Слике страница

the flower of his youth. This misfortune crushed his spirits even to temporary alienation of mind. With his wife in a madhouse, his sons dead, and his own health broken, he might be pardoned for saying, as he looked on the corpse of his last child, “ I have done with this world.” Indeed he acted as if he felt so; for though he performed the duties of his professorship till within a short time of his death, he applied to no study, enjoyed no society, and answered but few letters of his friends. Yet, amidst the depth of his melancholy, he would sometimes acquiesce in his childless fate, and exclaim, “ How could I have borne to see their elegant minds “ mangled with madness!” He was struck with a palsy in 1799, by repeated attacks of which his life terminated in 1803.



Ah! who can tell how hard it is to climb
The steep where Fame's proud temple shines afar;
Ah! who can tell how many a soul sublime
Has felt the influence of malignant star,
And waged with Fortune an eternal war;
Check'd by the scoff of Pride, by Envy's frown,
And Poverty's unconquerable bar,
In life’s low vale remote has pined alone,
Then dropt into the grave, unpitied and unknown !

And yet the languor of inglorious days
Not equally oppressive is to all;
Him, who ne'er listen’d to the voice of praise
The silence of neglect can ne'er appal.
There are, who, deaf to mad Ambition's call,
Would shrink to hear th'obstreperous trump of Fame;
Supremely blest, if to their portion fall
Health, competence, and peace. Nor higher aim
Had he, whose simple tale these artless lines pro-


The rolls of fame I will not now explore;
Nor need I here describe, in learned lay, .'
How forth the Minstrel far'd in days of yore,
Right glad of heart, though liomely in array;
His waving locks and beard all hoary grey:
While from his bending shoulder, decent hung
His harp, the sole companion of his way, ,
Which to the whistling wild responsive rung:
And’ever as he went some merry lay he sung.

Fret not thyself, thou glittering child of pride,
That a poor villager inspires my strain ;
With thee let Pageantry and Power abide:

The gentle Muses haunt the sylvan reign ;
Where through wild groves at eve the lonely swain
Enraptur'd roams, to gaze on Nature's charms.
They hate the sensual, and scorn the vain,
The parasite their influence never warms,
Nor him whose sordid soul the love of gold alarms.



Though richest hues the peacock’s plumes adorn,
Yet horror screams from his discordant throat.
Rise, sons,of harmony, and hail the morn,
While warbling larks on russet pinions float:
Or seek at noon the woodland scene remote,
Where the grey linnets carol from the hill.
O let them ne'er, with artificial note,
To please a tyrant, strain the little bill,
But sing what Heaven inspires, and wander where

they will.

Liberal, not lavish, is kind Nature's hand;
Nor was perfection made for man below.
Yet all her schemes with nicest art are plann'd,
Good counteracting ill, and gladness woe.
With gold and gems if Chilian mountains glow;
If bleak and barren Scotia's hills arise;
There plague and poison, lust and rapine grow;
Here peaceful are the vales, and pure the skies,
And freedom fires the soul, and sparkles in the eyes.

Then grieve not, thou, to whom th' indulgent Muse
Vouchsafes à portion of celestial fire:
Nor blame the partial Fates, if they refuse
Th' imperial banquet, and the rich attire.
Know thine own worth, and reverence the lyre.
Wilt thou debase the heart which God refin'd?
No; let thy heaven-taught soul to Heaven aspire,
To fancy, freedom, harmony, resign'd;
Ambition's groveling crew for ever left behind.

Canst thou forego the pure ethereal soul
In each fine sense so exquisitely keen,
On the dull couch of Luxury to loll,
Stung with disease, and stupefied with spleen ;
Fain to implore the aid of Flattery's screen,
Even from thyself thy loathsome heart to hide,
(The mansion then no more of joy serene),
Where fear, distrust, malevolence, abide,
And impotent desire, and disappointed pride ?

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

O how canst thou renounce the boundless store
Of charms which Nature to her votary yields !
The warbling woodland, the resounding shore,
The pomp of groves, and garniture of fields ;
All that the genial ray of morning gilds,
And all that echoes to the song of even,
All that the mountain's sheltering bosom shields,

And all the dread magnificence of Heaven, . O how canst thou renounce, and hope to be for

given ?

These charms shall work thy soul's eternal health,
And love, and gentleness, and joy, impart.
But these thou must renounce, if lust of wealth
E’er win its way to thy corrupted heart :
For ah! it poisons like a scorpion's dart;
Prompting th' ungenerous wish, the selfish scheme,
The stern resolve unmov'd by pity's smart,
The troublous day, and long distressful dream.
Return, my roving Muse, resume thy purposed theme.
There lived in Gothic days, as legends tell,
A shepherd-swain, a man of low degree;
Whose sires, perchance, in Fairyland might dwell,
Sicilian groves, or vales of Arcady;
But he, I ween, was of the north countrie;
A nation fam’d for song, and beauty's charms ;
Zealous, yet modest ; innocent, though free;
Patient of toil; serene amidst alarms;
Inflexible in faith; invincible in arms.

The shepherd-swain of whom I mention made,
On Scotia's mountains fed his little flock;
The sickle, scythe, or plough, he never sway'd;
An honest heart was almost all his stock;
His drink the living water from the rock:
The milky dams supplied his board, and lent
Their kindly fleece to baffle winter's shock;
And he, though oft with dust and sweat besprent,
Did guide and guard their wanderings, wheresoe'er

they went.

From labour health, from health contentment springs:
Contentment opes the source of every joy.
He envied not, he never thought of, kings;
Nor from those appetites sustain's annoy, .
That chance may frustrate, or indulgence cloy:
Nor Fate his calm and humble hopes beguild;
He mourned no recreant friend, nor mistress coy,
For on his vows the blameless Phoebe smiled,
And her alone he loved, and loved her from a child.

« ПретходнаНастави »