Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

585

600

Captivity led captive, rose to claim
The wreath he won so dearly in our name;
That, throned above all height, he condescends
To call the few that trust in him his friends ;
That in the Heaven of heavens, that space he deems
Too scanty for the exertion of his beams,

590
And shines, as if impatient to bestow
Life and a kingdom upon worms below;
That sight imparts a never-dying flame,
Though feeble in degree, in kind the same.
Like Him, the soul, thus kindled from above,
Spreads wide her arms of universal love,
And, still enlarged as she receives the grace,
Includes creation in her close embrace.
Behold a Christian and without the fires
The Founder of that name alone inspires,
Though all accomplishment, all knowledge meet,
To make the shining prodigy complete,
Whoever boasts that name-behold a cheat !

Were love, in these the world's last doting years,
As frequent as the want of it appears,
The churches warm'd, they would no longer hold
Such frozen figures, stiff as they are cold ;
Relenting forms would lose their power, or cease ;
And even the dipp'd and sprinkled, live in peace;
Each heart would quit its prison in the breast,
And flow in free communion with the rest.
The statesman, skill'd in projects dark and deep,
Might burn his useless Machiavel, and sleep;
His budget, often fill’d, yet always poor,
Might swing at ease behind his study door,
No longer prey upon our annual rents,
Nor scare the nation with its big contents :

610

618

Disbanded legions freely might depart,
And slaying man would cease to be an art.
No learned disputants would take the field,
Sure not to conquer, and sure not to yield;
Both sides deceived, if rightly understood,
Pelting each other for the public good.
Did Charity prevail, the press

would

prove
A vehicle of virtue, truth, and love;
And I might spare myself the pains to show
What few can learn, and all suppose they know.

Thus have I sought to grace a serious lay
With many a wild, indeed, but flowery spray,
In hopes to gain, what else I must have lost,
The attention pleasure has so much engross'd.
But if, unhappily deceived, I dream,
And prove too weak for so divine a theme,
Let Charity forgive me a mistake
That zeal, not vanity, has chanced to make,
And

poet for his subject's sake.

630

spare the

CONVERSATION.

Nam neque me tantum venientis sibilas austri,
Nec percussa juvant fluctů tam litora, nec quæ
Saxosas inter decurrunt flumina valles.

VIRG. Ecl. 5.

THE ARGUMENT.

Conversation a gift, but dependent on culture, 1-To talk not always to con

verse, 8-Results often worthless, 15–Impure conversation reprobated, 31 -Profane swearing condemned, 55—Unprofitable debates, 81-Dogmatism and sophistry, 91--The scrupulously cautious in conversation, 119– Opposite error of positive assertion, 145—Point of honour erroneously deemed useful, 163— Duelling savage and dastardly, 171—Encounters with fists recommended in preference, 195— Tiresomeness of long tales, 203— Truthfulness enforced, 217—Judicious story-telling, 235—Smoking condemned, 245—Emphatic speakers, 269—Coxcombry of different sorts, 283

- State of health made a subject of conversation, 311–Fretful tempers, 325—Bashfulness, 347–Often the effect of vanity, 363—Its influence, 379 -The sportsman, 405— True idea of conversation, 427-Corrupted by fashion, 457-Converse on the way to Emmaus, 505—Such as God approves, 537—Divine truth the only lasting subject of conversation, 547– Objections made to it, 575—The result of ignorance, 587—Christian converse, 595—Age mellows the speech, 639—Fanaticism, 651_Communion of the good, 679—Conversation should be spontaneous, not forced, 703— True religion suspected and branded as hypocrisy, 719—Vindicated from the charge, 749—Apology for digressing, 789—The poet's ignorance of the world may have led him into error, 798—Conversation refined and purified by religion, 887.

Though Nature weigh our talents, and dispense
To every man his modicum of sense,
And Conversation, in its better part,
May be esteem'd a gift, and not an art,
Yet much depends, as in the tiller's toil,
On culture, and the sowing of the soil.
Words learn’d by rote, a parrot may rehearse,
But talking is not always to converse;
Not more distinct from harmony divine,
The constant creaking of a country sign.

YOL. I.

10

I

11

20

As alphabets in ivory employ,
Hour after hour, the yet unletter'd boy,
Sorting and puzzling with a deal of glee
Those seeds of science call'd his A BC;
So language in the mouths of the adult-
Witness its insignificant result-
Too often proves an implement of play,
A toy to sport with, and pass time away.
Collect at evening what the day brought forth,
Compress the sum into its solid worth,
And if it weigh the importance of a fly,
The scales are false, or algebra a lie.
Sacred interpreter of human thought,
How few respect or use thee as they ought !
But all shall give account of every wrong,
Who dare dishonour or defile the tongue;
Who prostitute it in the cause of vice,
Or sell their glory at a market price ;
Who vote for hire, or point it with lampoon,
The dear-bought placeman, and the cheap buffoon.

There is a prurience in the speech of some,
Wrath stays him, or else God would strike them dumb;
His wise forbearance has their end in view,
They fill their measure, and receive their due.
The heathen lawgivers of ancient days,
Names almost worthy of a Christian's praise,
Would drive them forth from the resort of men,
And shut up every satyr in his den.
Oh come not ye near innocence and truth,
Ye worms that eat into the bud of youth !
Infectious as impure, your blighting power
Taints in its rudiments the promised flower ;
Its odour perish'd and its charming hue,
Thenceforth 'tis hateful, for it smells of you.

30

40

45

50

your face

60

Not even the vigorous and headlong rage
Of adolescence or a firmer age,
Affords a plea allowable or just,
For making speech the pamperer of lust;
But when the breath of age commits the fault,
'Tis nauseous as the vapour of a vault.
So wither'd stumps disgrace the sylvan scene,
No longer fruitful, and no longer green ;
The sapless wood, divested of the bark,
Grows fungous, and takes fire at every spark.

Oaths terminate, as Paul observes, all strife-
Some men have surely then a peaceful life.
Whatever subject occupy discourse,
The feats of Vestris, or the naval force,
Asseveration blustering in
Makes contradiction such a hopeless case :
In every tale they tell, or false or true,
Well known, or such as no man ever knew,
They fix attention, heedless of your pain,
With oaths like rivets forced into the brain ;
And even when sober truth prevails throughout,
They swear it, till affirmance breeds a doubt.
A Persian, humble servant of the Sun,
Who, though devout, yet bigotry had none,
Hearing a lawyer, grave in his address,
With adjurations every word impress,
Supposed the man a bishop, or at least,
God's name so much upon his lips, a priest ;
Bow'd at the close with all his graceful airs,
And begg'd an interest in his frequent prayers.

Go, quit the rank to which ye stood preferr’d,
Henceforth associate in one common herd;
Religion, virtue, reason, common sense,
Pronounce your human form a false pretence,--

70

« ForrigeFortsett »