Page images

These 't is enough to temper and employ;
But what composes man can man destroy ?
Suffice that reason keep to nature's road;
Subject, compound them, follow her and God.
Love, hope, and joy, fair pleasure's smiling train,
Hate, fear, and grief, the family of pain,
These mix'd with art, and to due bounds confin'd,
Make and maintain the balance of the mind;
The lights and shades, whose well-accorded strife
Gives all the strength and color of our life.

Pleasures are ever in our hands or eyes,
And when in act they cease, in prospect rise ;
Present to grasp, and future still to find,
The whole employ of body and of mind,
All spread their charms, but charm not all alike;
On different senses different objects strike;
Hence different passions more or less inflame,
As strong or weak the organs of the frame;
And hence one master-passion in the breast,
Like Aaron's serpent, swallows up the rest.

As man, perhaps, the moment of his breath,
Receives the lurking principle of death,
The young disease, that must subdue at length,
Grows with his growth, and strengthens with his strength:
So, cast and mingled with his very frame,
The mind's disease, its ruling passion, came;
Each vital humor, which should feed the whole,
Soon flows to this in body and in soul;
Whatever warms the heart or fills the head,
As the mind opens and its functions spread,
Imagination plies her dangerous art,
And pours it all upon the peccant part.

Nature its mother, habit is its nurse;
Wit, spirit, faculties, but make it worse;
Reason itself but gives it edge and power,
As Heaven's bless'd beam turns vinegar more sour.

We, wretched subjects, though to lawful sway
In this weak queen some favorite still obey :
Ah! if she lend not arms as well as rules,
What can she more than tell us we are fools ?
Teach us to mourn our nature, not to mend,
A sharp accuser, but a helpless friend!
Or from a judge turn pleader, to persuade
The choice we make, or justify it made ;
Proud of an easy conquest all along,
She but removes weak passions for the strong:

So when small humors gathers to a gout,
The doctor fancies he has driven them out.

Yes, nature's road must ever be preferr'd;
Reason is here no guide, but still a guard ;
'T is hers to rectify, not overthrow,
And treat this passion more as friend than foe:
A mightier power the strong direction sends,
And several men impels to several ends :
Like varying winds, by other passions tost,
This drives them constant to a certain coast.
Let power or knowledge, gold or glory, please,
Or (oft more strong than all) the love of ease;
Through life 't is follow'd, e'en at life's expense;
The merchant's toil, the sage's indolence,
The monk's humility, the hero's pride,
All, all alike, find reason on their side.
Th' eternal art educing good from ill,
Grafts on this passion our best principle :
'Tis thus the mercury of man is fix'd,
Strong grows the virtue with his nature mix'd,
The dross cements what else were too refin'd,
And in one interest body acts with mind.

As fruits ungrateful to the planter's care, On savage stocks inserted, learn to bear, The surest virtues thus from passions shoot, Wild nature's vigor working at the root. What crops of wit and honesty appear From spleen, from obstinacy, hate, or fear! See anger zeal and fortitude supply; E’en avarice prudence, sloth philosophy ; Lust, through some certain strainers well refin'd, Is gentle love, and charms all womankind; Envy, to which th' ignoble mind 's a slave, Is emulation in the learn'd or brave; Nor virtue male or female can we name, But what will grow on pride or grow on shame. Thus nature gives us (let it check our pride) The virtue nearest to our vice allied : Reason the bias turns to good from ill, And Nero reigns a Titus if he will. The fiery soul abhorr'd in Catiline, In Decius charms, in Curtius is divine: The same ambition can destroy or save, And makes a patriot as it makes a knave.

This light and darkness in our chaos join'd, What shall divide ? - the God within the mind.

Extremes in nature equal ends produce;
In man they join to some mysterious use;
Though each by turns the other's bounds invade,
As in some well-wrought picture light and shade,
Aud oft so mix, the difference is too nice
Where ends the virtue or begins the vice.

Fools! who from hence into the notion fall
That vice or virtue there is none at all.
If white and black blend, soften, and unite
A thousand ways, is there no black or white ?
Ask your own heart, and nothing is so plain;
'Tis to mistake them costs the time and pain.

