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A bard here dwelt, more fat than bard beseems;
Who, void of envy, guile, and lust of gain,
On virtue still, and nature's pleasing themes,
Pour'd forth his unpremeditated strain :
The world forsaking with a calm disdain,
Here laugh'd he careless in his easy seat:
Here quaff'd encircled with the joyous train,
Oft moralizing sage: his ditty sweet
He loathed much to write, ne cared to repeat.
Full oft by holy feet our ground was trod,
Of clerks good plenty here you mote espy.
A little, round, fat, oily man of God,
Was one I chiefly mark'd among the fry;
He had a roguish twinkle in his eye,
And shone all glittering with ungodly dew,
If a tight damsel chanc'd to trippen by ;
Which when observ'd, he shrunk into his mew, And strait would recollect his piety anew.
Nor be forgot a tribe, who minded nought
(Old inmates of the place) but state affairs :
They look'd, perdie, as if they deeply thought ;
And on their brow sat every nation's cares :
The world by them is parcel'd out in shares,
When in the Hall of Smoke they congress hold,
And the sage berry sun-burnt Mocha bears
Has clear'd their inward eye: then smoke-enrollid, Their oracles break forth mysterious as of old,
Here languid beauty kept her pale-fac'd court:
Bevies of dainty dames, of high degree,
From every quarter hither made resort ;
Where, from gross mortal care and business free,
They lay, pour'd out in ease and luxury.
Or should they a vain shew of work assume,
Alas! and well-a-day! what can it be?
To knot, to twist, to range the vernal bloo:n : But far is cast the distaff, spinning-wheel, and loom.
Their only labour was to kill the time:
And labour dire it is, and weary woe.
They sit, they loll, turn o'er some idle rhyme :
Then rising sudden, to the glass they go,
Or saunter forth, with tottering step and slow;
This soon too rude an exercise they find;
Strait on the couch their limbs again they throw,
Where hours on bours they sighing lie reclin'd, And court the vapoury god soft breathing in the wiad.
Now must I mark the villany we found,
But ah! too late, as shall eftsoons be shewn.
A place here was, deep, dreary, under ground;
Where still our inmates, when unpleasing grown,
Diseas'd and loathsome, privily were thrown.
Far from the light of heaven, they languish'd there,
Unpity'd uttering many a bitter groan;
For of those wretches taken was no care:
Fierce fjends, and hags of hell, thereonly nurses were
Alas! the change! from scenes of joy and rest, To this dark den, where sickness toss'd alway. Here Lethargy, with deadly sleep opprest, Stretch'd on his back, a mighty lubbard, lay, Heaving his sides, and snored night and day; To stir him from his trance it was not eath, And his half-open'd eyne he shut straightway:
He led, I wot,,the softest way to death, And taught withouten pain and strite to yield the
Of limbs enormous, but withal unsound, Soft-swola and pale, here lay the Hydropsy: Unwieldy man; with belly monstrous round, For ever fed with watery supply; For still he drank, and yet he still was dry. And moping here did Hypochondria sit, Mother of spleen, in robes of various dye, Who vexed was full oft with ugly fit; And some her frantic deem'd, and some her deem'd
A lady proud she was, of ancient blood,
Yet oft her fear her pride made crouchen low:
She felt, or fancy'd in her fluttering mood,
All the diseases which the spittles know,
And sought all physic which the shops bestow,
And still new leaches and new drugs would try,
Her humour ever wavering to and fro:
For sometimes she would laugh, and sometimes cry, Then sudden waxed wroth; and all she knew not why.
Fast by her side a listless maiden pin'd, With aching head, and squeamish heart-burnings; Pale, bloated, cold, she seem'd to hate mankind, Yet lov'd in secret all forbidden things. And here the Tertian shakes his chilling wings, The sleepless Gout here counts the crowing cocks, A wolf now graws him, now a serpent stings; Whilst Apoplexy cramm'd Intemp'rance knocks Down to the ground at once, as butcher felleth'ox.
HAIL, mildly pleasing Solitude,
Companion of the wise and good;
But from whose holy piercing eye,
The herd of fools and villains fly.
Oh! how I love with thee to walk,
And listen to thy whisper'd talk,
Which innocence and truth imparts,
And melts the most obdurate hearts.
A thousand shapes you wear with ease,
And still in every shape you please.
Now wrapt in some mysterious dream,
A lone philosopher you seem;
Now quick from hill to vale you fly,
And now you sweep the vaulted sky.
A shepherd next you haunt the plain,
And warble forth your oaten strain.
A lover now, with all the grace
Of that sweet passion in your face :
Then, calm'd to friendship, you assume
The gentle-looking Hartford's bloom,
As, with her Musidora, she
(Her Musidora fond of thee)
Amid the long withdrawing vale,
Awakes the rival'd nightingale.
Thine is the balmy breath of morn,
Just as the dew-bent rose is born;
And while meridian fervors beat,
Thine is the woodland dumb retreat;
But chief, when evening scenes decay,
And the faint landscape swims away,
Thine is the doubtful soft decline,
And that best hour of musing thine.
Descending angels bless thy train,
The virtues of the sage and swain;
Plain innocence in white array'd,
Before thee lifts her fearless head :
Religion's beams around thee shine,
And cheer thy glooms with light divine :
About theę sports sweet liberty ;
And rapt Urania sings to thee.
Oh, let me pierce thy secret cell,
And in thy deep recesses dwell.
Perhaps from Norwood's oak-clad hill,
When meditation has her fill,
I just may cast my careless eyes
Where London's spiry turrets rise;
Think of its crimes, its cares, its pain,
Then shield me in the woods again.
ON THE DEATH OF HIS MOTHER.
E fabled muses,
your aid disclaim, Your airy raptures, and your fancied flame: True genuine woe my throbbing breast inspires, Love prompts my lays, and filial duty fires ;
The soul springs instant at the warm design,
And the heart dictates every flowing line.
See! where the kindest, best of mothers lies,
And death has shut her ever-weeping eyes ;
Has lodg'd at last peace in her weary breast,
And lulld her many piercing cares to rest.
No more the orphan train around her stands,
While her full heart upbraids her needy hands!
No more the widow's lonely fate she feels,
The shock severe that modest want conceals,
The'oppressor's scourge, the scorn of wealthy pride,
And poverty's unnumber'd ills beside.
For see! attended by the angelic throng,
Through yonder worlds of light she glides along,
And claims the well-earn'd raptures of the sky :-
Yet fond concern recalls the mother's eye;
She seeks the helpless orphans left behind ;
So hardly left! so bitterly resign'd!
Still, still! is she my soul's divinest theme,
The waking vision, and the wailing dream :
Amid the ruddy sun's enlivening blaze
O'er my dark eyes her dewy image plays,
And in the dread dominion of the night
Shines out again the sadly pleasing sight.
Triumphant virtue all around her darts,
And more than volumes every look imparts-
Looks, soft, yet awful, melting, yet serene,
Where both the mother and the saint are seen.
But ah! that night-that torturing night remains ;
May darkness dye it with the deepest stains,
May joy on it forsake her rosy bow'rs,
And screaming sorrow blast its baleful hours,
When on the margin of the briny flood
Chill'd with a sad presaging damp I stood,
Took the last look, ne'er to behold her more,
And mix'd our murmurs with the wavy roar,
Heard the last words fall from her pious tongue,
Then, wild into the bulging vessel flung,
Which soon, too soon convey'd me from her sight
Dearer than life, and liberty and light !