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Call legions up from hell to back the deed, Without it, his pretensions were as vain,
As, having it, he deems the world's disdain ; But souls that carry on a blest exchange
That great defect would cost him not alone Of joys they meet with in their heavenly range, Man's favourable judgment, but his own, And with a fearless confidence make known His birthright shaken, and no longer clear, The sorrows sympathy esteems its own,
Than while his conduct proves his heart sincere. Daily derive increasing light and force
Retort the charge, and let the world be told From such communion in their pleasant course, She boasts a confidence she does not hold; Feel less the journey's roughness and its length, That, conscious of her crimes, she feels instead Meet their opposers with united strength,
A cold misgiving, and a killing dread; And one in heart, in interest, and design,
That while in health, the ground of her support Gird up each other to the race divine.
Is madly to forget that life is short ; But Conversation, choose what theme we may, That sick, she trembles, knowing she must die, And chiefly when religion leads the way,
Her hope presumption, and her faith a lie. Should flow like waters after summer showers, That while she dotes, and dreams that she believes, Not as if raised by mere mechanic powers.
She mocks her Maker, and herself deceives; The Christian in whose soul, though now distress'd, Her utmost reach, historical assent, Lives the dear thought of joys he once possess'd, The doctrines warp'd to what they never meant; When all his glowing language issued forth That truth itself is in her head as dull With God's deep stamp upon its current worth, And useless as a candle in a skull, Will speak without disguise, and must impart, And all her love of God a groundless claim, Sad as it is, his undissembling heart,
A trick upon the canvass, painted flame. Abhors constraint, and dares not feign a zeal, Tell her again, the sneer upon her face, Or seem to boast a fire he does not feel.
And all her censures of the work of grace, The song of Sion is a tasteless thing,
Are insincere, meant only to conceal Unless, when rising on a joyful wing,
A dread she would not, yet is forced to feel ; The soul can mix with the celestial bands,
That in her heart the Christian she reveres, And give the strain the compass it demands. And while she seems to scorn him, only fears.
Strange tidings these to tell a world who treat A poet does not work by square or line, All but their own experience as deceit !
As smiths and joiners perfect a design ; Will they believe, though credulous enough At least we moderns, our attention less, To swallow much upon much weaker proof, Beyond the example of our sires digress, That there are blest inhabitants of earth,
And claim a right to scamper and run wide, Partakers of a new ethereal birth,
Wherever chance, caprice, or fancy guide.
She did me wrong, I recompensed the deed, The soul's sure interest in the good she seeks, And, having struck the balance, now proceed. Who deal with Scripture, its importance felt, Perhaps, however, as some years have pass’d As Tully with philosophy once dealt,
Since she and I conversed together last, And in the silent watches of the night,
And I have lived recluse in rural shades, And through the scenes of toil-renewing light, Which seldom a distinct report pervades, The social walk, or solitary ride,
Great changes and new manners have occurr'd, Keep still the dear companion at their side ? And blest reforms that I have never heard, No,-shame upon a self-disgracing age,
And she may now be as discreet and wise, God's work may serve an ape upon a stage As once absurd in all discerning eyes. With such a jest as fillid with hellish glee
Sobriety perhaps may now be found, Certain invisibles as shrewd as he ;
Where once intoxication press'd the ground; But veneration or respect finds none,
The subtle and injurious may be just, Save from the subjects of that work alone.
