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The world recedes; it disappears!
Heav'n opens on my eyes! my ears
With founds feraphic ring!
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
0 Grave! where is thy victory?
O Death! where is thy fting?
FAR in a wild, unknown to public view, From youth to age a rev'rend Hermit grew; The mofs his bed, the cave his humble cell, His food the fruits, his drink the crystal well: Remote from man, with God he pass'd his days, Pray'r all his business, all his pleasure praise.
A life fo facred, fuch ferene repofe, Seem'd heav'n itself, till one fuggeftion roseThat Vice should triumph, Virtue Vice obey; This fprung fome doubt of Providence's sway: His hopes no more a certain prospect boast, And all the tenor of his foul is loft. So when a smooth expanse receives imprest Calm Nature's image on its watry breast, Down bend the banks, the trees depending grow, And fkies beneath with answering colours glow: But if a ftone the gentle fea divide,
Swift ruffling circles curl on ev'ry fide,
And glimm'ring fragments of a broken fun;
Banks, trees, and skies in thick diforder run.
To clear this doubt, to know the world by fight,
To find if books, or fwains, report it right;
(For yet by fwains alone the world he knew,
Whofe feet came wand'ring o'er the nightly dew ;)
He quits his cell; the pilgrim-staff he bore ;
And fix'd the scallop in his hat before;
Then with the rifing fun a journey went,
Sedate to think, and watching each event.
The morn was wafted in the pathless grass,
And long and lonesome was the wild to pafs;
But when the fouthern fun had warm'd the day,
A youth came pofting o'er, a croffing way;
His raiment decent, his complexion fair,
And foft in graceful ringlets wav'd his hair :
Then near approaching, Father, hail !' he cry'd;
And Hail, my fon!' the rev'rend fire reply'd:
Words follow'd words, from question answer flow'd,
And talk of various kind deceiv'd the road;
Till each with other pleas'd, and loth to part,
While in their age they differ, join in heart.
Thus ftands an aged elm in ivy bound,
Thus youthful ivy clafps an elm around.
Now funk the fun; the clofing hour of day.
Came onward, mantled o'er with fober gray;
Nature in filence bid the world repofe;
When near the road a ftately palace rofe:
There, by the moon, thro' ranks of trees they pafs,
Whofe verdure crown'd their floping fides of grafs.
It chanc'd the noble mafter of the dome
Still made his houfe the wand'ring ftranger's home;
Yet ftill the kindness, from a thirst of praise,
Prov'd the vain flourish of expenfive ease.
The pair arrive: the livery'd fervants wait;
Their lord receives them at the pompous gate.
The table groans with coftly piles of food,
And all i more than hofpitably good.
Then led to reft the day's long toil they drown,
Deep funk in fleep, and filk, and heaps of down.
At length 'tis morn, and at the dawn of day
Along the wide canal the zephyrs play;
Fresh o'er the gay parterres the breezes creep,
And shake the neighbouring wood to banish fleep.
Up rife the guests, obedient to the call;
An early banquet deck'd the fplendid hall;
Pich, lufcious wine a golden goblet grac'd,
Which the kind mafter forc'd the guests to taste.
Then, pleas'd and thankful, from the porch they go;
And, but the landlord, none had caufe of woe:
His cup was vanith'd; for in fecret quife
The younger guest purloin'd the glitt'ring prize.
As one that fpies a ferpent in his way,
Glift'ning and bafking in the fummer ray,
Disorder'd, ftops to fhun the danger near,
Then walks with faintnefs on, and looks with fear;
So feen, the fire; when, far upon the road,
The fhining fpoil his wily partner show'd.
He fopp'd with filence, walk'd with trembling heart,
And much he wish'd, but durft not ask to part:
Marm'ring he lifts his eyes, and thinks it hard
That gen'rous actions meet a bafe reward.
While thus they pafs, the fun his glory shrouds, The changing kies hang out their fable clouds ;
A found in air prefag'd approaching rain,
And beafts to covert fcud across the plain.
Warn'd by the figns, the wand'ring pair retreat
To feek for fhelter at a neighb'ring feat.
'Twas built with turrets on a rifing ground,
And strong, and large, and unimprov'd around;
Its owner's temper, tim'rous and fevere,
Unkind and griping, caus'd a desert there.
As near the mifer's heavy door they drew,
Fierce rifing gufts with fudden fury blew;
The nimble light'ning mix'd with show'rs began,
And o'er their heads loud rolling thunder ran.
Here long they knock, but knock or call in vain,
Driv'n by the wind, and batter'd by the rain.
At length fome pity warm'd the mafter's breast,
('Twas then his threshold first receiv'd a guest):
Slow creaking turns the door with jealous care,
And half he welcomes in the fhiv'ring pair;
One frugal faggot lights the naked walls,
And nature's fervor through their limbs recals:
Bread of the coarseft fort, with meager wine,
(Each hardly granted), ferv'd them both to dine;
And when the tempeft first appear'd to ceafe,
A ready warning bid them part in peace.
With still remark the pond'ring Hermit view'd,
In one fo rich, a life fo poor and rude;
And why should such (within himself he cry'd)
Lock the loft wealth a thoufand want befide?
But what new marks of wonder foon take place
In ev'ry fettling feature of his face,
When from his veft the young companion bore
That cup the gen'rous landlord own'd before
And paid profufely with the precious bowl
The flinted kindness of this churlish foul !
But now the clouds in airy tumult fly;
The fun emerging opes an azure sky;
A fresher green the fmelling leaves difplay,
And, glitt'ring as they tremble, cheer the day:
The weather courts them from the poor retreat,
And the glad mafter bolts the wary gate.
While hence they walk the Pilgrim's bofom wrought With all the travail of uncertain thought:
His partner's acts without their cause appear;
'Twas there a vice, and feem'd a madness here;
Detesting that, and pitying this he goes,
Loft and confounded with the various fhows.
Now Night's dim fhades again involve the sky;
Again the wand'rers want a place to lie;
Again they fearch, and find a lodging nigh.
The foil improv'd around, the manfion neat,
And neither poorly low, nor idly great;
It feem'd to speak the mafter's turn of mind,
Content, and not for praise but virtue kind.
Hither the walkers turn their weary feet,
Then bless the manfion, and the mafter greet.
Their greeting fair, bestow'd with modeft guife,
The courteous mafter 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, for Him accept it here,
A frank and fober, more than coftly cheer."
He spoke, and bid the welcome table spread,
Then talk'd of virtue till the time of bed;