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That He who died below, and reigns above With nought in charge, he could betray no trust,
If love reward him, or if vengeance strike,
His recompense in both, unjust alike. The tædium that the lazy rich endure,
Divine authority within his breast Which now and then sweet poetry may cure, Brings, every thought, word, action, to the test, Or if to see the name of idol self
Warns him or prompts, approves him or restrains, Stamp'd on the well-bound quarto, grace the shelf, As reason, or as passion, takes the reins. To float a bubble on the breath of fame,
Heaven from above, and Conscience from within, Prompt his endeavour and engage his aim, Cry in his startled ear, “ Abstain from sin !" Debased to servile purposes of pride,
The world around solicits his desire, How are the powers of genius misapplied !
And kindles in his soul a treacherous fire; The gift whose office is the giver's praise,
While, all his purposes and steps to guard, To trace him in his word, his works, bis ways, Peace follows virtue as its sure reward, Then spread the rich discovery, and invite And pleasure brings as surely in her train, Mankind to share in the divine delight,
Remorse and sorrow and vindictive pain. Distorted from its use and just design,
Man, thus endued with an elective voice, To make the pitiful possessor shine,
Must be supplied with objects of his choice. To purchase at the fool-frequented fair
Where'er he turns, enjoyment and delight, Of vanity, a wreath for self to wear,
Or present or in prospect, meet his sight; Is profanation of the basest kind,
These open on the spot their honey'd store,
Those call him loudly to pursuit of more.
Here, various motives his ambition raise,
Power, pomp, and splendour, and the thirst of Though Butler's wit, Pope's numbers, Prior's ease, praise ; With all that fancy can invent to please,
There beauty woos him with expanded arms; Adorn the polish'd periods as they fall,
Even Bacchanalian madness has its charms. One madrigal of theirs is worth them all.
Nor these alone, whose pleasures less refined A. "Twould thin the ranks of the poetic tribe, Might well alarm the most unguarded mind, To dash the pen through all that you proscribe. Seek to supplant his inexperienced youth,
B. No matter ;-we could shift when they were Or lead him devious from the path of truth; And should, no doubt, if they were all forgot.[not; Hourly allurements on his passions press,
Safe in themselves, but dangerous in the excess.
Hark! how it floats upon the dewy air;-
'Tis harmony from yon sequester'd bower,
Sweet harmony that soothes the midnight hour;
Long ere the charioteer of day had run Si quid loquar audiendum.-Hor. lib. iv. od. 2. His morning course, the enchantment was begun,
And he shall gild yon mountain's height again, SING, Muse, (if such a theme, so dark, so long, Ere yet the pleasing toil becomes a pain. May find a Muse to grace it with a song)
Is this the rugged path, the steep ascent By what unseen and unsuspected arts
That Virtue points to ? Can a life thus spent The serpent Error twines round human hearts ; Lead to the bliss she promises the wise, Tell where she lurks, beneath what flowery shades Detach the soul from earth, and speed her to the That not a glimpse of genuine light pervades, Ye devotees to your adored employ, [skies? The poisonous, black, insinuating worm
Enthusiasts, drunk with an unreal joy, Successfully conceals her loathsome form.
Love makes the music of the blest above, Take, if ye can, ye careless and supine !
Heaven's harmony is universal love; Counsel and caution from a voice like mine ; And earthly sounds, though sweet and well comTruths that the theorist could never reach,
And lenient as soft opiates to the mind, [bined, And observation taught me, I would teach. Leave vice and folly unsubdued behind. Not all whose eloquence the fancy fills,
Grey dawn appears, the sportsman and his train Musical as the chime of tinkling rills,
Speckle the bosom of the distant plain; Weak to perform, though mighty to pretend, "T'is he, the Nimrod of the neighbouring lairs, Can trace her mazy windings to their end,
Save that his scent is less acute than theirs, Discern the fraud beneath the specious lure, For persevering chase and headlong leaps, Prevent the danger, or prescribe the cure. True beagle as the staunchest hound he keeps. The clear harangue, and cold as it is clear, Charged with the folly of his life's mad scene, Falls soporific on the listless ear;
He takes offence, and wonders what you mean; Like quicksilver, the rhetoric they display
The joy, the danger and the toil o'erpays; Shines as it runs, but, grasp'd at, slips away.
