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To Nature's book, he ftudiously applies;

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

And fhews the figns of fure impending rain;
Or thunder gather'd in the fervid air,
Or if the harveft-month will be ferene 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 flows,
By which the peasants oft 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 fort of poor unletter'd fwains,
He teaches them to name each brighter ftar,

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 fhoulders, graceful flow,
His curling filver locks, the growth of years:
Supported by a staff, he walketh flow,

And fimple neatness in his mien appears;
And every neighbour, that perchance he meets,
Or young or old be they, with courtery 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 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 wifheth to befriend: But what, alas! can flender fal'ry do, Encumber'd by a wife, and children not a few ?

Through ev'ry feason of the changing year,

His ftrict regard for Chriftian rites is feen; The holy church he decks with garlands fair, Or birchen boughs, or yew for ever green:

On ev'ry pew a formal fprig is plac'd,

And with a fpacious branch the pulpit's top is grac'd,
At Chriffmas tide, when ev'ry yeomen's hall,
With ancient hofpitality is blefs'd,
Kind invitations he accepts from all,

To share the plenteous mirth-abounding feaft:
The Christmas feaft imperfect would appear,
Except their good old guest, the Parish 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 fire,
His honeft 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;
Pleas'd, he attends, to lend his useful aid,

And fee 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 shake,
Ringing in honour of the happy pair,

To notes of gladness, while the minstrels wake, And lads and laffes the rich bride-cake share ; O may the youthful bard a portion gain,

To whom the rural fage its virtues did explain.
When from the church returns the blith fome 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 fing:

"Joy to the wedded pair! health, length of days!
"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 finger shines, And through the facred circlet nine times flide

The fragrant gift, repeating mystic lines: (The myftic 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 filently retire,

Where close beneath thy head the charm muft lie;

Rais'd by the pow'r of Love, in vifion gay,
Thy future spouse shall come in holiday array.

And foft approaching, with the mildest air,
Thy yielding lips fhall modeftly embrace:
O, fweet illufion! wilt thou difappear?

Alas, it flies! the morning fprings apace!
The blushing lover fees the light with pain,
And longs to recompose, and woo 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 lift'ning plain; Or with his mellow voice the pfalm could raise, And fill the echoing choir with notes of facred praise. (hands;

But now, alas! his every power decays,

His voice grows hoarfe, 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 preffes close to hear.
Late, o'er the plain, by chance, or fortune led,
The penfive, fwain who does his annals write,
Him in his humble cottage vifited,

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

His youthful feats, with guiltiefs pride, he told;
In rural games what honours erft 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 vestige keep,
"Impair'd by grief, by penury and pain:
Yet let me not arraign juft Heav'n's decree;
The lot of human-kind, as man, belongs to me.

"Beneath yon aged yew-tree's folemn shade,

"Whose twifted roots above the greenfward-creep, "There, freed from toils, my pious father laid, "Enjoys a filent, unmolested fleep:

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



Written in 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 darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the fight,
And all the air a folemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his drony flight,
And drowsy 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 bow's,
Moleft her ancient folitary reign,

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