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O blessed effect of penury and want ;
Complacency has breathed a gentle gale The seed sown there how vigorous is the plant ! O'er all his thoughts, and swelled his easy sail : No soil like poverty for growth divine,
His books well trimmed and in the gayest style, As leanest land supplies the richest wine. Like regimental coxcombs, rank and file, Earth gives too little, giving only bread, Adorn his intellects as well as shelves, To nourish pride, or turn the weakest head: And teach him notions splendid as themselves: To them the sounding jargon of the schools The Bible only stands neglected there, Seems what it is a cap and bells for fools : Though that of all most worthy of his care; The light they walked by, kindled from above, And, like an infant troublesome awake, Shows them the shortest way to life and love: Is left to sleep for peace and quiet's sake. They, strangers to the controversial field, Where deists, always foiled, yet scorn to yield,
What shall the man deserve of human kind, And never checked by what impedes the wise,
Whose happy skill and industry combined Believe, rush forward, and possess the prize.
Shall prove (what argument could never yet)
The Bible an imposture and a cheat? Envy, ye great, the dull unlettered small: The praises of the libertine professed, Ye have much cause for envy—but not all. The worst of men, and curses of the best. We boast some rich ones whom the Gospel sways, Where should the living, weeping o'er his woes; And one who wears a coronet and prays;
The dying, trembling at the awful close; Like gleanings of an olive-tree they show, Where the betrayed, forsaken, and oppressed, Here and there one upon the topmost bough. The thousands whom the world forbids to rest; How readily upon the Gospel plan,
Where should they find (those comforts at an end That question has its answer-What is man?
The Scripture yields,) or hope to find, a friend? Sinful and weak, in every sense a wretch;
Sorrow might muse herself to madness then, 'An instrument, whose chords upon the stretch,
And, seeking exile from the sight of men, And strained to the last screw that he can bear,
Bury herself in solitude profound, Yield only discord in his Maker's ear:
Grow frantic with her pangs, and bite the ground, Once the blest residence of truth divine,
Thus often Unbelief, grown sick of life, Glorious as Solyma’s interior shrine,
Flies to the tempting pool, or felon knife. Where, in his own oracular abode,
The jury meet, the coroner is short, Dwelt visibly the light-creating God;
And lunacy the verdict of the court : But made long since, like Babylon of old,
Reverse the sentence, let the truth be known, A den of mischiefs never to be told:
Such lunacy is ignorance alone; And she, once mistress of the realms around,
They knew not, what some bishops may not know, Now scattered wide, and no where to be found,
That Scripture is the only cure of wo; As soon shall rise and reascend the throne,
That field of promise, how it flings abroad By native power and energy her own,
Its odour o'er the Christian's thorny road!" As Nature, at her own peculiar cost,
The soul, reposing on assured relief, Restore to rnan the glories he has lost.
Feels herself happy amidst all her grief, Go—bid the winter cease to chill the year,
Forgets her labour as she toils along, Replace the wand'ring comet in his sphere,
Weeps tears of joy, and bursts into a song. Then boast (but wait for that unhoped-for hour) But the same word, that, like the polished share, The self-restoring arm of human power; Ploughs up the roots of a believer's care, But what is man in his own proud esteem? Kills too the flow'ry weeds, where'er they grow, Hear him-himself the poet and the theme: That bind the sinner's Bacchanalian brow. A monarch clothed with majesty and awe, Oh that unwelcome voice of heavenly love, His mind his kingdom, and his will his law, Sad messenger of mercy from above! Grace in his mien, and glory in his eyes, How does it grate upon his thankless ear, Supreme on earth, and worthy of the skies, Crippling his pleasures with the cramp of fear! Strength in his heart, dominion in his nod, His will and judgment at continual strife, And, thunderbolts excepted, quite a God! That civil war imbitters all his life: So sings he, charmed with his own mind and form, In vain he points his powers against the skies, The song magnificent—the theme a worm! In vain he closes or averts his eyes, Himself so much the source of his delight, Truth will intrude—she bids him yet beware; His Maker has no beauty in his sight.
And shakes the sceptic in the scorner's chair. See where he sits, contemplative and fixed, Though various foes against the truth combine, Pleasure and wonder in his features mixed, Pride above all opposes her design; His passions tamed and all at his control Pride, of a growth superior to the rest, How perfect the composure of his soul! The subtlest serpent with the loftiest crest,
Swells at the thought, and, kindling into rage, Their judge was conscience, and her rule their law, Would hiss the cherub Mercy from the stage. That rule, pursued with reverence and with awe,
And is the soul indeed so lost?—she cries, Led them, however faltering, faint, and slow, Fallen from her glory, and too weak to rise ? From what they knew, to what they wished to Torpid anddull beneath a frozen zone,
she yet displays, And deem his base stupidity no crime: Some love of virtue, and some power to praise; The wretch, who slights the bounties of the skies, Can lift herself above corporeal things,
And sinks, while favoured with the means to rise, And, soaring on her own unborrowed
wings, Shall find them rated at their full amount; Possess herself of all that's good or true, The good he scorned all carried to account. Assert the skies, and vindicate her due.
