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The Shepherd and the Philosopher..
REMOTE from cities liv'd a swain,
Unvex'd with all the cares of gain;
His head was silver'd o'er with age,
And long experience made him sage;
In summer's heat and winter's cold,
He fed his flock and penn'd the fold;
His hours in cheerful labour flew,
Nor envy nor ambition knew;
His wisdom and his honest fame
Through all the country rais'd his name.
A deep philosopher (whose rules
Of moral life were drawn from schools):
The shepherd's homely cottage sought,
And thus explor'd his reach of thought.
"Whence is thy learning? Hath thy toil
O'er books consum'd the midnight oil?
Hast thou old Greece and Rome survey'd,
And the vast sense of Plato weigh'd?
Hath Socrates thy soul refin'd,
And hast thou fathom'd Tully's mind?
Or, like the wise Ulysses, thrown,
By various fates on realms unknown,
Hast thou through many cities stray'd,
Their customs, laws, and manners weigh'd?"
The shepherd modestly replied,
"I ne'er the paths of learning tried;
Nor have I roam'd in foreign parts,
To read mankind, their laws and arts;
For man is practis'd in disguise,
He cheats the most discerning eyes.
Who by that search shall wiser grow?
By that ourselves we never know.
The little knowledge I have gain'd,
Was all from simple nature drain'd;.
Hence my life's maxims took their rise,
Hence grew my settled hate of vice.
The daily labours of the bee
Awake my soul to industry..
Who can observe the careful ant,
And not provide for future want?
My dog (the trustiest of his kind)
With gratitude inflames my mind ::
I mark his true, his faithful way,
And in my service copy Tray.
In constancy and nuptial love,
I learn my duty from the dove.
The hen, who from the chilly air,
With pious wing, protects her care,
And every fowl that flies at large
Instructs me in a parent's charge."
"From nature too I take my rule,
To shun contempt and ridicule.
I never, with important air,
In conversation overbear.
Can grave and formal pass for wise,
When men the solemn owl despise?
My tongue within my lips I rein;
For who talks much must talk in vain..
We from the wordy torrent fly:
Who listens to the chatt'ring pye?
Nor would I, with felonious flight,
By stealth invade my neighbour's right:
Rapacious animals we hate;
Kites, hawks, and wolves, deserve their fate..
Do not we just abhorrence find
Against the toad and serpent kind.?
But envy, calumny, and spite,
Bear stronger venom in their bite.
Thus ev'ry object of creation
Can furnish hints to contemplation;
And from the most minute and mean,
A virtuous mind can morals glean."
"Thy fame is just," the sage replies;
"Thy virtue proves thee truly wise.
Pride often guides the author's pen,
Books as affected are as men :
But he who studies nature's laws,
From certain truth his maxims draws;
And those, without our schools, suffice
To make men moral, good, and wise."
The road to happiness open to all men.
OH happiness! our being's end and aim;
Good, pleasure, ease, content! whate'er thy name;
That something still which prompts th' eternal sigh,
For which we bear to live, or dare to die:
Which still so near us, yet beyond us lies,
O'erlook'd, seen double, by the fool and wise;
Plant of celestial seed, if dropt below,
Say, in what mortal soil thou deign'st to grow ?
Fair op'ning to some court's propitious shine,
Or deep with di'monds in the flaming mine?
Twin'd with the wreaths Parnassian laurels yield,
Or reap'd in iron harvests of the field?
Where grows? where grows it not? if vain our toil,
We ought to blame the culture, not the soil.
Fix'd to no spot is happiness sincere ;
'Tis no where to be found, or ev'ry where;
Tis never to be bought, but always free ;
And, fled from monarchs, St. John! dwells with thee.
Ask of the learn'd the way. The learn'd are blind ;.
This bids to serve, and that to shun mankind.
Some place the bliss in action, some in ease;
Those call it pleasure, and contentment these.
Some sunk to beasts, find pleasure end in pain ;.
Some swell'd to gods, confess ev'n virtue vain ;,
Or indolent, to each extreme they fall,
To trust in ev'ry thing, or doubt of all.
Who thus define it, say they more or less
Than this, that happiness is happiness?
Take nature's path, and mad opinions leave;
All states can reach it, and all heads conceive:
Obvious her goods, in no extreme they dwell;
There needs but thinking right, and meaning well.
And mourn our various portions as we please,
Equal is common sense, and common ease.
Remember, man, "the universal cause
"Acts not by partial, but by gen'ral laws;"
And makes what happiness we justly call
Subsist not in the good of one, but all.
The goodness of Providence.
THE Lord my pasture shall prepare,
And feed me with a shepherd's care;
His presence shall my wants supply,
And guard me with a watchful eye;
My noon-day walks he shall attend,
And all my midnight hours defend.
When in the sultry glebe I faint,
Or on the thirsty mountains pant,
To fertile vales, and dewy meads,
My weary wand'ring steps he leads:
Where peaceful rivers, soft and slow,
Amid the verdant landscape flow.
Tho' in the paths of death I tread,
With gloomy horrors overspread,
My steadfast heart shall fear no ill;
For thou, O Lord, art with me still :
Thy friendly crook shall give me aid,
And guide me through the dreadful shade..
Tho' in a bare and rugged way,
Through devious lonely wilds I stray,
Thy bounty shall my pains beguile;
The barren wilderness shall smile.
With sudden greens and herbage crown'd,
And streams shall murmur all around.
The CREATOR's works attest his greatness.
THE spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heav'ns, a shining frame,
Their great original proclaim:
Th' unwearied sun, from day to day,
Does his Creator's pow'r display;
And publishes to ev'ry land,
The work of an Almighty hand.
Soon as the ev'ning shades prevail,
The moon takes up the wond'rous tale;
And, nightly, to the list'ning earth,
Repeats the story of her birth:
Whilst all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.
What though, in solemn silence,
Move round the dark terrestrial ball!
What tho' nor real voice nor sound,
Amid their radiant orbs be found!
In reason's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice:
For ever singing as they shine,
The hand that made us is Divine."