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242 - THE TASK.
In vain the poet fings, and the world hears, · If he regard not, though divine the theme.
'Tis not in artful measures, in the chime
JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.
DEAR Joseph-five and twenty years ago.com Alas how time escapes ! 'tis even so— With frequent intercourse, and always sweet, And always friendly, we were wont to cheat A tedious hour—and now we never meet! As some grave gentleman in Terence says, ('Twas therefore much the same in ancient days) Good lack, we know not what to-morrow bringsStrange fluctuation of all human things! True. Changes will befall, and friends may part, But distance only cannot change the heart: And, were I called to prove the assertion true, One proof should serve—a reference to you.
Whence comes it then, that in the wane of life, Though nothing have occurred to kindle ftrife, We find the friends we fancied we had won, Though numerous once, reduced to few or none? Can gold grow worthless that has stood the touch? No; gold they seemed, but they were never such.
Horatio's servant once, with bow and cringe, Swinging the parlour door upon its hinge, Dreading a negative, and overawed Left he should trespass, begged to go abroad. Go, fellow!- whither?-turning short about Nay. Stay at home-you are always going out. 'Tis but a step, fir, just at the street's end. For what?- An please you, fir, to see a friend.A friend! Horatio cried, and seemed to startYea marry shalt thou, and with all my heart.And fetch my cloak; for though the night be raw I'll see him too the first I ever saw.
I knew the man, and knew his nature mild, And was his plaything often when a child; But somewhat at that moment pinched him close, Else he was seldom bitter or morose.