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But see from age, from infant weakness sec,
That man was destin'd for society;
There from those ills a safe retreat behold,
Which young might vanquish, or afflict him
"That, in proportion as each being stays
In perfect life, it rises and decays-
Is Nature's law-to forms alone confin'd,
The laws of matter act not on the Mind.
Too feebly, sure, its faculties must grow,
And Reason brings her borrow'd light too slow."
O! still censorious? art thou then possest
Of reason's power, and does she rule thy breast?
Say what the use--had Providence assign'd
To infant years maturity of mind?
That thy pert offspring, as their father wise,
Might scorn thy precepts, and thypow'r despise?
Or mourn, with 'ill-match'd faculties at strife,
O'er limbs unequal to the task of life?
To feel more sensibly the woes that wait
On every period, as on every state;
And slight, sad convicts of each painful truth,
The happier trifles of unthinking youth?
Conclude we then the progress of the mind
Ordain'd by wisdom infinitely kind:
No innate knowledge on the soul imprest,
No birthright instinct acting in the breast,
No natal light, no beam from Heav'n display'd,
Dart through the darkness of the mental shade.
Perceptive powers we hold from Heav'n's decree,
Alike to knowledge as to virtue free,
In both a liberal agency we bear,
The moral here, the intellectual there;
And hence in both an equal joy is known,
The conscious pleasure of an act our own.
When first the trembling eye receives the day,
External forms on young perception play;
External forms affect the mind alone,
Their diff'rent pow'rs and properties unknown.
See the pleas'd infant court the flaming brand,
Eager to grasp the glory in its hand!
The crystal wave as eager to pervade,
Stretch its fond arms to meet the smiling shade!
When Memory's call the mimic words obey,
And wing the thought that falters on its way;
When wise experience her slow verdiet draws,
The sure effect exploring in the Cause,
In Nature's rude, but not unfruitful wild,
Reflection springs, and Reason is her child.
On her fair stock the blooming scyon grows,
And brighter through revolving seasons blows.
All beauteous flower! immortal shalt thou
When dim with age yon golden orbs decline;
Thy orient bloom, unconscious of decay,
Shall spread, and flourish in eternal day.
O! with what art, my friend, what early care,
Should wisdom cultivate a plant so fair!
How should her eye the rip'ning mind revise,
And blast the buds of folly as they rise!
How should her hand with industry restrain
The thriving growth of passion's fruitful train,
Aspiring weeds, whose lofty arms would tow'r
With fatal shade o'er reason's tender flow'r!
Which onee-the rest is silence and the grave. O tears, that warm from wounded friendship flow!
O thoughts, that wake to monuments of woe!
Reflection keen, that points the painful dart;
Mem'ry, that speeds its
passage to the heart;
Sad monitors, your cruel power suspend,
And hide, for ever hide, the buried friend:
— In vain—confest I see my Craufurd stand,
And the pen falls-falls froin my trembling hand;
E'en death's dim shadow seeks to hide, in vain,
That lib'ral aspect, and that smile humane;
E'en Death's dim shadow wears a languid light,
And his eye beams through everlasting night.
Till the last sigh of Genius shall expire,
His keen eye faded, and extinct his fire,
Till time, in league with Envy and with Death,
Blast the skill'd hand,and stop the tuneful breath,
If I am right, thy grace impart,
Still in the right to stay;
If I am wrong, oh teach my heart
To find that better way.
Save me alike from foolish pride,
Or impious discontent,
At aught thy wisdom has deny'd,
Or aught thy goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's woe,
To hide the fault I see ;
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.
Mean tho' I am, not wholly so,
Since quicken'd by thy breath,
O lead me wheresoe'er I go,
Thro' this day's life, or death.
This day, be bread and peace my lot.
All else beneath the sun,
Thou know'st if best bestow'd or not;
And let thy will be done.
To Thee, whose temple is all space, Whose altar, earth, sea, skies! One chorus let all Being raise!
All Nature's incense rise!
§ 35. Messiah, a Sacred Eclogue. POPE. YE Nymphs of Solyma! begin the song; To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong. The mossy fountains and the sylvan shades, The dreams of Pindus and the Aonian maids, Delight no more. → O Thou my voice inspire, Who touch'd Isaiah's hallowed lips with fire!
