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From the full store, and to the pocket sent,
The priest read on, on walk'd the man afraid,
Want will complain : some widows had express'd A doubt if they were favour'd like the rest;
The rest described with like regret their dole,
Our easy vicar cut the matter short;
All were not thus—there govern'd in that year A stern stout churl, an angry overseer; A tyrant fond of power, loud, lewd, and most serere : Him the mild vicar, him the graver clerk, Advised, reproved, but nothing would he mark, Save the disgrace, “and that, my friends," said he, “ Will I avenge, whenever time may
be." And now, alas ! 'twas time;—from man to man Doubt and alarm and shrewd suspicions ran.
With angry spirit and with sly intent, This parish-ruler to the altar went; A private mark he fix'd on shillings three, And but one mark could in the money see; Besides, in peering round, he chanced to note A sprinkling slight on Jachin's Sunday-coat: All doubt was over :—when the flock were bless'd, In wrath he rose, and thus his mind express'd.
“Foul deeds are here!” and saying this, he took The clerk, whose conscience, in her cold-fit, shook: His pocket then was emptied on the place; All saw his guilt; all witness'd his disgrace:
He fell, he fainted, not a groan, a look,
As he recover'd, to his mind it came, “ I owe to Satan this disgrace and shame:" All the seduction now appear'd in view; “Let me withdraw," he said, and he withdrew; No one withheld him, all in union cried, E'en the avenger,
“ We are satisfied:” For what has death in any form to give, Equal to that man's terrors, if he live?
He lived in freedom, but he hourly saw How much more fatal justice is than law;: He saw another in his office reign, And his mild master treat him with disdain ; He saw that all men shunn'd him, some reviled, The harsh pass'd frowning, and the simple smiled; The town maintain'd him, but with some reproof, “ And clerks and scholars proudly kept aloof.”
In each lone place, dejected and dismay'd, Shrinking from view, his wasting form he laid; Or to the restless sea and roaring wind Gave the strong yearnings of a ruin’d mind: On the broad beach, the silent summer-day, Stretch'd on some wreck, he wore his life away;
Or where the river mingles with the sea,
“ Yes,” in his better moments, he replied, “ Of sinful avarice and the spirit's pride;— “While yet untempted, I was safe and well ; “Temptation came; I reason'd, and I fell: “ To be man's guide and glory I design'd, “A rare example for our sinful kind; “ But now my weakness and my guilt I see, “ And am a warning-man, be warn’d by me!"
He said, and saw no more the human face; To a lone loft he went, his dying place, And, as the vicar of his state inquired, Turn'd to the wall and silently expired!
THE POOR OF THE BOROUGH.
Patience and sorrow strove
• No charms she now can boast,"—'tis true,
Filld her pure mind with awe and dread,
And shook the curtains round her bed.
She had no vixen virgin-aunt,
With gibe and sneer and taunt.
But heroine then no more,
And dwelt among the poor.