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No meretricious graces to beguile,
High in demand, though lowly in pretence, No clustering ornaments to clog the pile,
Of all his conduct this the genuine sense, From ostentation as from weakness free,
My penitential stripes, my streaming blood It stands like the caerulean arch we see,
Have purchased heaven, and prove my title good. Majestic in its own simplicity.
Turn Eastward now, and fancy shall apply Inscribed above the portal, from afar
To your weak sight her telescopic eye. Conspicuous as the brightness of a star,
The Bramin kindles on his own bare head Legible only by the light they give,
The sacred fire, self-torturing his trade; Stand the soul-quickening words-BELIEVE AND LIVE. His voluntary pains, severe and long, Too many,shock’dat what should charm them most, Would give a barbarous air to British song; Despise the plain direction and are lost.
No grand inquisitor could worse invent, Heaven on such terms! they cry with proud disdain, Than he contrives to suffer, well content. Incredible, impossible, and vain !
Which is the saintlier worthy of the two ? Rebel because 'tis easy to obey,
Past all dispute, yon anchorite, say you. And scorn for its own sake the gracious way. Your sentence and mine differ. What's a name? These are the sober, in whose cooler brains I say the Bramin has the fairer claim. Some thought of immortality remains ;
If sufferings scripture nowhere recommends, The rest too busy, or too gay, to wait
Devised by self to answer selfish ends, On the sad theme, their everlasting state,
Give saintship, then all Europe must agree, Sport for a day and perish in a night,
Ten starveling hermits suffer less than he. The foam upon the waters not so light.
The truth is, (if the truth may suit your ear, Who judged the Pharisee? What odious cause And prejudice have left a passage clear) Exposed him to the vengeance of the laws ? Pride has attain'd its most luxuriant growtlı, Had he seduced a virgin, wrong’d a friend, And poison'd every virtue in them both. Or stabh'd a man to serve some private end? Pride may be pamper'd while the flesh grows lean, Was blasphemy his sin ? Or did he stray
Humility may clothe an English dean; From the strict duties of the sacred day?
That grace was Cowper's—his confess'd by all. --Sit long and late at the carousing board ?
Though placed in golden Durham's second stall. (Such were the sins with whieh he charged his Lord.) Not all the plenty of a bishop's board, No_the man's morals were exact; what then? His palace, and his lackeys, and,“ my lord!” 'Twas his ambition to be seen of men;
More nourish pride, that condescending vice, His virtues were his pride ; and that one vice Than abstinence, and beggary, and lice. Made all his virtues gewgaws of no price ;
It thrives in misery, and abundant grows He wore them as fine trappings for a show, In misery fools upon themselves impose. A praying, synagogue-frequenting beau.
But why before us Protestants produce The self-applauding bird, the peacock see,- An Indian mystic or a French recluse ? Mark what a sumptuous pharisee is he!
Their sin is plain, but what have we to fear, Meridian sun-beams tempt him to unfold
Reform'd and well instructed? You shall bear. His radiant glories, azure, green, and gold;
Yon ancient prude, whose wither'd features show He treads as if, some solemn music near,
She might be young some forty years ago,
Her eyebrows arch’d, her eyes both gone astray Not so the pheasant on his charms presumes, To watch yon amorous couple in their play, Though he too has a glory in his plumes :
With bony and unkerchief'd neck defies
Duly at clink of bell, to morning prayers.
To thrift and parsimony much inclined, Heaven turns from with abhorrence and disdain ; She yet allows herself that boy behind; Not more affronted by avow'd neglect,
The shivering urchin, bending as he goes, Than by the mere dissembler's feign’d respect. With slipshod heels, and dew-drop at his nose, What is all righteousness that men devise, His predecessor's coat advanced to wear, What, but a sordid bargain for the skies? Which future pages are yet doom'd to share, But Christ as soon would abdicate his own, Carries her bible tuck'd beneath his arm, As stoop from heaven to sell the proud a throne. And hides his hands to keep his fingers warm. His dwelling a recess in some rude rock,
She, half an angel in her own account, Book, beads, and maple dish his meagre stock, Doubts not hereafter with the saints to mount, In shirt of hair and weeds of canvass dress'd, Though not a grace appears on strictest search, Girt with a bell-rope that the pope has bless'd, But that she fasts, and item, goes to church. Adust with stripes told out for every crime, Conscious of age, she recollects her youth, And sore tormented long before his time,
And tells, not always with an eye to truth, His prayer preferr'd to saints that cannot aid, Who spann'd her waist, and who, where'er he came, His praise postponed, and never to be paid, Scrawld upon glass Miss Bridget's lovely name, See the sage hermit by mankind admired,
Who stole her slipper, fill'd it with tokay, With all that bigotry adopts, inspired,
And drank the little bumper every day. Wearing out life in his religious whim,
Of temper as envenom’d as an asp, Till his religious whimsy wears out him.
