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Tales
by George Crabbe
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"TALES", by GEORGE CRABBE (1754-1832) {1}



TALE I.



THE DUMB ORATORS; OR THE BENEFIT OF SOCIETY.

With fair round belly, with good capon lined, With eyes severe - Full of wise saws and modern instances. SHAKESPEARE, As You Like It.

Deep shame hath struck me dumb. King John.

He gives the bastinado with his tongue; Our ears are cudgell'd. King John.

. . . . . . . Let's kill all the lawyers; Now show yourselves men; 'tis for liberty: We will not leave one lord or gentleman. 2 Henry VI.

And thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges. Twelfth Night.

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That all men would be cowards if they dare, Some men we know have courage to declare; And this the life of many a hero shows, That, like the tide, man's courage ebbs and flows: With friends and gay companions round them, then Men boldly speak and have the hearts of men; Who, with opponents seated miss the aid Of kind applauding looks, and grow afraid; Like timid travelers in the night, they fear Th' assault of foes, when not a friend is near. In contest mighty, and of conquest proud, Was Justice Bolt, impetuous, warm, and loud; His fame, his prowess all the country knew, And disputants, with one so fierce, were few: He was a younger son, for law design'd, With dauntless look and persevering mind; While yet a clerk, for disputation famed, No efforts tired him, and no conflicts tamed. Scarcely he bade his master's desk adieu, When both his brothers from the world withdrew. An ample fortune he from them possessed, And was with saving care and prudence bless'd. Now would he go and to the country give Example how an English 'squire should live; How bounteous, yet how frugal man may be, By well-order'd hospitality; He would the rights of all so well maintain. That none should idle be, and none complain. All this and more he purposed—and what man Could do, he did to realise his plan; But time convinced him that we cannot keep A breed of reasoners like a flock of sheep; For they, so far from following as we lead, Make that a cause why they will not proceed. Man will not follow where a rule is shown, But loves to take a method of his own: Explain the way with all your care and skill, This will he quit, if but to prove he will. - Yet had our Justice honour—and the crowd, Awed by his presence, their respect avow'd. In later years he found his heart incline, More than in youth, to gen'rous food and wine; But no indulgence check'd the powerful love He felt to teach, to argue, and reprove. Meetings, or public calls, he never miss'd - To dictate often, always to assist. Oft he the clergy join'd, and not a cause Pertain'd to them but he could quote the laws; He upon tithes and residence display'd A fund of knowledge for the hearer's aid; And could on glebe and farming, wool and grains A long discourse, without a pause, maintain. To his experience and his native sense He join'd a bold imperious eloquence; The grave, stern look of men inform'd and wise, A full command of feature, heart, and eyes, An awe-compelling frown, and fear-inspiring size. When at the table, not a guest was seen With appetite so lingering, or so keen; But when the outer man no more required, The inner waked, and he was man inspired. His subjects then were those, a subject true Presents in fairest form to public view; Of church and state, of law, with mighty strength Of words he spoke, in speech of mighty length: And now, into the vale of years declined, He hides too little of the monarch-mind: He kindles anger by untimely jokes, And opposition by contempt provokes; Mirth he suppresses by his awful frown, And humble spirits, by disdain, keeps down; Blamed by the mild, approved by the severe, The prudent fly him, and the valiant fear. For overbearing is his proud discourse, And overwhelming of his voice the force; And overpowering is he when he shows What floats upon a mind that always overflows. This ready man at every meeting rose, Something to hint, determine, or propose; And grew so fond of teaching, that he taught Those who instruction needed not or sought: Happy our hero, when he could excite Some thoughtless talker to the wordy fight: Let him a subject at his pleasure choose, Physic or law, religion or the muse; On all such themes he was prepared to shine, - Physician, poet, lawyer, and divine. Hemm'd in by some tough argument, borne down By press of language and the awful frown, In vain for mercy shall the culprit plead; His crime is past, and sentence must proceed: Ah! suffering man, have patience, bear thy woes - For lo! the clock—at ten the Justice goes. This powerful man, on business, or to please A curious taste, or weary grown of ease, On a long journey travelled many a mile Westward, and halted midway in our isle; Content to view a city large and fair, Though none had notice—what a man was there! Silent two days, he then began to long Again to try a voice so loud and strong; To give his favourite topics some new grace, And gain some glory in such distant place; To reap some present pleasure, and to sow Seeds of fair fame, in after-time to grow: Here will men say, "We heard, at such an hour, The best of speakers—wonderful his power." Inquiry made, he found that day would meet A learned club, and in the very street: Knowledge to gain and give, was the design; To speak, to hearken, to debate, and dine: This pleased our traveller, for he felt his force In either way, to eat or to discourse. Nothing more easy than to gain access To men like these, with his polite address: So he succeeded, and first look'd around, To view his objects and to take his ground; And therefore silent chose awhile to sit, Then enter boldly by some lucky hit; Some observation keen or stroke severe, To cause some wonder or excite some fear. Now, dinner past, no longer he supprest His strong dislike to be a silent guest; Subjects and words were now at his command - When disappointment frown'd on all he plann'd; For, hark!—he heard amazed, on every side, His church insulted and her priests belied; The laws reviled, the ruling power abused, The land derided, and its foes excused: - He heard and ponder'd—What, to men so vile, Should be his language?—For his threat'ning style They were too many;—if his speech were meek, They would despise such poor attempts to speak: At other times with every word at will, He now sat lost, perplex'd, astonish'd, still. Here were Socinians, Deists, and indeed All who, as foes to England's Church, agreed; But still with creeds unlike, and some without a creed: Here, too, fierce friends of liberty he saw, Who own'd no prince and who obey no law; There were reformers of each different sort, Foes to the laws, the priesthood, and the court; Some on their favourite plans alone intent, Some purely angry and malevolent: The rash were proud to blame their country's laws; The vain, to seem supporters of a cause; One call'd for change, that he would dread to see; Another sigh'd for Gallic liberty! And numbers joining with the forward crew, For no one reason—but that numbers do. "How," said the Justice, "can this trouble rise, This shame and pain, from creatures I despise?" And Conscience answer'd—"The prevailing cause Is thy delight in listening to applause; Here, thou art seated with a tribe, who spurn Thy favourite themes, and into laughter turn Thy fears and wishes: silent and obscure, Thyself, shalt thou the long harangue endure; And learn, by feeling, what it is to force On thy unwilling friends the long discourse: What though thy thoughts be just, and these, it seems, Are traitors' projects, idiots' empty schemes; Yet minds, like bodies, cramm'd, reject their food, Nor will be forced and tortured for their good!" At length, a sharp, shrewd, sallow man arose, And begg'd he briefly might his mind disclose; "It was his duty, in these worst of times, T'inform the govern'd of their rulers' crimes:" This pleasant subject to attend, they each Prepare to listen, and forbore to teach. Then voluble and fierce the wordy man Through a long chain of favourite horrors ran: - First of the Church, from whose enslaving power He was deliver'd, and he bless'd the hour; "Bishops and deans, and prebendaries all," He said, "were cattle fatt'ning in the stall; Slothful and pursy, insolent and mean, Were every bishop, prebendary, dean, And wealthy rector: curates, poorly paid, Were only dull;—he would not them upbraid." From priests he turn'd to canons, creeds, and prayers, Rubrics and rules, and all our Church affairs; Churches themselves, desk, pulpit, altar, all The Justice reverenced—and pronounced their fall. Then from religion Hammond turn'd his view To give our Rulers the correction due; Not one wise action had these triflers plann'd; There was, it seem'd, no wisdom in the land, Save in this patriot tribe, who meet at times To show the statesman's errors and his crimes. Now here was Justice Bolt compell'd to sit, To hear the deist's scorn, the rebel's wit; The fact mis-stated, the envenom'd lie, And, staring spell-bound, made not one reply. Then were our Laws abused—and with the laws, All who prepare, defend, or judge a cause: "We have no lawyer whom a man can trust," Proceeded Hammond—"if the laws were just; But they are evil; 'tis the savage state Is only good, and ours sophisticate! See! the free creatures in their woods and plains, Where without laws each happy monarch reigns, King of himself—while we a number dread, By slaves commanded and by dunces led: Oh, let the name with either state agree - Savage our own we'll name, and civil theirs shall be." The silent Justice still astonish'd sat, And wonder'd much whom he was gazing at; Twice he essay'd to speak—but in a cough, The faint, indignant, dying speech went off: "But who is this?" thought he—"a demon vile, With wicked meaning and a vulgar style: Hammond they call him: they can give the name Of man to devils.—Why am I so tame? Why crush I not the viper?"