« ForrigeFortsett »
To praise him is to serve him, and fulfil,
Doing and suff’ring, 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 affign’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 ?
By their’s whose bright example, unimpeach'd,
Directs thee to that eminence they reach'd
Heroes and worthies of days past, thy fires ?
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;
And his, that seraphs tremble at, is hung
Disgracefully on ev'ry trifier'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 pursuade ev'n 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 owo,
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 foe'er
Those rights that millions envy thee appear,
And, though resolv'd to risk them, and swin down
The tide of pleasure, heedless of his frown-
That blessings truly facred, and when giv'n
Mark'd with the signature and stamp of heav'n,
The word of prophesy, those truths divine
Which make that heav'n if thou desire it thine,
(Awful alternative ! believ'd, belov'd,
'Thy glory, and thy shame, if unimprov'd)
Are never long vouchsaf’d, if push'd aside
With cold disgust or philosophic pride ;
And that, judicially withdrawn, disgrace,
Error, and darkness, occupy their place.
A world is up in arms, and thou, a spot
Not quickly found if negligently sought,
Thy foul 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 affails 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 arm,
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 forborn, will not forgeta
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 folemn 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, fo 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.