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While hence they walk, the Pilgrim's bofom wrought With all the travel of uncertain thought; His partner's acts without their caufe appear, 'Twas there a vice, and feem'd a madness here: Detesting that, and pitying this he goes, Loft and confounded with the various fhows.
Now night's dim shades again involve the sky;
Again the wand'rers want a place to lie,
Again they fearch, and find a lodging nigh.
The foil improv'd around, the mansion neat,
And neither poorly low, nor idly great:
It feem'd to speak its master's turn of mind,
Content, and not for praife, but virtue kind.
Hither the walkers turn with weary feet,
Then bless the mansion, and the master greet:
Their greeting fair, beftow'd with modeft guise,
The courteous master hears, and thus replies:
Without a vain, without a grudging heart,
To him who gives us all, I yield a part;
From him you come, for him accept it here,
A frank and fober, more than coftly cheer.
He spoke, and bid the welcome table spread,
Then talk'd of virtue 'till the time of bed;
When the grave houfhold round his hall repair,
Warn'd by a bell, and clofe the hours with pray'r.
At length the world renew'd by calm repose Was strong for toil, the dapple morn arofe; Before the Pilgrims part, the younger crept Near the clos'd cradle where an infant fept, And writh'd his neck: the landlord's little pride, Oftrange return! grew black, and gafp'd, and dy'd, Horror of horror! what! his only fon! How look'd our Hermit when the fact was done ? Not hell, tho' hell's black jaws in funder part, And breathe blue fire, could more aflault his heart.
Confus'd, and ftruck with filence at the deed,
He flies, but trembling fails to fly with speed.
His fteps the youth purfues; the country lay
Perplex'd with roads, a fervant fhow'd the way:
A river cross'd the path; the paffage o'er
Was nice to find; the fervant trod before;
Long arms of oaks an open bridge supply'd,
And deep the waves beneath the bending glide.
The youth, who seem'd to watch a time to fin,
Approach'd the carelefs guide and thrust him in;
Plunging he falls, and rifing lifts his head,
Then flashing turns, and finks among the dead.
Wild, fparkling rage inflames the father's eyes,
He burfts the bands of fear, and madly cries,
Detefted wretch! but fcarce his speech began,
When the strange partner feem'd no longer man :
His youthful face grew more ferenely sweet;
His robe turn'd white, and flow'd upon his feet;
Fair rounds of radiant points invest his hair ;
Celestial odours breathe thro' purpled air;
And wings, whofe colours glitter'd on the day,
Wide at his back the gradual plumes display.
The form etherial bursts upon his fight,
And moves in all the majefty of light,
Tho' loud at first the Pilgrim's passion grew,
Sudden he gaz'd, and wift not what to do:
Surprize in fecret chains his words fufpends,
And in a calm his fettling temper ends.
But filence here the beauteous Angel broke,
(The voice of mufick ravish'd as he spoke.)
Thy pray'r, thy praife, thy life to vice unknown, In fweet memorial rife before the throne: These charms, fuccefs in our bright region find, And force an Angel down, to calm thy mind: For this commiffion'd, I forfook the sky; Nay, cease to kneel - Thy fellow-fervant I.
Then know the truth of government divine,
And let thefe fcruples be no longer thine.
The Maker juftly claims that world he made,
In this the right of Providence is laid;
Its facred Majefty thro' all depends
On ufing second means to work his ends:
"Tis thus, withdrawn in ftate from human eye,
The pow'r exerts his attributes on high,
Your actions ufes, nor controuls your will,
And bids the doubting fons of men be still.
What strange events can ftrike with more furprize Than thofe which lately ftruck thy wond'ring eyes?
Yet taught by these, confess th' Almighty just,
And where you can't unriddle, learn to trust!
The great, vain man, who far'd on costly food, Whofe life was too luxurious to be good; Who made his iv'ry stands with goblets shine, And forc'd his guefts to morning draughts of wine, Has, with the Cup, the gracelefs cuftom loft, And still he welcomes, but with less of coft.
The mean, fufpicious wretch, whofe bolted door Ne'er mov'd in duty to the wand'ring poor; With him I left the cup, to teach his mind That heav'n can bless, if mortals will be kind, Conscious of wanting worth, he views the bowl, And feels compaffion touch his fordid soul. Thus artists melt the fullen ore of lead, With heaping coals of fire upon its head; In the kind warmth the metal learns to glow, And loose from dross the filver runs below.
Long had our pious friend in virtue trod,
But now the Child half wean'd his heart from God;
(Child of his age) for him he liv'd in pain,
And meafur'd back his fteps to earth again :
To what exceffes had his dotage run?
But God, to fave the father, took the fon.
To all but thee, in fits he feem'd to go,
And 'twas my ministry to deal the blow.
The poor fond parent, humbled in the duft,
Now owns in tears the punishment was just.
But how had all his fortunes felt a wrack,
Had that falfe fervant fped in fafety back,
This night his treafur'd heaps he meant to steal,
And what a fund of charity would fail!
Thus heav'n inftructs thy mind: this tryal o'er, Depart in peace, refign, and fin no more.
On founding pinions here the youth withdrew, The fage flood wond'ring as the Seraph flew. Thus look'd. ELISHA, when to mount on high, His mafter took the chariot of the sky; The fiery pomp ascending left the view, The prophet gaz'd, and wish'd to follow too. The bending Hermit here a prayer begun, Lord! as in heav'n, on earth thy will be done.
'Then gladly turning, fought his ancient place, And pafs'd a life of piety and peace.
We shall conclude this chapter with Mr. Gay's Tale of the apparition; which, tho' written in the burlesque manner, with fuch exquifite humour, and juft and pleafant raillery, is conformable to the rules here laid down for thefe compofitions.
A true STORY of an APPARITION, by Mr. GAY.
Scepticks (whofe ftrength of argument makes out
That wifdom's deep inquiries end in doubt)
Hold this affertion pofitive and clear,
That fprites are pure delufions rais'd by fear.
Not that fam'd ghoft, which in prefaging found
Call'd Brutus to Philippi's fatal ground;
Nor can Tiberius Gracchus' goary fhade
Thefe ever-doubting difputants perfuade.
Strait they with fmiles reply; thofe tales of old
By vifionary Priests were made and told :
Oh might fome ghoft at dead of night appear,
And make you own conviction by your fear!
I know your fneers my easy faith accufe,
Which with fuch idle legends fcares the mufe:
But think not that I tell thofe vulgar fprites,
Which frighted boys relate on winter nights;
How cleanly milk-maids meet the fairy train,
How headless horfes drag the clinking chain,
Night-roaming ghofts, by faucer eye-balls known,
The common ipectres of each country-town.
No, I fuch fables can like you defpife,
And laugh to hear thefe nurse-invented lies.
Yet has not oft the fraudful guardian's fright
Compell'd him to reftore an orphan's right?
And can we doubt that horrid ghosts afcend,
Which on the confcious murd'rers fteps attend?
Hear then, and let attested truth prevail,
From faithful lips I learnt the dreadful tale.
Where Arden's fort ft fpreads its limits wide,
Whole branching paths the doubtful road divide,
A trav'ler took his folitary way;
When low beneath the hills was funk the day.
And now the skie, with gath'ring darkness lowr,
The branches ruftle with the threaten'd shower;
With fudden blasts the foreft murmurs loud,
Indented lightnings cleave the fable cloud,
Thunder on thunder breaks, the tempeft roars,
And heav'n discharges all its watry stores.
The wand'ring trav'ler fhelter feeks in vain,
And thrinks and fhivers with the beating rain;
On his fteed's neck the flacken'd bridle lay,
Who chose with cautious step th' uncertain way;
And now he checks the reign, and halts to hear
If any noise foretold a village near.
At length from far a ftream of light he fees
Extend its level ray between the trees;
Thither he fpeeds, and as he nearer came,
Joyful he knew the lamp's domestic flame
That trembled thro' the window: crofs the way
Darts forth the barking cur, and stands at bay.
It was an ancient lonely house, that stood
Upon the borders of the fpacious wood;
Here towers and antique battlements arise,
And there in heaps the moulder'd ruin lies;
Some lord this mansion held in days of yore,
To chace the wolf, and pierce the foaming boar:
How chang'd, alas, from what it once had been !
'Tis now degraded to a public inn.
Strait he difmounts, repeats his loud commands;
Swift at the gate the ready landlord stands;
With frequent cringe he bows, and begs excuse,
His houfe was full, and ev'ry bed in ufe.
What not a garret, and no ftraw to fpare?
Why then the kitchen-fire and elbow chair
Shall ferve for once to nod away the night.
The kitchen ever is the fervant's right,
Replies the hoft; there, all the fire around,
The count's tir'd footmen fnore upon the ground.
The maid, who liften'd to this whole debate,
With pity learnt the weary ftranger's fate.
Be brave, fhe cries, you still may be our guest,
Our haunted room was ever held the best;