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From them to thee conveyed along the tide,
Their streaming hearts poured freely when they died ;
Those truths, which neither use nor years impair,
Invite thee, woo thee, to the bliss they share.
What dotage will not vanity maintain ?
What web too weak to catch a modern brain?
The moles and bats in full assembly find, -
On special search, the keen-eyed eagle blind.
And did they dream, and art thou wiser now!
Prove it-if better, I submit and bow.
Wisdom and goodness are twin born, one heart
Must hold both sisters, never seen apart.
So then--as darkness overspread the deep,
Ere nature rose from her eternal sleep,
And this delightful earth, and that fair sky,
Leaped out of nothing ; called by the Most High;
By such a change thy darkness is made light,
Thy chaos order, and thy weakness might;
And He, whose power mere nullity obeys,
Who found thee nothing, formed thee for his praise.
To praise him is to serve him, and fulfil,
Doing and suffering, his unquestioned will ;
'Tis to believe what men inspired of old,
Faithful, and faithfully informed, anfold ;
Candid and just, with no false aim in view,
To take for truth what cannot but be true;
To learn in God's own school the Christian part,
And bind the task assigned thee to thine heart :
Happy the man there seeking and there found,
Happy the nation where such men abound.
How shall a verse impress thee? by what name
Shall I adjure thee not to court thy shame?
By theirs, whose bright example unimpeached
Directs thee to that eminence they reached,
Heroes and worthi of days past, thy sires ?
Or his, who touched their hearts with hallowed fires ?
Their names, alas ! in vain reproach an age,
Whom all the vanities they scorned engage ;
And bis, that seraphs tremble at, is hung
Disgracefully on every trifler's tongue,
Or serves the champion in forensic war
To flourish and parade with at the bar.
Pleasure herself perhaps suggests a plea,
If interest move thee, to persuade even thee;
By every charm, that smiles upon her face,
By joys possessed, and joys still held in chase,
If dear society be worth a thought,
And if the feast of freedom cloy thee not,
Reflect that these, and all that seems thine own,
Held by the tenure of his will alone,
Like angels in the service of their Lord,
Remain with thee, or leave thee at his word;
That gratitude and temperance in our use
Of what he gives, unsparing and profuse,
Secure the favour, and enhance the joy,
That thankless waste and wild abuse destroy.
But above all reflect, how cheap soe'er
Those rights, that millions envy thee, appear,
And, though resolved to risk them, and swim down
The tide of pleasure, heedless of bis frown,
That blessings truly sacred, and when given
Marked with the signature and stamp of heaven.
The word of prophecy, those truths divine,
Which make that heaven, if thou desire it, thine
(Awful alternative! believed, beloved,
Thy glory, and thy shame if unimproved)
Are never long vouchsafed, if pushed aside
With cold disgust or philosophic pride ;
And that, judicially withdrawn, disgrace,
Error, and darkness, occupy their place.
A world is up in arms, and thou, a spot
Not quickly found if negligently sought,
Thy soul as ample as thy bounds are small,
Endurest the brunt, and darest defy them all :
And wilt thou join to this bold enterprise
A bolder still, a contest with the skies !
Remember, if he guard thee and secure,
Whoe'er assails thee, thy success is sure;
But if he leave thee, though the skill and power
O fnations, sworn to spoil thee and devour,
Were all collected in thy single arm,
And thou couldst laugh away the fear of harm,
That strength would fail, opposed against the push
And feeble onset of a pigmy rush.
Say not (and if the thought of such defence
Should spring within thy bosom, drive it thence)
What nation amongst all my foes is free
From crimes as base as any charged on me;
Their measure filled, they too shall pay the debt
Which God, though long forborn, will not forget.
But know that wrath divine, when most severe,
Makes justice still the guide of his career,
And will not punish, in one mingled crowd,
Them without light, and thee without a cloud.
Muse, hang this harp upon yon aged beech, Still murmuring with the solemn truths I teach; And while at intervals a cold blast sings Through the dry leaves, and pants upon the strings, My soul shall sigh in secret and lament A nation scourged, yet tardy to repent. I know the warning song is sung in vain, That few will hear and fewer heed the strain ; But if a sweeter voice and one designed A blessing to my country and mankind, Reclaim the wandering thonsands, and bring home A flock so scattered and so wont to roam, Then place it once again between my knees ; The sound of truth will then be sure to please :
And truth alone, where'er my life be cast,
In scenes of plenty or the pining waste,
Shall be my chosen theme, my glory to the last.
-doceas iter, et sacra estea pandas.
Virg. En. 6.
Ask what is human life—the sage replies,
With disappointment lowering in his eyes,
A painful passage o'er a restless flood,
A vain pursuit of fugitive false good,
A scene of fancied bliss and heartfelt care,
Closing at last in darkness and despair.
The poor, inured to drudgery and distress,
Act without aim, think little, and feel less,
And no where, but in feigned Arcadian scenes,
Taste happiness, or know what pleasure means.
Riches are passed away from hand to hand,
As fortune, vice, or folly may command ;
As in a dance the pair that take the lead
Turn downward, and the lowest pair succeed,
So shifting and so various is the plan,
By which Heaven rules the mixt affairs of man :
Vicissitude wheels round the motley crowd,
The rich grow poor, the poor become purse-proud ;
Business is labour, and man's weakness such,
Pleasure is labour too, and tires as much,
The very sense of it foregoes its use,
By repetition palled, by age obtuse,
Yoath lost in dissipation we deplore,
Through life's sad remnant, what no sighs restore ?
years, a fruitless race without a prize, Too many, yet too few to make us wise.
Dangling his cane about, and taking snuff, Lothario cries, What philosophic stuffOb querulous and weak!-whose useless brain Once thought of nothing, and now thinks in vain ; Whose eye reverted weeps o'er all the past, Whose prospect shows thee a disheartening waste ; Would age in thee resign his wintry reign, And youth invigorate that frame again, Renewed desire would grace with other speech Joys always prized, when placed within our reach.
For lift thy palsied head, shake off the gloom That overhangs the borders of thy tomb, See nature gay, as when she first began With smiles alluring her admirer man ; She spreads the morning over eastern hills, Earth glitters with the drops the night distils ; The sun obedient at her call appears, To fling his glories o'er the robe she wears; (sounds, Banks clothed with flowers, groves filled with sprightly The yellow tilth, green meads, rocks, rising grounds, Streams edged with osiers, fattening every field Where'er they flow, now seen and now concealed; From the blue rim where skies and mountains meet, Down to the very turf beneath thy feet, Ten thousand charms, that only fools despise, Or pride can look at with indifferent eyes, All speak one language, all with one sweet voice Cry to her universal realm, Rejoice ! Man feels the spur of passions and desires, And she gives largely more than he requires; Not that his hours devoted all to care, Hollow-eyed abstinence, and lean despair,