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To clear this doubt, to know the world by siglit, To find if books, or ́swains, report it right; (For yet by swains alone the world he knew, Whose feet came wand'ring o'er the nightly dew) He quits his cell, the pilgrim-staff he bore, And fix'd the scallop in his hat before; Then with the sun a rising journey went, Sedate to think, and watching each event.
The morn was wasted in the pathless grass, And long and lonesome was the wild to pass; But when the southern wind had warm’d the day, A youth came posting o'er a crossing way; His raiment decent, his complexion fair, And soft in graceful ringlets wav'd his hair. Then near approaching, Father, hail! he cry'd; And hail, my son! the rev’rend sire reply'd: Words follow'd words, from question answer flow'd, And talk of various kind deceiv'd the road : Till each with other pleas'd, and loath to part, While in their age they differ, join in heart; Thus stands an aged elm in ivy bound, Thus youthful ivy clasps an elm around.
Now sunk the sun; the closing hour of day
There by the moon thro' ranks of trees they pass,
At length 'tis morn, and at the dawn of day,
· As one who spies a serpent in his way, Glist'ning and basking in the summer-ray,
Disorder'd stops to shun the danger near,
While thus they pass, the sun his glory shrouds, The changing skies hang out their sable clouds; A sound in air presag'd approaching rain, And beasts to covert scud across the plain. Warn’d by the signs, the wand'ring pair retreat, To seek for shelter at a neighb'ring seat. 'Twas built with turrets, on a rising ground, And strong, and large, and unimprov'd around; Its owner's temper, tim'rous and severe, Unkind and griping, caus'd a desert there. As near the miser's heavy doors they drew, Fierce rising gusts with sudden fury blew; The nimble light'ning, mix'd with show'rs, began, And o'er their heads loud rolling thunder ran. Here long they knock, but knock or call in vain, Driv'n by the wind, and batter'd by the rain. At length some pity warm'd the master's breast, ('Twas then his threshold first receiv'd a guest)
Slow creaking turn'd the door with jealous care,
With still remark the pond'ring hermit view'd In one so rich, a life so poor and rude: And why should such, within himself he cry'd, Lock the lost wealth a thousaud want beside? But what new marks of wonder soon took place, In ev'ry settling feature in his face! When from his vest the young companion bore That
сир, , the gen'rous landlord own'd before; And paid profusely with the precious bowl The stinted kindness of this churlish soul.
But now the clouds in airy tumult fly, The sun emerging opes an azure sky; A fresher green the smelling leaves display, And glitt'ring as they tremble, cheer the day; The weather courts them from the poor retreat, And the glad master bolts the wary gate. While hence they walk, the pilgrini's bosom wrought With all the travails of uncertain thought;
His partner's acts without their cause appear,
Now night's dim shades again involve the sky, Again the wand'rers want a place to lie, . Again they search, and find a lodging nigh. The soil improv'd around, the mansion neat, And neither poorly low, nor idly great: It seem'd to speak its master's turn of mind, Content, and not for praise, but virtue kind.
Hither the walkers turn with weary feet, Then bless the mansion, and the master greet: Their greeting fair, bestow'd with modest guise The courteous master hears, and thus replies:
Without a vain, without a grudging heart, To Him who gives us all, I yield a part; From Him you come, from Him accept it here, A frank and sober, more than costly cheer. He spoke, and bid the welcome table spread, Then talk'd of virtue till the hour of bed, When the grave houshold round his hall repair, Warn'd by a bell, and close the hours with pray'r.
At length the world, renew'd by calm repose, Was strong for toil, the dappled morn arose;