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Unfit in these degenerate times of shame
THE HERMIT: A BALLAD.
The following letter, addressed to the printer of the “St. James's Chronicle," appeared in that paper in June, 1767:
SIR, -As there is nothing I dislike so much as newspaper controversy, particularly upon trifles, permit me to be as concise as possible in informing a correspondent of yours, that I recommended Blainville's Travels because I thought the book was a good one; and I think so still. I said I was told by the bookseller that it was then first published: but in that, it seems, I was misinformed, and my reading was not extensive enough to set me right.
Another correspondent of yours accuses me of having taken a ballad I published some time ago from oned by the ingenious Mr. Percy. I do not think there is any great resemblance between the two pieces in question. If there be any, his ballad is taken from mine. I read it to Mr. Percy some years ago ; and he (as we both considered these things as trifles at best) told me with his usual good humour, the next time I saw him, that he had taken my plan to form the fragments of Shakespeare into a ballad of his own. He then read me his little Cento, if I may so call it, and I highly approved it. Such petty anecdotes as these are scarce worth printing : and, were it not for the busy disposition of some of your correspondents, the public should never have known that he owes me the hint of his ballad, or that I am obliged to his friendship and learning for communications of a much more important nature.
I am, Sir, yours, &c.
(1) "The Friar of Orders Gray."-Reliq. of Anc. Poetry, vol. i. p. 243.
“Turn, gentle Hermit of the dale,
And guide my lonely way,
With hospitable ray.
With fainting steps and slow, Where wilds, immeasurably spread,
Seem lengthening as I go. “Forbear, my son,” the Hermit cries,
“To tempt the dangerous gloom ; For yonder faithless phantom flies
To lure thee to thy doom.
My door is open still ;
I give it with good will.
Whate'er my cell bestows, My rushy couch and frugal fare,
My blessing and repose.
To slaughter I condemn;
I learn to pity them :
side A guiltless feast I bring, A scrip with herbs and fruits supplied,
And water from the spring. “Then, pilgrim, turn; thy cares forego ;
All earth-born cares are wrong :
Nor wants that little long."
His gentle accents fell :
And follows to the cell.
The lonely mansion lay,
And strangers led astray.
No stores beneath its humble thatch
Required a master's care;
Received the harmless pair.
To take their evening rest,
And cheered his pensive guest.
And gaily pressed, and smiled ; And skilled in legendary lore
The lingering hours beguiled.
Its tricks the kitten tries;
The crackling faggot flies.
To soothe the stranger's woe ;
And tears began to flow.
With answering care opprest:
The sorrows of thy breast ?
Reluctant dost thou rove?
Or unregarded love?
Are trilling, and decay ;
More trifling still than they.
A charm that lulls to sleep,
But leaves the wretch to weep?
The modern fair-one's jest ; On earth unseen, or only found
To warm the turtle's nest.
“For shame, fond youth, thy sorrows hush, “The blossom opening to the day, And spurn the sex,” he said :
The dews of heaven refined,
To emulate his mind.
With charms inconstant shine;
Their constancy was mine. The bashful look, the rising breast, “For still I tried each fickle art, Alternate spread alarms:
Importunate and vain ; The lovely stranger stands confest And while his passion touched my heart, A maid in all her charms.
I triumphed in his pain. “And, ah ! forgive a stranger rude, “Till quite dejected with my scorn A wretch forlorn,” she cried ;
He left me to my pride,
In secret, where he died. “But let a maid thy pity share,
“But mine the sorrow, mine the fault, Whom love has taught to stray ;
And well my life shall pay; Who seeks for rest, but finds despair I'll seek the solitude he sought, Companion of her way.
And stretch me where he lay. “My father lived beside the Tyne; “And there forlorn, despairing, hid, A wealthy lord was he;
I'll lay me down and die ; And all his wealth was marked as mine,- | 'Twas so for me that Edwin did, He had but only me.
And so for him will I." “ To win me from his tender arms “Forbid it, Heaven!” the Hermit cried, Unnumbered suitors came,
And clasped her to his breast : Who praised me for imputed charms, The wondering fair one turned to chide, And felt or feigned a flame.
'Twas Edwin's self that pressed. “Each hour a mercenary crowd
“Turn, Angelina, ever dear; With richest proffers strove ;
My charmer, turn to see Amongst the rest young Edwin bowed, Thy own, thy long-lost Edwin here, But never talked of love.
Restored to love and thee. “In humble, simplest habits clad, Thus let me hold thee to my heart, No wealth nor power had he ;
And every care resign : Wisdom and worth were all he had, And shall we never, never part, But these were all to me.
My life—my all that's mine? “ And when beside me in the dale “No, never from this hour to part, He carolled lays of love,
We'll live and love so true, His breath lent fragrance to the gale, The sigh that rends thy constant heart And music to the grove.
Shall break thy Edwin's too."
THE HAUNCH OF VENISON.
À POETICAL EPISTLE TO LORD CLARE.
THANKS, my lord, for your venison, for finer or fatter
But, my lord, it's no bounce: I protest in my turn
-or is it in waiting ?” Why, whose should it be?” cried I with a flounce; I get these things often”—but that was a bounce :
Some lords, my acquaintance, that settle the nation, Are pleased to be kind - but I hate ostentation."
“ If that be the case then,” cried he, very gay, “ I'm glad I have taken this house in my way.
To-morrow you take a poor dinner with me;
Left alone to reflect, having emptied my shelf,
When come to the place where we all were to dine
At the top a fried liver and bacon were seen ;
The tripe ! ” quoth the Jew, with his chocolate cheek ; “ I could dine on this tripe seven days in a week: I like these here dinners so pretty and small; But your friend there, the doctor, eats nothing at all.” “O! ho!" quoth my friend,“ he'll come on in a trice ; He's keeping a corner for something that's nice :