—Fear replied, Watch him awhile, and let his strength be tried: He will be foil'd, if man; but if his aid Be from beneath, 'tis well to be afraid." "We are call'd free!" said Hammond—"doleful times, When rulers add their insult to their crimes; For should our scorn expose each powerful vice, It would be libel, and we pay the price." Thus with licentious words the man went on, Proving that liberty of speech was gone; That all were slaves—nor had we better chance For better times, than as allies to France. Loud groan'd the Stranger—Why, he must relate, And own'd, "In sorrow for his country's fate;" "Nay, she were safe," the ready man replied, "Might patriots rule her, and could reasoners guide; When all to vote, to speak, to teach, are free, Whate'er their creeds or their opinions be; When books of statutes are consumed in flames, And courts and copyholds are empty names: Then will be times of joy—but ere they come, Havock, and war, and blood must be our doom." The man here paused—then loudly for Reform He call'd, and hail'd the prospect of the storm: The wholesome blast, the fertilizing flood - Peace gain'd by tumult, plenty bought with blood: Sharp means, he own'd; but when the land's disease Asks cure complete, no med'cines are like these. Our Justice now, more led by fear than rage, Saw it in vain with madness to engage; With imps of darkness no man seeks to fight, Knaves to instruct, or set deceivers right: Then as the daring speech denounced these woes, Sick at the soul, the grieving Guest arose; Quick on the board his ready cash he threw, And from the demons to his closet flew: There when secured, he pray'd with earnest seal, That all they wish'd these patriot-souls might feel; "Let them to France, their darling country, haste, And all the comforts of a Frenchman taste; Let them his safety, freedom, pleasure know, Feel all their rulers on the land bestow; And be at length dismiss'd by one unerring blow, - Not hack'd and hew'd by one afraid to strike, But shorn by that which shears all men alike; Nor, as in Britain, let them curse delay Of law, but borne without a form away - Suspected, tried, condemn'd, and carted in a day; Oh! let them taste what they so much approve, These strong fierce freedoms of the land they love." {2} Home came our hero, to forget no more The fear he felt and ever must deplore: For though he quickly join'd his friends again, And could with decent force his themes maintain, Still it occurr'd that, in a luckless time, He fail'd to fight with heresy and crime; It was observed his words were not so strong, His tones so powerful, his harangues so long, As in old times—for he would often drop The lofty look, and of a sudden stop; When conscience whisper'd, that he once was still, And let the wicked triumph at their will; And therefore now, when not a foe was near, He had no right so valiant to appear. Some years had pass'd, and he perceived his fears Yield to the spirit of his earlier years - When at a meeting, with his friends beside, He saw an object that awaked his pride; His shame, wrath, vengeance, indignation—all Man's harsher feelings did that sight recall. For, lo! beneath him fix'd, our Man of Law That lawless man the Foe of Order saw; Once fear'd, now scorn'd; once dreaded, now abhorrd: A wordy man, and evil every word: Again he gazed—"It is," said he "the same Caught and secure: his master owes him shame;" So thought our hero, who each instant found His courage rising, from the numbers round. As when a felon has escaped and fled, So long, that law conceives the culprit dead; And back recall'd her myrmidons, intent On some new game, and with a stronger scent; Till she beholds him in a place, where none Could have conceived the culprit would have gone; There he sits upright in his seat, secure, As one whose conscience is correct and pure; This rouses anger for the old offence, And scorn for all such seeming and pretence: So on this Hammond look'd our hero bold, Rememb'ring well that vile offence of old; And now he saw the rebel dar'd t'intrude Among the pure, the loyal, and the good; The crime provok'd his wrath, the folly stirr'd his blood: Nor wonder was it, if so strange a sight Caused joy with vengeance, terror with delight; Terror like this a tiger might create, A joy like that to see his captive state, At once to know his force and then decree his fate. Hammond, much praised by numerous friends, was come To read his lectures, so admired at home; Historic lectures, where he loved to mix His free plain hints on modern politics: Here, he had heard, that numbers had design, Their business finish'd, to sit down and dine; This gave him pleasure, for he judged it right To show by day that he could speak at night. Rash the design—for he perceived, too late, Not one approving friend beside him sate; The greater number, whom he traced around, Were men in black, and he conceived they frown'd. "I will not speak," he thought; "no pearls of mine Shall be presented to this herd of swine;" Not this avail'd him, when he cast his eye On Justice Bolt; he could not fight, nor fly: He saw a man to whom he gave the pain, Which now he felt must be return'd again; His conscience told him with what keen delight He, at that time, enjoy'd a stranger's fright; That stranger now befriended—he alone, For all his insult, friendless, to atone; Now he could feel it cruel that a heart Should be distress'd, and none to take its part; "Though one by one," said Pride, "I would defy Much greater men, yet meeting every eye, I do confess a fear—but he will pass me by." Vain hope! the Justice saw the foe's distress, With exultation he could not suppress; He felt the fish was hook'd—and so forbore, In playful spite to draw it to the shore. Hammond look'd round again; but none were near, With friendly smile to still his growing fear; But all above him seem'd a solemn row Of priests and deacons, so they seem'd below; He wonder'd who his right-hand man might be - Vicar of Holt cum Uppingham was he; And who the man of that dark frown possess'd - Rector of Bradley and of Barton-west; "A pluralist," he growl'd—but check'd the word, That warfare might not, by his zeal, be stirr'd. But now began the man above to show Fierce looks and threat'nings to the man below; Who had some thoughts his peace by flight to seek - But how then lecture, if he dar'd not speak! - Now as the Justice for the war prepared, He seem'd just then to question if he dared: "He may resist, although his power be small, And growing desperate may defy us all; One dog attack, and he prepares for flight - Resist another, and he strives to bite; Nor can I say, if this rebellious cur Will fly for safety, or will scorn to stir." Alarm'd by this, he lash'd his soul to rage, Burn'd with strong shame, and hurried to engage. As a male turkey straggling on the green, When by fierce harriers, terriers, mongrels seen, He feels the insult of the noisy train And skulks aside, though moved by much disdain; But when that turkey, at his own barn-door, Sees one poor straying puppy and no more, (A foolish puppy who had left the pack, Thoughtless what foe was threat'ning at his back) He moves about, as ship prepared to sail, He hoists his proud rotundity of tail, The half-seal'd eyes and changeful neck he shows, Where, in its quick'ning colours, vengeance glows; From red to blue the pendent wattles turn, Blue mix'd with red, as matches when they burn; And thus th' intruding snarler to oppose, Urged by enkindling wrath, he gobbling goes. So look'd our hero in his wrath, his cheeks Flush'd with fresh fires and glow'd in tingling streaks, His breath by passion's force awhile restrain'd, Like a stopp'd current greater force regain'd; So spoke, so look'd he, every eye and ear Were fix'd to view him, or were turn'd to hear. "My friends, you know me, you can witness all, How, urged by passion, I restrain my gall; And every motive to revenge withstand - Save when I hear abused my native land. "Is it not known, agreed, confirm'd, confess'd, That, of all people, we are govern'd best? We have the force of monarchies; are free, As the most proud republicans can be; And have those prudent counsels that arise In grave and cautious aristocracies; And live there those, in such all-glorious state. Traitors protected in the land they hate? Rebels, still warring with the laws that give To them subsistence?—Yes, such wretches live. "Ours is a Church reformed, and now no more Is aught for man to mend or to restore; 'Tis pure in doctrines, 'tis correct in creeds, Has nought redundant, and it nothing needs; No evil is therein—no wrinkle, spot, Stain, blame, or blemish: —I affirm there's not. "All this you know—now mark what once befell, With grief I bore it, and with shame I tell: I was entrapp'd—yes, so it came to pass, 'Mid heathen rebels, a tumultuous class; Each to his country bore a hellish mind, Each like his neighbour was of cursed kind; The land that nursed them, they blasphemed; the laws, Their sovereign's glory, and their country's cause: And who their mouth, their master-fiend, and who Rebellion's oracle?—You, catiff, you!" He spoke, and standing stretch'd his mighty arm, And fix'd the Man of Words, as by a charm. "How raved that railer! Sure some hellish power Restrain'd my tongue in that delirious hour, Or I had hurl'd the shame and vengeance due On him, the guide of that infuriate crew; But to mine eyes, such dreadful looks appear'd, Such mingled yell of lying words I heard, That I conceived around were demons all, And till I fled the house, I fear'd its fall. "Oh! could our country from our coasts expel Such foes! to nourish those who wish her well: This her mild laws forbid, but we may still From us eject them by our sovereign will; This let us do."—He said, and then began A gentler feeling for the silent man; E'en in our hero's mighty soul arose A touch of pity for experienced woes; But this was transient, and with angry eye He sternly look'd, and paused for a reply. 'Twas then the Man of many Words would speak - But, in his trial, had them all to seek: To find a friend he look'd the circle round, But joy or scorn in every feature found; He sipp'd his wine, but in those times of dread Wine only adds confusion to the head; In doubt he reason'd with himself—"And how Harangue at night, if I be silent now?" From pride and praise received, he sought to draw Courage to speak, but still remain'd the awe; One moment rose he with a forced disdain, And then, abash'd, sunk sadly down again; While in our hero's glance he seem'd to read, "Slave and insurgent! what hast thou to plead?" By desperation urged, he now began: "I seek no favour—I—the rights of man! Claim; and I—nay!—but give me leave—and I Insist—a man—that is—and in reply, I speak,"—Alas! each new attempt was vain: Confused he stood, he sate, he rose again; At length he growl'd defiance, sought the door, Cursed the whole synod, and was seen no more. "Laud we," said Justice Bolt, "the Powers above: Thus could our speech the sturdiest foe remove." Exulting now, he gain'd new strength of fame, And lost all feelings of defeat and shame. "He dared not strive, you witness'd—dared not lift His voice, nor drive at his accursed drift: So all shall tremble, wretches who oppose Our Church or State—thus be it to our foes." He spoke, and, seated with his former air, Look'd his full self, and fill'd his ample chair; Took one full bumper to each favourite cause, And dwelt all night on politics and laws, With high applauding voice, that gain'd him high applause.



