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Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
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 ev'ry call, He watch'd and wept, he pray'd and felt, for all.
And as a bird each fond endearment tries,
Beside the bed where parting life was laid, And sotrow, guilt, and pains, 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 ready zcal, each honest rustie ran; Ev’n children follow'd with endearing wile, And pluck'd his gown, to share the good man's sinile. T'is ready sinile a parent's warmth express'd, Thcir welfare pleas'd him, and their cares distress'd; To them his heart, his love, his griefs were giv'n, But all his serious thoughts had rest in heav'n. As some tall cliff that lifis its awful form, Swells from the vale, and inidway 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 know; 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 lides presage, And ev’n the story ran that he could guage: In arguing too, the parson own'd his skill, For ev'n though vanquish'd, lie could argue still; While words of learned length, and thun i'ring
sound, Amaze the gazing rustics rang'd around;
And still they gaz'd, and still the wonder grew, That one small head could carry all he knew : But pass'd 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 honest swains 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 splenders of that festive place; The white-wash'd wall, the nicely-sanded floor, The varnish'd clock that click'd behind the door; The chest, contriv'd a double debt to pay; 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 aspen boughs, and flow'rs, and fennel gay, While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show, Rang'd o'er the chimney, glisten'd in a row.
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; Spontaneous joys, where nature has its play, The soul adopts, and owns their first-born sway; Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind, Unenvy'd, unmolested, unconfin'd. But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade, With all the freaks of wanton wealth array'd, In these, ere triflers half their wish obtain, The toiling pleasure sickens into pain; And, ev'n while fashion's brightest charms decoy, The heart, distrusting, asks if this be joy.
Yę friends to truth, ye statesmen, who survey The'rich man's joys increase, the poor's decay, Tis yours to judge how wide the limits stand Between a splendid and a happy land. Proud swells the tide with loads of freighted ore, And shouting Folly hails them from her shore; Hoards, e’en beyond the miser's wish, abound, And rich men flock from all the world around. Yet count our gains: this wealth is but a name That leaves our useful products still the same. Not so the loss: the man of wealth and pride Takes up a space that many poor supply'd; Space for his lake, his park's extended bounds, Space for his horses, equipage, and hounds;