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JOSEPH HILL, ESQ. DEAR Joseph-five and twenty years ago Alas, how time escapes !—'tis even soWith frequent intercourse, and always sweet, And always friendly, we were wont to cheat A tedious hour—and now we never meet! As some grave gentleman in Terence says ('Twas therefore much the same in ancient days), Good lack, we know not what to-morrow bringsStrange fluctuation of all human things ! True. Changes will befall, and friends may part, But distance only cannot change the heart; And, were I call’d to prove the assertion true, One proof should serve-a reference to you.
Whence comes it then, that, in the wane of life Though nothing have occurr'd to kindle strife, We find the friends we fancied we had won, Though numerous once, reduced to few or none ? Can gold grow worthless that has stood the touch? No; gold they seem'd, but they were never such.
Horatio's servant once, with bow and cringe, Swinging the parlour door upon its hinge, Dreading a negative, and overawed Lest he should trespass, begg'd to go abroad. Go, fellow!-whither?-turning short aboutNay. Stay at home-you're always going out. 'Tis but a step, Sir, just at the street's end.For what?-An please you, Sir, to see a friendA friend! Horatio cried, and seem'd to startYea marry shalt thou, and with all my heart.And fetch my cloak; for, though the night be raw, I'll see him too the first I ever saw.
I knew the man, and knew his nature mild, And was his plaything often when a child; But somewhat at that moment pinch’d him close, Else he was seldom bitter or morose. Perhaps his confidence just then betray'd, His grief might prompt him with the speech he
made; Perhaps 'twas mere good humour gave it birth, The harmless play of pleasantry and mirth. Howe'er it was, his language, in my
mind, Bespoke at least a man that knew mankind.
But not to moralize too much and strain, To prove an evil of which all complain, (I hate long arguments verbosely spun) One story more, dear Hill, and I have done. Once on a time an emperor, a wise man, No matter where, in China or Japan, Decreed, that whosoever should offend Against the well known duties of a friend, Convicted once should ever after wear But half a coat, and show his bosom bare. The punishment importing this, no doubt, That all was naught within, and all found out.
O happy Britain! we have not to fear Such hard and arbitrary measure here; Else, could a law, like that which I relate, Once have the sanction of our triple state, Some few, that I have known in days of old, Would run most dreadful risk of catching cold; While you, my friend, whateverwind should blow, Might traverse England safely to and fro, An honest man, close-button’d to the chin, Broadcloth witbout, and a warm heart within.
THE REV. MR. NEWTON,
AN INVITATION INTO THE COUNTRY.
The swallows in their torpid state
Compose their useless wing, And bees in hives as idly wait
The call of early Spring. The keenest frost that binds the stream,
The wildest wind that blows,
Secure of their repose.
The gloomy scene surveys;
And pant for brighter days.
Bids me and Mary mourn;
And whispers your return. Then April, with her sister May,
Shall chase him from the bowers, And weave fresh garlands every day,
To crown the smiling hours.
Of happier times, appear,
Shall shine, and dry the tear.
REV. MR. NEWTON, ON HIS RETURN FROM RAMSGATE.—OCTOBER, 1780. That ocean you have late survey'd,
Those rocks I too have seen,
You tranquil and serene.
Saw stretch'd before your view,
No longer such to you.
Upon the dangerous coast,
Of all my treasure lost.
And found the peaceful shore;
Come home to port no more.
REV. W. CAWTHORNE UNWIN.
The kindness of a friend,
As ever Friendship penn'd,
A union form'd as mine with thee,
Not rashly nor in sport,
And faithful in its sort,
The bud of peach or rose,
The stock whereon it grows,
I seize thy name in haste,
Lest this should prove the last.
Should be the poet's heart;
Than ever blazed by art.
TO A YOUNG FRIEND,
ON HIS ARRIVING AT CAMBRIDGE WET, WHEN NO RAIN
HAD FALLEN THERE. -1793. If Gideon's fleece, which drench'd with dew he
found, While moisture none refresh'd the herbs around, Might fitly represent the Church, endow'd With heavenly gifts, to Heathens not allow'd;