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His best companions, innocence and health;
But times are alter'd; trade's unfeeling train
Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour, Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power. Here, as I take my solitary rounds, Amidst thy tangling walks, and ruin'd grounds, And, many a year elaps'd, return to view Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew, Remembrance wakes with all her busy train, Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.
In all my wanderings round this world of care, In all my griefs—and God has given my share—
* Calm desires] 'Gentle thoughts, and calm desires!' * Carew's Poems, p. 22.
I still had hopes my latest hours to crown,
O blest retirement, friend to life's decline,
5 'By struggling with misfortunes we are sure to receive some wound in the conflict; the only method to come off victorious is by running away.' The Bee, p. 56.
And, all his prospects brightening to the last, His heaven commences ere the world be past!
Sweet was the sound, when oft at evening's close Up yonder hill the village murmur rose; There, as I past with careless steps and slow, The mingling notes came soften'd from below; The swain responsive as the milkmaid sung, The sober herd that low'd to meet their young; The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool, The playful children just let loose from school; The watchdog's voice that bay'd the whispering wind, And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind; These all in sweet confusion sought the shade, 6 And fill'd each pause the nightingale had made. But now the sounds of population fail, No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale, No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread, But all the bloomy flush of life is fled. All but yon widow'd, solitary thing, That feebly bends beside the plashy spring; She, wretched matron, forc'd, in age, for bread, To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread, To pick her wintry faggot from the thorn, To seek her nightly shed, and weep till morn; She only left of all the harmless train, The sad historian of the pensive plain.
0 And filled] 'The nightingale's pausing song would be the proper epithet for this bird's music' An. Nat. i. p. 329.
Nearyonder 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;Unskilful 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 bent to raise the wretched than to rise. His house was known to all the vagrant train, He chid their wanderings, but reliev'd their pain, The long remember'd beggar was his guest, TWhose 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 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;
'Stay till my beard shall sweep mine aged breast.'
Hall's Satires, p. 79, ed. Singer.
8Careless 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, he 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 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, 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,
9 His looks adorn'd the venerable place; 10Truth from his lips prevail'd with double sway,
8 'Want pass'd for merit, at her open door.'
Dryden's Elegies, ii. p. 180. 8 His eyes diffused a venerable grace.'
Dryden's good Parson, iii. 137. 10 Truth]
'For thou e'en sin didst in such words array,