Page images

Ye birds, exalt our Maker's name;
Begin, and with th' important theme
Your artless lays improve;
Wake with your songs the rising day,
Let music sound on ev'ry spray,

And fill the vocal grove.

Praise him, ye beasts, that nightly roam
Amid the salutary gloom,

Th'expected prey to seise;
Ye slaves of the laborious plough,
Your stubborn necks submissive bow,

And bend your wearied knees.

Ye sons of men, his praise display,
Who stamp'd his image on your clay,
And gave it pow'r to move,
Ye that in Judah's confines dwell,
From age to age successive tell

The wonders of his love.

Let Levi's tribe the lay prolong,
Till angels listen to the song,

And bend attention down,
Let wonder seise the heavenly train,
Pleas'd while they hear a mortal strain
So sweet, so like their own.

And you your thankful voices join,
That oft at Salem's sacred shrine

Before his altars kneel;
Where thren'd in majesty he dwells,
And from thy mystic cloud reveals
The dictates of his will.

Ye spirits of the just and good,
That, eager for the bless'd abode,

To heavenly mansions soar;
O let your song his praise display,
Till heaven itself shall melt away,

And time shall be no more!

Praise him, ye meek and humble train,
Ye saints, whom his decrees ordain

The boundless bliss to share;
O praise him, till ye take your way
To regions of eternal day,

And reign for ever there.

Let us, who now impassive stand,
Aw'd by the tyrant's stern command,
Amid the fiery blaze;
While thus we triumph in the flame,
Rise, and our Maker's love proclaim,

In hymns of endless praise.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

That infant, whose advancing hour
Life's various sorrows try;
(Sad proof of sin's transmissive pow'r),
That infant, Lord, am I.

A childhood yet my thoughts confess,
Though long in years mature;
Unknowing whence I feel distress,
And where, or what, its cure.
Author of good! to thee I turn:
Thy ever-wakeful eye
Alone can all my wants discern;
Thy hand alone supply.

O let thy fear within me dwell,
Thy love my footsteps guide;
That love shall vainer loves expel;
That fear all fears beside.
And, oh! by error's force subdued,
Since oft my stubborn will
Prepost'rous shuns the latent good,
And grasps the specious ill;

Not to my wish, but to my want,
Do thou thy gifts apply:

Unask'd, what good thou knowest grant;
What ill, tho' 'd, deny.

§ 67. The Trials of Virtue. Merrick. PLAC'D on the verge of youth, my mind Life's op'ning scene survey'd:

I view'd its ills of various kind,
Afflicted and afraid.

But chief my fear the dangers mov'd,
That virtue's path inclose:
My heart the wise pursuit approv'd;
But, oh, what toils oppose!

For sce! ah see! while yet her
With doubtful step I tread,
A hostile world its terrors raise,

Its snares delusive spread.


Oh how shall I, with heart prepar'd,
Those terrors learn to meet?
How from the thousand snares to guard
My unexperienc'd feet?

As thus I mov'd oppressive sleep

Soft o'er my temples drew
Oblivion's veil. The wat'ry deep,
An object strange and new,
Before me rose: on the wide shore
Observant as I stood,

The gathering storms around me roar,
And heave the boiling flood.
Near and more near the billows rise

Ev'n now my steps they lave!
And death to my affrighted eyes

Approach'd in ev'ry wave.
What hope, or whither to retreat!


Each nerve at once unstrung, Chill fear had fetter'd fast my feet, And chain'd my speechless tongue.

I feel my heart within me die;
When sudden to mine car
A voice, descending from on high,
Reprov'd my erring fear:

What tho' the swelling surge thou see
Impatient to devour;

Rest, mortal, rest on God's decree, And thankful own his pow'r. Know, when he bade the deep appear, "Thus far," th' Almighty said," "Thus far, nor farther, rage; and here "Let thy proud waves be stay'd.” I heard; and, lo! at once control'd, The waves, in wild retreat,

Back on themselves reluctant roll'd,
And murmuring left my feet.
Deeps to assembling deeds in vain,
Once more the signal gave:
The shores the rushing weight sustain,
And check th' usurping wave.
Convinc'd, in Nature's volume wise,
The imag'd truth I read;
And sudden from my waking eyes
Th' instructive vision fled.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

$68. Christ's Passion: from a Greek Ode of Mr. Masters, formerly of New College. Pitt No more of earthly subjects sing;

To heaven, my muse, aspire;
To raise the song, charge ev'ry string,
And strike the living lyre.

