Page images
PDF
EPUB

Of wrath obnoxious, God may choose his mark:
May punish, if he please, the less, to warn
The more malignant. If he spar'd not them,
Tremble and be amaz'd at thine escape,
Far guiltier England, lest he spare not thee !

Happy the man, who sees a God employ'd
In all the good and ill that checker life!
Resolving all events, with their effects
And manifold results, into the will
And arbitration wise of the Supreme.
Did not his eye rule all things, and intend
The least of our concerns; (since from the least
The greatest oft originale :) could chance
Find place in his dominion, or dispose
One lawless particle to thwart his plan;
Then God might be surpris'd, and unforeseen
Contingence might alarm him, and disturb
The smooth and equal course of his affairs.
This truth Philosophy, though eagle-ey'd
In nature's tendencies, oft overlooks ;
And, having found his instrument, forgets,
Or disregards, or, more presumptuous still,
Denies the power that wields it. God proclaims
His hot displeasure against foolish men,
That live an atheist life ; involves the Heavens
In tempests ; quits his grasp upon the winds,
And gives them all their fury; bids a plague
Kindle a fiery bile upon the skin,
And putrefy the breaih of blooming Health.
He calls for Famine, and the meagre fiend
Blows mildew from beneat his shrivell'd lips,
And taints the golden ear. He springs his mines,
And desolates a nation at a blast.
Forth steps the spruce Philosopher, and tells
or homogeneal and discordant springs,
And principles ; of causes how they work

[ocr errors]

By necessary laws their sure effects
of action and reaction : he has found
The source of the disease that nature feels,
And bids the world take heart and banish fear.
Thou fool ? will thy discov'ry of the cause
Suspend th' effect, or heal it? Has not God
Still wrought by means since first he made the world?
And did he not of old employ his means
To drown it? What is his creation less,
Than a capacious reservoir of means,
Form'd for his use, and ready at his will ?
Go, dress thine eyes with eye salve; ask of Him,
Or ask of whomsoever he has taught ;
And learn, though late, the genuine cause of all.

England, with all thy faults, I love the stills
My country! and, while yet a 'nook is left,
Where English minds and manners may be found,
Shall be constrain'd to love thee. Though thy clime
Be fickle, and thy year most part deform'd
With dripping rains, or wither'd by a frost,
I would not yet exchange thy sullen skies,
And fields without a flow'r, for warmer France
With all her vines : nor for Ausonia's groves
Of golden fruitage, and her myrtle bow'rs.
To shake thy senate, and frona heights sublime
of patriot eloquence to flash down fire
Upon thy foes, was never meant my task :
But I can feel thy fortunes, and partake
Thy joys and sorrows, with as true a heart
As any thund'rer there. And I can feel
Thy follies too ; and with a just disdain
Frown at effeminates, whose very looks
Reflect dishonor on the land I love.
How in the name of soldiership and 'sense,
Should England prosper, when such things, as smooth
And tender as a girl, all essenc'd o'er

With odours, and as profligate as sweet ;
Who sell their laurel for a myrtle wreath,
And love when they should fight : when such as t!
Presume to lay their hand upon the ark
Of her magnificent and awful cause ?
Time was when it was .praise and boast enough
In every elime, and travel where we might,
That we were born her children. Praise enough
To fill th' ambition of a private man
That Chatham's language was his mother tongue,
And Wolfe's great name compatriot with his ow.
Farewell those honours, and farewell with them
The hope of such hereafter! They have fall'n
Each in his field of glory; one in arms,
And one in council-Wolfe upon the lap
Of smiling Victory that moment won,
And Chatham heart-sick of his country's shame!
They made us many soldiers. Cnatham, still
Consulting England's happiness at home,
Secur'd it by an unforgiving frown,
If any wrong'd her. Wolfe, where'er he fought,
Pilt so much of his heart into his act,
That his example had a magnet's force,
And all were swift to follow whom all lov'd.
Those suns are set. O rise some other such:
Or all that we have left is empty talk
Of old achievements and despair of new.

Now hoist the sail, and let the streamers float
Upon the wanton breezes. Strew the deck
With lavender, and sprinkle liquid sweets,
That no rude savour maritime invade
The nose of nice nobility! Breathe soft,
Ye clarionets ; and softer still, ye flutes;
That winds and waters, lull'd by magick sounds,
May bear us smoothly to the Gallic sliore.
Prue, we have lost an empire-let it pass.

THE TIME-PIECE.

43
True, we may thank the perfidy of France,
That pick'd the jewel out of England's crown,
With all the cunning of an envious shrew.
And let that pass-'twas but a trick of state
A brave man knows no malice, but at once
Forgets in peace the injuries of war,
And gives his direst foe a friend's embrace.
And sham'd as we have been, to th' very beard
Brav'd and defied, and in our own sea prov'd
Too weak for those decisive blows that once
Ensur'd us mast'ry there, we yet retain
Some small pre-eminence; we justly boast
At least superiour jockeyship, and claim
The honours of the turf as all our own !
Go, then, well worthy of the praise ye seek,
And show the shame ye might conceal at home,
In foreign eyes !-be grooms and win the plate,
Where once your nobler fathers won a crown!
'Tis gen'rous to communicate your skill
To those that need it. Folly is soon learn’d:
And under such preceptors who can fail ?

There is a pleasure in poetick pains,
Which only poets know. The shifts and turns,
Th’expedieris and inventions multiform,
To which the mind resorts, in ehase of terms,
Though apt, yet coy, and difficult to win
T' arrest the fleeting images, that fill
The mirror of the mind, and bold them fast,
And force them sit, till he has peneil'd off
A faithful likeness of the forms he views;
Then to dispose his copies with such art,
That each nay 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 sueh address from themes of sad import,
That, lost in his own musings, happy man!
He feels the anxieties of life denied
Their wonted entertainment; all retire.
Such joys has he that sings. But ah! not snch,
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 amuseinent where he found the most.
But is amusement all ? 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 till'd
With solemn awe, that bids me well beware
With what intent I touch that holy thing)—
The pulpit—(when the cat’rist has at last,
Strutiing and vap'ring in an empty school,
Spent all his force, and inade no proselyte)--
I say the pulpit, (in the sober use
of its legitimate peculiar pow'rs)
Must stand acknowledg’d, while the world shall stand,
The most important and effectual guard,

« PreviousContinue »