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Not so the pheasant on his charms presumes, Though he too has a glory in his plumes. He, christian-like, retreats with modest mien To the close copse, or far sequester'd green, And shines without desiring to be seen. The plea of works, as arrogant and vain, Heav'n turns from with abhorrence and disdain ; Not more affronted by avow'd neglect, Than by the mere dissembler's feign’d respect. What is all righteousness that men devise ? What-but a sordid bargain for the skies ? But Christ as soon would abdicate his own, As stoop from Heav'n to sell the proud a throne.
His dwelling a recess in some rude rock, Book, beads, and maple-dish, his meagre stock; In shírt of hair and weeds of canvass dress'd, Girt with a bell-rope that the pope has bless'd; Adust with stripes told out for ev'ry crime, And sore tormented long before his time; His pray'r preferr’d to saints that cannot aid; His praise postpon’d, and never to be paid. See the sage hermit, by mankind admir’d, With all that bigotry adopts inspir'd, Wearing out life in his religious whim, Till his religious whimsey wears ont him. His works, his abstinence, his zeal allow'd, You think him humble-God accounts him proud; High in demand, though lowly in pretence, Of all his conduct this the genuine senseMy penitential stripes, my streaming blood, Have purchas'd Heav'n, and prove my title good.
Turn eastward now, and Fancy shall apply
weak sight her telescopic eye,
The Brahmin kindles on his own bare head
The sacred fire, self-torturing his trade,
His voluntary pains, severe and long,
Would give a barb'rous air to British song ;
No grand inquisitor could worse inyent,
Than he contrives to suffer well content.
Which is the saintlier worthy of the two ?
Past all dispute, yon anchorite, say you.
Your sentence and mine differ. What's a name !
I say the Brahmin has the fairer claim.
If suff rings, Scripture nowhere recommends,
Devis'd by self to answer selfish ends,
Give saintship, then all Europe must agree
Ten starv’ling hermits suffer less than he.
The truth is (if the truth may suit your ear,
And prejudice have left a passage clear),
Pride has attain'd its most luxuriant growth,
And poison'd ev'ry virtue in them both.
Pride may be pamper'd while the flesh grows lean;
Humility may clothe an English dean;
That grace was Cowper's—his, confess’d by all-
Though plac'd in golden Durham's second stall.
Not all the plenty of a bishop's board,
His palace, and his lacqueys, and" My Lord,”
More nourish pride, that condescending vice,
Than abstinence, an: beggary, and lice;
It thrives in mis’ry, and abundant grows:
In mis’ry fools upon themselves impose.
But why before us protestants produce
An Indian mystic, or a French recluse ?
Their sin is plain; but what have we to fear,
Reform’d and well instructed? You shall hear.
Yon ancient prude, whose wither'd features show
She might be young some forty years ago,
Her elbows pinioned close upon her hips,
Her head erect, her fan upon her lips,
Her eye-brows arch’d, her eyes both gone astray
To watch yon am'rous couple in their play,
With bony and unkerchief'd neck defies
The rude inclemency of wintry skies,
And sails with lappet-head and mincing airs
Duly at chink of bell to morning pray’rs.
To thrift and parsimony much inclin'd,
She yet allows herself that boy behind;
The shiv’ring urchin, bending as he goes,
With slipshod heels, and dewdrop at his nose ;
His predecessor's coat advanc'd to wear,
Which future pages yet are doomed to share,
Carries her Bible tuck'd beneath his arm,
And hides his hands to keep his fingers warm.
She, half an angel in her own account,
Doubts not hereafter with the saints to mount,
Though not a grace appears on strictest search,
But that she fasts, and item goes to church.
Conscious of age, she recollects her youth,
And tells, not always with an eye to truth,
Who spann’d her waist, and who, where'er he came,
Scrawl d upon glass Miss Bridget's lovely name;
Who stole her slipper, fill'd it with tokay,
And drank the little bumper ev'ry day.
Of temper as envenom’d as an asp,
Censorious, and her ev'ry word a wasp;
In faithful mem’ry she records the crimes;
Or real, or fictitious, of the times;
Laughs at the reputations she has torn,
And holds them dangling at arm's length in scorn.
Such are the fruits of sanctimonious pride, Of malice fed while flesh is mortified: Take, Madam, the reward of all your pray’rs, Where hermits and where Brahmins meet with theirs; Your portion is with them.- Nay, never frown, But, if you please, some fathoms lower down.
Artist attend—your brushes and your paint-
Produce them_take a chair—now draw a saint.
Oh, sorrowful and sad! the streaming tears
Channel her cheeks-a Niobe appears !
Is this a saint? Throw tints and all
True Piety is cheerful as the day,
Will weep, indeed, and heave a pitying groan
For others' woes, but smiles upon her own.