Billeder på siden


an estate.

Thomas PARNELL, an agreeable poet, was de- tention of rising to notice; but the change of the scended from an ancient family in Cheshire. His ministry at Queen Anne's death put an end to his father, who was attached to the cause of the Par. more brilliant prospects in the church. By means, liament in the civil wars of Charles I., withdrew to however, of Swift's recommendation to Archbishop Ireland after the Restoration, where he purchased King, he obtained a prebend, and the valuable

His eldest son, Thomas, was born at living of Finglass. Dublin, in 1679, and received his school education His domestic happiness received a severe shock in that city. At an early age he was removed to in 1712, by the death of his beloved wife; and it the college, where he was admitted to the degree was the effect on his spirits of this affliction, which of M. A. in 1700, took deacon's orders in the same led him into such a habit of intemperance in wine, year, and was ordained priest three years after- as shortened his days. This, at least, is the gloss wards. In 1705 he was presented to the arch- put upon the circumstance by his historian, Golddeaconry of Clogher, and about the same time smith, who represents him, “as in some measure a married a lady of great beauty and merit. He now martyr to conjugal fidelity.” But it can scarcely be began to make those frequent excursions to England, doubted, that this mode of life had already been in which the most desirable part of his life was formed when his very unequal spirits had required thenceforth spent. His first connexions were prin- the aid of a glass for his support. He died at Chescipally with the Whigs, at that time in power; and ter, on his way to Ireland, in July 1717, in the Addison, Congreve, and Steele, are named among thirty-eighth year of his age, and was buried in his chief companions. When, at the latter part of Trinity Church, in that city. Queen Anne's reign, the Tories were triumphant, Parnell was the author of several pieces, both in Parnell deserted his former friends, and associated prose and verse; but it is only by the latter that he with Swift, Pope, Gay, and Arbuthnot. Swist in- is now known. Of these a collection was published troduced him to Lord-Treasurer Harley; and, with by Pope, with a dedication to the Earl of Oxford. the dictatorial air which he was fond of assuming, Their characters are ease, sprightliness, fancy, clearinsisted upon the Treasurer's going with his staff in ness of language, and melody of versification; and his hand into the antichamber, where Parnell was though not ranking among the most finished producwaiting to welcome him. It is said of this poet, tions of the British muse, they claim a place among that every year, as soon as he had collected the the most pleasing. A large addition to these was rents of his estate, and the revenue of his benefices, made in a work printed in Dublin, in 1758, of he came over to England, and spent some months, which Dr. Johnson says, “I know not whence they living in an elegant style, and rather impairing than came, nor have ever inquired whither they are improving his fortune. At this time he was an as- going." duous preacher in the London pulpits, with the in

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

By the blue taper's trembling light,
No more I waste the wakeful night,
Intent with endless view to pore
The schoolmen and the sages o'er :
Their books from wisdom widely stray,
Or point at best the longest way.
I'll seek a readier path, and go
Where wisdom's surely taught below.

How deep yon azure dyes the sky!
Where orbs of gold unnumber'd lie,
While through their ranks in silver pride
The nether crescent seems to glide.
The slumbering breeze forgets to breathe,
The lake is smooth and clear beneath,
Where once again the spangled show
Descends to meet our eyes below.
The grounds, which on the right aspire,
In dimness from the view retire :
The left presents a place of graves,
Whose wall the silent water laves.
That steeple guides thy doubtful sight
Among the livid gleams of night.
There pass with melancholy state
By all the solemn heaps of Fate,
And think, as softly-sad you tread
Above the venerable dead,
Time was, like thee, they life possest,
And time shall be, that thou shalt rest.

Those with bending osier bound,
That nameless heave the crumbled ground,
Quick to the glancing thought disclose,
Where toil and poverty repose.

The flat smooth stones that bear a name,
The chisel's slender help to fame,
(Which ere our set of friends decay
Their frequent steps may wear away)
A middle race of mortals own,
Men, half ambitious, all unknown.

The marble tombs that rise on high,
Whose dead in vaulted arches lie,
Whose pillars swell with sculptur'd stones,
Arms, angels, epitaphs, and bones,
These, all the poor remains of state,
Adorn the rich, or praise the great ;
Who, while on Earth in fame they live,
Are senseless of the fame they give.
Ha! while I gaze, pale Cynthia fades,
The bursting earth unveils the shades !
All slow, and wan, and wrapp'd with shrouds,
They rise in visionary crowds,
And all with sober accent cry,
Think, mortal, what it is to die."

