Page images
PDF
EPUB

Nay, do not shudder at my tale ;
Tho'dark the shades, yet safe the vale.
This pith the best of men have trod;
And who'd decline the road to God?
On ! 'tis a glorious boon to die!
This favour can't be priz'd too high."

While thus she spoke, my looks express'el
The raptures kindling in my breast;
My soul a fix'd attention gave;
When the stern monarch of the grave,
With haughty strides approach'd :-amaz'd
I stood, and trembled as I gaz’d.
The seraph calm'd each anxious fear ; i
And kindly wip'd the falling tear ;
Then hastend with expanded wing
To meet the pale, terrific king.
But now what milder scenes arise !
The tyrant drops his hostile guise ;
He seems a youth divinely fair,
In graceful ringlets waves his hair ;
His wings their whit’ning plumes clisplay,
· His burnish'd plumes reflect the day ;
Light flows his shining azure vest,
And all the angel stands confess'd,

I view'd the change with sweet surprise ;
And, Oh! I panted for the skies :
Thank'd heav'n that e'er I drew

my

breath : And triumph'd in the thoughts of death.

COTTON. CHAPTER III.

DIDACTIC PIECES,

SECTION I.

The vanity of wealtha No more thus brooding o'er yon heap, With avarice painful vigils keep; Still unenjoy'd the present store, Still endless siglis are breath'd for more. Oh! quit the shadow, catch the prize, Which not all India's treasure buys! To purchase heav'n has gold the pow'r ? Can gold remove the mortal hour? In life can love be bought with gold ? Are friendship's pleasures to be sold? No-all that's worth a wish-a thought, Fair virtue gives unbrib'd, unbought. Cease then on trash thy hopes to bind ; Let nobler views engage thy mind. DR. JOHNSON

S.ECTION II.

Nothing formed in vain.

Let no presuming impious railer tax
Creative wisdom ; as ifaught was form’d
In vain, or not for admirable ends.
Shall little haughty ignorance pronounce
His works unwise, of which the smallest part
Exceeds the narrow vision of her mind ?
As if, upon a full-proportion'd dome,
On swelling columns heav'd, the pride of art!

A critic-fly, whose feeble ray scarce spreads
An inch around, with blind presumption bold,
Should dare to tax the structure of the whole.
And lives the

man,

whose universal eye Has

swept at once th' unbounded scheme of things ; Mark'd their dependence so, and firm accord, As with unfait'ring accent to conclude, That this availeth nought? Has any seen The mighty chain of beings, less’ning down From infinite perfection, to the brink Of dreary nothing, desolate abyss! From which astonish'd thought, recoiling, turns ? Till then alone let zealous praise ascend, And hymns of holy wonder, to that POWER, Whose wisdom shines as lovely in our minds, As on our smiling eyes his servant-sun.

THOMSON.

SECTION III.

On pride.

Of all the causes, which conspire to blind
Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind,
What the weak head with strongest bias rules,
Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools.
Whatever nature has in worth deny'd,
She gives in large recruits of needful pride ;
For, as in bodies, thus in souls, we find
What wants in blood and spirits, swell’d with wind.
Pride, where wit fails, steps in to our defence,
And fills up all the mighty void of sense.
If once right reason drives that cloud away,
Truth breaks upon us with resistless day.
Trust not yourself; but, your defects to know,
Make use of ev'ry friend--and ev'ry foe.
A little learning is a dangerous thing ;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring :
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain ;

And drinking largely sobers us again.
Fir'd at first sight with what the muse imparts,
In fearless youth we tempt the heights of arts,
While, from the bounded level of our mind,
Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind ;
But more advanc'd, behold, with strange surprise,
New distant scenes of endless science rise !
So, pleas'd at first the tow'ring Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky ;
Th’ eternal snows appear already past,
And the first clouds and mountains seem the last ;
But, those attain'd, we tremble to survey
The growing labours of the lengthen'd way :
Th' increasing prospect tires our wand'ring eyes;
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise.

POPE.

SECTION IV.

Cruelty to brutes censured.

I would not enter on my list of friends,
(Though grac'd with polish'd manners and fine sense,
Yet wanting sensibility, the man
Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.
An inadvertent step may crush the snail,
That crawls at evening in the public path ;
But he that has humanity, forewarn’d,
Will tread aside, and let the reptile live.
The creeping vermine, loathsome to the sight,
And charg'd perhaps with venom, that intrudes
A visitor unwelcome into scenes
Sacred to neatness and repose, th' alcove,
The chamber, or refectory, may die.
A necessary act incurs no blame.
Not so, when held within their proper bounds,
And guiltless of offence they range the air,
Or take their pastime in the spacious field :

There they are privileg’d. And he that hunts
Or harms them there, is guilty of a wrong ;
Disturbs th' economy of nature's realm,
Who, when she form’d, design'd them an abode.
The sum is this : if man's convenience, health,
Or safety, interfere, his rights and claims
Are paramount, and must extinguish theirs.
Else they are all the meanest things that are,
As free to live and to enjoy that life,
As God' was free to form them at the first,
Who, in his sovereign wisdom, made them all.
Ye therefore, who love mercy, teach your, sons
To love it too. The spring time of

years
Is soon dishonour'd and defil'd, in most,
By budding ills, that ask a prudent hand
To check them. But, alas! none sooner shoots,
If unrestrain'd, into luxuriant growth,
Than cruelty, most dev'lish of them all.
Mercy to him that shows it, is the rule
And righteous limitation of its act,
By which heav'n moves in pard’ning guilty man :
And he that shows none, being ripe in years,
And conscious of the outrage he commits,
Shall seek it, and not find it in his turn.

COWPER.

our

SECTION V.

A paraphrase on the latter part of the 6th chapter of

St. Matthew.

When my breast labours with oppressive care,
And o'er my cheek descends the falling tear ;
While all my warring passions are at strife,
Oh! let me listen to the words of life!
Raptures deep-felt his doctrine did impart,
And thus, he rais’d from earth the drooping heart.

“ Think not, when all your scanty stores afford,

« PreviousContinue »