And he grown chaste that was the slave of lust; The world grown old, her deep discernment shows, Arts once esteem'd may be with shame dismiss'd, Claps spectacles on her sagacious nose,
Charity may relax the miser's fist, Peruses closely the true Christian's face,
The gamester may have cast his cards away, And finds it a mere mask of sly grimace,
Forgot to curse, and only kneel to pray. Usurps God's office, lays his bosom bare,
It has indeed been told me (with what weight, And finds hypocrisy close-lurking there,
How credibly, 'tis hard for me to state) And serving God herself through mere constraint, That fables old, that seem'd for ever mute, Concludes his unfeign'd love of him, a feint. Revived, are hastening into fresh repute, And yet God knows, look human nature through, And gods and goddesses discarded long, (And in due time the world shall know it too) Like useless lumber or a stroller's song, That since the flowers of Eden felt the blast, Are bringing into vogue their heathen train, That after man's defection laid all waste,
And Jupiter bids fair to rule again; Sincerity towards the heart-searching God That certain feasts are instituted now, Has made the new-born creature her abode, Where Venus hears the lover's tender vow; Nor shall be found in unregenerate souls,
That all Olympus through the country roves, Till the last fire burn all between the poles. To consecrate our few remaining groves, Sincerity! Why 'tis his only pride ;
And echo learns politely to repeat Weak and imperfect in all grace beside,
The praise of names for ages obsolete : He knows that God demands his heart entire, That having proved the weakness, it should seem, And gives him all his just demands require. Of revelation's ineffectual beam,
To bring the passions under sober sway,
With rash and awkward force the chords he shakes, And give the moral springs their proper play, And grins with wonder at the jar he makes ; They mean to try what may at last be done But let the wise and well-instructed hand By stout substantial gods of wood and stone, Once take the shell beneath its just command, And whether Roman rites may not produce In gentle sounds it seems as it complain'd The virtues of old Rome for English use.
Of the rude injuries it late sustain'd, May much success attend the pious plan,
Till tuned at length to some immortal song, May Mercury once more embellish man,
It sounds Jehovah's name, and pours his praise Grace him again with long forgotten arts,
studiis florens ignobilis oti. Tis time, however, if the case stand thus,
VIRG. Georg. lib. 4. For us plain folks and all who side with us, To build our altar, confident and bold,
HACKNEY'D in business, wearied at the oar And say as stern Elijah said of old,
Which thousands, once fast chain’d to,quit no more, The strife now stands upon a fair award,
But which when life at ebb runs weak and low, If Israel's Lord be God, then serve the Lord,- All wish or seem to wish they could forego, If he be silent, faith is all a whim,
The statesman, lawyer, merchant, man of trade, Then Baal is the God, and worship him.
Pants for the refuge of some rural shade, Digression is so much in modern use,
Where all his long anxieties forgot Thought is so rare, and fancy so profuse,
Amid the charms of a sequester'd spot,
Or recollected only to gild o'er
Improve the remnant of his wasted span,
Thus conscience pleads her cause within the breast, Than rove and stagger with no mark in view ; Though long rebell’d against, not yet suppress’d, Yet to consult a little seem'd no crime,
And calls a creature form’d for God alone, The freakish humour of the present time.
For heaven's high purposes and not his own, But now, to gather up what seems dispersed, Calls him away from selfish ends and aims, And touch the subject I design'd at first,
From what debilitates and what inflames, May prove, though much beside the rules of art, From cities humming with a restless crowd, Best for the public, and my wisest part.
Sordid as active, ignorant as loud, And first let no man charge me that I mean Whose highest praise is that they live in vain, To clothe in sables every social scene,
The dupes of pleasure or the slaves of gain, And give good company a face severe,
Where works of man are cluster'd close around, As if they met around a father's bier;
And works of God are hardly to be found,
Where mountain, river, forest, field and grove
In the last scene of such a senseless play, But though life's valley be a vale of tears, True wisdom will attend his feeble call, A brighter scene beyond that vale appears, And grace his action ere the curtain fall. Whose glory with a light that never fades, Souls that have long despised their heavenly birth, Shoots between scatter'd rocks and opening shades, Their wishes all impregnated with earth, And while it shows the land the soul desires, For threescore years employ'd with ceaseless care The language of the land she seeks, inspires. In catching smoke and feeding upon air, Thus touch'd, the tongue receives a sacred cure Conversant only with the ways of men, Of all that was absurd, profane, impure ;
Rarely redeem the short remaining ten. Held within modest bounds, the tide of speech Inveterate habits choke the unfruitful heart, Pursues the course that truth and nature teach, Their fibres penetrate its tenderest part, No longer labours merely to produce
And draining its nutritious powers to feed The pomp of sound, or tinkle without use : Their noxious growth, starve every better seed. Where'er it winds, the salutary stream,
Happy if full of days,—but happier far Sprightly and fresh, enriches every theme, If ere we yet discern life's evening star, While all the happy man possess'd before,
Sick of the service of a world that feeds The gift of nature or the classic store,
Its patient drudges with dry chaff and weeds, Is made subservient to the grand design
We can escape from custom's idiot sway, For which Heaven form’d the faculty divine. To serve the Sovereign we were born to obey. So should an idiot, while at large he strays, Then sweet to muse upon his skill display'd Find the sweet lyre on which an artist plays, (Infinite skill) in all that he has made !