'Tis exercise, and health, and length of days. Placed for his trial on this bustling stage, Again impetuous to the field he flies, From thoughtless youth to ruminating age, Leaps every fence but one, there falls and dies; Free in his will to choose or to refuse,
Like a slain deer, the tumbril brings him home, Man may improve the crisis, or abuse.
Unmiss'd but by his dogs and by his groom. Else, on the fatalist's unrighteous plan,
Ye clergy, while your orbit is your place, Say, to what bar amenable were man ?
Lights of the world, and stars of human race,
But if eccentric ye forsake your sphere,
But triflers are engaged and cannot come; Prodigious, ominous, and view'd with fear,
Their answer to the call is-Not at home. The comet's baneful influence is a dream,
Oh the dear pleasures of the velvet plain! Yours real, and pernicious in the extreme. The painted tablets, dealt and dealt again. What then,-are appetites and lusts laid down, Cards with what rapture, and the polish'd die, With the same ease the man puts on his gown? The yawning chasm of indolence supply! Will avarice and concupiscence give place,
Then to the dance, and make the sober moon Charm'd by the sounds, your reverence, or your Witness of joys that shun the sight of noon. grace?
Blame, cynic, if you can, quadrille or ball, No. But his own engagement binds him fast; The snug close party, or the splendid hall Or if it does not, brands him to the last
Where night, down-stooping from her ebon throne, What atheists call him, a designing knave,
Views constellations brighter than her own:
Slain at the foot of pleasure be no crime,
Then with his silver beard and magic wand, He takes the field: the master of the pack
Let Comus rise archbishop of the land; Cries, Well done, saint !-and claps him on the Let him your rubric and your feasts prescribe, Is this the path of sanctity? Is this [back. Grand metropolitan of all the tribe. To stand a way-mark in the road to bliss ?
Of manners rough, and coarse athletic cast,
Not of the moral but the dancing school,
He cannot drink five bottles, bilk the score,
Go, fool! and arm in arm with Clodio plead The full concerto swells upon your ear;
Your cause before a bar you little dread; All elbows shake. Look in, and you would swear But know, the law that bids the drunkard die The Babylonian tyrant with a nod
Is far too just to pass the trifler by. Had summond them to serve his golden god. Both baby-featured and of infant size, So well that thought the employment seems to suit, View'd from a distance, and with heedless eyes, Psaltery and sackbut, dulcimer and flute.
Folly and innocence are so alike, Oh fie! 'Tis evangelical and pure;
The difference, though essential, fails to strike:
A simpering countenance, and a trifling air ;
Deliglıts us, by engaging our respect.
Will not the sickliest sheep of every flock His benefactress blushes at the deed.
For nature, nice, as liberal to dispense, There stand and justify the foul abuse
Made nothing but a brute the slave of sense. Of sabbath hours, with plausible excuse ?
Daniel ate pulse by choice,-example rare ! If apostolic gravity be free
Heaven bless'd the youth, and made him fresh and To play the fool on Sundays, why not we?
Gorgonius sits abdominous and wan, [fair. If he the tinkling harpsichord regards
Like a fat squab upon a Chinese fan; As inoffensive, what offence in cards ?
He snuffs far off the anticipated joy, Strike up the fiddles! let us all be gay!
Turtle and venison all his thoughts employ, Laymen have leave to dance, if parsons play. Prepares for meals as jockeys take a sweat, • Italy! thy sabbaths will be soon
Oh nauseous! an emetic for a whet,-
That pleasures, therefore, or what such we call,
Still hurtful, in the abuse, or by the excess.
