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And play his brilliant parts before my eyes,
When I am hungry for the bread of life?
He mocks his Maker, prostitutes and shames
His noble office, and, instead of truth,
Displaying his own beauty, starves his flock.
avaunt all attitude and stare,
And start theatric, practis'd at the glass!
I seek divine simplicity in him,
Who handles things divine; and all besides,
Though learn’d with labour, and tho' mnch admir'd
By curious eyes and judgments ill inform’d,
To me is odious as the nasal twang
Heard at conventicle, where worthy men,
Misled by custom, strain celestial themes
Through the press'd nostril, spectacle-bestrid.
Some decent in demeanour while they preach,
That task perform'd, relapse into themselves;
And, having spoken wisely, at the close
Grow wanton, and give proof to ev'ry eye,
Who'er was edified themselves were not!
Forth comes the pocket mirror.--First we stroke
An eye-brow; next compose a straggling lock;
Then with an air most gracefully perform'd
Fall back into our seat, extend an arm,
And lay it at its ease with gentle care,
With handkerchief in hand depending low;
The better hand more busy gives the nose
Its bergamot, or aids th’ indebted eye
With op'ra glass, to watch the moving scene.
And recognise the slow-retiring fair.
Now this is fulsome, and offends me more
Than in a churchman slovenly neglect
And rustic coarseness would. A heav'nly mind
May be indiff'rent to her house of clay,
And slight the hovel as beneath her care;
But how a body so fantastic, trim,
And quaint, in its deportment and attire,
Can lodge a heav'nly mind-demands a doubt.
He, that negotiates between God and man, As God's ambassador, the grand concerns Of judgment and of mercy, should beware Of lightness in his speech. Tis pitiful To court a grin, when you should woo a soul; To break a jest, when pity would inspire Pathetic exhortation: and t’ address The skittish fancy with facetious tales, When sent with God's commission to the heart! So did not Paul. Direct me to a quip Or merry turn in all he ever wrote, And I consent you take it for your text, Your only one, till sides and benches fáil. No: he was serious in a serious cause, And understood too well the weighty terms, That he had tak’n in charge. He would not stoop To conquer those by jocular exploits. Whom truth and soberness assail'd in vain.
0, Popular Applause! what heart of man Is proof against thy sweet seducing charms ? The wisest and the best feel urgent need Of all their caution in thy gentlest gales; But, swell’d into a gust--who then, alas ! With all his canvass set, and inexpert, And therefore heedless, can withstand thy pow'r? Praise from the rivell’d lips of toothless, bald Decrepitude, and in the looks of lean And craying Poverty, and in the bow Respectful of the smutch'd artificer, Is oft too welcome, and may much disturb The bias of the
How much more,
Pour'd forth by beauty splendid and polite,
In language soft as Adoration breathes ?
Ah, spare your idol! think him human still.
Charms he may have, but he has frailties too!
Dote not too much, nor spoil what ye admire.
All truth is from the sempiternal source
Of light divine. But Egypt, Greece and Rome,
Drew from the stream below. More favour'd we
Drink, when we choose it, at the fountain-head.
To them it flow'd much mingled and defild
With hurtful error, prejudice, and dreams
Illusive of philosophy, so callid,
But falsely. Sages after sages strove
In vain to filter off a crystal draught
Pure from the lees, which often more enhanc'd
The thirst than slak'd it, and not seldom bred
Intoxication and delirium wild.
In vain they push'd inquiry to the birth [man?
And spring-time of the world; ask'd, “Whence is
Why form’d at all? and wherefore as he is ?
Where must be find his Maker? with what rites
Adore him? Will he hear, accept, and bless?
Or does he sit regardless of his works?
Has man within him an immortal seed ?
Or does the tomb take all ? If he survive
His ashes, where ? and in what weal or woe ?”
Knots worthy of solution, which alone
A Deity could solve. Their answers, vague
And all at random, fabulous and dark,
Left them as dark themselves. Their rules of life,
Defective and unsanction’d, prov'd too weak
To bind the roving appetite, and lead
Blind nature to a God not yet reveal’d.
'Tis Revelation satisfies all doubts,
Explains all mysteries except her own,
And so illuminates the path of life,
That fools discover it, and stray no more.
Now tell me, dignified and sapient sir,
My man of morals, nurtur'd in the shades
Of Academus-is this false or true ?
Is Christ the abler teacher, or the schools ?
If Christ, then why resort at ev'ry turn
To Athens or to Rome, for wisdom short
Of man's occasions, when in him reside
Grace, knowledge, comfort--an unfathom'd store?
How oft, when Paul has serv'd us with a text,
Has Epictetus, Plato, Tully, preach'd!
Men that, if now alive, would sit content
And humble learners of a Saviour's worth,
Preach it who might. Such was their love of truth,
Their thirst of knowledge, and their candour too!
And thus it is.—The pastor, either vain
By nature, or by flattery made so, taught
To gaze at his own splendour, and t exalt
Absurdly, not his office, but himself;
Or unenlighten'd, and too proud to learn;
Or vicious, and not therefore apt to teach ;
Perverting often by the stress of lewd
And loose example, whom he should instruct;
Exposes, and holds up to broad disgrace,
The noblest;function, and discredits much
The brightest truths that man bas ever seen.
For ghostly counsel, if it either fall
Below the exigence, or be not back'd
With show of love, at least with hopeful proof
Of some sincerity on the giver's part;
Or be dishonour'd in th' exterior form
And mode of its conveyance by such tricks
As move derision, or by foppish airs
And histrionic mumm'ry, that let down
The pulpit to the level of the stage;
Drops from the lips a disregarded thing.
The weak, perhaps, are mov’d, but are not taught,".
While prejudice in men of stronger minds
Takes deeper root, confirm'd by what they see.
A relaxation of religion's hold
Upon the roving and untutor'd heart
Soon follows, and, the curb of conscience snapp'd,
The laity run wild.—But do they now?
Note their extravagance, and be convinc'd.
As nations, ignorant of God, contrive
A wooden one; so we, no longer taught
By monitors that mother church supplies,
Now make our own. Posterity will ask
(If e'er posterity see verse of mine)
Some fifty or a hundred lustrums hence,
What was a monitor in George's days ?
My very gentle reader, yet unborn,
Of whom I needs must augur better things,
Since Heav'n would sure grow weary of a world
Productive only of a race like ours,
A monitor is wood-plank shaven thin.
We wear it at our backs, there, closely brac'd
And neatly fitted, it compresses hard
The prominent and most unsightly bones,
And binds the shoulders flat. We prove its use
Sov'reign and most effectual to secure
A form, not now gymnastic as of yore,
From rickets and distortion, else our lot.
But thus admonish’d, we can walk erect-
One proof at least of manhood! while the friend
Sticks close, a Mentor worthy of his charge.
Our habits, costlier than Lucullus wore,
And by caprice as multiplied as his,
Just please us while the fashion is at full,
But change with ev'ry moon. The sycophant,
Who waits to dress us, arbitrates their date;
Surveys his fair reversion with keen eye;
Finds one ill made, another obsolete,
This fits not nicely, that is ill conceiv'd;
And, making prize of all that he condemns,
With our expenditure defrays his own.
Variety's the very spice of life,
That gives it all its flavour. We have run
Through every change, that Fancy, at the loom
Exhausted, has had genius to supply,
And, studious of mutation still, discard
A real elegance, a little us’d,
For monstrous novelty, and strange disguise.
We sacrifice to dress, till household joys
And comforts cease. Dress drains our cellar dry