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And, all his prospects bright'ning to the last, His heav'n commences ere the world be past. Sweet was the sound, when oft at ev'ning's close, Up yonder hill the village murmur rose; There, as I pass'd with careless steps and slow, The mingling notes came soften’d from below; The swain responsive as the milk-maid 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 watch-dog'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, 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 blooming 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. Near yonder copse, where once the garden smil'd, And still where many a garden flow'r grows wild, There, where a few torm 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, Nore'er had chang'd, nor wish'd to change his place; Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for pow'r, 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 wand'rings, but reliev'd their pain; The long-remember'd beggar was his guest, Whose 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, Sat 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. [glow, Pleas'd with his guests, the good man learn'd to And quite forgot their vices in their woe; 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 lean'd to virtue's side; But in his duty prompt, at ev'ry 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 try'd 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 rev'rend champion stood. At his control, Despair and . fled the struggling soul; 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 sway, And fools, who came to scoff, remain'd to pray. The service past, around the pious man, With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran : Ev’n children follow'd, with endearing wile, And pluck'd his gown, to share the good man's smile; His ready smile a parent's warmth exprest, Their welfare pleas'd him, and their cares distrest: To them his heart, his love, his griefs, were giv'n, But all his serious thoughts had rest in Heav'n, As some tall cliff, that lifts its aweful form, Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm, Tho' round its breast the rolling clouds are spread, Eternal sunshine settles on its head. Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way With blossom'd furze, unprofitably gay, There, in his noisy mansion, skill'd to rule, The village master taught his little school: A man severe he was, and stern to view, I knew him well, and every 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 severe in aught, The love he bore to learning was in fault; The village all declar'd how much he knew; 'T was certain he could write and cypher too; Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage, And ev'n the story ran that he could gauge. In arguing, too, the parson own'd his skill, For ev'n though vanquish'd he could argue still ; While words of learned length, and thund'ring sound, Amaz'd the gazing rustics rang'd around; And still they gaz'd, and still the wonder grew That one small head should carry all he knew. But past is all his fame. The very spot, Where many a time he triumph'd, is forgot. Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high, Where once the sign-post caught the passing eye, Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts inspir’d, -- - - - --Where grey-beard mirth and smiling 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 splendours of that festive place; The white-wash’d wall, the nicely sanded floor, The varnish'd clock that click'd behind the door; The chest contriv'd a double debt to pay, A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day; The pictures plac'd for ornament and use, The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose; The hearth, except when winter chill'd the day, With aspen boughs, and flowers, and fennel,
While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show, Rang'd o'er the chimney, glisten’d in a row
Vain transitory splendours! could not all Reprieve the totoring mansion from its fall! Obscure it sinks, nor shall it more impart An hour's importance to the poor man's heart; Thither no more the peasant shall repair To sweet oblivion of his daily care; , No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale, No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail;
No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear,
To see each joy the sons of pleasure know,
With louder plaints the mother spoke her woes, And bless'd the cot where ev'ry pleasure rose; And kiss'd her thoughtless babes with many a tear, And clasp'd them close, in sorrow doubly dear; Whilst her fond husband strove to lend relief In all the silent manliness of grief. O Luxury ! thou curs'd by heav'n's decree, How ill exchang'd are things like these for thee! How do thy potions, with insidious joy, Diffuse their pleasures only to destroy Kingdoms by thee, to sickly greatness grown, Boast of a florid vigour not their own: At ev'ry draught more large and large they grow, A bloated mass of rank unwieldy woe; Till sapp'd their strength, and ev'ry part unsound, Down, down they sink, and spread a ruin round. E’en now the devastation is begun, And half the bus'ness of destruction done; E’en now, methinks, as pond'ring here I stand, I see the rural virtues leave the land. Down where yon anch'ring vessel spreads the sail, That idly waiting flaps with ev'ry gale, Downward they move, a melancholy band, Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand. Contented toil, and hospitable care, And kind connubial tenderness, are there; And piety with wishes placed above, And steady loyalty, and faithful love. And thou, sweet Poetry, thou loveliest maid, Still first to fly where sensual joys invades Unfit, in these degen'rate times of shame, To catch the heart, or strike for honest fame, Dear charming nymph, neglected and decry'd, My shame in crowds, my solitary pride; Thou source of all my bliss, and all my woe, That found'st me poor at first, and keep'st me so; Thou guide, by which the nobler arts excel, Thou nurse of ev'ry virtue, fare thee well; Farewell and O ! where'er thy voice be try’d, On Torno's cliffs, or Pambamarca's side, Whether where equinoctial fervours glow, Or winter wraps the polar world in snow, Still let thy voice, prevailing over time, Redress the rigours of th’ inclement clime; Aid slighted truth with thy persuasive strain, Teach erring man to spurn the rage of gain; Teach him that states, of native strength possest, Though very poor, may still be very blest; That trade's proud empire hastes to swift decay, As ocean sweeps the labour'd mole away; While self-dependent pow'r can time defy, As rocks resist the billows and the sky.