Censorious, and her every word a wasp, His works, his abstinence, his zeal allow'd,
In faithful memory she records the crimes, You think him humble--God accounts him proud; Or real or fictitious, of the times;
Laughs at the reputations she has torn,
And pleased at heart because on holy ground And holds them dangling at arm's length in scorn. Sometimes a canting hypocrite is found,
Such are the fruits of sanctimonious pride, Reproach a people with his single fall, Of malice fed while flesh is mortified.
And cast his filthy raiment at them all. Take, madam, the reward of all your prayers, Attend,-an apt similitude shall show, Where hermits andwhere Bramins meet with theirs! Whence springs the conduct that offends you so. Your portion is with them: nay, never frown, See where it smokes along the sounding plain, But, if you please, some fathoms lower down. Blown all aslant, a driving dashing rain,
Artist, attend!--your brushes and your paint- Peal upon peal redoubling all around, Produce them--take a chair,--now draw a saint. Shakes it again and faster to the ground; Oh sorrowful and sad! the streaming tears Now flashing wide, now glancing as in play, Channel her cheeks,-a Niobe appears.
Swift beyond thought the lightnings dart away ; Is this a saint? Throw tints and all away!
Ere yet it came the traveller urged his steed, True piety is cheerful as the day,
And hurried, but with unsuccessful speed ; Will weep indeed and heave a pitying groan Now drench'd throughout, and hopeless of his For others' woes, but smiles upon her own.
case, What purpose has the King of Saints in view He drops the rein, and leaves him to his pace; Why falls the gospel like a gracious dew?
Suppose, unlook'd for in a scene so rude, To call up plenty from the teeming earth,
Long hid by interposing hill or wood, Or curse the desert with a tenfold dearth?
Some mansion neat and elegantly dress’d, Is it that Adam's offspring may be saved
By some kind hospitable heart possess’d, From servile fear, or be the more enslaved? Offer him warmth, security and rest ; To loose the links that gall’d mankind before, Think with what pleasure, safe and at his ease, Or bind them faster on, and add still more? He hears the tempest howling in the trees, The freeborn Christian has no chains to prove, What glowing thanks his lips and heart employ, Or if a chain, the golden one of love ;
While danger past is turn’d to present joy. No fear attends to quench his glowing fires, So fares it with the sinner when he feels What fear he feels his gratitude inspires.
A growing dread of vengeance at his heels ; Shall he for such deliverance freely wrought, His conscience, like a glassy lake before, Recompense ill? He trembles at the thought : Lash'd into foaming waves begins to roar ; His master's interest and his own combined, The law grown clamorous, though silent long, Prompt every movement of his heart and mind; Arraigns him, charges him with every wrong, Thought, word, and deed, his liberty evince, Asserts the rights of his offended Lord, His freedom is the freedom of a prince.
And death or restitution is the word ; Man's obligations infinite, of course
The last impossible, he fears the first, His life should prove that he perceives their force; And having well deserved, expects the worst. His utmost he can render is but small,
Then welcome refuge, and a peaceful home ; The principle and motive all in all.
Oh for a shelter from the wrath to come! You have two servants,– Tom, an arch sly rogue, Crush me, ye rocks, ye falling mountains, hide, From top to toe the Geta now in vogue ;
Or bury me in ocean’s angry tide ! Genteel in figure, easy in address,
The scrutiny of those all-seeing eyes Moves without noise, and swift as an express, I dare not-And you need not, God replies : Reports a message with a pleasing grace,
The remedy you want I freely give ; Expert in all the duties of his place :
The book shall teach you, read, believe and live! Say, on what hinge does his obedience move ? 'Tis done--the raging storm is heard no more, Has he a world of gratitude and love?
