Page images
PDF
EPUB

485

490

495

500

Grace undeservid, yet surely not for all
Some beams of rectitude she yet displays,
Some love of virtue, and some pow'r to praise ;
Can lift herself above corporeal things,
And, svaring on her own unborrow'd wings,
Possess herself of all that's good or true,
Assert the skies, and vindicate her due.
Past indiscretion is a venial crimne,
And if the youth, unmellow'd yet by time,
Bore on his branch, luxuriant then and rude,
Fruits of a blighted size, austere and crude,
Maturer

years shall happier stores produce,
And meliorate the well-concocted juice.
Then, conscious of her meritorious zeal,
To Justice she may make her bold appeal,
And leave to Mercy, with a tranquil mind,
The worthless and unfruitful of mankind.
Hear, then, how Merey, slighted and defied,
Retorts the affront against the crown of Pride.

Perish the virtue as it ought, abhorr’d,
And the fool with it who insults his Lord.
The atonement a Redeemer's love has wrought,
Is not for you—the righteous need it not
Seest thou yon harlot wooing all she meets,
The worn-out nuisance of the publick streets,
Herself from morn to night, from night to morn,
Her own abhorrence, apd as much your scorn!
The gracious show'r, unlimited and free,
Shall fall on her, when Heav'n denies it thec.
Of all that wisdom dictates, this the drift,
That man is dead in sin, and life a gift.

Is virtue, then, unless of Christian growth,
Mere fallacy, or foolishness, or both ?
Ten thousand sages lost in endless wo,
For ignorance of what they could not know?
That speech betrays at once a bigot's tongue-
Charge not a God with such outrageous wrong.
Truly not I—the partia! light men have,

505

510

515

520

[ocr errors]

My creed persuades me, well-employ'd, may save ;
While he that scorns the noonday beam, perverse,
Shall find the blessing unimprov'd, a curse.
Let heathen worthies, whose exalted mind 525
Left sensuality and dross behind,
Possess for me their undisputed lot,
And take, unenvied, the reward they sought.
But still in virtue of a Saviour's plea,
Not blind by choice, but destin'd not to see.

530
Their fortitude and wisdom were a flame
Celestial, though they knew not whence it came,
Deriv'd from the same source of light and grace,
That guides the Christian in his swifter race;
Their judge was conscience, and her rule their law;
That rule, pursued with reverence and with awe, 536
Led them however falt'ring, faint, and slow,
From what they knew, to what they wish'd to know.
But let not him, that shares a brighter day,
Traduce the splendour of a noontide ray,

540
Prefer the twilight of a darker time,
And deem his base stupidity no crime;
The wretch, who slights the bounties of the skies,
And sinks, while favour'd with the means to rise,
Shall find them rated at their full amount,

545 The good he scorn'd all carried to account.

Marshalling all his terrours as he came,
Thunder, and earthquake, and devouring flame,
From Sinai's top Jehovah gave the law,
Life for obedience, death for ev'ry flaw.

550
When the great sov'ieign would his will express,
He gives a perfect rule ; what can he less?
And guards it with a sanction as severo
As vengeance can inflict, or sinners fear ;
Else his own glorious rights he would disclaim,

555
And man might safely trifle with his name.
He bids him glow with unremitting love
To all on carth, and to himself ahove ;
Condemns th' injurious decd, the sland'rous tongue,

The thought that meditates a brother's wrong: 560
Brings not alone the more conspicuous part,
His conduct, to the test, but tries his heart.

Hark! universal nature showk and groan'd,
'Twas the last trumpet-sce the Judge enthron'd!
Rouse all your courage at your utmost need, 565
Now summon ev'ry virtue-stand and plead.
What! silent ? is your boasting heard no more?
That self-renouncing wisdom learn'd before,
Had shed immortal glories on your brow,
That all your virtues cannot purchase now.

670 All joy to the believer! He can speakTrembling, yet happy; confident, yet meek.

Since the dear hour that brought me to thy foot,
And cut up all my follies by the root,
I never trusted in an arm but thine,

575
Nor hop'd, but in thy righteousness diving :
My pray’rs and alms, imperfect and defild,
Were but the feeble efforts of a child ;
Howe'er perform’d, it was their brightest part
That they proceeded from a grateful heart ; 580
Cleans'd in thine own all-purifying blood,
Forgive their evil, and accept their good;
I cast them at thy feet-my only plea
Is what it was, dependence upon thee ;
While struggling in the vale of tears below, 585
That never fail'd, nor shall it fail me now.

Angelick gratulations rend the skies,
Pride falls unpitied, never more to rise,
Hunnility is crown'd, and Faith receive the prize.

EXPOSTULATION.

Tantane, tam patiens, nullo certamine toili
Dona sines?

VIRG.

WHY weeps the muse for England ? What appears In England's case, to move the musė to tears ? From side to side of her delightful isle Is she not cloth'd with a perpetual smile ? Can Nature add a charm, or Art confer

5 A new-found luxury not seen in her ? Where under Heav'n is pleasure more pursued, Or where does cold reflection loss intrude ? Her fields a rich expanse of wavy corn, Pour'd out from Plenty's overflowing horn; 10 Ambrosial gardens, in which art supplies The fervour and the force of Indian skies ; Her peaceful shores, where busy Commerce waits

pour his golden tide through all her gates; Whom fiery suns, that scorch the russet spice 15 Of eastern groves, and oceans floor'd with ice, Forbid in vain to push his daring way To darker climes, or climes of brighter day ; Whom the winds waft where'er the billows' roll, From the world's girdle to the frozen pole ;

2u The chariots bounding in her wheel-worn streets, Her vaults below, where ev'ry vintage meets ; Her theatres, her revels, and her sports ; I'he scenes to which not youth alune resorts.

[ocr errors]

25

30

But age, in spite of weakness and of pain,
Still haunts, in hope to dream of youth again ;
All speak her happy: let the muse look round
From east to west, no ow can be found ;
Or only what, in cottages confin'd,
Sighs unregarded to the passing wind.
Then wherefore weep for England ? What appears
In England's case, to move the muse to tears?

The prophet wept for Israel : wish'd his eyes
Were fountains fed with infinite supplies :
For Israel dwelt in robbery and wrong ;

35
There were the scorner's and the sland'rer's tongue ;
Oaths, used as playthings or convenient tools,
As interest bias'd knaves, or fashion fools;
Adult'ry, neighing at his neighbour's door ;
Oppression, lab'ring hard to grind the poor :

40 The partial balance, and deceitful weight; The treach'rous smile, a mask for secret hate ; Hypocrisy, formality in pray'r, And the dull service of the lip were there. Her women, insolent and self-caress’d,

45 By Vanity's unwearied Singer dress’d, Forgot the blush, that virgin fears impart To modest cheeks, and borrow'd one from art i Were just such trifles, without worth or use, Assilly pride and idleness oduce :

50 Curl'd, scented, furbelow'd, and flounced around, With feet too delicate to touch the ground, They stretch'd the neck, and rolld the wanton c*, And sich'd for every fool that flutter'd hy. He saw his people slaves to ev'ry lust,

55 Lewd, avaricious, arrogant, unjust: He heard the wheels of an avenging God Groan heavily along the distant road; Saw Bahylon set wide her two-leav'd brass Tɔ let the military deluge pass ;

GO Jerusalem a prey, her glory soild, Fler princes captive, and her treasure spoil'd ;

« PreviousContinue »