Now from yon black and funeral yew, That bathes the charnel-house with dew, Methinks, I hear a voice begin ;

a (Ye ravens, cease your croaking din, Ye tolling clocks, no time resound O'er the long lake and midnight ground!) It sends a peal of hollow groans, Thus speaking from among the bones.

“When men my scythe and darts supply, How great a king of fears am I! They view me like the last of things; They make, and then they draw, my strings. Fools! if you less provok'd your fears, No more my spectre-form appears. Death 's but a path that must be trod, Il man would ever pass to God;

By this the stars began to wink,
They shriek, they fly, the tapers sink,

And down y-drops the knight:
For never spell by fairie laid
With strong enchantment bound a glade,

Beyond the length of night.

Chill, dark, alone, adreed, he lay,
Till up the welkin rose the day,

Then deem'd the dole was o'er ;
But wot ye well his harder lot?
His seely back the bunch had got

Which Edwin lost afore.

This tale a Sibyl-nurse ared ;
She softly strok'd my youngling head,

And when the tale was done, * Thus some are born, my son," she cries, "With base impediments to rise,

And some are born with none.

“ But virtue can itself advance To what the favorite fools of chance

By fortune seem design'd; Virtue can gain the odds of Fate, And from itself shake off the weight

Upon th' unworthy mind."

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

A port of calms, a state to ease

Now sunk the Sun; the closing hour of day From the rough rage of swelling seas." Came onward, mantled o'er with sober grey ; Why then thy flowing sable stoles,

Nature in silence bid the world repose ; Deep pendent cypress, mourning poles,

When near the road a stately palace rose :
Loose scarfs to fall athwart thy weeds,

There by the Moon through ranks of trees they pas,
Long palls, drawn hearses, cover'd steeds, Whose verdure crown'd their sloping sides of grass
And plumes of black, that, as they tread, It chanc'd the noble master of the dome
Nod o'er the escutcheons of the dead?

Still made his house the wandering stranger's home: Nor can the parted body know,

Yet still the kindness, from a thirst of praise,
Nor wants the soul these forms of woe; Prov'd the vain flourish of expensive ease.
As men who long in prison dwell,

The pair arrive: the liv'ried servants wait;
With lamps that glimmer round the cell, Their lord receives them at the pompous gate.
Whene'er their suffering years are run, The table groans with costly piles of food,
Spring forth to greet the glittering Sun: And all is more than hospitably good.
Such joy, though far transcending sense, Then led to rest, the day's long toil they drown,
Have pious souls at parting hence.

Deep sunk in sleep, and silk, and heaps of down.
On Earth, and in the body plac'd,

At length 'tis morn, and at the dawn of day, A few, and evil years, they waste:

Along the wide canals the zephyrs play: But when their chains are cast aside,

Fresh o'er the gay parterres the breezes creep, See the glad scene unfolding wide,

And shake the neighboring wood to banish sleep. Clap the glad wing, and tower away,

Up rise the guests, obedient to the call:
And mingle with the blaze of day.

An early banquet deck'd the splendid hall;
Rich luscious wine a golden goblet grac'd,
Which the kind master forc'd the guests to taste.
Then, pleas'd and thankful, from the porch they go;

And, but the landlord, none had cause of woe:

His cup was vanish’d; for in secret guise

The younger guest purloin'd the glittering prize. Far in a wild, unknown to public view,

As one who spies a serpent in his way, From youth to age a reverend hermit grew; Glistening and basking in the summer ray, The moss his bed, the cave his humble cell, Disorder'd stops to shun the danger near, His food the fruits, his drink the crystal well : Then walks with faintness on, and looks with fear; Remote from men, with God he pass'd the days, So seem'd the sire ; when far upon the road, Prayer all his business, all his pleasure praise. The shining spoil his wily partner show'd. A life so sacred, such serene repose,

He stopp'd with silence, walk'd with trembling heart, Seem'd Heaven itself, till one suggestion rose ; And much he wish'd, but durst not ask to part: That Vice should triumph, Virtue, Vice obey, Murmuring he lifts his eyes, and thinks it hard, This sprung some doubt of Providence's sway: That generous actions meet a base reward. His hopes no more a certain prospect boast,

While thus they pass, the Sun his glory shrouda, And all the tenor of his soul is lost:

The changing skies hang out their sable clouds;
So when a smooth expanse receives imprest A sound in air presag'd approaching rain,
Calm Nature's image on its watery breast, And beasts to covert scud across the plain.
Down bend the banks, the trees depending grow, Warn’d by the signs, the wandering pair retreat,
And skies beneath with answering colors glow : To seek for shelter at a neighboring seat.
But if a stone the gentle sea divide,

'Twas built with turrets on a rising ground, Swift rufsing circles curl on every side,

And strong, and large, and unimprov'd around;
And glimmering fragments of a broken Sun, Its owner's temper, timorous and severe,
Banks, trees, and skies, in thick disorder run. Unkind and griping, caus'd a desert there.

To clear this doubt, to know the world by sight, As near the miser's heavy doors they drew,
To find if books, or swains, report it right, Fierce rising gusts with sudden fury blew;
(For yet by swains alone the world he knew, The nimble lightning mix'd with showers began,
Whose feet came wandering o'er the nightly dew) And o'er their heads loud rolling thunders ran.
He quits his cell; the pilgrim-staff he bore, Here long they knock, but knock or call in vain,
And fix'd the scallop in his hat before ;

Driven by the wind, and batter'd by the rain.
Then with the Sun a rising journey went, At length some pity warm'd the master's breast,
Sedate to think, and watching each event. |('Twas then his threshold first receiv'd a guest);

The morn was wasted in the pathless grass, Slow creaking turns the door with jealous care,
And long and lonesome was the wild to pass ; And half he welcomes in the shivering pair;
But when the southern Sun had warm'd the day, One frugal fagot lights the naked walls,
A youth came posting o'er a crossing way; And Nature's fervor through their limbs recalls :
His raiment decent, his complexion fair,

Bread of the coarsest sort, with eager wine,
And soft in graceful ringlets wav'd his hair. (Each hardly granted) serv'd them both to dine ;
Then near approaching, "Father, hail!" he cried, And when the tempest first appear'd to cease,
"And hail, my son,” the reverend sire replied ; A ready warning bid them part in peace.
Words follow'd words, from question answer flow'd, With still remark the pondering hermit view'd,
And talk of various kind deceiv'd the road; In one so rich, a life so poor and rude ;
Till each with other pleas'd, and loth to part, “ And why should such," within himself he cried,
While in their age they differ, join in heart. Lock the lost wealth a thousand want beside !"
Thus stands an aged elm in ivy bound,

But what new marks of wonder soon take place, Thus youthful ivy clasps an elm around. In every settling feature of his face;

[ocr errors]

When from his vest the young companion bore Though loud at first the pilgrim's passion grew,
That cup, the generous landlord own'd before, Sudden he gaz'd, and wist not what to do;
And paid profusely with the precious bowl Surprise in secret chains his words suspends,
The stinted kindness of this churlish soul. And in a calm his settling temper ends.
But now the clouds in airy tumult fly!

But silence here the beauteous angel broke
The Sun emerging opes an azure sky;

(The voice of music ravish'd as he spoke.) A fresher green the smelling leaves display,

“Thy prayer, thy praise, thy life to vice unknown, And, glittering as they tremble, cheer the day: In sweet memorial rise before the throne : The weather courts them from the poor retreat, These charms, success in our bright region find, And the glad master bolts the wary gate.

And force an angel down, to calm thy mind; While hence they walk, the pilgrim's bosom For this, commission'd, I forsook the sky, wrought

Nay, cease to kneel—thy fellow-servant I. With all the travel of uncertain thought;

"Then know the truth of government divine, His partner's acts without their cause appear, And let these scruples be no longer thine. 'Twas there a vice, and seem'd a madness here: The Maker justly claims that world he made, Detesting that, and pitying this, he goes,

In this the right of Providence is laid ; Lost and confounded with the various shows. Its sacred majesty through all depends

Now Night's dim shades again involve the sky, On using second means to work his ends : Again the wanderers want a place to lie,

