« ForrigeFortsett »
Where fails of oratory thresh the floor,
That yields them chaff and dust, and nothing more.
Thy racked inhabitants repine, complain,
Taxed till the brow of labour sweats in vain;
War lays a burthen on the reeling state,
And peace does nothing to relieve the weight;
Successive loads succeeding broils impose,
And sighing millions prophesy the close.
Is adverse providence, when pondered well,
So dimly writ, or difficult to spell,
Thou canst not read with readiness and ease "
Providence adverse in events like these?
Know then that heavenly wisdom on this ball :
Creates, gives birth to, guides, consummates all;
That, while laborious and quick-thoughted man
Snuffs up the praise of what he seems to plan,
He first conceives, then perfects his design,
As a mere instrument in hands divine:
Blind to the working of that secret porrer,
That balances the wings of every hour,
The busy trifler dreams himself alone,
Frames many a purpose, and God works his own,
States thrive or wither as moons wax and wane, ,
Even as his will and his decrees ordain;
While honour, virtue, piety bear sway,
They flourish; and as these decline, decay.
In just resentment of his injured laws,
He pours contempt on them and on their cause;
Strikes the rough thread of error right athwart
The web of every scheme they have at beart; .
Bids rottenness invade and bring to dust
The pillars of support, in which they trist,'"
And do bis errand of disgrace and shame
On the chief strength and glory of the frame..
None ever yet impeded what he wrought,
None bars him out from his most secret thought:
Darkness itself before his eye is light,
And hell's close mischief naked in his sight.
Stand now and judge thyself.—Hast thou in-
His anger, who can waste thee with a word,
Who poises and proportions sea and land,
Weighing them in the hollow of his hand,
And in whose awful sight all nations seem
As grasshoppers, as dust, a drop, a dream?
Hast thou (a sacrilege his soul abhors)
Claimed all the glory of tlıy prosperous wars?".
Proud of thy fleets and armies, stolen the geni
Of his just praise, to lavish it on them?
Hast thon not learnet, what thou art often told,
A truth still sacred, and believed of old,
That no success attends on spears and swords .
Unblest, and that the battle is the Lord's? "
That courage is his creature, and dismay
The post that at his bidding speeds away,
Ghastly in feature, and his stammering tongue,
With doleful rumour and sad presage hung,
To quell the valour of the stoutest heart,
And teach the combatant a woman's part? .
That he bids thousands fly when none pursue,
Saves as he will by many or by few,
And claims for ever, as his royal right,
The event and sure decision of the fight?'
Hast thou, though suckledatfair free.lom's breast,
Exported slavery to the conquered East,
Palled down the tyrants India served with dread,
And raised thyself, a greater in their stead?
Gone thither armed and hungry, returned full,
Fed from the richest veins of the Mogul,
A despot big with power obtained by wealth,
And that obtained by rapine and by stealth?
With Asiatic vices stored thy mind,
But left their virtues and thine own behind;
And, baving trucked thy soul, brought home the fee,
To tempt the poor to sell bimself to thee?
Hast thou by statute shoved from its design The Saviour's feast his owo blest bread and wine, And made the symbols of atoning grace An office key, a picklock to a place, That infidels may prove their title good By an oath dipped in sacramental bloodi A blot that will be still a blot, in spite Of all that grave apologists may write: And though a bishop toil to cleanse the stain, He wipes and scours the silver cup in vain. And hast thou sworn on every slight pretence, Till perjuries are coniinon as bad pence, While thousands careless of the damning sin, Kiss the book's outside, who never looked within? Hast thou, when heaven has clothed thee with
disgrace, And long provoked, repaid thee to thy face,
(For thou hast known eclipses, and endured
Dimness and anguish, all thy beams obscured,
When sin has shed dishonour on thy brow;
And never of a sabler hue than now)
Hast thou, with heart perverse and conscienceseared,
Despising all rebuke, stil persevered,
And having chosen evil, scorned the voice .
That cried, Repent!--and gloried in thy choice?
Tby fastings, when calamity at last
Suggests the expedient of a yearly fast,
What mean they? Canst thou dream there is a
In lighter diet at a later hour,
To charm to sleep the threatning of the skies,
And hide past folly from all-seeing eyes ?/
The past, that wins deliverance, and suspends
The stroke, that a vindictive God intends,
Is to renounce hypocrisy; to draw
Thy life upon the pattern of the law; .
To war with pleasure idolized before;
To vanquish lust, and wear its yoke no more.
All fasting else, whatever be the pretence,
Is wooing mercy by renewed offence.
Hast thou within thee sin, that in old time
Brought fire from heaven, the sex-abusing crime,
Whose horrid perpetration stamps disgrace,
Baboons are free from, upon human race?
Think on the fruitful and well-watered spot,
That fed the flocks and herds of wealthy Lot,
Where Paradise seemed still vouchsafed on carth,
Burning and scorched into perpetual dearth,
Or, in his words who damned the base desire,
Suffering the vengeance of eternal fire:
Then nature injured, scandalized, defiled,
Unveiled her blushing cheek, looked on,and smiled;
Beheld with joy the lovely scene defaced,
And praised the wrath, that laid her beauties waste,
Far be the thought from any verse of mine,
And farther still the formed and fixed design,
To thrust the charge of deeds, that I detest,
Against an innocent unconscious breast:
The man that dares traduce, because he can
With safety to himself, is not a man:
An individual is a sacred mark,
Not to be pierced in play, or in the dark;
But public censure speaks a public foe,
Unless a zeal for virtue guide the blow.
The priestly brotherhood, devout, sincere,
From mean self-interest and ambition clear,
Their hope in Heaven, servility their scorn,
Prompt to persuade, expostulate, and warn,
Their wisdom pure, and given them from above,
Their usefulness ensured by zeal and love,
As meek as the man Moses, and withal
As bold as in Agrippa's presence Paul,
Should fly the world's contaminating touch,
Holy and unpolluted :-are thine such ?
Except a few with Eli's spirit blest,
Hophni and Phineas may describe the rest.
Where shall a teacher look in days like these, For ears and hearts that he can hope to please ?