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Now see him launch'd into the world at large. If priest, supinely droning o'er his charge, Their fleece his pillow, and his weekly drawl, Though short, too long, the price he pays for all. If lawyer, loud whatever cause he plead, But proudest of the worst, if that succeed. Perhaps a grave physician, gath’ring fees, Punctu'lly paid for length’ning out disease ; No COTTON, whose humanity sheds rays That make superior skill his second praise. If arms engage him, he devotes to sport His date of life, so likely to be short. A soldier may be any thing, if brave; So may a tradesman, if not quite a knave. Such stuff the world is made of; and mankind, To passion, int’rest, pleasure, whim, resign'd, Insist on, as if each were his own pope, Forgiveness, and the privilege of hope. But conscience, in some awful, silent hour, When captivating lusts have lost their pow'r.... Perhaps when sickness, or some fearful dream Reminds him of religion, hated theme !.... Starts from the down on which she lately slept, And tells of laws despis'd, at least not kept; Shows, with a pointed finger, but no noise, A pale procession of past sinful joys, All witnesses of blessings foully scorn'd, And life abus'd, and not to be suborn'd. Mark these, she says; these, summon'd from afar, Begin their march, to meet thee at the bar;
There find a Judge inexorably just,
Peace be to those (such peace as earth can give)
They could have held the conduct they pursue,
there. As, when two pilgrims in a forest stray, Both may
be lost, yet each in his own way; So fares it with the multitudes beguild In vain opinion's waste and dang'rous wild. Ten thousand rove the brakes and thorns among, Some eastward, and some westward, and all wrong. . But here, alas! the fatal diff'rence lies.... Each man's belief is right in his own eyes;
And he that blames, what they have blindly chose, Incurs resentment for the love he shows.
Say, botanist, within whose province fall The cedar and the hyssop on the wall, Of all that deck the lanes, the fields, the bow'rs, What parts the kindred tribes of weeds and flow'rs? Sweet scent, or lovely form, or both combin'd, Distinguish ev'ry cultivated kind; The want of both denotes a meaner breed, And Chloe from her garland picks the weed. Thus hopes of ev'ry sort, whatever sect Esteem them, sow them, rear them, and protect, If wild in nature, and not duly found, Gethsemane, in thy dear hallowed ground, That cannot bear the blaze of scripture light, Nor cheer the spirit, nor refresh the sight, Nor animate the soul to Christian deeds, (Oh cast them from thee!) are weeds, arrant weeds.
Ethelred's house, the centre of six ways, Diverging each from each, like equal rays, Himself as bountiful as April rains, Lord paramount of the surrounding plains, Would give relief of bed and board to none, But guests that sought it in th' appointed ONE. And they might enter at his open door, Ev'n till his spacious hall would hold no more. He sent a servant forth by ev'ry road, To sound his horn and publish it abroad, That all might mark....knight, menial, high and low... An ordnance it concern'd them much to know.
If, after all, some headstrong hardy lout
Yet half mankind maintain a churlish strife