페이지 이미지

In all my wanderings round this world of care, In all my griefs-and God has given my share— (1) I still had hopes my latest hours to crown, Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down; To husband out life's taper at the close, And keep the flame from wasting by repose : (2) I still had hopes, for pride attends us still, Amidst the swains to show my book-learn'd skill, Around my fire an evening group to draw, And tell of all I felt, and all I saw; And, as a hare whom hounds and horns pursue, Pants to the place from whence at first he flew, I still had hopes, my long vexations past, Here to return—and die at home at last.

O blest retirement, friend to life's decline, Retreats from care, that never must be mine, How blest is he who crowns, in shades like these, A youth of labour with an age of ease; Who quits a world where strong temptations try, And, since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly! For him no wretches, born to work and weep, Explore the mine, or tempt the dangerous deep; Nor surly porter stands in guilty state, To spurn imploring famine from the gate : But on he moves to meet his latter end, Angels around befriending virtue's friend ; Sinks to the grave with unperceiv'd decay, While resignation gently slopes the way;

(1) [The same phrase occurs in Collins's second eclogue :

“ Ye mute companions of my toils, that bear,

In all my griefs, a more than equal share."] (2 [ "My anxious day to husband near the close,

And keep life's flame from wasting by repose."-First edit.]

And, all his prospects brightening to the last,
His heaven commences ere the world be past."

Sweet was the sound, when oft, at evening's close,
Up yonder hill the village murmur rose ;
There, as I past with careless steps and slow,
The mingling notes came soften'd from below;
The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung,
The sober herd that low'd to meet their

young ;
The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool,
The playful children just let loose from school ;
The watch-dog's voice, that bay'd the whispering wind,
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind;
These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
And fill'd each pause the nightingale had made.
But now the sounds of population fail,
No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale;
No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread,
But all the bloomy flush of life is filed :
All but yon widow'd, solitary thing,
That feebly bends beside the plashy spring ;
She, wretched matron, fored in age, for bread,
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,
To pick her wintry faggot from the thorn,
To seek her nightly shed, and weep till morn ;
She only left of all the harmless train,
The sad historian of the pensive plain. (*)
(1) (Sir Joshua Reynolds from this passage took the idea of his painting
of 'Resignation,' of which an engraving being taken, he thus inscribed it to
the poet: “ This attempt to express a character in the Deserted Village, is
dedicated to Dr. Goldsmith by his sincere friend and admirer, JOSHUA

(2) [These lines are supposed to apply to a female, named Catherine Geraghty, whom the poet had known in earlier and better days. The brook and ditches near the spot where her cabin stood still furnish cresses, and several of her descendants reside in the village.]

Near yonder copse, where once the garden smild, And still where many a garden flower grows

wild ; There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, The village preacher's modest mansion rose. (") A man he was to all the country dear, And passing rich with forty pounds a year ; Remote from towns he ran his godly race, Nor e'er had chang’d, nor wish'd to change his place ; Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power, By doctrines fashion d to the varying hour ; Far other aims his heart had learnt to prize, More bent to raise the wretched than to rise. His house was known to all the vagrant train, He chid their wanderings, but reliev'd their pain ; () The long-remember'd beggar was his guest, Whose beard descending swept his aged breast ; The ruin'd spendthrift, now no longer proud, Claim'd kindred there, and had his claims allowd ; The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay, Sat by his fire, and talk'd the night away ; Wept o'er his wounds, or tales of sorrow done, Shoulder'd his crutch, and shew'd how fields were won. Pleas'd with his guests, the good man learn’d to glow, And quite forgot their vices in their woe; Careless their merits or their faults to scan, His pity gave ere charity began. (1) (More than one of Goldsmith's relatives have been put forward as claimants for this character; his father by Mrs. Hodson, his brother by others, and his uncle Contarine by the Rev. Dr. O'Connor. The fact perhaps is, that he fixed upon no one individual, but borrowing, like all good poets and painters, a little from each, drew the character by their combination.]

(2) [“Even the lowest of the people,” says Leland, “ claimed reception and refreshment by an almost perfect right, and so ineffectual is the flux of many centuries to efface the ancient manners of a people, that at this day the wandering beggar enters the house of a farmer or gentleman, with as much ease and freedom as an inmate."-LELAND's Hist. of Ireland, vol. i. p. 36, 1773.]

Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
And e'en his failings lean'd to virtue's side;
But in his duty prompt at every call,
He watch'd and wept, he pray'd and felt for all ;
And, as a bird each fond endearment tries,
To tempt its new-fledg’d offspring to the skies,
He tried each art, reprov'd each dull delay,
Allur'd to brighter worlds, and led the way.

Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismay'd,
The reverend champion stood. At his controul,
Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;
Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise,
And his last faltering accents whisper'd praise.

At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
His looks adorn'd the venerable place;
Truth from his lips prevail'd with double sway,
And fools, who came to scoff, remaind to pray. (1)
The service past, around the pious man,
With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran;
E'en children follow'd with endearing wile,
And pluck'd his gown, to share the good man's smile.
His ready smile a parent's warmth exprest,
Their welfare pleas'd him, and their cares distrest ;
To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given,
But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven.
As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form,
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm,
(1) (This line bears some resemblance expression to a passage in
Dryden's Britannia Redeviva :-

“ Our vows are hcard betimes, and heaven takes care
To grant before we can conclude the pray'r;
Preventing angels met it half the way,
And sent us back to praise who came to pray."]

Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread, Eternal sunshine settles on its head.")

Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
With blossom'd furze unprofitably gay,
There, in his noisy mansion, skill?d to rule,
The village master taught his little school :
A man severe he was, and stern to view,
I knew him well, and every truant knew ;
Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace
The day's disasters in his morning face ;
Full well they laugh'd with counterfeited glee
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;
Full well the busy whisper circling round,
Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frown'd :
Yet he was kind, or if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault;
The village all declar'd how much he knew,
'Twas certain he could write, and cypher too;
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,
And e'en the story ran—that he could guage :
In arguing too, the parson own’d his skill,
For e’en though vanquish'd, he could argue still ;

(1) [“ This is one of the most simple and sublime passages in English poetry.”— Gifford.

“ As Claudian has come in my way," says Gilbert Wakefield, in his Memoirs, "and the subject turns on the obligations of the moderns to the ancients, I will step out of the road to discover the origin of perhaps the sublimest simile that English poetry can boast :

. Ut altus Olympi
Verter, qui spatio ventos hiemesque relinquit,
Perpetuum nullâ temeratus nube serenuin,
Celsior exsurgit pluviis, auditque ruentes
Sub pedibus nimbos, el rauca tonitrua calcat ;
Sic patiens animus per tanta negotia liber
Emergit, similisque sui : justique tenorem
Flectere non odium cogit, non gratia suadet.'"

CLAUD. de Mall, Theod. Cons. 206. " Stat sublimis aper, ventosque imbresque serenus

Despicit."Theb. ii. 35.]

« 이전계속 »