« ForrigeFortsett »
Guns, halberts, swords, and pistols, great and small,
In starry forms dispos'd upon the wall;
We wonder, as we gazing stand below,
That brass and steel should make so fine a show;
But though we praise th' exact designer's skill,
Account them implements of mischief still.
No works shall find acceptance in that day,
Relenting forms would lose their pow'r, or cease;
And ev'n the dipp'd and sprinkled live in peace:
Each heart would quit it's 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,
Or scare the nation with it's big contents:
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 deceiv'd, 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 flow'ry spray,
In hopes to gain, what else I must have lost,
Th' attention pleasure has so much engross'd.
But if unhappily deceiv'd I dream,
And prove too weak for so divine a theme,
Let Charity forgive me a mistake,
That zeal, not vanity, has chanc'd to make,
And spare the poet for his subject's sake.
Nam neqtie me tantum vcnientis sibilus austri,
Virg. Eel. 5.
Though nature weigh our talents, and dispense
To ev'ry man his modicum of sense,
And Conversation in it's 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.
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 called his A B c;
So language in the mouths of the adult,
Witness it's insignificant result,
Toojoften proves an implement of play,
A toy to sport with, and pass time away.
Collect at ev'ning what the day brought forth,
Compress the sum into it's solid worth,
And if it weigh th' 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 ev'ry 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 law-givers of ancient days, Names almost worthy of a Christian's praise, Would drive them forth from the resort of men. And shut up ev'ry satyr in his den. O come not ye near innocence and truth, Ye worms that eat into the bud of youth! Infectious as impure, your blighting pow'r Taints in it's rudiments the promis'd flow'r, It's odour perish'd and it's charming hue, Thenceforth 'tis hateful, for it smells of you.