Begin, in lofty numbers show
Th' Eternal King's unfathom'd love,
Who reigns the Sov'reign God above
And suffers on the cross below.

Prodigious pile of wonders! rais'd too high
For the dim ken of frail mortality.
What numbers shall I bring along?
From whence shall I begin the song

The mighty mystery I'll sing, inspir'd,
Beyond the reach of human wisdom wrought,
Beyond the compass of an angel's thought,
How by the rage of man his God expir'd.
I'll make the trackless depths of mercy known,
How to redeem his foe God render'd his Son-
I'll raise my voice to tell mankind
The victor's conquest o'er his doom;
How in the grave he lay confin'd,


To seal more sure the rav'nous tomb. Three days, th' infernal empire to subdue, He pass'd triumphant through the coasts of wor; With his own dart the tyrant Death he slew, And led Hell captive through her realms below, A mingled sound from Calvary I hear, And the loud tumult thickens on my ear, The shouts of murd'rers, that insult the slain, The voice of torment, and the shrieks of pain. I cast my eyes with horror up

To the curst mountain's guilty top;

See there! whom hanging in the midst I view!
Ah! how unlike the other two!

I see him high above his foes,
And gently bending from the wood
His head in pity down to those
Whose guilt conspires to shed his blood.
His wide-extended arms I see

Transfix'd with nails, and fasten'd to the tree.
Man, senseless man! canst thou look on,
Nor make thy Saviour's pains thy own?
The rage of all thy grief exert,
Rend thy garments and thy heart:
Beat thy breast, and grovel low,
Beneath the burden of thy woe;

Bleed through thy bowels, tear thy hairs,
Breathe gales of sighs, and weep a flood of tears.
Behold thy King, with purple cover'd round;
Not in the Tyrian tinctures dyed,
Nor dipt in poison of Sidonian pride;
But in his own rich blood that streams from
every wound.

Dost thou not see the thorny circled red? The guilty wreath that blushes round his head! And with what rage the bloody scourge applied Curls round his limbs, and ploughs into his side. At such a sight let all thy anguish rise; Break up, break up the fountains of thy eyes. Here bid thy tears in gushing torrents flow, Indulge thy grief, and give a loose to woe.

Weep from thy soul, till earth be drown'd; Weep, till thy sorrows drench the ground. Canst thou, ungrateful man! his torments see, Nor drop a tear for him, who pours his blood for thee?

[blocks in formation]

Through all this deep surrounding gloom, The sober thought,

The tear untaught,

Those meetest inourners at a tomb.

Lo! as the surplic'd train drew near
To this last inansion of mankind,
The slow sad bell, the sable bier,
In holy musing wrapt the mind!
And while their beam,
With trembling stream,
Attending tapers faintly dart;
Each mould'ring bone,
Each sculptur'd stone,

Strikes mute instruction to the heart!

Now let the sacred organ blow,
With solemn pause, and sounding slow;
Now let the voice due measure keep,

In strains that sigh, and words that weep;
Till all the vocal current blended roll,
Not to depress, but lift the soaring soul.

To lift it in the Maker's praise,

Who first inform'd our frame with breath;
And, after some few stormy days,

Now, gracious, gives us o'er to death.
No King of Fears

In him appears,

Who shuts the scene of human woes.
Beneath his shade
Securely laid,

The dead alone find true repose.
Then, while we mingle dust with dust,
To One, supremely good and wise,
Raise hallelujahs! God is just,
And man most happy when he dies!
His winter past,
Fair spring at last
Receives him on her flow'ry shore!
Where pleasure's rose
Immortal blows,

And sin and sorrow are no more!

