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Yet ne'er with wits profane to range,
Be complaisance extended ;
For Deity offended !
Religion may be blinded ;
It may be little minded ;
A conscience but a canker-
Is sure a noble anchor !
Adieu, dear amiable youth !
Your heart can ne'er be wanting !
Erect your brow undaunting!
Still daily to grow wiser :
may you better reck the rede,
Here's a health to ane I lo'e dear;
Here's a health to ane I lo'e dear; Thou art sweet as the smile when fond lovers meet,
And soft as their parting tear-Jessy ! Altho' thou maun never be mine,
Altho' even hope is denied; 'Tis sweeter for thee despairing,
Than aught in the world beside-Jessy ! I mourn through the gay, gaudy day,
As, hopeless, I muse on thy charms: But welcome the dream o'sweet slumber,
I guess by the dear angel smile,
I guess by the love-rolling e'e;
'Gainst fortune's fell cruel decree ?--Jessy!
Here's a health to ane I lo’e dear ;
And soft as their parting tear-Jessy !
TO A MOUNTAIN DAISY,--ON TURNING ON
DOWN WITH THE PLOUGH.
Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flow'r,
Thy slender stem ;
Thou bonnie gem.
Alas ! it's no thy neebor sweet,
Wi' speckl'd breast,
The purpling east.
Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
Amid the storm,
Thy tender form.
The flaunting flow'rs our gardens yield,
O'clod or stane,
There, in thy scanty mantle clad,
In humble guise;
And low thou lies !
Such is the fate of artless maid,
And guileless trust,
Low i' the dust.
Such is the fate of simple bard,
Of prudent lore,
And whelm him o'er !
Such fate to suffering worth is givin,
To mis'ry's brink,
He, ruin’d, sink !
Ev'n thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate,
Full on thy bloom,
Shall be thy doom!
JAMES HURDis was born at Bishopstone, Sussex, in the year 1763. His father, who was a gentleman of small fortune, died when the Poet was a boy, and left the charge of his education to his mother. He was worthy of the care she bestowed upon him; she lived to see him admired and beloved; and to find that when worldly honours most crowded on him he was most mindful of her who had laid the groundwork of his distinction. In 1780, he was entered as a commoner of St. Mary Hall, Oxford; and, two years afterwards, was chosen a Demy of St. Mary Magdalen. In 1785, he was ordained, and held the curacy of Burwash, in Sussex. In 1793, he was elected to the Professorship of Poetry; and, in 1797, took the degree of Doctor in Divinity. For some years he resided in the family of the Earl of Chichester, as tutor to his youngest son, who was afterwards Bishop of Bristol. In 1788, Hurdis first appeared before the public: “The Village Curate" obtained for him a reputation which he lived to establish. It was followed by “Adriano; or, the First of June, “The Favourite Village," several miscellaneous poems, and a tragedy, "Sir Thomas More." He died on the 19th December, 1801.
A brief and scanty biography of Hurdis, written by one of his sisters, supplies us with a few dates and facts, which make up the only history of his life. It is to be regretted that either the materials for more ample and interesting details were not to be procured, or that the pen which attempted to record them was insufficient for the task.
He is described as “tall and well-proportioned; his countenance serene and lively; of a fair complexion, with flaxen hair. His disposition was meek, affectionate, benevolent and cheerful ; yet occasionally irritable and impatient. With his intimate friends he was affable, polite, and familiar, but in mixed company generally reserved." His life was passed in ease and elegant retirement from the more busy and exciting world; he had leisure to contemplate nature, to acquire a knowledge of her works, and to dedicate his taste as well as his learning to the service of religion.
Although by no means an imitator, Hurdis must be considered as a follower of Cowper, to whom he was personally known, and by whom he was highly esteemed. He is, however, the only one of the numerous writers of the “School,” founded by the author of "The Task," whose productions have survived the fashion of the day. The poem which introduced him to the public is the one upon which bis reputation must depend. “ The Village Curate" is a description of the amusements and occupations of a country pastor throughout the various seasons of the year. It is, in fact, a portrait of himself, in his quiet and happy seclusion as a village curate, enjoying the gentle society of his sisters—the death of one of whom he lamented in a sweet and vigorous elegy
* Each to Alcanor bound, and near in blood,
But nearer in affection;" taking with them daily walks through the lanes and fields, loving and examining all the wonderful works of nature. The poem is therefore for the most part descriptive, and it abounds in generous and virtuous sentiments; the duty of the village curate always predominates, and every ramble produces some reflections which encourage goodness, and exhibit, to discountenance, vice. Although far inferior in strength and delicacy to the master-spirit, whose disciple he avows himself, passages and even parts will be found in his poem which Cowper might have been proud to own: there is at times the same vigorous outbreak against immorality and injustice-the manly use of the weapon, satire, against vice—the same elevation of thought when looking through nature up to nature's God-the same accuracy in painting objects, dignified though familiar-and the same playful fancy setting off seriousness of purpose. If the Task had not been written, perhaps the Village Curate might never have been produced; but if it had preceded the work of the mightier genius, the claims of Hurdis to a chief place among the poets would have been more readily acknowledged.
The “ Favourite Village" may be considered as a sequel to the “ Village Curate;" and as with sequels generally, though of more even merit and more highly polished
The sight of Winter's superb ocean left, Me pleases much the bustle of the port; The toil and clamour of the prosp'rous bark, Safe landing on the wharf with brisk dispatch Her sable cargo from the northern mine: The neater vessel her capacious lap Filling with grain, or (stowage ponderous) The mealy sack of the contiguous mill, Welcome supply to the far-distant camp, Or wind-bound fleet of war; the slothful barge Slug-like conveying from the sloop her deals, Another from the sloven brig her load Of nauseous grocery, abundant store For ev'ry village on the banks of Ouse.