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She only left of all the harmless train, The reverend champion stood. At bis conThe sad historian of the pensive plaiu.

trol Near yonder copse, where once the gar- Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul; den smiled,

Comfort came down the trembling wretch And still where many a garden flower grows to raise, wild,

And his last faltering accents whisper'd There, where a few torn shrubs the place praise. disclose,

At church, with meek and unaffected The village preacher's modest mansion

grace,

His looks adorn'd the venerable place ; A man he was to all the country dear, Truth from his lips prevail'd with double And passing rich with forty pounds a year;

sway, Remote from towns he ran his godly race, And fools, who came to scoff, remain'd to Nor e'er bad changed, nor wish'd to change

pray. his place;

The service pass'd, around the pious man, Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power, With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran : By doctrines fashion'd to the varying hour;

E'en children follow'd, with endearing wile, Far other aims his heart had learn'd to prize, And pluck'd his gown, to share the good More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.

man's smile. His house was known to all the vagrant His ready smile a parent's warmth express’d, train,

Their welfare pleased him, and their cares He chid their wanderings, but relieved their distress'd : pain ;

To them his heart, his love, his griefs were The long remember'd beggar was his guest, given, Whose beard descending swept his aged But all his serious thoughts had rest in breast;

heaven. The ruin'd spendthrift, now no longer proud, As some tall cliff, that lifts its awful form, Claim'd kindred there, and had bis claims Swells from the vale, and midway leaves allow'd;

the storm, The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay, Though round its breast the rolling clouds Sat by his fire, and talk'd the night away ;

are spread, Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow

Eternal sunshine settles on its head. done,

Beside yon straggling fence that skirts Shoulder'd his crutch, and show'd how fields

With blossom'd furze, unprofitably gay, Pleased with his guests, the good man There, in his noisy mansion, skill'd to rule, learn'd to glow,

The village master taught his little school: And quite forgot their vices in their woe; 160 A man severe he was, and stern to view, Careless their merits or their faults to scan, I knew him well, and every truant knew ; His pity gave ere charity began.

Well had the boding tremblers learn’d to Thus to relieve the wretched was his

trace pride,

The day's disasters in his morning face ; 200 And e'en his failings lean’d to virtue's side ; Full well they laugh'd with counterfeited But in his duty prompt, at every call,

glee He watch'd and wept, he pray'd and felt At all his jokes, for many a joke had he; for all :

Full well the busy whisper, circling round, And, as a bird each fond endearment tries Convey'd the dismal tidings when he To tempt its new-fledged offspring to the frown'd; skies,

Yet he was kind, or if severe in aught, He tried each art, reproved each dull delay, The love he bore to learning was in fault; Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way. The village all declared how much be knew, Beside the bed where parting life was 'T was certain he could write and cipher too; laid,

Lands he could measure, terms and tides And sorrow, guilt, and pain by turns dis

presage, may'd,

And e'en the story ran that he could gauge:

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the way

were won.

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still;

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In arguing too, the parson own'd his skill, Nor the coy maid, half willing to be press'd,
For e'en though vanquish'd, he could argue Shall kiss the

сир
to pass

it to the rest. 250

Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disWhile words of learned length and thun

dain, dering sound

These simple blessings of the lowly train; Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around; To me more dear, congenial to my heart, And still they gazed, and still the wonder One native charm, than all the gloss of art; grew

Spontaneous joys, where Nature has its play, That one small head could carry all he knew. The soul adopts, and owns their firstborn But pass'd is all his fame. The very spot,

sway; Where many a time he triumph'd, is forgot. Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind, Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on Unenvied, unmolested, unconfined. high,

But the long pomp, the midnight masquerWhere once the signpost caught the passing ade, eye,

With all the freaks of wanton wealth arLow lies that house where nutbrown

ray'd, draughts inspired,

In these, ere triflers half their wish obtain, Where graybeard mirth and smiling toil The toiling pleasure sickens into pain; retired,

And, e'en while fashion's brightest arts deWhere village statesmen talk'd with looks

coy, profound,

The heart distrusting asks, if this be joy ? And news much older than their ale went Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen, who round.

survey Imagination fondly stoops to trace

The rich man's joys increase, the poor's deThe parlour splendours of that festive place;

cay, The whitewash'd wall, the nicely sanded 'Tis yours to judge how wide the limits floor,

stand The varnish'd clock that click'd behind the Between a splendid and a happy land. door,

Proud swells the tide with loads of freighted The chest contrived a double debt to pay,

ore, A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day; And shouting Folly hails them from her The pictures placed for ornament and use,

shore; The twelve good rules, the royal game of Hoards e'en beyond the miser's wish abonnd, goose;

