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The service past, around the pious man,
With ready zeal, each honest rustic ran;
E’en children follow'd with endearing wile,
And pluck'd his gown, to share the good man's finile.
His ready smile a parent's warmth expreít,
Their welfare pleas'd him, and their cares difress’d,
To them his heart, his love, his griefs were giv’n,
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 straggling fence that skirts the way,
With blossom 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 ev'ry 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;
? Twas certain he could write and cypher too;
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,
And e’en 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 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 could 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 lists 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 finiling 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 splendors of that festive place;
The white-wash'd wall, the nicely fanded 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 draw'rs 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 aspin bows, and flowers and fennel gay, While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show, Rang’d o'er the chimney, glisten'd in a row.
VAIN transitory fplendour! could not all Reprieve the tott'ring mansion from it's 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 pond'rous 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 glofs of art; Spontaneous joys, where nature has its play, The foul adopts, and owns their first-born fway; Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind, Unenvy'd, unmolested, unconsin’d:
But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade ,
With all the freaks of wanton wealth array'd,
In these, ere trislers half their wish obtain,
The toiling pleasure fickens into pain;
And, e’en while fashion's brightest arts decoy,
The heart distrusting asks if this be joy?
Y E friends to truth, ye statesınen who survey
The rich man’s joys encrease, the poor's decay,
'Tis yours to judge how wide the limits stand
Between a splendid and a happy land.
Proud swells the tide with loads of freighted ore,
And shouting folly hails them from her shore;
Hoards , e’en beyond the miser's wish, abound,
And rich men slock from all the world around;
Yet count our gains: This wealth is but a name
That leaves our useful product still the same.
Not so our loss. The man of wealth and pride
Takes up a space that many poor supply'd;
Space for his lake, his park’s extended bounds,
Space for his horses, equipage and hounds;
The robe that wraps his limbs in filken sloth
Has robb’d the neighb’ring fields of half their growth;
His seat, where solitary sports are seen,
Indignant spurns the cottage from the green,
Around the world each useful product flies,
For all the luxuries the world es.
While thus the land adorn’d for pleasure all,
In barren splendor feebly waits the fall.
As some fair female unadorn'd and plain,
Secure to please while youth confirms her reign,
Slights ev'ry borrow'd charm that dress supplies,
Nor shares with art the triumph of her eyes;
But when those charms are past, for charms are frail,
When time advances, and when lovers fail,
She then shines forth, solicitous to bless,
In all the glaring impotence of dress.
Thus fares the land, by luxury betray'd,
In nature's simplest charms at first array’d,
But verging to decline, its splendors rise,
Its vistas strike, its palaces surprise ;
While, scourg'd by famine from the smiling land,
The mournful peasant leads his humble band;
And while he finks, without one arm to save,
The country blooms a garden-and a grave.
WHERE then, ah! where shall poverty reside,
To 'scape the pressure of contiguous pride?
If to some common's fenceless limits stray'd,
He drives his flock to pick the scanty blade,
Those fenceless fields the sons of wealth divide,
And e’en the bare-worn common is deny’d.
If to the city sped—What waits him there?
To see profusion that he must not share;