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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,

Yours, &c.

OLIVER GOLDSMITH,

THE

HERMIT.

· TURN, gentle hermit of the dale,

And guide my lonely way,
To where yon taper cheers the vale

With hospitable ray.
• For here forlorn and lost I tread;

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

my

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.'
Soft as the dew from heaven descends,

His gentle accents fell :
The modest stranger lowly bends,

And follows to the cell,
Far in a wilderness obscure

The lonely mansion lay;
A refuge to the neighbouring poor,

And strangers led astray.
No stores beneath its humble thatch

Required a master's care;
The wicket, opening with a latch,

Received the harmless pair.
And now, when busy crowds retire

To take their evening rest,
The hermit trimm'd his little fire,

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.
Around in sympathetic mirth

Its tricks the kitten tries;
The cricket chirrups in the hearth,

The crackling faggot flies.

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But nothing could a charm impart

To sooth the stranger's woe;
For grief was heavy at his heart,

And tears began to flow.
His rising cares the hermit spied,

With answering care oppress'd: • And whence, unhappy youth (he cried),

The sorrows of thy breast?
From better habitations spurn’d,

Reluctant dost thou rove;
Or grieve for friendship unreturn'd,

Or unregarded love?
• Alas! the joys that fortune brings

Are trifling, and decay;
And those who prize the paltry things

More trifling still than they.
• And what is friendship but a name,

A charm that lulls to sleep;
A shade that follows wealth or fame,

And leaves the wretch to weep?
• And love is still an emptier sound,

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:
But, while he spoke, a rising blush

His lovelorn guest betray'd.
Surprised he sees new beauties rise,

Swift mantling to the view;
Like colours o'er the morning skies,

As bright, as transient too.

6

The bashful look, the rising breast,

Alternate spread alarms:
The lovely stranger stands confess'd

A maid in all her charms.
And ah! forgive a stranger rude,

A wretch forlorn (she cried);
Whose feet unhallow'd thus intrude
Where heaven and

you

reside. • But let a maid thy pity share,

Whom love has taught to stray;
Who seeks for rest, but finds despair

Companion of her way.
My father lived beside the Tyne,

A wealthy lord was he;
And all his wealth was mark'd as mine,

He had but only me.
• To win me from his tender arms

Unnumber'd suitors came,
Who praised me for imputed charms,

And felt, or feign'd a flame.
• Each hour a mercenary crowd

With richest proffers strove;
Among the rest young Edwin bow'd,

But never talk'd of love.
In humble, simplest habit clad,

No wealth or power had he;
Wisdom and worth were all he had,

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.

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