Like a slain deer, the tumbrel brings him home,
Unmissed but by his dogs and by his groom.

Ye Clergy, while your orbit is your place,
Lights of the world, and stars of human race;
But if eccentric ye forsake your sphere,
Prodigies ominous, and view'd with fear:
The comet's baneful influence is a dream;
Yours, real and pernicious in the extreme.
What then!—are appetites and lusts laid down
With the same ease that man puts on his gown?
Will Avarice and Concupiscence give place,

Charmed by the sounds-Your Rev'rence, or Your
Grace ?

No. But his own engagement binds him fast;
Or, if it does not, brands him to the last,
What atheists call him-a designing knave,
A mere church juggler, hypocrite, and slave.
Oh, laugh or mourn with me the rueful jest,
A cassocked huntsman, and a fiddling priest!
He from Italian songsters takes his cue:
Set Paul to music, he shall quote him too.
He takes the field, the master of the pack
Cries-Well done saint! and claps him on the back.
Is this the path of sanctity? Is this

To stand a waymark in the road to bliss ?
Himself a wand'rer from the narrow way,

His silly sheep what wonder if they stray?
Go, cast your orders at your Bishop's feet,
Send your dishonoured gown to Monmouth-street!
The sacred function in your hands is made—
Sad sacrilege! no function, but a trade!

Occiduus is a pastor of renown,

When he has prayed and preached the Sabbath

[merged small][ocr errors]

With wire and catgut he concludes the day,
Quav'ring and semiquav'ring care away.
The full concerto swells upon your ear;
All elbows shake. Look in, and you
The Babylonian tyrant, with a nod,

would swear

Had summoned them to serve his golden god;
So well that thought th' employment seems to suit,
Psalt'ry, and sackbut, dulcimer and flute.

O fie! 'tis evangelical and pure :*

Observe each face, how sober and demure!

Ecstacy sets her stamp on ev'ry mien ;
Chins fall'n, and not an eye-ball to be seen.
Still I insist, though music heretofore

Has charm'd me much (not e'en Occiduus more,)
Love, joy, and peace, make harmony more meet
For Sabbath evenings, and perhaps as sweet.
Will not the sickliest sheep of ev'ry flock
Resort to this example as a rock;
There stand, and justify the foul abuse
Of Sabbath hours with plausible excuse?
If apostolic gravity be free

To play the fool on Sundays, why not we?
If he the tinkling harpsicord regards
As inoffensive, what offence in cards?
Strike up the fiddles, let us all be gay,
Laymen have leave to dance, if parsons play.
O Italy!-thy Sabbaths will be soon

Our Sabbaths, closed with mumm'ry and buffoon.
Preaching and pranks will share the motley scene,
Ours parcell❜d out, as thine have ever been,
God's worship and the mountebank between.
What says the prophet ?-Let that day be blest
With holiness and consecrated rest.

Pastime and business both it should exclude,


And bar the door the moment they intrude
Nobly distinguished above all the six

By deeds, in which the world must never mix.
Hear him again! He calls it a delight,

A day of luxury observed aright,

When the glad soul is made Heaven's welcome guest,

Sits banquetting-and God provides the feast.

But triflers are engaged and cannot come;
Their answer to the call is-Not at home.

O the dear pleasures of the velvet plain,
The painted tablets, dealt and dealt again!
Cards with what rapture, and the polished die,
The yawning chasm of indolence supply!
Then to the dance, and make the sober moon
Witness of joys that shun the sight of noon.
Blame, Cynic, if you can, quadrille or ball,
The snug close party, or the splendid hall,
Where Night, down stooping from her ebon throne,
Views constellations brighter than her own.
'Tis innocent, and harmless and refined,
The balm of care, Elysium of the mind.
Innocent! O if venerable Time

Slain at the foot of Pleasure be no crime,
Then, with his silver beard and magic wand,
Let Comus rise archbishop of the land;
Let him your rubric and your feasts prescribe,
Grand metropolitan of all the tribe.

Of manners rough, and coarse athletic cast,
The rank debauch suits Clodio's filthy taste.
Rufillus, exquisitely formed by rule,
Not, of the moral but the dancing school,
Wonders at Clodio's follies, in a tone
As tragical as others at his own.

He cannot drink five bottles, bilk the score,
Then kill a constable, and drink five more;
But he can draw a pattern, make a tart,
And has the ladies' etiquette by heart.
Go, fool; and, arm in arm with Clodio, plead
Your cause before a bar you little dread;
But know, the law that bids the drunkard die,
Is far too just to pass the trifler by.
Both baby-featured, and of infant size,

Viewed from a distance, and with heedless eyes,
Folly and Innocence are so alike,

The diff'rence, though essential, fails to strike.
Yet Folly ever has a vacant stare,

A simp❜'ring count'nance, and a trifling air;
But Innocence, sedate, serene, erect,
Delights us, by engaging our respect.
Man, Nature's guest by invitation sweet,
Receives from her both appetite and treat;
But, if he play the glutton and exceed,
His benefactress blushes at the deed;
For Nature, nice, as lib'ral to dispense,
Made nothing but a brute the slave of sense.

Daniel ate pulse by choice-example rare!

Heav'n bless'd the youth, and made him fresh and fair.

Gorgonius sits, abdominous and wan,

Like a fat squab upon a Chinese fan :
He snuffs far off th' anticipated joy;
Turtle and ven❜son all his thoughts employ :
Prepares for meals as jockeys take a sweat,
O, nauseous!-an emetic for a whet!
Will Providence o'erlook the wasted good?
Temperance were no virtue if he could.

That pleasures, therefore, or what such we call,
Are hurtful, is a truth confessed by all.

And some, that seem to threaten virtue less,
Still hurtful in th' abuse, or by th' excess.

Is man then only for his torment placed
The centre of delights he may not taste?
Like fabled Tantalus, condemned to hear
The precious stream still purling in his ear;
Lip-deep in what he longs for, and yet curst
With prohibition, and perpetual thirst?
No, wrangler-Destitute of shame and sense,
The precept that enjoins him abstinence,
Forbids him none but the licentious joy,
Whose fruit, though fair, tempts only to destroy.
Remorse, the fatal egg by Pleasure laid
In every bosom where her nest is made,
Hatch'd by the beams of truth, denies him rest,
And proves a raging scorpion in his breast.
No pleasure? Are domestic comforts dead?
Are all the nameless sweets of friendship fled?
Has time worn out, or fashion put to shame,

Good sense, good health, good conscience, and good fame ?

All these belong to virtue, and all prove

That virtue has a title to your love.

Have you no touch of pity, that the poor
Stand starved at your inhospitable door?
Or if yourself, too scantily supplied,
Need help, let honest industry provide.
Earn, if you want; if you abound, impart :
These both are pleasures to the feeling heart.
No pleasure? has some sickly eastern waste
Sent us a wind to parch us at a blast ?
Can British Paradise no scenes afford
To please her sated and indifferent lord?
Are sweet philosophy's enjoyments run
Quite to the lees? And has religion none?

« ForrigeFortsett »