Rapt into future times, the bard begun : A Virgin shall conceive, a Virgin bear a Son! From Jesse's root behold a branch arise, Whose sacred flow'r with fragrance fills the skies; Th'ethereal spirit o'er its leaves shall move; And on its top descends the mystic Dove. Ye heav'ns! from high the dewy nectar pour, And in soft silence shed the kindly show'r! The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid, From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade. All crimes shall cease, and antient fraud shall fail, Returning Justice lift aloft her scale; Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend, And white rob'd Innocence from heav'n descend. Swift fly the years, and rise th' expected morn! Oh spring to light auspicious Babe, be born! See Nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring, With all the incense of the breathing spring: Sce lofty Lebanon his head advance, See nodding forests on the mountains dance; See spicy clouds from lowly Saron rise, And Carmel's flow'ry top perfumes the skies! Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers; Prepare the way! a God, a God appears! A God, a God! the vocal hills reply: The rocks proclaim th' approaching Deity. Lo, earth receives him from the bending skies! Sink down, ye mountains, and, ye vallies, rise! With heads declin'd, ye cedars, homage pay; Be smooth, ye rocks; ye rapid floods, give way! The Saviour comes! by antient bards foretold; Hear him, ye deaf! and, all ye blind behold! He from thick film: shall purge the visual ray, And on the sightless eye-ball pour the day: 'Tis he th' obstructed paths of sound shall clear, And bid new music charn th' unfolding ear; The dumb shall sing, the lame his crutch forego, And leap exulting, like the bounding roe. No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall hear : From ev'ry face he wipes off ev'ry tear. In adamantine chains shall death be bound, And hell's grin tyrant feel th' eternal wound. As the good shepherd tends his fleecy care, Seeks freshest pasture, and the purest air, Explores the lost, the wand'ring sheep directs, By day o'ersees them, and by night protects; The tender lambs he raises in his arms, Feeds from his hand, and in his bosom warms; Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage, The promis'd Father of the future age. No more shall nation against nation rise, Nor ardent war iors meet with hateful eyes, Nor fields with gleaming steel be cover'd o'er, The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more; But useless lances into scythes shall bend, And the broad faulchion in a plough-share end. Then
Then palaces shall rise: the joyful son
Shall finish what his short-liv'd sire begun
Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield,
And the same hand that sow'd, shall reap the field.
The swain in barren desarts, with surprise,
Sees lilies spring, and sudden verdure rise;
And starts, amidst the thirsty wilds to hear
New falls of water murmuring in his car.
On rifted rocks the dragon's late abodes,
The green reed trembies, and the bulrush nods,
Waste sandy valleys, once perplex'd with thorn,
The spiry fir and shapely box adorn :
To leafless shrubs the flow'ring palins succeed
And od rous myrtle to the not one weed. [mead,
The lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant
And boys in flow ry bands the tiger lead;
The steer and lion at one crib shall meet,
And harmless serpents lick the pilgrim's feet.
The smiling infant in his hand shall take
The crested basilisk and speckled snake,
Pleas'd the green lustre of their scales survey,
And with their forky tongue shall innocently play.
Rise, crown'd with light, imperial Salem, rise!
Exalt thy tow'ry head, and lift thy eyes;
See a long race thy spacious courts adorn;
See future sons and daughters, yet unborn,
In crowding ranks on ev'ry side arise,
Demanding life, impatient for the skies!
See barb'rous nations at thy gates attend,
Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend ;
See thybright altars throng'd with prostratekings,
And heap'd with products of Sabean springs!
For thee Idume's spicy forests blow,
And seeds of gold in Ophir's mountains glow.
See heav'n its sparkling portals wide display,
And break upon thee in a flood of day.
No more the rising sun shall gild the morn,
Nor ev'ning Cynthia fill her silver horn,
But lost, dissolv'd in thy superior rays,
One tide of glory, one unclouded blaze,
O'erflow thy courts: the Light himself shallshine
Reveal'd, and God's eternal day be thine!
The seas shall waste, the skies in sinoke decay,
Rocks fall to dust, and mountains melt away;
But fix'd his word, his saving pow'r remains:
Thy realm for ever lasts, thy own Messiah reigns!
$36. The Prize of Virtue. Pope. WHAT nothing earthly gives or can destroy, The soul's calmn sunshine, and the heart-felt joy,
Rewards, that either would to Virtue bring
No joy, or be destructive of the thing:
How it by these at sixty are undone
The virtue's of a saint at twenty-one!
To whom can riches give repute or trust, Content, or pleasure, but the good and just? Judges and Senates have been bought for gold, Esteem and love were never to be sold.
Is Virtue's prize; a better would you fix?
Then give Humility a coach-and-six?
Justice a conqueror's sword, or Trath a gown,
Or Public Spirit its great cure, a crown.
Weak, foolish Man! will leav'n reward us there
With the same trash mad mortals wish for here?
The boy and inan an individual makes,
Yet sigh'st thou now for apples and for cakes?
Go, like the Indian, in another life
Expect thy dog, thy bottle, and thy wife!