Marshaling all his terrors as he came, Past indiscretion is a venial crime,
Thunder, and earthquake, and devouring flame, And if the youth, unmellowed yet by time, From Sinai's top Jehovah gave the law, Bore on his branch, luxuriant then and rude, Life for obedience, death for every flaw. Fruits of a blighted size, austere and crude, When the great Sovereign would his will express, Maturer years shall happier stores produce,
He gives a perfect rule; what can he less? And meliorate the well-concocted juice.
And guards it with a sanction as severe Then, conscious of her meritorious zeal,
As vengeance can inflict, or sinners fear: To justice she may make her bold appeal, Else his own glorious rights he would disclaim, And leave to mercy, with a tranquil mind,
And man might safely trifle with his name. The worthless and unfruitful of mankind.
He bids him glow with unremitting love Hear then how mercy, slighted and defied,
To all on earth, and to himself above; Retorts the affront against the crown of Pride.
Condemns the injurious deed, the sland'rous Perish the virtue, as it ought, abhorred,
tongue, And the fool with it, who insults his Lord. The thought that meditates a brother's wrong: The atonement, a Redeemer's love has wrought, Brings not alone the more conspicuous part, Is not for you—the righteous need it not.
His conduct, to the test, but tries his heart. Seest thou yon harlot, wooing all she meets,
Hark! universal nature shook and groaned, The worn-out nuisance of the public streets,
| 'Twas the last trumpet —see the judge enthroned; Herself from morn to night, from night to morn, Rouse all your courage at your utmost need, Her own abhorrence, and as much your scorn;
Now summon every virtue, stand and plead. The gracious shower, unlimited and free,
What! silent? Is your boasting heard no more ? Shall fall on her, when heaven denies it thee.
That self-renouncing wisdom, learned before, Of all that wisdom dictates, this the drift,
Had shed immortal glories on your brow,
That all your virtues can not purchase now.
All joy to the believer! He can speak-
Trembling yet happy, confident yet meek. For ignorance of what they could not know? Since the dear hour, that brought me to thy foot, That
speech betrays at once a bigot's tongue, And cut up all my follies by the root, Charge not a God with such outrageous wrong. I never trusted in an arm but thine, Truly not I--the partial light men have, Nor hoped, but in thy righteousness divine: My creed persuades me, well-employed, may save: My prayers and alms, imperfect and defiled, While he that scorns the noonday beam, perverse, Were but the feeble efforts of a child; Shall find the blessing unimproved a curse. Howe'er performed, it was their brightest part, Let heathen worthies, whose exalted mind That they proceeded from a grateful heart: Left sensuality and dross behind,
Cleansed in thine own all purifying blood,
Forgive their evil, and accept their good;
Is what it was, dependence upon thee;
tam patieng, nullo certamine tolli Dona sines?
Virg. Æn. Lib. V."
Why weeps the muse for England? What ap | Forgot the blush, that virgin fears impart pears
To modest cheeks, and borrowed one from art; In England's case, to move the muse to tears? Were just such trifles, without worth or use, From side to side of her delightful isle
As silly pride and idleness produce; . Is she not clothed with a perpetual smile? Curled, scented, furbelowed, and founced around, Can nature add a charm, or art confer
With feet too delicate to touch the ground, A new-found luxury not seen in her ?
They stretched the neck, and rolled the wanton eye, Where under heaven is pleasure more pursued, And sighed for every fool that buttered hy. ' Or where does cold reflection less intrude?
He saw his people slaves to every lust, Her fields a rich expanse of wavy corn, Lewd, avaricious, arrogant, unjust; Poured out from plenty's overflowing horn; He heard the wheels of an avenging God Ambrosial gardens, in which art supplies Groan heavily along the distant road; The fervour and the force of Indian skies; Saw Babylon set wide her two-leaved brass Her peaceful shores, where busy commerce waits To let the military deluge pass; To pour his golden tide through all her gates; Jerusalem a prey, her glory soiled, ..Whom fiery suns, that scorch the russet spice Her princes captive, and her treasures spoiled; Of eastern groves, and oceans floored with ice, Wept till all Israel heard his bitter cry, . Forbid in vain to push his daring way
Stamped with his foot, and smote upon his thigh: To darker climes, or climes of brighter day; But wept, and stamped, and smote his thigh in vain; Whom the winds waft where'er the billows roll, Pleasure is deaf when told of future pain, From the world's girdle to the frozen pole; And sounds prophetic are too rough to suit , The chariots bounding in her wheel-worn streets, Ears long accustomed to the pleasing lute; Her vaults below, where every vintage meets; They scorned his inspiration and his theme Her theatres, her revels, and her sports;
Pronounced him frantic, and his fears a dream;. The scenes to which not youth alone resorts, With self-indulgence winged the fleeting hours," But age, in spite of weakness and of pain, Till the foc found them, and down fell their towers, Still haunts, in hope to dream of youth again; Long time Assyria bound them in her chain, All speak her happy: let the Muse look round Till penitence had purged the publie stain, From East to West, no sorrow can be found; And Cyrus, with relenting pity moved, Or only what, in cottages confined,
Returned them happy to the land they loved; Sighs unregarded to the passing wind.