$70. Veni Creator Spiritus, paraphrased.

CREATOR Spirit, by whose aid


The world's foundations first were laid,

Come visit ev'ry pious mind;
Come pour thy joys on human kind.
From sin and sorrow set us free,
And make thy temples worthy thee,
O source of uncreated light,
The Father's promis'd Paraclete !
Thrice holy fount, thrice holy fire,
Our hearts with heavenly love inspire;
Come, and thy sacred unction bring
To sanctify us, while we sing.

Plenteous of grace, descend from high,
Rich in thy sevenfold energy!
Thou strength of his Almighty hand,
Whose pow'r does heaven and earth command.
Proceeding Spirit, our defence,

Who dost the gift of tongues dispense,
And crown thy gift with eloquence!

Refine and purge our earthly parts;
But, oh, inflame and fire our hearts!
Our frailties help, our vice control,
Submit the senses to the soul;
And when rebellious they are grown,
Then lay thy hand, and hold them down,
Chase from our minds th' infernal foe,
And peace, the fruit of love, bestow,
And, lest our feet should step astray,
Protect and guide us in the way.

Make us eternal truth receive,
And practise all that we believe:
Give us thyself that we may see
The Father, and the Son, by thee.
Immortal honor, endless fame,
Attend th' Almighty Father's name:
Thy Saviour sou be glorified,
Who for lost inan's redemption died;
And equal adoration be,
Eternal Paraclete, to thee!

§ 71. A Night Piece. Miss Carter. WHILE night in solemn shade invests the pole, And calm reflection scoths the pensive soul, While reason undisturb'd esserts her sway, And life's deceitful colors fade away; To thee! all-conscious Presence! I devote This peaceful interval of sober thought: Here all my better faculties coufine; And be this hour of sacred silence thine!

If, by the day's illusive scenes misled, My erring soul from virtue's path has stray'd; Snar'd by example, or by passion warm'd, Some false delight my giddy sense has charm'd; My calmer thoughts the wretched choice reprove, And my best hopes are centred in thy love. Deprived of this can life one joy afford? Its utmost boast a vain unmeaning word.

But, ah! how oft my lawless passions rove, And break those awful precepts Iapprove! Pursue the fatal impulse I abhor,

And violate the virtue I adore!
Oft when thy better Spirit's guardian care
Warn'd my fond soul to shun the tempting snare,
My stubborn will his gentle aid repress'd,
And check'd the rising goodness in my breast;
Mad with vain hopes, or urg'd by false desires,
Still'd his soft voice, and quench'd his sacred fires.

With grief oppress'd, and prostrate in the dust,
Shouldst thou condemn, I own thy sentence just.
But, oh! thy softer titles let me claini,
And plead my cause by Mercy's gentle name.
Mercy! that wipes the penitential tear,
And dissipates the horrors of despair!
From righteous justice steals the vengeful hour,
Softens the dreadful attribute of pow'r,
Disarms the wrath of an offended God,
And seals my pardon in a Saviour's blood!
All pow'rful Grace, exert thy gentle sway,
And teach my rebel passions to obey;
Lest lurking Folly, with insidious art,
Regain my volatile inconstant heart!


Shall every high resolve Devotion frames
Be only lifeless sounds and specious names?
Oh rather, while thy hopes and fears control,
In this still hour, each motion of my soul,
Secures its safety by a sudden doom,
And be the soft retreat of sleep my tomb!
Calm let me slumber in that dark repose,
Till the last morn its orient beam disclose :
Then, when the great archangel's potent sound
Shall echo thro' creation's ample round,
Wak'd from the sleep of death, with joy survey
The opening splendors of eternal day.

§ 72. Ode to Melancholy. Carter. COME, Melancholy! silent pow'r, Companion of my lonely hour,

To sober thought confin'd!
Thou sweetly sad ideal guest,
In all thy soothing charms confest,
Indulge my pensive mind.

No longer wildly hurried through
The tides of mirth, that ebb and flow
In folly's noisy stream,

I from the busy crowd retire,
To court the objects that inspire

Thy philosophic dream."