Like fabled Tantalus condemn'd to hear
Lip-deep in what he longs for, and yet curst
Forbids him none but the licentious joy,
Worse than a poniard in the basest hand, Whose fruit, though fair, tempts only to destroy. It stabs at once the morals of a land, Remorse, the fatal egg by pleasure laid
Ye writers of what none with safety reads, In every bosom where her nest is made,
Footing it in the dance that fancy leads, Hatch'd by the beams of truth, denies him rest, Ye novelists, who mar what ye would mend, And proves a raging scorpion in his breast. Sniveling and driveling folly without end, No pleasure? Are domestic comforts dead? Whose corresponding misses fill the ream Are all the nameless sweets of friendship fled ! With sentimental frippery and dream, Has time worn out, or fashion put to shame Caught in a delicate soft silken net Good sense, good health, good conscience, and By some lewd earl or rake-hell baronet ; good fame?
Ye pimps, who, under virtue's fair pretence, All these belong to virtue, and all prove
Steal to the closet of young innocence, That virtue has a title to your love.
And teach her, inexperienced yet and green, Have you no touch of pity, that the poor
To scribble as you scribble at fifteen ; Stand starved at your inhospitable door ?
Who kindling a combustion of desire, Or if yourself, too scantily supplied,
With some cold moral think to quench the fire, Need help, let honest industry provide.
Though all your engineering proves in vain, Earn, if you want: if you abound, impart ; The dribbling stream ne'er puts it out again ; These both are pleasures to the feeling heart. Oh that a verse had power, and could coinmand No pleasure? Has some sickly Eastern waste Far, far away these filesh-flies of the land ! Sent us a wind to parch us at a blast ?
Who fasten without mercy on the fair, Can British paradise no scenes afford
And suck, and leave a craving maggot there. To please her sated and indifferent lord ?
Howe'er disguised the inflammatory tale, Are sweet philosophy's enjoyments run
And cover'd with a fine-spun specious veil, Quite to the lees? And has religion none?
Such writers and such readers owe the gust Brutes capable, should tell you 'tis a lie,
And relish of their pleasure all to lust. And judge you from the kennel and the sty.
But the muse, eagle-pinion'd, has in view Delights like these, ye sensual and profane, A quarry more important still than you ; Ye are bid, begg'd, besought to entertain;
Down, down the wind she swims and sails away, Call’d to these crystal streams, do ye turn off Now stoops upon it, and now grasps the prey. Obscene, to swill and swallow at a trough?
Petronius ! all the muses weep for thee, Envy the beast then, on whom heaven bestows But every tear shall scald thy memory. Your pleasures, with no curses in the close ! The graces too, while virtue at their shrine Pleasure, admitted in undue degree,
Lay bleeding under that soft hand of thine, Enslaves the will, nor leaves the judgment free. Felt each a mortal stab in her own breast, 'Tis not alone the grape's enticing juice
Abhorr'd the sacrifice, and cursed the priest: Unnerves the moral powers, and mars their use; Thou polish'd and high-finish'd foe to truth, Ambition, avarice, and the lust of fame,
Grey-beard corruptor of our listening youth,
Then pour it on the morals of thy son
Now while the poison all high life pervades,
One, and one only, charged with deep regret, The breach, though small at first, soon opening That thy worst part, thy principles, live yet : wide,
One sad epistle thence may cure mankind In rushes folly with a full-moon tide:
Of the plague spread by bundles left behind. Then welcome errors, of whatever size,
'Tis granted, and no plainer truth appears, To justify it by a thousand lies.
Our most important are our earliest years. As creeping ivy clings to wood or stone,
The mind impressible and soft, with ease And hides the ruin that it feeds upon,
Imbibes and copies what she hears and sees, So sophistry cleaves close to and protects
And through life's labyrinth holds fast, the clue Sin's rotten trunk, concealing its defects.
That education gives her, false or true.