Mercy receives hiin on her peaceful shore, No, not a spark,—’tis all mere sharper's play ; And Justice, guardian of the dread command, He likes your house, your housemaid, and your pay; Drops the red vengeance from his willing hand. Reduce his wages, or get rid of her,
A soul redeem'd demands a life of praise ;
The dinner served, Charles takes his usual stand, Hence a demeanour holy and unspeck’d,
And the world's hatred, as its sure effect.
Some lead a life unblameable and just, And if he but suspects a frown, turns pale ; Their own dear virtue their unshaken trust. Consults all day your interest and your ease, They never sin,-or if (as all offend) Richly rewarded if he can but please,
Some trivial slips their daily walk attend, And proud to make his firm attachment known, The poor are near at hand, the charge is small, To save your life would nobly risk his own. A slight gratuity atones for all ; Now, which stands highest in your serious thought ? For though the pope has lost his interest here, Charles, without doubt, say you,—and so he ought; And pardons are not sold as once they were, One act that from a thankful heart proceeds, No papist more desirous to compound, Excels ten thousand mercenary deeds.
Than some grave sinners upon English ground. Thus Heaven approves as honest and sincere, That plea refuted, other quirks they seek : The work of generous love and filial fear;
Mercy is infinite and man is weak; But with averted eyes the omniscient Judge The future shall obliterate the past, Scorns the base hireling and the slavish drudge. And heaven no doubt shall be their home at last. Where dwell these matchless saints ? old Curio Come then,-a still small whisper in your ear,
He has no hope that never had a fear ; Even at your side, sir, and before your eyes,
And he that never doubted of his state, The favour'd few, the enthusiasts you despise ; He may perhaps-perhaps he may—too late.
The path to bliss abounds with many a snare,- They, strangers to the controversial field, Learning is one, and wit, however rare :
Where deists always foild, yet scorn to yield, The Frenchman first in literary fame,
And never check'd by what impedes the wise, (Mention him, if you please-Voltaire? The same) Believe, rush forward, and possess the prize. With spirit, genius, eloquence supplied,
Envy, ye great, the dull unletter'd small, Lived long, wrote much, laugh'd heartily, and died: Ye have much cause for envy—but not all ; The scripture was his jest-book, whence he drew We boast some rich ones whom the gospel sways, Bon mots to gall the Christian and the Jew: And one that wears a coronet and prays ; An infidel in health, but what when sick?
Like gleanings of an olive-tree they show, Oh, then a text would touch him at the quick. Here and there one upon the topmost bough. View him at Paris in his last career :
How readily, upon the gospel plan Surrounding throngs the demigod revere,
That question has its answer,—what is man? Exalted on his pedestal of pride,
Sinful and weak, in every sense a wretch ; And fumed with frankincense on every side, An instrument whose chords, upon the stretch He begs their flattery with his latest breath, And strain’d to the last screw that he can bear, And smother'd in't at last, is praised to death. Yield only discord in his Maker's ear:
Yon cottager who weaves at her own door, Once the blest residence of truth divine, Pillow and bobbins all her little store,
Glorious as Solyma's interior shrine,
But made long since, like Babylon of old,
And she once mistress of the realms around,
Now scatter'd wide and nowhere to be found, Receives no praise, but (though her lot be such, As soon shall rise and reascend the throne, Toilsome and indigent) she renders much ; By native power and energy her own, Just knows, and knows no more, her bible true, As Nature, at her own peculiar cost, A truth the brilliant Frenchman never knew, Restore to man the glories he has lost. And in that charter reads, with sparkling eyes,
Go bid the winter cease to chill the year, Her title to a treasure in the skies.
Replace the wandering comet in his sphere, O happy peasant ! O unhappy bard!
