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The mouldering gateway strews the grass-grown court,
See, thro' the fractured pediment revealed, Where moss inlays the rudely-sculptured shield, The martin's old, hereditary nest.
Long may the ruin spare its hallowed guest!
Now stained with dews, with cobwebs darkly hung,
Oft has its roof with peals of rapture rung;
'Twas here we chased the slipper by the sound ;
Oft with the babes we wandered in the wood,
Murdered by ruffian hands when smiling in its sleep.
As o'er the dusky furniture I bend,
Each chair awakes the feeling of a friend.
Whence the caged linnet soothed my pensive thought;
Those muskets, cased with venerable rust;
Those once-loved forms, still breathing thro' their dust,
As thro' the garden's desert paths I rove,
Childhood's loved group revisits every scene; The tangled wood-walk, and the tufted green! Indulgent MEMORY wakes, and lo, they live! Clothed with far softer hues than Light can give. Thou first, best friend that Heaven assigns below To soothe and sweeten all the cares we know ; Whose glad suggestions still each vain alarm, When nature fades, and life forgets to charm;
Thee would the Muse invoke!-to thee belong
Long on the wave reflected lustres play;
The School's lone porch, with reverend mosses gray, Just tells the pensive pilgrim where it lay. Mute is the bell that rung at peep of dawn, Quickening my truant-feet across the lawn; Unheard the shout that rent the noontide air, When the slow dial gave a pause to care. Up springs, at every step, to claim a tear, Some little friendship formed and cherished here; And not the lightest leaf, but trembling teems With golden visions, and romantic dreams!
Down by yon hazel copse, at evening, blazed The Gipsy's fagot-there we stood and gazed; Gazed on her sun-burnt face with silent awe, Her tattered mantle, and her hood of straw; Her moving lips, her caldron brimming o'er ; The drowsy brood that on her back she bore,
Imps, in the barn with mousing owlets bred,
From rifled roost at nightly revel fed;
Whose dark eyes flashed thro' locks of blackest shade, When in the breeze the distant watch-dog bayed :
And heroes fled the Sibyl's muttered call,
As o'er my palm the silver piece she drew,
How throbbed my fluttering pulse with hopes and fears,
Ah, then, what honest triumph flushed my breast; This truth once known-To bless is to be blest! We led the bending beggar on his way, (Bare were his feet, his tresses silver-gray) Soothed the keen pangs his aged spirit felt, And on his tale with mute attention dwelt. As in his scrip we dropt our little store, And sighed to think that little was no more, He breathed his prayer, "Long may such goodness live!" 'Twas all he gave, 'twas all he had to give. Angels, when Mercy's mandate winged their flight, Had stopt to dwell with pleasure on the sight.
But hark! thro' those old firs, with sullen swell, The church-clock strikes! ye tender scenes, farewell!