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Thyrsis. Those accidents, timorous Colin, do not lappen every day. But at least I may envy those idlers, whom I see, in perfect safety, diverting themselves upon the common : they have no severe master to give an account to, for their time; they are well clothed and better fed.
Alcmon. O Thyrsis, they have a master to whom they are accountable, superior to those sort of masters you mean: a master that looks upon us with as favourable an eye as he does upon them : a master, to whom the greatest king upon his throne is but an upper servant, and has a heavier task, because he is able to do more than you and I. Those idlers, whom you envy, are perhaps not so happy as you fancy them to be.
Colin. I saw Clorinda cross some meadows, the other day, with an air that expressed little happiness. There was a large company of them together; all people of prosperous fortunes, all idle, and at ease. The young nymph went a good way before all her companions; her garments glittered in the sun with silk and gold : she seemed to shun conversation ; her eyes were fixed upon the ground; her look was pale and melancholy; and, every now and then, she would sigh, as if her heart was breaking
Thyrsis. Clorinda's melancholy is easily understood. Urania and she were once inseparable companions : that favourite friend of hers is lately dead. I heard Dametas tell the unhappy story.
But Clorinda has a thousand consolations. If one of us loses his friend or brother, he loses his all. We have nothing else that fortune, can deprive us of.
Alcmon. Thyrsis, I like your ingenuity: you showsome skill in defending a bad cause, Colin and you shall both come home with me. When it is no longer a matter of dispute, I hope you will come over to the happier opinion. Believe me, shepherd, we, of low condition, are free from a multitude of unknown evils that afflict the rich and great, and are more terrible to them than storms and tempests are to us; more grievous than labour, and honest and industrious poverty.
On the Comforts of virtuous Poverty.
PHYLLIS and Damaris were two country lasses, the pride of the village where they lived; both hand. some to perfection, but exceedingly different. The unaffected Damaris had no attention but to assist the infirmities of an aged parent, whom severe illness confined to his cottage, while she tended his Aock by the wood side : her hands were generally employed in some useful work; and while she knit or spun, to procure her old father a more tolerable subsistence, the cheerfuluess of her songs expressed a contented heart. Her dress, though very poor, was always neat and clean : she studied no orna. ment in it; and if the neighbours commended her person, she lent them very little attention. so
Phyllis had been bred up under a careless mother. she was exceedingly pretty, and knew it mighty well. On holydays, nobody so spruce as she : her hat was wreathed with flowers or ribands; every fountain was consulted for her dress, and every meadow ransacked to adorn it: from morning till night she was dancing and sporting on the green ; all the shepherds courted and admired her, and she be- . lieved every word they said. Yet she felt many a discontent: sometimes her garland would be less becoming than she wished it; sometimes she would fancy that a favourite shepherd slighted her, or, that a newer face was more admired than her's : every day was spent in the pursuit of gaiety, and every day brought with it some disquiet. She was one morning sitting very pensive under a poplar, tying up a nosegay, when she heard Damaris, who was concealed from her only by the shade of some bushes, singing, with a merry heart, a song in praise of industry. Phyllis could not help interrupting her in the midst of it; and when she went towards her, found her busy in plying the distaif, which was fixed in her side; when thus the gay maid began :
Phyllis. How is it possible, Damaris, that you should be always so merry in leading a life of such drudgery? What charms can you find in it? How much better would it become your years to be dancing at the may-pole, where some rich farmer's son might probably fall in love with you!
Damaris. Ah Phyllis, I prefer this way of life, because I see you very unhappy in yours. For my own part, I have never a moment's uneasiness. I am sensible I am doing what I ought : I see myself the comfort of a good old father, who supported ny helpless infancy, and now wants this return of duty in his decrepit age. When I have pinned the fold at night, I return home, and cheer him with iny sight: I dress his little supper, and partake it with more pleasure than you have at a feast. He,
in the mean time, tells me stories of his younger days, and instructs me by his experience: sometimes he teaches me a song like that I was singing just now; and on holydays I read to him out of some good book. This, Phyllis, is my life. I have no great expectations, but every cheerful hope that can make the heart light and easy.
· Phyllis. Well, Damaris, I shall not dispute your taste : my father is well enough, by his own labour, to provide for his family, and my mother never set us the example of working. It is true we are poor ;' but who knows what good fortune may throw in our way? Youth is the time for mirth and pleasure; and I do not care how hardly I fare, provided: I can get a silken lining to my hat, and be the lady of the May next year.
Damaris. O Phyllis, this is very pretty for the present; but in what will it end? Do you think that smoothness of face will always last? Yon decrepit old woman, that limps upon her crutches, was once, they say, as handsome as you: her youth passed without engaging any body in a real affec. tion to her ; yet her good name was lost among the follies she engaged in. Poverty and age came on together : she has long been a burden to the village and herself. If any neighbour's cow is ill, all suspicions of witchcraft fall upon her : she can do nothing to maintain herself; and every body grudges her what she has.
Phyllis. Ill-natured Damaris, to compare me