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If love reward him, or if vengeance strike,
His recompense is both unjust alike.
Divine authority within his breast
Brings every thought, word, action to the test;
Warns him or prompts, approves him or restrains,
As reason, or as passion, takes the reins.
Heaven from above, and conscience from within,
Cries in his startled ear,—"Abstain from sin !"
The world around solicits his desire,
And kindles in his soul a treach'rous fire :
While, all his purposes and steps to guard,
Peace follows virtue as its sure reward ;
And pleasure brings as surely in her train
Remorse, and sorrow, and vindictive pain.
Man, thus endued with an elective voice,
Must be supplied with objects of his choice,
Where'er he turns, enjoyment and delight,
Or present, or in prospect, meet his sight;
Those open on the spot their honey'd store ;
These call him loudly to pursuit of more.
His unexhausted mine the sordid vice
Avarice shews, and virtue is the price.
Here various motives his ambition raise,-
Power, pomp, and splendour, and the thirst of praise ;
There beauty woos him with expanded arms;
E'en Bacchanalian madness has its charms.
Nor these alone, whose pleasures, less refined,
Might well alarm the most unguarded mind,
Seek to supplant his inexperienced youth,
Or lead him devious from the path of truth ;
Hourly allurements on his passions press,
Safe in themselves, but dangerous in th' excess.
Hark! how it floats upon the dewy air;
Oh, what a dying, dying close was there !
'Tis harmony from yon sequester'd bower,
Sweet harmony, that soothes the midnight hour!
Long ere the charioteer of day had run
His morning course, th' enchantment was begun;
And he shall gild yon mountain's height again,
Ere yet the pleasing toil becomes a pain.
Is this the rugged path, the steep ascent,
That virtue points to ? Can a life thus spent
Lead to the bliss she promises the wise,
Detach the soul from earth, and speed her to the skies?
Ye devotees to your adored employ,
Enthusiasts, drunk with an unreal joy,
Love makes the music of the blest above,
Heaven's harmony is universal love ;
And earthly sounds, though sweet and well combined,
And lenient as soft opiates to the mind,
Leave vice and folly unsubdued behind. .
Gray dawn appears; the sportsman and his train
Speckle the bosom of the distant plain;
'Tis he, the Nimrod of the neighb’ring lairs ;
Save that his scent is less acute than theirs,
For persevering chase, and headlong leaps,
True beagle as the stanchest hound he keeps.
Charged with the folly of his life's mad scene,
He takes offence, and wonders what you' mean;
The joy the danger and the toil o'erpays-
'Tis exercise, and health, and length of days.
Again impetuous to the field he flies ;
Leaps every fence but one, there falls and dies ;
Like a slain deer, the tumbrel brings him home,
Unmiss'd but by his dogs, and by his groom.?
Ye clergy, while your orbit is your place,
Lights of the world, and stars of human race ;
But if, eccentric, ye forsake your sphere,
Prodigies ominous, and view'd with fear;
The comet's baneful influence is a dream;
Your's real, and pernicious in th' extreme.
What then !---are appetites and lusts laid down
With the samé ease that man puts on his gown?
Will av'rice and concupiscence give place,
Charm'd by the sounds - Your Rev'rence, or Your
No. But his own engagement binds him fast;
Or, if it does not, brands him to the last,
What atheists call him-a designing knave,
A mere church juggler, hypocrite, and slave.
Oh, laugh or mourn with me the rueful jest,
A cassock'd huntsman, and a fiddling priest !
He from Italian songsters takes his cue:
Set Paul to music, he shall quote him too.
He takes the field, the master of the pack
Cries, “ Well done, saint !” and claps him on the back.
Is this the path of sanctity ? Is this
To stand a waymark in the road to bliss ?
Himself a wand'rer from the narrow way,
His silly sheep, what wonder if they stray ?
Go, cast your orders at your bishop's feet,
Send your dishonour'd gown to Monmouth Street!
The sacred function in your hands is made --
Sad sacrilege! no function, but a trade!
Occiduus is a pastor of renown,
When he has pray'd and preach'd the Sabbath down,
With wire and catgut he concludes the day,
Quavering and semiquavering care away.
The full concerto swells upon your ear ;
All elbows shake. Look in, and you would swear
The Babylonian tyrant with a nod
Had summon’d them to serve his golden god.
