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Thuş to relieve the wretched was his pride,
And even his failings leaned to Virtue's side;.
But in his duty prompt at every call,
He watch'd 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.
Beside the bed where parting life was layed, And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismayed, The reverend champion stood. At his control, Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul; Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise, And his last faultering accents whispered praise.
At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
His looks adorned the venerable place;
Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway,
And fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray.
The service past, around the pious man,
With steady zeaf each honest rustic ran;
Even children followed with endearing wile,
And plucked his gown, to share the good man's smile.
His ready smile a parent's warmth exprest,
Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distreft ;
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,
Tho'round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
Beside yon ftraggling fence that skirts the way,
With blossomed 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 learned to trace
The day's disasters in his morning-face ;
Full well they laughed with counterfeited glec
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;
Full well the busy whisper circling round,
Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned : :
Yet he was kind; or if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault;
The village all declared how much he knew;
'Twas certain he could write, and cypher too;
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,
And even the story ran that he could gauge.
In arguing too, the parson owned his skill;
For even tho’ vanquished, he could argue ftill; .
While words of learned length, and thundering sound
Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around;
And fill they gazed, and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all he knew.
But past is all his fame. The very spot
Where many a time he triumphed, 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 inspired,
Where grey-beard mirth and smiling toil retired,
Where village statesmen talked with looks profound,
And news much older than their ale went round.
Imagination fondly stoops to trace
The parlour fplendours of that festive place;
The white-washed wall, the nicely fanded floor,
The varnished clock that clicked behind the door ;
The chest contrived a double debt to pay,
A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day ;
The pictures placed 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 gay ;
While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for Thew,
Ranged o’er the chimney, glistened in a row.
Vain transitory splendours! Could not all
Reprieve the tottering 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 wood-man's ballad shall prevail ;
No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear,
Relax his ponderous strength, and lean to hear;
The host himself no longer shall be found
Careful to see the mantling bliss go round;
Nor the coy maid, half willing to be prest,
Shall kiss the cup to pass it to the rest.
Yes ! let the rich deride, the proud disdain, These simple blessings of the lowly train ; To me more dear, congenial to my heart, One native charm, than all the gloss of art; Spontaneous joys, where Nature has its play, The foul adopts, and owns their first born sway; Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind, Unenvied, unmolested, unconfined: But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade, With all the freaks of wanton wealth arrayed,