Page images
PDF

fiyMN. To ADVERSITY.

Daughter of Jove, relentless power,
Thou tamer of the human breast,
Whose iron scourge and torturing hour,
The bad affright, afflict the best
Bound in thy adamantine chain,
The proud are taught to taste of pain,
And purple tyrants vainly groan,
With pangs unfelt before, unpitied and alone.

When first thy sire to send on earth, Virtue, his darling child, designed, To thee he gave the heavenly birth, And bade to form her infant mind. Stern rugged nurse; thy rigid lore With patience many a year she bore; What sorrow was, thou bad'st her know, And from her own she learnt to melt at others' woe.

Scared at thy frown terrific, fly Self-pleasing folly's idle brood, Wild laughter, noise, and thoughtless joy, And leave us leisure to be good. Light they disperse, and with them go, The summer friend, the flattering foe; By vain prosperity received, To her they vow thoir truth, and are again believed. Wisdom in sable garb arrayed, Immersed in rapturous thought profound, And melancholy, silent maid, With leaden eye that loves the ground, Still on thy solemn steps attend : Warm charity, the general friend, With justice, to herself severe, And pity, dropping soft the sadly pleasing tear.

[graphic]

Oh, gently on thy suppliant's head, Dread goddess, lay thy chastening hand 1 Not in thy gorgon terrors clad, Not circled with the vengeful band, As by the impious thou art seen, With thundering voice, and threatening mien, With screaming horror's funeral cry, Despair, and fell disease, and ghastly poverty.

Thy form benign, O goddess wear, Thy milder influence impart, Thy philosophic train be there, To soften, not to wound the heart. The generous spark extinct revive, Teach me to love, and to forgive, Exact my own defects to scan, What others are, to feel, and know myself a man. JOHNSON. .

FROM “The VANITY of HUMAN Wishes.

ON what foundation stands the warrior's pride, How just his hopes, let Swedish Charles decide; A frame of adamant, a soul of fire, No dangers fright him, and no labours tire ; O'er love, o'er fear, extends his wide domain, Unconquered lord of pleasure and of pain, No joys to him pacific sceptres yield, War sounds the trump, he rushes to the field ; Behold surrounding kings their powers combine, And one capitulate, and one resign; Peace courts his hand, but spreads her charms in vain ; “Think nothing gained,” he cries, “till nought remain, On Moscow's walls till Gothic standards fly, And all be mine beneath the polar sky.” The march begins in military state, And nations on his eye suspended wait ;

Stern Famine guards the solitary coast,
And winter barricades the realms of Frost;
He comes; nor want nor cold his course delay,
Hide, blushing Glory, hide Pultowa's day:
The vanquished hero leaves his broken bands,
And shows his miseries in distant lands ;
Condemned a needy supplicant to wait,
While ladies interpose, and slaves debate.
But did not chance at length her error mend ?
Did no subverted empire mark his end ?
Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound 7
Or hostile millions press him to the ground?
—His fall was destined to a barren strand,
A petty fortress, and a dubious hand;
He left the name, at which the world grew pale,
To point a moral, or adorn a tale.

[ocr errors]

Where then shall Hope and Fear their objects find 1 Must dull suspense corrupt the stagnant mind? Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate, Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate 7 Must no dis ike alarm, no wishes rise, No cries invoke the mercies of the skies 2 Inquirer, cease; petitions yet remain Which Heaven may hear, nor deem religion vain. Still raise for good the supplicating voice, But leave to Heaven the measure and the choice. Safe in his power whose eyes discern afar, The secret ambush of a specious prayer;

Ilopmere his aid, in his decisions rest,
Secure, whate'er he gives, he gives the best.
Yet, when the sense of sacred presence fires,
And strong devotion to the skies aspires,
Pour forth thy fervours for a healthful mind,
Obedient passions, and a will resigned;
For love, which scarce collective man can fill ;
For patience, sovereign o'er transmuted ill;
For faith, that, panting for a happier seat,
Counts death kind Nature's signal of retreat:
These goods for man the laws of Heaven ordain,
These goods he grants, who grants the power to gain
With these celestial Wisdom calms the mind,
And makes the happiness she does not find.

« PreviousContinue »