[Page 149]

THE HERMIT.

1 "TURN, gentle Hermit of the dale,
2 " And guide my lonely way
3 "To where yon taper chears the vale
4 " With hospitable ray.
5 "For here, forlorn and lost I tread,
6 " With fainting steps and slow,
7 "Where wilds immeasurably spread
8 " Seem lengthening as I go. "
9 "Forbear, my son," the Hermit cries,
10 "To tempt the dangerous gloom,
11 " For yonder faithless phantom flies
12 "To lure thee to thy doom.
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13 "Here to the houseless child of Want
14 " My door is open still;
15 "And tho' my portion is but scant,
16 " I give it with good will:
17 "Then turn to-night, and freely share
18 " Whate'er my cell bestows;
19 "My rushy couch, and frugal fare,
20 " My blessing, and repose.
21 "No flocks that range the valley free
22 " To slaughter I condemn;
23 "Taught by that Power that pities me,
24 " I learn to pity them:
25 "But from the mountain's grassy side
26 " A guiltless feast I bring;
27 "A scrip with herbs and fruits supply'd,
28 " And water from the spring.
29 "Then, pilgrim, turn, thy cares forego;
30 " All earth-born cares are wrong:
31 "Man wants but little here below,
32 " Nor wants that little long. "
33 Soft as the dew from Heaven descends,
34 His gentle accents fell;
35 The modest stranger lowly bends,
36 And follows to the cell.
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37 Far in a wilderness obscure
38 The lonely mansion lay,
39 A refuge to the neighbouring poor,
40 And strangers led astray.
41 No stores beneath its humble thatch
42 Requir'd a master's care;
43 The wicket opening with a latch
44 Receiv'd the harmless pair.
45 And now when busy crowds retire
46 To take their evening rest,
47 The Hermit trimm'd his little fire,
48 And chear'd his pensive guest;
49 And spread his vegetable store,
50 And gaily prest, and smil'd,
51 And, skill'd in legendary lore,
52 The lingering hours beguil'd.
53 Around in sympathetic mirth
54 Its tricks the kitten tries,
55 The cricket chirrups in the hearth,
56 The crackling faggot flies.
57 But nothing could a charm impart,
58 To soothe the stranger's woe;
59 For grief was heavy at his heart,
60 And tears began to flow.
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61 His rising cares the Hermit spy'd,
62 With answering care opprest:
63 "And whence, unhappy youth," he cry'd,
64 "The sorrows of thy breast?
65 "From better habitations spurn'd,
66 " Reluctant dost thou rove?
67 "Or grieve for friendship unreturn'd,
68 " Or unregarded love?
69 "Alas! the joys that fortune brings
70 " Are trifling, and decay;
71 "And those who prize the paltry thing
72 " More trifling still than they.
73 "And what is Friendship but a name,
74 " A charm that lulls to sleep,
75 "A shade that follows wealth or fame,
76 " And leaves the wretch to weep?
77 "And Love is still an emptier sound,
78 " The modern sair-one's jest,
79 "On earth unseen, or only found
80 " To warm the turtles nest.
81 "For shame, fond youth, thy sorrows hush,
82 " And spurn the sex, "he said:
83 But while he spoke, a rising blush
84 His love-lorn guest betray'd.
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85 Surpriz'd he sees new beauties rise,
86 Swift mantling to the view,
87 Like colours o'er the morning skies,
88 As bright, as transient too.
89 The bashful look, the rising breast,
90 Alternate spread alarms,
91 The lovely stranger stands confest
92 A maid in all her charms.
93 "And ah! forgive a stranger rude,
94 " A wretch forlorn, "she cry'd,
95 " Whose feet unhallow'd thus intrude
96 "Where Heaven and you reside.
97 "But let a maid thy pity share,
98 " Whom Love has taught to stray;
99 "Who seeks for rest, but finds despair
100 " Companion of her way.
101 "My father liv'd beside the Tyne,
102 " A wealthy Lord was he;
103 "And all his wealth was mark'd as mine;
104 " He had but only me.
105 "To win me from his tender arms
106 " Unnumber'd suitors came;
107 "Who prais'd me for imputed charms,
108 " And felt or feign'd a flame.
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109 "Each hour a mercenary crowd
110 " With richest proffers strove;
111 "Among the rest young Edwin bow'd,
112 " But never talk'd of love.
113 "In humble simplest habit clad,
114 " No wealth or power had he;
115 "Wisdom and worth were all he had;
116 " But these were all to me.
117 "The blossom opening to the day
118 " The dews of heaven refin'd,
119 "Could nought of purity display
120 " To emulate his mind.
121 "The dew, the blossoms of the tree,
122 " With charms inconstant shine;
123 "Their charms were his, but woe to me,
124 " Their constancy was mine.
125 "For still I try'd each fickle art,
126 " Importunate and vain;
127 "And while his passion touch'd my heart
128 " I triumph'd in his pain;
129 "Till quite dejected with my scorn,
130 " He left me to my pride,
131 "And sought a solitude forlorn
132 " In secret, where he died.
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133 "But mine the sorrow, mine the fault,
134 " And well my life shall pay,
135 "I'll seek the solitude he sought,
136 " And stretch me where he lay
137 "And there forlorn, despairing hid,
138 " I'll lay me down and die;
139 "'Twas so for me that Edwin did,
140 " And so for him will I. "
141 "Forbid it, Heaven!" the Hermit cry'd,
142 And clasp'd her to his breast;
143 The wondering fair one turn'd to chide;
144 'Twas Edwin's self that prest.
145 "Turn, Angelina, ever dear;
146 " My charmer, turn to see
147 "Thy own, thy long-lost Edwin here,
148 " Restor'd to love and thee.
149 "Thus let me hold thee to my heart,
150 " And every care resign;
151 "And shall we never, never part,
152 " My life my all that's mine.
153 "No, never, from this hour to part,
154 " We'll live and love so true;
155 "The sigh that rends thy constant heart,
156 " Shall break thy Edwin's too. "

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): THE HERMIT.
Themes: retirement; rural life; happiness; contentment; money; wealth
Genres: ballad metre
References: DMI 31045

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Source edition

A collection of poems in four volumes. By several hands. Vol. IV. [The second edition]. London: printed for G. Pearch, 1770, pp. 149-155. 4v. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T116245; DMI 1137)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

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