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Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;
At church, with meek and unaffected grace, His looks adorned the venerable place; Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway, And fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray. The service past, around the pious man, With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran; Even children followed with endearing wile, And plucked his gown, to share the good man's smile. His ready smile a parent's warmth exprest, Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distrest; To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given, But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven, As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form, Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm, Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread, Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
and stern to view,
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,
that he could gauge;
But past is all his fame. The very spot Where many a time he triumphed, is forgot. Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high, Where once the sign-post caught the passing eye, Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts inspired, Where grey-beard mirth, and smiling toil retired, Where village statesmen talked with looks profound, And news much older than their ale went round. *Imagination fondly stoops to trace The parlour splendours of that festive place; The white-washed wall, the nicely sanded floor, The varnished clock that clicked behind the door; The chest contrived a double debt to pay, A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day; The pictures placed for ornament and use, The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose; The hearth, except when winter chilled the day, With aspen boughs, and flowers and fennel gay; While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show, Ranged o'er the chimney, glistened in a row.
Vain transitory splendour! could not all
No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail;
It is a place where poets crowned may feel the heart's decaying; It is a place where happy saints may weep amid their praying; Yet let the grief and humbleness as low as silence languish: Earth surely now may give her calm to whom she gave her anguish.
O poets, from a maniac's tongue was poured the deathless singing! O Christians, at your cross of hope a hopeless hand was clinging! 0 men, this man in brotherhood your weary paths beguiling, Groaned inly while he taught you peace, and died while ye were smiling!
And now, what time ye all may read through dimming tears
How discord on the music fell and darkness on the glory, And how when, one by one, sweet sounds and wandering lights departed, no less
a loving face because so brokenhearted
He shall be strong to sanctify the poet's high vocation,
ON THE LOSS OF THE ROYAL GEORGE.
WRITTEN WHEN THE NEWS ARRIVED.
Toll for the brave!
The brave that are no more!
Fast by their native shore !
Eight hundred of the brave,
Whose courage well was tried,
And laid her on her side.
A land-breeze shook the shrouds,
And she was overset;
With all her crew complete.
Toll for the brave!
Brave Kempenfelt is gone;
His work of glory done.
It was not in the battle;
No tempest gave the shock;
She ran upon no rock.
His sword was in its sheath;
His fingers held the pen,
With twice four hundred men.
Weigh the vessel up,
Once dreaded by our foes!
The tears that England owes.
Her timbers yet, are sound,
And she may float again
And plough the distant main.
But Kempenfelt is gone,
His victories are o'er;
Shall plough the wave no more.
SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY ALEXANDER SELKIRK DURING HIS
SOLITARY ABODE ON THE ISLAND OF JUAN FERNANDEZ,
I am monarch of all I survey,
My right there is none to dispute,
I am lord of the fowl and the brute.
That sages have seen in thy face?
Than reign in this horrible place.