And rich men flock from all the world The hearth, except when winter chill'd the

around. day,

Yet count our gains. This wealth is but a With aspen boughs, and flowers, and fen

That leaves our useful products still the While broken teacups, wisely kept for show, Ranged o'er the chimney, glisten'd in a row. Not so the loss. The man of wealth and

Vain transitory splendours! could not all pride Reprievethe tottering mansion from its fall? Takes up a space that many poor supplied; Obscure it sinks, nor shall it more impart Space for his lake, his park's extended An hour's importance to the poor man's bounds, heart;

Space for his horses, equipage, and hounds; Thither no more the peasant shall repair The robe that wraps his limbs in silken sloth To sweet oblivion of his daily care;

Has robb’d the neighbouring fields of half Nomore the farmer's news, the barber's tale, their growth; No more the woodman's ballad shall pre- His seat, where solitary sports are seen, vail;

Indignant spurns the cottage from the green; No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear, Around the world each needful product flies, Relax his ponderous strength, and lean to For all the luxuries the world supplies; bear;

While thus the land, adorn'd for pleasure The host himself no longer shall be found

all, Careful to see the mantling bliss go round; | In barren splendour feebly waits the fall.

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name

nel gay;

same.

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ing land

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As some fair female, unadorn’d and plain, Are these thy serious thoughts ? — Ah, Secure to please while youth confirins her

turn thine eyes reign,

Where the poor bouseless shivering female Slights every borrow'd charm that dress

lies: supplies,

289 She once, perhaps, in village plenty bless'd, Nor shares with art the triumph of her eyes; Has wept at tales of innocence distress'd; But when those charms are pass'd, for Her modest looks the cottage might adorn, charms are frail,

Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the When time advances, and when lovers fail, thorn; She then shines forth, solicitous to bless, Now lost to all; her friends, her virtue fled, In all the glaring impotence of dress: Near her betrayer's door she lays her head, Thus fares the land, by luxury betray'd, And, pinch'd with cold, and shrinking from In nature's simplest charms at first array’d:

the shower, But verging to decline, its splendours rise, With heavy heart, deplores that luckless Its vistas strike, its palaces surprise;

hour, While, scourged by famine, from the smil- When idly first, ambitious of the town,

She left her wheel and robes of country The mournful peasant leads his humble

brown. band;

Do thine, sweet AUBURN, thine, the loveAnd while he sinks, without one arm to save,

liest train, The country blooms-a garden and a grave. Do thy fair tribes participate her pain ? Where then, ah! where shall poverty re- E'en now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led, side,

At proud men's doors they ask a little To scape the pressure of contiguous pride ?

bread! If to some common's fenceless "limits Ah, no. To distant climes, a dreary scene, stray'd,

Where half the convex world intrudes beHe drives his flock to pick the scanty blade,

tween, Those fenceless fields the sons of wealth Through torrid tracts with fainting steps

divide, And e'en the bare-worn common is denied. Where wild Altama murmurs to their woe. If to the city sped - What waits him Far different there from all that cbarm'd there?

before, To see profusion that he must not share; The various terrors of that borrid shore; To see ten thousand baneful arts com- Those blazing suns that darta downward ray, bined

And fiercely shed intolerable day; To pamper luxury, and thin mankind: Those matted woods where birds forget to To see each joy the sons of pleasure know, sing, Extorted from his fellow-creatures' woe. But silent bats in drowsy clusters cling; 350 Here, while the courtier glitters in brocade, Those poisonous fields with rank luxuriance There the pale artist plies the sickly trade; crown'd, Here, while the proud their long-drawn Where the dark scorpion gathers death pomp display,

around: There the black gibbet glooms beside the Where at each step the stranger fears to way;

wake The dome where pleasure holds her mid- The rattling terrors of the vengeful snake; night reign,

Where crouching tigers wait their hapless Here, richly deck'd, admits the gorgeous

prey, train;

And savage men more murderous still than Tumultuous grandeur crowds the blazing they: square,

While oft in whirls the mad tornado flies, The rattling chariots clash, the torches Mingling the ravaged landscape with the glare,

skies. Sure scenes like these no troubles e'er an- Far different these from every former noy!

scene, Sure these denote one universal joy! The cooling brook, the grassy vested green,

they go,

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fame;

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The breezy covert of the warbling grove, E'en now, methinks, as pondering here I That only shelter'd thefts of harmless love.

stand, Good Heaven! what sorrows gloom’d that I see the rural virtues leave the land. parting day,

Down where yon anchoring vessel spreads That callid them from their native walks

the sail, away;

That idly waiting flaps with every gale, 400 When the poor exiles, every pleasure pass'd, Downward they move, a melancholy band, Hung round the bowers, and fondly look'd Pass from the shore,and darken all the strand. their last,