Then boast (but wait for that unhoped for hour) His the mere tinsel, hers the rich reward; The self-restoring arm of human power ! He praised perhaps for ages yet to come,
But what is man in his own proud esteem ? She never heard of half a mile from home; Hear him, himself the poet and the theme : He lost in errors his vain heart prefers,
A monarch clothed with majesty and awe,
His mind his kingdom, and his will his law ;
Strength in his heart, dominion in his nod,
So sings he, charm’d with his own mind and form, One pleasure lost, lose heaven without regret ; The song magnificent, the theme a worm ! Regret would rouse them and give birth to prayer, Himself so much the source of his delight, Prayer would add faith, and faith would fix them His Maker has no beauty in his sight.
Not that the Former of us all in this, [there. See where he sits contemplative and fix'd, Or aught he does, is govern’d by caprice ;
Pleasure and wonder in his features mix'd : The supposition is replete with sin,
His passions tamed and all at his control, And bears the brand of blasphemy burnt in. How perfect the composure of his soul ! Not so ;-the silver trumpet's heavenly call Complacency has breathed a gentle gale Sounds for the poor, but sounds alike for all ; O’er all his thoughts, and swell’d his easy sail. Kings are invited, and would kings obey,
His books well trimm'd and in the gayest style, No slaves on earth more welcome were than they: Like regimented coxcombs rank and file, But royalty, nobility, and state,
Adorn his intellects as well as shelves, Are such a dead preponderating weight,
And teach him notions splendid as themselves : That endless bliss (how strange soe'er it seem) The Bible only stands neglected there, In counterpoise, flies up and kicks the beam. Though that of all most worthy of his care ; *Tis open and ye cannot enter ;-why ?
And, like an infant, troublesome awake, Because ye will not, Conyers would reply ;- Is left to sleep for peace and quiet sake. And he says much that many may dispute
What shall the man deserve of humankind, And cavil at with ease, but none refute.
Whose happy skill and industry combined Oh bless'd effect of penury and want,
Shall prove (what argument could never yet) The seed sown there, how vigorous is the plant ! The Bible an imposture and a cheat ? No soil like poverty for growth divine,
The praises of the libertine profess'd, As leanest land supplies the richest wine.
The worst of men, and curses of the best. Earth gives too little, giving only bread,
Where should the living, weeping o'er his woes, To nourish pride or turn the weakest head : The dying, trembling at the awful close, To them, the sounding jargon of the schools Where the betray'd, forsaken, and oppress'd, Seems what it is, a cap and bells for fools : The thousands whom the world forbids to rest, The light they walk by, kindled from above, Where should they find (those comforts at an end Shows them the shortest way to life and love : The Scripture yields) or hope to find, a friend?
Sorrow might muse herself to madness then, The gracious shower, unlimited and free,
Shall fall on her, when Heaven denies it thee. Bury herself in solitude profound,
Of all that wisdom dictates, this the drift, Grow frantic with her pangs, and bite the ground. That man is dead in sin, and life a gift. Thus often Unbelief, grown sick of life,
Is virtue then, unless of Christian growth, Flies to the tempting pool, or felon knife;
Mere fallacy, or foolishness, or both ? The jury meet, the coroner is short,
Ten thousand sages lost in endless woe, And lunacy the verdict of the court :
For ignorance of what they could not know ? Reverse the sentence, let the truth be known, That speech betrays at once a bigot's tongue; Such lunacy is ignorance alone.
Charge not a God with such outrageous wrong! They knew not, what some bishops may not know, Truly not 1.- The partial light men have, That Scripture is the only cure of woe :
My creed persuades me, well employ'd may save ; That field of promise, how it Aings abroad
While he that scorns the noonday beam, perverse, Its odour o'er the Christian's thorny road!
Shall find the blessing unimproved a curse. The soul, reposing on assured relief,
Let heathen worthies, whose exalted mind Feels herself happy amidst all her grief,
Left sensuality and dross behind,
Possess for me their undisputed lot,
But the same word that, like the polish'd share, But still in virtue of a Saviour's plea,
Not blind by choice, but destined not to see. Kil's too the flowery weeds, where'er they grow, Their fortitude and wisdom were a flame That bind the sinner's Bacchanalian brow.
