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While thus they pass, the fun his glory shrouds, The changing skies hang out their lable clouds A sound in air presag'd approaching rain, And beasts to covert scud a-cross the plain. Warnd by the signs the wand'ring pair retreat, To seek for shelter at a neighbouring 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 desart there.
As near the Miser's heavy doors they drew, Fierce rising gufts with sudden fury blew ; The nimble light'ning mix'd with Mow'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 breaft, ('Twas then, his threshold first receiv'd a guest.) Slow creaking turns the door with jealous care, And half he welcomes in the shiv'ring pair ; One frugal faggot lights the naked walls, And nature's fervor thro' their limbs recalls : Bread of the coarseft fort, with eager 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 ftill remark the pond'ring Hermit view'd In one so rich, a life so
poor and rude ; And why shou'd fuch, (within himself he cry'd) Lock the loit wealth a thousand want beside ? But what new marks of wonder soon took place, In every settling feature of his face ! When from his veft the young companion bore That
cup, the generous landlord own'd before, And paid profusely with the precious bowl The itinted kindness of this churlith foul.
But now the clouds in airy tumults fly, The fun emerging opes an azure sky; A fresher green the smelling leaves display, And glitering as they tremble, cheer the day : The weather courts them from the poor retreats And the glad master bolts the wary gate.
While hence they walk, the Pilgrim's bosom wrought
With all the travel of uncertain thought;
His partner's acts without their cause appear,
'Twas there a vice, and seem'd a madness here :-
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 hears, 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 coftly cheer.
He spoke, and bid the welcome table spread,
Then talk'd of virtue 'till the time of bed ;
When the grave houshold round his hall repair,
Warn'd by a bell, and close the hours with pray’r.
At length the world renew'd by calm repose
Was strong for toil, the dapple morn arose ;
Before the Pilgrims part, the younger crept
Near the clos'd cradle where an infant Nept,
And writh'd his neck : the landlord's little pride,
O ftrange return! grew black, and gasp’d, and dy'd
Horror of horror! what! his only fon !
How look'd our Herinit 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 sies, 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 crofs'd the path; the passage o'er
Was nice to find the servant trod before ;
Long arms of oaks an open bridge supply'd,
deep the waves beneath the bending glide.
The youth, who seem d to watch a time to fin,
Approach'd the careless guide and thrust him in;
Plunging he falls, and riling lists his head,
Then fialhing turns, and hnks among the dead.
Wild, sparkling rage inflames the father's eyes, He bursts the bands of fear, and madly cries, Detested wretch! but fcarce his speech began, When the strange partner feem'd no longer man: His youthful face grew more serenely sweet ; His robe turn'd white, and flow'd upon his feet ; Fair rounds of radiant points inveft his hair ; Celestial odours breathe thro' purpled air ; And wings, whose colours glitter'd on the day, Wide at his back the gradual plumes display. The form etherial bursts upon his fight, And moves in all the majesty of light, Tho' loud at first the Pilgrim's pasion grew, Sudden he gaz'd, and wift not what to do: Surprize in secret chains his words suspends, And in a calm his settling temper ends. But silence here the beauteous Angel broke, (The voice of musick ravish'd as he spoke.).
Thy pray's, 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 juftly claims that world he made,
In this the right of Providence is laid ;
Its sacred Majesty thro' all depends
On using second means to work his ends :
'Tis thus, withdrawn in ftate from human eye,
The pow'r exerts his attributes on high,
Your actions uses, nor controuls your will,
And bids the doubting fons of men be still.
What strange events can strike with more surprize Than those which lately struck thy wond'ring eyes ?
Yet taught by these, confess th’ Almighty juft,
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 loft,
And still he welcomes, but with less of coft.
The mean, suspicious wretch, whose bolted door
Ne'er mov'd in duty 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, he views the bowl,
And feels compassion touch his sordid soul.
Thus artists melt the fullen 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 now the Child half wean'd his heart from God;
(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 fon.
To all but thee, in fits he seem'd to go,
And 'twas my miniftry to deal the blow.
The 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 heav'n instructs thy mind : this tryal o'er,
Depart in peace, resign, and sin no more.
On sounding pinions here the youth withdrew,
The sage stood wond'ring as the Seraph few.
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 prayer begun,
Lord! as in hear'a, on earth thy will be done.
Then gladly turning, fought his ancient place,
And pass'd a life of piety and peace.
We shall conclude this chapter with Mr. Gay's Tale of the apparition ; which, tho’ written in the burlesque manner, with such exquisite humour, and just and pleaSant raillery, is conformable to the rules here laid down for these compositions.
A true STORY of an APPARITION, by Mr. GAY.
Scepticks (whose strength of argument makes out
That wisdom's deep inquiries end in doubt)
Hold this assertion positive and clear,
That sprites are pure delusions rais'd by fear.
Not that fam'd ghost
, which in presaging found Call'd Brutus to Philippi's fatal ground; Nor can Tiberius Gracchus'
These ever-doubting disputants perfuade.
Strait they with smiles reply.; those tales of old
By visionary Priests were made and told :
Oh might some ghost at dead of night appear,
And make you own conviction by your fear!
I know your sneers my easy faith accuse,
Which with such idle legends scares the muse :
But think not that I tell those vulgar sprites,
Which frighted boys relate on winter nights ;
How cleanly milk-maids meet the fairy train,
How headless horses drag the clinking chain,
Night-roaming ghosts, by saucer eye-balls known,
The common spectres of each country.town.
No, I such fables can like you despise,
And laugh to hear these nurse-invented lies.
Yet has not oft the fraudful guardian's fright
Compelld him to restore an orphan's right?
And can we doubt that horrid ghosts ascend,
Which on the conscious murd'rers steps attend ?
Hear then, and let attested truth prevail,
From faithful lips I learnt the dreadful tale.
Where Arden's forest spreads its limits wide,
Whofe branching paths the doubtful road divide,