“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 length'ning as I go.”
Our Will" shall be wildfowl, of excellent flavour; And Dick + with his pepper shall heighten the savour: Our Cumberland's # sweet-bread its place shall obtain; And Douglas S is pudding, substantial and plain: Our Garrick's a sallad; for in him we see Oil, vinegar, sugar, and saltness agree: To make out the dinner, full certain I am That Ridge T is anchovy, and Reynolds” is lamb; That Hickey's to a capon; and, by the same rule, Magnanimous Goldsmith, a gooseberry fool. At a dinner so various, at such a repast, Who'd not be a glutton, and stick to the last? Here, waiter, more wine, let me sit while I’m able, Till all my companions sink under the table; Then, with chaos and blunders encircling my head, Let me ponder, and tell what I think of the dead. Here lies the good dean, re-united to earth, Who mix’d reason with pleasure, and wisdom with mirth; If he had any faults, he has left us in doubt, At least in six weeks I could not find them out; Yet some have declar'd, and it can't be denied 'em, That sly-boots was cursedly cunning to hide 'em. Here lies our good Edmund, whose genius was such, We scarcely can praise it, or blame it too much; Who, born for the universe, narrow'd his mind, And to party gave up what was meant for mankind; Though fraught with all learning, yet straining his throat To persuade Tommy Townshend # to lend him a vote; Who, too deep for his hearers, still went on refining, And thought of convincing, while they thought of dining; Though equal to all things, for all things unfit; Too nice for a statesman, too proud for a wit; For a patriot too cool; for a drudge disobedient; And too fond of the right to pursue the expedient. In short, 't was his fate, unemploy'd, or in place, sir, To eat mutton cold, and cut blocks with a razor. Here lies honest William, whose heart was a mint, While the owner ne'er knew half the good that was in 't; The pupil of impulse, it forc'd him along, His conduct still right, with his argument wrong;
• Mr. William Burke, Secretary to General Con
way, and Member for Bedwin.
# Mr. Richard Cumberland, author of the West Indian, Fashionable Lover, The Brothers, and other dramatic pieces.
5 Dr. Douglas, Bishop of Salisbury, who no less distinguished himself as a citizen of the world, than a sound critic, in detecting several literary mistakes (or rather forgeries) of his countrymen; particularly Lauder on Milton, and Bower's History of the Popes.
| David Garrick, Esq.
# Counsellor John Ridge, a gentleman belonging to the Irish bar.
** Sir Joshua Reynolds.
++ An eminent attorney.
# Mr. T. Townshend, Member for Whitchurch.
Still aiming at honour, yet fearing to roam,
* Mr. Richard Burke. This gentleman having slightly fractured one of his arms and legs, at different times, the Doctor has rallied him on those accidents, as a kind of retributive justice for breaking his jests upon other people.
+ The Rev. Dr. Dodd.
f Dr. Kenrick, who read lectures at the Devil Tavern, under the title of The School of Shakspeare.
§ James Macpherson, Esq. who, from the mere force of his style, wrote down the first poet of all antiquity.