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For thee, who, mindful of the unhonour'd dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate; If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate;
Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
“Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.
“There at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.
“ Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove; Now drooping, woeful, wan, like one forlorn,
Or craz’d with care, or cross'd in hopeless love.
“ One morn I miss'd him on the 'custom'd hill,
Along the heath, and near his favourite tree; Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he.
“ The next, with dirges due in sad array,
Slow through the churchway path we saw him borne ; Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay
Grav'd on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.”
. Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth,
A Youth, to Fortune and to Fame unknown; Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heaven did a recompense as largely send; He gave to Misery all he had, a tear
He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wish’d), a friend.
No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode, (There they alike in trembling hope repose,)
The bosom of his Father and his God.
H me! full sorely is my heart forlorn, A
To think how modest worth neglected lies, While partial Fame doth with her blasts adorn Such deeds alone as pride and pomp disguise, Deeds of ill sort, and mischievous emprise :
Lend me thy clarion, goddess ! let me try
Such as I oft have chaunced to espy,
In every village marked with little spire,
And oft-times, on vagaries idly bent,
And all in sight doth rise a birchen tree,
And as they look'd they found their horror grew, And shaped it into rods, and tingled at the view.
So have I seen (who has not may conceive)
Ne superstition clog his dance of joy,
Near to this dome is found a patch so green,
Where sits the dame, disguised in look profound,
Her cap, far whiter than the driven snow,
And steadfast hate, and sharp affliction join'd,
Few but have kenn'd, in semblance meet pourtray'd,
The cot no more, I ween, were deem'd the cell Where comely peace of mind, and decent order dwell.
A russet stole was o'er her shoulders thrown,