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And hold the world indebted to your aid,
665 Enrich'd with the discov'ries ye have made ; Yet let me stand excus d, if I esteem A mind employ'd on so sublime a theme, Pushing her bold inquiry to the date And outline of the present transient state, 670 And after poising her advent'rous wings, Settling at last upon eternal things, Far more intelligent, and better taught The strenuous use of profitable thought, Than ye, when happiest, and enlighten'd most, 675 And highest in renown, can justly boast.
A mind unnerv’d, or indispos'd to bear The weight of subjects worthiest of her care, Whatever hopes a change of scene inspires, Must change her nature, or in vain retires. S80 An idler is a watch that wants both hands; As useless if it goes, as when it stands. Books, therefore, not the scandal of the shelves, In which lewd sensualists print out themselves; Nor those in which the stage gives vice a blow, 685 With what success let modern manners show; Nor his, who, for the bane of thousands born, Built God a church, and laugh'd his word to scorn, Skilful alike to seem devout and just, And stab religion with a sly side-thrust;
690 Nor those of learned philologists, who chase A panting syllable through time and space, Start it at home, and hunt it in the dark, To Gaul, to Greece, and into Noah's ark; But such as learning without false pretence, 695 The friend of truth, th' associate of good sense. And such as, in the zeal of good design, Strong judgment lab'ring in the Scripture mine, All such as manly and great souls produce, Worthy to live, and of eternal use ;
700 Behold in these what leisure hours demand, Amusement and true knowledge hand in hand.
Luxury gives the mind a childish cast,
715 Should turn to writers of an abler sort, Whose wit well manag'd, and whose classick style, Give truth a lustre, and make wisdom smile. Friends, (for I cannot stint, as some have done, Too rigid in my view, that name to one ;
720 Though one, I grant it, in the gen'rous breast Will stand advanc'd a step above the rest ; Flow'rs by that name promiscuously we call, But one, tho rose, the regent of them all,) Friends, not adopted with a schoolboy's haste, 725 But chosen with a nice discerning taste, Well born, well disciplin'd, who, plac'd apart From vulgar minds, have honour much at heart, And though the world may think the ingredients add, The love of virtue, and the fear of God!
730 Such friends prevent what else would soon succeed, A temper rustick as the life we lead, And keep the polish of the manners clean, As theirs who bustle in the busiest scene; For solitude, however some may rave, -
735 Seeming a sanctuary, proves a grave, A sepulchre, in which the living lie, Where all good qualities grow sick and die.
I praise the Frenchman,* his remark was shrewd-
76C Those humours tart as wine upon the fret, Which idleness and weariness beget : These, and a thousand plagues, that haunt the breast, Fond of the phantom of an earthly rest, Divine communion chases, as the day
765 Drives to their dons th' obedient beasts of prey. See Judah's promis'd king, bereft of all, Driv'n out an exile from the face of Saul; To distant caves the lonely wand'rer flies, To seek that peace a tyrant's frown denies. Hear the sweet accents of his tuneful voice, Hear him, o'erwhelm'd with sorrow, yet rejoice ; No womanish or wailing grief has part, No, not a moment, in his royal heart ;
'Tis manly musick, such as martyrs make,
Religion does not censure or exclude
Me poetry, (or rather notes that aim
THE YEARLY DISTRESS,
TITHING TIME AT STOCK, IN ESSEX.
Verses addressed to a country clergyman, complaining
of the disagreeableness of the day annually appointed for receiving the dues at the parsonage.
COME, ponder well, for 'tis no jest,
To laugh it would be wrong,
The burden of my song.
Three quarters of the year,
When tithing time draws neai.
As one at point to die,
He heares up many a sigh.
Along the miry road,
To make their payments good.