« PreviousContinue »
Act but an honest and a faithful part;
Compare what then thou wast with what thou art;
And God's disposing Providence confess'd,
Obduracy i. yield the rest.—
Then thou art bound to serve him, and to prove,
Hour after hour, thy gratitude and love.
* Has he not hid thee, and thy favour’d land,
For ages safe beneath his shelt’ring hand,
Giv'n thee his blessing on the clearest proof,
Bid nations leagu'd against thee stand aloof,
And charg’d Hostility and Hate to roar
Where else they would, but not upon thy shore?
His pow'r secur'd thee, when presumptuous Spain
Baptiz'd her fleet invincible in vain;
Her gloomy monarch, doubtful and resign'd
To ev’ry pang that racks an anxious mind,
Ask’d of the waves, that broke upon his coast,
What tidings? and the surge replied—All lost!
And when the Stuart leaning on the Scot,
Then too much fear'd, and now too much forgot,
Pierc’d to the very centre of the realm,
And hop'd to seize his abdicated helm,
'Twas but to prove how quickly with a frown
He that had rais’d thee could have pluck'd thee down.
Peculiar is the grace by thee possess'd,
Thy foes implacable, thy land at rest;
Thy thunders travel over earth and seas,
And all at home is pleasure, wealth, and ease.
'Tis thus, extending his tempestuous arm,
Thy Maker fills the nations with alarm,
While his own Heav'n surveys the troubled scene,
And feels no change, unshaken and serene.
Freedom, in other lands scarce known to shine,
Pours out a flood of splendour upon thine;
Thou hast as bright an int’rest in her rays
As ever Roman had in Rome's best days.
True freedom is where no restraint is known,
That Scripture, justice, and good sense disown,
Where only vice and injury are tied,
And all from shore to shore is free besibe.
Such freedom is—and Windsor's hoary tow’rs
Stood trembling at the boldness of o>
That won a nymph on that immortal plain
Like her the fabled Phoebus woo'd in vain:
He found the laurel only—happier you
Th’ unfading laurel, and the virgin too!"
w"Now j if Pleasure have a thought to spare;
If God himself be not beneath her care;
If Business, constant as the wheels of time,
Can pause an hour to read a serious rhyme;
If the new mail thy merchants now receive,
Or expectation of the next, give leave;
Oh, think! if chargeable with deep arrears
For such indulgence gilding all thy years,
How much, though long neglected, shining yet,
The beams of heav'nly truth have swell'd the debt.'
When persecuting zeal made royal sport
With tortur’d innocence in Mary’s court,
And Bonner, blithe as shepherd at a wake,
Enjoy’d the show, and danc'd about the stake;
The sacred Book, its value understood,
Receiv'd the seal of martyrdom in blood.
Those holy men, so full of truth and grace,
Seem to reflection of a diff'rent race;
Meek, modest, venerable, wise, sincere,
In such a cause they could not dare to fear;
They could not purchase earth with such a prize,
Or spare a life too short to reach the skies.
From them to thee convey’d along the tide,
Their streaming hearts pour'd freely when they died
Those truths, which neither use nor years impair,"
Invite thee, woo thee, to the bliss they share.
What dotage will not vanity maintain?
What web too weak to catch a modern brain 2
The moles and bats in full assembly find, One special search, the keen-ey’d eagle blind. And did they dream, and art thou wiser now? Prove it—if better, I submit and bow. Wisdom and goodness are twin born, one heart Must hold both sisters, never seen apart. So then—as darkness overspread the deep, Ere nature rose from her eternal sleep, And this delightful earth, and that fair sky, Leap'd out of nothing, call’d by the Most High; By such a change thy darkness is made light, Thy chaos order, and thy weakness might; And He, whose pow'r mere ... obeys, Who found thee nothing, form'd thee for his praise. To praise him is to serve him, and fulfil, Doing and suffring, his unquestion'd will; *Tis to believe what men inspir’d of old, Faithful, and faithfully inform’d, unfold; Candid and just, with no false aim in view, To take for truth what cannot but be true ; To learn in God's own school the Christian part, And bind the task assign'd thee to thine heart. Happy the man there seeking and there found, Happy the nation where such men abound. * How shall a verse impress thee? by what name Shall I adjure thee not to court thy shame 2 theirs, whose bright example unimpeach'd Directs thee to that eminence they reach'd, Heroes and worthies of days past, o, sires? Or his, who touch'd their hearts with hallow'd fires? Their names, alas! in vain reproach an age, Whom all the vanities they scorn’d engage 1 And His, that seraphs tremble at, is hung Disgracefully on ev'ry trifler's tongue, Or serves the champion in forensic war To flourish and parade with at the bar. Pleasure herself perhaps suggests a plea, If int’rest move thee, to persuade e'en thee;
By ev'ry charm that smiles upon her face,
By joys possess'd, and joys still held in chase,
If dear society be worth a thought,
And if the feast of freedom cloy thee not,
Reflect that these, and all that seems thine own,
Held by the tenure of his will alone,
Like angels in the service of their Lord,
Remain with thee, or leave thee at his word;
That gratitude and temp'rance in our use
Of what he gives, unsparing and profuse,
Secure the favour, and enhance the joy,
That thankless waste and wild abuse destroy.
But above all reflect, how cheap soe'er -
Those rights, that millions envy thee, appear,
And, though resolv'd to risk them, and swim down
The tide of pleasure, heedless of His frown,
That blessings truly sacred, and when giv'n
Mark’d with the signature and stamp of Heav'n,
The word of prophecy, those truths divine,
Which make that Heav'n, if thou desire it, thine,
Awful alternative' believ'd, belov’d,
y glory, and thy shame if unimprov’d,
re never long vouchsafd, if pushed aside
With cold disgust or philosophie pride!,
And that judicially withdrawn, disgrace,
Error and darkness occupy their place.
z_A world is up in arms, and thou, a spot
Not quickly found, if negligently sought,
Thy soul as ample as thy bounds are small,
Endur'st the brunt, and dar'st defy them all:
And wilt thou join to this bold enterprize
A bolder still, a contest with the skies?
Remember, if He guard thee and secure,
Whoe'er assails thee, thy success is sure;
But if he leave thee, though the skill and pow'r
Of nations sworn to spoil thee and devour,
Were all collected in thy single arm,
And thou couldst laugh away the fear of harm,
That strength would fail, oppos'd against the push
And feeble onset of a pigmy rush.
Say not (and if the thought of such defence
Should spring within thy bosom, drive it thence)
What nation amongst all my foes is free
From crimes as base as any charg’d on me?
Their measure fill’d, they too shall pay the debt,
Which God, though long forborne, will not forget.
But know that wrath divine, when most severe,
Makes justice still the guide of his career,
And will not punish, in one mingled crowd,
Them without light, and thee without a cloud.
Muse, hang this harp upon yon aged beech,
Still murm'ring with the solemn truths I teach;
And while at intervals a cold blast sings
Through the dry leaves, and pants upon the strings;
My soul shall sigh in secret, and lament
A nation scourg’d, yet tardy to repent.
I know the warning song is sung in vain;
That few will hear, and fewer heed the strain;
But if a sweeter voice, and one design'd
A blessing to my country and mankind,
Reclaim the wand'ring thousands, and bring home
A flock so scatter'd and so wont to roam,
Then place it once again between my knees;
The sound of truth then be sure to please;
And truth alone, where'er my life be cast,
In scenes of plenty, or the pining waste,
Shall be my chosen theme, my glory to the last.