And without discipline the favourite child,
But we, as if good qualities would grow
Spontaneous, take but little pains to sow ; The praise of wisdom, comeliness, and worth, We give some Latin, and a smatch of Greek, And call her charms to public notice forth, Teach him to fence and figure twice a week, Than vice's mean and disingenuous race
And having done, we think, the best we can, To hide the shocking features of her face :
Praise his proficiency and dub him man. Her form with dress and lotion they repair,
From school to Cam or lsis, and thence home, Then kiss their idol, and pronounce her fair. And thence with all convenient speed to Rome, The sacred implement I now employ
With reverend tutor clad in habit lay, Might prove a mischief, or at best a toy,
To tease for cash, and quarrel with all day ; A trifle if it move but to amuse,
With memorandum-book for every town, But if to wrong the judgment and abuse,
And every post, and where the chaise broke down;
His stock a few French phrases got by heart,
Ere long, some bowing, smirking, smart abbé
Strange the recital ! from whatever cause His great improvement and new lights he draws, The 'squire once bashful is shamefaced no more, But teems with powers he never felt before : Whether increased momentum, and the force With which from clime to clime he sped his course, As axles sometimes kindle as they go, Chafed him and brought dull nature to a glow; Or whether clearer skies and softer air, That make Italian flowers so sweet and fair, Freshening his lazy spirits as he ran, Unfolded genially and spread the man ; Returning, he proclaims by many a grace, By shrugs and strange contortions of his face, How much a dunce that has been sent to roam, Excels a dunce that has been kept at home.
Accomplishments have taken virtue’s place, And wisdom falls before exterior grace ; We slight the precious kernel of the stone, And toil to polish its rough coat alone. A just deportment, manners graced with ease, Elegant phrase, and figure form’d to please, Are qualities that seem to comprehend Whatever parents, guardians, schools intend. Hence an unfurnishid and a listless mind, Though busy, trifling; empty, though refined; Hence all that interferes, and dares to clash With indolence and luxury, is trash ; While learning, once the man's exclusive pride, Seems verging fast towards the female side.
Learning itself, received into a mind By nature weak, or viciously inclined, Serves but to lead philosophers astray Where children would with ease discern the way. And of all arts sagacious dupes invent To cheat themselves and gain the world's assent, The worst is scripture warp'd from its intent.
The carriage bowls along, and all are pleased If Tom be sober, and the wheels well greased; But if the rogue have gone a cup too far, Left out his linch-pin or forgot his tar, It suffers interruption and delay, And meets with hinderance in the smoothest
When some hypothesis absurd and vain
A critic on the sacred book should be
How shall I speak thee, or thy power address,
No wild enthusiast ever yet could rest, Till half mankind were like himself possess'd. Philosophers, who darken and put out Eternal truth by everlasting doubt, Church quacks, with passions under no command, Who fill the world with doctrines contraband, Discoverers of they know not what, confined Within no bounds, the blind that lead the blind, To streams of popular opinion drawn, Deposit in those shallows all their spawn. The wriggling fry soon fill the creeks around, Poisoning the waters where their swarms abound; Scorn’d by the nobler tenants of the flood, Minnows and gudgeons gorge the unwholesome The propagated myriads spread so fast, [food. Even Leuwenhoek himself would stand aghast, Employ'd to calculate the enormous sum, And own his crab-computing powers o'ercome. Is this hyperbole? The world well known, Your sober thoughts will hardly find it one.
Fresh confidence the speculatist takes From every hare-brain'd proselyte he makes, And therefore prints :-Himself but half deceived, Till others have the soothing tale believed. Hence comment after comment, spun as fine As bloated spiders draw the flimsy line ; Hence the same word that bids our lusts obey, Is misapplied to sanctify their sway. If stubborn Greek refuse to be his friend, Hebrew or Syriac shall be forced to bend; If languages and copies all cry, No!-Somebody proved it centuries ago. Like trout pursued, the critic in despair Darts to the mud and finds his safety there. Women, whom custom has forbid to fly The scholar's pitch, (the scholar best knows why) With all the simple and unletter'd poor, Admire his learning, and almost adore. Whoever errs, the priest can ne'er be wrong, With such fine words familiar to his tongue.
