« ForrigeFortsett »
That bliss, revealed in Scripture, with a glow
Bright as the covenant-ensuring bow,
Fires all his feelings with a noble scorn
Of sensual evil; and thus Hope is born.
Hope sets the stamp of vanity on all
That men have deemed substantial since the fall,
Yet has the wondrous virtue to educe
From emptiness itself a real use;
And while she takes, as at a father's hand,
What health and sober appetite demand,
From fading good derives, with chymic art,
That lasting happiness, a thankful heart.
Hope, with uplifted foot, set free from earth,
Pants for the place of her ethereal birth,
On steady wing sails through the immense abyss,
Plucks amaranthine joys from bowers of bliss,
And crowns the soul, while yet a mourner here,
With wreaths like those triumphant spirits wear.
Hope, as an anchor firm and sure, holds fast
The Christian vessel, and defies the blast.
Hope! nothing else can nourish and secure
His newborn virtues, and preserve him pure.
Hope! let the wretch once conscious of the joy,
Whom now despairing agonies destroy,
Speak, for he can, and none so well as he,
What treasures centre, what delights, in thee.
Had he the gems, the spices, and the land
That boasts the treasure, all at his command,
The fragrant grove, the inestimable mine,
Were light, when weighed against one smile of thine.
Though, clasped and cradled in his nurse's arms,
He shine with all a cherub's artless charms,
Man is the genuine offspring of revolt,
Stubborn and sturdy, a wild ass's colt;
His passions, like the watery stores that sleep
Beneath the smiling surface of the deep,
Wait but the lashes of a wintry storm
To frown and roar, and shake his feeble form.
From infancy through childhood's giddy maze,
Froward at school, and fretful in his pays,
The puny tyrant burns to subjugate
The free republic of the whip-gig state.
If one, his equal in athletic frame,
Or, more provoking still, of nobler name,
Dare step across his arbitrary views,
An Iliad, only not in verse, ensues;
The little Greeks look trembling at the scales,
Till the best tongue or heaviest hand prevails.
Now see him launched into the world at large:
In priest, supinely droning o'er his charge,
Their fleece his pillow, and his weekly drawl,
Though short, too long, the price he pays for all;
If lawyer, loud whatever cause he plead,
But proudest of the worst, if that succeed;
Perhaps a grave physician, gathering fees,
Punctually paid for lengthening out disease
NO COTTON, whose humanity sheds rays,
That make superior skill his second praise;
If arms engage him, he devotes to sport
His date of life, so likely to be short,
A soldier may be anything, if brave;
So may a tradesman, if not quite a knave.
Such stuff the world is made of; and mankind
To passion, interest, pleasure, whim, resigned,
Insist on, as if each were his own Pope,
Forgiveness, and the privilege of hope;
But Conscience, in some awful silent hour,
When captivating lusts have lost their power,
Perhaps when sickness, or some fearful dream,
Reminds him of religion, hated theme!
Starts from the down, on which she lately slept,
And tells of laws despised, at least not kept :
Shows with a pointing finger, and no noise,
A pale procession of past sinful joys,
All witnesses of blessings foully scorned,
And life abused, and not to be suborned.
"Mark these," she says; these, summoned from afar,
Begin their march to meet thee at the bar ;
There find a Judge inexorably just,
And perish there, as all presumption must."
Peace be to those (such peace as earth can give)
Who live in pleasure, dead even while they live;
Born capable indeed of heavenly truth;
But down to latest age, from earliest youth,
Their mind a wilderness through want of care,
The plough of wisdom never entering there.
Peace (if insensibility may claim
A right to the meek honours of her name)
To men of pedigree, their noble race,
Emulous always of the nearest place
To any throne, except the throne of
Let cottagers and unenlightened swains
Revere the laws they dream that heaven ordains;
Resort on Sundays to the house of prayer,
And ask, and fancy they find, blessings there;
Themselves, perhaps, when weary they retreat
To enjoy cool nature in a country seat,
To exchange the centre of a thousand trades
For clumps, and lawns, and temples, and cascades,
May now and then their velvet cushions take,
And seem, to pray, for good example' sake;
Judging, in charity no doubt, the town
Pious enough, and having need of none.
Kind souls! to teach their tenantry to prize
What they themselves, without remorse, despise:
Nor hope have they, nor fear, of aught to come,
As well for them had prophecy been dumb;
They could have held the conduct they pursue,
Had Paul of Tarsus lived and died a Jew;
And truth, proposed to reasoners wise as they,
Is a pearl cast-completely cast, away.
They die.-Death lends them, pleased, and as in sport, 260
All the grim honours of his ghastly court.
Far other paintings grace the chamber now,
Where late we saw the mimic landscape glow :
The busy heralds hang the sable scene
With mournful scutcheons, and dim lamps between ;
Proclaim their titles to the crowd around,
But they that wore them move not at the sound;
The coronet placed idly at their head
Adds nothing now to the degraded dead;
And even the star that glitters on the bier
Can only say " Nobility lies here.
Peace to all such-'twere pity to offend,
By useless censure, whom we cannot mend;
Life without hope can close but in despair;
'Twas there we found them, and must leave them there.
