« PreviousContinue »
For her amafies an unbounded store,
The wisdom of great nations, now no more ;
Though laden, not incumbered 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 mure of every penfive 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 the lays them flumbering 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-fighted 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 seafons ftill 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 profufion all, and bootless waste,
Power misemployed, munificence misplaced,
Had not its author dignified the plan,
And crowned it with the 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 fober moment time to pause,
To press the important question on his heart,
“Why formed at all, and wherefore as thou art ?”
If man be what he seems, this hour a slave,
The next mere duft and ashes in the grave;
Endued with reason only to descry
His crimes and follies with an aching eye;
With paffions, juft that he may prove, with pain,
The force he spends against their fury vain ;
And if, foon after having burnt, by turns,
With every luft, with which frail nature burns,
His being end where death diffolves 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 leaft 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 ftrains, A childish waste of philofophic 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 fun-fet of their lateft day, Then perish on futurity's wide fhore Like fleeting exhalations, found no more, Were all that Heaven required of human kind, And all the plan their deftiny designed, What none could reverence all might juftly blame, And man would breathe but for his Maker's shame..
But reason heard, and nature well perused,
At once the dreaming mind is disabufed.
If all we find poffeffing earth, sea, air,
Reflect his attributes, who placed them there,
Fulfil the purpose, and appear defigned
Proofs of the wisdom of the all-feeing mind,
'Tis plain the creature, whom he chose to invest
With kingship and dominion o'er the reft,
Received his nobler nature, and was made
Fit for the power, in which he stands arrayed,
That first or laft, hereafter if not here,
He too might make his author's wisdom clear,
Praise him on earth, or obftinately 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 loft: Preserved from guilt by salutary fears, Or guilty foon 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 wifely 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,
A book (to please us at a tender age
'Tis called a book, though but a single page)
Presents the prayer the Saviour deigned to teach,
Which children use, and parfons—when they preach,
Lisping our fyllables, we scramble next
Through moral narrative, or sacred text;
And learn with wonder how this world began,
Who made,who marred, and who has ransomed, man,
Points, which unless the scripture made them plain,
The wiseft heads might agitate in vain.
O thoa, whom, borne on fancy's eager wing
Back to the season of life's happy spring,
I pleased remember, and while memory yet
Holds faft her office here, can ne'er forget;
Ingenious dreamer, in whose well-told tale
Sweet fiction and sweet truth alike prevail;
Whose humorous vein, strong sense, and simple style,
May teach the gayeft, make the graveft smile;
Witty, and well employed, and like thy Lord,
Speaking in parables his flighted word;