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To Nature's book, he studiously applies ;

And oft, consulted by the anxious swain,
With wistful gaze, reviews the vaulted skies,

And Thews the signs of fure impending rain ;
Or thunder gather'd in the fervid air,
Or if the harvest-month will be serene and fair.

The various phases of the moon he knows,

And whence her orb derives its filver sheen;
From what strange cause the madding heygre fows,

By which the peasants of endanger'd been,
As in their freighted barks they careless glide,
And view th' inverted trees in Severn's crystal tide.
Returning late at eve, from wake or fair,

Among a sort of poor unletter'd swains, He teaches them to name each brighter star,

And of the northern lights the cause explains ; Recounts what comets have appear'd of old, Portending dearth, or war, and mis’ries manifold. Around his bending shoulders, graceful flow,

His curling silver locks, the growth of years: Supported by a staff, he walketh slow, • And fimple neatņels in his mien appears; And every neighbour, that perchance he meets, Or young or old be they, with courtesy he greets. A goodly fight, I wot, it were to view

: The decent Parish Clerk on Sabbath-day, Seated, beneath the Curate, in his pew,

Or kneeling down with lifted hands to pray;
And ever and anon, with close of pray'r,
He answereth-Amen! with sober solemn air.

Such times as ancient suit of black he wears, i Which from the Curate's wardrobe did defcend :

Love to his Clerk the pious Curate bears ;
. Pities his wants, and wisheth to befriend :
But what, alas ! can sender fal'ry do,
Encumber'd by a wife, and children not a few ?
Through ev'ry season of the changing year,

His strict regard for Christian rites is seen ;
The holy church he decks with garlands fair,
• Or birchen boughs, or yew for ever green:
On ev'ry pew a formal sprig is plac'd,
And with a spacious branch the pulpit's top is grac’d.
At Chriffmas tide, when ev'ry yeomen's hall,

With ancient hospitality is bless’d,
Kind invitations he dicepts from all,

To fare the plenteous mirth-abounding feast :
The Christmas feast imperfect would appear,
Except their good old guest, the Parish Clerk, was there.

Then when the mellow beer goes gaily round,
· And curls of smoke, from lighted pipes, aspire ;
When cheerful carols thro' the room resound,

And crackling logs augment the blazing fire,
His honest heart with social joy o'erflows,
And many a merry tale he on his friends bestows.
When (mit with mutual love, the youth and maid,

To weave the facred nuptial knot agree:
Pleas'd, he attends, to lend his useful aid,

And see the rites perform'd with decency:
He gives the bride, and joins their trembling hands,
While with the Service-book the Curate gravely stands.

Then while the merry bells the steeple thake,

Ringing in honour of the happy pair,
To notes of gladness, while the minstrels wake,

And lads and lasses the rich bride-cake share ; -
O may the youthful bard a portion gain,
To whom the rural sage its virtues did explain.
When from the church returns the blithsome train,

A spicy cake two gentle maidens bring ; Which holding o'er the bride, they break in twain,

And all conjoin'd this nuptial ditty sing : 66 Joy to the wedded pair ! health, length of days! “ And may they, bless'd by Heav'n, a goodly houf.

hold raise.” At eve, the lovely condescending bride,

Will take the ring, which on her finger shines, And through the sacred circlet nine times Nide

The fragrant gift, repeating myftic lines : (The mystic lines we may not here make known, Them shall the Muse reveal to virgins chaste alone.)

The stocking thrown, as ancient rules require, · Leave the glad lovers to complete their joy; And to thy pillow silently retire,

Where close beneath thy head the charm muft lie;
Rais'd by the pow'r of Love, in vision gay,
Thy future spouse shall come in holiday array,
And foft approaching, with the mildest air,

Thy yielding lips shall modestly embrace :
O, sweet illusion! wilt thou disappear ?

Alas, it Aies ! the morning springs apace!
The blushing lover sees the light with pain,
And longs to recompose, and wop his dream again.

O time, relentless! foe to every joy!.

How all declines beneath thy iron reign!
Once could our Clerk, to sweetest melody,

Attune the harp, and charm the list’ning plain; Or with his mellow voice the psalm could raise, And fill the echoing choir with notes of sacred praise. . But now, alas! his every power decays, (hands;

His voice grows hoarse, long toil has cramp'd his
No more he fills the echoing choir with praise,

No more to melody, the harp commands :
Sadly he mourns the dulness of his ear,
And when a mafter plays, he presies close to hear,
Late, o'er the plain, by chance, or fortune led,

The pensive, fwain who does his annals write,
Him in his humble coftage visited,

And learn d his story with fincere delight;
For chiefly of himself his converse ran,
As mem'ry well supply'd the narrative old man.
His youthful feats, with guiltiefs pride, he told;

In rural games what honours erst he won;
How on the green he threw the wrestlers bold;

How light he leap’d, and O! how swift he run :
Then, with a figh, he fondly turn’d his praise,
To rivals now no more, and friends of former days.
At length, concluding with reflections deep :-

« Alas ! of life few comforts now remain;
“ Of what I was, I but the veftige keep,

“ Impair'd by grief, by penury and pain : * Yet let me not arraign just Heav'n's decree ; $$ The lot of human-kind, as man, belongs to me. **

“ Beneath yon aged yew-tree's solemn shade,

“Whose twisted roots above the greensward creep, i " There, freed from toils, my pious facher laid,

“ Enjoys a filent, unmolested sleep : “ And there my only fon-with him I gave “ All comfort of my age, untimely to the grave. “ In that sweet earth, when Nature's debt is paid,

“ And leaving life, I leave its load of woes; “ My neighbours kind, I trust, will see me laid,

" In humble hope of mercy, to repose : , Evil and few, the patriarch mourn'd his days, 66 Nor shall a man presume to vindicate his ways."

GRAY.

ELEGY,
Written in a Country Church Yard.
THE curfew tolls the knell of parting day, .

The lowing herd winds Nowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,

And leaves the world to darkness and to me. Now fades the glimmering landscape on the fight,

And all the air a solemn stillness holds, Save where the beetle wheels his drony Alight,

And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds ; Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r,

The moping owl does to the moon complain Of.such, as, wand'ring near her secret bow's,

Moleft her ancient solitary reign,

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