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Oh! if the wide contagion reach thy breast,
Unhappy peasant ! peace will vanish thence,
And raging turbulence will rack thy heart
With feverish dismay: then discontent
Will prey upon thy vitals, then will doubt
And sad uncertainty in fierce array,
With superstition's monstrous train, surround
Thy dreadful death-bed; and no soothing hand
Will smooth the painful pillow, for the bonds
Of tender amity are all consumed
By the prevailing fire. They all are lost
In one ungovernable, selfish flame.
Where has this pestilence arisen ?-where
The Hydra multitude of sister ills,
of infidelity, and open sin,
Of disaffection, and repining gall?
Oh, ye revered, venerable band,
Who wear religion's ephod, unto ye
Belongs with wakeful vigilance to check
The growing evil. In the vicious town
Fearless, and fix'd, the monster stands secure;
But guard the rural shade! let honest peace
Yet hold her ancient seats, and still preserve
The village groups in their primeval bliss.
Such was, Placidio, thy divine employ,
Ere thou wert borne to some sublimer sphere
By death's mild angel.
WHERE yonder woods in gloomy pomp arise, Embower'd, remote, a lowly cottage lies :
Before the door a garden spreads, where blows
Now wild, once cultivate, the brier rose; [peer,
Though choked with weeds, the lily there will
And early primrose hail the nascent year;
There to the walls did jess'mine wreaths attach,
And many a sparrow twitter'd in the thatch,
While in the woods that wave their heads on high
The stock-dove warbled murmuring harmony.
There, buried in retirement, dwelt a sage,
Whose reverend locks bespoke him far in age
Silent he was, and solemn was his mien,
And rarely on his cheek a smile was seen.
The village gossips had full many a tale
About the aged “hermit of the dale."
Some call'd him wizard, some a holy seer,
Though all beheld him with an equal fear,
And many a stout heart had he put to flight,
Met in the gloomy wood-walks late at night.
Yet well I ween, the sire was good of heart,
Nor would to aught one heedless pang impart;
His soul was gentle, but he'd known of woe,
Had known the world, nor longer wish'd to know.
Here, far retired from all its busy ways,
He hoped to spend the remnant of his days;
And here, in peace, he till’d his little ground,
And saw, unheeded, years revolving round.
Fair was his daughter, as the blush of day,
In her alone his hopes and wishes lay:
His only care, about her future life, [strife.
When death should call him from the haunts of
Sweet was her temper, mild as summer skies
When o'er their azure no thin vapour flies:
And but to see her aged father sad,
No fear, no care, the gentle Fanny had.
Still at her wheel, the live-long day she sung,
Till with the sound the lonesome woodlands rung,
And till, usurp'd his long unquestion'd sway,
The solitary bittern wing'd its way,
Indignant rose, on dismal pinions borne,
To find, untrod by man, some waste forlorn,
Where, unmolested, he might hourly wail,
And with his screams still load the heavy gale.
Once as I stray'd, at eve, the woods among,
To pluck wild strawberries, I heard her song;
And heard, enchanted,-oh! it was so soft,
So sweet, I thought the cherubim aloft
Were quiring to the spheres. Now the full note
Did on the downy wings of silence float
Full on the ravish'd sense, then died away,
Distantly on the ear, in sweet decay.
Then, first I knew the cot; the simple pair;
Though soon become a welcome inmate there :
At eve, I still would fly to hear the lay,
Which Fanny to her lute was wont to play ;
Or with the Sire would sit and talk of war,
For wars he'd seen, and bore full many a scar,
And oft the plan of gallant siege he drew,
And loved to teach me all the arts he knew.
TO A FRIEND. To you these pensive lines I fondly send, Far distant now, my brother, and my friend. If, ʼmid the novel scene, thou yet art free To give one silent, museful hour to me, Turn from the world, and fancy, whisp'ring near, Thou hear'st the voice thou once didst love to hear. Can time and space, howe'er with anguish fraught, Damp the warm heart, or chain the soaring thought? Or, when most dread, the nascent joy they blast, Chase from the mind the image of the past? Ah, no! when death has robb'd her hoard of bliss, What stays to soothe the widow's hours, but this? This cheers her dreams, and cheats the ling’ring
time Till she shall reach
With slow step, along the desert sand,
Where o'er the parching plains broods red dismay,
The Arab chief leads on his ruthless band.
And, lo! a speck of dust is seen to play,
On the remotest confines of the day.
Arouse! arouse! fierce does the chieftain cry,
Death calls ! the caravan is on its way!
The warrior shouts. The Siroc hurries by,
Hush'd is his stormy voice, and quench'd his
murderous eye. These lines might appear, by the metre, to have been intended for a stanza of the “ Christiad,” perhaps to have been intro duced as a simile; but though the conception is striking, the composition is far more incorrect than that of that fine fragment.
Oh! had the soul's deep silence power to speak;
Could the warm thought the bars of distance break!
Could the lone music to thine ear convey
Each rising sigh, and all the heart can say !
Dear to my breast, beyond conception dear,
Would the long solitude of night appear:
Sweet would it be to hear the winds complain-
To mark the heavings of the moonlight main;
Sweet to behold the silent hamlet lie,
But sweeter far
Rose not unshared, nor fell unmark'd by thee.
The harp is still! Weak though the spirit were
That whisper'd in its rising harmonies;
Yet Mem'ry, with her sister, fond Regret,
Loves to recall the wild and wandering airs
That cheer'd the long-fled hours, when o'er the
That spirit hover'd. Weak and though it were
To pour the torrent of impetuous song,
It was not weak to touch the sacred chords
Of pity, or to summon with dark spell
Of witching rhymes, the spirits of the deep
Form'd to do Fancy's bidding; and to fetch
Her perfumes from the morning star, or dye
Her volant robes with the bright rainbow's hues.