This fapient age difclaims all claffic lore; Elfe I fhould here in cunning phrafe difplay, How forth THE MINSTREL fared in days of yore, Right glad of heart, though homely in array; His waving locks and beard all hoary grey : And, from his bending fhoulder, decent hung His harp, the fole companion of his way, Which to the whiftling wind refponfive rung: And ever as he went fome merry lay he fung.


Fret not yourfelves, ye filken fons of pride,
That a poor wanderer fhould infpire my ftrain.
The Mufes Fortune's fickle fmile deride,
Nor ever bow the knee in Mammon's fane;
For their delights are with the village train,
Whom Nature's laws engage, and Nature's charms :
They hate the fenfual, and fcorn the vain;
The parafite their influence never warms,

Nor him whofe fordid foul the love of wealth alarms.


Though richest hues the peacock's plumes adorn,
Yet horror fcreams from his difcordant throat.
Rife, fons of harmony, and hail the morn.
While warbling larks on ruffet pinions float;
Or feek at noon the woodland fcene remote, i
Where the grey linnets carol from the hill.
O let them ne'er with artificial note,

To please the tyrant, ftrain the little bill,

But fing what heaven infpires, and wander where they


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Liberal, not lavifh, is kind Nature's hand;
Nor was perfection made for man below.
Yet all her fchemes with niceft art are plann'd,
Good counteracting ill, and gladnefs wo.
With gold and gems if Chilian mountains glow,

If bleak and barren Scotia's hills arife; There plague and poifon, luft and rapine grow; Here peaceful are the vales and pure the fkies, And freedom fires the foul, and fparkles in the eyes.


Then grieve not, thou to whom, the indulgent Mufe Vouchfafes a portion of celeftial fire; Nor blame the partial Fates, if they refufe Th' imperial banquet, and the rich attire." Know thine own worth, and reverence the lyre. Wilt thou debafe the heart which GoD refin'd; No; let the heaven-taught foul, to heaven afpire To fancy, freedom, harmony, refign'd; Ambition's groveling crew for ever left behind.


Canft thou forego the pure etherial foul
In each fine fenfe fo exquifitely keen,
On the dull couch of Luxury to loll,
Stung with difcafe and ftupified with spleen;
Fain to implore the aid of Flattery's fcreen,
Even from thyfelf thy loathfome heart to hide,
(The manfion then no more of joy ferene)
Where fear, diftruft, malevolence, abide,
And impotent defire, and difappointed pride.


O how canft thou renounce the boundless fore
Of charms which Nature to her vot'ry yields!
The warbling woodland, the refounding fhore,
The pomp of groves, and garniture of fields;
All that the genial ray of morning gilds,
And all that echoes to the fong of even,
All that the mountain's fheltering bofom shields,
And all the dread magnificence of heaven,

O how cant thou renounce, aud hope to be forgiven !

X. Thefe charms fall work thy foul's eternal health, And love, and gentleness, and joy, impart.

But these thou must renounce, if luft of wealth E'er win its way to thy corrupted heart; For, ah! it poifons like a fcorpion's dart: Prompting the ungenerous with, the selfish scheme. The ftern refolve, unmov'd by pity's smart, The troublous day, and long distressful dream. Return, my roving Mufe, renew thy purpofed theme.


There lived in Gothic days, as legends tell,
A fhepherd-fwain, a man of low degree;
Whofe fres, perchance, in Fairyland might dwell,
Sicilian groves, or vales of Arcady,
But he, 1 ween, was of the north countrie* :
A nation famed for fong, and beauty's charms:
Zealous, yet modeft, innocent though free;
Patient of toil:-ferene amidst alarms;
Inflexable in faith; invincible in arms.


The hepherd-fwain of whom I mention made, On Scotia's mountains fed his little flock; The fickle, feythe, or plough, he never sway'd; An honeft heart was almott all his flock; His drink, the living water from the rock: The milky dams fupplied his board and lent Their kindly fleece to baffle winter's shock; And he, though oft with duft and fweet befprent, Did guide and guard their wanderings, wherefoe'er they


*There is hardly an ancient Ballad, or Romance, ' wherein a Minstrel or Harper appears, but he is characterized, by way of eminence, to have been " Of the North countrie." It is probable that under this appellation were formerly comprehended all the provinces to the North of Trent.

See Percy's Efay on the English Minstrels.


From labour health, from health contentment fprings. Contentment opes the fource of every joy. He envied not, he never thought of Kings ; Nor from thofe appetites faitair'd annoy, Which chance may fruftrate, or indulgence cloy : Nor fate his calm and humble hopes beguiled;, He mourn'd no recreant friend, nor mistress coy, For on his vows the blameless Phoebe fmiled, And her alone he loved, and loved her from a child.


No jealoufy their dawn of love o'ercaft,
Nor blafted where their wedded days with ftrife;
Each feafon look'd delightful as it pafs'd,
To the fond husband, and the faithful wife.
Beyond the lowly vale of fhepherd life
They never roam'd; fecure beneath the storm 3
Which in Ambition's lofty land is rife,
Where peace and love are canker'd by the worm
Of pride, each bud of joy induftrious to deform.


The wight whofe tale thefe artlefs lines unfold,
Was all the offspring of this fimple pair;

His birth no oracle or feer foretold:
No prodigy appear'd in earth or air,
Nor aught that might á ftrange event declare.
You guefs each circumstance of EDWIN's birth;
The parent's tranfport, and the parent's care;
The goflip's prayer, for wealth, and wit, and worth;
And one long fummer day of indolence and mirth.


And yet poor Edwin was no vulgar boy;
Deep thought oft feem'd to fix his infant eye.
Dainties he heeded not, nor gaude, nor toy,
Save one short pipe of rudeft minstrelfy.
Silent when glad; affectionate, though fhy;
And now his look was moft demurely fad,


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And now he laugh'd aloud, yet none knew why. T The neighbours ftard and figh'd, yet blefs'd the lad: Some deem'd him wondrous wife, and fome believ'd him mad.


But why fhould I his childish feats difplay?
Concourfe, and noise, and toil he ever fled;
Nor cared to mingle in the clamourous fray
Of fqabbling imps; but to the foreft fped,
Or roam'd at large the lonely mountain's head ;s
Or, where the maze of fome bewilder'd ftream
To deep untrodden groves his footsteps led,
There wou'd he wander wild, till Phoebus' beam,
Shot from the western cliff, releas'd the weary team.


Th' exploit of frength, dexterity, or speed,


To him nor vanity nor joy could bring.

His heart, from cruel fport eftranged, would bleed
To work the woe of any living thing,

By trap, or net; by arrow, or by fling;
Thefe he detefted, thefe he fcorn'd to wield:
He wifh'd to be the guardian, not the king,
Tyrant far lefs, or traitor of the field.
And fure the fylvan reign unbloody joy might yield.


Lo! where the ftripling, wrapt in wonder, roves Beneath the precipice o'erhung with pine;" And fees on high, amidft th' encircling groves, From cliff to cliff the foaming torrents fhine: While waters, woods, and winds, in concert join, And Echo fwells the chorus to the fkies. Would Edwin this majestic fcene refign For aught the huntsman's puny craft fupplies? Ah! no: he better knows great Nature's charms to prize.

And oft he traced the uplands to furvey,
When o'er the sky advanced the kindling dawo,

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