Tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 238 pages of information about Tales.
The ’Squire he honour’d, and for his poor part,
He hated nothing like a hollow heart: 
But ’twas a maxim he had often tried,
That right was right, and there he would abide;
He honoured learning, and he would confess
The preacher had his talents—­more or less: 
Why not agree? he thought the young divine
Had no such strictness—­they might drink and dine;
For them sufficient—­but he said before
That truth was truth, and he would drink no more.” 
   This heard the ’Squire with mix’d contempt and pain;
He fear’d the Priest this recreant sot would gain. 
The favourite Nymph, though not a convert made,
Conceived the man she scorn’d her cause would aid,
And when the spirits of her lord were low,
The lass presumed the wicked cause to show;
“It was the wretched life his Honour led,
And would draw vengeance on his guilty head;
Their loves (Heav’n knew how dreadfully distressed
The thought had made her!) were as yet unbless’d: 
And till the church had sanction’d”—­Here she saw
The wrath that forced her trembling to withdraw. 
   Add to these outward ills some inward light,
That showed him all was not correct and right: 
Though now he less indulged—­and to the poor,
From day to day, sent alms from door to door;
Though he some ease from easy virtues found,
Yet conscience told him he could not compound,
But must himself the darling sin deny,
Change the whole heart,—­but here a heavy sigh
Proclaim’d, “How vast the toil! and, ah! how weak am I!”
   James too has trouble—­he divided sees
A parish, once harmonious and at ease;
With him united are the simply meek,
The warm, the sad, the nervous, and the weak;
The rest his Uncle’s, save the few beside,
Who own no doctrine, and obey no guide;
With stragglers of each adverse camp, who lend
Their aid to both, but each in turn offend. 
   Though zealous still, yet he begins to feel
The heat too fierce that glows in vulgar zeal;
With pain he hears his simple friends relate
Their week’s experience, and their woful state;
With small temptation struggling every hour,
And bravely battling with the tempting power: 
His native sense is hurt by strange complaints
Of inward motions in these warring saints;
Who never cast on sinful bait a look,
But they perceive the devil at the hook: 
Grieved, yet compell’d to smile, he finds it hard
Against the blunders of conceit to guard;
He sighs to hear the jests his converts cause,
He cannot give their erring zeal applause;
But finds it inconsistent to condemn
The flights and follies he has nursed in them: 
These, in opposing minds, contempt produce,
Or mirth occasion, or provoke abuse;
On each momentous theme disgrace they bring,
And give to Scorn her poison and her sting.

TALE XVI.

THE CONFIDANT.

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Project Gutenberg
Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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