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And he that never doubted of his state,
He may perhapsm-perhaps he may—too late.
The path to bliss abounds with many a snare ;
Learning is one, and wit, however rare.
The Frenchman, first in literary fame,
(Mention him if you please. Voltaire?- The same.)
With spirit, genius, eloquence, supplied,
Liv'd long, wrote much, laugh'd heartily, and died;
The Scripture was his jest-book, whence he drew
Bon mots to gall the Christian and the Jew;
An infidel in health, but what when sick ?
Oh-then a text would touch him at the quick:
View him at Paris in his last career,
Surrounding throngs the demigod revere,
Exalted on his pedestal of pride,
And fum'd with frankincense on ev'ry side,
He begs their flatt'ry with his latest breath,
And smother'd in't at last, is prais'd to death.
Yon cottager, who weaves at her own door, Pillow and bobbins all her little store; Content though mean, and cheerful if not gay, Shuffling her threads about the livelong day, Just earns a scanty pittance, and at night Lies down secure, her heart and pocket light; She, for her humble sphere by nature fit, Has little understanding, and no wit, Receives no praise; but, though her lot be such, (Toilsome and indigent) she renders much;
Just knows, and knows no more, her Bible true
A truth the brilliant Frenchman never knew ;
And in that charter reads with sparkling eyes
Her title to a treasure in the skies.
O happy peasant! Oh unhappy bard !
His the mere tinsel, hers the rich reward ;
He prais'd perhaps for ages yet to come,
She never heard of half a mile from home :
He lost in errours his vain heart prefera,
She safe in the simplicity of hers.
Not many wise, rich, noble, or profound
In science, win one inch of heav'nly ground.
And is it not a mortifying thought
The poor should gain it, and the rich should not ?
No--the voluptuaries, who ne'er forget
One pleasure lost, luse Heav'n without regret ;
Regret would rouse them, and give birth to pray'r,
Pray'rwould add faith, and faith would fix them there.
Not that the Former of us all in this,
Or aught he does, is govern’d by caprice ;
The supposition is replete with sin,
And bears the brand of blasphemy burnt in.
Not so—the silver trumpet's beav'nly call
Sounds for the poor, but sounds alike for all :
Kings are invited, and would kings obey,
No slaves on Earth more welcome were than they :
But royalty, nobility, and state,
Are such a dead preponderating weight,
That endless bliss (how strange soe'er it seem)
In counterpoise, flies up and kicks the beam.
'Tis open, and ye cannot enter--why?
Because ye will not, Conyers would reply-
And be says much that many may dispute
And cavil at with ease, but none refute.
O bless'd effect of penury and want,
The seed sown there, how vig'rous is the plant !
No soil like poverty for growth divine,
As leanest land supplies the richest wine.
Earth gives too little, giving only bread,
To nourish pride, or turn the weakest head :
To them the sounding jargon of the schools
Seems what it is a cap and bell for fools :
The light they walk by, kiudled from above,
Shows them the shortest way to life and love :
They, strangers to the controversial field,
Where deists, always foil'd, yet scorn to yield,
And never check'd by what impedes the wise,
Believe, rush forward, and possess the prize.
Envy, ye great, the dull unletter'd small :
Ye have much, cause for envy—but not all.
We boast some rich ones whom the Gospel sways,
And one who wears a coronet and prays;
Like gleanings of an olive-tree they show,
Here and there one upon the topmost bough.
How readily upon the Gospel plan,
That question has it's answer-What is man?
Sinful and weak, in ev'ry sense a wretch; An instrument, whose chords upon the stretch, And strain'd to the last screw that he can bear, Yield only discord in his Maker's ear: Once the blest residence of truth divine, Glorious as Solyma's interior shrine, Where, in his own oracular abode, Dwelt visibly the light-creating God; But made long since, like Babylon of old, A den of mischiefs never tu be told : And she, once mistress of the realms around, Now scatter'd wide and no where to be found, As soon shall rise and reascend the throne, By native pow'r and energy her own, As nature at her own peculiar cost, Restore to man the glories he has lost: Go-bid the winter cease to chill the year, Replace the wand'ring comet in his sphere, Then boast (but wait for that unhop'd-for hour) The self-restoring arm of human pow'r. But what is man in his own proud esteem ? Hear him-himself the poet and the theme : A monarch cloth'd with majesty and awe, His mind his kingdom, and his will his law, Grace in his mien, and glory in his eyes, Supreme on Earth, and worthy of the skies, Strength in his heart, dominion in his nod, And, thunderbolts excepted, quite a God !
So sings he, charm'd with his own mind and form,
The song magnificent-the theme a worm !
Himself so much the source of his delight,
His Maker has no beauty in his sight.
See where he sits contemplative and fix'd,
Pleasure and wonder in his features mix'd,
His passions tam'd and all at his control,
How perfeet the composure of his soul !
Complacency has breath'd a gentle gale
O'er all his thoughts, and swell’d his easy sail :
His books well trimm'd and in the gayest style
Like regimental coxcombs rank and file,
Adorn his intellects as well as shelves,
And teach him notions splendid as themselves :
The Bible only stands neglected there,
Though that of all most worthy of his care;
And like an infant troublesome awake,
Is left to sleep for peace and quiet sake.
What shall the man deserve of humankind,
Whose happy skill and industry combin'd
Shall prove (what argument could never yet)
The Bible an imposture and a cheat?
The praises of the libertine profess'd,
The worst of men, and curses of the best.
Where should the living, weeping o'er his woes ;
The dying, trembling at the awful close;
Where the betray'd, forsaken, and oppress’d,
The thousands whom the world forbids, to rest,