As when two pilgrims in a forest stray, Both may be lost, yet each in his own way; So fares it with the multitudes beguiled
In vain opinion's waste and dangerous wild;
Ten thousand rove the brakes and thorns among,
Some eastward, and some westward, and all wrong.
But here, alas! the fatal difference lies,
Each man's belief is right in his own eyes;
And he that blames what they have blindly chose,
Incurs resentment for the love he shows.
Say, botanist, within whose province fall
The cedar and the hyssop on the wall,
Of all that deck the lanes, the fields, the bowers,
What parts the kindred tribes of weeds and flowers?
Sweet scent, or lovely form, or both combined,
Distinguish every cultivated kind;
The want of both denotes a meaner breed,
And Chloe from her garland picks the weed.
Thus hopes of every sort, whatever sect
Esteem them, sow them, rear them, and protect,
If wild in nature, and not duly found,
Gethsemane ! in thy dear hallowed ground,-
That cannot bear the blaze of Scripture light,
Nor cheer the spirit, nor refresh the sight,
Nor animate the soul to Christian deeds,-
(Oh cast them from thee!) are weeds, arrant weeds,
Ethelred's house, the centre of six ways,
Diverging each from each, like equal rays,
Himself as bountiful as April rains,
Lord paramount of the surrounding plains,
Would give relief of bed and board to none
But guests that sought it in the appointed ONE :
And they might enter at his open door,
Even till his spacious hall would hold no more.
He sent a servant forth by every road,
To sound his horn, and publish it abroad,
That all might mark-knight, menial, high, and low—
An ordinance it concerned them much to know.
If after all some headstrong hardy lout
Would disobey, though sure to be shut out,
Could he with reason murmur at his case,
Himself sole author of his own disgrace?
No! the decree was just and without flaw;
And he that made had right to make the law;
His sovereign power and pleasure unrestrained,
The wrong was his who wrongfully complained.
Yet half mankind maintain a churlish strife
With Him, the Donor of eternal life,
Because the deed by which his love confirms
The largess he bestows, prescribes the terms.
Compliance with his will your lot ensures;
Accept it only, and the boon is yours.
And sure it is as kind to smile and give,
As with a frown to say, "Do this, and live."
Love is not pedler's trumpery, bought and sold :
He will give freely, or he will withhold;
His soul abhors a mercenary thought,
And him as deeply who abhors it not :
He stipulates indeed, but merely this,
That man will freely take an unbought bliss,
Will trust him for a faithful generous part,
Nor set a price upon a willing heart.
Of all the ways that seem to promise fair,
To place you where his saints his presence share,
This only can; for this plain cause, expressed
In terms as plain, Himself has shut the rest.
But oh the strife, the bickering, and debate,
The tidings of unpurchased heaven create!
The flirted fan, the bridle, and the toss,
All speakers, yet all language at a loss.
From stuccoed walls smart arguments rebound;
And beaus, adepts in every thing profound,
Die of disdain, or whistle off the sound.
Such is the clamour of rooks, daws, and kites,
The explosion of the levelled tube excites,
Where mouldering abbey walls o'erhang the glade,
And oaks coeval spread a mournful shade;
The screaming nations, hovering in mid air,
Loudly resent the stranger's freedom there,
And seem to warn him never to repeat
His bold intrusion on their dark retreat.
Adieu," Vinosa cries, ere yet he sips
The purple bumper trembling at his lips,
"Adieu to all morality, if Grace
Make works a vain ingredient in the case.
The Christian hope is-Waiter, draw the cork—
If I mistake not-Blockhead! with a fork!
Without good works, whatever some may boast,
Mere folly and delusion-Sir, your toast.
My firm persuasion is, at least sometimes,
That Heaven will weigh man's virtues and his crimes
With nice attention, in a righteous scale,
And save or damn as these or those prevail.
I plant my foot upon this ground of trust,
And silence every fear with-God is just.
But if perchance on some dull drizzling day
A thought intrude, that says, or seems to say,
If thus the important cause is to be tried,
Suppose the beam should dip on the wrong side;
I soon recover from these needless frights,
And God is merciful-sets all to rights.
Thus between justice, as my prime support,
And mercy, fled to as the last resort,
I glide and steal along with heaven in view.
And, pardon me, the bottle stands with you."
"I never will believe," the colonel cries,
"The sanguinary schemes that some devise,
Who make the good Creator on their plan
A being of less equity than man.
If appetite, or what divines call lust,
Which men comply with, even because they must,
Be punished with perdition, who is pure?
Then theirs, no doubt, as well as mine is sure.
If sentence of eternal pain belong
To every sudden slip and transient wrong,
Then Heaven enjoins the fallible and frail
A hopeless task, and damns them if they fail.
My creed (whatever some creed-makers mean
By Athanasian nonsense, or Nicene),
My creed is, He is safe that does his best,
And death's a doom sufficient for the rest."
Right," says an ensign, “and for aught I see,
Your faith and mine substantially agree;
The best of every man's performance here
Is to discharge the duties of his sphere.
A lawyer's dealing should be just and fair,
Honesty shines with great advantage there.
Fasting and prayer sit well upon a priest,
A decent caution and reserve at least.
A soldier's best is courage in the field,
With nothing here that wants to be concealed:
Manly deportment, gallant, easy, gay;
A hand as liberal as the light of day.