Ye ladies! (for, indifferent in your cause, I should deserve to forfeit all applause) Whatever shocks, or gives the least offence To virtue, delicacy, truth, or sense,
(Try the criterion, 'tis a faithful guide)
Callid to the temple of impure delight,
None but an author knows an author's cares, If a wish wander that way, call it home;
But if you pass the threshold, you are caught; The baby seems to smile with added charms: Die then, if power Almighty save you not ! Like something precious ventured far from shore, There hardening by degrees, till double steeld, "Tis valued for the ger's sake the more.
Take leave of nature's God, and God reveal'd; He views it with complacency supreme,
Then laugh at all you trembled at before, Solicits kind attention to his dream,
And joining the freethinkers' brutal roar, And daily, more enamour'd of the cheat,
Swallow the two grand nostrums they dispense, Kneels, and asks heaven to bless the dear deceit. That scripture lies, and blasphemy is sense; So one, whose story serves at least to show If clemency revolted by abuse Men loved their own productions long ago,
Be damnable, then, damn'd without excuse. [will Wooed an unfeeling statue for his wife,
Some dream that they can silence when they Nor rested till the gods had given it life.
The storm of passion, and say, Peace, be still ;
Implies authority that never can,
But, muse, forbear! long flights forebode a fall, Grant me discernment, and I grant it you. Strike on the deep-toned chord the sum of all. Patient of contradiction as a child,
Hear the just law, the judgment of the skies: Affable, humble, diffident, and mild,
Ile that hates truth shall be the dupe of lies; Such was Sir Isaac, and such Boyle and Locke ; And he that will be cheated to the last, Your blunderer is as sturdy as a rock:
Delusions, strong as hell, shall bind him fast. The creature is so sure to kick and bite,
But if the wanderer his mistake discern, A muleteer's the man to set him right.
Judge his own ways, and sigh for a return, First appetite enlists him truth's sworn foe, Bewilder'd once, must he bewail his loss Then obstinate self-will confirins him so.
For ever and for ever! Northe Cross! Tell him he wanders, that his error leads
There and there only, (though the deist rave,
There and there only, is the power to save;
The spells and charms that blinded you before, His still refuted quirks he still repeats,
All vanish there, and fascinate no more. New raised objections with new quibbles meets, I am no preacher; let this hint suffice, Till sinking in the quicksand he defends,
The Cross once seen is death to every vice: He dies disputing, and the contest ends;
Else He that hung there suffered all his pain, But not the mischiefs : they, still left behind, Bled, groan'd and agonized, and died in vain. Like thistle-seeds are sown by every wind.
Thus men go wrong with an ingenious skill,
Pensentur trutind.-Hor. lib. ii. ep. i.
His ship half founder'd and his compass lost, Faults in the life breed errors in the brain, Sees, far as human optics may command, And these, reciprocally, those again.
A sleeping fog, and fancies it dry land : The mind and conduct mutually imprint
Spreads all his canvass, every sinew plies, And stamp their image in each other's mint; Pants for it, aims at it, enters it, and dies. Each sire and dam of an infernal race,
Then farewell all self-satisfying schemes, Begetting and conceiving all that's base.
His well-built systems, philosophic dreams, None sends his arrow to the mark in view, Deceitful views of future bliss, farewell ! Whose hand is feeble, or his aim untrue;
He reads his sentence at the flames of hell. For though ere yet the shaft is on the wing,
Hard lot of man! to toil for the reward Or when it first forsakes the elastic string, Of virtue, and yet lose it !- Wherefore hard ? It err but little from the intended line,
He that would win the race, must guide his horse It falls at last, far wide of his design:
Obedient to the customs of the course, So he that seeks a mansion in the sky,
Else, though unequal'd to the goal he flies, Must watch his purpose with a steadfast eye; A meaner than himself shall gain the prize. That prize belongs to none but the sincere, Grace leads the right way,—if you choose the wrong, The least obliquity is fatal here.
Take it and perish, but restrain your tongue; With caution taste the sweet Circæan cup, Charge not, with light sufficient and left free, He that sips often, at last drinks it up.
Your wilful suicide on God's decree. Habits are soon assumed, but when we strive Oh how unlike the complex works of man, To strip them off, 'tis being flay'd alive.
Heaven's easy, artless, unincumber'd plan!