Contented toil, and hospitable care, And took a long farewell, and wish'd in And kind connubial tenderness are there; vain

And piety with wishes placed above, For seats like these beyond the western And steady loyalty, and faithful love. main;

And thou, sweet Poetry, thou loveliest maid, And, shuddering still to face the distant Still first to fly where sensual joys invade, deep,

Unfit in these degenerate times of shame, Return'd and wept, and still return’d to To catch the heart, or strike for honest

weep. The good old sire the first prepared to go, Dear charming nymph, neglected and deTo new-found worlds, and wept for others'

cried, woe;

My shame in crowds, my solitary pride; But for himself, in conscious virtue brave, Thou source of all my bliss, and all my woe, He only wish'd for worlds beyond the grave. That found'st me poor at first, and keep'st His lovely daughter, lovelier in her tears,

me so; The fond companion of his helpless years, Thou guide, by which the nobler arts excel, Silent went next, neglectful of her charms, Thou nurse of every virtue, fare thee well; And left a lover's for her father's arms. Farewell! and Ol where'er thy voice be tried, With louder plaints the mother spoke her On Torno's cliffs, or Pambamarca's side, woes,

Whether where equinoctial fervours glow, And bless'd the cot where every pleasure Or winter wraps the polar world in snow, 420 rose;

Still let thy voice, prevailing over time, And kiss'd her thoughtless babes with many Redress the rigours of th' inclement clime; a tear,

Aid slighted Truth with thy persuasive train; And clasp'd them clcse, in sorrow doubly Teach erring man to spurn the rage of gain; dear;

Teach him, that states of native strength Whilst her fond husband strove to lend possessid, relief

Though very poor, may still be very bless'd; In all the silent manliness of grief.

That trade's proud empire hastes to swift O luxury! thou cursed by heaven's decree, decay, How ill exchanged are things like these for As ocean sweeps the labour'd mole away; thee !

While self dependent power can time defy,
How do thy potions, with insidious joy, As rocks resist the billows and the sky. 430
Diffuse their pleasures only to destroy!
Kingdoms by thee, to sickly greatness
grown,

STANZAS ON WOMAN
Boast of a florid vigour not their own:
At every draught more large and large they When lovely woman stoops to folly,
grow,

And finds too late that men betray,
A bloated mass of rank unwieldy woe; What charm can soothe her melancholy,
Till sapp'd their strength, and every part What art can wash her guilt away ?

unsound,
Down, down they sink, and spread a ruin The only art her guilt to cover,
round.

To bide her shame from every eye,
E'en now the devastation is begun, To give repentance to her lover,
And balf the business of destruction done; And wring his bosom - is, to die.

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But the sea-fowl is gone to her nest,

The beast is laid down in his lair, Even here is a season of rest,

And I to my cabin repair. There's mercy in every place,

And mercy, encouraging thought ! Gives even affliction a grace,

And reconciles man to his lot.

I am out of humanity's reach,

I must finish my journey alone, Never hear the sweet music of speech,

I start at the sound of my own. The beasts that roam over the plain,

My form with indifference see ; They are so unacquainted with man,

Their tameness is shocking to me. Society, friendship, and love,

Divinely bestowed upon man, Oh, had I the wings of a dove,

How soon would I taste you again! My sorrows I then might assuage

In the ways of religion and truth, Might learn from the wisdom of age,

And be cheered by the sallies of youth.

THE TASK

[Publ. 1785) BOOK V

20

THE WINTER MORNING WALK

ARGUMENT

Religion ! what treasure untold

Resides in that heavenly word !
More precious than silver and gold,

Or all that this earth can afford.
But the sound of the church-going bell

These valleys and rocks never heard; 30 Never sighed at the sound of a knell,

Or smiled when a sabbath appeared. Ye winds, that have made me your sport,

Convey to this desolate shore Some cordial endearing report

Of a land I shall visit no more.

A frosty morning ---The foddering of cattle - The woodman and his dog - The poultry - Whimsical effects of frost at a waterfall - The Empress of Russia's palace of ice- Amusements of monarchs - War, one of them - Wars, whence - And whence monarchy The evils of it - English and French loyalty contrasted - The Bastille, and a prisoner there - Liberty the chief recommendation of this country - Modern patriotism questionable, and why — The perishable nature of the best human institutions - Spiritual liberty not perishable - The slavish state of man by nature - Deliver him, Deist, if you can-Grace must do it -The respective merits of patriots and martyrs stated - Their different treatment -- Happy freedom of the man whom grace makes free - His relish of the works of God Address to the Creator. 'Tis morning; and the sun with ruddy orb Ascending, fires the horizon : while the

clouds

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