To trace in Nature's most minute design,
But 'tis not easy with a mind like ours, The signature and stamp of
Conscious of weakness in its noblest powers, Contrivance intricate express'd with ease,
And in a world where (other ills apart) Where unassisted sight no beauty sees,
The roving eye misleads the careless heart, The shapely limb and lubricated joint,
To limit thought, by nature prone to stray Within the small dimensions of a point,
Wherever freakish fancy points the way; Muscle and nerve miraculously spun,
To bid the pleadings of self-love be still, His mighty work who speaks and it is done, Resign our own and seek our Maker's will; The invisible in things scarce seen reveal'd, To spread the page of Scripture, and compare To whom an atom is an ample field.
Our conduct with the laws engraven there; To wonder at a thousand insect forms,
To measure all that passes in the breast, These hatch'd, and those resuscitated worms, Faithfully, fairly, by that sacred test, New life ordain'd and brighter scenes to share, To dive into the secret deeps within, Once prone on earth, now buoyant upon air, To spare no passion and no favourite sin, Whose shape would make them, had they bulk and And search the themes important above all, More hideous foes than fancy can devise ; [size, Ourselves and our recovery from our fall. With helmed heads and dragon scales adorn'd, But leisure, silence, and a mind released The mighty myriads, now securely scorn'd, From anxious thoughts how wealth may be inWould mock the majesty of man's high birth, How to secure in some propitious hour, (creased, Despise his bulwarks and unpeople earth.
The point of interest or the post of power; Then with a glance of fancy to survey,
A soul serene, and equally retired Far as the faculty can stretch away,
From objects too much dreaded or desired, Ten thousand rivers pour'd at his command Safe from the clamours of perverse dispute, From urns that never fail through every land, At least are friendly to the great pursuit. These like a deluge with impetuous force,
Opening the map of God's extensive plan, Those winding modestly a silent course,
We find a little isle, this life of man; The cloud-surmounting Alps, the fruitful vales, Eternity's unknown expanse appears Seas on which every nation spreads her sails, Circling around and limiting his years; The sun, a world whence other worlds drink light, The busy race examine and explore The crescent moon, the diadem of night,
Each creek and cavern of the dangerous shore, Stars countless, each in his appointed place, With care collect what in their eyes excels, Fast anchor'd in the deep abyss of space,
Some shining pebbles and some weeds and shells, At such a sight to catch the poet's flame,
Thus laden, dream that they are rich and great, And with a rapture like his own exclaim,
And happiest he that groans beneath his weight; These are thy glorious works, thou Source of good, The waves o'ertake them in their serious play, How dimly seen, how faintly understood !
And every hour sweeps multitudes away; Thine, and upheld by thy paternal care,
They shriek and sink, survivors start and weep, This universal frame, thus wondrous fair;
Pursue their sport, and follow to the deep. Thy power divine and bounty beyond thought, A few forsake the throng, with lifted eyes Adored and praised in all that thou hast wrought, Ask wealth of Heaven, and gain a real prize, Absorb’d in that immensity I see,
Truth, wisdom, grace, and peace like that above, I shrink abased, and yet aspire to thee;
Seal'd with his signet whom they serve and love: Instruct me, guide me to that heavenly day, Scorn'd by the rest, with patient hope they wait Thy words, more clearly than thy works display, A kind release from their imperfect state, That while thy truths my grosser thoughts refine, And unregretted are soon snatch'd away I may resemble thee and call thee mine.
