Page images
PDF
EPUB

And aged elms, with awful bend,
In long cathedral walks extend !
Lulld by the lapse of gliding floods,
Cheer'd by the warbling of the woods,
How blest my days, my thoughts how free,
In sweet society with thee!
Then all was joyous, all was young,
And years unheeded rollid along :
But now the pleasing dream is o'er,
These scenes must charm me now no more.
Lost to the fields, and torn from you, -
Farewell, a long, a last adieu.
Me wrangling courts, and stubborn law,
To smoke, and crowds, and cities draw:
There selfish faction rules the day,
And pride and avarice throng the way;
Diseases taint the murky air,
And midnight conflagrations glare ;
Loose Revelry, and Riot bold
In frighted streets their orgies hold;
Or, where in silence all is drown'd,
Fell Murder walks his lonely round;
No room for peace, no room for you,
Adieu, celestial nymph, adieu !

Shakspeare no more, thy sylvan son,
Nor all the art of Addison,
Pope's heaven-strung lyre, nor Waller's ease,
Nor Milton's mighty self must please :
Instead of these, a formal band
In furs, and coifs around me stand :
With sounds uncouth and accents dry,
That grate the soul of harmony,

Each pedant sage unlocks his store
Of mystic, dark, discordant lore;
And points with tottering hand the ways
That lead me to the thorny maze.

There, in a winding close retreat,
Is justice doom'd to fix her seat ;
There, fenc'd by bulwarks of the law,
She keeps the wondering world in awe ;
And there, from vulgar sight retir'd,
Like eastern queens, is more admir'd.

O let me pierce the secret shade
Where dwells the venerable maid!
There humbly mark, with reverent awe,
The guardian of Britannia's law ;
Unfold with joy her sacred page,
The united boast of many an age;
Where mix'd, yet uniform, appears
The wisdom of a thousand years.
In that pure spring, the bottom view,
Clear, deep, and regularly true ;
And other doctrines thence imbibe
Than lurk within the sordid scribe;
Observe how parts with parts unite
In one harmonious rule of right;
See countless wheels distinctly tend
By various laws to one great end :
While mighty Alfred's piercing soul
Pervades, and regulates the whole.

Then welcome business, welcome strife, Welcome the cares, the thorns of life, The visage wan, the poreblind sight, The toil by day, the lamp at night,

The tedious forms, the solemn prate,
The pert dispute, the dull debate,
The drowsy bench, the babbling Hall,
For thee, fair Justice, welcome all !
Thus, though my noon of life be past,
Yet let my setting sun, at last,
Find out the still, the rural cell,
Where sage Retirement loves to dwell!
There let me taste the homefelt bliss
Of innocence, and inward peace ;
Untainted by the guilty bribe,
Uncurs'd amid the harpy tribe ;
No orphan's cry to wound my ear;
My honour, and my conscience clear ;
Thus may I calmly meet my end,
Thus to the grave in peace descend.

1

RICHARD JAGO.

BORN 1715-DIED 1781.

THE Rev. Richard Jago was vicar of Snitterfield, near Stratford on Avon. Shenstone, who knew him at Oxford, where Jago was a sizer, used to visit him privately, it being thought beneath the dignity of a commoner to be intimate with a student of that rank, and continued his friendship for him through life.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »