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'Twas fear of power, with some desire to rise,
Fiddling and fishing were his arts: at times
Mild were his doctrines, and not one discourse But gain’d in softness what it lost in force : Kind his opinions; he would not receive An ill report, nor evil act believe; “ If true, 'twas wrong; but blemish great or small “ Have all mankind; yea, sinners are we all.”
If ever fretful thought disturb'd his breast, If aught of gloom that cheerful mind oppress’d, It sprang from innovation; it was then He spake of mischief made by restless men ; Not by new doctrines : never in his life Would he attend to controversial strife; For sects he cared not; “ They are not of us, “ Nor need we, brethren, their concerns discuss ; “ But 'tis the change, the schism at home I feel ; “ Ills few perceive, and none have skill to heal :
“ Not at the altar our young brethren read
(Facing their flock) the decalogue and creed ; “ But at their duty, in their desks they stand, “ With naked surplice, lacking hood and band : “ Churches are now of holy song bereft, “ And half our ancient customs changed or left ; “ Few sprigs of ivy are at Christmas seen, “ Nor crimson berry tips the holly's green; 66 Mistaken choirs refuse the solemn strain “ Of ancient Sternhold, which from ours amain “ Comes flying forth from aile to aile about “ Sweet links of harmony and long drawn out.”
These were to him essentials; all things new
Habit with him was all the test of truth, “ It must be right: I've done it from my youth.” Questions he answerd in as brief a way, “ It must be wrong—it was of yesterday.”
Though mild benevolence our priest possessid, "Twas but by wishes or by words express'd : Circles in water, as they wider flow, The less conspicuous in their progress grow; And when at last they touch upon the shore, Distinction ceases, and they're view'd no more.
His love, like that last circle, all embraced,
Now rests our Vicar. They who knew him best,
The rich approved,—of them in awe he stood; The poor admired,—they all believed him good; The old and serious of his habits spoke; The frank and youthful loved his pleasant joke; Mothers approved a safe contented guest, And daughters one who back'd each small request : In him his flock found nothing to condemn; Him sectaries liked,-he never troubled them; No trifles fail'd his yielding mind to please, And all his passions sunk in early ease; Nor one so old has left this world of sin, More like the being that he enter'd in.
Ask you what lands our pastor tithes ?-Alas!
Who, stable-fed, is here for pleasure seen,
Not thus our Curate, one whom all believe
shall but seldom see,
But in the wearied mind, that all in vain
His father saw his powers-“ I'll give," quoth he,
My first-born learning ; 'twill a portion be:”
Better, apprenticed to an humble trade,
He once had hope—hope ardent, lively, light; His feelings pleasant, and his prospects bright: Eager of fame, he read, he thought, he wrote, Weigh'd the Greek page, and added note on note; At morn, at evening at his work was he, And dream'd what his Euripides would be.
Then care began ;-he loved, he wood, he wed; Hope cheer'd him still, and Hymen bless'd his bedA Curate's bed! then came the woful
- A kind physician, and without a fee,