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THE HERMIT.1

'Turn, gentle Hermit of the dale, And guide my lonely way, To where yon taper cheers the vale With hospitable ray.

'For here, forlorn and lost I tread, With fainting steps and slow;

Where wilds, immeasurably spread, Seem lengthening as I go.'

'Forbear, my son,' the Hermit cries, 'To tempt the dangerous gloom;

For yonder faithless phantom flies
To lure thee to thy doom.

'Here to the houseless child of want

My door is open still; And though my portion is but scant,

I give it with good will.

'Then turn to-night, and freely share Whate'er my cell bestows;

My rushy couch and frugal fare,
My blessing and repose.

1 See the Vicar of Wakefield, cap. viii. 'No flocks that range the valley free

To slaughter I condemn :2
Taught by that power that pities me,

I learn to pity them:

'But from the mountain's grassy side

A guiltless feast I bring;
A scrip with herbs and fruits supplied,

And water from the spring.

'Then, pilgrim, turn, thy cares forego;

All earth-born cares are wrong: 3 Man wants but little here below,

Nor wants that little long.'

Soft as the dew from heaven descends,

His gentle accents fell:
The modest stranger lowly bends,

And follows to the cell.

Far in a wilderness obscure

The lonely mansion lay;
A refuge to the neighbouring poor

And strangers led astray!

No stores beneath its humble thatch
Requir'd a master's care •

2 This imperfect rhyme is the only defect in this sweet and simple poem, with the exception perhaps of 'fault' and 'sought,' as rhyming sounds in a following stanza. 3 ' Man wants but little, nor that little long.'

Young's Night 4th.

The wicket opening with a latch,
Receiv'd the harmless pair.

And now, when busy crowds retire

To take their evening rest,
The Hermit trimm'd his little fire,

And cheer'd his pensive guest:

And spread his vegetable store,

And gaily prest and smil'd; And, skill'd in legendary lore,

The lingering hours beguil'd.

Around in sympathetic mirth

Its tricks the kitten tries;
The cricket chirrups in the hearth;

The crackling faggot flies.

But nothing could a charm impart

To soothe a stranger's woe; For grief was heavy at his heart,

And tears began to flow.

His rising cares the Hermit spied, With answering care opprest:'And whence, unhappy youth,' he cried, The sorrows of thy breast?

'From better habitations spurn'd,

Reluctant dost thou rove?
Or grieve for friendship unreturn'd,

Or unregarded love?

v.

'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 lovelorn 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 cried;'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 rici est proffers strove :Among the rest young Edwin bow'd, But never talk'd of love.

'In humble, simplest habit clad, No wealth or power had he;Wisdom and worth were all he had, But these were all to me.

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