« PreviousContinue »
Too weak for those decisive blows, that once
skill To those that need it. Folly is soon learn'd: And under such preceptors who can fail!
There is a pleasure in poetic pains, Which only poets know. The shifts and turns, Th' expedients and inventions multiform, To which the mind resorts, in chase of terms Though apt, yet coy, and difficult to winT' arrest the fleeting images, that fill The mirror of the mind, and hold them fast, And force them sit, till he has pencill'd off A faithful likeness of the forms he views ; Then to dispose his copies with such art, That each may find its most propitious light, And shine by situation, hardly less Than by the labour and the skill it cost; Are occupations of the poet's mind So pleasing, and that steal away the thought With such address from themes of sad import, That lost in his own musings, happy man! He feels th' anxieties of life, denied Their wonted entertainment, all retire. Such joys has he that sings. But, ah! not such, Or seldom such, the hearers of his song. Fastidious, or else listless, or perhaps Aware of nothing arduous in a task They never undertook, they little note His dangers or escapes, and haply find Their least amusement where he found the most.
But is amusement ail ? Studious of
song, And yet ambitious not to sing in vain, I would not trifle merely, though the world Be loudest in their praise, who do no more. Yet what can satire, whether grave or gay ? It may correct a foible, may chastise The freaks of fashion, regulate the dress, Retrench a sword-blade, or displace a patch ; But where are its sublimer trophies found? What vice has it subdued? whose heart reclaim'd By rigour, or whom laugh'd into reform? Alas! Leviathan is not so tam’d: Laugh’d at, he laughs again; and stricken hard, Turns to the stroke his adamantine scales, That fear no discipline of human hands.
The pulpit, therefore, (and I name it fill'd With solemn awe, that bids me well beware With what intent I touch that holy thing) The pulpit (when the sat’rist has at last, Strutting and vap'ring in an empty school, Spent all his force, and made no proselyte) I
say the pulpit (in the sober use Of its legitimate, peculiar pow'rs) Must standacknowledg’d, while the worldshall stand, The most important and effectual guard, Support and ornament of Virtue's cause. There stands the messenger of truth : there stands The legate of the skies His theme divine, His office sacred, his credentials clear. By him the violated law speaks out Its thunders; and by him, in strains as sweet As angels use, the Gospel whispers peace. He 'stablishes the strong, restores the weak, Reclaims the wand'rer, binds the broken heart, And, arm'd himself in panoply complete Of heav'nly temper, furnishes with arms Bright as his own, and trains, by ev'ry rule Of holy discipline, to glorious war,
The sacramental host of God's elect!
the news, his trumpet. Keener far
I venerate the man, whose heart is warm, [life, Whose hands are pure, whose doctrine and whosc Coincident, exhibit lucid proof That he is honest in the sacred cause. To such I render more than mere respect, Whose actions say that they respect themselves. But loose in morals, and in manners, vain, In conversation frivolous, in dress Extreme, at once rapacious and profuse; Frequent in park with lady at his side, Ambling and prattling scandal as he goes ; But rare at home, and never at his books, Or with his pen, save when he scrawls a card; Constant at routs, familiar with a round Of ladyships, a stranger to the poor;
Ambitious of preferment for its gold,
Would I describe a preacher, such as Paul,
own, Paul should himself direct me. I would trace His master-strokes, and draw from his design. I would express him simple, grave, sincere; In doctrine uncorrupt; in language plain, And plain in manner; decent, solemn, chaste, And natural in gesture; much impress’d Himself, as conscious of his awful charge, And anxious mainly that the flock he feeds May feel it too; affectionate in look, And tender in address, as well becomes A messenger of grace to guilty men. Behold the picture ?_Is it like ?-Like whom? The things that mount the rostrum with a skip, And then skip down again; pronounce a text; Cry-hem! and reading what they never wrote Just fifteen minutes huddle up their work, And with a well-bred whisper close the scene !
In man or woman, but far most in man, And most of all in man that ministers And serves the altar, in my soul I loathe All affectation. "Tis my perfect scorn; Object of my implacable disgust. What !-will a man play tricks, will he indulge A silly, fond conceit of his fair form And just proportion, fashionable mien And pretty face, in presence of his God? Or will he seek to dazzle me with tropes, As with the diamond on his lily hand,
And play his brilliant parts before my eyes,