Page images
PDF
EPUB

" Why, Sir, d'ye think I've lost my eyes
" "Twere no great loss,” the friend replies ;
“ For if they always serve you thus,
You'll find them but of little use."

So high at last the contest rose,
From words they almost came to blows :
When luckily came by a third :
To him the question they referr'd;
And begg'd' he'd tell them, if he knew,
Whether the thing was green or blue.

“ Sirs,' cries the umpire, “cease your pother'
The creature's-neither one nor t'other.
I caught the animal latt night,
And view'd it o'er by candle-light:
I mark'd it well—'twas black as jet-
You ftare-but, Sirs, I've got it yet,
And can produce it.”_“ Pray, Sir, do :
I'll lay my life the thing is blue.”-
“ And I'll be sworn, that when you've seen
The reptile, you'll pronounce him green.
“Well then, at once to end the doubt,
Replies the mạn, “ I'll turn him out:
And when before your eyes I've set him,
If
you

don't find him black, l'll eat him.” He said : then full before their fight Produc'd the beast: and lo!-'twas white.

II. On the Order of Nature.':
SEE, through this air, this ocean, and this earth,,

Al matter quick, and bursting into birth.
Above, how high progreflive life may go!
Around, how wide! how deep extend below!
Vaft chain of being ! which from God began :
Natures ethereal, human ; angel, man ;
Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see,
No glafs can reach ; from Infinite to thee,
From thee to Nothing:-On fuperiour pow'rs.
Were we to press, inferiour' might on ours ;
Or in the full creation leave a void,
Where, one step broken, the great scale's destroy'd
From Nature's chain whatever link you strike,
Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.

R3:

Whas?

What if the foot, ordaind the dust to tread,
Or hand, to toil, aspir'd to be the head?
What if the head, the eye, or ear repin'd

To serve mere engines to the ruling. Mind?
Just as absurd for any part to claim
To be another, in this gen’ral frame:
Just as absurd, to mourn the tasks or pains,
The

great directing Mind of All ordains.
All are but parts of one fupendous whole,
Whofe. body Nature is, and God the foul:
That, chang'd through all, and yet in all the same
Great in the earth, as in th’ ethereal frame,
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees ;
Lives through all life, extends through all extent,
Spreads undivided, operates-unfpent ;
Breathes in our foul, informs our mortal part,
As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart.;
As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns, .
As the rapt seraph that adores and burns :
To him no high, no low, no great, no fmall ji
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.
Cease then, nor ORDER imperfection name ::

bliss depends on what we blame.
Know thy own point: this kind, this due degree
Of blindness, weakness, Heav'n bestows on theco
Submit.- In this, or any other sphere,
Secure to be as bleft as thou canst bear :
Safe in the hand of one difpofing Pow'r, .
Or in the natal, or the mortal hour.
All Nature, is but Art unknown to thee;
All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not fee ; ;
All Discord, Harmony not understood ;
All partial Evil, universal Good:
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's fpite,
One truth is clear,WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHTä.

IIT. Description of a Country: Ale-house.
NEAR yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high,

Where once the fign-poft caught the paffing eye Low lies that house, where nut-brown draughts inspir'd; Where graybeard mirth, and smiling toil, retir'd;

Where

Our proper

IN READING 199
Where village-statesmen talk'd with looks profound,
And news much older than their ale went round.
Imagination fondly loops, to trace
The parlour-fplendours of that festive-place:
The white-wash'd wall; the nicely-fanded floor;
The varnilh'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 flowers, and fennel, gay
While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show,
Rang'd o'er the chimney, gliften'd in a row.

Vain transitory splendours ! could not all
Reprieve the tottering manfion from its fall!
Obscure it finks ; nor shall it more impart
An hour's importance to the poor man's heart.

