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308 EPISTLE TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ. Dreading a negative, and overawed Lest he should trespass, begg'd to go abroad. “ Go, fellow !-whither ?”—turning short about
Nay. Stay at home ;-you ’re always going out.”
“ 'Tis but a step, sir, just at the street's end.”.
“ For what?" “ An please you, sir, to see a friend.”
“ A friend ? " Horatio cried, and seem'd to start,
“Yea marry shalt thou, and with all my heart-
And fetch my cloak, for though the night be raw
I'll see him too—the first I ever saw.
I knew the man, and knew his nature mild,
And was his plaything often when a child ;
But somewhat at that moment pinch'd him close,
Else he was seldom bitter or morose :
Perhaps his confidence just then betray'd, (made ;
His grief might prompt him with the speech he
Perhaps ’t was mere good humour gave it birth,
The harmless play of pleasantry and mirth.
Howe'er it was, his language in my mind
Bespoke at least a man that knew mankind.
But not to moralize too much, and strain
To prove an evil of which all complain,
(I hate long arguments, verbosely spun,)
One story more, dear Hill, and I have done.
Once on a time, an Emperor, a wise man,
No matter where, in China or Japan,
Decreed that whosoever should offend
Against the well-known duties of a friend,
should ever after wear
But half a coat, and show his bosom bare;
The punishment importing this, no doubt,
That all was naught within, and all found out.
O happy Britain! we have not to fear
Such hard and arbitrary measure here;
Else could a law like that which I relate,
Once have the sanction of our triple state,
Some few* that I have known in days of old
Would run most dreadful risk of catching cold.
* In a letter to Mr, Newton, (July 9, 1785,) Cowper tells him that Thurlow and Colman are the former friends to whom he particularly
While you, my friend, whatever wind should blow,
Might traverse England safely to and fro,
An honest man, close-button'd to the chin,
Broad-cloth without, and a warm heart within.
Κεφαλαιον δη παιδειας ορθη τροφη.-PLATO.
Αρχη πολιτειας απασης, νεων τροφα.-Diod. LA ERT.
REV. WILLIAM CAWTHORNE UNWIN,
RECTOR OF STOCK IN ESSEX,
THE TUTOR OF HIS TWO SONS,
THE FOLLOWING POEM,
RECOMMENDING PRIVATE TUITION IN PREFERENCE
TO AN EDUCATION AT SCHOOL,
BY HIS AFFECTIONATE FRIEND,
Olney, Nov. 6, 1784.
It is not from his form, in which we trace
Strength join'd with beauty, dignity with grace,
That man, the master of this globe, derives
His right of empire over all that lives.
alludes in these lines," and it is possible,” he adds, “ that they may take to themselves a censure that they so well deserve, If not, it matters not; for I shall never have any communication with them hereafter."
After the success of his second volume, however, their acquaintance was renewed, and Cowper forgave the unkinduess of their neglect.
That form indeed, the associate of a mind
Vast in its powers, ethereal in its kind,
That form, the labour of Almighty skill,
Framed for the service of a free-born will,
Asserts precedence, and bespeaks control,
But borrows all its grandeur from the soul.
Hers is the state, the splendour and the throne,
An intellectual kingdom, all her own.
For her, the memory fills her ample page
With truths pour'd down from every distant age,
For her amasses an unbounded store,
The wisdom of great nations, now no more,
Though laden, not encumber'd with her spoil,
Laborious, yet unconscious of her toil,
When copiously supplied then most enlarged,
Still to be fed, and not to be surcharged.
For her, the fancy roving unconfined,
The present Muse of every pensive mind,
Works magic wonders, adds a brighter hue
To nature's scenes, than nature ever knew;
At her command, winds rise and waters roar,
Again she lays them slumbering on the shore;
With flower and fruit the wilderness supplies,
Or bids the rocks in ruder pomp arise.
For her, the judgment, umpire in the strife,
That grace and nature have to wage through life,
Quick-sighted arbiter of good and ill,
Appointed sage preceptor to the will,
Condemns, approves, and with a faithful voice
Guides the decision of a doubtful choice.
Why did the fiat of a God give birth
To yon fair sun and his attendant earth,
And when descending he resigns the skies,
Why takes the gentler moon her turn to rise,
Whom ocean feels through all his countless waves,
And owns her power on every shore he laves ?
Why do the seasons still enrich the year,
Fruitful and young as in their first career ?
Spring hangs her infant blossoms on the trees,
Rock'd in the cradle of the western breeze;
Summer in haste the thriving charge receives
Beneath the shade of her expanded leaves,
Till autumn's fiercer heats and plenteous dews
Dye them at last in all their glowing hues ;-
"T were wild profusion all, and bootless waste,
Power misemploy'd, munificence misplaced,
Had not its Author dignified the plan,
And crown'd it with the majesty of man.
Thus form’d, thus placed, intelligent, and taught,
Look where he will, the wonders God has wrought,
The wildest scorner of his Maker's laws
Finds in a sober moment time to pause,
To press the important question on his heart,
" Why form’d at all, and wherefore as thou art ?”
If man be what he seems, this hour a slave,
The next mere dust and ashes in the grave,
Endued with reason only to descry
His crimes and follies with an aching eye,
With passions, just that he may prove with pain
The force he spends against their fury, vain;
And if soon after having burnt by turns
With every lust with which frail nature burns,
His being end where death dissolves the bond,
The tomb take all, and all be blank beyond,
Then he, of all that nature has brought forth,
Stands self-impeach'd the creature of least worth,
And useless while he lives, and when he dies,
Brings into doubt the wisdom of the skies.
Truths that the learn’d pursue with eager thought,
Are not important always as dear-bought,
Proving at last, though told in pompous strains,
A childish waste of philosophic pains;
But truths on which depends our main concern,
That 't is our shame and misery not to learn,
Shine by the side of every path we tread
With such a lustre, he that runs may read.
'Tis true, that if to trifle life away
Down to the sunset of their latest day,
Then perish on futurity's wide shore,
Like fleeting exhalations, found no more,
Were all that Heaven required of human kind,
And all the plan their destiny design’d,
What none could reverence all might justly blame,
And man would breathe but for his Maker's shame.
But reason heard, and nature well perused,
At once the dreaming mind is disabused,
If all we find possessing earth, sea, air,
Reflect his attributes who placed them there,
Fulfil the purpose, and appear design’d
Proofs of the wisdom of the all-seeing Mind,
'Tis plain, the creature whom he chose to invest
With kingship and dominion o'er the rest,
Received his nobler nature, and was made
Fit for the power in which he stands array'd,
That first or last, hereafter if not here,
He too might make his Author's wisdom clear,
Praise him on earth, or obstinately dumb
Suffer his justice in a world to come.
This once believed, 't were logic misapplied
To prove a consequence by none denied,
That we are bound to cast the minds of youth
Betimes into the mould of heavenly truth,
That taught of God they may indeed be wise,
Nor ignorantly wandering miss the skies.
In early days the conscience has in most
A quickness, which in later life is lost,
Preserved from guilt by salutary fears,
Or, guilty, soon relenting into tears.
Too careless often as our years proceed,
What friends we sort with, or what books we read,
Our parents yet exert a prudent care
To feed our infant minds with proper fare,
And wisely store the nursery by degrees
With wholesome learning, yet acquired with ease.
Neatly secured from being soil'd or torn
Beneath a pane of thin translucent horn,
A book (to please us at a tender age
"T is calld a book, though but a single page)
Presents the prayer the Saviour deign'd to teach,
Which children use, and parsons—when they preach.