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Traced easily to its true source above,
To Him, whose works bespeak his nature, Love.
Thy bounties all were Christian, and I make
This record of thee for the Gospel's sake;
That the incredulous themselves may see
Its use and power exemplified in thee.
BY AN OLD SCHOOLFELLOW OF HIS AT WESTMINSTER.
Hastings! I knew thee young, and of a mind
While young humane, conversable, and kind ;
Nor can I well believe thee, gentle then,
Now grown a villain, and the worst of men
But rather some suspect, who have oppress'd
And worried thee, as not themselves the best.
THE FOUR AGES; A BRIEF FRAGMENT OF AN EXTENSIVE PROJECTED POEM.
May, 1791. "I could be well content, allow'd the use Of past experience, and the wisdom glean’d From worn-out follies, now acknowledged such, To recommence life's trial, in the hope Of fewer errors, on a second proof!” [callid
Thus, while grey evening lull'd the wind, and Fresh odours from the shrubbery at my side, Taking my lonely winding walk, I mused, And held accustom’d conference with my heart; When from within it thus a voice replied : [length
“ Couldst thou in truth ? and art thou taught at This wisdom, and but this, from all the past ? Is not the pardon of thy long arrear, Time wasted, violated laws, abuse Of talents, judgments, mercies, better far Than opportunity vouchsafed to err With less excuse, and haply, worse effect ?”
I heard, and acquiesced : then to and fro
Oft pacing, as the mariner his deck,
My gravelly bounds, from self to human kind
I pass’d, and next consider'd, what is man?
Knows he his origin ? can he ascend
By reminiscence to his earliest date ?
Slept he in Adam ? and in those from him
Through numerous generations, till he found
At length his destined moment to be born ?
Or was he not, till fashion'd in the womb? (toil'd
Deep mysteries both! which schoolmen must have
To unriddle, and have left them mysteries still.
It is an evil incident to man,
And of the worst, that unexplored he leaves
Truths useful and attainable with ease,
To search forbidden deeps, where mystery lies
Not to be solved, and useless, if it might.
Mysteries are food for angels; they digest
With ease, and find them nutriment; but man,
While yet he dwells below, must stoop to glean
His manna from the ground, or starve, and die.
THE JUDGMENT OF THE POETS.
Two nymphs, both nearly of an age,
Of numerous charms possess’d,
A warm dispute once chanced to wage,
Whose temper was the best.
The worth of each had been complete,
Had both alike been mild ;:
But one, although her smile was sweet,
Frown's oftener than she smiled;
And in her humour, when she frown'd,
Would raise her voice and roar,
And shake with fury to the ground
The garland that she wore.
The other was of gentler cast,
From all such frenzy clear,
Her frowns were seldom known to last,
And never proved severe.
To poets of renown in song
The nymphs referr'd the cause,
Who, strange to tell, all judged it wrong,
And gave misplaced applause.
They gentle call'd, and kind and soft,
The flippant and the scold,
And though she changed her mood so oft,
That failing left untold.
No judges, sure, were e'er so mad,
Or so resolved to err,–
In short, the charms her sister had
They lavish'd all on her.
Then thus the God whom fondly they
Their great Inspirer call,
Was heard, one genial summer's day,
To reprimand them all. “ Since thus ye have combined,” he said,
My favourite nymph to slight, Adorning May, that peevish maid,
With June's undoubted right, “ The Minx shall, for your folly's sake,
Still prove herself a shrew, Shall make your scribbling fingers ache,
And pinch your noses blue.'
A hermit, (or if 'chance you hold
That title now too trite and old,)
A man, once young, who lived retired
As hermit could have well desired,
His hours of study closed at last,
And finish'd his concise repast,
Stoppled his cruise, replaced his book
Within its customary nook,
And, staff in hand, set forth to share
The sober cordial of sweet air,
Like Isaac, with a mind applied
To serious thought at evening-tide.
Autumnal rains had made it chill,
And from the trees, that fringed his hill,
Shades slanting at the close of day
Chill'd more his else delightful way;
Distant a little mile he spied
A western bank's still sunny side,
And right toward the favour'd place
Proceeding with his nimblest pace,
In hope to bask a little yet,
Just reach'd it when the sun was set.
Your hermit, young and jovial sirs !
Learns something from whate'er occurs ;-
And hence, he said, my mind computes
The real worth of man's pursuits.
His object chosen, wealth or fame,
Or other sublunary game,
Imagination to his view
Presents it deck'd with every hue,
That can seduce him not to spare
His powers of best exertion there,
But youth, health, vigour to expend
On so desirable an end.
Ere long approach life's evening shades,
The glow that fancy gave it fades;
And, earn's too late, it wants the grace
That first engaged him in the chase.
True, answer'd an angelic guide,
Attendant at the senior's side,
But whether all the time it cost,
To urge the fruitless chase be lost,
Must be decided by the worth
Of that which call'd his ardour forth.
Trifles pursued, whate'er the event,
Must cause him shame or discontent;
A vicious object still is worse,
Successful there he wins a curse !
But he, whom even in life's last stage
Endeavours laudable engage,
Is paid at least in peace of mind,
And sense of having well design’d;
And if, ere he attain his end,
His sun precipitate descend,
A brighter prize than that he meant
Shall recompense his mere intent.
No virtuous wish can bear a date
Either too early or too late.
THE FAITHFUL BIRD. The greenhouse is my summer seat; My shrubs displaced from that retreat
Enjoy'd the open air.; Two goldfinches, whose sprightly song Had been their mutual solace long,
Lived happy prisoners there.
They sang as blithe as finches sing
That flutter loose on golden wing,
And frolic where they list;
Strangers to liberty 'tis true,
But that delight they never knew,
And therefore never miss'd.
But nature works in every breast,
With force not easily suppress'd;
And Dick felt some desires,
That, after many an effort vain,
Instructed him at length to gain
A pass between his wires.
The open windows seem'd to invite
The freeman to a farewell flight;
But Tom was still confined ;
And Dick, although his way was clear,
Was much too generous and sincere
To leave his friend behind.