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DR. ISAAC WATTS (1674-1748), is the most eminent of all our devotional poets. His Hymns and Psalms have been more used in religious services than all the other compositions of the same kind in the language. His Divine and Moral Songs for Children are without a rival in that not unimportant part of national literature.
A SUMMER EVENING.
How fine has the day been, how bright was the sun,
And there followed some droppings of rain!
And foretells a bright rising again.
And travels his heavenly way:
ONE HUNDREDTH PSALM.
Before Jehovah's awful throne,
Ye nations bow with sacred joy :
He can create, and he destroy.
His sovereign power, without our aid,
Made us of clay, and formed us men;
He brought us to his fold again.
We are his people, we his care,
Our souls and all our mortal frame:
Almighty Maker, to thy name!
High as the heavens our voices raise:
Shall fill thy courts with sounding praise.
Vast as eternity thy love,
When rolling years shall cease to move.
How fair is the rose ! what a beautiful flower,
The glory of April and May! But the leaves are beginning to fade in an hour,
And they wither and die in a day.
Yet the rose has one powerful virtue to boast,
Above all the flowers of the field;
Still how sweet a perfume it will yield !
So frail is the youth and the beauty of men,
Though they bloom and look gay like the rose;
Time kills them as fast as he goes.
Then I'll not be proud of my youth nor my beauty,
Since both of them wither and fade;
This will scent like a rose when I'm dead.
Philip DODDRIDGE (1702–1751), has also written many beautiful Hymns. His 'paraphrase of the Epicurean motto “ While we live, let us live,” (Dum vivimus vivamus), was pronounced by Johnson, the best epigram in the language.
Live while you live, the epicure would say,
EDWARD YOUNG (1681-1765), was the author of several poems, the most considerable of which is the Night Thoughts. This is written in a highly artificial style, and has more of epigrammatic point than any other work in the language. Almost as a matter of course, the poet is often brilliant at the expense of higher: and more important qualities. Still, there are many noble passages, where he seems to speak as from inspiration. The truths of religion are enforced with a commanding energy and persuasion. Epigram and repartee are for the time forgotten, and the poet speaks out with a sincerity and earnestness that carry home conviction to every understanding. The extracts which follow, are all taken from the Night Thoughts,
THE ADVANTAGES OF RETIREMENT.
Blest be that hand divine, which gently laid
Eager ambition's fiery chase I see;
THE CHANGES AND VARIED APPEARANCES OF CREATION.
Look nature through, 't is revolution all;
How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,