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Horror of horrors! what! his only son!
How look'd our Hermit when the fact 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 supplied,
And deep the waves beneath the bending branches glide.
The youth, who seems 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 odours breathe through purpled air:
And wings, whose colours glitter'd on the day,
Wide at his back their gradual plumes display,
The form ethereal 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 words suspends,
And in a calm his settling 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 memorials 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 skyNay, 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right of Providence is laid; Its sacred majesty through all depends On using second means to work his ends; 'Tis thus, withdrawn his state from human eye, The Power exerts his attributes on high; Your actions uses, nor controls your will, And bids the doubting sons of men be still.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 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 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 pity 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.
To all but thee in fits he seem'd to go;
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 fortunes 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 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 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.
REMOTE, unfriended, melancholy, slow,
Or by the lazy Scheld, or wand'ring Po;
Or onward, where the rude Carinthian boor
Against the houseless stranger shuts the door;
Or where Campania's plain forsaken lies,
A weary waste expanding to the skies;
Where'er I roam, whatever realms to see,
My heart, untravell'd fondly turns to thee;
Still to my brother turns, with ceaseless pain,
And drags at each remove a lengthening chain.
Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend, And round his dwelling guardian saints attend; Blest be that spot where cheerful guests retire To pause from toil, and trim their evening fire: Blest that abode, where want and pain repair, And every Stranger finds a ready chair; Blest be those feasts with simple plenty crown'd Where all the ruddy family around
Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail,
Or sigh with pity at some mournful tale;
Or press the bashful stranger to his food,
And learn the luxury of doing good!
But me, not destin'd such delights to share,
My prime of life in wandering spent, and care:
Impell'd, with steps unceasing, to pursue
Some fleeting good, that mocks me with the view;
That like the circle bounding earth and skies,
Allures from far, yet as I follow, flies;
My fortune leads to traverse realms alone,
And find no spot of all the world my own.
Ev'n now, where Alpine solitudes ascend,
I sit me down a pensive hour to spend ;
And, plac'd on high above the storm's career,
Look downward where an hundred realms appear;
Lakes, forests, cities, plains extending wide,
The pomp of kings, the shepherd's humbler pride.
When thus Creation's charms around combine,
Amidst the store, should thankless pride repine?
Say, should the philosophic mind disdain
That good which makes each humbler bosom vain ?
Let school-taught pride dissemble all it can,
These little things are great to little man;
And wiser he, whose sympathetic mind
Exults in all the good of all mankind.
Ye glittering towns, with wealth and splendor crown'd;
Ye fields, where summer spreads profusion round;
Ye lakes, whose vessels catch the busy gale;
Ye bending swains, that dress the flowery vale ;