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THE POOR OF THE BOROUGH.
Cæpis meliùs quàm desines : ultima primis
OVID. Deianira Herculi. (1)
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that, in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. - Epistle to Timothy.
[Your last deeds differ from your first success,
Abel, a poor Man, Teacher of a School of the lower Order; is
placed in the Office of a Merchant; is alarmed by Discourses of the Clerks; unable to reply; becomes a Convert ; dresses, drinks, and ridicules his former Conduct — The Remonstrance of his Sister, a devout Maiden - Its Effect The Merchant dies — Abel returns to Poverty unpitied ; but relieved — His abject Condition - His Melancholy – He wanders about: is found — His own Account of himself, and the Revolutions in his Mind.
A QUIET, simple man was Abel Keene,
There were young clerks, and there the merchant's
son, Choice spirits all, who wish'd him to be one; It must, no question, give them lively joy, Hopes long indulged to combat and destroy ; At these they levell’d all their skill and strength, He fell not quickly, but he fell at length : They quoted books, to him both bold and new, And scorn'd as fables all he held as true;
- Such monkish stories, and such nursery lies,” That he was struck with terror and surprise.
“ What! all his life had he the laws obey'd, “ Which they broke through and were not once
afraid ? “ Had he so long his evil passions check’d, “ And yet at last had nothing to expect ? “ While they their lives in joy and pleasure led, “ And then had nothing, at the end, to dread ? “ Was all his priest with so much zeal convey'd, “ A part ! a speech ! for which the man was paid? “ And were his pious books, his solemn prayers, “ Not worth one tale of the admired Voltaire's ? “ Then was it time, while yet some years remain'd, “ To drink untroubled and to think unchain'd, “ And on all pleasures, which his purse
could give, Freely to seize, and while he lived, to live.”
Much time he pass'd in this important strife, The bliss or bane of his remaining life ; For converts all are made with care and grief, And pangs attend the birth of unbelief; Nor pass they soon ; — with awe and fear he took The flowery way, and cast back many a look.
The youths applauded much his wise design, With weighty reasoning o'er their evening wine ; And much in private 't would their mirth improve, To hear how Abel spake of life and love ; To hear him own what grievous pains it cost, Ere the old saint was in the sinner lost,