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tween the two pieces in question. If there be any, his ballad is taken from mine. I read it to Mr. Percy some years ago; and he (as we both considered these things as trifles at best) told me with his usual good humour, the next time I saw him, that he had taken my plan to form the fragments of Shakspeare into a ballad of his own. He then read me his little cento, if I may so call it, and I highly approved it. Such petty anecdotes as these are scarce worth printing : and were it not for the busy disposition of some of your correspondents, the public should never have known that he owes me the hint of his ballad, or that I am obliged to his friendship and learning for communications of a much more important nature.
I am, SIR,
· TURN, gentle hermit of the dale,
And guide my lonely way,
With hospitable ray.
With fainting steps and slow; Where wilds, immeasurably spread,
Seem lengthening as I go.' • Forbear, my son (the hermit cries),
To tempt the dangerous gloom; For yonder faithless phantom flies
To lure thee to thy doom. Here to the houseless child of want
My door is open still; And though my portion is but scant,
I give it with good will. • Then turn to-night, and freely share Whate'er
cell bestows; My rushy couch and frugal fare,
My blessing and repose. • No flocks that range the valley free
To slaughter I condemn : Taught by that Power that pities me,
I learn to pity them:
But from the mountain's grassy
side A guiltless feast I bring; A scrip with herbs and fruits supplied,
And water from the spring. • Then, pilgrim, turn, thy cares forego;
All earth-born cares are wrong: Man wants but little here below,
Nor wants that little long.'
His gentle accents fell :
And follows to the cell,
The lonely mansion lay;
And strangers led astray.
Required a master's care;
Received the harmless pair.
To take their evening rest,
And cheer'd his pensive guest: And spread his vegetable store,
And gaily press'd, and smiled; And, skill'd in legendary lore,
The lingering hours beguiled.
Its tricks the kitten tries;
The crackling faggot flies.
But nothing could a charm impart
To sooth the stranger's woe;
And tears began to flow.
With answering care oppress'd: • And whence, unhappy youth (he cried),
The sorrows of thy breast?
Reluctant dost thou rove;
Or unregarded love?
Are trifling, and decay;
More trifling still than they.
A charm that lulls to sleep;
And leaves the wretch to weep?
The modern fair one's jest: On earth unseen, or only found
To warm the turtle's nest. · For shame, fond youth, thy sorrows hush,
And spurn the sex,' he said:
His lovelorn guest betray'd.
Swift mantling to the view;
As bright, as transient too.
The bashful look, the rising breast,
Alternate spread alarms:
A maid in all her charms.
A wretch forlorn (she cried);
reside. • But let a maid thy pity share,
Whom love has taught to stray;
Companion of her way.
A wealthy lord was he;
He had but only me.
Unnumber'd suitors came,
And felt, or feign'd a flame.
With richest proffers strove;
But never talk'd of love.
No wealth or power had he;
But these were all to me. • The blossom opening to the day,
The dews of heaven refined, Could nought of purity display
To emulate his mind.