Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The soil improv'd around, the mansion neat,
And neither poorly low nor idly great;
It seem'd to speak its master's turn of mind,
Content, and not for praise, but virtue kind.
Hither the walkers turn with weary feet,
Then bless the mansion, and the master greet:
Their greeting fair, bestow'd with modest guise,
The courteous master hears, and thus replies :
“ Without a vain, without a grudging heart,
" To Him who gives us all I yield a part;
“ From Him you come, for Him accept it here,
A frank and sober, more than costly cheer.”
He spoke, and bid the welcome table spread,
Then talk'd of virtue 'till the time of bed,
When the grave household round his hall repair,
Warn’d by a bell, and close the hours with pray’r.
At length the world, renew'd by calm repose,
Was strong for toil, the dappled morn arose ;
Before the pilgrims part, the younger crept
Near the clos'd cradle where an infant slept,
And writh'd his neck, the landlord's little pride :
O strange return! grew black, and gasp'd, and

died.
Horror of horrors ! what! his only son !
How look'd our hermit when the fact was done?
Not hell, though hell’s black jaws in sunder part,
And breathe blue fire, could more assault his heart.
Confus'd, and struck with silence at the deed,
He flies, but trembling fails to fly with speed.
His steps the youth pursues; the country lay
Perplex'd with roads,-a servant show the way :
A river cross’d the path : the passage o'er
Was nice to find, the servant trod before;
Long arms of oaks an open bridge supplied,
And deep the waves beneath the bending glide.
The youth, who seem'd to watch a time to sin,
Approach'd the careless guide, and thrust him in ;

Plunging he falls, and rising lifts his head,
Then flashing turns, and sinks among the dead.
Wild sparkling rage inflames the father's eyes :
He bursts the bands of fear, and madly cries,
“ Detested wretch !"-But scarce his speech began
When the strange partner seem'd no longer man :
His youthful face grew more serenely sweet;
His robe turn'd white, and flow'd upon his feet;
Fair rounds of radiant points invest his hair;
Celestial odours breathe through purpled air ;
And wings, whose colours glitter'd on the day,
Wide at his back their gradual plumes display.
The form ethereal bursts upon his sight,
And moves in all the majesty of light.
Though loud at first the pilgrim's passion grew,
Sudden he gaz'd, and wist not what to do;
Surprise in secret chains his words suspends,
And in a calm his settling temper ends.
But silence here the beauteous angel broke,
(The voice of music ravish'd as he spoke,)

Thy pray’r, thy praise, thy life to vice unknown, “ In sweet memorial rise before the throne : ". These charms success in our bright region find, “ And force an angel down to calm thy mind; " For this commission'd, I forsook the sky;

Nay, cease to kneel-thy fellow-servant 1. “ Then know the truth of government divine, “ And let these scruples be no longer thine. “ The Maker justly claims that world He made,

In this the right of Providence is laid ;
Its sacred majesty through all depends

On using second means to work His ends : -'Tis thus, withdrawn in state from human eye, “The power exerts His attributes on high,

Your actions uses, nor controls “ And bids the doubting sons of men be still.

your will,

eyes?

“ What strange events can strike with more sur

prize, “ Than those which lately struck thy wond’ring Yet taught by these, confess th' A&MIGHTY just, " And where you can't unriddle, learn to trust. The great vain man, who far'd on costly food, “ Whose life was too luxurious to be good, “ Who made his iv'ry stands with goblets shine, “ And forc'd his guests to morning draughts of

wine, Has, with the cup, the graceless custom lost,

And still he welcomes, but with less of cost. “ The mean suspicious wretch, whose bolted door “ Ne'er mov'd in duty to the wand'ring poor; “ With him I left the cup; to teach his mind “ That Heav'n can bless, if mortals will be kind, Conscious of wanting worth, he views the bowl, “ And feels compassion touch his grateful soul. “ Thus artists melt the sullen ore of lead, “ With heaping coals of fire upon its head; * In the kind warmth the metal learns to glow, And, loose from dross, the silver runs below.

“ Long had our pious friend in virtue trod, “ But now the child half wean'd his heart from

[ocr errors]

“ Child of his age, for him he liy'd in pain,
“ And measurd back his steps to earth again.
“ To what excesses had his dotage run?
“But God, to save the father, took the son.
“ To all but thee, in fits he seem'd to go,
(And 'twas my ministry to deal the blow.)
“The poor fond parent, humbled in the dust,
“Now owns in tears the punishment was just.
“ But how had all his fortune felt a rack,
Had that false servant sped in safety back ?

“ This night his treasur'd heaps he meant to steal, “. And what a fund of charity would fail! “ Thus Heav'n instructs thy mind; this trial o'er,

Depart in peace, resign, and sin no more.” On sounding pinions here the youth withdrew, The sage stood wond’ring as the seraph flew. Thus look'd Elisha, when, to mount on high, His master took the chariot of the sky. The fiery pomp ascending left the view, The prophet gaz'd, and wish'd to follow too. The bending hermit here a pray’r begun, “ LORD! as in heav'n, on earth Thy will be done :" Then gladly turning sought his ancient place, And pass'd a life of piety and peace.

POPE. MESSIAH.-A Sacred Eclogue. YE nymphs of Solyma ! begin the song, To heav'nly themes sublimer strains belong. The mossy fountains, and the sylvan shades. The dreams of Pindus, and the Aonian maids, Delight no more.-0 Thou my voice inspire, Who touch'd Isaiah's hallowed lips with fire! Rapt into future times, the bard begun, A Virgin-shall conceive, a Virgin bear a Son! From Jesse's root behold a Branch arise, Whose sacred flow'r with fragrance fills the skies : Th'ethereal Spirit o’er its leaves shall move, And on its top descends the mystie dove. Ye heavens! from high the dewy nectar pour, And in soft silence shed the kindly show'r ! The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid, From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade ; All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail, Returning Justice lift aloft her scale ;

Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-rob'd Innocence from heaven descend.
Swift fly the years, and rise th' expected morn!
Oh spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born!
See Nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring,
With all the incense of the breathing spring :
See lofty Lebanon his head advance,
See nodding forests on the mountains dance !
See spicy clouds from lowly Sharon rise,
And Carmel's flowery top perfumes the skies !
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers ;
Prepare the way!

A God, a God appears ;
A God! a God! The vocal hills reply,
The rocks proclaim th' approaching Deity.
Lo! earth receives him from the bending skies!
Sink down, ye mountains, and, ye vallies, rise!
With heads declin'd, ye cedars, homage pay ;
Be smooth, ye rocks, ye rapid floods, give way!
The Saviour comes ! by ancient bards foretold :
Hear him, ye deaf, and all ye blind, behold!
He from thick films'shall purge the visual ray,
And on the sightless eyeball pour the day,
'Tis He th’ obstructed paths of sound shall clear,
And bid new music charm th’unfolding ear:
The dumb shall sing, the lame his crutch forego,
And leap exulting like the bounding roe;
No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall hear,
From ev'ry face He wipes off ev'ry tear.
In adamantine chains shall death be bound,
And hell's grim tyrant feel th' eternal wound.
As the good shepherd tends his fleecy care,
Seeks freshest pastures and the purest air,
Explores the lost, the wandering sheep directs,
By day o'ersees them, and by night protects,
The tender lambs he raises in his arms,
Feeds from his hand, and in his bosom warms :
Mankind shall

thus His guardian care engage, The promis'd Father of the future age.

« PreviousContinue »