There, proof against prosperity, a while Then wherefore weep for England? What ap They stood the test of her ensnaring smile, pears
And had the grace in scenes of peace to show In England's case to move the muse to tears? The virtue they had learned in scenes of wo.
But man is frail, and can but ill sustain The prophet wept for Israel; wished his eyes A long immunity from grief and pain; Were fountains fed with infinite supplies; And after all the joys that Plenty leads, For Israel dealt in robbery and wrong;
With tiptoe step Vice silently succeeds. There were the scorner's and the slanderer's When he that ruled them with a shepherd's rod, tongue:
In form a man, in dignity a God,
The Pharisee the dupe of his own art,
When nations are to perish in their sins, By Vanity's unwearied finger dressed,
'Tis in the church the leprosy begins;
The priest, whose office is with zeal sincere Confessed the wonder, and with daring tongue
But, grave dissemblers could not understand
That Sin let loose speaks punishment at hand His unsuspecting sheep believe it pure;
Ask now of history's authentic page, And, tainted by the very means of cure,
And call up evidence from ev'ry age; Catch from each other' a contagious spot, Display with busy and laborious hand The foul fore-runner of a general rot.
The blessings of the most indebted land; Then Truth is hushed, that Heresy may preach: What nation will you find whose annals prove And all is trash, that Reason can not reach: So rich an interest in almighty love? Then God's own image on the soul impressed, Where dwell they now, where dwelt in ancient day Becomes a mock’ry, and a standing jest; A people planted, watered, blest as they? And faith, the root whence only can arise Let Egypt's plagues and Canaan's woes proclaim The graces of a life that wins the skies,
The favours poured upon the Jewish name; Loses at once all value and esteem,
Their freedom purchased for them at the cost Pronounced by gray-beards a pernicious dream; Of all their hard oppressors valued most; Then Ceremony leads her bigots forth,
Their title to a country not their own, Prepared to fight for shadows of no worth; Made sure by prodigies till then unknown; While truths, on which eternal things depend, For them the states they left, made waste and void; Find not, or hardly find, a single friend;
For them the states to which thew went, destroyed; As soldiers watch the signal of command, A cloud to measure out their march by day, They learn to bow, to kneel, to sit, to stand; By night a fire to cheer the gloomy way; Happy to fill Religion's vacant place
That moving signal summoning, when best, With hollow form, and gesture, and grimace. Their host to move, and when it stayed to rest.
For them the rocks dissolved into a flood, Such, when the Teacher of his church was there, The dews condensed into angelic food, People and priest, the sons of Israel were; Their very garments sacred, old yet new, Stiff in the letter, lax in the design
And Time forbid to touch them as he flew; And import of their oracles divine;
Streams, swelled above the bank, enjoined to stand, Their learning legendary, false, absurd,
While they passed through to their appointed land; And yet exalted above God's own word; Their leader armed with meekness, zeal, and love, They drew a curse from an intended good, And graced with clear credentials from above; Puffed up with gifts they never understood. Themselves secured beneath th' Almighty wing! He judged them with as terrible a frown, Their God their captain, * lawgiver, and king; As if not love, but wrath, had brought him down: Crowned with a thousand victries, and at last Yet he was gentle as soft summer airs,
Lords of the conquered soil, there rooted fast, Had grace for others' sins, but none for theirs; In peace possessing what they won by war, Through all he spoke a noble plainness ran- Their name far published, and revered as far; Rhet’ric is artifice, the work of man;
Where will you find a race like theirs, endowed. And tricks and turns, that fancy may devise, With all that man e'er wished or Heav'n bestow. Are far too mean for Him that rules the skies.
