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Where hermits and where Brahmins meet with theirs.
Your portion is with them : nay, never frown,
But, if you please, some fathoms lower down.
Man's obligations infinite, of course
His life should prove that he perceives their force,
His utmost he can render is but small,
The principle and motive all in all.
You have two servants—Tom, an arch, sly rogue,
From top to toe the Geta now in vogue;
Genteel in figure, easy in address,
Moves without noise, and swift as an express,
Reports a message with a pleasing grace,
Expert in all the duties of his place:
Say, on what hinge does his obedience move :
Has he a world of gratitude and love?
No, not a spark—'tis all mere sharper's play;
He likes your house, your housemaid, and your pay :
Reduce his wages, or get rid of her,
Tom quits you with, Your most obedient, Sir–
The dinner served, Charles takes his usual stand,
Watches your eye, anticipates command,
Sighs if perhaps your appetite should fail,
And, if he but suspects a frown, turns pale;
Consults all day your int'rest and your ease,
Richly rewarded if he can but please,
And proud to make his firm attachment known,
To save your life would nobly risk his own.
Now, which stands highest in your serious thought?
Charles, without doubt, say you—and so he ought :
One act that from a thankful heart proceeds,
Excels ten thousand mercenary deeds.
Thus Heav'n approves, as honest and sincere,
The work of gen’rous love and filial fear,
But, with averted eyes, th' omniscient Judge
Scorns the base hireling * the slavish drudge.
The path to bliss abounds with many a snare, Learning is one, and wit, however rare: The Frenchman first in literary fame (Mention him, if you please—Woltaire? the same), With spirit, genius, eloquence supplied, Live! *g. wrote much, laugh’d heartily, and 1601.
The Scripture was his jest-book, whence he drew
Bon-mots to gall the Christian and the Jew:
An infidel in health, but what when sick?
Oh, then a text would touch him at the quick :
View him at Paris in his last career,
Surrounding throngs the demi-god revere ;
Exalted on his pedestal of pride,
And fumed with frankincense on ev'ry side,
He begs their flattery with his latest breath,
And, smother'd in't at last, is praised to death.
Yon cottager, who weaves at her own door,
Pillow and bobbins all her little store,
Content though mean, and cheerful, if not gay,
Shuffling her threads about the livelong day,
Just earns a scanty pittance, and at night
Lies down secure, her heart and pocket light;
She, for her humble sphere by nature fit,
Has little understanding, and no wit,
Receives no praise, but (though her lot be such,
Toilsome and indigent) she renders much ;
Just knows, and knows no more, her Bible true,
A truth the brilliant Frenchman never knew,
And in that charter reads with sparkling eyes
Her title to a treasure in the skies.
Oh happy peasant Oh unhappy bard
His the mere tinsel, hers the rich reward:
He praised perhaps for ages yet to come,
She never heard of half-a-mile from home ;
He, lost in errors, his vain heart prefers,
She safe in the simplicity of hers.
Not many wise, rich, noble, or profound
In science, win one inch of heav'nly ground :
And is it not a mortifying thought
The poor should gain it, and the rich should not
No—the voluptuaries, who ne'er forget
One pleasure lost, lose heav'n without regret;
Regret would rouse them and give birth to pray'r,
Pray'r would add faith, and faith would fix them there.
Envy, ye great, the dull unlettered small ;
Ye have much cause for envy—but not all ;
We boast some rich ones whom the Gospel sways,
And one that wears a coronet and prays :
Like gleanings of an olive-tree they show,
Here and there one upon the topmost bough.
How readily upon the Gospel plan,
That question has its answer—What is man
Sinful and weak, in ev'ry sense a wretch,
An instrument whose chords upon the stretch,
And strain'd to the last screw that he can bear,
Yield only discord in his Maker's ear.
But what is man in his own proud esteem :
Hear him, himself the poet and the theme;
A monarch clothed with majesty and awe,
His mind his kingdom, and his will his law,
Grace in his mien and glory in his eyes,
Supreme on earth, and worthy of the skies,
Strength in his heart, dominion in his nod,
And, thunderbolts excepted, quite a god.
So sings he, charm'd with his own mind and form,
The song magnificent, the theme a worm :
Himself so much the source of his delight,
His Maker has no beauty in his sight:
See where he sits, contemplative and fix’d,
Pleasure and wonder in his features mix’d,
His passions tamed and all at his control,
How perfect the composure of his soul
Complacency has breathed a gentle gale
O'er all his thoughts, and swell'd his easy sail :
His books well trimm'd and in the gayest style
Like regimental coxcombs, rank and file,
Adorn his intellects as well as shelves,
And teach him notions splendid as themselves:
The Bible only stands neglected there,
Though that of all most worthy of his care,
And like an infant, troublesome awake,
Is left to sleep for peace and quiet sake.
What shall the man deserve of humankind,
Whose happy skill and industry combined,
Shall prove (what argument could never yet)
The Bible an imposture and a cheat
The praises of the libertine profess'd,
The worst of men, and curses of the best.
Where should the living, weeping o'er his woes,
The dying, trembling at their awful close,
Where the betray'd, forsaken, and oppress'd,
The thousands whom the world forbids to rest,
Where should they find (those comforts at an end
The Scripture yields) or hope to find a friend ?
That field of promise, how it flings abroad
Its odour o'er the Christian's thorny road;
The soul, reposing on assured relief,
Feels herself happy amidst all her grief,
Forgets her labour as she toils along,
Weeps tears of joy, and bursts into a song.
But the same word, that like the polish'd share,
Ploughs up the roots of a believer's care,
Kills, too, the flow'ry weeds where'er they grow,
That bind the sinner's Bacchanalian brow.
Oh, that unwelcome voice of heavenly love,
Sad messenger of mercy from above,
How does it grate upon his thankless ear,
Crippling his pleasures with the cramp of fear !
His will and judgment at continual strife,
That civil war embitters all his life;
In vain he points his pow'rs against the skies,
In vain he closes or averts his eyes.
Truth will intrude—she bids him yet beware—
And shakes the sceptic in the scorner's chair.
Though various foes against the truth combine,
Pride above all opposes her design;
Pride, of a growth superior to the rest,
The subtlest serpent, with the loftiest crest,
Swells at the thought, and kindling into rage,
Would hiss the cherub Mercy from the stage.
Hear then how Mercy, slighted and defied,
Retorts th’ affront against the crown of pride.
Perish the virtue, as it ought, abhorr'd,
And the fool with it that insults his Lord.
Th' atonement a Redeemer's love has wrought
Is not for you, the righteous need it not.
Marshalling all his terrors as He came,
Thunder and earthquake and devouring flame,
From Sinai's top Jehovah gave the law,
Life for obedience, death for every flaw.
When the great Sov’reign would His will express,
He gives a perfect rule; what can He less
And guards it with a sanction as severe
As vengeance can inflict, or sinners fear :
Else His own glorious rights He would disclaim,
And man might safely trifle with His name;
He bids him glow with unremitting love
To all on earth, and to Himself above;
Condemns the injurious deed, the sland'rous tongue,