love?
“Alas! the joys that fortune brings
Are trifling, and decay,
And those who prize the paltry things,
More trifling still than they.
“And what is friendship but a name,
A charm that lulls to sleep;
A shade that follows wealth or fame,
And leaves the wretch to weep?
“And love is still an emptier sound,
The modern fair-one's jest,
On earth unseen, or only found
To warm the turtle's nest.
“For shame, fond youth, thy sorrows hush,
And spurn the sex,” he said:
But while he spoke, a rising blush,
His love-lorn guest betray'd.
Surpris'd he sees new beauties rise
Swift mantling to the view,
Like colours o'er the morning skies,
As bright, as transient too.
The bashful look, the rising breast,
Alternate spread alarms,
The lovely stranger stands confest
A maid in all her charms.
“And, ah! forgive a stranger rude,
A wretch forlorn,” she cry'd,
“Whose feet unhallow'd thus intrude
Where heaven and you reside.
“But let a maid thy pity share,
Whom love has taught to stray;
Who seeks for rest, but finds despair
Companion of her way.
“My father liv'd beside the Tyne,
A wealthy lord was he;
And all his wealth was mark'd as mine,
He had but only me:
“To win me from his tender arms,
Unnumber'd suitors came;
Who prais'd me for imputed charms,
And felt, or feign'd, a flame.
“Each hour a mercenary crowd
With richest proffers strove;
Among the rest young Edwin bow'd,
But never talk'd of love.
“In humblest, simplest habit clad,
No wealth nor power had he;
Wisdom and worth were all he had,
But these were all to me.
“The blossom opening to the day,
The dews of heaven refin'd,
Could nought of purity display
To emulate his mind.
“The dew, the blossoms of the tree,
With charms inconstant shine;
Their charms were his; but, woe to me,
Their constancy was mine.
“For still I try’d each fickle art,
Importunate and vain;
And, while his passion touch'd my heart,
I triumph'd in his pain:
“Till quite dejected with my scorn,
He left me to my pride;
And sought a solitude forlorn,
In secret, where he died.
“But mine the sorrow, mime the fault,
And well my life shall pay:
I'll seek the solitude he sought,
And stretch me where he lay.
“And there, forlorn, despairing, hid,
I'll lay me down and die:
'Twas so for me that Edwin did,
And so for him will I.”
“Forbid it, Heaven!” the Hermit cry'd,
And clasp'd her to his breast:
The wondering fair-one turn'd to chide,
'Twas Edwin's self that prest.
“Turn, Angelina, ever dear,
My charmer turn to see
Thy own, thy long-lost Edwin here,
Restor'd to love and thee.
“Thus let me hold thee to my heart,
And ev'ry care resign;
And shall we never, never part,
My life—my all that's mine?
“No, never from this hour to part,
We'll live and love so true;
The sigh that rends thy constant heart,
Shall break thy Edwin's too.”
The tree of deepest root is found
Least willing still to quit the ground;
'Twas therefore said, by ancient sages,
That love of life increas'd with years
So much, that in our latter stages,
When pains grow sharp, and sickness rages,
The greatest love of life appears.
This great affection to believe,
Which all confess, but few perceive,
If old assertions can't prevail,
Be pleas'd to hear a modern tale.
When sports went round, and all were gay,
On neighbour Dobson's wedding day,
Death call'd aside the jocund groom
With him into another room,
And looking grave, “You must,” says he,
“Quit your sweet bride, and come with me.”
“With you! and quit my Susan's side!
With you!” the hapless husband cry'd:
“Young as I am! 'tis monstrous hard!
Besides, in truth, I'm not prepar’d:
My thoughts on other matters go,
This is my wedding night, you know.”