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Till authors hear at length one general cry^—
Tickle and entertain us, or we die. The loud demand, from year to year the same, Beggars Invention, and makes Fancy lame;Till farce itself, most mournfully jejune, Calls for the kind assistance of a tune;And novels (witness every month's review) Belie their name, and offer nothing new. The mind, relaxing into needful sport, Should turn to writers of an abler sort, Whose wit well managed, and whose classic style, Give truth a lustre, and make wisdom smile. Friends (for I cannot stint, as some have done, Too rigid in my view, that name to one;Though one, I grant it, in the generous breast Will stand advanced a step above the rest:
Flowers by that name promiscuously we call,
But one, the rose, the regent of them all)— Friends, not adopted with a school-boy's haste,
But chosen with a nice discerning taste, Well-born, well-disciplined, who, placed apart From vulgar minds, have honour much at heart,
And though the world may think the ingredients odd,
The love of virtue, and the fear of God!
Such friends prevent what else would soon succeed,
A temper rustic as the life we lead,
And keep the polish of the manners clean
As theirs who bustle in the busiest scene;
For solitude, however some may rave,
Seeming a sanctuary, proves a grave,
A sepulchre, in which the living lie,
Where all good qualities grow sick and die.
1 praise the Frenchman,* his remark was shrewd—
How sweet, how passing sweet, is solitude!
But grant me still a friend in my retreat,
Whom I may whisper—solitnde is sweet.
Yet neither these delights, nor aught beside,
That appetite can ask, or wealth provide,
Can save us always from a tedious day,
Or shine the dulness of still life away:
Divine communion, carefully enjoy'd,
Or sought with energy, must fill the void.
O sacred art, to which alone life owes
Its happiest seasons, and a peaceful close,
Scorn'd in a world, indebted to that scorn
For evils daily felt and hardly borne,
Hot knowing thee, we reap with bleeding hands
Flowers of rank odour upon thorny lands,
And, while Experience cautions us in vain,
Grasp seeming happiness, and find it pain.
Despondence, self-deserted in her grief,
Lost by abandoning her own relief,
Murmuring and ungrateful Discontent,
That scorns afflictions mercifully meant,
Those humours, tart as wines upon the fret,
Which idleness and weariness beget;
These, and a thousand plagues, that haunt the breslt
Fond of the phantom of an earthly rest,
Divine communion chases, as the day
Drives to their dens the obedient beasts of prey.
See Judah's promised king, bereft of all,
Driven out an exile from the face of Saul,
To distant caves the lonely wanderer flies, To seek that peace a tyrant's frown denies. Hear the sweet accents of his tuneful voice, Hear him, o'erwhelm'd with sorrow, yet rejoice; No womanish or wailing grief has part,
Ho, not a moment, in his royal heart;'Tis manly music, such as martyrs make, Suffering with gladness for a Saviour's sake; His soul exults, hope animates his lays, The sense of mercy kindles into praise, And wilds, familiar with a lion's roar,
King with ecstatic sounds unheard before;
'Tis love like his, that can alone defeat The foes of man, or make a desert sweet.
Religion does not censure or exclnde Unnumber'd pleasures harmlessly pursued;To study culture, and with artful toil
Me poetry (or rather notes that aim
TITHING TIME AT STOCK, IN ESSEX.
Verses addressed to a country clergyman complaining of the disagreeableness of the day annually appointed for receiving the dues at tineparsonage.
COME, ponder well, for 'tis no jest,
This priest he merry is and blithe
He then is full of fright and fears,
As one at point to die,
tie heaves up many a sigh.
For then the farmers come jog, jog,
Along the miry road,
To make their payments good.
In sooth, the sorrow of such days
Is not to be express'd,
Are both alike distress'd.
Now all unwelcome at his gates The clumsy swains alight,
He trembles at the sight.
Each bumpkin of the clan,
Will cheat him if he can.
And flings his head before,
And not to quit a score.
"And how does miss and madam do,
"The little boy and all?" "All tight and well. And how do you,
"Good Mr. What-d'ye-call?"
The dinner comes, and down they sit:
Were e'er such hungry folk? There's little talking, and no wit;
It is no time to joke. One wipes his nose upon his sleeve,
One spits upon the floor,
Holds up the cloth before.
The punch goes round, and they are dull
And lumpish still as ever;
They only weigh the heavier.
At length the busy time begins.
"Come, neighbours, we must wag—" The money chinks, down drop their chins, Each lugging out his bag.
One talks of mildew and of frost,
And one of storms of hail,
By maggots at the tail.