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Nor his, who for the bane of thousands born,
Built God * a church, and laugh'd his word to scorn,
Skilful alike to seem devout and just,
And stab religion with a sly side-thrust;
Nor those of learn'd philologists, who chase
A panting syllable through time and space,
Start it at home, and hunt it in the dark,
To Gaul, to Greece, and into Noah's ark;
But such learning without false pretence,
The friend of truth, the associate of sound sense,
And such as in the zeal of good design,
Strong judgment labouring in the Scripture mine,
All such as manly and great souls produce,
Worthy to live, and of eternal use;
Behold in these what leisure hours demand,
Amusement and true knowledge hand in hand.
Luxury gives the mind a childish cast,
And while she polishes, perverts the taste ;
Habits of close attention, thinking heads,
Become more rare as dissipation spreads,

* DEO EREXIT VOLTAIRE.
In Voltaire's bed-room at Ferney is a sort of monument in bad taste,
with something like an urn in the middle, and these words,-Son esprit
est partout, et son cœur est,-ici it would have said, but the heart was
not there, any more than the manes which some verses above had en-
gaged to be there also. In a grove some hundred yards distant there
is a flat black marble monument thus inscribed :

Au Chantre
du Père des Bourbons.
Au Fondateur

de

Ferney. This monument is covered with a black pyramid of wood, to preserve it from the weather. Some devotee of the arch-infidel had chalked upon this covering with great precision of hand an eulogistic epigram quite worthy of being written in chalk upon wood :

Voltaire, des hommes la gloire et le flambeau,

meritoit les honneurs suprêmes ; et s'il etoit dans son tombeau

les lauriers y croitroient d'eux-mêmes. The offerings which had recently been placed on the top of this pyra. midal covering, (not in derision,) were literally a withered laurel wreath, a worse quill than ever pen was made of, and a child's penny trumpet. -MS. Journal. 1817.

1

Till authors hear at length one general cry,
Tickle and entertain us, or we die !
The loud demand from year to year the same,
Beggars invention and makes fancy lame;
Till farce itself, most mournfully jejune,
Calls for the kind assistance of a tune,
And novels (witness every month's Review)
Belie their name, and offer nothing new.
The mind relaxing into needful sport,
Should turn to writers of an abler sort,
Whose wit well managed, and whose classic style
Give truth a lustre, and make wisdom smile.

Friends, (for I cannot stint as some have done,
Too rigid in my view, that name to one,
Though one, I grant it in the generous breast,
Will stand advanced a step above the rest;
Flowers by that name promiscuously we call,
But one, the rose, the regent of them all ;)
Friends, not adopted with a schoolboy's haste,
But chosen with a nice discerning taste,
Well born, well disciplined, who, placed apart
From vulgar minds, have honour much at heart,
And (though the world may think the ingredients
The love of virtue, and the fear of God ! * (odd)
Such friends prevent what else would soon succeed,
A temper rustic as the life we lead,
And keep the polish of the manners clean,
As theirs who bustle in the busiest scene.
For solitude, however some may rave,
Seeming a sanctuary, proves a grave,
A sepulchre in which the living lie,
Where all good qualities grow sick and die.
I praise the Frenchman, † his remark was shrewd, -
How sweet, how passing sweet is solitude !

*

“I fear not man nor devil; but, though odd,

I'm not ashamed to own I fear my God." The two last lines of some brave man's answer to a challenge, which have stuck in my memory ever since I was at school; but the other two have slipped out of it, P.

† Bruyére.

