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And when the charioteer drew nigh,
And, flush'd with hope, had caught his eye,
“ Alas! unhappy youth," he cried,
“ Expect no praise from me," and sigbid;
“ With indignation I survey
“ Such skill and judgment thrown away;
“ The time, profusely squauder'd there
« On vulgar arts beneath thy care,
“ If well employ'd, at less expense,
“ Had taught thee honour, virtue, sense,
“ And rais'd thee from a coachman's fate,
“To govern men, and guide the state.”
Where London's column, pointing at the skies,
Like a tall buly, lists the head, and lies ;
There dwelt a citizen of sober fame,
A plain good man, and Balaam was his name:
Religious, punctual, frugal, and so forth ;
His word would pass for more than he was worth.
One solid dish his weekday meal affords,
An added pudding solemniz'd the Lord's :
Constant at church, and 'change; his gains were sure,
His givings rare, save farthings to the poor.
The devil was piqued such saintship to behold,
And long’d to tempt him, like good Job of old:
But Satan now is wiser than of yore,
And tempts by making rich, not making poor.
Rous'd by the Prince of Air, the whirlwinds sweep
The surge, and plunge his father in the deep ;
Then full against his Cornish lands they roar,
And two rich shipwrecks bless the lucky shore.
Sir Balaam now, he lives like other folks,
He takes his chirping pint, and cracks his jokes :
“ Live like yourself,” was soon my lady's word;
And lo! two puddings smok'd upon the board.
Asleep and naked as an Indian lay,
An honest factor stole a gem away:
He pledg'd it to the knight; the knight had wit,
So kept the diamond, and the rogue was bit.
Some scruple rose, but thus he eas'd his thought,
“ I'll now give sixpence where I gave a groat;
“ Where once I went to church I'll now go twice
“ And am so clear too of all other vice."
The tempter saw his time; the work he plied ;
Stocks and subscriptions pour on ev'ry side,
Till all the Demon makes his full descent
In one abundant show'r of cent per cent,
Sinks deep within him, and possesses whole,
Then dubs director, and secures his soul.
Behold Sir Balaam now a man of spirit,
Ascribes his gettings to his parts and merit;
What late he call’d a blessing, now was wit,
And God's good providence, a lucky hit.
Things change their titles, as our manners turn.
His counting-house employ'd the Sunday morn:
Seldom at church ('twas such a busy life),
But duly sent his family and wife.
There, (so the devil ordain'd) one christmas tide
My good old lady catch'd a cold and died.
A nymph of quality admires our knight,
He marries, bows at court, and grows polite :
Leaves the dull cits, and joins to please the fair)
The wellbred cuckolds in St. James's air.
In Britain's senate he a seat obtains,
And one more pensioner St. Stephen gains.
My lady falls to play; so bad her chance,
He must repair it; takes a bribe from France;
The house impeach him ; Coningsby harangues ;
The court forsake him, and Sir Balaam hangs.
Wife, son, and daughter, Satan! are thy own,
His wealth, yet dearer, forfeit to the crown:
The devil and the king divide the prize,
And sad Sir Balaam curses God and dies
Far in the windings of a vale,
Fast by a shelt'ring wood,
The safe retreat of health and peace,
A humble cottage stood.
There beauteous Emma flourish'd fair
Beneath her mother's eye,
Whose only wish on earth was now
To see her blest, and die.
The softest blash that nature spreads
Gave colour to her cheek;
Such orient colour smiles through Heav'n,
When May's sweet mornings break. Nor let the pride of great ones scorn
The charniers of the plains ; That sun which bids their diamond blaze
To deck our lily deigns.
Long had she fir'd each youth with love,
Each maiden with despair;
And though by all a wonder own'd,
Yet knew not she was fair;
Till Edwin caine, the pride of swains,
A soul that knew no art;
And from whose eyes serenely mild,
Shone forth the feeling heart.
A mutual flame was quickly caught,
Was quickly too reveald;
For neither bosoiu lodg'd a wish,
Which virtue keeps conceal'd.
What happy hours of heart-felt bliss
Did love on both bestow !
But bliss too mighty long to last,
Where fortune proves a foe.
His sister, who, like envy form'd,
Like her in mischief joy'd,
To work them harm with wicked skill
Each darker art employ'd.
Thé father, too, a sordid man,
Who love nor pity knew,
Was all unfeeling as the rock
From whence his riches grew.
Long had he seen their mutual flame,
And seen it long unmov'd;
There with a father's frown at last
He sternly disapprov'd.
In Edwin's gentle heart a war
Of diff’ring passions strove;
His heart, which durst not disobey,
Yet could not cease to love. .
Denied her sight, he oft behind
The spreading hawthorn crept,
To snatch a glance, to mark the spot
Where Emma walk'd and wept. -
Oft too in Stanemore's wintry waste,
Beneath the moonlight shade, In sighs to pour his soften'd soul,
The midnight mourner stray'd.
His cheeks, where love with beauty glow'd,
A deadly pale o'ercast;
So fades the fresh rose in it's prime,
Before the northern blast.
The parents now, with late remorse,
Hung o'er his dying bed,
And wearied Heav'n with fruitless pray’rs,
And fruitless sorrows shed. “ "Tis past," he cried, “ but if your souls
“ Sweet mercy yet can move, “ Let these dim eyes once more behold
“ What they must ever love."
She canie; his cold hand softly touch'a,
And bath'd with many a tear;
Fast falling o'er the primrose pale
So morning dews appear.
But oh! his sister's jealous care
(A cruel sister she !)
Forbade what Emma came to say,
My Edwin, live for me.
Now homeward as she hopeless went,
The churchyard path along,
The blast blew cold, the dark owl scream'd
Her lover's fun'ral song.
Amid the falling gloom of night,
Her startling fancy found
In ev'ry bush his hov'ring shade,
His groan in ev'ry sound.
Alone, appall’d, thus had she pass'd
The visionary vale,
When lo! the deathbell smote her ear,
Sad sounding in the gale.
Just then she reach'd with trembling steps.
Her aged mother's door:
“ He's gone,” slie cried, “ and I shall see
“ That angel face no more ! “ I feel, I feel this breaking heart
“ Beat high against my side !" Fronı her white arın down sunk lier hiead, She shiver’d, sigh'd, and died.
'Tis list'ning fear and dumb amazement all : When to the startled eye the suclden glance Appears far south, eruptive through the cloud;