"Tis thus, withdrawn in state from human eye, Again they search, and find a lodging nigh, The power exerts his attributes on high, The soil improv'd around, the mansion neat, Your actions uses, nor controls your will, And neither poorly low, nor idly great:

And bids the doubting sons of men be still. It seem'd to speak its master's turn of mind,

“What strange events can strike with more surContent, and not to praise, but virtue kind.

prise, Hither the walkers turn with weary feet, Than those which lately struck thy wondering eyes? Then bless the mansion, and the master greet: Yet, taught by these, confess th' Almighty just, Their greeting fair, bestow'd with modest guise, And where you can't unriddle, learn to trust! The courteous master hears, and thus replies: “The great, vain man, who far'd on costly food,

“Without a vain, without a grudging heart, Whose life was too luxurious to be good; To him who gives us all, I yield a part;

Who made his ivory stands with goblets shine, From him you come, for him accept it here, And forc'd his guests to morning draughts of wine, A frank and sober, more than costly cheer.” Has, with the cup, the graceless custom lost, Ile spoke, and bid the welcome table spread, And still he welcomes, but with less of cost. Then talk of virtue till the time of bed,

• The mean, suspicious wretch, whose bolted door When the grave household round his hall repair, Ne'er mov'd in duty to the wandering poor; Warn'd by a bell, and close the hours with prayer. With him I left the cup, to teach his mind

At length the world, renew'd by calm repose, That Heaven can bless, if mortals will be kind. Was strong for toil, the dappled Morn arose ; Conscious of wanting worth, he views the bowl, Be fore the pilgrims part, the younger crept

And feels compassion touch his grateful soul. Near the clos'd cradle where an infant slept, Thus artists melt the sullen ore of lead, And writh'd his neck: the landlord's little pride, With heaping coals of fire upon his head ; O strange return! grew black, and gasp'd, and died. In the kind warmth the metal learns to glow, Horror of horrors! what! his only son!

And loose from dross the silver runs below.
How look'd our hermit when the fact was done; “ Long had our pious friend in virtue trod,
Not Hell, though Hell's black jaws in sunder part, But now the child half-wean'd his heart from
And breathe blue fire, could more assault his heart.

Confus'd, and struck with silence at the deed, (Child of his age) for him he liv’d in pain,
He flies, but trembling, fails to fly with speed. And measur'd back his steps to Earth again.
His steps the youth pursues; the country lay

To what excesses had his dotage run?
Perplex'd with roads, a servant show'd the way: But God, to save the father, took the son.
A river cross'd the path ; the passage o'er

To all but thee, in fits he seem'd to go,
Was nice to find; the servant trod before ; (And 'twas my ministry to deal the blow,)
Long arms of oaks an open bridge supplied, The poor fond parent, humbled in the dust,
And deep the waves beneath the bending glide. Now owns in tears the punishment was just.
The youth, who seem'd to watch a time to sin, “But now had all his fortune felt a wrack,
Approach'd the careless guide, and thrust him in; Had that false servant sped in safety back ;
Plunging he falls, and rising lists his head, This night his treasur'd heaps he meant to steal,
Then flashing turns, and sinks among the dead. And what a fund of charity would fail!
Wild, sparkling rage inflames the father's eyes, Thus Heaven instructs thy mind: this trial o'er,
He bursts the bands of fear, and madly cries, Depart in peace, resign, and sin no more.”
"Detested wretch!"-But scarce his speech began, On sounding pinions here the youth withdrew,
When the strange partner seem'd no longer man: The sage stood wondering as the seraph flew.
His youthful face grew more serenely sweet;

Thus look'd Elisha when, to mount on high,
His robe turn'd white, and flow'd upon his feet; His master took the chariot of the sky;
Fair rounds of radiant points invest his hair; The fiery pomp ascending left to view;
Celestial odors breathe through purpled air; The prophet gaz'd, and wish'd to follow too.
And wings, wbose colors glitter'd on the day,

The bending hermit here a prayer begun,
Wide at his back their gradual plumes display. Lord! as in Heaven, on Earth thy will be done :"
The form ethereal burst upon his sight,

Then gladly turning sought his ancient place, And moves in all the majesty of lighi.

And pass'd a life of piety and peace.

« ForrigeFortsæt »