Thro' yon dark grove of mournful yews
With solitary steps I muse,

By thy direction led:
Here, cold to pleasures tempting forms,
Consociate with my sister worms,

And mingle with the dead.
Ye midnight horrors, awful gloom!
Ye silent regions of the tomb,

My future peaceful bed:
Here shall my weary eyes be clos'd,
And ev'ry sorrow lie repos'd

In death's refreshing shade.
Ye pale inhabitants of night,
Before my intellectual sight

In solemn pomp ascend;
O tell how trifling now appears
The train of idle hopes and fears,
That varying life attend!

Ye faithless idols of our sense,
Here own how vain the fond pretence,
Ye empty names of joy!

Your transient forms like shadows pass,
Frail offspring of the majic glass,
Before the mental eye.

The dazzling colors, falsely bright,
Attract the gazing vulgar sight
With superficial state:

Thro' reason's clearer optics view'd,
How stripp'd of all its pomp, how rude,

Appears the painted cheat! Can wild ambition's tyrant pow'r, Or ill got wealth's superfluous store, The dread of death control?

Can pleasure's more bewitching charms
Avert or sooth the dire alarms

That shake thy parting soul?
Religion! ere the hand of Fate
Shall make reflection plead too late,
My erring senses teach,
Amidst the flatt'ring hopes of youth,
To ineditate the solemn truth

These awful relics preach.

Thy penetrating beams disperse
The mist of error, whence our fears
Derive their fatal spring:
'Tis thine the trembling heart to warm,
And soften to an angel form

The pale terrific king.

When, sunk by guilt in sad despair,
Repentance breathe her humble pray'r,
And owns thy threat'nings jast;
Thy voice the shudd'ring suppliant cheers,
With mercy calms her torturing fears,
And lifts her from the dust.
Sublim'd by thee, the soul aspires
Beyond the range of low desires,
In nobler views elate:
Unmov'd her distant change surveys,
And, arm'd by faith, intrepid pays

The universal debt.

In death's soft slumber lull'd to rest, She sleeps by siniling visions blest, That gently whisper peace;

Till the last morn's fair op'ning ray Unfolds the bright eternal day

Of active life and bliss.

$73. Written at Midnight in a Thunder Storm. Carter.

LET coward Guilt, with pallid Fear,

To shelt'ring caverns fly,
And justly dread the vengeful fate
That thunders through the sky.
Protected by that hand, whose law
The threat'ning storms obey,
Intrepid virtue smiles secure,
As in the blaze of day.

In the thick cloud's tremendous gloom,
The lightning's lurid glare,

It views the same all-gracious Pow'r
That breathes the vernal air.
Thro' Nature's ever-varying scene,
By different ways pursued,
The one eternal end of Heav'n
Is universal good:

With like beneficent effect

O'er flaming æther glows,
As when it tunes the linnet's voice,
Or blushes in the rose.

By reason taught to scorn those fears
That vulgar minds molest.
Let no fantastic terrors break
My dear Narcissa's rest.


Thy life may all the tend'rest care
Of Providence defend;
And delegated angels round
Their guardian wings extend!
When thro' creation's vast expanse
The last dread thunders roll,
Untune the concord of the spheres,
And shake the rising soul;
Unmor'd may'st thou the final storm
Of jarring worlds survey,
That ushers in the glad serene
Of everlasting day!

$74. The Vanity of Human Wishes.

[ocr errors]

In Imitation of the Tenth Satire of Juvenal.
LET observation with extensive view
Survey mankind, from China to Peru;
Remark each anxious toil, each eager strife,
And watch the busy scenes of crowded life:
Then say how hope and fear, desire and hate,
O'erspread with shares the clouded maze of fate,
Where wav'ring man, betray'd by vent'rous

To tread the dreary paths without a guide;
As treach'rous phantoms in the mist delude,
Shuns fancied ills, or chases airy good:
How rarely reason guides the stubborn choice,
Rules the bold hand, or prompts the suppliant


