Page images

I care not though this face be feen no more,
The world will pafs as cheerful as before.
Bright as before the day-ftar will appear,
The fields as verdant, and the skies as clear;
Nor forms nor comets will my doom declare,
Nor figns on earth, nor portents in the air;
Unknown and filent will depart my breath,
Nor nature e'er take notice of my death.
Yet fome there are (ere fpent my vital days)
Within whofe breafts I with my tomb to raife:
Lov'd in my life, lamented in my end,

Their praife would crown me as their precepts mend: To them may thefe fond lines my name endear, Not from the poet, but the friend fincere.


PITY the forrows of a poor old man!

Whofe trembling limbs have borne him to your

Whofe days are dwindled to the fhorteft fpan;
Oh! give relief-and Heav'n will blefs your ttore.
Thefe tatter'd clothes my poverty befpeak;
Thefe hoary locks proclaim my lengthen'd years;
And many a furrow in my grief-worn cheek
Has been the channel to a ftream of tears.
Yon houfe, erected on the rifing ground,
With tempting afpect drew me from my road;
For plenty there a refidence has found,
And grandeur a magnificent abode.

(Hard is the fate of the infirm and poor!)
Here, as I crav'd a morfel of their bread,
A pamper'd menial forc'd me from the door,
To feek a fhelter in an humbler fhed.

Oh! take me to your hofpitable dome!
Keen blows the wind, and piercing is the cold'
Short is my paffage to the friendly tomb,
For I am poor, and miferably old.

Should I reveal the fource of every grief,

If foft humanity e'er touch'd
your breaft,
Your hands would not withhold the kind relief,
And tears of pity could not be repreft.

Heav'n fends misfortunes-why fhould we repine?
'Tis Heav'n has brought me to the ftate you fee:
And your condition may be foon like mine-
The child of forrow-and of mifery.

A little farm was my paternal lot,

Then, like the lark, I sprightly hail'd the morn; But ah! oppreffion forc'd me from my cot, My cattle dy'd, and blighted was my corn. My daughter-once the comfort of my age! Lur'd by a villain from her native home, Is caft abandon'd on the world's wide-flage, And doom'd in fcanty poverty to roam. My tender wife-fweet foother of my care! Struck with fad anguish at the ftern decree, Fell-ling'ring fell, a victim to despair,

And left the world to wretchednefs and me. Pity the forrows of a poor old man!

Whofe trembling limbs have borne him to your door;

Whofe days are dwindled to the fhorteft fpan;
Oh! give relief-and Heav'n will blefs your ftore.


WHAT conftitutes a flate?

Not high-rais'd battlement, or labour'd mound,
Thick wall or moated gate;

Not cities proud with fpires and turrets crown'd;
Not bays and broad arm'd ports,

Where, laughing at the form, rich navies ride;
Not ftarr'd and Spangled courts,

Where low-brow'd bafenefs wafts perfume to pride;

No:-MEN, high-minded MEN,

With powers as far above dull brutes endued
In foreft, brake, or den,

As beatts excel cold rocks and brambles rude;
Men who their DUTIES know,

But know their RIGHTS, and knowing, dare main


Prevent the long-aim'd blow,

And crush the tyrant while they rend the chain :
These conflitute a state,

And fovereign LAW, that states collected will,
O'er thrones and globes elate,

Sits emprefs, crowning good, repreffing ill;
Smit by her facred frown,

The fiend OPPRESSION, like a vapour finks,
And e'en the all-dazzling crown

Hides his faint rays, and at her bidding shrinks.,



THE curfew tolls the knell of parting day,

The lowing herd wind flowly o'er the lea, The plowman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darknefs and to me. Now fades the glimmering landscape on the fight, And all the air a folemn ftillness holds, Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight, And drowfy tinklings lull the diftant folds; Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tower, The moping owl does to the moon complain Of fuch, as, wandering near her fecret bower, Moleft her ancient folitary reign.

Beneath thofe rugged elms, that yew-tree's fhade, Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,

The rude forefathers of the hamlet fleep.

The breezy call of incenfe-breathing morn,

The fwallow twittering from the ftraw-built shed, The cock's fhrill clarion, or the echoing horn,

No more fhall roufe them from their lowly bed. For them no more the blazing hearth fhall burn, Or bufy housewife ply her evening care : No children run to lifp their fire's return,

Or climb his knees, the envied kifs to fhare.

Oft did the harvest to their fickle yield,

Their furrow oft the flubborn glebe has broke; How jocund did they drive their team a-field! How bow'd the woods beneath their furdy ftroke? Let not ambition mock their useful toil,

Their homely joys, and deftiny obfcure; Nor grandeur hear with a difdainful finile, The fhort and fimple annals of the poor. The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, Await alike the inevitable hour,

The paths of glory lead but to the grave. Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault, If memory o'er their tomb no trophies raife. Where through the long-drawn aifle and fretted vault, The peeling anthem fwells the note of praife. Can floried urn, or animated bust,

Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath ? Can honour's voice provoke the filent duft,

Or flattery footh the dull cold ear of death?

Perhaps in this neglected fpot is laid

Some heart once pregnant with celeftial fire; Hands, that the rod of empires might have fway'd, Or wak'd to ecfiafy the living lyre.

But knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the fpoils of time, did ne'er unroll;

Chill penury reprefs'd their noble rage,

And froze the genial current of the foul.

Full many a gem of pureft ray serene,

The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear: Full many a flower is born to blush unfeen, And wafte its sweetness on the defert air.

Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breaft
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may reft;
Some Cromwell, guiltlefs of his country's blood.
Some lovely fair, whofe unaffected charms
Shone with attraction to herfelf unknown;
Whofe beauty might have blefs'da monarch's arms,
And virtue caft a luftre on the throne.

That humble beauty warm'd an honeft heart,
And cheer'd the labours of a faithful fpoufe;
That virtue form'd for every decent part,
The healthful offspring that adorn'd their houfe.
Th' applaufe of liftening fenates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to defpife,
To fcatter plenty o'er a fmiling land,

And read their hiftory in a nation's eyes;
Their lot forbade; nor circumfcrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd;
Forbade to wade through flaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind;
The ftruggling pangs of confcious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the fhrine, of luxury and pride
With incenfe kindled at the mufe's flame.
The thoughtless world to majefty may bow,
Exalt the brave, and idolize fuccefs;
But more to innocence their fafety owe,
Than pow'r, or genius, e'er confpir'd to blefs.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble firife,
Their fober wishes never learn'd to ftray;
Along the cool fequefter'd vale of life,
They kept the noifelefs tenor of their way,


« PreviousContinue »