Si quid loquar audiendum. Hor. Lib. iv. Od. 2.

SING, muse (if such a theme, so dark, so long,
May find a muse to grace it with a song,)
By what unseen and unsuspected arts

The serpent Errour twines round human hearts;
Tell where she lurks, beneath what flowery shades,
That not a glimpse of genuine light pervades,
The poisonous, black, insinuating worm
Successfully conceals her loathsome form.
Take, if ye can, ye careless and supine,
Counsel and caution from a voice like mine!
Truths, that the theorist could never reach,
And observation taught me, I would teach.
Not all, whose eloquence the fancy fills,
Musical as the chime of tinkling rills,
Weak to perform, though mighty to pretend,
Can trace her mazy windings to their end;
Discern the fraud beneath the specious lure,
Prevent the danger, or prescribe the cure.
The clear harangue, and cold as it is clear,
Falls soporific on the listless ear;

Like quicksilver, the rhetoric they display
Shines as it runs, but grasp'd at slips away.
Placed for his trial on this bustling stage,
From thoughtless youth to ruminating age,
Free in his will to choose or to refuse,
Man may improve the crisis, or abuse;

Else, on the fatalist's unrighteous plan,

Say to what bar amenable were man?

With naught in charge, he could betray no trust;
And, if he fell, would fall because he must;
If Love reward him, or if Vengeance strike,
His recompence in both unjust alike.
Divine authority within his breast

Brings every thought, word, action, to the test;
Warns him or prompts, approves him or restrains,
As Reason, or as Passion, takes the reins.
Heaven from above, and Conscience from within,
Cries in his startled ear-Abstain from sin!
The world around solicits his desire,

And kindles in his soul a treacherous fire;
While, all his purposes and steps to guard,
Peace follows Virtue as its sure reward;
And Pleasure brings us surely in her train
Remorse, and Sorrow, and vindictive Pain.

Man, thus endued with an elective voice,
Must be supplied with objects of his choice;
Where'er he turns, enjoyment and delight,
Or present, or in prospect, meet his sight;
Those open on the spot their honied store;
These call him loudly to pursuit of more.
His unexhausted mine the sordid vice
Avarice shows, and virtue is the price.
Her various motives his ambition raise-
Power, pomp, and splendour, and the thirst of

There Beauty wooes him with expanded arms :
E'en Bacchanalian madness has its charms.

Nor these alone, whose pleasures less refined
Might well alarm the most unguarded mind,
Seek to supplant his inexperienced youth,
Or lead him devious from the path of truth;
Hourly allurements on his passions press,
Safe in themselves, but dangerous in the excess.
Hark! how it floats upon the dewy air!

O what a dying, dying close was there!

'Tis harmony from yon sequester'd bower, Sweet harmony, that soothes the midnight hour! Long ere the charioteer of day had run

His morning course, the enchantment was begun ; And he shall gild yon mountain's height again, Ere yet the pleasing toil becomes a pain.

Is this the rugged path, the steep ascent, That Virtue points to? Can a life thus spent Lead to the bliss she promises the wise, Detach the soul from earth, and speed her to the skies?

Ye devotees to your adored employ,

Enthusiasts, drunk with an unreal joy,
Love makes the music of the bless'd above,
Heaven's harmony is universal love;

And earthly sounds, thoughsweet and well combined,
And lenient as soft opiates to the mind,
Leave Vice and Folly unsubdued behind.

Gray dawn appears; the sportsman and his train Speckle the bosom of the distant plain;

'Tis he, the Nimrod of the neighbouring lairs;
Save that his scent is less acute than theirs,
For persevering chase, and headlong leaps,
True beagle as the staunchest hound he keeps.
Charged with the folly of his life's mad scene,
He takes offence, and wonders what you mean;
The joy the danger and the toil o'erpays-
'Tis exercise, and health, and length of days.
Again impetuous to the field he flies;

Leaps every fence but one, there falls and dies;
Like a slain deer, the tumbrel brings him home,
Unmiss'd 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,

Charm'd by the sounds-Your Reverence, or Your

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 cassock'd 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


Is this the path of sanctity? Is this
To stand a waymark in the road to bliss?
Himself a wanderer from the narrow way,
His silly sheep, what wonder if they stray?
Go, cast your orders at your bishop's feet,
Send your dishonour'd 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 pray'd and preach'd the sabbath down,
With wire and catgut he concludes the day,
Quavering and semiquavering care away.
The full concerto swells upon your ear;

All elbows shake. Look in, and you would swear
The Babylonian tyrant with a nod

Had summon'd them to serve his golden god.

So well that thought the employment seems to suit, Psaltery and sackbut, dulcimer and flute.

O fie! 'tis evangelical and pure:

Observe each face, how sober and demure!
Ecstasy sets her stamp on every mien;
Chins fallen, 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 every 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 harpsichord regards
As inoffensive, what offence in cards?
Strike up the fiddles, let us all be gay;
Laymen have leave to dance, if parsons play.
Oh Italy!-Thy sabbaths will be soon

Our sabbaths, closed with mummery 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 bless'd
With holiness and consecrated rest.

Pastime and business both it should exclude,
And bar the door the moment they intrude:
Nobly distinguish'd 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


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 polish'd 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.


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