From scenes of sorrow into glorious day. O blest proficiency! surpassing all
Nor these alone prefer a life recluse, That men erroneously their glory call,
Who seek retirement for its proper use; The recompense that arts or arms can yield, The love of change that lives in every breast, The bar, the senate, or the tented field,
Genius, and temper, and desire of rest, Compared with this sublimest life below,
Discordant motives in one centre meet, Ye kings and rulers, what have courts to show ? And each inclines its votary to retreat. Thus studied, used and consecrated thus,
Some minds by nature are averse to noise, Whatever is, seems form'd indeed for us,
And hate the tumult half the world enjoys, Not as the plaything of a froward child,
The lure of avarice, or the pompous prize Fretful unless diverted and beguild,
That courts display before ambitious eyes, Much less to feed and fan the fatal fires
The fruits that hang on pleasure’s flowery stem, Of pride, ambition, or impure desires :
Whate'er enchants them are no snares to them. But as a scale by which the soul ascends
To them the deep recess of dusky groves, From mighty means to more important ends, Or forest where the deer securely roves, Securely, though by steps but rarely trod, The fall of waters and the song of birds, Mounts from inferior beings up to God,
And hills that echo to the distant herds, And sees by no fallacious light or dim,
Are luxuries excelling all the glare Earth made for man, and man himself for Him. The world can boast, and her chief favourites share.
Not that I mean to approve, or would enforce With eager step and carelessly array'd, A superstitious and monastic course :
For such a cause the poet seeks the
shade, Truth is not local; God alike pervades
From all he sees he catches new delight,
Nature in all the various shapes she wears,
Soothe thee to make thee but a surer prey, Frowning in storms or breathing gentle airs, And feed the fire that wastes thy powers away. The snowy robe her wintry state assumes, Up!-God has formed thee with a wiser view, Her summer heats, her fruits, and her perfumes, Not to be led in chains, but to subdue, All, all alike transport the glowing bard,
Calls thee to cope with enemies, and first Success in rhyme his glory and reward.
Points out a conflict with thyself, the worst.
Woman indeed, a gift he would bestow
Deserves to be beloved, but not adored.
Post away swiftly to more active scenes, Thy genuine charms, and guide an artless hand, Collect the scatter'd truths that study gleans, That I may catch a fire but rarely known, Mix with the world, but with its wiser part, Give useful light though I should miss renown, No longer give an image all thine heart; And poring on thy page, whose every line Its empire is not hers, nor is it thine, Bears proofs of an intelligence divine,
'Tis God's just claim, prerogative divine. May feel a heart enrich'd by what it pays,
Virtuous and faithful Heberden, whose skill That builds its glory on its Maker's praise. Attempts no task it cannot well fulfil, Woe to the man whose wit disclaims its use, Gives melancholy up to nature's care, Glittering in vain, or only to seduce,
And sends the patient into purer air. Who studies nature with a wanton eye,
Look where he comes,—in this embower'd alcove, Admires the work, but slips the lesson by; Stand close conceal’d, and see a statue move : His hours of leisure and recess employs
Lips busy, and eyes fix'd, foot falling slow, In drawing pictures of forbidden joys;
Arms hanging idly down, hands clasp'd below, Retires to blazon his own worthless name,
Interpret to the marking eye distress, Or shoot the careless with a surer aim.
Such as its symptoms can alone express. The lover too shuns business and alarms, That tongue is silent now,—that silent tongue Tender idolater of absent charms.
Could argue once,
could jest or join the song, Saints offer nothing in their warmest prayers, Could give advice, could censure or commend, That he devotes not with a zeal like theirs ; Or charm the sorrows of a drooping friend. "Tis consecration of his heart, soul, time,
Renounced alike its office and its sport, And every thought that wanders is a crime. Its brisker and its graver strains fall short, In sighs he worships his supremely fair,
Both fail beneath a fever's secret sway, And weeps a sad libation in despair,
And like a summer brook are past away. Adores a creature, and devout in vain,
This is a sight for pity to peruse Wins in return an answer of disdain.
