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Thy Druids struck the well-strung harps they bore
With fingers deeply dyed in human gore,
And, while the victim slowly bled to death,
Upon the tolling chords rung out his dying breath.
Kneel now, and lay thy forehead in the dust,
Blush if thou canst, not petrified, thou must :
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 itself must yield the rest-
Then thou art bound to serve Him, and to prove
Hour after hour thy gratitude and love.
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 power mere nullity obeys,
Who found thee nothing, form’d thee for His praise.
To praise Him is to serve Him, and fulfil,
Doing and suff’ring His unquestion'd will,
'Tis to believe what men inspired of old,
Faithful and faithfully inforın’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.
But above all reflect, how cheap soe'er
Those rights that millions envy thee appear,
And though resolved to risk them, and swim down
The tide of pleasure, heedless of His frown,
That blessings truly sacred, and wben 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 ! believed, beloved,
Thy glory, and thy shame if unimproved,)
Are never long vouchsafed, if push'd aside
With cold disgust, or philosophic pride,
And that judicially withdrawn, disgrace,
Error, and darkness occupy their place.
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 charged 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,
Aud 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 scourged, 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 ore 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 will 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.
-doceas iter, et sacra ostia pandas.”
-VIRGIL, En. vi.
SK what is human life-the sage replies,
A painful passage o'er a restless flood,
A vain pursuit of fugitive false good,
A scene of fancied bliss and heartfelt care,
Closing at last in darkness and despair.-
The poor, inured to drudgery and distress,
Act without aim, think little, and feel less,
And nowhere, but in feign'd Arcadian scenes,
Taste happiness, or know what pleasure means.
Riches are pass'd away from hand to hand,
As fortune, vice, or folly may command ;
As in a dance the pair that take the lead
Turn downward and the lowest pair succeed,
So shifting and so various is the plan,
By which Heav'n rules the mix'd affairs of man;
Vicissitude wheels round the motley crowd,
The rich grow poor, the poor become purse-proud :
Bus'ness is labour, and man's weakness such,
Pleasure is labour too, and tires as much,
The very sense of it foregoes its use,
By repetition pall’d, by age obtuse,
Youth lost in dissipation, we deplore
Through life's sad remnant, what no sighs restore ;
Our years, a fruitless race without a prize,
Too many, yet too few to make us wise.
Thus things terrestrial wear a diff'rent hue,
As youth, or age persuades, and neither true;
So Flora's wreath through colour'd crystal seen,
The rose, the lily, appears blue or green.
But still th' imputed tints are those alone
The medium represents, and not their own.
To rise at noon, sit slipshod and undress’d,
To read the news, or fiddle, as seems best,
'Till half the world comes rattling at his door,
To fill the dull vacuity till four,
While conversation, an exhausted stock,
Grows drowsy as the clicking of a clock.
No need, he cries, of gravity stuffd out
With academic dignity devout,
To read wise lectures, vanity the text;
Proclaim the remedy, ye learned, next,
For truth self-evident, with pomp impress'd,
Is vanity surpassing all the rest.
That remedy, not hid in deeps profound, Yet seldom sought where only to be found, While passion turns aside from its due scopo Th' inquirer's aim, that remedy, is Hope, Life is His gift, from whom whate'er lite needs, And ev'ry good and perfect gift proceeds, Bestow'd on man, like all that we partake, Royally, freely, for His bounty sake. Transient indeed, as is the fleeting hour, And yet the seed of an immortal flow'r, Design'd in honour of His endless love, To fill with fragrance His abode above. No trifle, howsoever short it seem, And howsoever shadowy, no dream, Its value, what no thought can ascertain, Nor all an angel's eloquence explain.
Hope sets the stamp of vanity on all That men have deem'à substantial since the fall, Yet has the wondrous virtue to educe From einptiness itself a real use, And while she takes, as at a father's hand,
What health and sober appetite demand,
From fading good derives with chymic art
That lasting happiness, a thankful heart.
Hope, with uplifted foot set free from earth,
Pants for the place of her ethereal birth,
On steady wings sails through th' immense abyss,
Plucks amaranthine joys from bow'rs of bliss,
And crowns the soul, while yet a mourner here,
With wreaths like those triumphant spirits wear.
Hope, as an anchor firm and sure, holds fast
The Christian vessel, and defies the blast;
Hope ! nothing else can nourish and secure
His new-born virtues, and preserve him pure ;
Hope ! let the wretch once conscious of the joy,
Whoin now despairing agonies destroy,
Speak, for he can, and none so well as he,
What treasures centre, what delights in thee.
Had he the gems, the spices, and the land
That boasts the treasure, all at his command,
The fragrant grove, th' inestimable mine,
Were light when weigh'd against one smile of thine.
Peace be to those (such peace as earth can give)
Who live in pleasure, dead ev'n while they live,
Born capable indeed of heav'nly truth,
But down to latest age from earliest youth,
Their mind a wilderness, through want of care,
The plough of wisdom never ent’ring there.
Peace (if insensibility may claim
A right to the meek honours of her name)
To men of pedigree, their noble race
Emulous always of the nearest place
To any throne, except the throne of grace.
Let cottagers and unenlighten'd swains
Revere the laws they dream that Heav'n ordains,
Resort on Sundays to the house of pray’r,