Page images
PDF
EPUB

own

Attunes the moral world : that Virtue still
May hope her promis'd crown; that Vice máy dread
Vengeance, though late ; that reas'ning Pride may
Just, though, unsearchable, the ways of Heaven.
Sceptic! whoe'er thou art, who say’st the soul,
That divine particle which God's own breath
Inspired into the mortal mass, shall rest
Annihilate, 'till Duration has unrolled
Her never-ending line; tell, if thou know'st,
Why ev'ry nation, ev'ry clime, though allo
In laws, in rites, in manners disagree,
With one consent expect another world,
Where wickedness shall weep? Why Paynim bards
Fabled Elysian plains, Tartarean lakes,
Styx and Cocytus ? Tell why Hali's sons
Have feign'd a paradise of mirth and love,
Banquets and blooming nymphs? Or rather tell
Why, on the brink of Orellana's stream,
Where never Science reared her sacred torch,
Th’untutor'd Indian dreams of happier worlds
Behind the cloud-topt hill? Why in each breast
Is placed a friendly monitor, that prompts,
Informs, directs, encourages, forbids?
Tell, why on unknown evil grief attends ;
Or joy on secret good? Why conscience acts
With tenfold force, when sickness, age, or pain
Stands tott'ring on the precipice of death?
Or why such horror gnaws the guilty soul
Of dying sinners; while the good man sleeps
Peaceful and calm, and with a smile expires?
Look round the world! with what a partial hand
The scale of bliss and misery is sustain'd!
Beneath the shade of cold obscurity
Pale Virtue lies; no arm supports her head,
No friendly voice speaks comfort to her soul,
Nor soft-ey'd Pity drops a melting tear;
But in their stead, Contempt and rude Disdain

Insult the banish'd wanderer: on she goes
Neglected and forlorn : Disease and Cold
And Famine, worst of ills, her steps attend ;
Yet patient, and to Heaven's just will resign’d,
She ne'er is seen to weep, or heard to sigh.
Now turn your eyes to yon sweet-smelling bow'r,
Where flushed with all the insolence of wealth
Sits pamper'd Vice! For him th' Arabian gale
Breathes forth delicious odours; Gallia's hills
For him pour nectar from the purple vine.
Nor think for these he pays the tribute due
To Heav'n : of Heaven he never names the name ;
Save when with imprecations dark and dire
He points his jest obscene. Yet buxom Health
Sits on his rosy cheek; yet Honour gilds
His high exploits; and downy-pinioned Sleep
Sheds a soft opiate o'er his peaceful couch.
See'st Thou this, righteous Father! See'st

Thou this,
And wild Thou ne'er repay? Shall good and ill
Be carried, undistinguished, to the land
Where all things are forgot ?-Ah! no; the day
Will come, when Virtue from the cloud shall burst
That long obscur'd her beams; when Sin shall fly
Back to her native hell; there sink eclips'd
In penal darkness, where nor star shall rise,
Nor ever sunshine pierce th' impervious gloom.
On that great Day the solemn trump shall sound,
(That trump which once in heaven on man's revolt
Conyok'd th' astonished seraphs) at whose voice
Th’unpeopled graves shall pour forth all their dead.
Then shall th' assembled nations of the earth,
From ev'ry quarter at the Judgment Seat
Unite ; Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks,
Parthians, and they who dwelt on Tyber's banks,
Names fam'd of old; or who of later age,
Chinese and Russian, Mexican and Turk,

Tenant the wide Terrene; and they who pitch
Their tents on Niger's banks: or, where the sun
Pours on Golconda's spires his early, light,
Drink Ganges' sacred stream. At once shall rise
Whom distant ages to each other's sight
Had long denied. Before the throne shall kneel
Some great progenitor, while at his side
Stands his descendant through a thousand lines.
Whate'er their nation, and whate'er their rank,
Heroes and patriarchs, slaves and sceptered kings,
With equal eye the God of all shall see ;
And judge with equal love. What though the great
With costly pomp and aromatie sweets
Embalm'd his poor remains; or through the dome
A thousand tapers shed their gloomy light,
While solemn organs to his parting soul
Chaunted slow orisons ? Say, by what mark
Dost thou discern him from that lowly swain,
Whose mouldering bones beneath the thom-bound

turf
Long lay neglected ?--All at once shall rise,
But not to equal glory; for, alas!
With howlings dire and execrations loud
Some wail their fatal birth : -First among these
Behold the mighty murth’rers of mankind;
They who in sport whole kingdoms slew, or they
Who to the tott'ring pinnacle of power
Waded through seas of blood : How will they curse
The madness of ambition : How lament
Their dear-bought laurels ! when the widow'd wife
And childless mother at the judgment-seat
Plead trumpet-tongu'd against them !