Celestial, though they knew not whence it came, Oh that unwelcome voice of heavenly love,
Derived from the same source of light and grace, Sad messenger of mercy from above,
That guides the Christian in his swifter race ; How does it grate upon his thankless ear,
Their judge was Conscience, and her rule their law; Crippling his pleasures with the cramp of fear! That rule pursued with reverence and with awe, His will and judgment at continual strife,
Led them, however faltering, faint, and slow, That civil war embitters all his life :
From what they knew, to what they wish'd to know.
Traduce the splendour of a noontide ray,
Though various foes against the truth combine, The wretch, that slights the bounty of the skies, Pride above all opposes her design ;
And sinks while favour'd with the means to rise, Pride, of a growth superior to the rest,
Shall find them rated at their full amount, The subtlest serpent with the loftiest crest,
The good he scorn'd all carried to account. Swells at the thought, and kindling into rage,
Marshaling all his terrors as he came, Would hiss the cherub Mercy from the stage. Thunder and earthquake and devouring flame,
And is the soul indeed so lost,-she cries,- From Sinai's top Jehovah gave the law, Fallen from her glory and too weak to rise, Life for obedience, death for every flaw. Torpid and dull beneath a frozen zone,
When the great Sovereign would his will express, Has she no spark that may be deem'd her own? He gives a perfect rule ; what can He less ? Grant her indebted to what zealots call
And guards it with a sanction as severe Grace undeserved, yet surely not for all ;
As vengeance can inflict, or sinners fear : Some beams of rectitude she yet displays,
Else his own glorious rights he would disclaim, Some love of virtue and some power to praise ; And man might safely trifle with his name. Can lift herself above corporeal things,
He bids him glow with unremitting love And soaring on her own unborrow'd wings, To all on earth, and to Himself above ; Possess herself of all that's good or true,
Condemns the injurious deed, the slanderous tongue, Assert the skies, and vindicate her due.
The thought that meditates a brother's wrong ; Past indiscretion is a venial crime,
Brings not alone the more conspicuous part, And if the youth, unmellow'd yet by time,
His conduct to the test, but tries his heart. Bore on his branch luxuriant then and rude,
Hark! universal Nature shook and groan'd; Fruits of a blighted size, austere and crude, 'Twas the last trumpet-see the Judge entlıroned ! Maturer years shall happier stores produce, Rouse all your courage at your utmost need, And meliorate the well concocted juice.
Now summon every virtue, stand and plead. Then, conscious of her meritorious zeal,
What! silent? Is your boasting heard no more? To Justice she may make her bold appeal,
That self-renouncing wisdom, learn'd before, And leave to Mercy, with a tranquil mind,
Had shed immortal glories on your brow, The worthless and unfruitful of mankind.
That all your virtues cannot purchase now. Hear then how Mercy, slighted and defied,
All joy to the believer! he can speak, Retorts the affront against the crown of Pride. Trembling yet happy, confident yet meek. Perish the virtue, as it ought, abhorr'd,
Since the dear hour, that brought me to thy foot, And the fool with it that insults his Lord.
And cut up all my follies by the root, The atonement a Redeemer's love has wrought I never trusted in an arm but thine, Is not for you,--the righteous need it not.
Nor hoped but in thy righteousness divine: Seest thou yon harlot wooing all she meets, My prayers and alms, imperfect and defiled, The worn-out nuisance of the public streets,
Were but the feeble efforts of a child; Herself from morn to night, from night to morn, Howe'er perform’d, it was their brightest part, Her own abhorrence, and as much your scorn, That they proceeded from a grateful heart;
Cleansed in thine own all-purifying blood,
They stretch'd the neck, and rollid the wanton eye, Forgive their evil, and accept their good; And sigh’d for every fool that Mutter'd by. I cast them at thy feet-my only plea
He saw his people slaves to every lust, Is what it was, dependence upon Thee;
Lewd, avaricious, arrogant, unjust ; While struggling in the vale of tears below, He heard the wheels of an avenging God That never fail'd, nor shall it fail me now. Groan heavily along the distant road ; Angelic gratulations rend the skies,
Saw Babylon set wide her two-leaved brass Pride falls unpitied, never more to rise,
To let the military deluge pass;
Her princes captive, and her treasures spoild;
Stamp'd with his foot, and smote upon his thigh ;
But wept and stamp'd and smote his thigh in vain,
And sounds prophetic are too rough to suit
They scorn’d his inspiration and his theme,
Pronounced him frantic and his fears a dream, Why weeps the Muse for England ? What appears With self-indulgence wing'd the fleeting hours, In England's case to move the Muse to tears? Till the foe found them, and down fell the towers. From side to side of her delightful isle
Long time Assyria bound them in her chain, Is she not clothed with a perpetual smile ? Till penitence had purged the public stain, Can Nature add a charm, or art confer
And Cyrus, with relenting pity moved, A new-found luxury not seen in her?
