« PreviousContinue »
“ Here to the houseless child of want
My door is open still; And though my portion is but scant,
I give it with good will,
“ Then turn to-night, and freely share
Whate'er my cell bestows; My rushy couch and frugal fare,
My blessing and repose.
“ No flocks, that range the valley free,
To slaughter I condemn; Taught by that Power that pities me,
I learn to pity theni.
“ But from the mountain's grassy side
A guiltless feast I bring; A scrip with herbs and fruits supply'd,
And water from the spring.
" Then, Pilgrim, turn, thy cares forego;
All earth-born cares are wrong: Man wants but little here below,
Nor wants that little long.",
Soft as the dew from heav'n descends,
His gentle accents fell;
And follows to the cell.
Far in a wilderness obscure
The lonely mansion lay, A refuge to the neighbouring poor,
And strangers led astray.
No stores beneath its humble thatch
Requir'd a master's care;
Receiv'd the harmless pair.
And now when busy crowds retire
To take their evening rest, The Hermit trimm'd his little fire,
And cheer'd his pensive guest;
And spread his vegetable store,
And gaily prest, and smil'd, And, skill'd in legendary lore,
The ling'ring hours beguil'd.
Around in sympathetic mirth
Its tricks the kitten tries; The cricket chirrups in the hearth,
The crackling faggot flies.
But nothing could a charm impart
To soothe the stranger's woe; For grief was heavy at his heart,
And tears began to flow.
His rising cares the Hermit spy'd,
With answering care opprest; “ And whence, unhappy youth,” he cry'd,
“ The sorrows of thy breast?
« From better habitation spurn'd,
Reluctant dost thou rove;
Or unregarded love?
“ Alas! the joys that fortune brings
Are trifting, and decay, And those who prize the paltry things,
More trifling still than they.
« And what is friendship but a name,
A charm that lulls to sleep;
And leaves the wretch to weep?
“ And love is still an emptier sound,
The modern fair-one's jest, On earth unseen, or only found
To warm the turtle's nest.
“ For shame, fond youth, thy sorrows hush,
And spurn the sex," he said : But while he spoke, a rising blush,
His love-lorn guest betray'd.
Surpris'd he sees new beauties rise
Swift mantling to the view,
As bright, as transient too.
The bashful look, the rising breast,
Alternate spread alarms,
A maid in all her charms.
“ And, ah! forgive a stranger rude,
A wretch forlorn,” she cry'd, « Whose feet unhallow'd thus intrude
Where heaven and you reside.
“ But let a maid thy pity share,
Whom love has taught to stray; Who seeks for rest, but finds despair
Companion of her way.
My father liv'd beside the Tyne,
A wealthy lord was he; And all his wealth was mark'd as mine,
He had but only me:
« To win me from his tender arms,
Unnumber'd suitors came; Who prais'd me for imputed charms,
And felt, or feign'd, a fame.
« Each hour a mercenary crowd
With richest proffers strove; Among the rest young Edwin bow'd,
But never talk'd of love.
“ In humblest, simplest habit clad,
No wealth nor power had he; Wisdom and worth were all he had,
But these were all to me.
“ The blossom opening to the day,
The dews of heaven refin'd, Could nought of purity display
To emulate his mind,
“ The dew, the blossoms of the tree,
With charms inconstant shine; Their charms were his; but, woe to me,
Their constancy was mine.
“For still I try'd each fickle art,
Importunate and vain; And, while his passion touch'd my heart,
I triumph'd in his pain:
“ Till quite dejected with my scorn,
He left me to my pride; And sought a solitude forlorn,
In secret, where he died.