« AnteriorContinuar »
Fallible man, the church-bred youth replies,
Is still found fallible, however wise;
And differing judgments serve but to declare
That truth lies somewhere, if we knew but where.
Of all it ever was my lot to read,
Of critics now alive, or long since dead,
The book of all the world that charmed me most
Was, well-a-day, the title-page was lost;
The writer well remarks, an heart that knows
To take with gratitude what heaven bestows,
With prudence always ready at our call,
To guide our use of it, is all in all.
Doubtless it is.To which, of my own store,
I superadd a few essentials more;
But these, excuse the liberty I take,
I wave just now, for conversation sake.-
Spoke like an oracle, they all exclaim,
And add, right reverend to Smag's honoured name.
And yet our lot is given us in a land,
Where busy arts are never at a stand;
Where science points her telescopic eye,
Familiar with the wonders of the sky;
Where bold inquiry, diving out of sight,
Brings many a precious pearl of truth to light;
Where nought eludes the persevering quest,
That fashion, taste, or luxury, suggest.
But above all in her own light arrayed,
See mercy's grand apocalypse displayed !
The sacred book no longer suffers wrong,
Bound in the fetters of an unknown tongue ;
But speaks with plainness, art could never mend,
What simplest minds can soonest comprehend.
God gives the word, the preachers throng around,
Live from his lips, and spread the glorious sound :
hat sound bespeaks salvation on her way,
cumpet of a life-restoring day;
'Tis heard where England's eastern glory shines,
And in the gulfs of her Cornubian mines.
And still it spreads. See Germany send forth
Her sons * to pour it on the furthest north:
Fired with a zeal peculiar, they defy
The rage and rigour of a polar sky,
And plant successfally sweet Sharon's rose
On icy plains, and in eternal snows.
Oh blest within th' enclosure of your rocks,
Nor herds have ye to boast, nor bleating flocks,
No fertilizing streams your fields divide,
That show reversed the villas on their side,
No groves have ye; no cheerful sound of bird,
Or voice of turtle, in your land is heard ;
Nor grateful eglantine regales the smell
Of those, that walk at evening where ye dwell:
But winter, armed with terrors here unknown,
Sits absolute on his unshaken throne;
Piles up his stores amidst the frozen waste,
And bids the mountains he has built stand fast;
Beckons the legions of his storms away
From happier scenes, to make your land a prey :
Proolaims the soil a conquest he has won,
And scorns to share it with the distant sun.
-Yet truth is yours, remote, unenvied isle !
And peace, the genuine offspring of her smile ;
The pride of lettered ignorance, that binds
In chains of error our accomplished minds,
That decks, with all the splendour of the true,
A false religion, is unknown to you.
Nature indeed vouchsafes for our delight
The sweet vicissitudes of day and night;
Soft airs and genial moisture feed and cheer
Field, fruit, and flower, and every creature here;
But brighter beams, than his who fires the skies,
Have risen at length on your admiring eyes,
# The Moravian missionaries in Greenland.
That shoot into your darkest caves the day,
From which our nicer optics turn away.
Here see th’ encouragement grace gives to vice,
The dire effect of mercy without price !
What were they? what some fools are made by art,
They were by nature, atheists, head and heart.
The gross idolatry blind heathens teach
Was too refined for them, beyond their reach.
Not even the glorious sun, though men revere
The monarch most, that seldom will appear,
And though his beams, that quicken where they shine,
May claim some right to be esteemed divine,
Not e'en the sun, desirable as rare,
Could bend one knee, engage one votary there;
They were, what base credulity believes
True Christians are, dissemblers, drunkards, thieves.
The full-gorged savage, at his nauseous feast
Spent half the darkness, and snored out the rest,
Was one, whom justice on an equal plan
Denouncing death upon the sins of man,
Might almost have indulged with an escape,
Chargeable only with a human shape.
What are they now?-Morality may spare Her grave concern, her kind suspicions there : The wretch who once sang wildly, danced, and laughed, And sucked in dizzy madness with his draught, Has wept his silent flood, reversed his ways, Is sober, meek, benevolent, and prays, Feeds sparingly, communicates his store, Abhors the craft he boasted of before, And he that stole has learned to steal no more. Well spake the prophet, Let the desert sing, Where sprang the thorn, the spiry fir shall spring, And where ansightly and rank thistles grew, Shall grow the myrtle and luxuriant yew.
Go now, and with important tone demand On what foundation virtue is to stand,
If self-exalting claims be turned adrift,
And grace be grace indeed, and life a gift:
The poor reclaimed inhabitant, his eyes
Glistening at once with pity and surprise,
Amazed that shadows should obscure the sight
whose birth was in a land of light,
Shall answer, Hope, sweet hope has set me free,
And made all pleasures else mere dross to me.
These, amidst scenes as waste as if denied The common care that waits on all beside, Wild as if nature there, void of all good, Played only gambols in a frantic mood, (Yet charge not heavenly skill with having planned A plaything world, unworthy of his hand ;) Can see his love, though secret evil lurks In all we touch, stamped plainly on his works ; Deem life a blessing with its numerous woes, Nor spurn away a gift a God bestows. Hard task indeed over aretic seas to roam ! Is hope exotic? grows it not at home? Yes, but an object, bright as orient morn, May press the eye too closely to be borne ; A distant virtue we can all confess, It hurts our pride, and moves our envy, less.
Leuconomus (beneath well-sounding Greek I slur a name a poet must not speak) Stood pilloried on infamy's high stage, And bore the pelting scorn of half an age : The very butt of slander, and the blot For every dart that malice ever shot. The man that mentioned hiin at once dismissed All mercy from his lips, and sneered and hissed : His crimes were such as Sodom never knew, And perjury stood up to swear all true; His aim was mischief, and his zeal pretence, His speech rebellion against common sense ;
A knave when tried on honesty's plain rule,
And when by that of reason a mere fool ;
The world's best comfort was, his doom was passed;
Die when he might, he must be damned at last.
Now truth perform thine office; waft aside
The cartain drawn by prejudice and pride,
Reveal (the man is dead) to wondering eyes,
This more than monster in his proper guise.
He loved the world that hated him: the tear
That dropped upon his Bible was sincere :
Assailed by scandal and the tongue of strife,
His only answer was, a blameless life;
And he that forged, and he that threw the dart,
Had each a brother's interest in his heart.
Paul's love of Christ, and steadiness unbribed,
Were copied close in him, and well transcribed.
He followed Paul; his zeal a kindred flame,
His apostolic charity the same.
Like him crossed cheerfully tempestuous seas,
Forsaking country, kindred, friends, and ease ;
Like him he laboured, and like him content
To bear it, suffered shame where'er he went.
Blush calumny! and write upon his tomb,
If honest eulogy can spare thee room,
Thy deep repentance of thy thousand lies,
Which aimed at him, have pierc'd th' oftended skies ;
And say, Blot ont my sin, confessed, deplored,
Against thine image in thy saint, oh Lord !
No blinder bigot, I maintain it still,
Than he who must have pleasure, come what will:
He laughs, whatever weapon truth may draw,
And deems her sharp artillery mere straw.
Scripture indeed is plain ; bat God and he
On scripture-gronnd are sure to disagree ;
Some wiser rule muust teach him how to live,
l'han this his Maker has seen fit to give :