Зображення сторінки



But when the southern sun had warm'd the day,
A youth came posting o'er a crossing way :
His raiment decent, his complexion fair,
And soft in graceful ringlets way'd his hair :
Then near approaching, " Father, hail !” he cried,
And “Hail, my son!” the rev’rend sire replied.
Words follow'd words, from question answer flow'd,
And talk of varivus kind deceiv'd the road
Till each with other pleas'd, and loath to part,
While in their age they differ, join in heart.
Thus stands an aged elm in ivy bound,
Thus youthful ivy clasps an elm around.

Now sunk the sun ; the closing hour of day
Came onward, mantled o’er with sober gray;
Nature in silence bid the world repose :
When near the road a stately palace rose.
There, by the moon, through ranks of trees they paso
Whose verdure crown'd the sloping sides of
It chanc'd the noble master of the dome
Still made his house the wand'ring stranger's home;
Yet still the kindness, from a thirst of praise,
Prov'd the vain flourish of expensive ease.
The pair arrive : the liv'ried servants wait;
Their lord receives them at the pompous gate.
The table groans with costly piles of food,
And all is more than hospitably good.
Then, led to rest, the day's long toil they drown,
Deep sunk in sleep, and silk, and heaps of down.

At length 'tis morn, and at the dawn of day
Along the wide canals the zephyrs play ;
Fresh o'er the gay parterres the breezes creepy
And shake the neighb'ring wood to banish sleep.
Up rise the guests, obedient to the call :
An early banquet deck'd the splendid hall;
Rich luscious wine a golden goblet grac’d,
Which the kind master, forc'd the guests to taste.
Then, pleas’d and thankful, from the porch they go ;
And, but the landlord, none had cause of wo;
His cup was vanish'd ; for in secret guise
The younger guest purloin'd the glittering prize.

As one who spies a serpent in his way,
Glist'ning and basking in the summer ray,
Disorder'd stops to shyn the danger near,
Then walks with faintness on, and looks with fear ;


So seem'd the sire, when far upon the road
The shining spoil his wily partner show'd.
He stopp'd with silence, walk'd with trembling heart,
And much he wish'd, but durst not ask, to part:
Murm'ring, he lifts his eyes, and thinks it hard
That gen'rous actions meet a base reward.

While thus they pass, the sun bis glory shrouds,
The changing skies hang out their sable clıuds ;
A sound in air presag'd approaching rain,
And beasts to covert scud across the plain.
Warn'd by the signs, the wand'ring pair retreat,
To seek for shelter at a neighb'ring seat.
'Twas built with turrets on a rising ground,
And strong, and large, and unimprov'd around;
Its owner's temper, tim'rous and severe,
Unkind and griping, caus’d a desert there.
As near the miser's heavy doors they drew,
Fierce rising gusts with sudden fury blew;
The nimble lightning mix'd with show'rs began,
And o'er their heads loud rolling thunder ran.
Here long they knock, but knock or call in vain,
Driv'n by the wind, and batter'd by the rain.
At length some pity warm’d the master's breast
('Twas then his threshold first receiv'd a guest ;)
Šlow creaking turns the door with jealous care,
And half he welcomes in the shiv'ring pair
One frugal fagot lights the naked walls,
And nature's fervour through their limbs recalls.
Bread of the coarsest sort, with meagre wine,
(Each hardly granted,) serv'd them both to dine :
and when the tempest first appear'd to cease ;
A ready warning bid them part in peace.

With still remark the pond'ring hermit view'd,
In one so rich, a life so poor and rude ;
And why should such (within himself he cried)
Lock the lost wealth a thousand want beside ?
But what new marks of wonder soon take place,
in ev'ry settling feature of his face,
When from his vest the young companion bore
That cup the gen'rous landlord own'd before,
And paid profusely with the precious bowl
The stinted kindness of this churlish soul !

But now the clouds in airy tumult fly ;
The sun emerging opes an azure sky;

[ocr errors]

A fresher green the smelling leaves display,
And, glitt'ring as they tremble, cheer the day:
The weather

courts them from the poor retreat, And the glad master bolts the wary gate.

While hence they walk, the pilgrims bosom wrought
With all the travail of uncertain thought;
His partner's acts without their cause appear;
'Twas there a vice ; and seem'd a madness bere;
Detesting that, and pitying this, he goes,
Lost and confounded with the various shows.

Now night's dim shades again involve the sky;
Again the wand'rers want a place to lie :
Again they search, and find a lodging nigh.
The soil improv'd around, the mansion neat,
And neither poorly low, nor idly great,
It seem'd to speak its master's turn of mind,
Content, and not for praise but virtue kind.