-Here are they Who sunk an aged father to the grave; Or, with unkindness hard and cold disdain, Slighted a brother's suff'rings. Here are they Whom fraud and skilful treachery long secur'd; Who from the infant virgin tore her dow'r, And ate the orphan's bread ;-who spent their stores In selfish luxury; or o'er their gold

Prostrate and pale ador'd the useless heap.
Here too, who stain'd the chaste connubial bed ;
Who mix'd the pois'nous bowl,--or broke the ties
Of hospitable friendship ;-and the wretch,
Whose listless soul, sick with the cares of life,
Unsummond to the presence of his God
Rush'd in with insult rude. How would they joy
Once more to visit earth; and, though oppress'd
With all that pain or famine can inflict,
Pant up the hill of life? Vain wish! the Judge
Pronounces doom eternal on their heads,
Perpetual punishment. Seek' not to know
What punishment! for that th' ALMIGHTY will
Has hid from mortal eyes : And shall vain man
With curious search refin'd presume to pry
Into Thy secrets, Father! No"; let him
With humble patience all Thy works adore,
And walk in all Thy paths; so shall his meed
Be great in heav'n, so haply shall he 'scape
Th’immortal worm and never-ceasing fire.
But who are they, who bound in tenfold chains
Stand horribly aghast? This is that crew
Who strove to pull JEHOVAH from His throne,
And in the place of heaven's eternal King
Set up the phantom Chance. For them in vain
Alternate seasons cheer'd the rolling year;
In vain the sun o'er herb, tree, fruit, and flow'r
Shed genial influence mild; and the pale moon
Repair'd her waning orb. Next these is plac'd
The vile blasphemer, he, whose impious wit
Profan'd the sacred mysteries of faith,
And 'gainst th' impenetrable walls of heav'n
Planted his feeble battery. By these stands
The arch-apostate. He with many a wile
Exhorts them still to foul revolt. Alas!
No hope have they from black Despair, no ray
Shines through the gloom to cheer their sinking

souls :

In agonies of grief they curse the hour
When first they left Religion's onward way..
These on the left are ranged: but on the right
A chosen band appears, who fought beneath
The banner of JEHOVAH, and defied
Satan's united legions. Some, unmov'd
At the grim týrant's frown, o'er barb'rous climes.
Diffused the Gospel's Light; some, long immur'd
(Sad servitude !) in chains and dungeons pin'd ;
Or rack'd with all the agonies of pain
Breathed out their faithful lives. Thrice happy they
Whom Heaven elected to that glorious strife!--
Here are they placed, whose kind munificence
Made heaven-born Science raise her drooping head;
And on the labours of a future race
Entailed their just reward. Thou amongst these,
Good Seaton! whose well-judged benevolence
Fost'ring fair Genius, bade the poet's hand
Bring annual offprings to his Maker's shrine,
Shalt find the gen'rous care was not in vain.
Here is that fav'rite band, whom Mercy mild
God's best lov'd attribute adorn'd: whose gate
Stood ever open to the stranger's call;
Who fed the hungry; to the thirsty lip
Reached out the friendly cup; whose care benign
From the rude blast secured the pilgrim's side;
Who heard the widow's tender tale; and shook
The galling shackle from the prisoner's feet;
Who each endearing tye, each office knew
Of meek-eyed heaven-descended Charity.
O Charity, thou nymph divinely fair !
Sweeter than those whom ancient poets bound
In Amity's indissoluble chain,
The Graces! How shall I essay to paint
Thy charms, celestial maid ; and in rude verse
Blazon those deeds thyself didst ne'er reveal ?
For thee nor rankling Envy can infect,
Nor Rage transport, nor high o'erweening Pride

« PreviousContinue »