A just deportment, manners graced with ease, The wriggling fry soon fill the creeks around, Elegant phrase, and figure formed to please, Poisoning the waters where their swarms abound. Are qualities, that seem to comprehend

Scorned by the nobler tenants of the flood, Whatever parents, guardians, schools intend; Minnows and gudgeons gorge th' unwholsome food. Hence an unfurnished and a listless mind, The propagated myriads spread so fast, Though busy, trifling; empty, though refined; E'en Lewenhoeck himself would stand aghast, Hence all that interferes, and dares to clash Employed to calculate th' enormous sum, With indolence and luxury, is trash:

And own his crab-computing powers o'ercome. While learning, once the man's exclusive pride, Is this hyperbole? The world well known, Seems verging fast towards the female side. Your sober thoughts will hardly find it one. Learning itself, received into a mind

Fresh confidence the speculatist takes
By nature weak, or viciously inclined,
Serves but to lead philosophers astray,

From every hair-brained proselyte he makes; Where children would with ease discern the way, Till others have the soothing tale believed.

And therefore prints. Himself but half deceived, And of all arts sagacious dupes invent, To cheat themselves and gain the world's assent, As bloated spiders draw the flimsy line:

Hence comment after comment, spun as fine The worst is–Scripture warped from its intent.

Hence the same word, that bids our lusts obey, The carriage bowls along, and all are pleased

Is misapplied to sanctify their sway.
If Tom be sober, and the wheels well greased;

If stubborn Greek refuse to be his friend,
But if the roguc have gone a cup too far,
Left out his linchpin, or forgot his tar,

Hebrew or Syriac shall be forced to bend:
It suffers interruption and delay,

If languages and copies all cry, No-
And meets with hindrance in the smoothest way. Like trout pursued, the critic in despair

Somebody proved it centuries ago.
When some hypothesis, absurd and vain,
Has filled with all its fumes a critic's brain,

Darts to the mud, and finds his safety there.
The text, that sorts not with his darling whim,

Women, whom custom has forbid to fly,

The scholar's pitch (the scholar best knows why,) Though plain to others, is obscure to him.

With all the simple and unlettered poor,
The will made subject to a lawless force,

Admire his learning, and almost adore.
All is irregular and out of course;
And Judgment drunk, and bribed to lose his way, with such fine words familiar to his tongue.

Whoever errs, the priest can ne'er be wrong,
Winks hard, and talks of darkness at noonday.

Ye ladies! (for indifferent in your cause,
A critic on the sacred book should be

I should deserve to forfeit all applause,)
Candid and learned, dispassionate and free:
Free from the wayward bias bigots feel,

Whatever shocks or gives the least offence

To virtue, delicacy, truth, or sense,
From fancy's influence, and intemperate zeal:
But, above all, (or let the wretch refrain,

Try the criterion, 'tis a faithful guide,)
Nor touch the page he can not but profane,)

Nor has, nor can have, Scripture on its side. Free from the domineering power of lust;

None but an author knows an author's carer, A lewd interpreter is never just.

Or Fancy's fondness for the child she bears.
How shall I speak thee, or thy power address, Committed once into the public arms,
Thou god of our idolatry, the Press?

The baby seems to smile with added charms. By thee religion, liberty, and laws,

Like something precious ventured far from shore, Exert their influence, and advance their cause; 'Tis valued for the danger's sake the more. By thee worse plagues than Pharaoh's land befel, He views it with complacency supreme, Diffuse, make Earth the vestibule of Hell: Solicits kind attention to his dream; Thou fountain, at which drink the good and wise; And daily more enamoured of the cheat, Thou ever-bubbling spring of endless lies; Kneels, and asks heaven to bless the dear deceit. Like Eden's dread probationary tree,

So one, whose story serves at least to show Knowledge of good and evil is from thee. Men loved their own productions long ago,

No wild enthusiast ever yet could rest, Wooed an unfeeling statue for his wife, Till half mankind were like himself possessed. Nor rested till the gods had given it life. Philosophers, who darken and put out

If some mere driveller suck the sugared fib, . Eternal truth by everlasting doubt;

One that still needs his leading-string and bib, Church quacks, with passions under no command, And praise his genius, he is soon repaid Who fill the world with doctrines contraband, In praise applied to the same part-his head: Discoverers of they know not what, confined For 'tis a rule that holds for ever true, Within no bounds—the blind that lead the blind; Grant me discernment, and I grant it you. To streams of popular opinion drawn,

Patient of contradiction as a child, Deposit in those shallows all their spawn. Affable, humble, diffident, and mild;


[ocr errors]

Such was Sir Isaac, and such Boyle and Locke: Habits are soon assumed; but when we strive Your blunderer is as sturdy as a rock.

