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THE FOLLOWING

LETTER,

ADDRESSED TO THE

PRINTER OF THE ST JAMES'S CHRONICLE,

APPEARED IN THAT PAPER IN JUNE, MDCCLXVII.

SIR,

As there is nothing I dislike so much as newspaper controversy, particularly upon trifles, permit me to be as concise as possible in informing a correspondent of yours, that I recommended Blainville's Travels because I thought the book was a good one, and I think so still. I said, I was told by the bookseller that it was then first published; but in that, it seems, I was misinformed, and my reading was not extensive enough to set me right.

Another correspondent of yours accuses me of having taken a ballad I published some time ago, from one' by the ingenious Mr Percy. I do not think there is any great resemblance between the two pieces in question. If there be any, his ballad is taken from mine. I read it to Mr Percy

The Friar of Orders Gray. No. 18.

"

Reliq. of Anc. Poetry,» vol. 1. book 2.

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 scarcely 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, etc.

OLIVER GOLDSMITH.

Note.-On the subject of the preceding letter, the reader is desired to consult «The Life of Dr Goldsmith,» under the year 1765.

THE HERMIT;

A BALLAD.

« 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 length'ning 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;

VOL. II.

My rushy couch and frugal fare,
My blessing and repose.

2

« 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 neighb'ring 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 soothe 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 opprest:

« And whence, unhappy youth,» he cried, of thy breast?

«< The sorrows

« 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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