The vicar of Wakefield : a tale
O blelt retirement, friend to life ' s decline,
Retreats from care that never muft be mine ;
How bleft is he who crowns, in fhades like thefe,
A youth of labour with an age of eafe ;
\Vho quits a world where ftroug temptations try,
And fince ' tis hard to combat learns to fly.
For him no wretches, born to work and wefp
Explore the mine, or tempt the dangerous deep;
No Curly porter (lands in guilty (late,
To fpurn imploring famine from his gate;
But on he moves to meet his latter end,
Angels around befriending virtue ' s friend;
Sinks to the grave with unpeiceiv ' d decay,
While refignation gently flopes the way ;
And all his profpec ' ts brightning to the laft,
His heaven commences ere the world be pad !*
The defcription of the parifli prieft (probably in-
tended for a character of his brother Henry) would
have done honour to any poet of any age. In this
defcription the fimile of the bird teaching her young
to fly, and of the mountain that riles above the
ftorm, are not eafily to be paralleled. The reft of
the poem confifts of the character of the village
fchool-mafter, and a defcription of the village ale-
houfe, both drawn with admirable propriety and
force; a defcant on the mifchiefs of luxury and
wealth ; the variety of artificial peafures ; the mife-
ries of thofe who for want of employment at home,
are driven to fettle new colonies abroad, and con-
cludes with the following beautiful apoftrophe to
poetry :
' And thou fweet poetry, thou lovelieft maid,
Still firft to fly where fenfual joys invade;
Unfit in thefe degenerate times of fharne,
To catch the heart, or ftrike for honeft fame;
Dear charming nymph, neglected and dccrieJ,
My (hame in crowds my folitiry pride;
Thou fource of all my blifs, and all my woe,
That found me poor at firft, and keep ' fl me fo ;
Thou guide by which the n jbler arts excel,
Thou nurfe of every virtue, fare face well. '