« PreviousContinue »
Shall dignity give to my lay,
Although but a mere bagatelle ;
And even a poet shall say,
Nothing ever was written so well.
A STONE ERECTED AT THE SOWING OF A GROVE OF OAKS
AT CHILLINGTON, THE SEAT OF T. GIFFARD, ESQ., 1790.
OTHER stones the era tell,
When some feeble mortal fell;
I stand here to date the birth
Of these hardy sons of earth.
Which shall longest brave the sky,
Storm and frost-these Oaks or I ?
Pass an age or two away,
I must moulder and decay ;
But the years that crumble me
Shall invigorate the tree,
Spread its branch, dilate its size,
Lift its summit to the skies.
Cherish honour, virtue, truth,
So shalt thou prolong thy youth.
Wanting these, however fast
Man be fix'd, and form’d to last,
He is lifeless even now,
Stone at heart, and cannot grow.
FOR A STONE ERECTED ON A SIMILAR OCCASION AT THE
SAME PLACE IN THE FOLLOWING YEAR.
Reader! Behold a monument
That asks no sigh or tear,
Though it perpetuate the event
Of a great burial here.
FOR THE USE OF THE SUNDAY SCHOOL AT OLNEY.
HEAR, Lord, the song of praise and prayer,
In heaven thy dwelling-place,
From infants, made the public care,
And taught to seek thy face!
Thanks for thy Word and for thy Day;
And grant us, we implore,
Never to waste in sinful play
Thy holy Sabbaths more.
Thanks that we hear, but oh! impart
To each desires sincere,
That we may listen with our heart,
And learn as well as hear.
For if vain thoughts the minds engage
Of elder far than we,
What hope that at our heedless age
Our minds should e'er be free?
Much hope, if thou our spirits take
Under thy gracious sway,
Who canst the wisest wiser make,
And babes as wise as they.
Wisdom and bliss thy word bestows,
A sun that ne'er declines;
And be thy mercies shower'd on those
Who placed us where it shines. *
ON THE LATE INDECENT LIBERTIES TAKEN WITH THE
REMAINS OF THE GREAT MILTON,-ANNO 1790.
“ Me too, perchance, in future days,
The sculptur'd stone shall show, * This Hymn was written at the request of the Rev. James Bean, then Viear of Olney, to be sung by the children of the Sunday Schools
With Paphian myrtle or with bays
Parnassian on my brow.
“ But I, or e'er that season come,
Escaped from every care,
Shall reach my refuge in the tomb,
And sleep securely there."'*
So sang, in Roman tone and style,
The youthful bard, ere long,
Ordain'd to grace his native isle
With her sublimest song.
Who then but must conceive disdain,
Hearing the deed unblest
Of wretches who have dared profane
His dread sepulchral rest ?
Ill fare the hands that heaved the stones
Where Milton's ashes lay,
That trembled not to grasp his bones
And steal his dust away!
O ill-requited bard ! neglect
Thy living worth repaid,
And blind idolatrous respect
As much affronts thee dead.
TO MRS. KING,
ON HER KIND PRESENT TO THE AUTHOR, A PATCHWORK
COUNTERPANE OF HER OWN MAKING
AUGUST 14, 1790.
The Bard, if e'er he feel at all,
Must sure be quicken’d by a call
Both on his heart and head,
To pay with tuneful thanks the care
And kindness of a lady fair
Who deigns to deck his bed. of that town, after a Charity Sermon, preached at the parish church for their benefit, on Sunday, July 31, 1790.-J. *“ Forsitan et nostros ducat de marmore vultus
Nectens aut Paphia myrti aut Parnasside lauri
Fronde comas --At ego securâ pace quiescam."--Milton in Manso.
A bed like this, in ancient time,
On Ida's barren top sublime,
(As Homer's Epic shows,)
Composed of sweetest vernal flowers,
Without the aid of sun or showers,
For Jove and Juno rose.
Less beautiful, however gay,
Is that which in the scorching day
Receives the weary swain
Who, laying his long scythe aside,
Sleeps on some bank with daisies pied,
Till roused to toil again.
What labours of the loom I see !
Looms numberless have groan'd for me !
Should every maiden come
To scramble for the patch that bears
The impress of the robe she wears,
The bell would toll for some.
And oh, what havoc would ensue !
This bright display of every hue
All in a moment fled !
As if a storm should strip the bowers
Of all their tendrils, leaves, and flowers,—
Each pocketing a shred.
Thanks, then, to every gentle Fair,
Who will not come to peck me bare
As bird of borrow'd feather,
And thanks to one, above them all,
The gentle Fair of Pertenhall,
Who put the whole together.
MEMORY OF THE LATE JOHN THORNTON, ESQ.
Poets attempt the noblest task they can,
Praising the Author of all good in man,
And, next, commemorating worthies lost,
The dead in whom that good abounded most.
Thee, therefore, of commercial fame, but more Famed for thy probity from shore to shore; Thee, THORNTON ! worthy in some page to shine, As honest and more eloquent than mine, I mourn; or, since thrice happy thou must be, The world, no longer thy abode, not thee. Thee to deplore were grief misspent indeed; It were to weep that goodness has its meed, That there is bliss prepared in yonder sky, And glory for the virtuous, when they die.
What pleasure can the miser's fondled hoard,
Or spendthrift's prodigal excess afford,
Sweet as the privilege of healing woe
By virtue suffer'd combating below ?
That privilege was thine; Heaven gave thee means
To illumine with delight the saddest scenes,
Till thy appearance chased the gloom, forlorn
As midnight, and despairing of a morn.
Thou hadst an industry in doing good,
Restless as his who toils and sweats for food;
Avarice, in thee, was the desire of wealth
By rust unperishable or by stealth ;
And if the genuine worth of gold depend
On application to its noblest end,
Thine had a value in the scales of Heaven,
Surpassing all that mine or mint had given.
And, though God made thee of a nature prone
To distribution boundless of thy own,
And still by motives of religious force
Impell’d thee more to that heroic course,
Yet was thy liberality discreet,
Nice in its choice, and of a temper'd heat,
And though in act unwearied, secret still,
As in some solitude the summer rill
Refreshes, where it winds, the faded green,
And cheers the drooping flowers, unheard, unseen.
Such was thy charity; no sudden start,
After long sleep, of passion in the heart,
But stedfast principle, and, in its kind,
Of close relation to the eternal mind,