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20. “And love is still an emptier sound,
The modern fair one's jest: On earth unseen, or only found To warm the turtle's nest.
21. “For shame, fond youth, thy sorrows hush,
And spuru the sex,” he said; But while be spoke, a rising blush
His love-lorn guest betray'd.
The bashful look, the rising breast,
Alternate spread alarms:
A wretch forlorn," she cried; "Whose feet uphallow'd thus intrude Where Heaven and you reside.
25. “But let a maid thy pity share,
Whom love has taught to stray: Who seeks for rest, but sinds despair Companion of her way.
A wealthy lord was be:
He had but only me.
Uunumber'd suitors came;
With richest proffers strove; Amongst the rest young Edwin bow'd, But never talk'd of love.
29. “In humble, simplest habit clad,
No wealth nor power bad he; Wisdom and worth were all he had, But these were all to me.
He carol'd lays of love,
And music to the grove.
“The blossom opening to the day,
The dews of Heaven refin'd, Could nought of purity display To emulate his mind.
32. “The dew, the blossom on the tree,
With charnis inconstant shine; Their charms were his, but woe to me! Their constancy was nine.
33. “For still I tried each fickle art,
Importunate and vain; And while his passion touch'd my heart,
I triumph'd in his pain,
34. “Till quite dejected with my scorn,
He left me to my pride; And sought a solitude forlorn, In secret, where he dy'd.
35. “But mine the sorrow, mine the fault,
And well my life shall pay;
I'll lay me down and die; 'T was so for me that Edwin did;
And so for him will I.”
“Forbid it Heaven!” the Hermit cry'd,
And clasp'd her to his breast: The wond'ring fair one turn'd to chide,'T was Edwin's self that prest.
My charmer, turn to see
And ev'ry care resign :
40. “No, never,
from this hour to part, We 'll live and love so true; The sigh that rends thy constant heart,
Shall break thy Edwin's too."
SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.
DEAR SIR, I can have no expectations, in an address of this kind, either to add to your reputation or to establish my own. You can gain nothing from my admiration, as I am ignorant of that art in which you are said to excel; and I may lose much by the severity of your judgment, as few have a jusler taste in poetry than you. Setting interest therefore aside, to which I never paid much attention, I must be indulged at present in following my affections. The only dedication I ever made was to my brother, because I loved him better than most other men. He is since dead. Permit me to inscribe this Poem to you.
How far you may be pleased with the versification and mere mechanical parts of this attempt, I do not pretend to inquire; but I know you will object (and indeed several of our best and wisest friends concur in the opinion), that the depopulation it deplores is no where to be seen, and the disorders it laments are only to be found in the poet's own imagination. To this I can scarcely make any other answer than that I sincerely believe what I have written; that I have taken all possible pains, in my country excursions, for these four or five years past, to be certain of what I allege, and that all my views and inquiries have led me to believe those miseries real, which I here attempt to display. But this is not the place to enter into an inquiry, whether the country be depopulating or not; the discussion would take up much room, and I should prove myself, at best, an indifferent politician, to tire the reader with a long preface, when I want his unfatigued attention to a long poem.
Io regretting the depopulation of the country, I inveigh against the increase of our luxuries; and here also I expect the shout of modern politicians against me. For twenty or thirty years past, it has been the fashion to consider luxury as one of the greatest national advantages; and all the wisdom of aạtiquity in that particular, as erroneous. Still, however, I must remain a professed ancient on that head, and continue to think those luxuries prejudicial to states by which so many vices are introduced, and so many kingdoms have been updone. Indeed, so much has been poured out of late on the other side of the question, that, merely for the sake of novelty and variety, one would sometimes wish to be in the right.
I am, dear Sir,
Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain,