« PreviousContinue »
She makes familiar with a heav'n unseen,
And shows him glories yet to be reveal'd.
Not Nothful he, though seeming unemploy'd,
And censur'd oft as useless. Stilleit streams
Oft water faireft meadows, and the bird
That flutters leaft, is longest on the wing.
Ak him, indeed, what trophies he has rais'd,
Or what atchievements of immortal fame
He purposes, and he fhall 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
The laurels that a Cæsar reaps are weeds.
Perhaps the self-approving haughty world,
That as she sweeps him with her whistling Glks
Scarce deigns to notice him, or if she fee
Deems him a cypher in the works of God,
Receives advantage from his noiseless hours
Of which she little dreams. Perhaps the owes
Her sunshine and her rain, her blooming spring
And plenteous harvest, to the pray'r he makes,
When, Isaac like, the folitary saint
Walks forth to meditate at even-tide,
And think on her, who thinks not for herself.
Forgive him then, thou bustler in concerns
Of little worth, and 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.
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 woe,
Then let the supercilious great confess
He ferves his country ; recompenses well
The state beneath the shadow of whose vine
He fits secure, and in the scale of life
Holds no ignoble, though a flighted 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
Hér.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
Because that world adopts it. If it bear
The stamp and clear impression of good sense,
And be not costly more than of true worth,
He puts it on, and for decorum fake
Can wear it e'en as gracefully as fhe.
She judges of refinement by the eye,
He by the test of conscience, and a heart
Not foon deceiv'd; aware that what is base
No polish can make sterling, and that vice,
Though well perfum'd and elegantly dress’d,
Like an unburied carcase trick'd with flow'rs,
Is but a garnish'd nuisance, fitter far
For cleanly riddance than for fair attire.
So life glides smoothly and by stealth away,
More golden than that age of fabled gold
Renown'd in ancient song ; not vex'd with care
Or stain'd with guilt, beneficent, approv'd
Of God and man, and peaceful in its end.
So glide my life away! and fo at last,
My share of duties decently fulfillid,
May some disease, not tardy to perform
Its destin'd office, yet with gentle stroke,
Dismiss me weary to a safe retreat
Beneath the turf that I have often trod.
It shall not grieve me, then, that once when call’d
To dress a Sofa with the flow'rs of verse,
I play'd awhile, obedient to the fair,
With that light talk ; but soon, to please her
Whom flow'rs alone I knew would little please, Let fall the unfinish'd wreath, and rov'd for fruit; Rov'd far, and gather'd much : fome harsh, 'tis
true, Pick'd from the thorns and briars of reproof, But wholesome, well-digested; grateful fome To palates that can taste immortal truth, Insipid else, and sure to be despis’d. But all is in his hand whose praise I seek. In vain the poet fings, and the world hears, If he regard not, though divine the theme. 'Tis not in artful measures, in the chime And idle tinkling of a minstrel's lyre, To charm his ear, whose eye is on the heart; Whose frown can disappoint the proudest strain, Whose approbation-profper even mine.