Page images

Throughout mankind, the Christian kind at least There dwells a consciousness in every breast, That folly ends were genuine hope begins, And he that finds his lieaven must lose his sins. Nature opposes with her utmost force This riving stroke, this ultimate divorce; And while religion seems to be her view, Hates with a deep sincerity the true: For this, of all that ever influenced man, Since Abel worshipp’d, or the world began, This only spares no lust, admits no plea, But makes him, if at all, completely free; Sounds forth the signal, as she mounts her car, Of an eternal, universal war; Rejects all treaty, penetrates all wiles, Scorns with the same indifference frowns and smiles; Drives through the realms of Sin, where Riot reels, And grinds his crown beneath her burning wheels! Hence all that is in man, pride, passion, art, Powers of the mind, and feelings of the heart. Insensible of Truth's almighty charms, Starts at her first approach, and sounds to arms! While Bigotry, with well-dissembled fears, His eyes shut fast, his fingers in his ears, Mighty to parry and push by God's word, With senseless noise, his argument the sword, Pretends a zeal for godliness and grace, And spits abhorrence in the Christian's face.

Parent of Hope, immortal Truth! make known
Thy deathless wreaths, and triumphs all thine own:
The silent progress of thy power is such,
Thy means so feeble, and despised so much,
That few believe the wonders thou has wrought,
And none can teach them, but whom thou hast taught
O see me sworn to serve thee, and command
A painter's skill into a poet's hand,
That, while I trembling trace a work divine,
Fancy may stand aloof from the design,
And light, and shade, and every stroke be thine.

If ever thou hast felt another's pain,
If ever when he sigh'd hast sigh'd again.

If ever on thy eyelid stood the tear,
That pity had engender'd, drop one here.
This man was happy-had the world's good word,
And with it every joy it can afford;
Friendship and love seemed tenderly at strife,
Which most should sweeten his untroubled life ;
Politely learu'd, and of a gentle race,
Good breeding and good sense gave all a grace,
And whether, at the toilette of the fair,
He laughed and trified, made him welcome there,
Or if in masculine debate he shared,
Ensured him mute attention and regard.
Alas, how changedi Expressive of his mind,
His eyes are sunk, arms folded, head reclined ;
Those awful syllables, hell, death, and sin,
Though whisper'd, plainly tell what works within !
That Conscience there performs her proper part,
And writes a doomsday sentence on his heart;
Forsaking arz orsaken of all friends,
He now perceira, where earthly pleasure ends ;
Hard task! for one who lately knew no care,
And harder still as learnt beneath despair;
Ilis hours no longer pass unmark'd away,
A dark importance saddens every day;
He hears the notice of the clock perplex'd,
And cries, Perhaps eternity strikes next;
Sweet music is no longer music here,
And laughter sounds like madness in his ear :
His grief the world of all her power disarms,
Wine has no taste, and beauty has no charms:
God's holy word, once trivial in his view,
Now by the voice of his experience true,
Seems, as it is, the fountain whence alone
Must spring that hope he pants to make his own.

Now let the bright reverse be known abroad;
Say man's a worm, and power belongs to God.

As when a felon, whom his country's laws
Have justly doom'd for some atrocious cause,
Expects in darkness and heart-chilling fears,
The shameful close of all his misspent years,
If chance, on heavy pinions slowly borne,
A tempest usher in the dreadful morn,

Upon his dungeon walls the lightning play,
The thunder seems to summon him away,
The warder at the door his key applies,
Shoots back the bolt, and all his courage dies :
If then, just then, all thoughts of mercy lost,
When Hope, long lingering, at last yields the ghost,
The sound of pardon pierce his startled ear,
He drops at once his fetters and his fear;
A transport glows in all he looks and speaks,
And the first thankful tears bedew his cheeks.
Joy, far superior joy, that much outweighs
The comfort of a few poor added days,
Invades, possesses, and o'erwhelms the soul
Of him, whom hope has with a touch made whole.
'Tis Heaven, all heaven, descending on the wings
Of the glad legions of the King of kings;
'Tis more—'tis God diffused through every part,
'Tis God himself triumphant in his heart.
O welcome now the sun's once hated light,
His noonday beams were never half so bright.
Not kindred minds alone are call'd to employ
Their hours, their days, in listening to his joy;
Unconscious nature, all that he surveys,
Rocks, groves, and streams, must join him in his praise

These are thy glorious works, eternal Truth,
The scoff of wither'd age and beardless youth;
These move the censure and illiberal grin
Of fools, that hate thee and delight in sin:
But these shall last when night has quench'd the pole,
And heaven is all departed as a scroll.
And when, as Justice has long since decreed,
This earth shall blaze, and a new world succeed,
Then these thy glorious works, and they who share
That hope, which can alone exclude despair,
Shall live exempt from weakness and decay,
The brightest wonders of an endless day.

