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And ask, and fancy they find blessings there ;
Themselves perhaps, when weary they retreat
T'enjoy cool nature in a country seat,
T'exchange the centre of a thousand trades,
For clumps, and lawns, and temples, and cascades,
May now and then their velvet cushions take,
And seem to pray for good example sake;
Judging, in charity no doubt, the town
Pious enough, and having need of none.
Kind souls ! to teach their tenantry to prize
What they themselves without remorse despise ;
Nor hope have they nor fear of aught to come,
As well for them had prophecy been dumb;
They could have held the conduct they pursue,
Had Paul of Tarsus lived and died a Jew;
And truth proposed to reas'ners wise as they,
Is a pearl cast-completely cast away. [sport,
They die-Death lends them, pleased and as in
All the grim honours of his ghastly court;
Far other paintings grace the chamber now,
Where late we saw the mimic landscape glow
The busy heralds hang the sable scene
With mournful 'scutcheons and dim lamps between,
Proclaim their titles to the crowd around,
But they, that wore them, moved not at the sound ;
The coronet placed idly at their head,
Adds nothing now to the degraded dead,
And ev'n the star that glitters on the bier,
Can only say, Nobility lies here.
Peace to all such—'twere pity to offend
By useless censure whom we cannot mend ;
Life without hope can close but in despair,
'Twas there we found them and must leave them there.
Yet half mankind maintain a churlish strife With Him, the donor of eternal life,
Because the deed, by which His love confirms
The largess He bestows, prescribes the terms.
Compliance with His will your lot insures,
Accept it only, and the boon is yours ;
And sure it is as kind to smile and give,
As with a frown to say, Do this and live.
Love is not pedler's trumpery, bought and sold,
He will give freely, or He will withhold,
His soul abhors a mercenary thought,
And him as deeply who abhors it not;
He stipulates indeed, but merely this,
That man will freely take an unbought bliss,
Will trust Him for a faithful genr'ous part,
Nor set a price upon a willing
Of all the ways that seem to promise fair,
To place you where His saints His presence share,
This only can—for this plain cause, express'd
In terms as plain ; Himself has shut the rest.
But oh, the strife, the bick'ring, and debate,
The tidings of unpurchased heav'n create !
The flirted fan, the bridle, and the toss,
All speakers, yet all language at a loss.
From stucco'd walls smart arguments rebound,
And beaus, adepts in ev'ry thing profound,
Die of disdain, or whistle off the sound.
Such is the clamour of rooks, daws, and kites,
Th' explosion of the levell’d tube excites,
Where mould'ring abbey walls o'erhang the glade,
And oaks coeval spread a mournful shade ;
The screaming nations hov'ring in mid air,
Loudly resent the stranger's freedom there,
And seem to warn him never to repeat
His bold intrusion on their dark retreat.
And yet our lot is giv'n us in a land Where busy arts are never at a stand,
Where science points her telescopic eye,
Familiar with the wonders of the sky,
Where bold inquiry, diving out of sight,
Brings many a precious pearl of truth to light,
Where nought eludes the persevering quest,
That fashion, taste, or luxury suggest,
But above all, in her own light array'd,
See Mercy's grand apocalypse display'd !
The sacred Book no longer suffers wrong,
Bound in the fetters of an unknown tongue,
But speaks with plainness art could never mend,
What simplest minds can soonest comprehend.
God gives the word, the preachers throng around,
Live from his lips, and spread the glorious sound:
That sound bespeaks salvation on her way,
The trumpet of a life-restoring day ;
'Tis heard where England's eastern glory shines,
And in the gulphs of her Cornubian mines.
Throughout mankind, the Christian kind at least, There dwells a consciousness in ev'ry breast, That folly ends where genuine hope begins, And he that finds his heav'n must lose his sins : Nature opposes with her utmost force This riving stroke, this ultimate divorce, And while religion seems to be her view, Hates with a deep sincerity the true ; For this of all that ever influenced man, Since Abel worshipp'd, or the world began, This only spares no lust, admits no plea, But makes him, if all, completely free, Sounds forth the signal as she mounts her car, Of an eternal, universal war, Rejects all treaty, penetrates all wiles, Scorns with the same indiff rence frowns and smiles, Drives through the realms of sin, where riot reels,
And grinds his crown beneath her burning wheels !
Hence all that is in man, pride, passion, art,
Pow'rs of the mind, and feelings of the heart,
Insensible of truth's almighty charms,
Starts at her first approach, and sounds to arms !
While Bigotry, with well-dissembled fears,
His eyes shut fast, his fingers in his ears,
Mighty to parry, and push by God's word
With senseless noise, his argument the sword,
Pretends a zeal for godliness and grace,
And spits abhorrence in the Christian's face.
Parent of hope, immortal Truth, make known
Thy deathless wreaths, and triumphs all thine own:
The silent progress of thy pow'r is such,
Thy means so feeble, and despised so much,
That few believe the wonders thou hast wrought,
And none can teach them but whom thou hast taught.
Happy the bard (if that fair name belong
To him that blends no fable with his song)
Whose lines uniting, by an honest art,
The faithful monitor's and poet's part,
Seek to delight, that they may mend mankind,
And while they captivate, inform the mind.
Still happier, if he till a thankful soil,
And fruit reward his honourable toil :
But happier far who comfort those that wait
To hear plain truth, at Judah's hallow'd gate ;
Their language simple as their manners meek,
No shining ornaments have they to seek,
Nor labour they, nor time, nor talents waste
In sorting flowers to suit a fickle taste;
But while they speak the wisdom of the skies,
Which art can only darken and disguise,
Th' abundant harvest, recompense divine,
Repays their work-the gleaning only, mine.
Quâ nihil majus meliusve terris
Fata donavere, bonique divi;
Neo dabunt, quamvis redeant in aurum
-HOR. Lib. iv. Ode i.
AIREST and foremost of the train that wait
On man's most dignified and happiest state,
Whether we name thee Charity, or love,
Chief grace below, and all in all above,
Prosper (I press thee with a pow'rful plea),
A task I venture on, impell’d by thee :
Oh, never seen but in thy blest effects,
Nor felt but in the soul that Heav'n selects,
Who seeks to praise thee, and to make thee known
To other hearts, must have thee in his own.
Come, prompt me with benevolent desires,
Teach me to kindle at thy gentle fires,
And, though disgraced and slighted, to redeem
A poet's name, by making thee the theme.
The soul, whose sight all-quick’ning grace renews,
Takes the resemblance of the good she views,
As di'monds, stripp'd of their opaque disguise,
Reflect the noonday glory of the skies.
She speaks of him, her author, guardian, friend,
Whose love knew no beginning, knows no end,
In language warm as all that love inspires,
And, in the glow of her intense desires,
Pants to communicate her noble fires.
She sees a world stark blind to what employs
Her eager thought, and feeds her flowing joys,
Though wisdom hail them, heedless of her call,
Flies to save some, and feels a paug for all :