To strip them off, 'tis being flayed alive. The creature is so sure to kick and bite,

Called to the temple of impure delight, A muleteer's the man to set him right.

He that abstains, and he alone, does right. First Appetite enlists him Truth's sworn foe, If a wish wander that way, call it home; Then obstinate Self-will confirms him so. He cannot long be safe whose wishes roam. Tell him he wanders; that his error leads But, if you pass the threshold you are caught; ; To fatal ills; that, though the path he treads Die then, if power Almighty save you not. Be flowery, and he sees no cause of fear, There hardening by degrees, till double steeled, Death and the pains of hell attend him there: Take leave of nature's God, and God revealed; In tain; the slave of arrogance and pride: Then laugh at all you trembled at before; He has no hearing on the prudent side.

And, joining the free-thinker's brutal roar, . His still refuted quirks he still repeats;

Swallow the two grand nostrums they dispenseNew raised objections with new quibbles meets ; That Scripture lies, and blasphemy is sense: * Till sinking in the quicksand he defends, If clemency revolted by abuse, He dies disputing, and the contest ends- Be damnable, then damned without excuse, But not the mischiefs; they, still left behind, Some drcarn that they can silence, when they Like thistle-seeds, are sown by every wind.

will, Thus men go wrong with an ingenious skill; The storm of passion, and say, Peace, be still; Bend the straight rule to their own crooked will; But “ Thus far and no further," when addressed And with a clear and shining lamp supplied, To the wild wave, or wilder human breast, First put it out, then take it for a guide.

Implies authority that never can, Halting on crutches of unequal size,

That never ought to be the lot of man. One leg by truth supported, one by lies;

But, muse forbear; long flights forbode a fall; They sidle to the goal with awkward pace, Strike on the deep-toned chord the sum of all. Secure of nothing-but to loose the race.

Hear the just law-the judgment of the skies! Faults in the life breed errors in the brain, He that hates truth shall be the dupe of lies: And these reciprocally those again.

And he that will be cheated to the last,
The mind and conduct mutually imprint Delusions strong as Hell shall bind him fast,
And stamp their image in each other's mint: But if the wanderer his mistake discern,
Each, sire and dam, of an infernal race,

Judge his own ways, and sigh for a return,
Begetting and conceiving all that’s base.

Bewildered once, must he bewail his loss None sends his arrow to the mark in view, For ever and for ever? No the cross!" Whose hand is feeble, or his aim untrue. There and there only (though the deist rave, For though ere yet, the shaft is on the wing, And atheist, if earth bear so base a slave;) Or when it first forsakes th' elastic string, There and there only is the power to save. It err but little from the intended line,

There no delusive hope invites despair; . It falls at last far wide of his design:

No mockery meets you, no deception there. So be who seeks a mansion in the sky,

The spells and charms, that blinded you before, Must watch his purpose with a steadfast eye; All vanish there, and fascinate no more. That prize belongs to none but the sincere ; I am no preacher, let this hint sufficeThe least obliquity is fatal here.

The cross once seen is death to every vice: With cautious taste the sweet Circean cup: Else he that hung there suffered all his pain, He that sips often, at last drinks it up.

Bled, groaned, and agonized, and died, in vain.


Pensantur trutina

-Hor. Lib. ii. Epist. 1.

MAN, on the dubious waves of error tossed,
His ship half-foundered, and his compass lost,
Sees, far as human optics may command,
A sleeping fog, and fancies it dry land:
Spreads all his canvass, every sinew plies;
Pants for 't, aims at it, enters it, and dies!
Then farewell all self-satisfying schemes,
His well-built systems, philosophic dreams;

Deceitful views of future bliss farewell!
He reads his sentence at the flames of Hell.

Hard lot of man-to toil for the reward
Of virtue, and yet lose it! Wherefore hard ?
He that would win the race must guide his horse
Obedient to the customs of the course;
Else, though unequalled to the goal he flies,
A meaner than himself shall gain the prize.

Grace leads the right way; if you choose the wrong, | Not more affronted by avowed neglect,
Take it and perish; but restrain your tongue; Than by the mere dissembler's feigned respect.
Charge not, with light sufficient, and left free, What is all righteousness that men devise ?
Your wilful suicide on God's decree:

What—but a sordid bargain for the skies?
O how unlike the complex works of man, But Christ as soon would abdicate his own,
Heaven's easy, artless, un incumbered plan! As stoop from Heaven to sell the proud a throne.
No meretricious graces to beguile,

His dwelling a recess in some rude rock, No clustering ornaments to clog the pile;

Book, beads, and maple dish, his meagre stock; From ostentation as from weakness free,

In shirt of hair, and weeds of canvass, dressed, It stands like the cerulean arch we see,

Girt with a bell-rope that the pope has blessed; Majestic in its own simplicity.

Adust with stripes told out for every crime, Inscribed above the portal, from afar

And sore tormented long before his time; Conspicuous as the brightness of a star,

His prayer preferred to saints that can not aid; Legible only by the light they give,

His praise postponed, and never to be paid; Stand the soul-quick’ning wordsBelieve and live. See the sage hermit

, by mankind admired, Too many, shocked at what should charm them with all that bigotry adopts inspired, most

Wearing out life in his religious whim, Despire the plain direction, and are lost.

Till his religious whimsy wears out him. Heaven on such terns! (they cry with proud dis- His works, his abstinence, his zeal allowed, dain,)

You think him humble—God accounts him proud, Incredible, impossible, and vain!

High in demand, though lowly in pretence, Rebel, because 'tis easy to obey;

Of all his conduct this the genuine sense And scorn, for its own sake, the gracious way.

My penitential stripes, my streaming blood, These are the sober, in whose cooler brains

Have purchased Heaven and prove my title good Some thought of immortality remains;

Turn Eastward now, and Fancy shall apply The rest, too busy or too gay to wait On the sad theme, their everlasting state,

To your weak sight her telescopic eye.

The bramin kindles on his own bare head
Sport for a day, and perish in a night,
The foam upon the waters not so light.

The sacred fire, self-torturing his trade;

His voluntary pains, severe and long,
Who judged the pharisee? What odious cause

Would give a barbarous air to British song;
Exposed him to the vengeance of the laws?
Had he seduced a virgin, wronged a friend,

No grand inquisitor could worse invent,

Than he contrives to suffer, well content. • Or stabbed a man to serve some private end? Was blasphemy his sin ? Or did he stray

Which is the saintlier worthy of the two? From the strict duties of the sacred day?

Past all dispute, yon anchorite say you. . Sit long and late at the carousing board ?

Your sentence and mine differ. What's a name? (Such were the sins with which he charged his I say the bramin has the fairer claim.

If sufferings, Scripture no where recommends, No-the man's morals were exact, what then?

Devised by self to answer selfish ends, 'Twas his ambition to be seen of men;

Give saintship, then all Europe must agree His virtues were his pride ; and that one vice

Ten starveling hermits suffer less than he. * Made all his virtues gewgaws of no price;

The truth is (if the truth may, suit your car, He wore them as fine trappings for a show,

And prejudice have left a passage clear,) A praying, synagogue-frequenting benu.

Pride has attained its most luxuriant growth, The self-applauding bird, the peacock see

And poisoned every virtue in them both. Mark what a sumptuous pharisee is he! Pride may be pampered while the flesh grows lean;

Meridian sun-beams tempt him to unfold Humility may clothe an English dean; . His radiant glories, azure, green, and gold :

That grace was Cowper’s_his, confessed by all — He treads as if, some solemn music near,

Though placed in golden Durham's second stall, His measured step were governed by his ear: Not all the plenty of a bishop's board, And seems to say-Ye meaner fowl, give place,

His palace, and his lackeys, and" My Lord,” I am all splendour, dignity, and grace!

More nourish pride, that condescending vice, Not so the pheasant on his charms presumes,

Than abstinence, and beggary, and lice; Though he too has a glory in his plumes.

It thrives in misery, and abundant grows: He, Christian like, retreats with modest mien, In misery fools upon themselves impose. To the close copse, or far-sequestered green, But why before us protestants produce And shines without desiring to be seen.

An Indian mystic, or a French recluse? The plea of works, as arrogant and vain, Their sin is plain ; but what have we to fear, Heaven turns from with abhorrence and disdain ; Reformed and well instructed? You shall hear.



[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Yon ancient prude, whose withered features show The freeborn Christian has no chains to prove,
She might be young some forty years ago, Or, if a chain, the golden one of love;
Her elbows pinioned close upon her hips, No fear attends to quench his glowing fires, s
Her head erect, her fan upon her lips,

What fear he feels, his gratitude inspires.
Her eye-brows arched, her eyes both gone astray Shall he, for such deliverance freely wrought,
To watch yon amorous couple in their play; Recompense ill? He trembles at the thought,
With bony and unkerchiefed neck defies His Master's interest and his own combined,
The rule inclemency of wintry skies,

Prompt every movement of his heart and mind: And sails with lappet-head and mincing airs Thought, word, and deed his liberty evince, Duly at clink of bell to morning prayers.

His freedom is the freedom of a prince. To thrift and parsimony much inclined,

Man's obligations infinite, of course She vet allows herself that boy behind; His life should prove that he perceives their force; The shivering urchin, bending as he goes, .

His utmost he can render is but small With slipsbod heels, and dewdrop at his nose; The principle and motive all in all. His predecesser's coat advanced to wear, You have two servants—Tom, an arch, sly rogue Which future pages yet are doomed to share, From top to toe the Geta now in vogue, Cares her Bible tucked beneath his arm, Genteel in figure, easy in address, And hides his hands to keep his fingers warm. Moves without noise, and swift as an express, She, half an angel in her own account,

Reports a message with a pleasing grace, Doubts not hereafter with the saints to mount,

Expert in all the duties of his place; Though not a grace appears on strictest search,

Say, on what hinge does his obedience move? But that she fasts, and item, goes to church.

Has he a world of gratitude and love? Conscious of age, she recollects her youth,

No, not a spark—'tis all mere sharper's play; And tells, not always with an eye to truth,

He likes your house, your housemaid and your Wha spanned her waist, and who, where'er he pay;

Reduce his wages or get rid of her, came, Scrawled upon glass Miss Bridget's lovely name;

Tom quits you, with-Your most obedient, Sir. Who stole her slipper, filled it with tokay,

The dinner served, Charles takes his usual stand, And drank the little bumper every day.

Watches your eye, anticipates command; Of temper as envenomed as an asp,

Sighs if perhaps your appetite should fail; Censorious, and her every word a wasp;

And, if he but suspects a frown, turns pale;

Consults all day your interest and your ease,
In fajthful memory she records the crimes,
Or real or fictitious, of the times;

Richly rewarded if he can but please;
Laughs at the reputations she has torn,

And, proud to make his firm attachment known, And holds them dangling at arm's length in scorn.

To save your life would nobly risk his own. Such are the fruits of sanctimonious pride,

Now which stands highest in your serious thought: Of malice fed while flesh is mortified :

Charles, without doubt, say you—and so he ought; Take, Madam, the reward of all your prayers,

One act, that from a thankful heart proceeds, Where hermits and where bramins meet with Excels ten thousand mercenary deeds.

Thus Heayen approves, as honest and sincere, theirs; Your portion is with them.-Nay, never frown,

The work of generous love and filial fear; But, if you please, some fathoms lower down.

But with averted eyes th' omniscient Judge

Scorns the base hireling, and the slavish drudge. Artist attend- your brushes and your paint

Where dwell these matchless saints ?-old Curio Produce them-take a chair-now draw a saint.

cries. Oh sorrowful and sad! the streaming tears

E'en at your side, Sir, and before your eyes, Channel her cheeks—a Niobe appears !.

The favoured fewth' enthusiasts you despise. Is this a saint? Throw tints and all away- And pleased at heart, because on holy ground True piety is cheerful as the day,

Sometimes a canting hypocrite is found, Will weep indeed and heave a pitying groan

Reproach a people with his single fall, For Ghers' woes, but smiles upon her own.

And cast his filthy gariñent at them all. What purpose has the King of saints in view? Attend !—an aptsimilitude shall snow, Why falls the Gospel like a gracious dew? Whence springs the conduct that offends you so. To call up plenty from the teeming earth,

See where it smokes along the sounding plain, Or curse the desert with a tenfold dearth? Blown all aslant, a driving, dashing rain, Is it that Adam's offspring may be saved Peal upon peal redoubling all around, From servile fear, or be the more enslaved ? Shakes it again and faster to the ground; To loose the links that galled mankind before, Now flashing wide, now glancing as in play, Or bind them faster on, and add still more? Swift beyond thought the lightnings dart away.


Ere yet it came the traveller urged his steed, The Frenchman, first in literary fame,
And hurried, but with unsuccessful speed; (Mention him if you please.) Voltaire ?- The same.
Now drenched throughout, and hopeless of his case, With spirit, genius, eloquence, supplied,
He drops the rein, and leaves him to his pace. Lived long, wrote much, laughed heartily, and died.
Suppose, unlooked-for in a scene so rude, The Scripture was his jest-book, whence he drew
Long hid by interposing hill or wood,

Bon mots to gall the Christian and the Jew;
Some mansion, neat and elegantly dressed, An infidel in health, but what when sick ?
By some kind hospitable heart possessed, Oh-then a text would touch him at the quick:
Offer him warmth, security, and rest;

View him at Paris in his last career,
Think with what pleasure, safe and at his ease, Surrounding throngs the demi-god revere;
He hears the tempest howling in the trees; Exalted on his pedestal of pride,
What glowing thanks his lips and heart employ, And fumed frankincense on every side,
While danger past is turned to present joy. He begs their flattery with his latest breath,
So fares it with the sinner, when he feels

And smothered in 't at last, is praised to death. A growing dread of vengeance at his heels; Yon cottager, who weaves at her own door, His conscience, like a glassy lake before,

Pillow and bobbins all her little store; Lashed into foaming waves, begins to roar; Content though mean, and cheerful if not gay, The law grown clamorous, though silent long, Shuffling her threads about the livelong day, Arraigns him-charges him with every wrong- Just earns a scanty pittance, and at night, Asserts the rights of his offended Lord, Lies down secure, her heart and pocket light; And death or restitution is the word:

She, for her humble sphere by nature fit, The last impossible, he fears the first,

(Has little understanding, and no wit, And, having well deserved, expects the worst, Receives no praise; but, though her lot be such, Then welcome refuge, and a peaceful home; Toilsome and indigent) she renders much; Oh for a shelter from the wrath to come! Just knows, and knows no more, her Bible true Crush me, ye rocks! ye falling mountains hide, A truth the brilliant Frenchman never knew; Or bury me in ocean's angry tide.

And in that charter reads with sparkling eyes The scrutiny of those all seeing eyes

Her title to a treasure in the skies.
I dare not-And you need not, God replies; Oh happy peasant! Oh unhappy bard!
The remedy you want I freely give:

His the mere tinsel, hers the rich reward;
The Book shall teach you-read, believe, and live ! He praised perhaps for ages yet to come,
'Tis done--the raging storm is heard no more, She never heard of half a mile from home :
Mercy receives him on her peaceful shore: He lost in errors his vain heart prefers,
And Justice, guardian of the dread command, She safe in the simplicity of hers.
Drops the red vengeance from his willing hand. Not many wise, rich, noble, or profound
A soul redeemed demands á life of praise;, In science, win one inch of heavenly ground.
Hence the complexion of his future days, And is it not a mortifying thought
Hence a demeanour holy and unspecked, The poor should gain it, and the rich should not?
And the world's hatred, as its sure effect. No—the voluptuaries, who ne'er forget

Some lead a life umblameable and just, One pleasure lost, lose Heaven without regret; Their own dear virtue their unshaken trust; Regret would rouse them, and give birth to prayer; They never sin-or if (as all offend)

Prayer would add faith, and faith would fix them Some trivial slips their daily walk attend,

The poor are near at hånd, the charge is small, Not that the Former of us all, in this,
A slight gratuity atones for alle

Or aught he does, is governed by caprice;
For though the pope has lost his interest here, The supposition is replete with sin,
And pardons are not sold as once they were, And bears the brand of blasphemy burnt in.“
No papist more desirous to compound,

Not so—the silver trumpet's heavenly call
Than some grave sinners upon English ground. Sounds for the poor, but sounds alike for all:
That plea refuted,

other quirks they seek- Kings are invited, and would kings obey, Mercy is infinite, e, and man is weak;

No slaves on earth more welcome were than they : The future shall obliterate the past,

But royalty, nobility, and state,
And Heaven no doubt shall be their home at last. Are such a dead preponderating weight,

Come then-a still, small whisper in your ear- That endless bliss (how strange soe’erit seem)
He has no hope whỏ never had a fear;

In counterpoise, flies up and kicks the beam. And he that never doubted of his state,

| 'Tis open, and ye can not enter-why ? He may perhaps-perhaps he may--too late. Because ye will not, Conyers would reply

The path to bliss abounds with many a snare; And he says much that many may dispute, Learning is one, and wit, however rare.

And cavil at with ease, but none refute.





« ForrigeFortsett »