Page images


[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

ion fail, **
in the gale,
foot-way tread,
is fed in:
lafhy spring;
in age, for bread,
g creffes fpread,
i the thorn,
keep till morn,
- train,
· plain,

ce the garden smil'de
How'r grows wild :
he place disclose,
infion rose.
ry dear,
inds a year ;
rodly race,
to change his place,

ying hour;

ru'd to prize, han to rise.

igrant train,

iev'd their pain, as his guest, is aged breast; nger proud, his claims allow'd; : to stay, right away;

Torrow done, : how fields were won. man learn'd to głow,

vir wo;

I ftill had hopes, for pride attends us still,
Amidit the swains to hew my book-learn'd skill,
Around my fire an evening group to draw,
And tell of all I felt and all I saw ;
And, as an hare whom hounds and horns pursue,
Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,
I ftill had hopes, my long vexations past,
Here to returnand die at home at last.

to blest retirement, friend to life's decline,
Retreats from care, that never must be mine,
How blert is he who crowns in shades like these,
A youth of Jabour with an age of ease ;
Who quits a world where strong temptations try,
And, since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly!
For him no wretches, born to work and

Explore the mine, or tempt the dang'rous deep;
No surly porter stands in guilty' state,
To spurn imploring famine from the gate ;
But on he moves to meet his latter end,
Angela around befriending virtue's friend;
Sinks to the grave with unperceiv'd decay,
While resignation gently nopes the way;
And all his prospects bright’ning to the last,
His Heav'n commences ere the world be past it.

Sweet was the found, when oft at ev'ning's clofe, Up yonder hill the village murmur rose ; There, as I paft with careless steps and flow, The mingling notes came soften d from below; The swain responsive as the milk-maid fung, The fober herd that low'd to meet their young ; The noisy gecse that gabbled o'er the pool, The playful children just let loose from school ;. The watcl- log's voice that bay'd the whisp'ring wind, And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind: These all in sweet confusion sought the shade, Aud fill'd each pause the nightingale had made.

For now the sounds of population fail," ".
No chearful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,
No busy steps the grass-grown foot-way tread,
But all the bloomy Hush of life is féd. :',
All but yon widow'd folitary thing, 11
That feebly bends betides the plashy spring :
She, wretched matron, forc'd, in age, for bread,
To ftrip the brook with mantling creffes spread,
To pick her wintry faggot from the thorn,
To leek her nightly shed, and weep till morn,
She only left of all the harmless train,
The sad historian of the penfive plain.

- wild :

Near yonder copfe, where once the garden smilah And still where many a garden fow'r grow's There, where a few torn Thrubs the place disclose, The village preacher's modest manfion rose, A man he was, to all the country dear, And paffing rich with forty pounds a year ; Remote from towns he ran his godly race, Nor ere had chang'd, nor wilh'd to change his place, Unfkilful he to fawn, or feek for pow'r, By doctrines fashiou'd to the varying hour; Far other aims his heart hath learn’d to prize, More bent 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, Whofe 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, Sate by his fire, and talk'd the night away; Wept o'er his wounds, or tales of sorrow done, Shoulder'd his crutch, and shew'd how fields were won. Pleas'd with his guests, the good man learn'd to głow, And quite forgot their vices in their wo;


Careless their merits or their faults to scan,
His pity gave ere charity began.

Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
And ev'n his failings Jean'd to virtue's side ;
But in his doty prompt at ev'ry call,
He watch'd and wept, he pray'd and felt, for alt,
And, as, a bird each fund endearmcat tries,
To tempt its new. fledg'd offspring to the skies;
He tried each art, reprov:d each dull delay,
Allur'd to brighter worlds, and led the way.

Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
Aud sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismay'd,
The rev'rend champion stood.

At his control, Despair and anguish Aed the ftruggling foul'; Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise; And his last fault'ring 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 fway, And fools, who came to fcoff, remain'd to pray. The service paft, around the pious man, With ready zeal, each honeft ruftic ran; Ev'n children follow d with endearing wile, And pluck'd his gown, to fhare the good man's fmile. His ready smile a parents warmth expreft, Their welfare pleas'd him, and their cares distreft ; To them his heart, his love, his griefs were giv’n, But all his serious thoughts had reft in heav'n. As fome tall cliff that lifts its awful form, Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the ftorm, Tho'round its brealt the rolling clouds are spread, Eternal sunshine fettles on its head.

[ocr errors]

Befide yon ftraggling fence that fkirts the way,
Witii blossom’d furze unprofitably gay,
There in his noily mansion, skill'd to rule,
The village matter taught his little school :

A man severe he was, and stern to view,
I knew him well, and ev'ry truant knew ;
Well had the boding tremblers learn’d to trace.
The day's disasters in his morning face ;
Full well they laugh’d with counterfeited glee,
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he ;
Full well the busy whisper circling round,
Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frown'd;
Yet he was kind, or if fevere in aught,
The love he bore to learning was his fault;
The village all declar'a how much he knew,
'Twas certain he could write, and cypher too ;
Lands he could meafure, terms and tides presage,
And ev’n the ftory ran that he could guage :
In arguing too, the parfon own'd his skill,
For e'en tho vanquilh'd, he could argue fill;
While words of learned length, and thund'ring found
Amaz'd the gazing ruftics rang'a around,
And still they gaz'd, and still the wonder grew
That one small head could carry all he knew.

But past is all his fame. The very spot Where many a time he triomph'd, is forgot. Near yonder thorn that lifts its head on high, Where once the fign-poft caught the paflingeren Low lies that housc where nut-brown draughts infpir’d, Where grey-beard mirth and fmiling toil retir'd, Where village statesmen talk'd with looks profound, And news much older than their ale went round. Imagination fondly stoops to trace, The parlour splendors of that feftive place ; The white-waih'd wall, the nicely-sanded Hoor, The varnish'd clock that clink'd behind the door ; The cheft contriy'd a double debt to pay, A bed by night, a chest of draw'rs by day; The pictures plac'd for ornament and use, The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose ;

« PreviousContinue »