« PreviousContinue »
To charm to sleep the threat'ning of the skies,
Ilast thou within thee sin, that in old time
Far be the thought from any verse of mine, And farther still the form’d and fix'd design, To thrust the charge of deeds that I detest Against an innocent unconscious breast: The man that dares traduce, because he can With safety to himself, is not a man: An individual is a sacred mark, Not to be pierc'd in play, or in the dark; But public censure speaks a public foe, Unless a zeal for virtue guides the blow.
The priestly brotherhood, devout, sincere, From mean self-int’rest and ambition clear, Their hope in Heav'n, servility their scorn, Prompt to persuade, expostulate, and warn, Their wisdom pure, and giv’n them from above, Their usefulness ensur’d by zcal and love, As meek as the man Moses, and withal As bold as in Agrippa's presence Paul, Should Ay the world's contaminating touch, Holy and unpolluted:-are thine such? Except a few with Eli's spirit blest, Hophni and Phineas may describe the rest.
Where shall a teacher look, in days like these, For ears and hearts that he can hope to please?
Look to the poor--the simple and the plain Will hear, perhaps, thy salutary strain: Humility is gentle, apt to learn, Speak but the word, will listen and return. Alas, not so! the poorest of the flock Are proud, and set their faces as a rock; Denied that earthly opulence they choose, God's better gift they scoff at, and refuse. The rich, the produce of a nobler stem, Are more intelligent, at least-try them. Oh, vain inquiry! they, without remorse, Are altogether gone a devious course; Where beck’ning pleasure leads them, wildly stray; Hlave burst the bands, and cast the yoke away.
How shall a verse impress thee? by what name Shall I adjure thee not to court thy shame? By their's whose bright example, unimpeach'd, Directs thee to that eminence they reach'dIleroes and worthies of days past, thy sires ? Or his, who touch'd their hearts with hallow'd fires ? Their names, alas! in vain reproach an age, Whom all the vanities they corn'd engage; And his, that seraphs tremble at, is hung Disgracefully on ev'ry trifler's tongue,
Or serves the champion in forensic war
A world is up in arms, and thou, a spot
Say not (and, if the thought of such defence Should spring within thy bosom, drive it thence) What nation amongst all my foes is free From crimes as base as any charg'd on me; Their measure fill'd, they too shall pay the debt Which God, though long forborn, will not forget. But know that wrath divine, when most severe, Makes justice still the guide of his career,
And will not punish, in one mingled crowd,
Nuse, hang this harp upon yon aged beech,
in vain; That few will hear, and fewer heed the strain; But, if a sweeter voice, and one design'd A blessing to my country and mankind, Reclaim the wandring thousands, and bring hone A flock, so scatter'd and so wont to roam, Then place it once again between my knees; The sound of truth will then be sure to please : And truth alone, where'er my life be cast, In scenes of plenty or the pining waste, Shall be my chosen theme, my glory to the last.