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The orphan babes, and guardian uncle fierce.
O cruel! will no pang of pity pierce
That heart, by lust of lucre sear'd to stone?
For sure, if aught of virtue last, or verse,
To latest times shall tender souls bemoan
Those hopeless orphan-babes by thy fell arts undone.
Behold, with berries smear'd, with brambles torn/
Shall he, whose birth, maturity, and age,
Scarce fill the circle of one summer day,
Shall the poor gnat, with discontent and rage
Exclaim that Nature hastens to decay,
If but a cloud obstruct the solar ray,
If but a momentary shower descend?
(Or shall frail man Heaven's dread decree gainsay,
Which bade the series of events extend [end?
Wide through unnumbered worlds, and ages without
One part, one little part, we dimly scan
Through the dark medium of life's feverish dream j
Vet dare arraign the whole stupendous plan,
If but that little part incongruous seem.
Nor is that part perhaps what mortals deem j
Oft from apparent ill our blessings rise.
0 then renounce that impious self esteem,
That aims to trace the secrets of the skies:
For thou art but of dust j be humble, and be wise.
Thus Heaven enlarged his soul in riper years,
For Nature gave him strength, and fire, to soar
On Fancy's wing above this vale of tears;
Where dark cold hearted sceptics, creeping, pore
Through microscope of metaphysic lore:
And much they grope for Truth, but never hit.
For why? Their powers, inadequate before,
This idle art makes more and more unfit; [wit.
Yet deem they darkness light, and their vain blunders
Nor was this ancient dame a foe to mirth.
Her ballad, jest, and riddle's quaint device
Oft cheer'd the shepherds round their social hearth;
Whom levity or spleen could ne'er entice
To purchase chat, or laughter, at the price
Of decency. Nor let it faith exceed,
That Nature forms a rustic taste so nice.
Ah! had they been of court or city breed,
Oft when the winter storm had ceased to rave,
Thence musing onward to the sounding shore,
Responsive to the sprightly pipe, when all
In sprightly dance the village youth were joiu'd,
Edwin, of melody aye held in thrall,
From the rude gambol far remote reclined,
Soothed with the soft notes warbling in the wind.
Ah then, all jollity seem'd noise and folly.
To the pure soul by Fancy's fire refin'd,
Ah, what is mirth but turbulence unholy, [choly!
When with the charm compared of heavenly melaa*
Is there a heart that music cannot melt?
Alas! how is that rugged heart forlorn;
Is there, who ne'er those mystic transports felt
Of solitude and melancholy born?
He needs not woo thelVTuse: he is her scorn
The sophist's rope of cobweb he shall twine;
Mope o'er the schoolman's peevish page; or mourn,
And delve for life in Mammon's dirty mine;
Sneak with the scoundrel fox, or grunt with glutton
Meanwhile, whate'er of beautiful, or new,
Thus on the chill Lapponian's dreary land,
* Spring and autumn are hardly known to the Laplanders. About the time trie sun enters Cancer, th» ir fields, which a week before were covered with snow, appear on a sudden full of grass and flower*.— Scheffer's History of Lapland, p. 16.
OP chance or change O let not man complain,
But sure to foreign climes we need not range,
Nor search the ancient records of our race,
To learn the dire effects of time and change,
Which in ourselves, alas! we daily trace.
Yet at the darkenM eye, the wither'd face,
Or hoary hair, I never wiU repine:
But spare, 0 Time, whate'er of mental grace,
Of candour, love, or sympathy divine,
Wlme'er of fancy's ray or friendship's flame is mine.
» Plato'* rime us.