As well as dream such trifles are assign'd,
As toys and empires for a godlike mind;
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
Where heares the turf in many a mould'ring
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incensc-breathing morn, [shed,
The swallow twitt'ring from the straw-built
The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed. For them no more the blazing earth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care. Nor children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share. Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield;
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke; How jocund did they drive their teams afield! How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke;
Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys and destiny obscure; Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile,
The short and simple annals of the poor. The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, Await, alike, th' inevitable hour;
The paths of glory lead but to the grave. Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If mem'ry o'er their tomb no trophies raise. Where thro' the long-drawn isle and fretted vault, The pealing anthem swells the note of praise, Can storied urn, or animated bust,
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? Can Honor's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or flatt'ry sooth the dull cold ear of death?
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire: Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd, Or wak'd to extasy the living lyre.
But knowledge to their eyes her ample page, Rich with the spoils of Time, did ne'er unroll; Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen.
And waste its sweetness on the des art air.
Some village-Hampden, that withdauntless breast
The little-tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest:
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
Th' applause of list'ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their hist'ry in a nation's eyes.
Their lot forbade : nor circumscrib'dalone [fin'd;
Their growing virtues, but their crimes con-
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind;
The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame. Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife, Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray; Along the cool sequester'd vale of life,
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way. Yet ev'n these bones from insult to protect, Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhimes and shapeless sculpture Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. [deck'd Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd The place of fame and elegy supply: [muse, And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die. For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd, Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day, Nor cast one longing, ling'ting look behind? On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires: Ev'n from the tomb, the voice of nature cries, Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted sires. For thee, who, mindful of th' unhonour'd dead, Dost in these lines their artless tale relate; If, chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate. Haply some hoary-headed swain may say, "Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn, Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn; There at the foot of yonder nodding beech, That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, His listless length at noon-tide would he stretch, And pore upon the brook that bubbles by.
Hard by yon wood, now smiling, as in scorn,
Matt'ring his wayward fancies, he would rove; Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,
Or craz'd with care, or cross'd in hopeless love: One morn I miss'd him on the custom'd hill,
Along the heath, and near his fav'rite tice: Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he The next, with dirges due, in sad array, [borne: Slow thro' the church-yard path we saw him Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay, "Grav'd on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."
$ 38. Death. Dr. Porteus, Bp. of London. FRIEND to the wretch whom every friend forsakes,
I woo thee, Death! In fancy's fairy paths
Let the gay songster rove, and gently trill
The strain of empty joy. Life and its joys
I leave to those that prize them. At this hour,
This solemn hour, when silence rules the world,
And wearied nature makes a gen'ral pause;
Wrapt in night's sable robe, through cloysters
And charnels pale, tenanted by a throng [drear
Of meagre phantoms shooting cross my path
With silent glance, I seek the shadowy vale
Of Death. Deep in a murky cave's recess,
Lav'd by oblivion's listless stream, and fenc'd
By shelving rocks, and intermingled horrors
Of yew and cypress shade, from all intrusion
Of busy noontide beam, the Monarch sits
In unsubstantial majesty enthron'd.
At his right hand, nearest himself in place
And frightfulness of form his parent Sin
With fatal industry and cruel care
Busies herself in pointing all his strings,
And tipping every shaft with venom drawn
From her infernal store: around him rang'd
In terrible array, and mixture strange
Of uncouth shapes, stand his dread Ministers.
Foremost Old Age, his natural ally
And firmest friend: next him Diseases thick,
A motley train; Fever, with check of fire;
Consumption wan; Palsy, half warm with life,
And half a clay-clod lump; joint-tort'ring Gout,
And ever-gnawing Rheum; Convulsion wild ;
Swoln Dropsy; panting Asthma; Apoplex
Full-gorg'd. There too the Pestilence that walks
In darkness, and the Sickness that destroys
At broad noon-day. These, and a thousand more, | So merciful is Heav'n) this toil became
Horrid to tell, attentive wait; and, when The solace of his woes, the sweet employ
By Heav'n's command Death waves his ebon Of many a live-long hour, and surest guar
Sudden rush forth to execute his purpose, [wand, Against Disease and Death. Death, the
And scatter desolation o'er the Earth.
Was yet a distant ill, by feeble arm [nou
Of Age, his sole support, led slowly on.
