Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Whose highest praise is that they live in vain,
The dupes of pleasure, or the slaves of gain,
Where works of man are cluster'd close around,
And works of God are hardly to be found,
To regions where, in spite of sin and woe,
Traces of Eden are still seen below,
Where mountain, river, forest, field, and grove,
Remind him of his Maker's pow'r and love.
"Tis well if, look'd for at so late a day,
In the last scene of such a senseless play,
True wisdom will attend his feeble call,
And grace his action ere the curtain fall.
Souls, that have long despis'd their heav'nly birth,
Their wishes all impregnated with Earth,
For threescore years employ'd with ceaseless care
In catching smoke, and feeding upon air,
Conversant only with the ways of men,
Rarely redeem the short remaining ten.
Invet'rate habits choke the unfruitful heart,
Their fibres penetrate its tend'rest part,
And, draining its nutritious pow'rs to feed
Their noxious growth, starve ev'ry better seed.

Happy, if full of days but happier far,
If, ere we yet discern life's ev'ning star,
Sick of the service of a world, that feeds
Its patient drudges with dry chaff and weeds,
We can escape from Custom's idiot sway,
To serve the Sovereign we were born to' obey.
Then sweet to muse upon his skill display'd
(Infinite skill) in all that he has made!
To trace in Nature's most minute design
The signature and stamp of pow'r divine,
Contrivance intricate, express’d with ease,
Where unassisted sight no beauty sees,

The shapely limb and lubricated joint,
Within the small dimensions of a point,
Muscle and nerve miraculously spun,
His mighty work, who speaks, and it is done,
The' invisible in things scarce seen reveald,
To whom an atom is an ample field ;
To wonder at a thousand insect forms,
These hatch'd, and those resuscitated worms,
New life ordain'd and brighter scenes to share,
Once prone on earth, now buoyant upon air,
Whose shape would make them, had they bulk and
More hideous foes than fancy can devise ; {size,
With helmet-heads, and dragon-scales adorn'd,
The mighty myriads, now securely scorn'd,
Would mock the majesty of man's high birth,
Despise his bulwarks, and unpeople earth.
Then with a glance of fancy to survey,
Far as the faculty can stretch away,
Ten thousand rivers pour'd at his command
From urns, that never fail, through ev'ry land ;
These like a deluge with impetuous force,
Those winding modestly a silent course ;
The cloud-surmounting Alps, the fruitful vales ;
Seas, on which ev'ry nation spreads her sails ;
The sun, a world whence other worlds drink light,
The crescent moon, the diadem of night ;
Stars countless, each in leis appointed place,
Fast anchor'd in the deep abyss of space-
At such a sight to catch the poet's flame,
And with a rapture like his own exclaim,
These are thy glorious works, thou Source of good,
How dimly seen, how faintly understood !
Thine, and upheld by thy paternal care,
This universal frame, thus wondrous fair ;

Thy pow'r divine, and bounty beyond thought,
Ador'd and prais'd in all that thou hast wrought
Absorb'd in that immensity I see,
I sbrink abas'd, and yet aspire to thee;
Instruct me, guide me to that heav'nly day,
Thy words, more clearly than thy works, display,
That while thy truths my grosser thoughts refine,
I may resemble thee, and call thee mine.

o blest proficiency! surpassing all,
That men erroneously their glory call,
The recompense that arts or arms can yield,
The bar, the senate, or the tented field.
Compard with this sublimest life below,
Ye kings and rulers, what have courts to show ?
Thus studied, us’d and consecrated thus,
On Earth what is, seems form'd indeed for us :
Not as the plaything of a froward child,
Fretful unless diverted and beguild,
Much less to feed and fan the fatal fires
Of pride, ambition, or impure desires,
But as a scale, by which the soul ascends
From mighty means to more important ends,
Securely, though by steps but rarely trod,
Mounts from inferior beings up to God,
And sees, by no fallacious light or dim,
Earth made for man, and man himself for him.

Not that I mean to approve, or would enforce,
A superstitious and monastic course :
Truth is not local, God alike pervades
And fills the world of traffic and the shades,
And may be fear'd amidst the busiest scenes,
Or scorn'd where business never intervenes.
But 'tis not easy with a mind like ours,
Conscious of weakness in its noblest pow’rs,

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

And in a world where, other ills apart,
The roving eye misleads the careless heart,
To limit Thought, by nature prone to stray
Wherever freakish Fancy points the way ;
To bid the pleadings of Self-love be still,
Resign our own, and seek our Maker's will;
To spread the page of Scripture, and compare
Our conduct with the laws engraven there;
To measure all that passes in the breast,
Faithfully, fairly, by that sacred test;
To dive into the secret deeps within,
To spare no passion and no fav’rite sin,
And search the themes, important above all,
Ourselves, and our recov'ry from our fall.
But leisure, silence, and a mind releas'd
From anxious thoughts how wealth may be increasid,
How to secure, in some propitious hour,
The point of intrest or the post of pow'r,
A soul

serene, and equally retir'd
From objects too much dreaded or desir'd,
Safe from the clamours of perverse dispute,
At least are friendly to the great pursuit.

Op’ning the map of God's extensive plan,
We find a little isle, this life of man ;
Eternity's unknown expanse appears
Circling around and limiting his years.
The busy race examine and explore
Each creek and cavern of the dangerous shore,
With care collect what in their eyes excels,
Some shining pebbles, and some weeds and shells ;
Thus laden, dream that they are rich and great,
And happiest he that groans beneath his weight.
The waves o’ertake them in their serious play,
And every hour sweeps multitudes away ;
Vol. XXXVI.

R

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

They shriek and sink, survivors start and weep,
Pursue their sport, and follow to the deep.
A few forsake the throng; with lifted eyes
Ask wealth of Heav'n, and gain a real prize,
Truth, wisdom, grace, and peace like that above,
Seal'd with his signet, whom they serve and love ;
Scorn'd by the rest, with patient bope they wait,
A kind release from their imperfect state,
And unregretted are soon snatch'd away
From scenes of sorrow into glorious day.

Nor these alone prefer a life recluse,
Who seek retirement for its proper use;
The love of change, that lives in every breast,
Genius and temper, and desire of rest,
Discordant motives in one centre meet,
And each inclines its vot’ry to retreat.
Some minds by nature are averse to noise,
And hate the tumult balf the world enjoys,
The lure of av'rice, or the pompous prize,
That courts display before ambitious eyes;
The fruits that hang on pleasure's flow'ry stem,
Whate'er enchants them, are no snares to them.
To them the deep recess of dusky groves,
Or forest, where the deer securely roves,
The fall of waters, and the song of birds,
And hills that echo to the distant herds,
Are luxuries excelling all the glare
The World can boast, and her chief fav’rites share.
With eager step and carelessly array'd,
For such a cause the poet seeks the shade,
From all he sees he catches new delight,
Pleas'd Fancy claps her pinions at the sight,
The rising or the setting orb of day,
The clouds that fit or slowly float away,

« AnteriorContinuar »