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With merriment, and song, and timbrels clear,
Forbear, my Muse. Let Love attune thy line.
The cottage-curs at early pilgrim bark ;
OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 1729–1774.
“ TURN, gentle hermit of the dale,
And guide my lonely way,
With hospitable ray.
With fainting steps and slow;
Seem length’ning as I go.”
“To tempt the dang’rous gloom;
To lure thee to thy doom.
My door is open still;
I give it with good-will.
Whate'er my cell bestows;
My blessing and repose.
“No flocks that range the valley free
To slaughter I condemn : Taught by that Pow'r that pities me,
I learn to pity them : “But from the mountain's grassy side
A guiltless feast I bring ; A scrip with herbs and fruits supplied,
And water from the spring.
“ Then, pilgrim, turn, thy cares forego ;
All earthborn 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;
And strangers led astray.
No stores beneath its humble thatch
Required a master's care ;
Received the harmless pair.
And now, when busy crowds retire
To take their ev'ning rest,
And cheer'd his pensive guest ;
And gayly press'd and smiled ; And, skill'd in legendary lore,
The ling'ring hours beguiled.
Around in sympathetic mirth
Its tricks the kitten tries ;
The crackling fagot flies.
But nothing could a charm impart
To sooth the stranger's wo;
And tears began to flow.
His rising cares the hermit spied,
With answ'ring care oppress'd : “And whence, unhappy youth,” he cried,
“ The sorrows of thy breast ?
“ From better habitations spurn'd,
Reluctant dost thou rove;
“ Alas! the joys that fortune brings
Are trifling, and decay;
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:
To warm the turtle's nest.
“For shame, fond youth, thy sorrows hush,
And spurn the sex," he said:
His lovelorn guest betray'd.
Surprised, he sees new beauties rise,
Swift mantling to the view;
As bright, as transient too.
The bashful look, the rising breast,
Alternate spread alarms : The lovely stranger stands confess'd,
A maid in all her charms.
“And, ah! forgive a stranger rude,
A wretch forlorn,” she cried ; " Whose feet unhallow'd thus intrude
Where Heav'n 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 lived 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 suiters came, Who praised me for imputed charms,
And felt or feign'd a flame.
“ Each hour a mercenary crowd
With richest proffers strove ; Among the rest young Edwin bow'd,
But never talk'd of love.
“ In humble, simplest habit clad,
No wealth or pow'r had he ; Wisdom and worth were all he had,
But these were all to me.