TALE II.



THE PARTING HOUR.

. . . . I did not take my leave of him, but had Most pretty things to say: ere I could tell him How I would think of him, at certain hours Such thoughts and such;—or ere I could Give him that parting kiss, which I had set Betwixt two charming words—comes in my father. SHAKESPEARE, Cymbeline.

Grief hath changed me since you saw me last, And careful hours with Time's deformed hand Have written strange defeatures o'er my face. Comedy of Errors.

Oh! if thou be the same Egean, speak, And speak unto the same Emilia. Comedy of Errors.

I ran it through, ev'n from my boyish days To the very moment that she bade me tell it, Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances, Of moving accidents by flood and field Of being taken by the insolent foe, And sold to slavery. Othello.

An old man, broken with the storms of fate, Is come to lay his weary bones among you: Give him a little earth for charity. Henry VIII.

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Minutely trace man's life; year after year, Through all his days let all his deeds appear, And then though some may in that life be strange, Yet there appears no vast nor sudden change: The links that bind those various deeds are seen, And no mysterious void is left between. But let these binding links be all destroyed, All that through years he suffer'd or enjoy'd, Let that vast gap be made, and then behold - This was the youth, and he is thus when old; Then we at once the work of time survey, And in an instant see a life's decay; Pain mix'd with pity in our bosoms rise, And sorrow takes new sadness from surprise. Beneath yon tree, observe an ancient pair - A sleeping man; a woman in her chair, Watching his looks with kind and pensive air; Nor wife, nor sister she, nor is the name Nor kindred of this friendly pair the same; Yet so allied are they, that few can feel Her constant, warm, unwearied, anxious zeal; Their years and woes, although they long have loved, Keep their good name and conduct unreproved: Thus life's small comforts they together share, And while life lingers for the grave prepare. No other subjects on their spirits press, Nor gain such int'rest as the past distress: Grievous events, that from the mem'ry drive Life's common cares, and those alone survive, Mix with each thought, in every action share, Darken each dream, and blend with every prayer. To David Booth, his fourth and last-born boy, Allen his name, was more than common joy; And as the child grew up, there seem'd in him A more than common life in every limb; A strong and handsome stripling he became, And the gay spirit answer'd to the frame; A lighter, happier lad was never seen, For ever easy, cheerful, or serene; His early love he fix'd upon a fair And gentle maid—they were a handsome pair. They at an infant-school together play'd, Where the foundation of their love was laid: The boyish champion would his choice attend In every sport, in every fray defend. As prospects open'd, and as life advanced, They walk'd together, they together danced; On all occasions, from their early years, They mix'd their joys and sorrows, hopes and fears; Each heart was anxious, till it could impart Its daily feelings to its kindred heart; As years increased, unnumber'd petty wars Broke out between them; jealousies and jars; Causeless indeed, and follow'd by a peace, That gave to love—growth, vigour, and increase. Whilst yet a boy, when other minds are void, Domestic thoughts young Alien's hours employ'd. Judith in gaining hearts had no concern, Rather intent the matron's part to learn; Thus early prudent and sedate they grew, While lovers, thoughtful—and though children, true. To either parents not a day appeard, When with this love they might have interfered. Childish at first, they cared not to restrain; And strong at last, they saw restriction vain; Nor knew they when that passion to reprove, Now idle fondness, now resistless love. So while the waters rise, the children tread On the broad estuary's sandy bed; But soon the channel fills, from side to side Comes danger rolling with the deep'ning tide; Yet none who saw the rapid current flow Could the first instant of that danger know. The lovers waited till the time should come When they together could possess a home: In either house were men and maids unwed, Hopes to be soothed, and tempers to be led. Then Allen's mother of his favourite maid Spoke from the feelings of a mind afraid: "Dress and amusements were her sole employ," She said—"entangling her deluded boy;" And yet, in truth, a mother's jealous love Had much imagined and could little prove; Judith had beauty—and if vain, was kind, Discreet and mild, and had a serious mind. Dull was their prospect.—When the lovers met, They said, "We must not—dare not venture yet." "Oh! could I labour for thee," Allen cried, "Why should our friends be thus dissatisfied; On my own arm I could depend, but they Still urge obedience—must I yet obey?" Poor Judith felt the grief, but grieving begg'd delay. At length a prospect came that seem'd to smile, And faintly woo them, from a Western Isle; A kinsman there a widow's hand had gain'd, "Was old, was rich, and childless yet remain'd; Would some young Booth to his affairs attend, And wait awhile, he might expect a friend." The elder brothers, who were not in love, Fear'd the false seas, unwilling to remove; But the young Allen, an enamour'd boy, Eager an independence to enjoy, Would through all perils seek it,—by the sea, - Through labour, danger, pain, or slavery. The faithful Judith his design approved, For both were sanguine, they were young, and loved. The mother's slow consent was then obtain'd; The time arrived, to part alone remain'd: All things prepared, on the expected day Was seen the vessel anchor'd in the bay. From her would seamen in the evening come, To take th' adventurous Allen from his home; With his own friends the final day he pass'd, And every painful hour, except the last. The grieving father urged the cheerful glass, To make the moments with less sorrow pass; Intent the mother look'd upon her son, And wish'd th' assent withdrawn, the deed undone; The younger sister, as he took his way, Hung on his coat, and begg'd for more delay: But his own Judith call'd him to the shore, Whom he must meet, for they might meet no more; - And there he found her—faithful, mournful, true, Weeping, and waiting for a last adieu! The ebbing tide had left the sand, and there Moved with slow steps the melancholy pair: Sweet were the painful moments—but, how sweet, And without pain, when they again should meet! Now either spoke as hope and fear impress'd Each their alternate triumph in the breast. Distance alarm'd the maid—she cried, "'Tis far!" And danger too—"it is a time of war: Then in those countries are diseases strange, And women gay, and men are prone to change: What then may happen in a year, when things Of vast importance every moment brings! But hark! an oar!" she cried, yet none appear'd - 'Twas love's mistake, who fancied what it fear'd; And she continued—"Do, my Allen, keep Thy heart from evil, let thy passions sleep; Believe it good, nay glorious, to prevail, And stand in safety where so many fail; And do not, Allen, or for shame, or pride, Thy faith abjure, or thy profession hide; Can I believe his love will lasting prove, Who has no rev'rence for the God I love? I know thee well! how good thou art and kind; But strong the passions that invade thy mind - Now, what to me hath Allen, to commend?" "Upon my mother," said the youth," attend; Forget her spleen, and, in my place appear, Her love to me will make my Judith dear, Oft I shall think (such comforts lovers seek), Who speaks of me, and fancy what they speak; Then write on all occasions, always dwell On hope's fair prospects, and be kind and well, And ever choose the fondest, tenderest style." She answer'd, "No," but answer'd with a smile. "And now, my Judith, at so sad a time, Forgive my fear, and call it not my crime; When with our youthful neighbours 'tis thy chance To meet in walks, the visit, or the dance, When every lad would on my lass attend, Choose not a smooth designer for a friend: That fawning Philip!—nay, be not severe, A rival's hope must cause a lover's fear." Displeased she felt, and might in her reply Have mix'd some anger, but the boat was nigh, Now truly heard!—it soon was full in sight; - Now the sad farewell, and the long good-night; For see!—his friends come hast'ning to the beach, And now the gunwale is within the reach: "Adieu!—farewell!—remember!"—and what more Affection taught, was utter'd from the shore. But Judith left them with a heavy heart, Took a last view, and went to weep apart. And now his friends went slowly from the place, Where she stood still, the dashing oar to trace, Till all were silent!—for the youth she pray'd, And softly then return'd the weeping maid. They parted, thus by hope and fortune led, And Judith's hours in pensive pleasure fled; But when return'd the youth?—the youth no more Return'd exulting to his native shore; But forty years were past, and then there came A worn-out man with wither'd limbs and lame, His mind oppress'd with woes, and bent with age his frame. Yes! old and grieved, and trembling with decay, Was Allen landing in his native bay, Willing his breathless form should blend with kindred clay. In an autumnal eve he left the beach, In such an eve he chanced the port to reach: He was alone; he press'd the very place Of the sad parting, of the last embrace: There stood his parents, there retired the maid, So fond, so tender, and so much afraid; And on that spot, through many years, his mind Turn'd mournful back, half sinking, half resign'd. No one was present; of its crew bereft, A single boat was in the billows left; Sent from some anchor'd vessel in the bay, At the returning tide to sail away. O'er the black stern the moonlight softly play'd, The loosen'd foresail flapping in the shade; All silent else on shore; but from the town A drowsy peal of distant bells came down: From the tall houses here and there, a light Served some confused remembrance to excite: "There," he observed, and new emotions felt, "Was my first home—and yonder Judith dwelt; Dead! dead are all! I long—I fear to know," He said, and walk'd impatient, and yet slow. Sudden there broke upon his grief a noise Of merry tumult and of vulgar joys: Seamen returning to their ship, were come, With idle numbers straying from their home; Allen among them mix'd, and in the old Strove some familiar features to behold; While fancy aided memory: —"Man! what cheer?" A sailor cried; "Art thou at anchor here?" Faintly he answer'd, and then tried to trace Some youthful features in some aged face: A swarthy matron he beheld, and thought She might unfold the very truths he sought: Confused and trembling, he the dame address'd: "The Booths! yet live they?" pausing and oppress'd; Then spake again: —"Is there no ancient man, David his name?