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For him no wretches, born to work and weep,
Explore the mine, or tempt the dangerous deep ;] 105 No surly porter stands, in guilty state,
To spurn imploring famine from the gate ;/
Sinks to the grave with unperceived decay,] 110 While resignation gently slopes the way;
And, all his prospects brightening to the last,
Sweet was the sound, when oft, at evening's close,
Up yonder hill the village murmur rose ; |
The mingled notes came soften’d from below ;)
The noisy geese) that gabbled o'er the pool, 120 The playful children just let loose from school;
The watch-dog's voice) that bay'd the whispering wind,
And fill'd each pause) the nightingale had made. 125 But now the sounds of population fail,
No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale, |
All but yon widow'd, solitary thing, |
105. Guilty state-Guilty is too strorg a term.
108. Befriending · friend--Here is a designed alliteration, as in ill and ills, line 51.
116. Softened—Participial adjunct to the Pred. “ came" (Gr. 78. d).
117-122 Swain, herd, geese, children, and voice, laugh—All in apposition with “ these," and Subj. to "sought.” A precisely similar construction to lines 25-30
122. Vacant, i.e., free from care, see line 257.
123. These all, i.e., all these sounds, viz., the watch-dog's voice, the loud laugh, and (the sounds of) the swain, the herd, the geese, and the children. This joining together of several noups, to all of which the predicate does not, in strict analysis, equally apply, is called a Zeugma.
129. But is here used as a preposition, equivalent to except, and governing “ thing."
She, wretched matron, forced, in age, for bread,
To seek her nightly shed, and weep till morn; 135 She only left of all the harmless train,
The sad historian of the pensive plain. |
Near yonder copse,) where once the garden smiled,
There,) where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, I 140 The village preacher's modest mansion rose.)
A man he was to all the country dear,
Nor e'er had changed,] nor wish'd to change, his place ;] 145 Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power
By doctrines fashion’d to the varying hour ;]
His house was known to all the vagrant train,
The long-remember'd beggar was his guest,
Claim'd kindred there, and had his claims allow'd ;] 155 The broken soldier, kindly bid to stay,
Sat by his fire, and talk’d the night away ;]
131-136. The grammatical construction of these lines is rather loose ; but it coheres better with the sense to regard she forced, and she left, as Nom. absolutes, qualifying the previous sentence, than to take them as separate sentences, with ellipsis of " is."
136. The pensive plain-Thoughtfulness is akin to seriousness and sadness, as mirth is to thoughtlessness : hence pensive is here so much as mournful, just as vacant (lines 122 and 257) stands for joyful.
138. And still where—A strange transposition for, and where still.
140. Modest mansion is almost & contrediction in terms, for a mansion is a grand house, but Goldsmith uses it simply for house, see lines 195, 238; but he may perhaps have had the Scottish term, manse, in his mind, used always of a minister's abode.
142. Passing, i.e., surpassingly; exceedingly, as passing fair.
148. More bent—The partic. refers not to the subject heart (which certainly was not “ bent to rise") but to the pronoun he, which lies involved in his.
Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done,]
Pleased with his guests, the good mạn learn’d to glow, | 160 And quite forgot their vices in their woe ;]
Careless their merits or their faults to scan,
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride, |
And even his failings lean'd to virtue's side ; | 165 But in his duty prompt at every call,
He watch'd] and wept,] he pray'd] and felt, for all :]
He tried each art,) reproved each dull delay,] 170 Allured to brighter worlds,] and led the way.]
Beside the bed) where parting life was laid, |
, and pain, by turns dismay'd, |
Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul ;| 175 Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise,]
And his last faltering accents whisper'd praise.
At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
Truth from bis lips prevail'd with double sway, 180 And fools,) who caine to scoff, | remain’d to pray.)
The service past, around the pious man,
And pluck'd his gown, to share the good man's smile ;] 185 His ready smile a parent's warmth express'd ; |
Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distress'd :]
157. Sorrow done-Done is here used for passed, gone by.
163. To relieve the wretched—Subj. Gr. 71. 1.
172. Construe--And where sorrow, guilt,
and pain, did dismay by turns. The object of the verb is left out, as also in lines 221 408, and often in poetry.-See note on Milton, Paradise Lost, i. 259.
[As some tall cliff] that lifts its awful form, | 190 Swells from the vale,] and midway leaves the storm,]
Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
Beside yon straggling fence) that skirts the way,
With blossom’d furze, unprofitably gay,
The village master taught his little school ;)
Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace 200 The day's disasters in his morning face;
Full well they laugh'd with counterfeited glee
Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frown'd; | 205 Yet he was kind, or) if severe in aught,]
The love) he bore to learning] was in fault ;)
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,] 210 And even the story ran | that he could gauge. |
In arguing, too, the parson own’d his skill, |
Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around ; ||
That one small head should carry all | he knew.]
199. To trace the day's disasters in his morning face-Obj. to learned. Gr. 75. 1. 4.
189. As ... head-This beautiful sentence is syntactically considered irregular; it is in technical language an anacoluthon, the end does not correspond with the begin. ning. The subject is cliff in the first part, but in the latter it is shifted to sunshine.
195. Skilled to rule-Adj. to Subj. master.
198. I knew him well, and every truant knew, sc. to be severe and stern—referring to the previous line.
208. He could write and cipher too-The Conj. that is understood. The whole is a Subs. Sent., in apposition with it involved in 'Twas ; consequently, all acting as Subj. to the Pred. “ was certain."
209. He could measure land, and calculate astronomical periods.
But past is all his fame. The very spot)
Near yonder thorn,) that lifts its head on high,
Low lies that house) where nut-brown draughts inspired, I
And news much older) than their ale) went round.)
The parlour splendours of that festive place ;
The chest, contrived a double debt to pay, 230 A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day ;
The pictures placed for ornament and use,
With aspen boughs, and flowers, and fennel, gay :) 235 While broken tea cups, wisely kept for show,
Ranged o’er the chimney, glisten'd in a row.
[Vain transitory splendours ] could not all Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall ?
Obscure it sinks, nor shall it more impart
Thither no more the peasant shall repair,