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By doctrines fashion'd to the varying hour;
Pleased with his guests, the good man learn’d to
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
Beside the bed where parting life was laid, And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismay'd,
The reverend champion stood. At his control, Despair and Anguish fled the struggling soul; Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise, And his last falt'ring accents whisper'd praise.
At church, with meek and unaffected grace, His looks adorn'd the venerable place; Truth from his lips prevail'd with double sway, And fools, who came to scoff, remain'd to pray. The service pass’d, around the pious man, With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran; Even children follow'd with endearing wile, And pluck'd his gown, to share the good man's smile. His ready smile a parent's warmth express'd, Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distress'd; To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given, But all his serious thoughts had rest in Heaven. As some tall cliff, that lifts its awful form, Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm, Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread, Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way, With blossom'd furze unprofitably gay, There, in his noisy mansion, skill'd to rule, The village master taught his little school; A man severe he was, and stern to view; I knew him well, and every truant knew; Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace The day's disasters in his morning face; Full well they laugh'd, with counterfeited glee,
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;
But past is all his fame. The very spot Where many a time he triumph'd, is forgot. Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high, Where once the sign-post caught the passing eye, Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts in
spired, Where gray-beard mirth and smiling toil retired, Where village statesmen talk'd with looks profound, And news much older than their ale went round. Imagination fondly stoops to trace The parlour splendours of that festive place; The white-wash'd wall, the nicely sanded floor, The varnish'd clock that click'd behind the door; The chest contrived a double debt to pay, A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day;
The pictures placed for ornament and use,
Vain transitory splendours! Could not all Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall! Obscure it sinks, nor shall it more impart An hour's importance to the poor man's heart; Thither no more the peasant shall repair To sweet oblivion of his daily care; No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale, No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail; No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear, Relax his pond'rous strength, and lean to hear; The host himself no longer shall be found Careful to see the mantling bliss go round; Nor the coy maid, half willing to be press'd, Shall kiss the cup to pass it to the rest.
Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain, These simple blessings of the lowly train; To me more dear, congenial to my heart, One native charm, than all the gloss of art; Spontaneous joys, where Nature has its play, The soul adopts, and owns their first-born sway; Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind, Unenvied, unmolested, unconfined: But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade, With all the freaks of wanton wealth array'd,
Here, while the proud their long-drawn pomps dis
Do thine, sweet AUBURN, thine, the loveliest
train Do thy fair tribes participate her pain? E'en
now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led, At proud men's doors they ask a little bread!
Ah, no. To distant climes, a dreary scene, Where half the convex world intrudes between,