—assist me, if you can. - Flemings there were—and Judith, doth she live?" The woman gazed, nor could an answer give,' Yet wond'ring stood, and all were silent by, Feeling a strange and solemn sympathy. The woman musing said—"She knew full well Where the old people came at last to dwell; They had a married daughter, and a son, But they were dead, and now remain'd not one." "Yes," said an elder, who had paused intent On days long past, "there was a sad event; - One of these Booths—it was my mother's tale - Here left his lass, I know not where to sail: She saw their parting, and observed the pain; But never came th' unhappy man again:" "The ship was captured"—Allen meekly said, "And what became of the forsaken maid?" The woman answer'd: "I remember now, She used to tell the lasses of her vow, And of her lover's loss, and I have seen The gayest hearts grow sad where she bas been; Yet in her grief she married, and was made Slave to a wretch, whom meekly she obey'd, And early buried—but I know no more: And hark! our friends are hast'ning to the shore." Allen soon found a lodging in the town, And walk'd a man unnoticed up and down, This house, and this, he knew, and thought a face He sometimes could among a number trace: Of names remember'd there remain'd a few, But of no favourites, and the rest were new: A merchant's wealth, when Allen went to sea, Was reckon'd boundless.—Could he living be? Or lived his son? for one he had, the heir To a vast business, and a fortune fair. No! but that heir's poor widow, from her shed, With crutches went to take her dole of bread: There was a friend whom he had left a boy, With hope to sail the master of a hoy; Him, after many a stormy day, he found With his great wish, his life's whole purpose, crown'd. This hoy's proud captain look'd in Allen's face, - "Yours is, my friend," said he, "a woeful case; We cannot all succeed: I now command The Betsy sloop, and am not much at land: But when we meet, you shall your story tell Of foreign parts—I bid you now farewell!" Allen so long had left his native shore, He saw but few whom he had seen before; The older people, as they met him, cast A pitying look, oft speaking as they pass'd - "The man is Allen Booth, and it appears He dwelt among us in his early years: We see the name engraved upon the stones, Where this poor wanderer means to lay his bones," Thus where he lived and loved—unhappy change! - He seems a stranger, and finds all are strange. But now a widow, in a village near, Chanced of the melancholy man to hear; Old as she was, to Judith's bosom came Some strong emotions at the well-known name; He was her much-loved Allen, she had stay'd Ten troubled years, a sad afflicted maid; Then was she wedded, of his death assured. And much of mis'ry in her lot endured; Her husband died; her children sought their bread In various places, and to her were dead. The once fond lovers met; not grief nor age, Sickness nor pain, their hearts could disengage: Each had immediate confidence; a friend Both now beheld, on whom they might depend: "Now is there one to whom I can express My nature's weakness, and my soul's distress." Allen look'd up, and with impatient heart - "Let me not lose thee—never let us part: So heaven this comfort to my sufferings give, It is not all distress to think and live." Thus Allen spoke—for time had not removed The charms attach'd to one so fondly loved; Who with more health, the mistress of their cot, Labours to soothe the evils of his lot. To her, to her alone, his various fate, At various times, 'tis comfort to relate; And yet his sorrow—she too loves to hear What wrings her bosom, and compels the tear. First he related how he left the shore, Alarm'd with fears that they should meet no more. Then, ere the ship had reach'd her purposed course, They met and yielded to the Spanish force; Then 'cross th' Atlantic seas they bore their prey, Who grieving landed from their sultry bay: And marching many a burning league, he found Himself a slave upon a miner's ground: There a good priest his native language spoke, And gave some ease to his tormenting yoke; Kindly advanced him in his master's grace, And he was station'd in an easier place; There, hopeless ever to escape the land, He to a Spanish maiden gave his hand; In cottage shelter'd from the blaze of day, He saw his happy infants round him play; Where summer shadows, made by lofty trees, Waved o'er his seat, and soothed his reveries; E'en then he thought of England, nor could sigh, But his fond Isabel demanded, "Why?" Grieved by the story, she the sigh repaid, And wept in pity for the English maid: Thus twenty years were pass d, and pass'd his views Of further bliss, for he had wealth to lose: His friend now dead, some foe had dared to paint "His faith as tainted: he his spouse would taint; Make all his children infidels, and found An English heresy on Christian ground." "Whilst I was poor," said Allen, "none would care What my poor notions of religion were; None ask'd me whom I worshipp'd, how I pray'd, If due obedience to the laws were paid: My good adviser taught me to be still, Nor to make converts had I power or will. I preach'd no foreign doctrine to my wife, And never mention'd Luther in my life; I, all they said, say what they would, allow'd, And when the fathers bade me bow, I bow'd; Their forms I follow'd, whether well or sick, And was a most obedient Catholic. But I had money, and these pastors found My notions vague, heretical, unsound: A wicked book they seized; the very Turk Could not have read a more pernicious work; To me pernicious, who if it were good Or evil question'd not, nor understood: Oh! had I little but the book possess'd, I might have read it, and enjoy'd my rest." Alas! poor Allen—through his wealth was seen Crimes that by poverty conceal'd had been: Faults that in dusty pictures rest unknown, Are in an instant through the varnish shown. He told their cruel mercy; how at last, In Christian kindness for the merits past, They spared his forfeit life, but bade him fly, Or for his crime and contumacy die; Fly from all scenes, all objects of delight: His wife, his children, weeping in his sight, All urging him to flee, he fled, and cursed his flight. He next related how he found a way, Guideless and grieving, to Campeachy-Bay: There in the woods he wrought, and there, among Some lab'ring seamen, heard his native tongue: The sound, one moment, broke upon his pain With joyful force; he long'd to hear again: Again he heard; he seized an offer'd hand, "And when beheld you last our native land!" He cried, "and in what country? quickly say." The seamen answer'd—strangers all were they; Only one at his native port had been; He, landing once, the quay and church had seen, For that esteem'd; but nothing more he knew. Still more to know, would Allen join the crew, Sail where they sail'd, and, many a peril past, They at his kinsman's isle their anchor cast; But him they found not, nor could one relate Aught of his will, his wish, or his estate. This grieved not Allen; then again he sail'd For England's coast, again his fate prevailed: War raged, and he, an active man and strong, Was soon impress'd, and served his country long. By various shores he pass'd, on various seas, Never so happy as when void of ease. - And then he told how in a calm distress'd, Day after day his soul was sick of rest; When, as a log upon the deep they stood, Then roved his spirit to the inland wood; Till, while awake, he dream'd, that on the seas Were his loved home, the hill, the stream, the trees: He gazed, he pointed to the scenes: —"There stand My wife, my children, 'tis my lovely land. See! there my dwelling—oh! delicious scene Of my best life: —unhand me—are ye men?" And thus the frenzy ruled him, till the wind Brush'd the fond pictures from the stagnant mind. He told of bloody fights, and how at length The rage of battle gave his spirits strength: 'Twas in the Indian seas his limb he lost, And he was left half-dead upon the coast; But living gain'd, 'mid rich aspiring men, A fair subsistence by his ready pen. "Thus," he continued, "pass'd unvaried years, Without events producing hopes or fears." Augmented pay procured him decent wealth, But years advancing undermined his health; Then oft-times in delightful dream he flew To England's shore, and scenes his childhood knew: He saw his parents, saw his fav'rite maid, No feature wrinkled, not a charm decay'd; And thus excited, in his bosom rose A wish so strong, it baffled his repose: Anxious he felt on English earth to lie; To view his native soil, and there to die. He then described the gloom, the dread he found, When first he landed on the chosen ground, Where undefined was all he hoped and fear'd, And how confused and troubled all appear'd; His thoughts in past and present scenes employ'd, All views in future blighted and destroy'd: His were a medley of be wild'ring themes, Sad as realities, and wild as dreams. Here his relation closes, but his mind Flies back again some resting-place to find; Thus silent, musing through the day, he sees His children sporting by those lofty trees, Their mother singing in the shady scene, Where the fresh springs burst o'er the lively green; - So strong his eager fancy, he affrights The faithful widow by its powerful flights; For what disturbs him he aloud will tell, And cry—"'Tis she, my wife! my Isabel! Where are my children?"—Judith grieves to hear How the soul works in sorrows so severe; Assiduous all his wishes to attend, Deprived of much, he yet may boast a friend; Watch'd by her care, in sleep, his spirit takes Its flight, and watchful finds her when he wakes. 'Tis now her office; her attention see! While her friend sleeps beneath that shading tree, Careful, she guards him from the glowing heat, And pensive muses at her Allen's feet. And where is he? Ah! doubtless in those scenes Of his best days, amid the vivid greens. Fresh with unnumber'd rills, where ev'ry gale Breathes the rich fragrance of the neighb'ring vale. Smiles not his wife, and listens as there comes The night-bird's music from the thick'ning glooms? And as he sits with all these treasures nigh, Blaze not with fairy-light the phosphor-fly, When like a sparkling gem it wheels illumined by? This is the joy that now so plainly speaks In the warm transient flushing of his cheeks; For he is list'ning to the fancied noise Of his own children, eager in their joys: All this he feels, a dream's delusive bliss Gives the expression, and the glow like this. And now his Judith lays her knitting by, These strong emotions in her friend to spy For she can fully of their nature deem - But see! he breaks the long protracted theme, And wakes, and cries—"My God! 'twas but a dream."



TALE III.



THE GENTLEMAN FARMER.

Pause then, And weigh thy value with an even hand; If thou beest rated by thy estimation, Thou dost deserve enough. SHAKESPEARE, Merchant of Venice.

Because I will not do them wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none: and the fine is (for which I may go the finer), I will live a bachelor. Much Ado about Nothing.

Throw physic to the dogs, I'll none of it. Macbeth.

His promises are, as he then was, mighty; And his performance, as he now is, nothing. Henry VIII.

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Gwyn was a farmer, whom the farmers all, Who dwelt around, "the Gentleman" would call; Whether in pure humility or pride, They only knew, and they would not decide. Far different he from that dull plodding tribe Whom it was his amusement to describe; Creatures no more enliven'd than a clod, But treading still as their dull fathers trod; Who lived in times when not a man had seen Corn sown by drill, or thresh'd by a machine! He was of those whose skill assigns the prize For creatures fed in pens, and stalls, and sties; And who, in places where improvers meet, To fill the land with fatness, had a seat; Who in large mansions live like petty kings, And speak of farms but as amusing things; Who plans encourage, and who journals keep, And talk with lords about a breed of sheep. Two are the species in this genus known; One, who is rich in his profession grown, Who yearly finds his ample stores increase, From fortune's favours and a favouring lease; Who rides his hunter, who his house adorns; Who drinks his wine, and his disbursements scorns; Who freely lives, and loves to show he can, - This is the Farmer made the Gentleman. The second species from the world is sent, Tired with its strife, or with his wealth content; In books and men beyond the former read To farming solely by a passion led, Or by a fashion; curious in his land; Now planning much, now changing what he plann'd; Pleased by each trial, not by failures vex'd, And ever certain to succeed the next; Quick to resolve, and easy to persuade, - This is the Gentleman, a farmer made. Gwyn was of these; he from the world withdrew Early in life, his reasons known to few; Some disappointments said, some pure good sense, The love of land, the press of indolence; His fortune known, and coming to retire, If not a Farmer, men had call'd him 'Squire. Forty and five his years, no child or wife Cross'd the still tenour of his chosen life; Much land he purchased, planted far around, And let some portions of superfluous ground To farmers near him, not displeased to say "My tenants," nor "our worthy landlord," they. Fix'd in his farm, he soon display'd his skill In small-boned lambs, the horse-hoe, and the drill; From these he rose to themes of nobler kind, And show'd the riches of a fertile mind; To all around their visits he repaid And thus his mansion and himself display'd. His rooms were stately, rather fine than neat, And guests politely call'd his house a Seat; At much expense was each apartment graced, His taste was gorgeous, but it still was taste; In full festoons the crimson curtains fell, The sofas rose in bold elastic swell; Mirrors in gilded frames display'd the tints Of glowing carpets and of colour'd prints: The weary eye saw every object shine, And all was costly, fanciful, and fine. As with his friends he pass'd the social hours, His generous spirit scorn'd to hide its powers; Powers unexpected, for his eye and air Gave no sure signs that eloquence was there; Oft he began with sudden fire and force, As loth to lose occasion for discourse; Some, 'tis observed, who feel a wish to speak, Will a due place for introduction seek; On to their purpose step by step they steal, And all their way, by certain signals, feel; Others plunge in at once, and never heed Whose turn they take, whose purpose they impede; Resolved to shine, they hasten to begin, Of ending thoughtless—and of these was Gwyn. And thus he spake: - "It grieves me to the soul, To see how man submits to man's control; How overpower'd and shackled minds are led In vulgar tracks, and to submission bred; The coward never on himself relies, But to an equal for assistance flies; Man yields to custom, as he bows to fate, In all things ruled—mind, body, and estate; In pain, in sickness, we for cure apply To them we know not, and we know not why; But that the creature has some jargon read, And got some Scotchman's system in his head; Some grave impostor, who will health ensure, Long as your patience or your wealth endure, But mark them well, the pale and sickly crew, They have not health, and can they give it you? These solemn cheats their various methods choose, A system fires them, as a bard his muse: Hence wordy wars arise; the learn'd divide, And groaning patients curse each erring guide. "Next, our affairs are govern'd, buy or sell, Upon the deed the law must fix its spell; Whether we hire or let, we must have still The dubious aid of an attorney's skill; They take a part in every man's affairs, And in all business some concern is theirs; Because mankind in ways prescribed are found Like flocks that follow on a beaten ground. Each abject nature in the way proceeds, That now to shearing, now to slaughter leads. Should you offend, though meaning no offence, You have no safety in your innocence; The statute broken then is placed in view, And men must pay for crimes they never knew; Who would by law regain his plunder'd store, Would pick up fallen merc'ry from the floor; If he pursue it, here and there it slides, He would collect it, but it more divides; This part and this he stops, but still in vain, It slips aside, and breaks in parts again; Till, after time and pains, and care and cost, He finds his labour and his object lost. But most it grieves me (friends alone are round), To see a man in priestly fetters bound; Guides to the soul, these friends of Heaven contrive, Long as man lives, to keep his fears alive: Soon as an infant breathes, their rites begin; Who knows not sinning, must be freed from sin; Who needs no bond, must yet engage in vows; Who has no judgment, must a creed espouse: Advanced in life, our boys are bound by rules, Are catechised in churches, cloisters, schools, And train'd in thraldom to be fit for tools: The youth grown up, he now a partner needs, And lo! a priest, as soon as he succeeds. What man of sense can marriage-rites approve? What man of spirit can be bound to love? Forced to be kind! compell'd to be sincere! Do chains and fetters make companions dear? Pris'ners indeed we bind; but though the bond May keep them safe, it does not make them fond: The ring, the vow, the witness, licence, prayers, All parties known! made public all affairs! Such forms men suffer, and from these they date A deed of love begun with all they hate: Absurd! that none the beaten road should shun, But love to do what other dupes have done. "Well, now your priest has made you one of twain, Look you for rest? Alas! you look in vain. If sick, he comes; you cannot die in peace, Till he attends to witness your release; To vex your soul, and urge you to confess The sins you feel, remember, or can guess; Nay, when departed, to your grave he goes - But there indeed he hurts not your repose. "Such are our burthens; part we must sustain, But need not link new grievance to the chain: Yet men like idiots will their frames surround With these vile shackles, nor confess they're bound; In all that most confines them they confide, Their slavery boast, and make their bonds their pride; E'en as the pressure galls them, they declare (Good souls!) how happy and how free they are! As madmen, pointing round their wretched cells, Cry, 'Lo! the palace where our honour dwells.' "Such is our state: but I resolve to live By rules my reason and my feelings give; No legal guards shall keep enthrall'd my mind, No Slaves command me, and no teachers blind. Tempted by sins, let me their strength defy, But have no second in a surplice by; No bottle-holder, with officious aid, To comfort conscience, weaken'd and afraid: Then if I yield, my frailty is not known; And, if I stand, the glory is my own. "When Truth and Reason are our friends, we seem Alive! awake!—the superstitious dream. Oh! then, fair truth, for thee alone I seek, Friend to the wise, supporter of the weak; From thee we learn whate'er is right and just: Forms to despise, professions to distrust; Creeds to reject, pretensions to deride, And, following thee, to follow none beside." Such was the speech: it struck upon the ear Like sudden thunder none expect to hear. He saw men's wonder with a manly pride, And gravely smiled at guest electrified. "A farmer this!" they said, "Oh! let him seek That place where he may for his country speak; On some great question to harangue for hours, While speakers, hearing, envy nobler powers!" Wisdom like this, as all things rich and rare, Must be acquired with pains, and kept with care; In books he sought it, which his friends might view, When their kind host the guarding curtain drew. There were historic works for graver hours, And lighter verse to spur the languid powers; There metaphysics, logic there had place; But of devotion not a single trace - Save what is taught in Gibbon's florid page, And other guides of this inquiring age. There Hume appear'd, and near a splendid book Composed by Gay's "good lord of Bolingbroke:" With these were mix'd the light, the free, the vain, And from a corner peep'd the sage Tom Paine; Here four neat volumes Chesterfield were named, For manners much and easy morals famed; With chaste Memoirs of females, to be read When deeper studies had confused the head. Such his resources, treasures where he sought For daily knowledge till his mind was fraught: Then, when his friends were present, for their use He would the riches he had stored produce; He found his lamp burn clearer when each day He drew for all he purposed to display; For these occasions forth his knowledge sprung, As mustard quickens on a bed of dung: All was prepared, and guests allow'd the praise For what they saw he could so quickly raise. Such this new friend; and when the year came round, The same impressive, reasoning sage was found: Then, too, was seen the pleasant mansion graced With a fair damsel—his no vulgar taste; The neat Rebecca—sly, observant, still, Watching his eye, and waiting on his will; Simple yet smart her dress, her manners meek, Her smiles spoke for her, she would seldom speak: But watch'd each look, each meaning to detect, And (pleased with notice) felt for all neglect. With her lived Gwyn a sweet harmonious life, Who, forms excepted, was a charming wife: The wives indeed, so made by vulgar law, Affected scorn, and censured what they saw, And what they saw not, fancied; said 'twas sin, And took no notice of the wife of Gwyn: But he despised their rudeness, and would prove Theirs was compulsion and distrust, not love; "Fools as they were! could they conceive that rings And parsons' blessings were substantial things?" They answer'd "Yes;" while he contemptuous spoke Of the low notions held by simple folk; Yet, strange that anger in a man so wise Should from the notions of these fools arise; Can they so vex us, whom we so despise? Brave as he was, our hero felt a dread Lest those who saw him kind should think him led; If to his bosom fear a visit paid, It was, lest he should be supposed afraid: Hence sprang his orders; not that he desired The things when done: obedience he required; And thus, to prove his absolute command, Ruled every heart, and moved each subject hand; Assent he ask'd for every word and whim, To prove that he alone was king of him. The still Rebecca, who