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• Hast thou not shunn'd thy untaught mates,
And to some secret nook,
Thy lonely step betook ?
“There hath not thy attention dwelt
Upon the letter'd page,
Like some sequester'd sage?
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,
That did thy hours engage.
But sorrow, greedy, grudging, coy,
Esteems of mighty price
The scantiest share denies;
• All as the miser's heaped boards,
To him alone confin'd,
The wretched owner's mind.
• Me had capricious fortune doom'd
Thine equal in degree,
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,
In painful secrecy.
Give me to know thy dawn of life;
Unfold, with simple truth,
The promise of thy youth.
“Now, late in life, 'tis time, I ween,
To give thy labours o'er ;
And drudge and toil no more.
· Here shalt thou find a quiet rest,
For all thy days to come,
T'endear thy humble home.
• Hast thou a wish, a hope to frame,
Beyond this neat abode?
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,
The promise of thy youth.'
So generous Moyle intent bespake
The long-enduring man*,
Richard Plantagenet reciteth his Tale.
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,
The way to immortality and God.
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