Слике страница
PDF
ePub

The broken soldier, kindly bade 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 show'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 ev'n his failings lean’d to Virtue's side;
But in his duty prompt at every call,
He watch'd and wept, he 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 try'd each art, reprov'd each dull delay,
Allur'd to brighter worlds, and led the way.

Beside the bed where parting life was laid,

And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismay'd,
The rev'rend champion stood. At his controul,
Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;

Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise, And his last fault'ring accents whisper'd praise,

At church, with meek and unaffected grace,

His looks adorn’d the venerable place;

Truth from his lips prevail'd with double sway,
And fools, who came to scoff, remain'd to pray.
The service past, around the pious man,

With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran:

E’en children follow'd with endearing wile,

And pluck'd his gown, to share the good man's smile.
His ready smile a parent's warmth express'd,
Their welfare pleas'd him, and their cares distress'd;

To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given,

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, Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,

Eternal sunshine settles on its head.

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 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 guage:
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 should 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 lifts 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 smiling 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 splendours of that festive place:

The white-wash'd wall, the nicely sanded floor,

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

A bed by night, a chest of drawers 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 boughs, 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 splendours! could not all Reprieve the tott'ring mansion from its 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 woodman'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 gloss of art:

« ПретходнаНастави »