How nations sink by darling schemes opprest,
When vengeance listens to the fool's request.
Fate wings with ev'ry wish th' afflictive dart,
Each gift of nature, and each grace of art;
With fatal heat impetuous courage glows,
With fatal sweetness elocution flows?
Impeachment stop the speaker's powerful breath,
And restless fire precipitates on death. [bold
But, scarce observ'd, the knowing and the
Fall in the gen'ral massacre of gold;
Wide-wasting pest, that rages unconfin'd,
And crowds with crimes the records of mankind!
For gold his sword the hireling ruffian draws,
For gold the hireling judge distorts the laws;
Wealth heap'd on wealth nor truth nor safety
The dangers gather as the treasures rise. [buys;
Let hist'ry tell, where rival kings command,
And dubious title shakes the madden'd land,
When statutes glean the refuse of the sword,
How much more safe the vassal than the lord:
Low sculks the hind beneath the rage of pow'r,
And leaves the wealthy traitor in the Tower,
Untouch'd his cottage, and his slumbers souft,
Tho' confiscation's vultures hover round.

The needy traveller, serene and gay,
Walks the wild heath, and sings his toil away,
Does envy seise thee? crush th' upbraiding joy;
Increase his riches, and his peace destroy.
New fears in dire vicissitude invade,
The rustling break alarms, and quiv'ring shade;
Nor light nor darkness brings his pain relief,
One shows the plunder, and one hides the thief.
Ver. 1---11. + Ver. 12--22.

Yet still one gen'ral cry the skies assails,
And gain and grandeur load the tainted gales;
Few know the toiling statesman's fear or care,
Th' insidious rival and the gaping heir.

Once more, Democritus, arise on earth,
With cheerful wisdom and instructive mirth,
See motley life in modern trappings drest,
And feed with varied fools th' eternal jest:
Thou who couldst laugh where want enchain'd

Toil crush'd conceit, and man was of a piece;
Where wealth unlov'd without a mourner died;
And scarce a sycophant was fed by pride;
Where ne'er was known the form of mock debate,
Or seen a new-made mayor's unwieldy state;
Where change of fav'rites made no change of laws,
And senates heard before they judg'd a cause;
How wouldst thou shake at Britain's modish tribe,
Dart the quick taunt, and edge the piercing gibe?
Attentive truth and nature to descry,
To thee were solemn toys or empty show,
And pierce each scene with philosophic eye,
The robes of pleasure and the veils of woe:
All aid the farce, and all thy mirth maintain,
Whose joys are causeless, or whose griefs are vain.

Such was the scorn that fill'd the sage's mind,
Renew'd at ev'ry glance on human kind;
Search ev'ry state, and canvass ev'ry pray'r.
How just that scorn ere yet thy voice declare,

Unnumber'd suppliants crowd Preferment's


A thirst for wealth, and burning to be great;
Delusive Fortune hears th' incessant call,
They mount, they shine, evaporate, and fall,
On ev'ry stage the foes of peace attend,
Hate dogs their flight, and insult mocks their end.
Love ends with hope, the sinking statesman's door
Pours in the morning worshipper no more;
For growing names the weekly scribbler lies,
To growing wealth the dedicator flies;
From ev'ry room descends the painted face,
And smok'd in kitchens, or in auctions sold,
That hung the bright palladiuin of the place,
To better features yields the frame of gold;
For now no more we trace in ev'ry line
Heroic worth, benevolence divine:
The form distorted justifies the fall,
And detestation rides th' indignant wall.
But will not Britain hear the last appeal,
Thro'Freedom's sons nomore remonstrance rings,
Sign her foe's doom, or guard her fav'rites zeal?
Degrading nobles and controling kings;
Our supple tribes repress their patriot throats,
And ask no questions but the price of votes;
With weekly libels, and septennial ale,
Their wish is full to riot and to rail,

In full-blown dignity, see Wolsey stand,
Law in his voice, and fortune in his hand;
To him the church, the realm, their pow'rs con-
Thro' him the rays of regal bounty shine; [sign,
Turn'd by his nod the stream of honor flows,
His smile alone security bestows:

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »