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Cease, then, nor ORDER, imperfection name:
Our proper bliss depends on what we blame.
Know thy own point: this kind, this due degree
Of blindness, weakness, Heav'n bestows on thee.
Submit. In this or any other sphere,
Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear:
Safe in the hand of one disposing pow'r,
Or in the natal, or the mortal hour.
All Nature is but Art unknown to thee;
All Chance, Direction which thou canst not see;
All Discord, Harmony not understood;
All partial Evil, universal Good:
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite,
One truth is clear," WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT.'
III.-Description of a Country Alehouse.
NEAR yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high,
Where once the sign-post caught the passing eye;
Low lies that house, where nutbrown draughts inspir'd;
Where graybeard mirth, and smiling toil, retir'd:
Where village statesmen talk'd with looks profound,
And news much older than their ale went round.
Imagination fondly stoops, to trace
The parlour splendors of that festive place;
The white-wash'd wall; the nicely sanded floor;
The varnish'd clock that click'd behind the door:
The chest, contriv'd a double debt to pay,
A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day;
The pictures plac'd for ornament and use,
The twelve good rules the royal game of goose:
The hearth, except when winter chill'd the day,
With aspen boughs, and flowers, and fennel, gay;
While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show,
Rang'd o'er the chimney, glisten'd in a row.
Vain transitory splendors! could not all
Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall!
Obscure it sinks; nor shall it more impart
An hour's importance to the poor man's heart.
Thither no more the peasant shall repair
To sweet oblivion of his daily care.
No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale,
No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail;
No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear,
Relax his pond'rous strength and lean to hear.
The host himself no longer shall be found
Careful to see the mantling bliss go round;
Nor the coy maid half willing to be press'd,
Shall kiss the cup, to pass it to the rest.
IV. Character of a Country Schoolmaster.
BESIDE yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
With blossom'd furze, unprofitably gay,
There, in his noisy mansion skill'd to rule,
The village master taught his little School.
A man severe he was, and stern to view :
I knew him well, and every truant knew.
Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace
The day's disasters in his morning face:
Full well they laugh'd, with counterfeited glee,
At all his jokes-for many a joke had he:
Full well the busy whisper circling round,
Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frown'd.
Yet he was kind; or if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault.
The village all declar'd how much he knew:
'Twas certain he could write and cipher too:
Lands he could measure; terms and tides presage;
And e'en the story ran that he could-guage.
In arguing, too, the parson own'd his skill;
For e'en though vanquish'd, he could argue still;
While words of learned length, and thundering sound,
Amaz'd the gazing rustics, rang'd around;
And still they gaz'd; and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all he knew.
V.-Story of Palemon and Lavinia.
THE lovely young Lavinia once had friends,
And fortune smil'd deceitful, on her birth.
For, in her helpless years, depriv'd of all,
Of every stay, save innocence and Heaven,
She, with her widow'd mother, feeble, old,
And poor, liv'd in a cottage far retir'd
Among the windings of a woody vale;
By solitude and deep surrounding shades,
But more by bashful modesty, conceal'd.
Together, thus they shunn'd the cruel scorn,
Which virtue, sunk to poverty, would meet
From giddy passion and low-minded pride;
Almost on nature's common bounty fed;
Like the gay birds that sung them to repose,
Content, and careless of to-morrow's fare.
Her form was fresher than the morning rose, When the dew wets its leaves; unstain'd and pure As is the lily, or the mountain snow.
The modest virtues mingled in her eyes,
Still on the ground dejected, darting all
Their humid beams into the blooming flowers;
Or, when the mournful tale her mother told,
Or what her faithless fortune promis'd once,
Thrill'd in her thought, they like the dewy star
Of ev'ning, shone in tears. A native grace
Sat fair proportioned on her polish'd limbs,
Veil'd in a simple robe, their best attire,
Beyond the pomp of dress; for loveliness
Needs not the foreign aid of ornament,
But is, when unadorn'd, adorn'd the most.
Thoughtless of beauty, she was beauty's self,
Recluse amid the close embow'ring woods.
As in the hollow breast of Appenine,
Beneath the shelter of encircling hills,
A myrtle rises, far from human eye,
And breathes its balmy fragrance o'er the wild:
So flourish'd, blooming, and unseen by all,
The sweet Lavinia: till at length compell'd
By strong necessity's supreme command,
With smiling patience in her looks, she went
To glean Palemon's fields.-The pride of swains
Palemon was; the generous, and the rich:
Who led the rural life, in all its joy
And elegance, such as Arcadian song
Transmits from ancient uncorrupted times;
When tyrant Custom had not shackled man,
But free to follow nature, was the mode.
He then, his fancy with autumnal scenes
Amusing, chanc'd beside his reaper train
To walk, when poor Lavinia drew his eye,
Unconscious of her pow'r, and turning quick
With unaffected blushes from his gaze:
He saw her charming; but he saw not half
The charms her downcast modesty conceal'd.
That very moment love and chaste desire
Sprung in his bosom, to himself unknown ;
For still the world prevail'd, and its dread laugh,
(Which scarce the firm philosopher can scorn)
Should his heart own a gleaner in the field;
And thus, in secret, to his soul he sigh'd,
"What pity, that so delicate a form,
By beauty kindled, where enlivening sense,
And more than vulgar goodness seem to dwell,
Should be devoted to the rude embrace
Of some indecent clown! She looks, methinks,
Of old Acasto's line: and to my mind
Recalls that patron of my happy life,
From whom my liberal fortune took its rise;
Now to the dust gone down, his houses, lands,
And once fair spreading family, dissolv'd.
'Tis said, that, in some lone, obscure retreat,
Urg'd by remembrance sad and decent pride,
Far from those scenes which knew their better days,
His aged widow and his daughter live,
Whom yet my fruitless search could never find.
Romantic wish! would this the daughter were !"
When strict inquiring, from herself he found
She was the same, the daughter of his friend,
Of Bountiful Acasto-who can speak
The mingled passions that surpris'd his heart,
And through his nerves in shivering transport ran!
Then blaz'd his smother'd flame, avow'd and bold!
And as he view'd her, ardent o'er and o'er,
Love, gratitude, and pity, wept at once.
Confus'd and frighten'd at his sudden tears,
Her rising beauties flush'd a higher bloom;
As thus Palemon, passionate and just,
Pour'd out the pious rapture of his soul.
"And art thou, then, Acasto's dear remains?
She whom my restless gratitude has sought
So long in vain?-Oh yes! the very same,
The soften'd image of my noble friend;
Alive, his every feature, every look,
More elegantly touch'd. Sweeter than Spring!
Thou sole surviving blossom from the root
That nourish'd up my fortune! say, ah! where,
In what sequester'd desert, hast thou drawn
The kindest aspect of delighted heaven!
Into such beauty spread, and blown so fair,
Though poverty's cold wind and rushing rain
Beat keen and heavy on thy tender years.
Oh, let me now into a richer soil
Transplant thee safe, where vernal suns and showers
Diffuse their warmest, largest influence;
And of my garden be the pride and joy.
Ill it befits thee, oh! it ill befits
Acasto's daughter, his whose open stores,
Though vast, were little to his ampler heart,
The father of a country, thus to pick
The very refuse of those harvest-fields,
Which from his bounteous friendship I enjoy.
Then throw that shameful pittance from thy hand,
But ill applied to such a rugged task:
The fields, the master, all, my fair are thine;
If to the various blessings which thy house
Has on me lavish'd, thou wilt add that bliss,
That dearest bliss, the power of blessing thee!"
Here ceas'd the youth; yet still his speaking eye Express'd the sacred triumph of his soul,
With conscious virtue, gratitude, and love,
Above the vulgar joy divinely rais'd.
Nor waited he reply. Won by the charm
Of goodness irresistible, and all
In sweet disorder lost-she blush'd consent.
The news immediate to her mother brought,
While, pierc'd with anxious thought, she pin'd away The lonely moments for Lavinia's fate;
Amaz'd, and scarce believing what she heard,
Joy seiz'd her wither'd veins, and one bright gleam
Of setting life shone on her evening hours:
Not less enraptur'd than the happy pair,
Who flourish'd long in tender bliss, and rear'd
A numerous offspring, lovely like themselves,
And good, the grace of all the country round.
VI.-Celadon and Amelia.
And his Amelia were a matchless pair,
With equal virtue form'd, and equal grace;
The same distinguish'd by their sex alone:
Hers, the mild lustre of the blooming morn!
And his, the radiance of the rising day.
They loved. But such their guiltless passion was,
As in the dawn of time, inform'd the heart
Of innocence and undissembling truth.
'Twas friendship, heighten'd by the mutual wish;
Th' enchanting hope, and sympathetic glow,
Beam'd from the mutual eye. Devoting all
To love, each was to each a dearer self;
Supremely happy in th' awaken'd power
Of giving joy. Alone, amid the shades,
Still in harmonious intercourse, they liv'd
The rural day, and talk'd the flowing heart;
Or sigh'd and look'd-unutterable things.
So pass'd their life, a clear united stream,
By care unruffled, till, in evil hour,
The tempest caught them on the tender walk,
Heedless how far and where its mazes stray'd;
While, with each other bless'd, creative love
Still bade eternal Eden smile around.
Presaging instant fate, her bosom heav'd
Unwonted sighs; and stealing oft a look
Tow'rds the big gloom, on Celadon her eye
Fell tearful, wetting her disorder'd cheek.
In vain assuring love and confidence
In heaven repress'd her fear; it grew, and shoox
Her frame near dissolution. He perceiv'd
Th' unequal conflict; and, as angels look
On dying saints, his eyc3 compassion shed,
With love illumin'd high. "Fear not," he said,
"Sweet innocence! thou stranger to offence
And inward storm! He who yon skies involves
In frowns of darkness, ever smiles on thee,
With kind regard. O'er thee the secret shaft,
That wastes at midnight, or th' undreaded hour
Of noon, flies harmless'; and that very voice
Which thunders terror through the guilty heart,
With tongues of seraphs whispers peace to thine.
'Tis safety to be near thee, sure, and thus
To clasp perfection!" From his void embrace,
(Mysterious heaven!) that moment to the ground,
A blacken'd corse was struck the beauteous maid.
But who can paint the lover as he stood,
Pierc'd by severe amazement, hating life,
Speechless, and fix'd in all the death of wo.