« ZurückWeiter »
This poem is held in just esteem, the versification
being chaste, and tolerably harmonious, and the story told with perspicuity and conciseness. It seems to have coft great labour, both to Mr. Pope, and Parnell himself, to bring it to this perfection. It may not be amifs to obferve, that the fable is taken from one of Dr. Henry Moore's Dialogues.
AR in a wild, unknown to public view,
From youth to age a rev'rend Hermit grew; The moss his bed, the cave his humble cell, His food the fruits, his drink the crystal well: Remote from man, with God he pass’d the days, Pray’r all his bus'ness, all his pleasure, praise. A life so sacred, such serene repose, Seem'd heav'n itself, till one suggestion rose; That vice should triumph, virtue vice obey ; This fprung fome doubt of providence's sway: His hopes no more a certain prospect boast, And all the tenour of his soul is loft : So when a smooth expanse receives, impreft, Calm nature's image on its watry breaft, Down bend the banks, the trees depending grow, And skies beneath with answ'ring colours glow :
But if a stone the gentle sea divide,
Swift rufling circles curl on ev'ry side,
And glimmering fragments of a broken sun,
Banks, seas, and skies, in thick disorder run.
To clear this doubt, to know the world by sight,
To find if books, or swains, report it right;
(For yet by swains alone the world he knew,
Whose feet came wand'ring o'er the nightly dew)
He quits his cell; the Pilgrim-staff he bore,
And fix'd the Scallop in his hat before ;
Then with the sun a rising journey went,
Sedate to think, and watching each event.
The morn was wasted in the pathless grass,
And long and lonesome was the wild to pass;
But when the southern sun liad warm'd the day,
A youth came posting o'er a crofling way;
His rayment decent, his complexion fair,
And soft in graceful ringlets way'd his hair.
Then, near approaching, Father, hail! he cry'd,
And hail, my Son, the rev'rend fire reply'd ;
Words follow'd words, from question answer flow'd,
And talk of various kind deceiy'd the road ;
'Till each with other pleas'd, and loth to part,
While in their rage they differ, join in heart :
Thus stands an aged elm in ivy bound;
Thus youthful ivy clasps an elm around.
Now funk the sun; the closing hour of day
Came onward, inantled o'er with fober grey;
Nature in filence bid the world repose ;
When, near the road, a stately palace rose :
There, by the moon, thro' ranks of trees they pass,
Whofe verdure crown'd their floping sides of grass.
It chanc'd the noble master of the dome,
Still made his house the wand'ring stranger's home:
Yet ftill the kindness, from a thirst of praise,
Prov'd the vain flourish of expenfive ease.
The pair arrive : the livery'd servants wait;
Their lord receives them at the pompous gate,
The table groans with costly piles of food,
And all is more than hospitably good.
Then led to reft, the day's long toil they drown,
Deep funk in sleep, and filk, and heaps of downa
At length 'tis morn, and, at the dawn of day,
Along the wide canals the Zephyrs play;
Fresh o'er the gay parterre the breezes creep,
And shake the neighb'ring wood to banish sleep.
Up rise the guests, obedient to the call:
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 glitt'ring prize.
As one who spies a serpent in his way,
Glist’ning and baking in the summer ray,
Disorder'd stops to shun the danger near,
Then walks with faintness on, and looks with fear:
So seem'd the fire, when, far upon the road,
The shining spoil his wily partner show'd.
He itopp'd with silence; walk'd with trembling heart,
And much he wishod, but durft not as to part:
Murm'ring he lifts his eyes, and thinks it hard,
That gen'rous actions meet a base reward.
While thus they pass, the fun his glory shrouds,
The changing fkies hang out their fable clouds;
A found in air prefag'd approaching rain,
And beasts to covert scud across the plain.
Warn'd by the signs the wand'ring pair retreat,
To seek for shelter at a neighb'ring feat.
'Twas built with turrets, on a rising ground,
And strong, and large, and unimprov'd around;
Its owner's temper tim'rous and severe,
Unkind and griping, caus'd a desart there.
As near the miser's heavy doors they drew,'
Fierce rising gufts with sudden fury blew;
The nimble lightning, mix'd with show'rs, began,
And o'er their heads loud rolling thunder ran.
Here long they knock, but knock or call in vain,
Driv'n by the wind, and batter'd by the rain.
At length some pity warm'd the master's breast,
('Twas then his threshold first receiv'd a guest)
Slow, creaking, turns the door, with jealous care,
And half he welcomes in the shiv'ring pair ;
One frugal faggot lights the naked walls,
And nature's fervour thro' their limbs recalls :
Bread of the coarseft fort, with eager wine,
(Each hardly granted) serv'd them both to dine;
And, when the tempest first appear’d to cease,
A ready warning bid them part in peace.
With ftill remark the pond'ring Hermit view'd, In one so rich, a life so poor and rude ; And why should such, within himself he cry'd, Lock the loft wealth a thousand want beside ? But what new marks of wonder soon took place In ev'ry settling feature of his face; When from his veft the young companion bore ! That cup, the gen'rous landlord own'd before, And paid, profusely, with the precious bowl, The ftinted kindness of his churlish soul.
But now the clouds in airy tumult fly, The sun emerging opes an azure sky; A fresher green the smelling leaves display, And, glitt'ring as they tremble, chear the day: The weather courts them from the poor retreat, And the glad master bolts the wary gate. While hence they walk, the pilgrim's bosom
wrought With all the travail of uncertain thought; His partner's acts without their cause
appear; 'Twas there a vice, and seem'd a madness here: Detesting that, and pitying this, he goes,
, Lost and confounded with the various shows.
Now night's dim shades again involve the sky,
Again the wand'rers want a place to lie,
Again they search, and find a lodging nigh.
The foil improv'd around, the mansion neat,
And neither poorly low, nor idly great:
It seem'd to speak its inafter's turn of mind,
Content, and, not for praise, but virtue, kind.