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
But where th' extreme of vice was ne'er agreed :
Ask where's the north ?-at York 'tis on the Tweed;
In Scotland at the Orcades; and there
At Greenland, Zembla, or the Lord knows where.
No creature owns it in the first degree,
But thinks his neighbor further gone than he;
E'en those who dwell beneath its very zone,
Or never feel the rage or never own;
What happier natures shrink at with affright,
The hard inhabitant contends is right.

Virtuous and vicious every man must be,
Few in th' extreme, but all in the degree:
The rogue and fool by fits is fair and wise,
And e'en the best by fits what they despise.
'Tis but by parts we follow good or ill;
For vice or virtue, self directs it still;
Each individual seeks a several goal;
But Heaven's great view is one, and that the whole.

That counterworks each folly and caprice;
That disappoints th' effect of every vice;
That happy frailties to all ranks applied,
Shame to the virgin, to the matron pride,
Fear to the statesman, rashness to the chief,
To kings presumption, and to crowds belief:
That, virtue's ends from vanity can raise,
Which seeks no interest, no reward but praise;
And build on wants, and on defects of mind,
The joy, the peace, the glory of mankind !

Heaven forming each on other to depend,
A master, or a servant, or a friend,

Bids each on other for assistance call,
Till one man's weakness grows the strength of all.
Wants, frailties, passions, closer still ally
The common interest, or endear the tie.
To these we owe true friendship, love sincere,
Each home-felt joy that life inherits here;
Yet from the same we learn, in its decline,
Those joys, those loves, those interests to resign;
Taught, half by reason, half by mere decay,
To welcome death, and calmly pass away.

Whate'er the passion, knowledge, fame, or pelf
Not one will change his neighbor with himself.
The learn'd is happy nature to explore,
The fool is happy that he knows no more:
The rich is happy in the plenty given,
The poor contents him with the care of Heaven.
See the blind beggar dance, the cripple sing,
The sot a hero, lunatic a king,
The starving chymist in his golden views
Supremely bless'd, the poet in his muse.

See some strange comfort every state attend, And pride bestow'd on all, a common friend ; See some fit passion every age supply ; Hope travels through, nor quits us when we die.

Behold the child, by Nature's kindly law, Pleas'd with a rattle, tickled with a straw: Some livelier plaything gives his youth delight, A little louder, but as empty quite : Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage, And beads and prayer-books are the toys of age : Pleas'd with this bauble still, as that before, Till tir'd he sleeps, and life's poor play is o'er.

Meanwhile opinion gilds with varying rays Those painted clouds that beautify our days, Each want of happiness by hope supplied, And each vacuity of sense by pride. These build as fast as knowledge can destroy; In folly's cup still laughs the bubble joy ; One prospect lost, another still we gain, And not a vanity is given in vain : E'en mean self-love becomes, by force divine, The scale to measure others' wants by thine. See! and confess one comfort still must rise; 'T is this, — Though man 's a fool yet God is wise.



PORTER, JANE, an English novelist; born at Durham in 1779; died at Bristol, May 24, 1850. She wrote several novels, two of which, “Thaddeus of Warsaw” (1803) and “The Scottish Chiefs” (1810), had a high reputation in their day, and are still read. They may properly be considered as the beginning of the English "historical novels.”


(From "The Scottish Chiefs.") On the evening of the fourteenth day from the one in which delen had embarked, the little ship of Dundee entered upon jhe bright bosom of the Nore. While she sat on the deck watching the progress of the vessel with an eager spirit, which would gladly have taken wings to have flown to the object of her voyage, she first saw the majestic waters of the Thames. But it was a tyrannous flood to her, and she marked not the diverging shores crowned with palaces ; her eyes looked over every stately dome to seek the black summits of the Tower. At a certain point the captain of the vessel spoke through his trumpet to summon a pilot from the land. In a few minutes he was obeyed. The Englishman took the helm. Helen was inclined on a coil of ropes near him. He entered into conversation with the Norwegian, and she listened in speechless attention to a recital which bound up her every sense in that of hearing. The captain had made some unprincipled jest on the present troubles of Scotland, now his adopted country from his commercial interests, and he added with a laugh," that he thought any ruler the right one who gave him a free course for traffic.” In answer to this remark, and with an observation not very flattering to the Norwegian’s estimation of right and wrong, the Englishman mentioned the capture of the once renowned champion of Scotland. Even the enemy who recounted the particulars showed a truth in the recital which shamed the man who had benefited by the patriotism he af

« PreviousContinue »