Page images
PDF
EPUB

Blind, and in love with darkness! yet ev’n these Worthy, compar'd with sycophants, who knee Thy name adoring, and then preach thee man! So fares thy church. But how thy church may fare The world takes little thought.' Who will may

preach, And what they will. All pastors are alike To wand'ring sheep, resolv'd to follow none. Two gods divide them all — Pleasure and Gain: For these they live, they sacrifice to these, And in their service wage perpetual war With conscience and with thee. Lustin their hearts, And mischief in their hands, they roam the earth Το

prey upon each other; stubborn, fierce, High-minded, foaming out their own disgrace. Thy prophets speak of such; and, noting down The features of the last degen'rate times, Exhibit ev'ry lineament of these. Come then, i and, added to thy many crowns, Receive yet one, as radiant as the rest,

Due to thy last and most effectual work,
Thy word fulfill'd, the conquest of a world!

He is the happy man, whose life ev'n now Shows somewhat of that happier life to come; Who, doom'd to an obscure but tranquil state, Is pleas'd with it, and, were he free to choose, Would make his fate his choice; whom peace,

the

fruit

Of virtue, and whom virtue, fruit of faith,
Prepare for happiness; bespeak him one
Content indeed to sojourn while he must
Below the skies, but having there his home.
The world o’erlooks him in her busy search
Of objects, more illustrious in her view;
And, occupied as earnestly as she,
Though more sublimely, he o'erlooks the world.
She scorns his pleasures, for she knows them not;
He seeks not her's, for he has prov'd them vain.
He cannot skim the ground like summer birds

Pursuing gilded flies; and such he deems
Her honours, her emoluments, her joys.
Therefore in contemplation is his bliss,
Whose pow'r is such, that whom she lifts from earth

She makes familiar with a heav'n unseen,

And shows him glories yet to be reveal'd.
Not slothful he, though seeming unemploy’d,

And censur'd oft as useless. Stillest streams

Oft water fairest meadows, and the bird
That flutters least is longest on the wing.
Ask him, indeed, what trophies he has rais'd,
Or what achievements of immortal fame
He

purposes, and he shall answer-None.
His warfare is within. There unfatigu'd
His fervent spirit labours. There he fights,
And there obtains fresh triumphs o'er himself,
And never with’ring wreaths, compar'd with which
The laurels that a Cæsar reaps are weeds.
Perhaps the self-approving haughty world,
That as she sweeps him with her whistling silks

Scarce deigns to notice him, or, if she see,
Deems him a cypher in the works of God, . :11
Receives advantage from his noiseless hours,
Of which she little dreams. Perhaps she owes
Her sunshine and her rain, her blooming spring
And plenteous harvest, to the pray’r he makes,
When, Isaac like, the solitary saint
Walks forth to meditate at even tide,

And think on her, who thinks not for herself. ?

1

Forgive him, then, thou bustler in concerns
Of little worth, an idler in the best,
If, author of no mischief and some good,
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 incumbrance on the state,

Receiving benefits, and rend'ring none. 75
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 wo,

[ocr errors]

Then let the supercilious great confess
He serves his country, 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 th' offence.
Not that he peevishly rejects a mode

« PreviousContinue »