her station knew, With ease resign'd the honours not her due: Well pleased she saw that men her board would grace, And wish'd not there to see a female face; When by her lover she his spouse was styled, Polite she thought it, and demurely smiled; But when he wanted wives and maidens round So to regard her, she grew grave and frown'd; And sometimes whisper'd—"Why should you respect These people's notions, yet their forms reject?" Gwyn, though from marriage bond and fetter free, Still felt abridgment in his liberty; Something of hesitation he betray'd, And in her presence thought of what he said. Thus fair Rebecca, though she walk'd astray, His creed rejecting, judged it right to pray, To be at church, to sit with serious looks, To read her Bible and her Sunday-books: She hated all those new and daring themes, And call'd his free conjectures "devil's dreams:" She honour'd still the priesthood in her fall, And claim'd respect and reverence for them all; Call'd them "of sin's destructive power the foes, And not such blockheads as he might suppose." Gwyn to his friends would smile, and sometimes say, "'Tis a kind fool; why vex her in her way?" Her way she took, and still had more in view, For she contrived that he should take it too. The daring freedom of his soul, 'twas plain, In part was lost in a divided reign; A king and queen, who yet in prudence sway'd Their peaceful state, and were in turn obey'd. Yet such our fate, that when we plan the best, Something arises to disturb our rest: For though in spirits high, in body strong, Gwyn something felt—he knew not what—was wrong, He wish'd to know, for he believed the thing, If unremoved, would other evil bring: "She must perceive, of late he could not eat, And when he walk'd he trembled on his feet: He had forebodings, and he seem'd as one Stopp'd on the road, or threaten'd by a dun; He could not live, and yet, should he apply To those physicians—he must sooner die." The mild Rebecca heard with some disdain, And some distress, her friend and lord complain: His death she fear'd not, but had painful doubt What his distemper'd nerves might bring about; With power like hers she dreaded an ally, And yet there was a person in her eye; - She thought, debated, fix'd—"Alas!" she said, "A case like yours must be no more delay'd; You hate these doctors; well! but were a friend And doctor one, your fears would have an end: My cousin Mollet—Scotland holds him now - Is above all men skilful, all allow; Of late a Doctor, and within a while He means to settle in this favoured isle: Should he attend you, with his skill profound, You must be safe, and shortly would be sound." When men in health against Physicians rail, They should consider that their nerves may fail; Who calls a Lawyer rogue, may find, too late, On one of these depends his whole estate; Nay, when the world can nothing more produce, The Priest, th' insulted priest, may have his use; Ease, health, and comfort lift a man so high, These powers are dwarfs that he can scarcely spy; Pain, sickness, langour, keep a man so low, That these neglected dwarfs to giants grow: Happy is he who through the medium sees Of clear good sense—but Gwyn was not of these. He heard and he rejoiced: "Ah! let him come, And till he fixes, make my house his home." Home came the Doctor—he was much admired; He told the patient what his case required; His hours for sleep, his time to eat and drink, When he should ride, read, rest, compose, or think. Thus join'd peculiar skill and art profound, To make the fancy-sick no more than fancy-sound. With such attention, who could long be ill? Returning health proclaim'd the Doctor's skill. Presents and praises from a grateful heart Were freely offer'd on the patient's part; In high repute the Doctor seem'd to stand, But still had got no footing in the land; And, as he saw the seat was rich and fair, He felt disposed to fix his station there: To gain his purpose he perform'd the part Of a good actor, and prepared to start; Not like a traveller in a day serene, When the sun shone and when the roads were clean; Not like the pilgrim, when the morning gray, The ruddy eve succeeding, sends his way; But in a season when the sharp east wind Had all its influence on a nervous mind; When past the parlour's front it fiercely blew, And Gwyn sat pitying every bird that flew, This strange physician said—"Adieu! Adieu! Farewell!—Heaven bless you!—if you should—but no, You need not fear—farewell! 'tis time to go." The Doctor spoke; and as the patient heard, His old disorders (dreadful train!) appear'd; "He felt the tingling tremor, and the stress Upon his nerves that he could not express; Should his good friend forsake him, he perhaps Might meet his death, and surely a relapse." So, as the Doctor seem'd intent to part, He cried in terror—"Oh! be where thou art: Come, thou art young, and unengaged; oh! come, Make me thy friend, give comfort to mine home; I have now symptoms that require thine aid, Do, Doctor, stay:"—th' obliging Doctor stay'd. Thus Gwyn was happy; he had now a friend, And a meek spouse on whom he could depend: But now possess'd of male and female guide, Divided power he thus must subdivide: In earlier days he rode, or sat at ease Reclined, and having but himself to please; Now if he would a fav'rite nag bestride, He sought permission—"Doctor, may I ride?" (Rebecca's eye her sovereign pleasure told) - "I think you may, but guarded from the cold, Ride forty minutes."—Free and happy soul, He scorn'd submission, and a man's control; But where such friends in every care unite All for his good, obedience is delight. Now Gwyn a sultan bade affairs adieu, Led and assisted by the faithful two; The favourite fair, Rebecca, near him sat, And whisper'd whom to love, assist, or hate; While the chief vizier eased his lord of cares, And bore himself the burden of affairs: No dangers could from such alliance flow, But from that law that changes all below. When wintry winds with leaves bestrew'd the ground, And men were coughing all the village round; When public papers of invasion told, Diseases, famines, perils new and old; When philosophic writers fail'd to clear The mind of gloom, and lighter works to cheer; Then came fresh terrors on our hero's mind - Fears unforeseen, and feelings undefined. "In outward ills," he cried, "I rest assured Of my friend's aid; they will in time be cured; But can his art subdue, resist, control These inward griefs and troubles of the soul? Oh! my Rebecca! my disorder'd mind No help in study, none in thought can find; What must I do, Rebecca?" She proposed The Parish-guide; but what could be disclosed To a proud priest?—"No! him have I defied, Insulted, slighted—shall he be my guide? But one there is, and if report be just, A wise good man, whom I may safely trust; Who goes from house to house, from ear to ear, To make his truths, his Gospel-truths, appear; True if indeed they be, 'tis time that I should hear: Send for that man; and if report be just, I, like Cornelius, will the teacher trust; But if deceiver, I the vile deceit Shall soon discover, and discharge the cheat." To Doctor Mollet was the grief confess"d, While Gwyn the freedom of his mind expressed; Yet own'd it was to ills and errors prone, And he for guilt and frailty must atone. "My books, perhaps," the wav'ring mortal cried, "Like men deceive; I would be satisfied; - And to my soul the pious man may bring Comfort and light: —do let me try the thing." The cousins met, what pass'd with Gwyn was told: "Alas!" the Doctor said, "how hard to hold These easy minds, where all impressions made At first sink deeply, and then quickly fade; For while so strong these new-born fancies reign, We must divert them, to oppose is vain: You see him valiant now, he scorns to heed The bigot's threat'nings or the zealot's creed; Shook by a dream, he next for truth receives What frenzy teaches, and what fear believes; And this will place him in the power of one Whom we must seek, because we cannot shun." Wisp had been ostler at a busy inn, Where he beheld and grew in dread of sin; Then to a Baptists' meeting found his way, Became a convert, and was taught to pray; Then preach'd; and, being earnest and sincere, Brought other sinners to religious fear: Together grew his influence and his fame, Till our dejected hero heard his name: His little failings were a grain of pride, Raised by the numbers he presumed to guide; A love of presents, and of lofty praise For his meek spirit and his humble ways; But though this spirit would on flattery feed, No praise could blind him and no arts mislead: - To him the Doctor made the wishes known Of his good patron, but conceal'd his own; He of all teachers had distrust and doubt, And was reserved in what he came about; Though on a plain and simple message sent, He had a secret and a bold intent: Their minds at first were deeply veil'd; disguise Form'd the slow speech, and oped the eager eyes; Till by degrees sufficient light was thrown On every view, and all the business shown. Wisp, as a skilful guide who led the blind, Had powers to rule and awe the vapourish mind; But not the changeful will, the wavering fear to bind: And should his conscience give him leave to dwell With Gwyn, and every rival power expel (A dubious point), yet he, with every care, Might soon the lot of the rejected share; And other Wisps he found like him to reign, And then be thrown upon the world again: He thought it prudent then, and felt it just, The present guides of his new friend to trust: True, he conceived, to touch the harder heart Of the cool Doctor, was beyond his art; But mild Rebecca he could surely sway, While Gwyn would follow where she led the way: So to do good, (and why a duty shun, Because rewarded for the good when done?) He with his friends would join in all they plann'd, Save when his faith or feelings should withstand; There he must rest sole judge of his affairs, While they might rule exclusively in theirs. When Gwyn his message to the teacher sent, He fear'd his friends would show their discontent; And prudent seem'd it to th' attendant pair, Not all at once to show an aspect fair: On Wisp they seem'd to look with jealous eye, And fair Rebecca was demure and shy; But by degrees the teacher's worth they knew, And were so kind, they seem'd converted too. Wisp took occasion to the nymph to say, "You must be married: will you name the day?" She smiled,—"'Tis well: but should he not comply, Is it quite safe th' experiment to try?" - "My child," the teacher said, "who feels remorse, (And feels not he?) must wish relief of course: And can he find it, while he fears the crime! - You must be married; will you name the time?" Glad was the patron as a man could be, Yet marvell'd too, to find his guides agree; "But what the cause?" he cried; "'tis genuine love for me." Each found his part, and let one act describe The powers and honours of th' accordant tribe: - A man for favour to the mansion speeds, And cons his threefold task as he proceeds; To teacher Wisp he bows with humble air, And begs his interest for a barn's repair: Then for the Doctor he inquires, who loves To hear applause for what his skill improves, And gives for praise, assent—and to the Fair He brings of pullets a delicious pair; Thus sees a peasant, with discernment nice, A love of power, conceit, and avarice. Lo! now the change complete: the convert Gwyn Has sold his books, and has renounced his sin; Mollet his body orders, Wisp his soul, And o'er his purse the Lady takes control; No friends beside he needs, and none attend - Soul, body, and estate, has each a friend; And fair Rebecca leads a virtuous life - She rules a mistress, and she reigns a wife.