Till she resemble faintly what she views, As woodbine weds the plants within her reach, Till sympathy contract a kindred pain, Rough elm, or smooth-grain'd ash, or glossy beech, Pierced with the woes that she laments in vain. In spiral rings ascends the trunk, and lays
This of all maladies that man infest, Her golden tassels on the leafy sprays,
Claims most compassion, and receives the least; But does a mischief while she lends a grace, Job felt it when he groan'd beneath the rod, Straitening its growth by such a strict embrace, And the barb'd arrows of a frowning God, So love that clings around the noblest minds, And such emollients as his friends could spare, Forbids the advancement of the soul he binds; Friends such as his for modern Jobs prepare. The suitor's air indeed he soon improves,
Blest (rather curst) with hearts that never feel, And forms it to the taste of her he loves,
Kept snug in caskets of close-hammer'd steel, Teaches his eyes a language, and no less
With mouths made only to grin wide and eat, Refines his speech and fashions his address; And minds that deem derided pain a treat ; But farewell promises of happier fruits,
With limbs of British oak and nerves of wire, Manly designs, and learning's grave pursuits ; And wit that puppet-prompters might inspire, Girt with a chain he cannot wish to break, Their sovereign nostrum is a clumsy joke, His only bliss is sorrow for her sake,
On pangs enforced with God's severest stroke. Who will may pant for glory and excel,
But with a soul that ever felt the sting Her smile his aim, all higher aims farewell ! Of sorrow, sorrow is a sacred thing: Thyrsis, Alexis, or whatever name
Not to molest, or irritate, or raise May least offend against so pure a flame,
A laugh at its expense, is slender praise ; Though sage advice of friends the most sincere He that has not usurp'd the name of man, Sounds harshly in so delicate an ear,
Does all, and deems too little, all he can, And lovers, of all creatures tame or wild,
To assuage the throbbings of the fester'd part, Can least brook management, however mild, And stanch the bleedings of a broken heart. Yet let a poet (poetry disarms
”Tis not, as heads that never ache suppose, The fiercest animals with magic charms)
Forgery of fancy and a dream of woes; Risk an intrusion on thy pensive mood,
Man is a harp whose chords elude the sight, And woo and win thee to thy proper good. Each yielding harmony, disposed aright, Pastoral images and still retreats,
The screws reversed, (a task which if he please Umbrageous walks and solitary seats,
God in a moment executes with ease) Sweet birds in concert with harmonious streams, Ten thousand thousand strings at once go loose, Soft airs, nocturnal vigils, and day dreams, Lost, till he tune them, all their power and use. Are all enchantments in a case like thine,
Then neither heathy wilds, nor scenes as fair Conspire against thy peace with one design, As ever recompensed the peasant's care,
Nor soft declivities with tufted hills,
Are life's prime pleasures in his simple view, Nor view of waters turning busy mills,
His flock the chief concern he ever knew : Parks in which art preceptress nature weds, She shines but little in his heedless eyes, Nor gardens interspersed with flowery beds, The good we never miss we rarely prize. Nor gales that catch the scent of blooming groves, But ask the noble drudge in state affairs, And waft it to the mourner as he roves,
Escaped from office and its constant cares, Can call up life into his faded eye,
What charms he sees in freedom's smile expressid, That passes all he sees unheeded by:
In freedom lost so long, now repossess'd; (mands, No wounds like those a wounded spirit feels, The tongue whose strains were cogent as comNo cure for such, till God who makes them heals. Revered at home, and felt in foreign lands, And thou, sad sufferer under nameless ill,
Shall own itself a stammerer in that cause, That yields not to the touch of human skill, Or plead its silence as its best applause. Improve the kind occasion, understand
He knows indeed that whether dress'd or rude, A father's frown, and kiss his chastening hand: Wild without art, or artfully subdued, To thee the day-spring and the blaze of noon, Nature in every form inspires delight, The purple evening and resplendent moon,