Hither the walkers turn with weary feet,
Then bless the mansion, and the master greet.
Their greeting fair, bestow'd with modest guise,
The courteous master bears, and thus replies :

“ Without a vain, without a grudging heart,
To him who gives us all, I yield a part ;
From him you come, for him accept it here,
A frank and sober, more than costly cheer.'
He spoke and bid the welcome table spread,
Then talk'd of virtue till the time of bed :
When the grave household round his hall repair,
Warn’d by a bell, and close the hours with prav'r.

At length the world, renew'd by calm repose,
Was strong for toil ; the dappled morn arose ;
Before the pilgrims part, the younger crept
Near the clos'd cradle, where an infant slept,
And writh’d his neck : the landlord's little pride,
O strange return! grew black, and gasp'd, and died.
Horror of horrors ! what! his only son!
How look'd our hermit when the fact was done!
Not hell, tho' hell's black jaws in sunder part,
And breathe blue fire, could more assault his heart.

Confus'd and struck with silence at the deed,
He flies ; but, trembling, fails to fly with speed.
His steps the youth pursues ; the country lay
Perplex'd with roads ; a servant show'd the way:
A river cross'd the path ; the


o'er Was nice to find ; the servant trod before :

his feet;

Long arms of oaks an open bridge supplied,
And deep the waves beneath the bending branches glide.
The youth, who seem'd to watch a time to sin,
Approach'd the careless guide, and thrust him in :
Plunging be falls, and rising lifts his head :
Then flashing turns, and sinks among the dead.

Wild sparkling rage inflames the father's eyes ;
He bursts the bands of fear, and madly cries ;
“ Detested wretch!"_But scarce bis speech began,
When the strange partner seem'd no longer man.
His youthful face grew more serenely sweet;
His robe turn'd white, and flow'd upon
Fair rounds of radiant points invest his hair ;
Celestial odours breathe through purpled air;
And wings whose colours glitter'd on the day,
Wide at his back their gradual plumes display.
The form ethereal bursts upon his sigbt,
And moves in all the majesty of light.

Tho’ loud at first the pilgrim's passion grew,
Sudden he gaz?d, and wist not what to do;
Surprise, in secret chains, his words suspends,
And in a calm his settling temper ends.
But silence here the beauteous angel broke ;
The voice of music ravish'd as he spoke.

“ Thy pray'r, thy praise, thy life to vice unknown,
In sweet memorial rise before the throne;
These charms success in our bright region find,
And force an angel down to calm thy mind;
For this commission'd, I forsook the sky-
Nay, cease to kneel-thy fellow-servant I.
Then know the truth of government Divine,
And let these scruples be no longer thine,
The Maker justly claims that world he made :
In this the right of Providence is laid.
Its sacred majesty through all depends
On using second means to work his ends.
'Tis thus, withdrawn in state from human eye,
The Pow'r exerts his attributes on high ;
Your action uses, nor controls your

will ;
And bids the doubting sons of men be still.
What strange events can strike with more surprise,
Than those which lately struck thy wond'ring eyes
Yet, taught by these, confess th? Almighty just;
And, where you can't unriddle, learn to trust.


“ The great vain man, who far'd on costly food, Whose life was too luxurious to be good ; Who made his iv'ry stands with goblets shine, And forc'd his guests to morning draughts of wine ; Has, with the cup, the graceless custom lost, And still be welcomes, but with less of cost.

The mean suspicious wretch, whose bolted door Ne'er' mov'd in pity to the wand'ring poor, With him I left the cup, to teach his mind That Heav'n can bless, if mortals will be kind. Conscious of wanting worth, be views the bowl, And feels compassion touch his grateful soul. Thus artists melt the sullen ore of lead, With heaping coals of fire upon its head : In the kind warmth the metal learns to glow, And, loose from dross, the silver runs below.

Long had our pious friend in virtue trod ;
But :
Child of his age, for him he liv’d in pain,
And measur'd back his steps to earth again.
To what excesses had his dotage run !
But God, to save the father, took the son.
To all but thee in fits he seem'd to go";
And 'twas my ministry to deal the blow.

poor fond parent, humbled in the dust,
Now owns in tears the punishment was just.
But how had all his fortunes felt a wrack !
Had that false servant sped in safety back!
This night his treasur'd heaps he meant to steal,
And what a fund of charity would fail !
Thus heaven instructs thy mind; this trial o'er,
Depart in peace, resign, and sin no more."

Ön sounding pinions here the youth withdrew;
The sage stood wond'ring as the seraph flew.
Thus look'd Elisha, when, to mount on high,
His master took the chariot of the sky;
The fiery pomp ascending left the view ;
The prophet gaz’d, and wish'd to follow too.
The bending hermit here a pray'r begun :
Lord! as in heav'n, on earth thy will be done.
Then, gladly turning, sought his ancient place;
And pass’d a life of piety and peace.-

P 2


« НазадПродовжити »