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LIVES FROM THE

DESERTED VILLAGE."

15

To husband out life's taper at the close,
And keep the flame from wasting by repose ;
I still had hopes, for pride attends us still,
Amidst the swains to show my book-learned skill,
Around

my fire an evening group to draw,
And tell of all I felt and all I saw ;
And, as a hare whom hounds and horns pursue,
Pants to the place from whence at first he flew,
I still had hopes, my long vexations past,
Here to return—and die at home at last.

O blest retirement, friend to life's decline,
Retreats from care, that never must be mine,
How blest is he who crowns, in shades like these,
A youth of labour with an age of ease;
Who quits a world where strong temptations try,
And, since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly!
For him no wretches, born to work and weep,
Explore the mine, or tempt the dangerous deep;
Nor surly porter stands in guilty state,
To spurn imploring famine from the gate :
But on he moves to meet his latter end,
Angels around befriending Virtue's friend;
Sinks to the grave with unperceived decay,
While resignation gently slopes the way;

(OLIVER GOLDSMITH was born at Pallas, in the county of Longford, in Ireland, in 1728 ; studied at Dublin and Edinburgh ; got into disgrace with the authorities ; travelled over part of Europe in most poetic indigence, and at length established himself in London, as a contributor to various magazines, and a stock writer for the booksellers. His first poem, “ The Traveller," took the town by surprise ; and “The 10

LIVES FROJ TIE DESERTED VILLAGE.

And, all his prospects brightening to the last,
His heaven commences ere the world be past.
Sweet was the sound, when oft, at evening's close,
Up yonder hill the village murmur rose ;
There, as I pass'd with careless steps and slow,
The mingling notes came soften'd from below :
The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung,
And sober herd that low'd to meet their young;
The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool,
The playful children just let loose from school;
The watch-dog's voice, that bay'd the whispering wind,
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind;
These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
And fill'd each pause the nightingale had made.

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Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
With blossom’d furze unprofitably gay,
There, in his noisy mansion, skill'd to rule,
The village master taught his little school
A man severe he was, and stern to view,
I knew him well, and every truant knew ;
Well had the boding tremblers learn’d to trace
The day's disasters in his morning face ;
Full well they laugh'd with counterfeited glee
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he ;

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Deserted Village” established his reputation as the first poet of his day. The charm of his style, both in poetry and prose, has obtained for his works an appreciation which will last as long as the language in which they were written. He died, in embarassed circumstances, in 1774.]

LINES FROM THE

DESERTED VILLAGE."

17

Full well the busy whisper circling round,
Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frowned :
Yet he was kind, or if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault;
The village all declared how much he knew :
'Twas certain he could write, and cipher too ;
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,
And e'en the story ran—that he could gauge:
In arguing too, the parson own’d his skill,
For e'en though vanquish’d, he could argue still ;
While words of learnèd length, and thundering sound,
Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around;
And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew
That one small head could carry all he knew.

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O longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled

From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if

you

read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot
If thinking on me then should make you woe.

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[The works of this transcendent genius are too well known to require a word of comment. SHAKESPEARE was born at Stratford-on-Avon, in 1564 ; came to London, where he gained a moderate competency and undying fame ; and ended his days in peace in his native town, dying on his birthday, April 23rd, 1616.]

SONG OF THE STARS.

19

Oh, if, I say, you look upon this verse
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse,
But let your love even with my life decay,

,
Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
And mock you with me after I am gone.

SHAKESPEARE.

Song of the Stars.

HEN the radiant morn of

creation broke, And the world in the smile of God awoke;

[and death And the empty realms of darkness Were moved through their depths

by His mighty breath ;
And orbs of beauty and spheres of flame
From the void abyss by myriads came, -
In the joy of youth as they darted away,

, Through the widening wastes of space to play,

Their silver voices in chorus rang,
And this was the song the bright ones sang :
Away, away, through the wide, wide sky-
The fair blue fields that before us lie-

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[WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT, one of the most popular of American poets, is chiefly known in England by many beautiful little pieces, among which may be mentioned “ The Indian Maid's Lament," " Thanatopsis,' The Evening Wind,” “The Death of the Flowers," and "The Gladness of Nature.” His longer poems are less pleasing.)

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