But grant me still a friend in my retreat,
Whom I may whisper, solitude is sweet.
Yet neither these delights, nor aught beside
That appetite can ask, or wealth provide,
Can save us always from a tedious day,
Or shine the dulness of still life away;
Divine communion carefully enjoy'd,
Or sought with energy, must fill the void.
Oh sacred art, to which alone life owes
Its happiest seasons, and a peaceful close,
Scorn'd in a world indebted to that scorn
For evils daily felt and hardly borne,
Not knowing thee, we reap with bleeding hands
Flowers of rank odour upon thorny lands,
And while experience cautions us in vain,
Grasp seeming happiness, and find it pain.
Despondence, self-deserted in her grief,
Lost by abandoning her own relief;
Murmuring and ungrateful discontent,
That scorns afflictions mercifully meant;
Those humours tart as wines upon the fret,
Which idleness and weariness beget;
These and a thousand plagues that haunt the breast,
Fond of the phantom of an earthly rest,
Divine communion chases, as the day
Drives to their dens the obedient beasts of prey.
See Judah’s promised king, bereft of all,
Driven out an exile from the face of Saul,
To distant caves the lonely wanderer flies,
To seek that peace a tyrant's frown denies.
Hear the sweet accents of his tuneful voice,
Hear him o'erwhelm’d with sorrow, yet rejoice;
No womanish or wailing grief has part,
No, not a moment, in his royal heart;
'Tis manly music, such as martyrs make,
Suffering with gladness for a Saviour's sake :
His soul exults, hope animates his lays,
The sense of mercy kindles into praise,
And wilds familiar with the lion's roar
Ring with ecstatic sounds unheard before.

'Tis love like his that can alone defeat The foes of man, or make a desert sweet.

Religion does not censure or exclude Unnumber'd pleasures harmlessly pursued. To study culture, and with artful toil To meliorate and tame the stubborn soil ; To give dissimilar yet fruitful lands The grain or herb or plant that each demands; To cherish virtue in an humble state, And share the joys your bounty may create ; To mark the matchless workings of the power That shuts within its seed the future flower, Bids these in elegance of form excel, In colour these, and those delight the smell, Sends Nature forth, the daughter of the skies, To dance on earth, and charm all human eyes; To teach the canvass innocent deceit, Or lay the landscape on the snowy sheet; These, these are arts pursued without a crime, That leave no stain upon the wing of time.

Me poetry (or rather notes that aim Feebly and faintly at poetic fame) Employs, shut out from more important views, Fast by the banks of the slow-winding Ouse; Content if thus sequester'd I may raise A monitor's, though not a poet's praise, And while I teach an art too little known, To close life wisely, may not waste my own.

THE TASK.

ADVERTISEMENT.

The history of the following production is briefly this. A lady, fond of blank verse, demanded a poem of that kind from the author, and gave him the Sofa for a subject. He obeyed; and having much leisure, connected another subject with it; and pursuing the train of thought to which his situation and turn of mind led him, brought forth at length, instead of the trifle which he at first intended, a serious affair,-a Volume.

In the poem on the subject of Education he would be very sorry to stand suspected of having aimed his censure at any particular school. His objections are such as naturally apply themselves to schools in general. If there were not, as for the most part there is, wilful neglect in those who manage them, and an omission even of such discipline as they are susceptible of, the objects are yet too numerous for minute attention; and the aching hearts of ten thousand parents, mourning under the bitterest of all disappointments, attest the truth of the allegation. His quarrel therefore is with the mischief at large, and not with any particular instance of it.

BOOK I.

THE SOFA.

ARGUMENT. Historical deduction of seats, from the stool to the Sofa. A

schoolboy's ramble. A walk in the country. The scene described. Rural sounds as well as sights delightful. Another walk. Mistake concerning the charms of solitude corrected. Colonnades commended. Alcove, and the view from it. The Wilderness. The Grove. The Thresher. The necessity and the benefits of exercise. The works of nature superior to and in some instances inimitable by art. The wearisomeness of what is commonly called a life of pleasure. Change of scene sometimes expedient. A common described, and the character of crazy Kate introduced. Gipsies. The blessings of civilized life. That state most favourable to virtue. The South Sea islanders compassionated, but chiefly Omai. His present state of mind sup

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