But never mark'd her with so just a sight. The stars, that sprinkled o'er the vault of night Her hedge-row shrubs, a variegated store, Seem drops descending in a shower of light, With woodbine and wild roses mantled o'er, Shine not, or undesired and hated shine,
Green balks and furrow'd lands, the stream that Seen through the medium of a cloud like thine; Its cooling vapour o'er the dewy meads, (spreads Yet seek Him, in his favour life is found,
Downs that almost escape the inquiring eye, All bliss beside, a shadow or a sound:
That melt and fade into the distant sky, Then heaver eclipsed so long, and this dull earth Beauties he lately slighted as he passid, Shall seem to start into a second birth;
Seem all created since he travel'd last. Nature assuming a more lovely face,
Master of all the enjoyments he design'd, Borrowing a beauty from the works of grace, No rough annoyance rankling in his mind, Shall be despised and overlook'd no more, What early philosophic hours he keeps, Shall fill thee with delights unfelt before,
How regular his meals, how sound he sleeps ! Impart to things inanimate a voice,
Not sounder he that on the mainmast head,
Nor quits till evening-watch his giddy stand, Ye groves, (the statesman at his desk exclaims, Then swift descending with a seaman's haste, Sick of a thousand disappointed aims)
Slips to his hammock, and forgets the blast. My patrimonial treasure and my pride,
He chooses company, but not the squire's, Beneath your shades your grey possessor hide, Whose wit is rudeness, whose good breeding tires; Receive me languishing for that repose
Nor yet the parson's, who would gladly come, The servant of the public never knows.
Obsequious when abroad, though proud at home; Ye saw me once, (ah those regretted days Nor can he much affect the neighbouring peer, When boyish innocence was all my praise !) Whose toe of emulation treads too near, Hour after hour delightfully allot
But wisely seeks a more convenient friend, To studies then familiar, since forgot,
With whom, dismissing forms, he may unbend, And cultivate a taste for ancient song,
A man whom marks of condescending grace Catching its ardour as I mused along ;
Teach, while they fatter him, his proper place, Nor seldom, as propitious heaven might send, Who comes when call’d, and at a word withdraws, What once I valued and could boast, a friend, Speaks with reserve, and listens with applause; Were witnesses how cordially I press'd
Some plain mechanic, who without pretence His undissembling virtue to my breast;
To birth or wit, nor gives nor takes offence, Receive me now, not uncorrupt as then,
On whom he rests well pleased his weary powers, Nor guiltless of corrupting other men,
And talks and laughs away his vacant hours. But versed in arts that while they seem to stay The tide of life, swift always in its course, A fallen empire, hasten its decay.
May run in cities with a brisker force, To the fair haven of my native home,
But nowhere with a current so serene, The wreck of what I was, fatigued I come; Or half so clear as in the rural scene. For once I can approve the patriot's voice, Yet how fallacious is all earthly bliss, And make the course he recommends my choice; What obvious truths the wisest heads may miss ! We meet at last in one sincere desire,
Some pleasures live a month, and some a year, His wish and mine both prompt me to retire. But short the date of all we gather here, 'Tis done ;-he steps into the welcome chaise, Nor happiness is felt, except the true, Lolls at his ease behind four handsome bays, That does not charm the more for being new. That whirl away from business and debate This observation, as it chanced, not made, The disencumber'd Atlas of the state.
Or if the thought occurr'd, not duly weigh’d, Ask not the boy, who when the breeze of morn He sighs,-for after all, by slow degrees, First shakes the glittering drops from every thorn, The spot he loved has lost the power to please; Unfolds his flock, then under bank or bush To cross his ambling pony day by day Sits linking cherry-stones or platting rush, Seems at the best but dreaming life away; How fair is freedom?-he was always free: The prospect, such as might enchant despair, To carve his rustic name upon a tree,
He views it not, or sees no beauty there; To snare the mole, or with ill-fashion'd hook With aching heart and discontented looks, To draw the incautious minnow from the brook, Returns at noon to billiards or to books,