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Heaven sends misfortunes—why should we repine!
'Tis Heav'n has brought me to the state you see:
And your condition may be soon like mine,
—The child of sorrow and of misery.
A little farm was my paternal lot,
Then like the lark I sprightly hail'd the morn,
But, ah! oppression forc'd me from my cot,
My cattle dy’d and blighted was my corn.
My daughter—once the comfort of my age!
Lur'd by a villain from her native home,
Is cast abandon'd on the world's wide stage,
And doom'd in scanty poverty to roam.
My tender wife—sweet soother of my care!
Struck with sad anguish at the stern decree,
Fell-ling'ring fell, a victim to despair,
And left the world to wretchedness and me.
Pity the sorrows of a poor old man!
Whose trembling limbs have borne him to your door,
Whose days are dwindled to the shortest span;
Oh! give relief—and Heaven will bless your store.
Hail, source of transport, ever news
While I thy strong impulse pursue,
I taste a joy sincere!
Too vast for little minds to know,
Who on themselves alone bestow
Their wishes and their care.
Daughter of God! delight of man!
From thee Felicity began;
Which still thy hand sustains;
By thee sweet Peace her empire spread,
Fair Science rais'd her laurel'd head,
And Discord gnash'd in chains.
Far as the pointed sunbeam flies
Through peopled earth and starry skies,
All nature owns thy nod;
We see its energy prevail
Through being's ever-rising scale,
From nothing e'en to God.
By thee inspir'd, the gen'rous breast,
In blessing others only blest;
With goodness large and free,
Delights the widow's tears to stay,
To teach the blind their smoothest way,
And aid the feeble knee. -
O come! and o'er my bosom reign,
Expand my heart, inflame each vein,
Through ev'ry action shine;
Each low, each selfish wish control;
With all thy essence warm my soul,
And make me wholly thine.
If from thy sacred paths I turn,
Nor feel their griefs, while others mourn,
Nor with their pleasures glow:
Banish'd from God, from bliss, and thee,
My own tormentor let me be,
And groan in hopeless woe.
Nean yonder copse, where once the garden smil'd,
And still where many a garden-flower grows wild;
There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,
The village preacher's modest mansion rose.
A man he was, to all the country dear,
And passing rich with forty pounds a-year;
Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
Nor e'er had chang'd, nor wish'd to change his place;
Unpractis'd he to fawn, or seek for power,
By doctrines fashion'd to the varying hour;
Far other aims his heart had learn'd to prize,
More skill'd to raise the wretched, than to rise.
His house was known to all the vagrant train,
He chid their wand'rings, but reliev'd their pain.
The long-remember'd beggar was his guest,
Whose beard descending swept his aged breast;
The ruin'd spendthrift, now no longer proud,
Claim'd kindred there, and had his claims allow'd;
The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay,
Sat by his fire and talk'd the night away;
Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done,
Shoulder'd his crutch, and show'd how fields were won.
Pleas'd with his guests, the good man learn'd to glow,
And quite forgot their vices in their woe;
Careless their merits or their faults to scan,
His pity gave ere charity began.
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
And e'en his failings lean'd to virtue's side; ,
But in his duty prompt at every call,
He watch'd and wept, and pray'd, and felt for all.
And as a bird each fond endearment tries
To tempt its new-fledg'd offspring to the skies,
He try’d each art, reprov'd each dull delay,
Allur'd to brighter worlds, and led the way.
Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
And sorrow, guilt, and pain by turns dismay’d,
The reverend champion stood. At his control,
Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul,
Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise,
And his last faltering accents whisper'd praise.
At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
His looks adorn'd the venerable place;
Truth from his lips prevail'd with double sway,
And fools who came to scoff remain'd, to pray.
The service past, around the pious man,
With ready zeal each honest rustic ran;
E’en children follow’d with endearing wile,
And pluck'd his gown, to share the good man's smile.
His ready smile a parent's warmth exprest,
Their welfare pleas'd him, and their cares distrest;
To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given;
But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven.