He seek his proper happiness by means

That may advance, but cannot hinder thine.

Nor though he tread the secret path of life

Engage no notice, and enjoy much ease,

Account him an encumbrance on the state,

Receiving benefits, and rendering none.

His sphere though humble, if that humble sphere

Shine with his fair example, and though small

His influence, if that influence all be spent

In soothing sorrow and in quenching strife,

In aiding helpless indigence, in works

From which at least a grateful few derive

Some taste of comfort in a world of woe,

Then let the supercilious great confess

He serves his coun try; recompenses well

The state beneath the shadow of whose vine

He sits secure, and in the scale of life

Holds no ignoble, though a slighted place.

The man whose virtues are more felt than seen,

Must drop indeed the hope of public praise;

But he may boast what few that win it can,

That if his country stand not by his skill,

At least his follies have not wrought her fall.

Polite refinement offers him in vain

Her golden tube, through which a sensual world

Draws gross impurity, and likes it well,

The neat conveyance hiding all the offence.

Not that he peevishly rejects a mode

Because that world adopts it: if it bear

The stamp and clear impression of good sense,

And be not costly more than of true worth,

He puts it on, and for decorum sake

Can wear it even as gracefully as she.

She judges of refinement by the eye,

He by the test of conscience, and a heart

Not soon deceived; aware that what is base

No polish can make sterling, and that vice

Though well perfumed and elegantly dressed,

Like an unburied carcase tricked with flowers,

Is but a garnished nuisance, fitter far

For cleanly riddance than for fair attire.

So life glides smoothly and by stealth away,

More golden than that age of fabled gold

Renowned in ancient song; not vexed with care

Or stained with guilt, beneficent, approved

Of God and man, and peaceful in its end.

So glide my life away! and so at last

My share of duties decently fulfilled

May some disease, not tardy to perform

Its destined office, yet with gentle stroke,

Dismiss me weary to a safe retreat

Beneath the turf that I have often trod.

It shall not grieve me, then, that once when called

To dress a sofa with the flowers of verse,

I played awhile, obedient to the fair,

With that light task; but soon to please her more

Whom flowers alone I knew would little please,

Let fall the unfinished wreath, and roved for fruit.

Roved tar and gathered much. Some harsh, 'tis true,

Picked from the thorns and briers of reproof,

But wholesome, well-digested. Grateful some

To palates that can taste immortal truth,

Insipid else, and sure to be despised.

But all is in His hand whose praise I seek.

In vain the poet sings, and the world hears,

If he regard not, though divine the theme.

'Tis not in artful measures, in the chime

And idle tinklmg of a minstrel's lyre

To charm his ear, whose eye is on the heart,

Whose frown can disappoint the proudest strain,

Whose approbation—prosper even mine.

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WILLIAM COWPER. Olney, Nov. 6, 1784.

It is not from his form in which we trace
Strength joined with beauty, dignity with grace,
That man, the master of this globe, derives
His right of empire over all that lives.
That form indeed, the associate of a mind
Vast in its powers, ethereal in its kind,
That form, the labour of almighty skill,
Framed for the service of a free-born will,
Asserts precedence, and bespeaks control,
But borrows all its grandeur from the soul.
Hers is the state, the splendour and the throne,
An intellectual kingdom, all her own.
For her, the memory fills her ample page
With truths poured down from every distant age,
For her amasses an unbounded store,
The wisdom of great nations, now no more,


Though laden, not encumbered with her spoil,
Laborious, yet unconscious of her toil,
When copiously supplied then most enlarged,
Still to be fed, and not to be surcharged.
For her, the fancy roving unconfined,
The present muse of every pensive mind,
Works magic wonders, adds a brighter hue
To nature's scenes, than nature ever knew;
At her command, winds rise and waters roar,
Again she lays them slumbering on the shore;
With flower and fruit the wilderness supplies,
Or bids the rocks in ruder pomp arise.
For her, the judgment, umpire in the strife,
That grace and nature have to wage through life,
Quick-sighted arbiter of good and ill,
Appointed sage preceptor to the will,
Condemns, approves, and with a faithful voice
Guides the decision of a doubtful choice.

Why did the fiat of a God give birth
To yon fair sun and his attendant earth.
And when descending he resigns the skies,
Why takes the gentler moon her turn to rise,
Whom ocean feels through all his countless waves,
And owns her power on every shore he laves?
Why do the seasons still enrich the year,
Fruitful and young as in their first career?
Spring hangs her infant blossoms on the trees,
Rocked in the cradle of the western breeze;
Summer in haste the thriving charge receives
Beneath the shade of her expanded leaves,
Till autumn's fiercer heats and plenteous dews
Dye them at last in all their glowing hues ;—
'Twere wild profusion all, and bootless waste,
Power misemployed, munificence misplaced,
Had not its author dignified the plan,
And crowned it with a majesty of man.
Thus formed, thus placed, intelligent, and taught,
Look where he will, the wonders God has wrought,
The wildest scorner of his maker's laws
Finds in a sober moment time to pause,
To press the important question on his heart,
"Why formed at all, and wherefors as thou art?"
If man be what he seems, this hour a slave,
The next mere dust and ashes in the grave,
Endued with reason only to descry
His crimes and follies with an aching eye,
With passions, just that he may prove with pain
The force he spends against their fury, vain;
And if soon after having burnt by turns
With every lust with which frail nature bums,
His being end where death dissolves the bond,
The tomb take all, and all be blank beyond,

Then he, of all that nature has brought forth,
Stands self-impeached the creature of least worth,
And useless while he lives, and when he dies,
Brings into doubt the wisdom of the skies.

Truths that the learned pursue with eager thought,
Are not important always as dear-bought,
Proving at last, though told in pompous strains,
A childish waste of philosophic pains;
But truths on which depends our main concern,
That 'tis our shame and misery not to learn,
Shine by the side of every path we tread
With such a lustre, he that runs may read.
'Tis true, that if to trifle life away
Down to the sunset of their latest day,
Then perish on futurity's wide shore
Like fleeting exhalations, found no more,
Were all that heaven required of human kind,
And all the plan their destiny designed,
What none could reverence all might justly blame,
And man would breathe but for his Maker's shame.
But reason heard, and nature well perused,
At once the dreaming mind is disabused,
If all we find possessing earth, sea, air,
Reflect his attributes who placed them there,
Fulfil the purpose, and appear designed
Proofs of the wisdom of the all-seeing mind,
'Tis plain, the creature whom he chose to invest
With kingship and dominion o'er the rest,
Received his nobler nature, and was made
Fit for the power in which he stands arrayed,
That first or last, hereafter if not here,
He too might make his Author's wisdom clear,
Praise him on earth, or obstinately dumb
Suffer his justice in a world to come.
This once believed, 'twere logic misapplied
To prove a consequence by none denied.
That we are bound to cast the minds of youth
Betimes into the mould of heavenly truth,
That taught of God they may indeed be wise,
Nor ignorantly wandering miss the skies.

In early days the conscience has in most A quickness, which in later life is lost. Preserved from guilt by salutary fears, Or, guilty, soon relenting into tears. Too careless often as our years proceed, What friends we sort with, or what books we read, Our parents yet exert a prudent care To feed our infant minds with proper fare, And wisely store the nursery by degrees With wholesome learning, yet acquired with ease. Neatly secured from being soiled or torn Beneath a pane of thin translucent horn.

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