Thither no more the peasant fball 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 fmith his dusky brow fhall clear,
Relax his ponderous 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 press’d,
Shall kiss the cup, to pass it to the reste

IV. Character of a Country Schoolmaster."
BESIDE yon ftraggling fence, that skirts the way

With bloffom'a furze unprofitably gay,
There, in his noify mansion, skill'd to rule,
The village-master taught his little school.
A man severe he was, and stern to view :
liknew him well; and every truant knew.
Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace:
The day's disasters in his morning face:
Full well they laugh'd, with counterfeited gleeg,
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

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 cipher too ;
Lands he could measure ; terms and tides presage;
And even the story ran, that he could-gauge.
In arguing, too, the parson own'd his skill :
For, ev’n though vanquith’d, he could argue ftill
While words of learned length and thund'ring found!
Amaz'd the gazing ruhics rang d around ;
And still they gaz'd ; and fill the wonder grew,
That one small headcould carry all he knew.

V. Story of Palemon and Lavinia.
THE lovely young Lavinia once had friends, s

And fortune smil'd deceitful on her birth...
For, in her helpless years depriv'd of all,
Of every stay, fave innocence and Heav'n,-
She, with her widow'd mother, feeble, old,
And poor, liv'd in a' cottage, far retir'de
Among the windings of a woody vale ;
By folitude and deep surrounding shades,
But more by bashful modesty conceald.
Together, thus they shunnd the cruel scorn,
Which virtue, funk to poverty, would meet
From giddy paffion and low-minded pride :
Almost on Nature's common bounty fed ;
Like the gay birds that fung them to repore,
Content; and careless of to-morrow's fare.

Her form was fresher than the morning-rose,
When the dew wets its leaves ; unstain'd and purez,
As is the lily or the mountain-snow,
The modest virtues mingled in her eyes, :
Still on the ground dejected, darting all
Their humid beams into the blooming flowers
Or, when the mournful tale her mother told,
Of what her faithless fortune promis'd once,
Thrill'd in her thought, they, like the dewy star :
Of ev'ning, shone in tears.

A native grace
Sat fair-proportion'd on her polish'd limbs,
Veil'd in a simple robe, their best attire,
Beyond the pomp of dress; for loveliness

Nesetanse

Needs not the foreign aid of ornament,
But is, when imadorn'd, adorn'd the most.
Thoughtless of beauty, she was Beauty's self,
Reclule amid the clofe embow'ring woods.

As in the hollow breast of Appenine,
Beneath the thelter of encircling hills,
A myrtle rises, far from human eye,
And breathes its balmy fragrance o'er the wild :
So flourish'd, blooming and unseen by all,
The sweet Lavinia ; till at length, compella
By strong Neceffity's supreme command,
With smiting patience in her looks, she went
To glean Palemon's fields.—The pride of fwains
Palemon was ; the generous, and the rich;
Who led the rural life in all its joy
And elegance, such as Arcadian long
Transmits from ancient uncorrupted times,
When tyrant Custom had not shackled man,
But free to lollow Nature was the mode.
He then, his fancy with automnal scenes
Amusing, chanc'd beside his reaper train
To walk, when poor Lavinia drew his eye;
Unconscious of her pow'r, and turning quick
With unaffected blushes from his gaze :
He saw her charming ; but be faw not half
The charms her downcast modesty conceald.
That very moinent love and chatte desire
Sprung in his bosom, to himself unknown;
For still the world prevail'd, and its dread laugh,
(Which scarce the firm philosopher can scorn)
Should his beart own a gleaner in the field :
And thus, in secret, to his foul he figh’d.

" What pity, that so delicate a forin, By beauty kindled, where enlivening lense And more than vulgar gondnels seem to dwell, Should be devoted to the rude embrace Of some indecent clown! She looks, methinks, Of old Acasto's line : and to my mind Recalls that patron of my happy life, From whom my liberal fortune took its rise ; Now to the dust gone down, his houses, lands, And once fair-fpreading family, diffolv'il.

« PreviousContinue »