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ODE XXXIX.

то

POVERTY.

BY THE REV. THOMAS PENROSE.

Hie thee hencel thou spectre foul,

Fiend of misery extreme;

Hence! nor o'er yon dwelling scowl With blasting eye, while to thy haggard scream The midnight wolf accords his famish'd howl, And madd’ning wretches loud in agony blaspheme.

Hence!—from the artless bard keep wide aloof

Fly rather to his hated roof,
Who, deaf to Mercy's soft controul,

Can steel with rugged edge the soul : Plund'ring, unmov'd the orphan's cry can hear, Or from the widow'd lip the scanty morsel tear :But

pass him by, the wooer mild Of Genius, friend to all, Nature's ingenuous child.

Constant toil, and coarsest fare,
Long indeed the village hind

In silent apathy may bear,
While o'er his brow Health's rosy wreath is twin'd:
While his passions sluggish flow,
Borne on life's pacific round;

Nor aims his highest wish to know
Beyond the hamlet's pale, his grandsire's farthest

bound.

Yet, rous'd to feeling, much he mourns his lot,

When the pale visage of Disease
Frowns on his humble cot,
When sinks his drooping front, and bend his feeble

knees.

There, oft, unheeded on the ground,

May Sickness, Age, and Want be found,
United all in one forlorn abode,
Of grief each singly own'd a melancholy load.

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From the damp and earthy bed
The sufferer lifts his aching sight in vain :-

Despair hangs weeping o'er his head :
Sad pallet this for ease ! sad comforter in pain !

Fly, ye rich, unbidden fly,
Pour your oil, and pour your wine :

Wipe from tears the misty eye;
Charity's a ray divine
A raythat lights the soul with brightest beam to shine.

Why withhold the little boon?

Seems it much, ye sons of wealth,

1

Glittring moths of sunny noon

Plum'd with gold of joy and health ? O think! a blast may come, yourselves may perish

soon!

Yet, different in this common state, What different care attends your happier fate !

Fading you may sure receive All wayward fancy craves, all soothing art can give:

While, with equal wants opprest, The child of Misery heaves his lab’ring breast,

Cheer'd by no kind assisting powers, Scarce with such crumbs sustain'd as hungry

Health devours.

Melt, in soft compassion melt,
Ye gentle, wail th’ unletter'd peasant poor :

Yet keener far, as more severely felt,
Does Penury haunt th' ill-omen'd scholar's door;
He calls for all your tears; give these, if nothing more.

Warm'd his soul with genial flame In youth's gay spring was bid to rise,

To pant for science, thirst for fame, And hope fair Merit's golden prize.

Much he hop'd, for many a tale

Of praise was echo'd to his ear;
Full many a promise (fatt'ring gale!)

Foretold the wish’d-for port was near.

Awhile it blew,—then dy'd away,

Like breezes with declining day, And left him, wondring wretch! forsaken quite, In Poverty's dead calm, and Disappointment's night.

What avails th' expanded mind,

Tutor'd in the choicest lore?
The suffering body lags behind,

Nor lets the rising spirit soar:
Callid home,—what Stoic pride the soul can steel,
When every sinew's rack'd, and every nerve must

feel?

What avails the glowing heart,

The eye that glistens at distress; The wish all blessings to impart, Or make at least a brother's sorrow less? From Trouble's spring the deepest draught he drew, Who mourns his own hard lot, and weeps for others too..

At the sad mistaken gate When the maim'd veteran takes his suppliant stand,

Struck with the hapless warrior's state,
Sudden the pitying tenant gives his hand.

-'Tis empty-Seel his lids o'erflow,
To send undol'd away the hoary son of woe.

Love too-for in the lowliest cell
Chaste love with purest flame may

dwell

His love-whát sorer can befall? Is doom'd to sour its sweets, and dash his cup with gall,

Before the husband's and the father's eyes

Stormy clouds in prospect rise,
The future orphan's cry, the widow's groan ;

These and more he makes his own-
For ahl the faithless world by him too well is known.

For these the homely robe, the scanty board,

While life in toil is ling’ring on,

The drudge of science may afford :But where's the friend will cheer, when that poor life

is gone?

No friend may rise, but many a foe ·

Will deck his visage with a smile,

Will hide in softest words the basest guile, And, while he soothes the most, will strike the deepest

blow.

Hence the pang, and hence the tear,
When his daughter's rip’ning bloom

Swells into agony his fear
Of the fell spoiler's den—fair Virtue's early tomb.

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