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Its owner's temper, timorous and severe,
And Nature's fervour through their limbs recalls.
With still remark the pondering hermit view'd, In one so rich, a life so poor and rude; "And why should such," within himself he cry'd, "Lock the lost wealth a thousand want beside?" But what new marks of wonder soon take place, In every settling feature of his face;
When from his vest the young companion bore
But now the clouds in airy tumult fly;
The weather courts them from the poor retreat,
While hence they walk, the pilgrim's bosom wrought
With all the travel of uncertain thought;
His partner's acts without their cause appear,
Now Night's dim shades again involve the sky, Again the wanderers want a place to lie, Again they search, and find a lodging nigh, The soil improv'd around, the mansion neat, And neither poorly low, nor idly great: It seem'd to speak its master's turn of mind, Content, and not to praise, but virtue kind.
Hither the walkers turn with weary feet, Then bless the mansion, and the master greet: Their greeting fair, bestow'd with modest guise, The courteous master hears, and thus replies:
"Without a vain, without a grudging heart, To him who gives us all, I yield a part; From him you come, for him accept it here, A frank and sober, more than costly cheer." He spoke, and bid the welcome table spread, Then talk of virtue till the time of bed, When the grave household round his hall repair, Warn'd by a bell, and close the hours with prayer.
At length the world, renew'd by calm repose, Was strong for toil, the dappled Morn arose; Before the pilgrims part, the younger crept, Near the clos'd cradle where an infant slept,
And writh'd his neck: the landlord's little pride,
Confus'd, and struck with silence at the deed, He flies, but trembling, fails to fly with speed. His steps the youth pursues; the country lay Perplex'd with roads, a servant show'd the A river cross'd the path; the passage o'er Was nice to find; the servant trod before; Long arms of oaks an open bridge supply'd, And deep the waves beneath the bending glide. youth, who seem'd to watch a time to sin, Approached the careless guide, and thrust him in; Plunging he falls, and rising lifts his head, Then flashing turns, and sinks among the dead.
Wild, sparkling rage inflames the father's eyes, He bursts the bands of fear, and madly cries, "Detested wretch!". But scarce his speech began, When the strange partner seem'd no longer man : His youthful face grew more serenely sweet; His robe turn'd white, and flow'd upon his feet; Fair rounds of radiant points invest his hair; Celestial odours breathe through purpled air; And wings, whose colours glitter'd on the day, Wide at his back their gradual plumes display. The form etherial burst upon his sight, And moves in all the majesty of light.
Though loud at first the pilgrim's passion grew, Sudden he gaz'd, and wist not what to do;
Surprise in secret chains his words suspends,
"Thy prayer, thy praise, thy life to vice unknown,
"The Maker justly claims that world he made, In this the right of Providence is laid; Its sacred majesty through all depends On using second means to work his ends: 'Tis thus, withdrawn in state from human eye, The power exerts his attributes on high, Your actions uses, nor controls your will, And bids the doubting sons of men be still.
"What strange events can strike with more surprise,
Than those which lately struck thy wondering eyes? Yet, taught by these, confess th' Almighty just, And where you can't unriddle, learn to trust!
"The great, vain man, who far'd on costly food, Whose life was too luxurious to be good; Who made his ivory stands with goblets shine, And forc'd his guests to morning draughts of wine, Has, with the cup, the graceless custom lost, And still he welcomes, but with less of cost.
"The mean, suspicious wretch, whose bolted door Ne'er mov'd in duty to the wandering poor; With him I left the cup, to teach his mind That Heaven can bless, if mortals will be kind. Conscious of wanting worth, he views the bowl, And feels compassion touch his grateful soul. Thus artists melt the sullen ore of lead, With heaping coals of fire upon its head; In the kind warmth the metal learns to glow, And loose from dross the silver runs below. Long had our pious friend in virtue trod, But now the child half-wean'd his heart from God; (Child of his age) for him he liv'd in pain, And measur'd back his steps to Earth again. To what excesses had his dotage run?
But God, to save the father, took the son.
"But now had all his fortune felt a wrack,
On sounding pinions here the youth withdrew, The sage stood wondering as the seraph flew. Thus look'd Elisha when, to mount on high, His master took the chariot of the sky; The fiery pomp ascending left to view; The prophet gaz'd, and wish'd to follow too.