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The following Letter, addressed to the Printer of the

St. James's Chronicle, uppeared in that Paper, in
June, 1767.

SIR,

As there is nothing I dislike so much as newspaper controversy, particularly upon trifles, permit me to be as concise as possible in informing a correspondent of yours, that I recommended Blainville's Travels, because I thought the book was a good one; and I think so still. I said, I was told by the bookseller that it was then first published; but in that, it seems, I was misinformed, and my reading was not extensive enough to set me right.

Another correspondent of yours accuses me of having taken a ballad, I published some time ago, from one by the ingenious Mr. Percy*. I do not think there is any great resemblance between the two pieces in question. If there be any, his ballad is taken from mine. I read it to Mr. Percy some years ago; and he (as we both considered these things as

“Reliq. of Anc.

* The Friar of Orders Gray. Poetry,” vol. i. p. 243.

74

Such petty

trifles at best) told me, with his usual good-humour, the next time I saw him, that he had taken my plan to form the fragments of Shakspeare into a ballad of his own.

He then read me his little cento, if I may so call it, and I highly approved it. anecdotes as these are scarce worth printing: and, were it not for the busy disposition of some of your correspondents, the public should never have known that he owes me the hint of his ballad, or that I am obliged to his friendship and learning for communications of a much more important nature.

I am, Sir,
Yours, &c.

OLIVER GOLDSMITH.

THE HERMIT.

Turn, gentle hermit of the dale,

And guide my lonely way,
To where yon taper cheers the vale

With hospitable ray.
For here forlorn and lost I tread,

With fainting steps and slow;
Where wilds, immeasurably spread,

Seem length’ning as I go.' * Forbear, my son,' the Hermit cries,

To tempt the dangerous gloom; For yonder faithless phantom flies

To lure thee to thy doom. · Here to the houseless child of want

My door is open still ; And though my portion is but scant,

I give it with good will. • Then turn to-night, and freely share

Whate'er my cell bestows ; My rushy couch and frugal fare,

My blessing and repose.

* No flocks that range the valley free,

To slaughter I condemn : Taught by that Power that pities me,

I learn to pity them : • But from the mountain's grassy side

A guiltless feast I bring ; A scrip with herbs and fruits supplied,

And water from the spring. Then, pilgrim, turn, thy cares forego;

All earth-born cares are wrong ; Man wants but little here below,

Nor wants that little long.'
Soft as the dew from heaven descends,

His gentle accents fell :
The modest stranger lowly bends,

And follows to the cell.
Far in a wilderness obscure,

The lonely mansion lay;
A refuge to the neighb’ring poor,

And strangers led astray.
No stores beneath its humble thatch

Requir'd a master's care ;
The wicket op'ning with a latch,

Received the harmless pair.
And now, when busy crowds retire

To take their evening rest,
The Hermit trimm'd his little fire,

*And cheer'd his pensive guest :

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