Return'd them happy to the land they loved : Where under heaven is pleasure more pursued, There, proof against prosperity, awhile Or where does cold reflection less intrude?
They stood the test of her ensnaring smile, Her fields a rich expanse of wavy corn
And had the grace in scenes of peace to show Pour'd out from Plenty's overflowing horn ; The virtue they had learn’d in scenes of woe. Ambrosial gardens, in which Art supplies
But man is frail, and can but ill sustain The fervour and the force of Indian skies; A long immunity from grief and pain, Her peaceful shores, where busy Commerce waits And after all the joys that plenty leads, To pour his golden tide through all her gates ; With tiptoe step vice silently succeeds. Whom fiery suns that scorch the russet spice When he that ruled them with a shepherd's rod, Of Eastern groves, and oceans floor'd with ice, In form a man, in dignity a God, Forbid in vain to push his daring way
Came not expected in that humble guise, To darker climes, or climes of brighter day; To sift, and search them with unerring eyes, Whom the winds waft where'er the billows roll, He found, conceal'd beneath a fair outside, From the world's girdle to the frozen pole; The filth of rottenness and worm of pride, The chariots bounding in her wheel-worn streets ; Their piety a system of deceit, Her vaults below, where every vintage meets; Scripture employ'd to sanctify the cheat, Her theatres, her revels, and her sports,
The pharisee the dupe of his own art, The scenes to which not youth alone resorts, Self-idolized, and yet a knave at heart. But age, in spite of weakness and of pain,
When nations are to perish in their sins, Still haunts, in hope to dream of youth again ; 'Tis in the church the leprosy begins : All speak her happy :-let the Muse look round The priest, whose office is, with zeal sincere, From East to West, no sorrow can be found, To watch the fountain, and preserve it clear, Or only what in cottages confined,
Carelessly nods and sleeps upon the brink, Sighs unregarded to the passing wind.
While others poison what the flock must drink; Then wherefore weep for England ? What appears Or, waking at the call of lust alone, In England's case to move the Muse to tears? Infuses lies and errors of his own :
The prophet wept for Israel, wish'd his eyes His unsuspecting sheep believe it pure, Were fountains fed with infinite supplies;
And, tainted by the very means of cure, For Israel dealt in robbery and wrong, (tongue, Catch from each other a contagious spot, There were the scorner's and the slanderer's The foul forerunner of a general rot. Oaths used as playthings or convenient tools, Then Truth is hush'd, that Heresy may preach ; As interest bias'd knaves, or fashion fools ; And all is trash that Reason cannot reach; Adultery neighing at his neighbour's door, Then God's own image on the soul impress'd Oppression labouring hard to grind the poor, Becomes a mockery and a standing jest ; The partial balance and deceitful weight,
And faith, the root whence only can arise The treacherous smile, a mask for secret hate, The graces of a life that wins the skies, Hypocrisy, formality in prayer,
Loses at once all value and esteem, And the dull service of the lip, were there. Pronounced by greybeards a pernicious dream; Her women insolent and self-caress'd,
Then ceremony leads her bigots forth, By Vanity's unwearied finger dress’d,
Prepared to fight for shadows of no worth, Forgot the blush that virgin fears impart
While truths, on which eternal things depend, To modest cheeks, and borrow'd one from art; Find not, or hardly find, a single friend; Were just such trifles without worth or use, As soldiers watch the signal of command, As silly pride and idleness produce;
They learn to bow, to kneel, to sit, to stand; Curl'd, scented, furbelow'd and flounced around, Happy to fill religion's vacant place With feet too delicate to touch the ground, With hollow form, and gesture, and grimace.