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Processions formed for piety and love,
A mistress or a saint in every grove.
By sports like these are all their cares beguild;
The sports of children satisfy the child :
Each pobler aim, repress'd by long control,
Now sinks at last, or feebly mans the soul ;
While low delights, succeeding fast behind,
In happier meanness occupy the mind :
As in those domes where Cæsars once bore sway,
Defac'd by time, and tott'ring in decay,
There in the ruin, heedless of the dead,
The shelter-seeking peasant builds his shed ;
And, wondering man could want the larger pile,
Exults, and owns his cottage with a smile.
My soul, turn from them, turn we to survey
Where rougher climes a nobler race display;
Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansion tread,
And force a churlish soil for scanty bread.
No product here the barren hills afford,
But man and steel, the soldier and his sword ;
No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array,
But winter lingering chills the lap of May;
No zephyr fondly sues the mountain's breast,
But meteors glare, and stormy glooms invest.
Yet still, even here, content can spread a charm,
Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm.
Though poor the peasant's hut, his feasts though small,
He sees his little lot the lot of all;
Sees no contiguous palace rear its head,
To shame the meanness of his humble shed ;
No costly lord the sumptuous banquet deal,
To make him loathe his vegetable meal :
But calm, and bred in ignorance and toil,
Each wish contracting, fits him to the soil.
Cheerful at morn, he wakes from short repose,
Breathes the keen air, and carols as he goes ;
With patient angle trolls the finny deep,
Or drives his vent'rous ploughshare to the steep;
Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way,
And drags the struggling savage into day.
At night returning, every labour sped,
He sits him down the monarch of a shed ;
Smiles by his cheerful fire, and round surveys
His children's looks, that brighten at the blaze ;
While his lov’d partner, boastful of her hoard,
Displays her cleanly platter on the board :
And haply, too, some pilgrim thither led,
tale repays the nightly bed.
Thus every good his native wilds impart
Imprints the patriot passion on his heart ;
And e'en those ills that round his mansion rise
Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies :
Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms,
And dear that hill which lifts him to the storms ;
And as a child, when scaring sounds molest,
Clings close and closer to the mother's breast,
So the loud torrent and the whirlwind's roar
But bind him to his native mountains more.
From “ The Deserted Village."
The Village Green. 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 ling’ring blooms delay'd ; Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease, Seats of my youth, when every sport could please ; How often have I loiter'd o'er thy green, Where humble happiness endear'd each scene ; How often have I paus’d on every charm,The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm, The never-failing brook, the busy mill, The decent church that topp’d the neighb'ring hill; The hawthorn-bush, with seats beneath the shade, For talking age and whisp’ring lovers made! How often have I bless'd 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 tir'd,
Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspir’d.
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 titter'd round the place ;
The bashful virgin's side-long looks of love ;
The matron’s glance that would those looks reprove :
These were thy charms, sweet 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 these charms are fled.
NEAR yonder copse, where once the garden smild,
And still where many a garden-flower grows wild;
There, where a few torn 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,
Nor e'er had chang', nor wish'd to change his place;
Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power
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 wanderings, 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 bid 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 shew'd how fields were won.
Pleas'd with his guests, the good man learn’d to glow,
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 even his failings lean’d to virtue's side.
But in his duty prompt at every call,
He watch'd and wept,
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 tried each art, reprov'd each dull delay,
Allur’d to brighter worlds, and led the way.
The Village-Schoolmaster of Former Days.
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's 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 :
'Twas certain he could write and cipher too;
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,
And even the story ran that he could gauge;
In arguing, too, the parson own’d his skill,
For e'en though vanquish'd, he could argue still;
While words of learned length, and thundering.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.
Born A.D. 1731, died A.D. 1800.
She speaks of Him, her author, guardian, friend,
Whose love knew no beginning, knows no end,
In language warm as all that love inspires ;
And in the glow of her intense desires
Pants to communicate her noble fires.
She sees a world stark blind to what employs
Her eager thought, and feeds her flowing joys ;
Though Wisdom hail them, heedless of her call,
Flies to save some, and feels a pang for all :
Herself as weak as her support is strong,
She feels that frailty she denied so long;
And, from a knowledge of her own disease,
Learns to compassionate the sick she sees.
Here see, acquitted of all vain pretence,
The reign of genuine Charity commence.
Though scorn repay her sympathetic tears,
She still is kind, and still she perseveres ;
The truth she loves a sightless world blaspheme,-
'Tis childish dotage, a delirious dream :
The danger they discern not, they deny;
Laugh at their only remedy, and die.
But still a soul thus touch'd can never cease,
Whoever threatens war, to speak of peace.
Pure in her aim, and in her temper mild,
Her wisdom seems the weakness of a child :
She makes excuses where she might condemn;
Reviled by those that hate her, prays for them ;
Suspicion lurks not in her artless breast,
The worst suggested, she believes the best ;
Not soon provoked, however stung and teased,
And, if perhaps made angry, soon appeased ;
She rather waives an will dispute her right,
And, injured, makes forgiveness her delight.