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The church which tops the neighbouring hill, the mill, and the brook, all remain the same as when his brother was the officiating clergyman. Mark how gracefully the poem opens :
Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain,
Where health and plenty cheer'd the labouring swain
Where smiling Spring its earliest visit paid,
And parting Summer's lingering blooms delayed ;
Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,
Seats of my youth, when every sport could please ;
How often have I loitered o’er thy green,
Where humble happiness endeared each scene !
How often have I paused on every charm,
The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm,
The never-failing brook, the busy mill,
The decent church that topped the neighbouring hill,
The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
For talking age, and whispering lovers made !
How often have I blest the coming day,
When toil remitting lent its turn to play, .
And all the village train, from labour free,
Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree ;
While many a pastime circled in the shade,
The young contending as the old survey’d;
And many a gambol frolick’d o’er the ground,
And sleights of art and feats of strength went round;
And still, as each repeated pleasure tired,
Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired ;
The dancing pair that simply sought renown,
By holding out, to tire each other down;
The swain, mistrustless of his smutted face,
While secret laughter tittered round the place ;
The bashful virgin's sidelong looks of love,
The matron’s glance, that would those looks reprove ;
These were thy charms, swect village ! sports like these,
With sweet succession, taught e’en toil to please ;
These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed,
These were thy charms,—but all those charms are Aed.
Now let us con over his tribute to Retirement :
O blest Retirement ! friend to life's decline,
Retreats from care, that never must be mine,
How blest is he who crowns, in shades like these,
A youth of labour 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 weep,
Explore the mine, or tempt the dangerous deep;
No surly porter stands in guilty state,
To spurn imploring famine from the gate :
But on he moves to meet his latter end,
Angels around befriending virtue's friend;
Sinks to the grave with unperceived decay,
While resignation gently slopes the way :
And, all his prospects brightening to the last,
His heaven commences ere the world be past.
He thus picturesquely portrays the clergyman of the vi'lage :-
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
And e'en his failings leaned to virtue's side ;
But in his duty prompt at every call,
He watched and wept, he prayed and felt for all :
And, as a bird each fond endearment tries,
To tempt its new-fledged offspring to the skies,
He tried each art, reproved each dull delay,
Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.
E'en children followed, with endearing wile,
And plucked his gown, to share the good man's smile.
His ready smile a parent's warmth expressed,
Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distrest.
To them his heart, his love, his griefs, were given,
But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven.
As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form,
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm,