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Sweet was the sound, when oft, at evening's close, Up yonder hill the village murmur rose;
There, as I passed with careless steps and slow, 60 The mingling notes came softened from below: The swain responsive as the milkmaid sung1; The sober herd that lowed to meet their young; The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool; The playful children just let loose from school; 65 The watch-dog's voice that bayed the whispering wind;
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind:
That feebly bends beside the plashy spring;
THE VILLAGE PARSON.
NEAR yonder copse, where once the garden smiled, And still where many a garden-flower grows wild, There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, The village preacher's modest mansion rose. 5 A man he was to all the country dear, And passing rich with forty pounds a year; Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
Nor e'er had changed, nor wished to change, his place;
Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power
10 By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour;
20 Sat by his fire, and talked the night away;
Pleased with his guests, the good man learned to glow,2
And quite forgot their vices in their woe; 25 Careless their merits or their faults to scan," His pity gave ere charity began.3
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
And even his failings leaned to virtue's side;
30 He watched and wept, he prayed and felt, for all:
His ready smile a parent's warmth expressed;
50 Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distressed:
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm,55 Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread, Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
THE DEATH OF SAMSON.
OCCASIONS drew me1 early to this city; And, as the gates I entered with sunrise, The morning trumpets festival proclaimed2 Through each high street little I had dispatched, 5 When all abroad was rumoured that this day Samson should be brought forth, to show the people Proof of his mighty strength in feats and games. I sorrowed at his captive state, but minded Not to be absent at that spectacle.3
10 The building was a spacious theatre
Half-round, on two main pillars vaulted high,
The other side was open, where the throng
The feast and noon grew high, and sacrifice Had filled their hearts with mirth, high cheer, and wine,
When to their sports they turned. Immediately
20 Was Samson as a public servant brought,
Rifted the air, clamoring their god with praise, Who had made their dreadful enemy their thrall."
He, patient, but undaunted, where they led him, Came to the place; and what was set before him, 30 Which without help of eye might be essayed," To heave, pull, draw, or break, he still performed All with incredible, stupendous force, None daring to appear antagonist."
At length for intermission's sake, they led him 35 Between the pillars; he his guide requested, As overtired, to let him lean awhile
With both his arms on those two massy pillars,
He unsuspicious led him; which when Samson
At last, with head erect, thus cried aloud :-
45 I have performed, as reason was, obeying,
I mean to show you of my strength yet greater
50 This uttered, straining all his nerves, he bowed;
He tugged, he shook, till down they came, and drew