« PreviousContinue »
Whom flowers alone I knew would little please,
Let fall the’unfinish'd wreath, and roved for fruit;
Roved far,and gather'd much: some harsh,'tis true,
Pick'd from the thorns and briars of reproof,
But wholesome, well digested; grateful some
To palates that can taste immortal truth;
Insipid else, and sure to be despised.
But all is in His hand, whose praise I seek.
In vain the poet sings, and the world hears,
If he regard not, though divine the theme.
"Tis not in artful measures, in the chime
And idle tinkling of a minstrel's lyre,
To charm his ear, whose eye is on the heart;
Whose frown can disappoint the proudest strain,
Whose approbation--prosper even mine.
OR, A REVIEW OF SCHOOLS. It is not from his form, in which we trace Strength join'd with beauty, dignity with grace, That man, the master of this globe, derives His right of empire over all that lives. That form indeed, the associate of a mind Vast in its powers, etherial in its kind, That form, the labour of almighty skill, Framed for the service of a freeborn will, Asserts precedence, and bespeaks control, But borrows all its grandeur from the soul. Here is the state, the splendour, and the throne, An intellectual kingdom, all her own. For her the Memory fills her ample page With truths pour'd down from every distant age;
For her amasses an unbounded store,
- The wisdom of great nations now no more;
Though laden, not encumber'd with her spoil ;
Laborious, yet unconscious of her toil;
When copiously supplied, then most enlarged;
Still to be fed, and not to be surcharged.
For her the Fancy, roving unconfined,
The present muse of every pensive mind,
Works magic wonders, adds a brighter hue
To Nature's scenes than Nature ever knew.
At her command winds rise and waters roar,
Again she lays them slumbering on the shore;
With flower and fruit the wilderness supplies,
Or bids the rocks in ruder pomp arise.
For her the Judgment, umpire in the strife
That Grace and Nature have to wage through life,
Quick-sighted arbiter of good and ill,
Appointed sage preceptor to the Will,
Condemns, approves, and with a faithful voice
Guides the decision of a doubtful choice.
Why did the fiat of a God give birth
To yon fair sun and his attendant earth?
And, when descending he resigns the skies,
Why takes the gentler Moon her turn to rise,
Whom Ocean feels through all his countless waves,
And owns her power on every shore he laves ?
Why do the seasons still enrich the year,
Fruitful and young, as in their first career?
Spring hangs her infant blossoms on the trees,
Rock’d in the cradle of the western breeze;
Summer in haste the thriving charge receives
Beneath the shade of her expanded leaves,
Till aụtumn's fiercer heats and plenteous dews
Dye them at last in all their glowing hues.-
'Twere wild profusion all, and bootless waste,
Power misemploy’d, munificence misplaced,
Had not its author dignified the plan,
And crown'd it with the majesty of man.
Thus form’d, thus placed, intelligent, and taught,
Look where he will, the wonders God has wrought,
The wildest scorner of his Maker's laws
Finds in a sober moment time to pause, ,
To press the' important question on his heart,
• Why form’d at all, and wherefore as thou art ?'
If man be what he seems, this hour a slave,
The next mere dust and ashes in the grave;
Endued with reason only to descry
His crimes and follies with an aching eye;
With passions, just that he may prove, with pain,
The force he spends against their fury vain;
And if, soon after having burn’d, by turns,
With every lust with which frail Nature burns,
His being end where death dissolves the bond,
The tomb take all, and all be blank beyond;
Then he, of all that Nature has brought forth,
Stands self-impeach'd the creature of least worth,
And, useless while he lives and when he dies,
Brings into doubt the wisdom of the skies.
Truths that the learn’d pursue with eager
Are not important always as dear bought,
Proving at last, though told in pompous strains,
A childish waste of philosophic pains;
But truths on which depends our main concern,
That 'tis our shame and misery not to learn,
Shine by the side of every path we tread
With such a lustre, he that runs may read.
'Tis true that, if to trifle life away
Down to the sunset of their latest day,
Then perish on futurity's wide shore
Like fleeting exhalations, found no more,
Were all that Heaven required of humankind,
And all the plan their destiny design’d,
What none could reverence all might justly blame,
And man would breathe but for his Maker's
But reason heard, and nature well perused,
At once the dreaming mind is disabused.
If all we find possessing earth, sea, air,
Reflect his attributes who placed them there,
Fulfil the purpose, and appear design'd
Proofs of the wisdom of the’ all-seeing Mind,
'Tis plain the creature whom he chose to invest
With kingship and dominion o’er the rest,
Received his nobler nature, and was made
Fit for the power in which he stands array'd,
That first or last, hereafter, if not here,
He too might make his author's wisdom clear,
Praise him on earth, or, obstinately dumb,
Suffer his justice in a world to come.
This once believed, 'twere logic misapplied
To prove a consequence by none denied,
That we are bound to cast the minds of youth
Betimes into the mould of heavenly truth,
That taught of God they may indeed be wise,
Nor ignorantly wandering miss the skies.
In early days the conscience has in most
A quickness which in later life is lost:
Preserved from guilt by salutary fears,
Or guilty soon relenting into tears.
Too careless often, as our years proceed,
What friends we sort with or what books we read,
Our parents yet exert a prudent care
To feed our infant minds with proper fare;
And wisely store the nursery by degrees
With wholesome learning, yet acquired with ease,
Neatly secured from being soil'd or torn
Beneath a pane of thin translucent horn,
A book (to please us at a tender age
'Tis callid a book, though but a single page)
Presents the prayer the Saviour deign’d to teach,
Which children use, and parsons—when they
preach. Lisping our syllables, we scramble next Through moral narrative or sacred text: And learn with wonder how this world began, Who made,who marr’d,and who has ransom'd man.