TALE IV.



PROCRASTINATION.

Heaven witness I have been to you ever true and humble. SHAKESPEARE, Henry VIII.

Gentle lady, When I did first impart my love to you, I freely told you all the wealth I had. Merchant of Venice.

The fatal time Cuts off all ceremonies and vows of love, And ample interchange of sweet discourse, Which so long sunder'd friends should dwell upon. Richard III.

I know thee not, old man; fall to thy prayers. Henry IV.

Farewell, Thou pure impiety, thou impious purity, For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love. Much Ado about Nothing.

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Love will expire—the gay, the happy dream Will turn to scorn, indiff'rence, or esteem: Some favour'd pairs, in this exchange, are blest, Nor sigh for raptures in a state of rest; Others, ill match'd, with minds unpair'd, repent At once the deed, and know no more content; From joy to anguish they, in haste, decline, And, with their fondness, their esteem resign; More luckless still their fate, who are the prey Of long-protracted hope and dull delay: 'Mid plans of bliss the heavy hours pass on, Till love is withered, and till joy is gone. This gentle flame two youthful hearts possess'd, The sweet disturber of unenvied rest; The prudent Dinah was the maid beloved, And the kind Rupert was the swain approved: A wealthy Aunt her gentle niece sustain'd, He, with a father, at his desk remain'd; The youthful couple, to their vows sincere, Thus loved expectant; year succeeding year, With pleasant views and hopes, but not a prospect near. Rupert some comfort in his station saw, But the poor virgin lived in dread and awe; Upon her anxious looks the widow smiled, And bade her wait, "for she was yet a child." She for her neighbour had a due respect, Nor would his son encourage or reject; And thus the pair, with expectation vain, Beheld the seasons change and change again; Meantime the nymph her tender tales perused, Where cruel aunts impatient girls refused: While hers, though teasing, boasted to be kind, And she, resenting, to be all resign'd. The dame was sick, and when the youth applied For her consent, she groan'd, and cough'd, and cried, Talk'd of departing, and again her breath Drew hard, and cough'd, and talk'd again of death: "Here may you live, my Dinah! here the boy And you together my estate enjoy:" Thus to the lovers was her mind expressed, Till they forbore to urge the fond request. Servant, and nurse, and comforter, and friend, Dinah had still some duty to attend; But yet their walk, when Rupert's evening call Obtain'd an hour, made sweet amends for all; So long they now each other's thoughts had known, That nothing seem'd exclusively their own: But with the common wish, the mutual fear, They now had travelled to their thirtieth year. At length a prospect open'd—but alas! Long time must yet, before the union, pass. Rupert was call'd, in other clime, t'increase Another's wealth, and toil for future peace. Loth were the lovers; but the aunt declared 'Twas fortune's call, and they must be prepar'd: "You now are young, and for this brief delay, And Dinah's care, what I bequeath will pay; All will be yours; nay, love, suppress that sigh; The kind must suffer, and the best must die:" Then came the cough, and strong the signs it gave Of holding long contention with the grave. The lovers parted with a gloomy view, And little comfort, but that both were true; He for uncertain duties doom'd to steer, While hers remain'd too certain and severe. Letters arrived, and Rupert fairly told "His cares were many, and his hopes were cold: The view more clouded, that was never fair, And love alone preserved him from despair;" In other letters brighter hopes he drew, "His friends were kind, and he believed them true." When the sage widow Dinah's grief descried, She wonder'd much why one so happy sigh'd: Then bade her see how her poor aunt sustain'd The ills of life, nor murmur'd nor complain'd. To vary pleasures, from the lady's chest Were drawn the pearly string and tabby vest; Beads, jewels, laces, all their value shown, With the kind notice—"They will be your own." This hope, these comforts, cherish'd day by day, To Dinah's bosom made a gradual way; Till love of treasure had as large a part, As love of Rupert, in the virgin's heart. Whether it be that tender passions fail, From their own nature, while the strong prevail; Or whether av'rice, like the poison-tree, Kills all beside it, and alone will be; Whatever cause prevail'd, the pleasure grew In Dinah's soul,—she loved the hoards to view; With lively joy those comforts she survey'd, And love grew languid in the careful maid. Now the grave niece partook the widow's cares, Look'd to the great, and ruled the small affairs; Saw clean'd the plate, arranged the china-show, And felt her passion for a shilling grow: Th' indulgent aunt increased the maid's delight, By placing tokens of her wealth in sight; She loved the value of her bonds to tell, And spake of stocks, and how they rose and fell. This passion grew, and gain'd at length such sway, That other passions shrank to make it way; Romantic notions now the heart forsook, She read but seldom, and she changed her book; And for the verses she was wont to send, Short was her prose, and she was Rupert's friend. Seldom she wrote, and then the widow's cough, And constant call, excused her breaking off; Who now oppressed, no longer took the air, But sat and dozed upon an easy chair. The cautious doctor saw the case was clear, But judged it best to have companions near; They came, they reason'd, they prescribed,—at last, Like honest men, they said their hopes were past; Then came a priest—'tis comfort to reflect When all is over, there was no neglect: And all was over.—By her husband's bones, The widow rests beneath the sculptured stones, That yet record their fondness and their fame, While all they left the virgin's care became; Stock, bonds, and buildings; it disturb'd her rest, To think what load of troubles she possessed: Yet, if a trouble, she resolved to take Th' important duty for the donor's sake; She too was heiress to the widow's taste, Her love of hoarding, and her dread of waste. Sometimes the past would on her mind intrude, And then a conflict full of care ensued; The thoughts of Rupert on her mind would press, His worth she knew, but doubted his success: Of old she saw him heedless; what the boy Forebore to save, the man would not enjoy; Oft had he lost the chance that care would seize, Willing to live, but more to live at ease: Yet could she not a broken vow defend, And Heav'n, perhaps, might yet enrich her friend. Month after month was pass'd, and all were spent In quiet comfort, and in rich content; Miseries there were, and woes the world around, But these had not her pleasant dwelling found; She knew that mothers grieved, and widows wept, And she was sorry, said her prayers, and slept: Thus passed the seasons, and to Dinah's board Gave what the seasons to the rich afford; For she indulged, nor was her heart so small, That one strong passion should engross it all. A love of splendour now with av'rice strove, And oft appeared to be the stronger love: A secret pleasure fill'd the Widow's breast, When she reflected on the hoards possess'd; But livelier joy inspired th' ambitious Maid, When she the purchase of those hoards display'd: In small but splendid room she loved to see That all was placed in view and harmony. There, as with eager glance she look'd around, She much delight in every object found. While books devout were near her—to destroy, Should it arise, an overflow of joy. Within that fair apartment guests might see The comforts cull'd for wealth by vanity: Around the room an Indian paper blazed, With lively tint and figures boldly raised; Silky and soft upon the floor below, Th' elastic carpet rose with crimson glow; All things around implied both cost and care, What met the eye was elegant or rare: Some curious trifles round the room were laid, By hope presented to the wealthy Maid; Within a costly case of varnish'd wood, In level rows, her polish'd volumes stood; Shown as a favour to a chosen few, To prove what beauty for a book could do: A silver urn with curious work was fraught; A silver lamp from Grecian pattern wrought: Above her head, all gorgeous to behold, A time-piece stood on feet of burnish'd gold; A stag's-head crest adorn'd the pictured case, Through the pure crystal shone the enamel'd face; And while on brilliants moved the hands of steel, It click'd from pray'r to pray'r, from meal to meal. Here as the lady sat, a friendly pair Stept in t'admire the view, and took their chair: They then related how the young and gay Were thoughtless wandering in the broad highway: How tender damsels sail'd in tilted boats, And laugh'd with wicked men in scarlet coats; And how we live in such degen'rate times, That men conceal their wants and show their crimes; While vicious deeds are screen'd by fashion's name, And what was once our pride is now our shame. Dinah was musing, as her friends discoursed, When these last words a sudden entrance forced Upon her mind, and what was once her pride And now her shame, some painful views supplied; Thoughts of the past within her bosom press'd, And there a change was felt, and was confess'd: While thus the Virgin strove with secret pain, Her mind was wandering o'er the troubled main; Still she was silent, nothing seem'd to see, But sat and sigh'd in pensive reverie. The friends prepared new subjects to begin, When tall Susannah, maiden starch, stalk'd in; Not in her ancient mode, sedate and slow, As when she came, the mind she knew, to know; Nor as, when list'ning half an hour before, She twice or thrice tapp'd gently at the door; But all decorum cast in wrath aside, "I think the devil's in the man!" she cried; "A huge tall sailor, with his tawny cheek And pitted face, will with my lady speak; He grinn'd an ugly smile, and said he knew, Please you, my lady, 't would be joy to you: What must I answer?"—Trembling and distress'd Sank the pale Dinah by her fears oppress'd; When thus alarm'd and brooking no delay, Swift to her room the stranger made his way. "Revive, my love!" said he, "I've done thee harm; Give me thy pardon," and he look'd alarm: Meantime the prudent Dinah had contrived Her soul to question, and she then revived. "See! my good friend," and then she raised her head, "The bloom of life, the strength of youth is fled; Living we die; to us the world is dead; We parted bless'd with health, and I am now Age-struck and feeble—so I find art thou; Thine eye is sunken, furrow'd is thy face, And downward look'st thou—so we run our race; And happier they whose race is nearly run, Their troubles over, and their duties done." "True, lady, true—we are not girl and boy, But time has left us something to enjoy." "What! hast thou learn'd my fortune?—yes, I live To feel how poor the comforts wealth can give: Thou too perhaps art wealthy; but our fate Still mocks our wishes, wealth is come too late." "To me nor late nor early; I am come Poor as I left thee to my native home: Nor yet," said Rupert, "will I grieve; 'tis mine To share thy comforts, and the glory thine: For thou wilt gladly take that generous part That both exalts and gratifies the heart; While mine rejoices"—"Heavens!" return'd the maid, "This talk to one so wither'd and decay'd? No! all my care is now to fit my mind For other spousal, and to die resigned: As friend and neighbour, I shall hope to see These noble views, this pious love in thee; That we together may the change await, Guides and spectators in each other's fate; When fellow pilgrims, we shall daily crave The mutual prayer that arms us for the grave." Half angry, half in doubt, the lover gazed On the meek maiden, by her speech amazed; "Dinah," said he, "dost thou respect thy vows? What spousal mean'st thou?—thou art Rupert's spouse; That chance is mine to take, and thine to give: But, trifling this, if we together live: Can I believe, that, after all the past, Our vows, our loves, thou wilt be false at last? Something thou hast—I know not what—in view; I find thee pious—let me find thee true." "Ah! cruel this; but do, my friend, depart; And to its feelings leave my wounded heart." "Nay, speak at once; and Dinah, let me know, Mean'st thou to take me, now I'm wreck'd, in tow? Be fair; nor longer keep me in the dark; Am I forsaken for a trimmer spark? Heaven's spouse thou art not; nor can I believe That God accepts her who will man deceive: True I am shatter'd, I have service seen, And service done, and have in trouble been; My cheek (it shames me not) has lost its red, And the brown buff is o'er my features spread: Perchance my speech is rude; for I among Th' untamed have been, in temper and in tongue; Have been trepann'd, have lived in toil and care, And wrought for wealth I was not doom'd to share; It touch'd me deeply, for I felt a pride In gaining riches for my destin'd bride: Speak then my fate; for these my sorrows past, Time lost, youth fled, hope wearied, and at last This doubt of thee—a childish thing to tell, But certain truth—my very throat they swell: They stop the breath, and but for shame could I Give way to weakness, and with passion cry; These are unmanly struggles, but I feel This hour must end them, and perhaps will heal." Here Dinah sigh'd, as if afraid to speak - And then repeated—"They were frail and weak: His soul she lov'd, and hoped he had the grace To fix his thoughts upon a better place." She ceased;—with steady glance, as if to see The very root of this hypocrisy, - He her small fingers moulded in his hard And bronzed broad hand; then told her his regard, His best respect were gone, but love had still Hold in his heart, and govern'd yet the will - Or he would curse her: —saying this, he threw The hand in scorn away, and bade adieu To every lingering hope, with every care in view. Proud and indignant, suffering, sick, and poor, He grieved unseen: and spoke of love no more - Till all he felt in indignation died, As hers had sunk in avarice and pride. In health declining, as in mind distressed, To some in power his troubles he confess'd, And shares a parish-gift; at prayers he sees The pious Dinah dropp'd upon her knees; Thence as she walks the street with stately air As chance directs, oft meet the parted pair; When he, with thickset coat of badgeman's blue, Moves near her shaded silk of changeful hue; When his thin locks of gray approach her braid, A costly purchase made in Beauty's aid; When his frank air, and his unstudied pace, Are seen with her soft manner, air, and grace; And his plain artless look with her sharp meaning face; It might some wonder in a stranger move, How these together could have talk'd of love. Behold them now!—see there a tradesman stands, And humbly hearkens to some fresh commands; He moves to speak, she interrupts him—"Stay," Her air expresses,—"Hark to what I say!" Ten paces off, poor Rupert on a seat Has taken refuge from the noon-day heat, His eyes on her intent, as if to find What were the movements of that subtle mind: How still!—how earnest is he!—it appears His thoughts are wand'ring through his earlier years; Through years of fruitless labour, to the day When all his earthly prospects died away: "Had I," he thinks, "been wealthier of the two, Would she have found me so unkind, untrue? Or knows not man when poor, what man when rich will do? Yes, yes! I feel that I had faithful proved, And should have soothed and raised her, bless'd and loved." But Dinah moves—she had observed before The pensive Rupert at an humble door: Some thoughts of pity raised by his distress, Some feeling touch of ancient tenderness; Religion, duty urged the maid to speak, In terms of kindness to a man so weak: But pride forbade, and to return would prove She felt the shame of his neglected love; Nor wrapp'd in silence could she pass, afraid Each eye should see her, and each heart upbraid; One way remain'd—the way the Levite took, Who without mercy could on misery look; (A way perceiv'd by craft, approved by pride), She cross'd and pass'd him on the other side.



TALE V.



THE PATRON.

It were all one, That I should love a bright peculiar star, And think to wed it; she is so much above me: In her bright radiance and collateral heat Must I be comforted, not in her sphere. SHAKESPEARE, All's Well that Ends Well.

Poor wretches, that depend On greatness' favours, dream as I have done, Wake and find nothing. Cymbeline.

And since - Th' affliction of my mind amends, with which I fear a madness held me. Tempest.

