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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,
Nor him whofe fordid foul the love of wealth alarms.
Though richest hues the peacock's plumes adorn,
To please the tyrant, ftrain the little bill,
But fing what heaven infpires, and wander where they
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
O how canft thou renounce the boundless fore
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,
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,
The wight whofe tale thefe artlefs lines unfold,
His birth no oracle or feer foretold:
And yet poor Edwin was no vulgar boy;
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?
Th' exploit of frength, dexterity, or speed,
To him nor vanity nor joy could bring.
His heart, from cruel fport eftranged, would bleed
By trap, or net; by arrow, or by fling;
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.