Not then, as since the short-liv'd sons of m
Flock'd to his realms in countless multitude
Scarce in the course of twice five hundred ye
One solitary ghost went shiv'ring down
To his unpeopled shore. In sober state,
Through the sequester'd vale of rural life,
The venerable Patriarch guileless held
The tenor of his way; Labour prepar'd
His simple fare, and Temperance rul'd his board
Tir'd with his daily toil, at early eve
He sunk to sudden rest; gentle and pure
As breath of evening Zephyr, and as sweet,
Were all his slumbers; with the Sun he rose,
Alert and vigorous as He, to run [strength
His destin'd course. Thus nerv'd with giant
He stemm'd the tide of time, and stood the shock
Of ages rolling harınless o'er his head.
At life's meridian point arriv'd, he stood,
And, looking round, saw all the valleys fill'd
With nations from his loins; full-well content
To leave his race thus scatter'd o'er the earth,
Along the gentle slope of life's decline
He bent his gradual way, till, full of years,
He dropp'd like mellow fruit into his grave.
Such in the infancy of Time was Man;
So calm was life, so impotent was Death!
O had he but preserv'd these few remains,
The shatter'd fragments, of lost happiness,
Snatch'd bythe hand of Heav'n from the sad wreck
Of innocence primæval; still had he liv'd
In ruin great; tho' fall'n, yet not forlorn ;
Though mortal, yet not every where beset
With Death in every shape! But he, impatient
To be completely wretched, hastes to fill up
The measure of his woes.- Twas Man himself
Brought Death into the world; and Man himself
Gave keenness to his darts, quicken'd his pace,
And multiply'd destruction on mankind.
First Envy, eldest born of Hell, embrued
Her hands in blood, and taught the Sons of Men
To make a Death which Nature never made,
And God abhorr'd; with violence rude to break
The thread of life ere half its length was run,
And rob a wretched brother of his being.
With joy Ambition saw, and soon improv'd
The execrable deed. 'Twas not enough
By subtle fraud to snatch a single life,
Puny impiety! whole kingdoms fell
To sate the lust of power: more horrid still,
The foulest stain and scandal of our nature,
Became its boast. One Murder made a Villain;
Millions a Hero. Princes were privileg'd
To kill, and numbers sanctified the crime.
Ah! why will Kings forget that they are Men?
And Men that they are brethren? Why delight
In human sacrifice? Why burst the ties
Of Nature, that should knit their souls together
In one soft bond of amity and love?
Ill-fated Man, for whom such various forms
Of mis'ry wait, and mark their future prey;
Ah! why, all-righteous Father, didst thou make
This creature, Man? why make th' unconscious
To life and wretchedness? O better far
Still had he slept in uncreated night,
If this the lot of Being! Was it for this
Thy breath divine kindled within his breast
The vital flame? For this was thy fair image
Stampt on his soul in godlike lincaments?
For this dominion giv'n him absolute
O'er all thy works, only that he might reign
Supreme in woe? From the blest source of Good,
'Could Pain and Death proceed? Couldsuch foul ills
Fall from fair Mercy's hands? Far be the thought,
The impious thought! God never made a creature
But what was good. He made a living Soul;
The wretched Mortal was the work of Man.
Forth from his Maker's hands he sprung to life,
Fresh with immortal bloom; no pain he knew.
No fear of change, no check to his desires, [stood
Save one command. That one command, which
'Twixt him and Death, the test of his obedience,
Urg'd on by wanton curiosity,
He broke. There in one moment was undone
The fairest of God's works. The same rash hand,
That pluck'd in evil hour the fatal fruit,
Unbarr'd the gates of Hell, and let loose Sin
And Death, and all the family of Pain,
To prey upon Mankind. Young Nature saw
The monstrous crew, and shook thro'all her frame.
Then fled her new-born lustre, then began
Heav'n's cheerful face to low'r, then vapours
The troubled air, and form'd a veil of clouds
To hide the willing Sun. The earth convuls'd
With painful throes threw forth a bristly crop
Of thorns and briars; and Insect, Bird, and Beast,
That wont before with admiration fond
To gaze at Man, and fearless crowd around him,
Now fled before his face, shuuning in haste
Th' infection of his misery. He alone
Who justly might, th' offended Lord of Man,
Turn'd not away his face; he, full of pity,
Forsook not in this uttermost distress
His best lov'd work. That comfort still remain'd
(That best, that greatest comfort in affliction)
The countenance of God, and thro' the gloom
Shot forth some kindlygleams, to cheer and warn
Th'offender's sinking soul. Hope sentfrom Heav'n
Uprais'd his drooping head, and shew'd afar
A happier scene of things; the Promis'd Seed
Trampling upon the Serpent's humbled crest:
Death of his sting disarma'd; and the dark grave,
Made pervious to the realms of endless day,
No more the limit but the gate of life. [ground
Cheer'd with the view, Man went to till the
From whence he rose; sentenc'd indeed to toil
As to a punishment, (ev'n in wrath,