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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.

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“ 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.

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.

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