So well that thought the employment seems to suit,
Psaltry and sackbut, dulcimer and Aute.
Oh fie ! 'tis evangelical and pure :
Observe each face, how sober and demure !
Ecstasy sets her stamp on every mien;
Chins fallen, and not an eye-ball to be seen.
Still I insist, though music heretofore
Has charm'd me much, not even Occiduus more,
Love, joy, and peace, make harmony more meet
For Sabbath ev'nings, and perhaps as sweet.
Will not the sickliest sheep of every flock
Resort to this example as a rock;
There stand, and justify the foul abuse
Of Sabbath hours with plausible excuse ?
If apostolic gravity be free
To play the fool on Sundays, why not we?
If he the tinkling harpsichord regards
As inoffensive, what offence in cards ?
Strike up the fiddles, let us all be gay,
Laymen have leave to dance, if parsons play.
Oh Italy! thy Sabbaths will be soon
Our Sabbaths, closed with mumm’ry and buffoon.
Preaching and pranks will share the motley scene,
Our's parcell'd out, as thine have ever been,
God's worship and the mountebank between.
What says the prophet ? Let that day be blest
With holiness and consecrated rest.
Pastime and business both it should exclude,
And bar the door the moment they intrude:
Nobly distinguish'd above all the six
By deeds, in which the world must never mix.
Hear him again. He calls it a delight,
A day of luxury observed aright,
When the glad soul is made Heaven's welcome guest,
Sits banqueting, and God provides the feast.
But triflers are engaged and cannot come ;
Their answer to the call is — “ Not at home.”
O the dear pleasures of the velvet plain,
The painted tablets, dealt and dealt again!
Cards, with what rapture, and the polish'd die,
The yawning chasm of indolence supply!
Then to the dance, and make the sober moon
Witness of joys that shun the sight of noon.
Blame, cynic, if you can, quadrille or ball,
The snug close party, or the splendid hall,
Where night, down-stooping from her ebon throne,
Views constellations brighter than her own.
'Tis innocent, and harmless, and refined,
The balm of care, elysium of the mind.
Innocent! Oh if venerable Time,
Slain at the foot of pleasure, be no crime,
Then, with his silver beard and magic wand,
Let Comus rise archbishop of the land;
Let him your rubric and your feasts prescribe,
Grand metropolitan of all the tribe.
Of manners rough, and coarse athletic cast,
The rank debauch suits Clodio's filthy taste.
Rufillus, exquisitely form'd by rule,
Not of the moral but the dancing school,
Wonders at Clodio's follies, in a tone
As tragical as others at his own.
He cannot drink five bottles, bilk the score,
Then kill a constable, and drink five more ;
But he can draw a pattern, make a tart,
And has the ladies' etiquette by heart.
Go, fool; and arm in arm with Clodio, plead
Your cause before a bar you little dread ;
But know, the law that bids the drunkard die,
Is far too just to pass the trifler by.
Both baby-featured, and of infant size,
View'd from a distance, and with heedless eyes,
Folly and innocence are so alike,
The diff'rence, though essential, fails to strike.
Yet folly ever has a vacant stare,
A simpering count'nance, and a trifling air ;
But innocence, sedate, serene, erect,
Delights us, by engaging our respect. .
Man, Nature's guest by invitation sweet,
Receives from her both appetite and treat;
But, if he play the glutton and exceed,
His benefactress blushes at the deed :
For Nature, nice, as liberal to dispense,
Made nothing but a brute the slave of sense.
Daniel ate pulse by choice-example rare !
Heaven bless'd the youth, and made him fresh and fair.
Gorgonius sits, abdominous and wan,
Like a fat squab upon a Chinese fan :
He snuffs far off th' anticipated joy ;
Turtle and ven’son all his thoughts employ;
Prepares for meals as jockeys take a sweat,
Oh, nauseous ! —an emetic for a whet!
Will Providence o'erlook the wasted good ?
Temperance were no virtue if He could.
That pleasures, therefore, or what such we call,
Are hurtful, is a truth confess'd by all. .
And some, that seem to threaten virtue less,
Still hurtful in th' abuse, or by th' excess.
Is man, then, only for his torment placed
The centre of delights he may not taste ?