ed? Th' astonished vulgar trembled while he tore They, and they only, amongst all mankind, The mask from faces never seen before;
Received the transcript of th' eternal mind; He stripped th' impostors in the noonday sun, Were trusted with his own engraven laws, Showed that they followed all they seemed to shun; And constituted guardians of his cause; Their pray’rs made public, their excesses kept Theirs were the prophets, theirs the priestly call; As private as the chambers where they slept; And theirs hy birth the Saviour of us all. The temple and its holy rites profaned
In vain the nations, that had seen them rise By mumm'ries he that dwelt in it disdained; With fierce and envious yet admiring eyes, Uplifted hands, that at convenient times
Had sought to crush them, guarded as they were Could act extortion and the worst of crimes, By power divine, and skill that could not err. Washed with a neatness scrupulously nice, Had they maintained allegiance firm and sure, And free from every taint but that of vice. And kept the faith immaculate and pure, Judgment, however tardy, mends her pace Then the proud eagles of all-conquering Rome When Obstinacy once has conquered Grace. Had found one city not to be o'ercome; They saw distemper healed and life restored, In answer to the fiat of his word;
• Vide Joshua v. 14.
And the twelve standards of the tribes unfurled Cry aloud, thou that sittest in the dust,
Cry to the proud, the cruel, and unjust;
What ails thee, restless as the waves that roar, Viewed a Deliv'rer with disdain and hate, And fling their foam against thy chalky shore ? Who left them still a tributary state;
Mistress, at least while Providence shall please, Seized fast his hand, held out to set them free And trident-bearing queen of the wide seas— From a worse yoke, and nailed it to the tree: "Why, having kept good faith, and often shown There was the consummation and the crown, Friendship and truth to others, find'st thou none? The flower of Israel's infamy full blown; Thou that hast set the persecuted free, Thence date their sad declension and their fall, None interposes now to succour thee. Their woes, not yet repealed, thence date them all. Countries indebted to thy power, that shine Thus fell the best instructed in her day,
With light derived from thee, would smother And the most favoured land, look where we may.
thine; Philosophy indeed on Grecian eyes
Thy very children watch for thy disgrace Had poured the day, and eleared the Roman skies: A lawless brood, and curse thee to thy face. In other climes perhaps creative art,
Thy rulers load thy credit, year by year, With power surpassing theirs, performed her part, With sums Peruvian mines could never clear; Might give more life to marble, or might fill
As if, like arches built with skilful hand, The glowing tablets with a juster skill,
The more 'twere pressed the firmer it would stand. Might shine in fable, and grace idle themes
The cry in all thy ships is still the same, With all th' embroidery of poetic dreams;
Speed us away to battle and to fame. 'Twas theirs alone to dive into the plan,
Thy mariners explore the wild expanse, That truth and mercy had revealed to man;
Impatient to descry the flags of France; And while the world beside, that plan unknown, But, though they fight as thine have ever fought, Deified useless wood, or senseless stone,
Return ashamed without the wreaths they sought. They breathed in faith their well-directed prayers, Thy senate is a scene of civil jar, And the true God, the God of truth, was theirs.
Chaos of contrarieties at war;
Where sharp and solid, phlegmatic and light, Their glory faded, and their race dispersed,
Discordant atoms meet, ferment, and fight;
Where Obstinacy takes his sturdy stand, learn,
Where Policy is busied all night long Keep wisdom, or meet vengeance in your turn;
In setting right what Faction has set wrong; If we escaped not, if Heaven spared not us,
Where flails of oratory thrash the floor, Peeled, scattered, and exterminated thus;
That yields them chaff and dust, and nothing If vice received her retribution due, When we were visited, what hope for you?
Thy racked inhabitants repine, complain, When God arises with an awful frown
Taxed till the brow of Labour sweats in vain, To punish lust, or pluck presumption down;
War lays a burden on the reeling state,
And peace does nothing to relieve the weight;
Successive loads succeeding broils impose, Provoke the vengeance of his righteous hand,
And sighing millions prophesy the close. To pour down wrath upon a thankless land;
Is adverse Providence, when pondered well, He will be found impartially severe,
So dimly writ, or difficult to spell, Too just to wink, or speak the guilty clear.
Thou canst not read with readiness and ease Oh Israel, of all nations most undone!
Providence adverse in events like these? Thy diadem displaced, thy sceptre gone; Know then that heavenly wisdom on this ball Thy temple, once thy glory, fallen and rased, Creates, gives birth to, guides, consummates all And thou a worshipper e'en where thou mayst; That while laborious and quick-thoughted man Thy services, once holy, without a spot,
Snuffs up the praise of what he seems to plan, Mere shadows now, their ancient pomp forgot; He first conceives, then perfects his design, Thy Levites, once a consecrated host,
As a mere instrument in hands divine: No longer Levites, and their lineage lost, Blind to the working of that secret power, And thou thyself o'er country sown,
That balances the wings of every hour, With none on earth that thou canst call thine The busy trifler dreams himself alone, own;
Frames many a purpose, and God works his own.