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To Nature's book, he studioufly applies;

And oft, confulted by the anxious fwain,
With wistful gaze, reviews the vaulted lkies,
And fliews the signs of fure impending rain;
Or thunder gather'd in the fervid air,
Or if the harvest-month will be ferene and fair.

The various phafes of the moon he knows,

And whence her orb derives its silver lheen; From what strange caufe the^ madding heygre flows, By which the peafants oft endanger'd been, As in their freighted barks they carelefs glide, And view th' inverted trees in Severn's crystal tide.

Returning late at eve, from wake or fair, Among a fort of poor unletter'd fwains, He teaches them to name each brighter star, And of the northern lights the caufe explains; Recounts what comets have appear'd of old, Portending dearth, or war, and mis'ries manifold.

Around his bending lhoulders, graceful flow,

His curling silver locks, the growth of years-:
Supported by a staff, he walketh flow,
And simple neatnefs in his mien appears;
And every neighbour, that perchance he meets,
Or young or old be they, with courtefy he greets.

A goodly sight, I wot, it were to view'
The decent Parifh Clerk on Sabbath-day,
Seated, beneath the Curate, in his pew,
Or kneeling down with lifted hands to pray;
And ever and anon, with clofe of-pray'r,
He anfwereth—Amen! with fober folemn air.

Such times as ancient fuit of black he wears,

Which from the Curate's wardrobe did defcend: Love to his Clerk the pious Curate bears; 'Pities his wants, and wiflieth to befriend: But what, alas! can slender fal'ry do, Encumber'd by a wife, and children not a few?

Through ev'ry feafon of the changing year,

His strict regard for Christian rites is feen; The holy church he decks with garlands fair, Or birchen boughs, or yew for ever green: On ev'ry jew a formal fprig is plac'd, And with a fpacious branch the pulpit's top is grac'd.

At Christmas tide, when ev'ry yeomen's hall,

With ancient hofpitality is blefs'd, Kind invitations he d:cepts from all.

To fliare the plenteous mirth-abounding feast s The Christmas feast imperfect would appear, Except their good old guest.the Parilh Clerk,was there.

Then when the mellow beer goes gaily round,

And curls of fmoke, from lighted pipes, afpire; When cheerful carols thro' the room refound, And crackling logs augment the blazing sire, His honest heart with focial joy o'erflows, And many a merry tale he on his friends bestows.

When fmit with mutual love, the youth and maid,

To weave the facred nuptial knot agree: Plcas'd, he attends, to lend his ufeful aid, And fee the rites per form '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 lhake,

Ringing in honour of the happy pair, To notes of gladnefs, while the minstrels wake, And lads and lasses the rich bride-cake ihare f O may the youthful bard a portion gain, To whom the rural fage its virtues did explain. When from the church returns the blithfome train

A fpicy cake two gentle maidens bring; Which holding o'er the bride, they break in twain, And all conjoin'd this nuptial ditty sing: "Joy to the wedded pair! health, length of days 1 "And may they, blefs'd by Heav'n, a goodly houf hold raife." At eve, the lovely condefcending bride,

Will take the ring, which on her singer lhines, And through the facred circlet nine times flide The fragrant gift, repeating mystic lines: (The mystic lines we may not here make known, Them fhall the Mufe 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 clofe beneath thy head the charm must lie Rais'd by the pow'r of Love, in vision gay, Thy future fpoufe fhall come in holiday array.

And foft approaching, with the mildest air,

Thy yielding lips lhall modestly embrace: O, fweet illusion I wilt thou difappear? Alas, it sties! the morning fprings apace! The blufhing lover fees the light with pain, And longs to recompose, and woo his dream again. O time, relentlefs! foe to every joy!

How all declines beneath thy iron reign!
Once could our Cleric, to fweetest melody.

Attune the harp, and charm the lilt'ning plain;
Dr with his mellow voice the pfalm could raife,
And sill the echoing choir with notes of facred praife.

But now, alas! his every power decays, (hands;

His voice grows hoarfe, long toil has cramp'd his No more he sills the echoing choir with praife, * No more to melody, the. harp commands: Sadly he mourns the dulnefs of his ear, And when a master plays, he presses clofe to hear.

Late, o'er the plain, by chance, or fortune led,

Tht penfive, fwain who does his annals write,
Him in his humble cottage visite'd,

And learn'd his story with fmcere delight;
For chiefly of himfelf his converfe ran,
As mem'ry well fupply'd the narrative old man.

His youthful feats, with guiltlefs pride, he cold;

in rural games what honours erst he won; How on the green he threw the wrdtlers bold; How light he leap'd, and O ! how fwift he run; , Then, with a sigh, he fondly turn'd his praife, 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 vestige keep, "Impair'd by grief, by penury and pain: *' Yet let me not arraign just Heav'n's decree; *' Tfie lPt of human-kind, as man, belongs to mo. .. "Beneath yon aged yew-tree's folemn shade,

"Whofe twisted roots ahove thegreenfwardcree "There, freed from toils, my pious facher laid, "Enjoys a silent, unmolested fleep: "And there my only fon—with him I gave "All comfort of my age, untimely to the grave. "In that fweet earth, when Nature's deht is paid,

"And leaving life, I leave its load of woes; "My neighhours kind, I trust, will fee me /airf, "In humhle hope of mercy, to repofe: "Evil and few, the patriarch mourn'd his-days, "Nor mail a man prefume to vindicate his ways."

ELEGY,

Written tn a Country Church Yard.

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,

The lowing herd winds flowly o'er the lea, The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darknefs and to me. Now fades the glimmering landfcape on the sight,

And all the air a folemn stillnefs holds, Save where the heetle wheels his drony flight,

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

The moping owl does to the moon complain Of .fuch, as, wand'ring near her fecret how's,

Molest her ancient folitary reign.

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