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- The Borough - 4/45 -


Her terrors doubling as her hopes withdrew; He tried to smile, and, half succeeding, said, "Yes! I must die;" and hope for ever fled. Still long she nursed him: tender thoughts meantime Were interchanged, and hopes and views sublime: To her he came to die, and every day She took some portion of the dread away; With him she pray'd, to him his Bible read, Soothed the faint heart, and held the aching head: She came with smiles the hour of pain to cheer: Apart she sigh'd; alone, she shed the tear: Then as if breaking from a cloud, she gave Fresh light, and gilt the prospect of the grave. One day he lighter seemed, and they forgot The care, the dread, the anguish of their lot; They spoke with cheerfulness, and seem'd to think, Yet said not so--"Perhaps he will not sink:" A sudden brightness in his look appear'd, A sudden vigour in his voice was heard, - She had been reading in the Book of Prayer, And led him forth, and placed him in his chair; Lively he seem'd, and spoke of all he knew, The friendly many, and the favourite few; Nor one that day did he to mind recall But she has treasured, and she loves them all: When in her way she meets them, they appear Peculiar people--death has made them dear. He named his Friend, but then his hand she press'd, And fondly whisper'd, "Thou must go to rest;" "I go," he said: but as he spoke, she found His hand more cold, and fluttering was the sound! Then gazed affrighten'd; but she caught a last, A dying look of love,--and all was past! She placed a decent stone his grave above, Neatly engraved--an offering of her love; For that she wrought, for that forsook her bed, Awake alike to duty and the dead; She would have grieved, had friends presum'd to spare The least assistance--'twas her proper care. Here will she come, and on the grave will sit, Folding her arms, in long abstracted fit; But if observer pass, will take her round, And careless seem, for she would not be found; Then go again, and thus her hour employ, While visions please her, and while woes destroy. Forbear, sweet Maid! nor be by Fancy led, To hold mysterious converse with the dead; For sure at length thy thoughts, thy spirit's pain, In this sad conflict will disturb thy brain; All have their tasks and trials; thine are hard, But short the time, and glorious the reward; Thy patient spirit to thy duties give, Regard the dead, but to the living live.

LETTER III.

And telling me the sov'reign'st thing on earth Was parmacity for an inward bruise. SHAKSPEARE, Henry IV, Part I

So gentle, yet so brisk, so wond'rous sweet, So fit to prattle at a lady's feet. CHURCHILL

Much are the precious hours of youth misspent In climbing learning's rugged, steep ascent; When to the top the bold adventurer's got, He reigns vain monarch of a barren spot; While in the vale of ignorance below, Folly and vice to rank luxuriance grow; Honours and wealth pour in on every side, And proud preferment rolls her golden tide. CHURCHILL

---------------------

THE VICAR--THE CURATE.

The lately departed Minister of the Borough--His soothing and supplicatory Manners--His cool and timid Affections--No praise due to such negative Virtue--Address to Characters of this kind--The Vicar's employments--His Talents and moderate Ambition--His dislike of Innovation--His mild but ineffectual Benevolence--A Summary of his Character. Mode of paying the Borough-Minister--The Curate has no such Resources--His Learning and Poverty--Erroneous Idea of his Parent--His Feelings as a Husband and Father--the Dutiful Regard of his numerous Family--His Pleasure as a Writer, how interrupted--No Resource in the Press--Vulgar Insult--His Account of a Literary Society, and a Fund for the Relief of indigent Authors, &c.

THE VICAR.

WHERE ends our chancel in a vaulted space, Sleep the departed Vicars of the place; Of most, all mention, memory, thought are past - But take a slight memorial of the last. To what famed college we our Yicar owe, To what fair county, let historians show: Few now remember when the mild young man, Ruddy and fair, his Sunday-task began; Few live to speak of that soft soothing look He cast around, as he prepared his book; It was a kind of supplicating smile, But nothing hopeless of applause the while; And when he finished, his corrected pride Felt the desert, and yet the praise denied. Thus he his race began, and to the end His constant care was, no man to offend; No haughty virtues stirr'd his peaceful mind; Nor urged the Priest to leave the Flock behind; He was his Master's Soldier, but not one To lead an army of his Martyrs on: Fear was his ruling passion; yet was Love, Of timid kind, once known his heart to move; It led his patient spirit where it paid Its languid offerings to a listening Maid: She, with her widow'd Mother, heard him speak, And sought awhile to find what he would seek: Smiling he came, he smiled when he withdrew, And paid the same attention to the two; Meeting and parting without joy or pain, He seem'd to come that he might go again. The wondering girl, no prude, but something nice, At length was chill'd by his unmelting ice; She found her tortoise held such sluggish pace, That she must turn and meet him in the chase: This not approving, she withdrew, till one Came who appear'd with livelier hope to run; Who sought a readier way the heart to move, Than by faint dalliance of unfixing love. Accuse me not that I approving paint Impatient Hope or Love without restraint; Or think the Passions, a tumultuous throng, Strong as they are, ungovernably strong: But is the laurel to the soldier due, Who, cautious, comes not into danger's view? What worth has Virtue by Desire untried, When Nature's self enlists on Duty's side? The married dame in vain assail'd the truth And guarded bosom of the Hebrew youth; But with the daughter of the Priest of On The love was lawful, and the guard was gone; But Joseph's fame had lessened in our view, Had he, refusing, fled the maiden too. Yet our good priest to Joseph's praise aspired, As once rejecting what his heart desired; "I am escaped," he said, when none pursued; When none attack'd him, "I am unsubdued;" "Oh pleasing pangs of love!" he sang again, Cold to the joy, and stranger to the pain. E'en in his age would he address the young, "I too have felt these fires, and they are strong;" But from the time he left his favourite maid, To ancient females his devoirs were paid: And still they miss him after Morning-prayer; Nor yet successor fills the Vicar's chair, Where kindred spirits in his praise agree, A happy few, as mild and cool as he; The easy followers in the female train, Led without love, and captives without chain. Ye Lilies male! think (as your tea you sip, While the town small-talk flows from lip to lip; Intrigues half-gather'd, conversation-scraps, Kitchen cabals, and nursery-mishaps), If the vast world may not some scene produce, Some state where your small talents might have use; Within seraglios you might harmless move, 'Mid ranks of beauty, and in haunts of love; There from too daring man the treasures guard, An easy duty, and its own reward; Nature's soft substitutes, you there might save From crime the tyrant, and from wrong the slave. But let applause be dealt in all we may, Our Priest was cheerful, and in season gay; His frequent visits seldom fail'd to please; Easy himself, he sought his neighbour's ease: To a small garden with delight he came, And gave successive flowers a summer's fame; These he presented, with a grace his own, To his fair friends, and made their beauties known, Not without moral compliment; how they "Like flowers were sweet, and must like flowers decay.' Simple he was, and loved the simple truth, Yet had some useful cunning from his youth; A cunning never to dishonour lent, And rather for defence than conquest meant; 'Twas fear of power, with some desire to rise, But not enough to make him enemies; He ever aim'd to please; and to offend Was ever cautious; for he sought a friend; Yet for the friendship never much would pay, Content to bow, be silent, and obey, And by a soothing suff'rance find his way. Fiddling and fishing were his arts: at times He alter'd sermons, and he aim'd at rhymes; And his fair friends, not yet intent on cards,


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