« ForrigeFortsett »
Without good works, whatever some may boast,
Mere folly and delusion—Sir, your toast.
My firm persuasion is, at least sometimes,
That Heav'n 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 ev'ry fear with—God is just.
But if perchance on some dull drizzling day
A thought intrude, that says, or seems to say,
If thus th' 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 Heav'n 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, ev'n because they must,
Be punish'd with perdition, who is pure?
Then theirs no doubt, as well as mine, is sure.
If sentence of eternal pain belong
To ev'ry sudden slip and transient wrong,
Then Heav'n 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 ev'ry man's performance here Is to discharge the duties of his sphere. A lawyer's dealings should be just and fair, Honesty shines with great advantage there. Fasting and pray'r 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 conceal'd. Manly deportment, gallant, easy, gay; A hand as lib'ral as the light of day. The soldier thus endow'd, who never shrinks, Nor closets up his thoughts, whate'er he thinks,
Who scorns to do an injury by stealth,
Must go to Heav'n—and I must drink his health.
Sir Smug, he cries, (for lowest at the board,
Just made fifth chaplain of his patron lord,
His shoulders witnessing by many a shrug
How much his feelings suffer'd, sat Sir Smug)
Your office is to winnow false from true;
Come, prophet, drink, and tell us, What think
Sighing and smiling as he takes his glass,
Which they that woo preferment rarely pass,
Fallible man, the churchbred youth replies,
Is still found fallible, however wise;
And diff'rmg judgments serve but to declare,
That truth lies somewhere, if we knew but where.
Of all it ever was my lot to read,
Of critics now alive, or long since dead,
The book of all the world that charm'd me most
Was, welladay, the titlepage was lost;
The writer well remarks, a heart, that knows
To take with gratitude what Heav'n bestows.
With prudence always ready at our call,
To guide our use of it, is all in all.
Doubtless it is.—To which, of my own store,
I superacid a few essentials more;
But these, excuse the liberty I take,
I wave just now, for conversation's sake.—
Spoke like an oracle, they all exclaim,
And add Right Rev'rend to Smug's honour'd name.
And yet our lot is giv'n us in a land, Where busy arts are never at a stand; Where Science points her telescopic eye, Familiar with the wonders of the sky; Where bold Inquiry, diving out of sight, Brings many a precious pearl of truth to light; Where nought eludes the persevering quest, That fashion, taste, or luxury, suggest.
But above all m her own light array'd, See Mercy's grand apocalypse display'd! The sacred book no longer suffers wrong, Bound in the fetters of an unknown tongue; But speaks with plainness, art could never mend, What simplest minds can soonest comprehend. God gives the word, the preachers throng around, Live from his lips, and spread the glorious sound: That sound bespeaks Salvation on her way, The trumpet of a life-restoring day;
Tis heard where England's eastern glory shines,
And in the gulfs of her Cornubian mines.
And still it spreads. See Germany send forth
Her sons* to pour it on the farthest north:
Fir'd with a zeal peculiar, they defy
The rage and rigour of a polar sky,
And plant successfully sweet Sharon's rose
On icy plains, and in eternal snows.
0 blest within th' enclosure of your rocks,
Not herds have ye to boast, nor bleating flocks;
No fertilizing streams your fields divide,
That show revers'd the villas on their side;
No groves have ye; no cheerful sound of bird,
Or voice of turtle, in your land is heard;
Nor grateful eglantine regales the smell
Of those, that walk at ev'ning where ye dwell:
But Winter, arm'd with terrours here unknown,
Sits absolute on his unshaken throne;
Piles up his stores amidst the frozen waste,
And bids the mountains he has built stand fast;
Beckons the legions of his storms away
From happier scenes, to make your land a prey;
* The Moravian Missionaries in Greenland. See Krantr.