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The fervice past, around the pious man,
With ready zeal, each honest rustic ran;
E'en children follow'd with endearing wile,
'And pluck'd his gown, to share the good man's finile. His ready smile a parent's warmth exprest,
Their welfare pleas'd him, and their cares diftress'd,
To them his heart, his love, his griefs were giv'n,
But all his ferious thoughts had reft in heaven.
As fome tall cliff that lifts its awful form,
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm,
Tho' round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
Eternal funshine fettles on its head.
BESIDE yon ftraggling fence that skirts the way, With bloffom furze unprofitably gay,
There, in his noisy mansion skill'd to rule,
The village mafter taught his little fchool:
A man severe he was, and ftern to view;
I knew him well, and ev'ry truant knew;
Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace
The day's difafters 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 bufy whisper circling round,
Convey'd the difmal 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 tides prefage,
And e'en the story ran that he could gauge :
In arguing too, the parfon own'd his skill,
For e'en though vanquish'd, he could argue still,
While words of learned length, and thund'ring found
'Amaz'd the gazing ruftics rang'd around,
And ftill they gaz'd, and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all he knew.
BUT paft 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 fign-poft caught the paffing eye,
Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts infpir'd;
Where grey-beard mirth, and fimiling 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 splendors of that festive place;
The white-wash'd wall, the nicely fanded floor,
The varnish'd clock that click'd behind the door;
The cheft contriv'd a double debt to pay,
A bed by night, a cheft of draw'rs by day;
The pictures plac'd for ornament and use
The twelve good rules, the royal game of goofe;
The hearth, except when winter chill'd the day,
With aspin bows, and flowers and fennel gay,
While broken tea-cups, wifely kept for show,
Rang'd o'er the chimney, gliften'd in a row.
VAIN transitory fplendour! could not all
Reprieve the tott'ring manfion from it's fall!
Obfcure it finks, nor shall it more impart
An hour's importance to the poor man's heart;
Thither no more the peasant shall repair
To sweet oblivion of his daily care;
No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale,
No more the wood-man's ballad shall prevail;
No more the fmith his dusky brow shall clear,
Relax his pond'rous ftrength, and lean to hear;
The host himself no longer shall be found
Careful to fee the mantling blifs go round;
Nor the coy maid, half willing to be preft,
Shall kifs the cup to pass it to the reft.
YES! let the rich deride, the proud difdain,
These fimple bleffings of the lowly train,
To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
One native charm, than all the glofs of art;
Spontaneous joys, where nature has its play,
The foul adopts, and owns their firft-born fway;
Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind,
Unenvy'd, unmolefted, 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 fickens into pain;
And, e'en while fashion's brightest arts decoy,
The heart diftrufting asks if this be joy?
YE friends to truth, ye ftatefmen who furvey
The rich man's joys encrease, the poor's decay,
'Tis yours to judge how wide the limits ftand
Between a fplendid and a happy land.
Proud fwells the tide with loads of freighted ore,
And shouting folly hails them from her shore;
Hoards, e'en beyond the mifer'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 product ftill the fame.
Not fo our lofs. 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 horfes, equipage and hounds;
The robe that wraps his limbs in filken floth
Has robb'd the neighb'ring fields of half their growth;
His feat, where folitary fports are feen,
Indignant fpurns the cottage from the green,
Around the world each ufeful product flies,
For all the luxuries the world supplies.
While thus the land adorn'd for pleasure all,
In barren fplendor feebly waits the fall.
As fome fair female unadorn'd and plain,
Secure to please while youth confirms her reign,
Slights ev'ry borrow'd charm that drefs fupplies,
Nor shares with art the triumph of her eyes;
But when thofe charms are paft, for charms are frail, When time advances, and when lovers fail,
She then shines forth, folicitous to blefs,
In all the glaring impotence of drefs.
Thus fares the land, by luxury betray'd,
In nature's fimpleft charms at first array'd,
But verging to decline, its fplendors rise,
Its viftas ftrike, its palaces surprise;
While, fcourg'd by famine from the finiling land,
The mournful peafant leads his humble band;
And while he finks, without one arm to fave,
The country blooms a garden–and a grave.
WHERE then, ah! where shall poverty refide,
To 'fcape the prefsure of contiguous pride?
If to fome common's fenceless limits ftray'd,
He drives his flock to pick the fcanty blade,
Those fenceless fields the fons of wealth divide,
And e'en the bare-worn common is deny'd.
IF to the city fped-What waits him there?
To fee profufion that he must not share;