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How do thy potions, with insidious joy,
Even now the devastation is begun,
And thou, sweet Poetry, thou loveliest maid,
Still let thy voice, prevailing over time,
1 " TURN, gentle Hermit of the dale,
And guide my lonely way,
With hospitable ray.
2 “ For here forlorn and lost I tread,
With fainting steps and slow;
Seem lengthening as I go.”
3 “ Forbear, my son,” the Hermit cries,
“ To tempt the dangerous gloom ; For yonder faithless phantom flies
To lure thee to thy doom.
4 “ Here to the houseless child of want
My door is open still ;
See Vicar of Wakefield, chapter viii.
5 “ Then turn to-night, and freely share
Whate'er my cell bestows;
My blessing, and repose.
6 “ No flocks that range the valley free
To slaughter I condemn ;
I learn to pity them :
7 “ But from the mountain's
side A guiltless feast I bring ; A scrip with herbs and fruits supplied,
And water from the spring.
8 “ Then, pilgrim, turn, thy cares forego;
All earth-born cares are wrong;
Nor wants that little long."
9 Soft as the dew from heaven descends,
His gentle accents fell :
And follows to the cell.
10 Far in a wilderness obscure
The lonely mansion lay ;
And strangers led astray.
11 No stores beneath its humble thatch
Required a master's care ;
Received the harmless pair.
12 And now, when busy crowds retire
To take their evening rest,
And cheer'd his pensive guest :
13 And spread his vegetable store,
And gaily prest, and smiled ;
The lingering hours beguiled.
14 Around in sympathetic mirth
Its tricks the kitten tries;
The crackling fagot flies.
15 But nothing could a charm impart,
To soothe the stranger's woe;
And tears began to flow.
16 His rising cares the Hermit spied,
With answering care opprest :
“ The sorrows of thy breast ?
17 “ From better habitations spurn'd,
Reluctant dost thou rove?
Or unregarded love?
18 “ Alas! the joys that fortune brings
Are trifling, and decay;
More trifling still than they.
“ And what is friendship but a name,
A charm that lulls to sleep ;
And leaves the wretch to weep?
20 “ And love is still an emptier sound,
The modern fair one's jest ;
To warm the turtle's nest.
21 “ For shame, fond youth! thy sorrows hush, And spurn
sex,” he said : But while he spoke, a rising blush
His love-lorn guest betray'd.
22 Surprised he sees new beauties rise,
Swift mantling to the view;
As bright, as transient too.
23 The bashful look, the rising breast,
Alternate spread alarms :
A maid in all her charms.
24 And, “ Ah! forgive a stranger rude,
A wretch forlorn," she cried ;
Where heaven and you reside.
25 “But let a maid thy pity share,
Whom love has taught to stray ;
Companion of her way.