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To charm to sleep the threat'ning of the skies,
Hlast thou within thee sin, that in old time
Far be the thought from any verse of mine, And farther still the form’d and fix'd design, To thrust the charge of deeds that I detest Against an innocent unconscious breast: The man that dares traduce, because he can With safety to himself, is not a man: An individual is a sacred mark, Not to be pierc'd in play, or in the dark; But public censure speaks a public foe, Unless a zeal for virtue guides the blow.
The priestly brotherhood, devout, sincere, From mean self-int'rest and ambition clear, Their hope in Heav'n, servility their scorn, Prompt to persuade, expostulate, and warn, Their wisdom pure, and giv’n them from above, Their usefulness ensur’d by zcal and love, As meek as the man Moses, and withal As bold as in Agrippa's presence Paul, Should fly the world's contaminating touch, Iloly and unpolluted:--are thine such? Except a few with Eli's spirit blest, Hophni and Phineas may describe the rest.
Where shall a teacher look, in davs like these, For ears and hearts that he can hope to please?
Look to the poor--the simple and the plain
How shall a verse impress thee? by what naine
Or serves the champion in forensic war To flourish and paraile with at the bar. : A world is
in arms, and tholl, a spot Not quickly found it negligently sought, Thy soul as ample as thy bounds are small, Endur'st the brunt, and dar’st defy thein ail: And wilt thou join to this bold enterprize A bolder still, a contest with the shies?? Remember, it he guard thee and secure, Whoe'er assails thee, thy success is sure; But, if he leave thee, though the skill and pow'r Cf nations, sworn to spoil thee and devour, Were all collected in thy single arm, And thou could-t laugh away the rear of harm, That strength would fail, oppos'd against the push And feeble onset af 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 charg’d on me; Their measure fill'd, 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,
Muse, hang this harp upon yon aged beech,
in vain; That few will hear, and fewer heed the strain; But, if a sweeter voice, and one design'd A blessing to my country and mankind, Reclaim the wand'ring thousands, and bring home A flock, so scatter'd 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.