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in your

O Reader ! had


mind Such stores as silent thought can bring, O gentle Reader! you would find A tale in every thing. What more I have to say is short, I hope you'll kindly take it : It is no tale ; but should you think, Perhaps a tale you'll make it.

One summer-day I chanced to see
This Old Man doing all he could
About the root of an old tree,
A stump of rotten wood.
The mattock totter'd in his hand;
So vain was his endeavour
That at the root of the old tree
He might have worked for ever.

“You're overtasked, good Simon Lee,
Give me your tool” to him I said ;
And at the word right gladly he
Received my proffer'd aid.
I struck, and with a single blow
The tangled root I sever'd,
At which the poor Old Man so long
And vainly had endeavoured.

The tears into his eyes were brought,
And thanks and praises seemed to run
So fast out of his heart, I thought
They never would have done.
-I've heard of hearts unkind, kind deeds
With coldness still returning.
Alas! the gratitude of men
Has oftner left me mourning.


Written in April, 1798.

No cloud, no relique of the sunken day
Distinguishes the West, no long thin slip
Of sullen Light, no obscure trembling hues.
Come, we will rest on this old mossy Bridge !
You see the glimmer of the stream beneath,
But hear no murmuring : it flows silently
O'er its soft bed of verdure. All is still,
A balmy night! and tho' the stars be dim,
Yet let us think upon the vernal showers
That gladden the green earth, and we shall find
A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.

And hark! the Nightingale begins its song,
“ Most musical, most melancholy'* Bird !
A melancholy Bird ? O idle thought !
In nature there is nothing melancholy.

-But some night-wandering Man, whose heart was pierc'd
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,
Or slow distemper, or neglected love,
(And so, poor wretch ! fill'd all things with himself,
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale
Of his own sorrows) he and such as he
First named these notes a melancholy strain :

many a poet echoes the conceit; Poet, who hath been building up the rhyme

*“ Most musical, most melancholy." This passage in Milton possesses an excellence far superior to that of mere description : it is spoken in the character of the melancholy Man, and has therefore a dramatic proprietý. The Author makes thisremark, to rescue himself from the charge of having alluded with levity to a line in Milton : a charge than which none could be more painful to him, except perhaps that of having ridiculed his Bible.

When lie had better far have stretched his limbs


Beside a brook in mossy

By sun or moon-light, to the influxes
Of shapes and sounds and shifting elements
Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song
And of his fame forgetful! so his fame
Should share in nature's immortality,
A venerable thing! and so his song
Should make all nature lovelier, and itself
Be lov'd, like nature !—But 'twill not be so ;
And youths and maidens most poetical
Who lose the deep'ning twilights of the spring
In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still
Full of meek sympathy must heave their sighs
O'er Philomela's pity-pleading strains.
My Friend, and my Friend's Sister! we have learnt
A different lore : we may not thus profane
Nature's sweet voices always full of love
And joyance! 'Tis the merry Nightingale

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