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Silent went next, neglectful of her charms,
O luxury! thou curst by Heaven's decree,
E'en now the devastation is begun, And half the business of destruction done: E’en now, methinks, as pondering here I stand, I see the rural virtues leave the land. Down where yon anchoring vessel spreads the sail, That idly waiting flaps with every gale, Downward they move, a melancholy band, Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand : Contented toil, and hospitable care, And kind connubial tenderness, are there; And piety, with wishes placed above, And steady loyalty, and faithful love.
And thou, sweet Poetry, thou loveliest maid, Still first to fly where sensual joys invade!
Unfit, in these degenerate times of shame,
FIRST PRINTED IN THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD, 1765.
The following Letter, addressed to the Printer of the St. James' Chronicle, appeared in that paper in June, 1767.
SIR, As there is nothing I dislike so much as newspaper controversy, particularly upon trifles, permit me to be as concise as possible in informing a correspondent of yours, that I recommended Blainville's Travels, because I thought the book was a good one; and I think so still. I said, I was told by the bookseller that it was then first published; but in that, it seems, I was misinformed, and my reading was not extensive enough to set me right.
Another correspondent of yours accuses me of having taken a ballad I published some time ago, from onel by the ingenious Mr. Percy. I do not think there is any great resemblance between the two pieces in question. If there be any, his ballad is taken from mine. I read it to Mr. Percy some years ago; and he (as we both considered these things as trifles at best) told me with his usual
1 "The Friar of Orders Gray.” Reliques of Ancient Poetry.
2 Late Bishop of Dromore.
good humour, the next time I saw him, that he had taken my plan to form the fragments of Shakspeare into a bal. lad of his own. He then read me his little cento, if I may so call it, and I highly approved it. Such petty anecdotes as these are scarce worth printing; and were it not for the busy disposition of some of your correspondents, the public should never have known that he owes me the hint of his ballad, or that I am obliged to his friendship and learning for communications of a much more important nature.
* Turn, gentle hermit of the dale,
And guide my lonely way
With hospitable ray:
6. For here forlorn and lost I tread,
With fainting steps and slow, Where wilds, immeasurably spread,
Seem lengthening as I go.” “Forbear, my son,” the hermit cries,
“To tempt the dangerous gloom; For yonder faithless phantom flies
To lure thee to thy doom.
“Here to the houseless child of want
My door is open still; And though my portion is but scant,
I give it with good-will. “Then, turn to-night, and freely share
Whate'er my cell bestows; My rusty couch and frugal fare,
My blessing and repose.