« السابقةمتابعة »
(FIRST PRINTED IN THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD, 1765.)
THE PRINTER OF THE ST. JAMES'S CHRONICLE,
Appeared in that Paper in June, 1767.
SIR, As there is nothing I dislike so much as newspaper controversy, particularly upon trifles, permit me to be as concise as possible in informing a correspondent of yours, that I recommended Blainville's Travels, because I thought the book was a good one; and I think so still. I said, I was told by the bookseller that it was then first published; but in that, it seems, I was misinformed, and my reading was not extensive enough to set me right.
Another correspondent of yours accuses me of having taken a ballad, I published some time ago, from one* by the ingenious Mr. Percy.t I do not
* " The Friar of Orders Gray,' in Reliques of Anc, Poetry. + Since Dean of Carlisle and Bishop of Dromore.
think there is any great resemblance between the two pieces in question. If there be any, his ballad is taken from mine. I read it to Mr. Percy, some years ago; and he (as we both considered these things as trifles at best) told me, with his usual good humour, the next time I saw him, that he had taken my plan to form the fragments of Shakspeare into a ballad of his own. He then read me his little cento, if I may so call it, and I highly approved it. Such petty anecdotes as these are scarce worth printing; and were it not for the busy disposition of some of your correspondents, the public should never have known that he owes me the hint of his ballad, or that I am obliged to his friendship and learning for communications of a much more important nature.
I am, SIR,
• TURN, gentle hermit of the dale,
And guide my lonely way, To where yon taper cheers the vale
With hospitable ray.
• For here forlorn and lost I tread,
With fainting steps and slow ; Where wilds, immeasurably spread,
Seem lengthening as I go.'
* Forbear, my son, (the hermit cries)
To tempt the dangerous gloom ; For yonder faithless phantom flies
To lure thee to thy doom.
Here to the houseless child of want
My door is open still ; And though my portion is but scant,
I give it with good will.
* Then turn to-night, and freely share
Whate'er my cell bestows; My rushy couch and frugal fare,
My blessing and repose.
No flocks that range the valley free
To slaughter I condemn : Taught by that Power who pities me,
I learn to pity them :
• But from the mountain's grassy side
A guiltless feast I bring; A scrip with herbs and fruits supplied,
And water from the spring.
“Then, pilgrim, turn, thy cares forego;
All earth-born cares are wrong: Man wants but little here below,
Nor wants that little long.'
Soft as the dew from heaven descends,
His gentle accents fell;
And follows to the cell.
Far in a wilderness obscure
The lonely mansion lay;
And strangers led astray.
No stores beneath its humble thatch
Requir'd a master's care ; The wicket, opening with a latch,
Receiv'd the harmless pair.
And now when busy crowds retire
To take their evening rest, The hermit trim'd his little fire,
And cheer'd his pensive guest :
And spread his vegetable store,
And gaily press'd, and smild; And, skill'd in legendary lore,
The lingering hours beguild.
Around in sympathetic mirth
Its tricks the kitten tries;
The crackling faggot flies.
But nothing could a charm impart
To sooth the stranger's woe; For grief was heavy at his heart,
And tears began to flow.
His rising cares the hermit spied,
With answering care oppress'd : * And whence, unhappy youth, (he cried)
The sorrows of thy breast?
• From better habitations spurn'd,
Reluctant dost thou rove ;
Or unregarded love?
• Alas! the joys that fortune brings
Are trifling, and decay ;
More trifting still than they.
• And what is friendship but a name,
A charm that lulls to sleep ;
And leaves the wretch to weep!