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A Borough-Bailiff, who to law was train'd, A wife and sons in decent state maintain'd, He had his way in life's rough ocean steer'd And many a rock and coast of danger clear'd; He saw where others fail'd, and care had he, Others in him should not such feelings see: His sons in various busy states were placed, And all began the sweets of gain to taste, Save John, the younger, who, of sprightly parts, Felt not a love for money-making arts: In childhood feeble, he, for country air, Had long resided with a rustic pair; All round whose room were doleful ballads, songs, Of lovers' sufferings and of ladies' wrongs; Of peevish ghosts who came at dark midnight, For breach of promise, guilty men to fright; Love, marriage, murder, were the themes, with these, All that on idle, ardent spirits seize; Robbers at land and pirates on the main, Enchanters foil'd, spells broken, giants slain; Legends of love, with tales of halls and bowers, Choice of rare songs, and garlands of choice flowers, And all the hungry mind without a choice devours. From village-children kept apart by pride, With such enjoyments, and without a guide, Inspired by feelings all such works infused, John snatch'd a pen, and wrote as he perused: With the like fancy he could make his knight Slay half a host, and put the rest to flight; With the like knowledge he could make him ride From isle to isle at Parthenissa's side; And with a heart yet free, no busy brain Form'd wilder notions of delight and pain, The raptures smiles create, the anguish of disdain. Such were the fruits of John's poetic toil - Weeds, but still proofs of vigour in the soil: He nothing purposed but with vast delight, Let Fancy loose, and wonder'd at her flight: His notions of poetic worth were high, And of his own still-hoarded poetry; - These to his father's house he bore with pride, A miser's treasure, in his room to hide; Till spurr'd by glory, to a reading friend, He kindly show'd the sonnets he had penn'd: With erring judgment, though with heart sincere, That friend exclaim'd, "These beauties must appear.' In magazines they claim'd their share of fame, Though undistinguish'd by their author's name; And with delight the young enthusiast found The muse of Marcus with applauses crown'd. This heard the father, and with some alarm; "The boy," said he, "will neither trade nor farm, He for both law and physic is unfit, Wit he may have, but cannot live on wit: Let him his talents then to learning give, Where verse is honour'd, and where poets live." John kept his terms at college unreproved, Took his degree, and left the life he loved; Not yet ordain'd, his leisure he employ'd In the light labours he so much enjoy'd; His favourite notions and his daring views Were cherish'd still, and he adored the Muse. "A little time, and he should burst to light, And admiration of the world excite; And every friend, now cool and apt to blame His fond pursuit, would wonder at his fame." When led by fancy, and from view retired, He call'd before him all his heart desired; "Fame shall be mine, then wealth shall I possess, And beauty next an ardent lover bless; For me the maid shall leave her nobler state, Happy to raise and share her poet's fate." He saw each day his father's frugal board, With simple fare by cautious prudence stored: Where each indulgence was foreweigh'd with care, And the grand maxims were to save and spare: Yet in his walks, his closet, and his bed, All frugal cares and prudent counsels fled; And bounteous Fancy, for his glowing mind, Wrought various scenes, and all of glorious kind: Slaves of the ring and lamp! what need of you, When Fancy's self such magic deeds can do? Though rapt in visions of no vulgar kind, To common subjects stoop'd our poet's mind; And oft when wearied with more ardent flight, He felt a spur satiric song to write; A rival burgess his bold Muse attack'd, And whipp'd severely for a well known fact; For while he seem'd to all demure and shy, Our poet gazed at what was passing by; And e'en his father smiled when playful wit, From his young bard, some haughty object hit. From ancient times, the borough where they dwelt Had mighty contests at elections felt; Sir Godfrey Ball, 'tis true, had held in pay Electors many for the trying day; But in such golden chains to bind them all Required too much for e'en Sir Godfrey Ball. A member died, and to supply his place Two heroes enter'd for th' important race; Sir Godfrey's friend and Earl Fitzdonnel's son, Lord Frederick Darner, both prepared to run; And partial numbers saw with vast delight Their good young lord oppose the proud old knight. Our poet's father, at a first request, Gave the young lord his vote and interest; And what he could our poet, for he stung The foe by verse satiric, said and sung. Lord Frederick heard of all this youthful zeal, And felt as lords upon a canvass feel; He read the satire, and he saw the use That such cool insult, and such keen abuse, Might on the wavering minds of voting men produce; Then too his praises were in contrast seen, "A lord as noble as the knight was mean." "I much rejoice," he cried, "such worth to find; To this the world must be no longer blind: His glory will descend from sire to son, The Burns of English race, the happier Chatterton." Our poet's mind now hurried and elate, Alarm'd the anxious parent for his fate; Who saw with sorrow, should their friend succeed, That much discretion would the poet need. Their friends succeeded, and repaid the zeal The Poet felt, and made opposers feel, By praise (from lords how soothing and how sweet!) An invitation to his noble seat. The father ponder'd, doubtful if the brain Of his proud boy such honour could sustain; Pleased with the favours offer'd to a son, But seeing dangers few so ardent shun. Thus when they parted, to the youthful breast The father's fears were by his love impress'd: "There will you find, my son, the courteous ease That must subdue the soul it means to please; That soft attention which e'en beauty pays To wake our passions, or provoke our praise; There all the eye beholds will give delight, Where every sense is flatter'd like the sight; This is your peril; can you from such scene Of splendour part, and feel your mind serene, And in the father's humble state resume The frugal diet and the narrow room?" To this the youth with cheerful heart replied, Pleased with the trial, but as yet untried; And while professing patience, should he fail, He suffered hope o'er reason to prevail. Impatient, by the morning mail conveyed, The happy guest his promised visit paid; And now arriving at the Hall, he tried For air composed, serene and satisfied; As he had practised in his room alone, And there acquired a free and easy tone: There he had said, "Whatever the degree A man obtains, what more than man is he?" And when arrived—"This room is but a room; Can aught we see the steady soul o'ercome? Let me in all a manly firmness show, Upheld by talents, and their value know." This reason urged; but it surpassed his skill To be in act as manly as in will: When he his Lordship and the Lady saw Brave as he was, he felt oppress'd with awe; And spite of verse, that so much praise had won, The poet found he was the Bailiff's son. But dinner came, and the succeeding hours Fix'd his weak nerves, and raised his failing powers; Praised and assured, he ventured once or twice On some remark, and bravely broke the ice; So that, at night, reflecting on his words, He found, in time, he might converse with lords. Now was the Sister of his Patron seen - A lovely creature, with majestic mien; Who, softly smiling, while she looked so fair, Praised the young poet with such friendly air; Such winning frankness in her looks express'd, And such attention to her brother's guest; That so much beauty, join'd with speech so kind, Raised strong emotions in the poet's mind; Till reason fail'd his bosom to defend, From the sweet power of this enchanting friend. - Rash boy! what hope thy frantic mind invades? What love confuses, and what pride persuades? Awake to truth! shouldst thou deluded feed On hopes so groundless, thou art mad indeed. What say'st thou, wise one?—"that all powerful Love Can fortune's strong impediments remove; Nor is it strange that worth should wed to worth, The pride of genius with the pride of birth." While thou art dreaming thus, the Beauty spies Love in thy tremor, passion in thine eyes; And with th' amusement pleased, of conquest vain, She seeks her pleasure, careless of thy pain; She gives thee praise to humble and confound, Smiles to ensnare, and flatters thee to wound. Why has she said that in the lowest state The noble mind ensures a noble fate? And why thy daring mind to glory call? - That thou may'st dare and suffer, soar and fall. Beauties are tyrants, and if they can reign, They have no feeling for their subjects' pain: Their victim's anguish gives their charms applause, And their chief glory is the woe they cause: Something of this was felt, in spite of love, Which hope, in spite of reason, would remove. Thus lived our youth, with conversation, books, And Lady Emma's soul-subduing looks: Lost in delight, astonish'd at his lot, All prudence banish'd, all advice forgot - Hopes, fears, and every thought, were fix'd upon the spot. 'Twas autumn yet, and many a day must frown On Brandon-Hall, ere went my Lord to town; Meantime the father, who had heard his boy Lived in a round of luxury and joy, And justly thinking that the youth was one Who, meeting danger, was unskill'd to shun; Knowing his temper, virtue, spirit, zeal, How prone to hope and trust, believe and feel; These on the parent's soul their weight impress'd, And thus he wrote the counsels of his breast: - "John, thou'rt a genius; thou hast some pretence, I think, to wit,—but hast thou sterling sense? That which, like gold, may through the world go forth, And always pass for what 'tis truly worth: Whereas this genius, like a bill must take Only the value our opinions make. "Men famed for wit, of dangerous talents vain. Treat those of common parts with proud disdain; The powers that wisdom would, improving, hide, They blaze abroad with inconsid'rate pride; While yet but mere probationers for fame, They seize the honour they should then disclaim; Honour so hurried to the light must fade, The lasting laurels flourish in the shade. "Genius is jealous: I have heard of some Who, if unnoticed, grew perversely dumb; Nay, different talents would their envy raise; Poets have sicken'd at a dancer's praise; And one, the happiest writer of his time, Grew pale at hearing Reynolds was sublime; That Rutland's Duchess wore a heavenly smile - 'And I,' said he, 'neglected all the while!' "A waspish tribe are these, on gilded wings, Humming their lays, and brandishing their stings: And thus they move their friends and foes among, Prepared for soothing or satiric song. "Hear me, my Boy; thou hast a virtuous mind - But be thy virtues of the sober kind; Be not a Quixote, ever up in arms To give the guilty and the great alarms: If never heeded, thy attack is vain; And if they heed thee, they'll attack again; Then too in striking at that heedless rate, Thou in an instant may'st decide thy fate. "Leave admonition—let the vicar give Rules how the nobles of his flock should live; Nor take that simple fancy to thy brain, That thou canst cure the wicked and the vain. "Our Pope, they say, once entertain'd the whim, Who fear'd not God should be afraid of him; But grant they fear'd him, was it further said, That he reform'd the hearts he made afraid? Did Chartres mend? Ward, Waters, and a score Of flagrant felons, with his floggings sore? Was Cibber silenced? No; with vigour blest, And brazen front, half earnest, half in jest, He dared the bard to battle, and was seen In all his glory match'd with Pope and spleen; Himself he stripp'd, the harder blow to hit, Then boldly match'd his ribaldry with wit; The poet's conquest truth and time proclaim, But yet the battle hurt his peace and fame. "Strive not too much for favour; seem at ease. And rather please thyself, than bent to please: Upon thy lord with decent care attend, But not too near; thou canst not be a friend; And favourite be not, 'tis a dangerous post - Is gain'd by labour, and by fortune lost: Talents like thine may make a man approved, But other talents trusted and beloved. Look round, my son, and thou wilt early see The kind of man thou art not form'd to be. "The real favourites of the great are they Who to their views and wants attention pay, And pay it ever; who, with all their skill, Dive to the heart, and learn the secret will; If that be vicious, soon can they provide The favourite ill, and o'er the soul preside, For vice is weakness, and the artful know Their power increases as the passions grow; If indolent the pupil, hard their task; Such minds will ever for amusement ask; And great the labour! for a man to choose Objects for one whom nothing can amuse; For ere those objects can the soul delight, They must to joy the soul herself excite; Therefore it is, this patient, watchful kind With gentle friction stir the drowsy mind: Fix'd on their end, with caution they proceed, And sometimes give, and sometimes take the lead; Will now a hint convey, and then retire, And let the spark awake the lingering fire; Or seek new joys, and livelier pleasures bring To give the jaded sense a quick'ning spring. "These arts, indeed, my son must not pursue; Nor must he quarrel with the tribe that do: It is not safe another's crimes to know, Nor is it wise our proper worth to show: - 'My lord,' you say, 'engaged me for that worth;' - True, and preserve it ready to come forth: If questioned, fairly answer,—and that done, Shrink back, be silent, and thy father's son; For they who doubt thy talents scorn thy boast, But they who grant them will dislike thee most: Observe the prudent; they in silence sit, Display no learning, and affect no wit; They hazard nothing, nothing they assume, But know the useful art of acting dumb. Yet to their eyes each varying look appears, And every word finds entrance at their ears. "Thou art Religion's advocate—take heed, Hurt not the cause, thy pleasure 'tis to plead; With wine before thee, and with wits beside, Do not in strength of reasoning powers

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