Happy the bard (if that fair name belong
To him that blends no fable with his song,)
Whose lines uniting, by an honest art,
The faithful monitor's and poet's part,
Seek to delight, that they may mend mankind,
And, while they captivate, inform the mind :


Talk the liyahate :

[ocr errors]

vor his key arpa
and all his cours

[ocr errors]

a) happier, if he till attahankful soil, Iod fruit reward his honourable toil;

It happier far, who comfort those that wait
to hear plain truth at Judah's hallow'd gate ;

Their language simple as their manners meek,
houghes armes shining ornaments have they to seek;
ering, at last por labour they, nor time nor talents waste,
jerce his startes sorting flowers to suit a fickle taste;

But while they speak the wisdom of the skies,
The looks and as which art can only darken and disguise,
The abundant harvest, recompense

Repays their work-the gleaning only min

ters and in

cars beden ser 7 much out radded dans


erwhelms there With a touch our escending anze hing of kings 1 through eret

Quo nihil majus meliusve terris
Fata donavere, bonique divi;
Nec dabunt, quamvis redeant in aurum

Tempora priscum.-Hor. Lib. iv. Od. 2.
FAIREST and foremost of the train that wait

ce hatal
Ter halt som
call to any

On man's most dignified and happiest state,
Whether we name thee Charity or Love,

Stening to be

he surrejs

ust join hindi $, eternal la

[ocr errors]

Chief grace below, and all in all above,
Prosper (I press thee with
A task I venture on, impelld by thee:

a powerful plea)
O never seen but in thy bless'd effects,
Or felt but in the soul that Heaven selects ;
Who seeks to praise thee, and to make thee known
To other hearts, must have thee in his own.
Come, prompt me with benevolent desires,
Teach me to kindle at thy gentle fires,
And though disgraced and slighted, to redeem
A poet's name by making thee the theme,

God, working ever on a social plan,
By various ties attaches man to man:
He made at first, though free and unconfined,

ght in sin: has quenching croll ice damera world suarit nd ther' wh: de despair,

and decir ss dar.

ne belong

One man the common father of the kind;
That every tribe, though placed as he sees best,
Where seas or deserts part them from the rest,
Differing in language, manners, or in face,
Might feel themselves allied to all the race.

his song, art, art d

mankind mind:

When Cook-lamented, and with tears as just
As ever mingled with heroic dust-
Steer'd Britain's oak into a world unknown,
And in his country's glory sought his own,
Wherever he found man to nature true,
The rights of man were sacred in his view;
He soothed with gifts, and greeted with a smile,
The simple native of the new-found isle;
He spurn'd the wretch, that slighted or withstood
The tender argument of kindred blood,
Nor would endure, that any should control
His freeborn brethren of the southern pole.

But though some nobler minds a law respect,
That none shall with impunity neglect,
In baser souls unnumbered evils meet,
To thwart its influence, and its end defeat.
While Cook is loved for savage lives he saved,
See Cortez odious for a world enslaved !
Where wast thou then, sweet Charity ? where then,
Thou tutelary friend of helpless men?
Wast thou in monkish cells and nunneries found,
Or building hospitals on English ground?
No.-Mammon makes the world his legatee
Through fear, not love; and Heaven abhors the fee
Wherever found (and all men need thy care),
Nor age nor infancy could find thee there.
The hand, that slew till it could slay no more,
Was glued to the sword-hilt with Indian gore.
Their prince, as justly seated on his throne
As vain imperial Philip on his own,
Trick'd out of all his royalty by art,
That stripp'd him bare, and broke his honest heart,
Died by the sentence of a shaven priest,
For scorning what they taught him to detest.
How dark the veil that intercepts the blaze
Of Heaven's mysterious purposes and ways !
God stood not, though he seem'd to stand, aloof;
And at this hour the conqueror feels the proof;
The wreath he won drew down an instant curse,
The fretting plague is in the public purse,
The canker'd spoil corrodes the pining state,
Starv'd by that indolence their mines create.

« PreviousContinue »