Sivut kuvina

• Hast thou not shunn'd thy untaught mates,

And to some secret nook,
With drooping gait, and masing eye,

Thy lonely step betook ?

“There hath not thy attention dwelt

Upon the letter'd page,
Lost, as it seem'd to all beside,

Like some sequester'd sage?
"And wouldst thou not, with eager haste,

The precious volume hide, If sudden some intruder's eye

Thy musings had descried?

• Oft have I deem'd thou couldst explore

The Greek and Roman page,
And oft have yearn'd to view the theme,

That did thy hours engage.

But sorrow, greedy, grudging, coy,

Esteems of mighty price
Its treasur'd cares, and to the world

The scantiest share denies;

• All as the miser's heaped boards,

To him alone confin'd,
They serve, at once, to sooth and pain

The wretched owner's mind.

• Me had capricious fortune doom'd

Thine equal in degree,
Long, long ere now, I had desir'd

To know thine history,

“But who their worldly honours wear

With meekness chaste and due, Decline to ask, lest the request

Should bear commandment's hue.

• Yet now thy tongue hath spoke aloud

Thy grateful piety,
No longer be thy story kept

In painful secrecy.

Give me to know thy dawn of life;

Unfold, with simple truth,
Not to thy master, but thy friend,

The promise of thy youth.

“Now, late in life, 'tis time, I ween,

To give thy labours o'er ;
Thy well-worn implements lay by

And drudge and toil no more.

· Here shalt thou find a quiet rest,

For all thy days to come,
And every comfort that may serve

T'endear thy humble home.

• Hast thou a wish, a hope to frame,

Beyond this neat abode?
Is there a good, a higher bliss,

By me may be bestow'd?

Is there within thy aged breast

The smallest aching void ? Give me

kn thy longings all, And see them all supply'd.

"All I entreat, in lien, is this,

Unfold, with simple truth,
Not to thy master, but thy friend,

The promise of thy youth.'

So generous Moyle intent bespake

The long-enduring man*,
Who rais'd, at length, his drooping head,
And sighing, thus began.

Richard Plantagenet reciteth his Tale.
HARD task to any, but thyself, to tell

The story of my birth and treacherous fate, Or paint the tumults in my breast that swell,

At recollection of my infaut state!

Oft have I labourd to forget my birth,

And check'd remembrance, when in cruel wise, From time's abyss she wonld the tale draw forth,

And place my former self before my eyes.

Yet I complain not, though I feel anew,

All as I speak, fell fortune's bitter spite, Who once set affluence, grandeur, in my view, Then churlish snatch'd them from my cheated


And yet it may be-is-nay, it must be best,

Whate'er Heaven's righteous laws forman ordain; Weak man! who lets one sigh invade his breast,

For earthly grandeur, fugitive as vain!

* The time of Ricbard's service, at Eastwell-place, was near sixty years.



Perchance contentment had not been my mate,

If in exalted life my feet had trod, Or my hands borne, in transitory state,

The victor's truncheon, or the ruler's rod.

My course, perchance, had been one dazzling glare

Of splendid pride, and I in vain had sought The quiet comforts of this humble sphere,

Rest undisturb’d, and reason's tranquil thought. But whither roam I? O! forgive, my kind,

My honour'd lord, this undesign’d delay, Forgive, while in my new awaken'd mind

A thousand vague ideas fondly play.

Enough!—they're flown—and now my tongue pre

pares, Thou source of every good by me possess'd ! To pour a tale into thy wondering ears, [breast.

Full threescore years close-lock'd within my Oft those care-woven, long protracted years,

Some sixteen summers pass'd obscurely on, A stranger to the world, its hopes and fears,

My name, birth, fortunes, to myself unknown. Plac'd in a rural, soft, serene retreat,

With a deep-learn'd divine I held abode,
Who sought, by pious laws and conduct meet,

The way to immortality and God.
By him instructed, I attain’d the sweet,

The precious blessings, that from learning flow; He fann’d in my young breast the genial heat, .'

That bids th' expanding mind with ardour glow.

He taught me with delighted eye to trace

The comely beauties of the Mantuan page, Enraptar'd mix with Tully's polish'd grace,

Or catch the flame of Homer's martial rage.

Nor stopp'd he there, preceptor excellent!

Nor deem'd that wisdom lay in books alone, But would explain what moral virtue meant,

And bid us make our neighbour's woes our own.

Heaven's genuine pity glistening in his eyes,

The sweets of charity he would instil, And teach what blessedness of comfort lies

In universal mercy and good-will.

So taught this pious man, so thought, so did,

Squaring his actions to his tenets true; His counsel or relief to none denied,

A general good, like heav'n's all-cheering dewl

Thns guided, thus inform’d, thus practice-drawn,

In guileless peace my spring of life was spent, My leisure-hours I sported o’er the lawn,

Nor knew what restless care or sorrow meant.

A courteous stranger, ever and anon,

My kind instructor's due reward supplied ; But still my name, my birth, alike unknown,

Wrapp'd in the gloom of secrecy lay hid.

One antumn-morn (the time I well recall)

That stranger drew me from my soft retreat, And led my footsteps to a lofty hall, [seat.

Where state and splendour seem'd to hold their

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