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More golden than that age of fabled gold
Renown'd in ancient song; not vex'd with care
Or stain'd with guilt, beneficent, approv'd
Of God and man, and peaceful in its end.
and so at last,
My share of duties decently fulfill'd,
May some disease, not tardy to perform
Its destin'd office, yet with gentle stroke,
Dismiss me weary to a safe retreat,
Beneath the turf, that I have often trod.
It shall not grieve me then, that once when callid
To dress a Sofa with the flow'rs of verse,
I play'd awhile, obedient to the fair,
With that light task; but soon, to please her more,
When flow'rs alone I knew would little please,
Let fall th' unfinish'd wreath, and rov'd for fruit;
Rov'd far, and gather'd much; some harsh, 'tis true,
Prick'd from the thorns and briers of reproof,
But wholesome, well-digested; grateful somó
To palates that can taste immortal truth;
Insipid else, and sure to be despis'd.
But all is in His hand, whose praise I seek.
In vain the poet sings, and the world hears,
If he regard not, though divine the theme.
'Tis not in artful measures, in the chime
And idle tinkling of a minstrel's lyre,
To charm his ear, whose
is on the heart; Whose frown can disappoint the proudest strain, Whose approbation-prosper even mine.
To the REV. WM. 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, is inscribed by the Author.
Κεφαλαιον δη παιδειας ορθη τροφη. Ρlato.
Αρχη πολιτειας απασης νεων τροφα. .
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.
That form indeed, th' associate of a mind
Vast in its pow'rs, ethereal in its kind,
That form, the labour of almighty skill,
Fram'd for the service of a freeborn 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 Mem’ry fills her ample page
With truths pour'd down from ev'ry 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 enlarg’d;
Still to be fed, and not to be surcharg’d,
For her the Fancy, roving unconfin'd,
The present muse of ev'ry 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 slumb'ring on the shore ;
With flow'r and fruit the wilderness supplies,
Or bids the rocks in ruder
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 pow'r on ev'ry 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— 'Twere wild profusion all, and bootless waste, Pow'r misemploy'd, munificence misplac'd, Had not its author dignified the plan, And crown'd it with the majesty of man. Thus form’d, thus plac'd, intelligent, and taught, Look where you will, the wonders God has wrought,
The wildest scorner of his Maker's laws
Finds in a sober moment time to pause,
th' 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;
Endu'd 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 ev'ry 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 'tis 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 Heav'n requir’d of human kind, And all the plan their destiny design’d, What none could rev'rence aļl might justly blame, And man would breathe but for his Maker's shame. But reason heard, and nature well perus’d, At once the dreaming mind is disabus’d. If all we find possessing earth, sea, air, Reflect his attributes, who plac'd them there,
Fulfil the purpose, and appear design'd
Proofs of the wisdom of th' all-seeing mind,
'Tis plain the creature, whom he chose t'invest
With kingship and dominion o'er the rest,
Receiv'd his nobler nature, and was made
Fit for the pow'r, 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 believ'd, 'twere logic misapplied,
prove a consequence by none denied,
That we are bound to cast the minds of youth
Betimes into the mould of heav'nly truth,
That taught of God they may indeed be wise,
Nor ignorantly wand'ring miss the skies.
In early days the conscience has in most
A quickness, which in later life is lost;
Preserv'd 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 And wisely store the nurs’ry by degrees With wholesome learning, yet acquir'd with ease. Neatly secur'd from being soil'd or torn Beneath a pane of thin translucent horn, A book (to please us at a tender age 'Tis call'd a book, though but a single page) Presents the pray’r the Saviour deign'd to teach, Which children use, and parsons when they preach. Lisping our syllables, we scramble next Through moral narrative or sacred text; And learn with wonder how this world began, Who made,who marr'd, and who has ransom’d, man: Points, which unless the Scripture made them plain, The wisest beads might agitate in vain..