Imatges de pÓgina
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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:
These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
And filled each pause the nightingale had made.
But now the sounds of population® fail,
70 No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,
No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread,
But all the blooming flush of life is fled :
All but yon widowed, solitary thing,

That feebly bends beside the plashy spring;
75 She, wretched matron, forced, in age, for bread,
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,
To pick her wintry fagot from the thorn,
To seek her nightly shed, and weep till morn;
She only left of all the harmless train,
so The sad historian of the pensive plain.

gam'-bol

sleights

till'-age sedg'-es

Goldsmith.

ac-cu-mu-late

peǎs'-ant-ry

XXIV.

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;
Far other aims his heart had learned to prize,
More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.
His house was known to all the vagrant train,
He chid1 their wanderings, but relieved their pain :
15 The long-remembered beggar was his guest,
Whose beard descending swept his aged breast;
The ruined spendthrift, now no longer proud,
Claimed kindred there, and had his claims allowed;
The broken soldier, kindly bid to stay,

20 Sat by his fire, and talked the night away;
Wept o'er his wounds, or tales of sorrow done,
Shouldered his crutch, and shewed how fields were

won.

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,

35

And even his failings leaned to virtue's side;
But in his duty prompt at every call,

30 He watched and wept, he prayed and felt, for all:
And, as a bird each fond endearment tries,
To tempt its new-fledged offspring to the skies,
He tried each art, reproved each dull delay,
Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.
Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
And sorrow, guilt, and pain by turns dismayed,"
The reverend champion stood. At his control,
Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;
Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise,
4o And his last faltering accents whispered praise.
At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
His looks adorned the venerable place;
Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway,
And fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray.
45 The service passed,* around the pious man,
With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran;
Even children followed, with endearing wile,*
And plucked his gown, to share the good man's
smile :

His ready smile a parent's warmth expressed;

50 Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distressed:
To them his art, his love, his griefs were given,
But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven,
As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form,

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.

vag'-rant an'-guish

al-lur'-ed
rus'-tic

Goldsmith.

un-af-fect'-ed

věn'-er-a-ble

XXV.

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,
With seats where all the lords, and each degree
Of sort, might sit in order to behold;

The other side was open, where the throng
15 On banks and scaffolds under sky might stand:
I among these aloof obscurely stood.

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,
In their state livery clad: before him pipes
And timbrels; on each side went armed guards
Both horse and foot before him and behind,
Archers and slingers, cataphracts,* and spears.
25 At sight of him the people with a shout

6

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,
That to the arched roof gave main support.

He unsuspicious led him; which when Samson
40 Felt in his arms, with head awhile inclined,
And eyes fast fixed, he stood, as one who prayed,
Or some great matter in his mind revolved:

.

At last, with head erect, thus cried aloud :-
"Hitherto, lords, what your commands imposed

45 I have performed, as reason was, obeying,
Not without wonder or delight beheld;
Now, of my own accord, such other trial

I mean to show you of my strength yet greater
As with amaze shall strike all who behold.”

50 This uttered, straining all his nerves, he bowed;
As with the force of winds and waters pent
When mountains tremble, those two massy pillars
With horrible convulsion to and fro

He tugged, he shook, till down they came, and drew
55 The whole roof after them with burst of thunder
Upon the heads of all who sat beneath,—
Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, or priests,
Their choice nobility and flower, not only

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