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Suspicion lurks not in her artless breast,
Such was the portrait an apostle drew,
When one that holds communion with the skies
Some seek, when queasy conscience has its qualms,
1 Like Maia's son he stood
2 gentle gales
Fanning their odoriferous wings dispense
His ghttering purse, that envy of all eyes,
But lest I seem to sin against a friend,
Unless a love of virtue light the flame. Satire is, more than those he brands, to blame ", He hides behind a magisterial air His own offences, and strips others bare, Affects indeed a most humane concern, That men, if gently tutored, will not learn, That mulish folly, not to be reclaimed By softer methods, must be made ashamed,— But (I might instance in St. Patrick's dean) Too often rails to gratify his spleen. Most satirists are indeed a public scourge; Their mildest physic is a farrier's purge; Their acrid temper turns, as soon as stirred, The milk of their good purpose all to curd. Their zeal begotten, as their works rehearse, By lean despair upon an empty purse, The wild assassins start into the street, Prepared to poignard whomsoe'er they meet. No skill in swordmanship however just, Can be secure against a madman's thrust; And even virtue, so unfairly matched, Although immortal, may be pricked or scratched. When scandal has new-minted an old lie, Or taxed invention for a fresh supply, 'Tis called a satire, and the world appears Gathering around it with erected ears; A thousand names are tossed into the crowd, Some whispered softly, and some twanged aloud, Just as the sapience of an author's brain Suggests it safe or dangerous to be plain. Strange ! how the frequent interjected dash Quickens a market and helps off the trash; The important letters that include the rest
Serve as a key to those that are suppressed:
All zeal for a reform that gives offence
No works shall find acceptance in that day
Storms but enliven its unfading green;
Exuberant is the shadow it supplies,
Its fruit on earth, its growth above the skies.
To look at Him who formed us and redeemed,
So glorious now, though once so disesteemed,
To see a God stretch forth his human hand,
To uphold the boundless scenes of his command,—
To recollect that in a form like ours
He bruised beneath his feet the infernal powers,
Captivity led captive, rose to claim
The wreath he won so dearly in our name;
That throned above all height ■ he condescends
To call the few that trust in him his friends;
That in the heaven of heavens, that space he deems
Too scanty for the exertion of his beams,
And shines, as if impatient to bestow
Life and a kingdom upon worms below;
That sight imparts a never-dying flame,
Though feeble in degree, in kind the same.
Like Him the soul thus kindled from above
Spreads wide her arms of universal love,
And still enlarged as she receives the grace,
Includes creation in her close embrace.
Behold a Christian!—and without the fires
The founder of that name alone inspires,
Though all accomplishments, all knowledge meet,
To make the shining prodigy complete,
Whoever boasts that name—behold a cheat!
Were love, in these the world's last doting years, As frequent, as the want of it appears, The churches warmed, they would no longer hold Such frozen figures, stiff as they are cold; Relenting forms would lose their power or cease, And e'en the dipped and sprinkled, live in peace: Each heart would quit its prison in the breast, And flow in free communion with the rest. The statesman skilled in projects dark and deep, Might burn his useless Machiavel, and sleep; His budget often filled, yet always poor, Might swing at ease behind his study door, No longer prey upon our annual rents, Nor scare the nation with its 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 deceived, 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 1 Paradise Lost, iii/58.
What few can learn, and all suppose they know.
Thus have I sought to grace a serious lay
Virg. Eel. 5.
Though nature weigh our talents, and dispense
To every man his modicum of sense,
And conversation in its better part
May be esteemed a gift and not an art,
Yet much depends, as in the tiller's toil,
On culture, and the sowing of the soil.
Words learned by rote a parrot may rehearse,
But talking is not always to converse,
Not more distinct from harmony divine
The constant creeking of a country sign,
As alphabets in ivory employ
Hour after hour the yet unlettered boy,
Sorting and puzzling with a deal of glee
Those seeds of science called his ABC,
So language in the mouths of the adult,
Witness its insignificant result,
Too often proves an implement of play,
A toy to sport with and pass time away.
Collect at evening what the day brought forth,
Compress the sum into its solid worth,
And if it weigh the 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 every 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 du"il>: His wise forbearance has their end in view, They fill their measure and receive their due. The heathen lawgivers of ancient days, Names almost worthy of a Christian praise.