Изображения страниц

Fresh o'er the gay parterres, the breezes creep,
And shake the neighb'ring wood to banish sleep.
Up rise the guests obedient to the call';

An early banquet deck'd the splendid hall;
Rich luscious wine a golden goblet grac'd,
Which the kind master forc'd the guests to taste.
Then, pleas'd and thankful, from the porch they go;
And, but he landlord, none had cause of woe;
His cup was vanish'd; for, in secret guise,
The younger guest purloin'd the glitt'ring prize.
As one who sees a serpent in his way,
Glist'ning and basking in the summer ray,
Disorder'd stops, to shun the danger near,
Then walks with faintness on, and looks with fear;
So seem'd the sire, when, far upon the road,
The shining spril his wily partner show'd.
He stopt with silence, walk'd with trembling heart,
And much he wish'd, but durst not ask to part:
Murm'ring he lifts his eyes, and thinks it hard,
That gen'rous actions meet a base reward.

While thus they pass, the sun his glory shrouds;
T..e changing skies hang out their sable clouds;
A sound in air presag'd approaching rain,
And beasts to covert scud across the plain.
Warn'd by the signs, the wand'ring pair retreat,
To seek for shelter in a neighb'ring seat.
'Twas built with turrets on a rising ground;
And strong and large, and unimprov'd around:
Its owner's temper, tim'rous and severe,
Unkind and griping, caus'd a desert there.
As near the miser's heavy doors they drew,
Fierce rising gusts with sudden fury blew;
The nimble lightning, mix'd wi'' showers, began,
And o'er their heads loud roll, thunder ran.
Here long they knock; but k k or call in vain,
Driven by the wind, and batter'd by the rain.
At length, some pity warm'd the master's breast:
('Twas then his threshhold first receiv'd a guest ;)
Slow creaking turus the door, with jealous care,
And half he welcomes in the shiv'ring pair.
One frugal faggot lights the naked walls,
And nature's fervor through their limbs recalls
Bread of the coarsest sort, with meagre wine,
(Each hardly granted) serv'd them both to dine;
And when the tempest first appear❜d to cease,
A ready warning bid them part in peace.
With still remark, the pond'ring 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 took place,
In every settling feature of his face,

When, from his vest, the young companion bore
That cup, the gen'rous landlord owned before,
And paid profusely with the precious bowl,
The stinted kindness of his churlish soul !
But, now the clouds in airy tumult fly :
The sun, emerging, opes an azure sky;
A fresher green the smelling leaves display,
And glitt'ring as they tremble, cheer the day:
The weather courts them from the poor retreat;
And the glad master bolts the wary gate.

While hence they walk, the pilgrim's bosom wrought With all the travail of uncertain thought.

His partner's acts without their cause appear-
'Twas there a vice, and seem'd a madness here.
Detesting that, and pitying this, he goes,
Lost and confounded with the various shows.

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 it: master's turn of mind-
Content, and not for 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, from him accept it here-
A frank and sober, more than costly cheer.
He spoke; and bade the welcome table spread ;
Then talk'd of virtue till the time of bed
When the grave household round his hall repair,
Warn'd by the bell, and close the house with prayer.
At length the world, renew'd by calm repose,
Was strong for toil; the dappled morn arose ;
Before the pilgrims part, the youngster crept
Near the clos'd cradle, where an infant slept,
And writh'd his neck; the landlord's little pride-
O strange return !-grew black, and gasp'd and died.
Horror of horrors! what! his only son!

How look'd our hermit when the deed was done!
Not hell, though hell's black jaws in sunder part,
And breathe blue fire, could more assault his heart.
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 way.
A river cross'd the path. The passage o'er
Was nice to find; the servant trod before;
Long arms of oak an open bridge supply'd,
And the deep waves, beneath the bending, glide.
The youth who seem'd to watch a time to sin,
Approach'd 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 odors breathe through purpled air;
And wings, whose colors glittered on the day,
Wide at his back, their gradual plumes display.
The form etherial bursts 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 word suspends, And, in a calm, his settled temper ends. But silence here, the beauteous angel broke : The voice of music ravish'd as he spoke.

Thy prayer, thy praise, thy life, to vice unknown, In sweet memorial rise before the throne : These charms success in our bright region find, And force an angel down to calm thy mind. For this commission'd, I forsook the sky; Nay, cease to kneel, thy fellow servant I. Then know the truth of government divine, And let these scruples be no longer thine. 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 wond'ring eyes? Yet taught by these, confess the 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 ivy stand 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 pity to the wand'ring 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.
To all, but thee, in fits, he seem'd to
And 'twas my ministry to deal the blow.
The poor fond parent humbled in the dust,
Now owns, in tears, the punishment was just.
But how had all his fortune felt a wreck,
Had that false servant sped in safety back!
This night his treasur'd heaps he meant to steal,
And what a fund of charity would fail!
Thus heaven instructs thy mind!
This trial o'er,
Depart in peace, resign, and sin no more.

On sounding pinions here the youth withdrew,
The sage stood wond'ring 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 the view;
The prophet gaz'd, and wish'd to follow too.

The bending hermit here a prayer begun :
Lord, as in heaven, on earth thy will be done,"
Then, gladly turning, sought his ancient place,
And pass'd a life of piety and peace.

IX. On the death of Mrs. Mason.-MASON.
TAKE, holy earth! all that my soul holds dear:
Take that best gift, which heaven so lately gave;

To Bristol's fount I bore, with trembling care,
Her faded form. She bow'd to taste the wave,
And died. Does youth, does beauty read the line?
Does sympathetic fear their breast alarm?

Speak, dead Maria! breathe a strain divine;

E'en from the grave thou shalt have power to ch arm.

Bid them be chaste, be innocent like thee;
Bid them in duty's sphere, as meekly move:
And if as fair, from vanity as free,

As firm in friendship, and as fond in love;

Tell them, though 'tis an awful thing to die,

('Twas e'en to thee) yet the dread path once trod, Heaven lifts its everlasting portals high,

And bids the "pure in heart behold their God."

X.---Extract from the Temple of Fame.-POPE.
AROUND these wonders as I cast a look,
The trumpet sounded and the temple shook;
And all the nations summon'd at the call,
From different quarters fill the spacious hall.
Of various tongues the mingled sounds were heard;
In various garbs promiscuous throngs appear'd:
Millions of suppliant crowds the shrine attend,
And all degrees before the goddess bend;
The poor, the rich, the valiant and the sage,
And boasting youth, and narrative old age.

First, at the shrine, the learned world appear,
And to the goddess thus prefer their prayer:
"Long have we sought t'instruct and please mankind,
With studies pale, and midnight vigils blind:
But thank'd by few, rewarded yet by none,
We here appeal to thy superior throne;
On wit and learning the just prize bestow.
For fame is all we must expect below."
The goddess heard, and bid the muses raise
The golden trumpet of eternal praise.
From pole to pole the winds diffuse the sound,
And fill the circuit of the world around:
Not all at once, as thunder breaks the cloud,
The notes at first were rather sweet than Ioud:
By just degrees they every moment rise,
Spread round the earth, and gain upon the skies.
Next these, the good and just, an awful train,
Thus on their knees, address the sacred fane :
Since living virtue is with envy curs'd,
And the best men are treated as the worst,
Do thou, just goddess, call our merits forth,
Aud give each deed th' exact intrinsic worth."
"Not with bare justice shall your acts be crown'd,
(Said Fame) but high above desert renown'd,
Let fuller notes th' applauding world amaze,
And the loud clarion labor in your praise."

A troop came next, who crowns and armor wore, And proud defiance in their looks they bore.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »