Page images
PDF
EPUB

Concealed within an unsuspected part,
The vainest corner of our own vain heart :
For ever aiming at the world's esteem,
Our self-importance ruins its own scheme;
In other eyes our talents rarely shown,
Become at length so splendid in our own,
We dare not risk them into public view,
Lest they miscarry of what seems their due.
True modesty is a discerning grace,
And only blushes in the proper place;
But counterfeit is blind, and skulks through fear,
Where 'tis a shame to be ashamed t'appear;
Humility the parent of the first,
The last by vanity produced and nurs’d.
The circle formed, we sit in silent state,
Like figures drawn upon a dial-plate;
Yes ma'am, and no ma'am, uttered softly, show
Every five minutes how the minutes go;
Each individual suffering a constraint
Poetry may, but colours cannot, paint:
As if in close committee on the sky
Reports it hot or cold, or wet or dry;
And finds a changing clime an happy source
Of wise reflection, and well-timed discourse.
We next inquire, but softly and by stealth,
Like conservators of the public health,
Of epidemic throats, if such there are,
And coughs, and rheums, and phthisic, and catarrh.
That theme exhausted, a wide chasm ensues,
Filled up at last with interesting news,
Who danced with whom, and who are like to wed,
And who is hanged, and who is brought to bed :
But fear to call a more important cause,
As if 'twere treason against English laws.
The visit paid, with ecstasy we come,
As from a seven years transportation, home,
And there resume an unembarrassed brow,
Recovering what we lost we know not how,
The faculties, that seemed reduced to nought,
Expression and the privilege of thought.

The reeking, roaring hero of the chase,
I give him over as a desperate case.

Physicians write in hopes to work a cure,
Never, if honest ones, when death is sure;
And though the fox be follows may be tamed,
A mere fox follower never is reclaimed.
Some farrier should prescribe bis proper course,
Whose only fit companion is his horse,
Or if, deserving of a better doom,
The noble beast judge otherwise, his groom.
Yet e'en the rogue that serves him, though he stand
To take his honour's orders, cap in hand,
Prefers his fellow-grooms with much good sense,
Their skill a truth, his master's a pretence.
If neither horse or groom affect the squire,
Where can at last his jockeyship retire ?
Oh to the club, the scene of savage joys,
The school of coarse good fellowship and noise;
There in the sweet society of those,
Whose friendship from his boyish years he chose,
Let him improve his talent if he can,
Till none but beasts acknowledge him a man.

Man's heart bad been impenetrably sealed,
Like their’s that cleave the flood or graze the field,
Had not his Maker's all-bestowing hand
Given him a soul, and hade him understand;
The reasoning power vouchsafed of course inferred
The power to clothe that reason with his word;
For all is perfect that God works on earth,
And he that gives conception, aids the birth.
If this be plain, 'tis plainly understood,
What uses of his boon the giver would.
The mind, dispatched upon her busy toil,
Should range where Providence has blest the soil ;
Visiting every flower with labour meet,
And gathering all her treasures sweet by sweet,
She should embue the tongue with what she sips,
And shed the balmy blessing on the lips,
That good diffused may more abundant grow,
And speech may praise the power that bids it Row,
Will the sweet warbler of the live-long night,
That fills the listening lover with delight,
Forget his harmony, with rapture heard,
To learn the twittering of a meaner bird,

Or make the parrot's mimicry his choice,
That odious libel on an human voice?
No---nature unsophisticate by man,
Starts not aside from her Creator's plan;
The melody, that was at first designed
To cheer the rude forefathers of mankind,
Is note for note delivered in our ears,
In the last scene of her six thousand years :
Yet fashion, leader of a chattering train,
Whom man for his own hurt permits to reign,
Who shifts and changes all things but his shape,
And would degrade her votary to an ape,
The fruitful parent of abuse and wrong,
Holds an usurped dominion o'er his tongue;
There sits and prompts him with his own disgrace,
Prescribes the theme, the tone, and the grimace,
And when accomplished in her wayward school,
Calls gentleman whom she has made a fool.
'Tis an unalterable fixed decree
That none could frame or ratify but she,
That heaven and hell, and righteousness and sin,
Snares in his path and foes that lurk within,
God and his attributes (a field of day
Where 'tis an angel's happiness to stray),
Fruits of his love and wonders of his might,
Be never named in ears esteemed polite.
That he who dares, when she forbids, be grave,
Shall stand proscribed, a madman or a knave,
A close designer not to be believed,
Or, if excused that charge, at least deceived.
Oh folly worthy of the nurse's lap,
Give it the breast, or stop its mouth with pap!
Is it incredible, or can it seem
A dream to any, except those that dream,
That man should love his Maker, and that fire,
Warming his heart, should at his lips transpire ?
Know then, and modestly let fall your eyes,
And veil your daring crest that braves the skies;
That air of insolence affronts your God,
You need his pardon, and provoke his rod :
Now, in a posture that becomes you more
Than that heroic strut assumed before,

Know, your arrears with every hour accrue
For mercy shown, while wrath is justly due.
The time is short, and there are souls on earth,
Though future pain may serve for present mirth,
Acquainted with the woes that fear or shame,
By fashion taught, forbade them once to name
And, having felt the pangs you deem a jest,
Have proved them truths too big to be expressed.
Go seek on revelation's hallowed ground,
Sure to succeed, the remedy they found;
Touched by that pow'r that you have dared to mock,
That make seas stable, and dissolves the rock,
Your beart shall yield a life-renewing stream,
That fools, as you have done, shall call a dream.

It happened on a solemn even-tide,
Soon after He that was our Surety died,
Two bosom friends, each pensively inclined,
The scene of all those sorrows left behind,
Sought their own village, busied as they went
In musings worthy of the great event :
They spake of him they loved, of him whose life
Though blameless, had incurred perpetual strife,
Whose deeds had left, in spite of hostile arts,
A deep memorial graven on their hearts.
The recollection, like a vein of ore,
The farther traced, enriched them still the more;
They thought him, and they justly thought him, one
Sent to do more than he appeared t' have done :
To exalt a people, and to place them high
Above all else, and wondered he should die.
Ere yet they brought their journey to an end,
A stranger joined them, courteous as a friend,
And asked them with a kind engaging air
What their affliction was, and begged a share.
Informed, he gathered up the broken thread,
And, truth and wisdom gracing all he said,
Explained, illustrated, and searched so well
The tender theme, on which they chose to dwell,
That rcaching home, the night, they said, is near,
We must not now be parted, sojourn here---
The new acquaintance soon became a guest,
And made so welcome at their simple feast;

He blessed the bread, but vanished at the word,
And left them both exclaiming, 'Twas the Lord !
Did not our hearts feel all he deigned to say,
Did they not burn within us by the way?

Now their's was converse, such as it behoves
Man to maintain, and such as God approves :
Their views indeed were indistinct and dim,
But yet successful, being aimed at him.
Christ and his character their only scope,
Their object, and their subject, and their hope,
They felt wbat it became them much to feel,
And, wanting him to loose the sacred seal,
Found him as prompt, as their desire was true,
To spread the new-born glories in their view.
Wel)---what are ages and the lapse of time
Matched against truths as lasting as sublime ?
Can length of years on God himself exact,
Or make that fiction which was once a fact?
No---marble and recording brass decay,
And like the graver's memory pass away;
The works of man inherit, as is just,
Their author's frailty, and return to dust;
But truth divine for ever stands secure,
Its head is guarded as its base is sure;
Fixed in the rolling flood of endless years,
The pillar of th' eternal plan appears,
The raving storm and dashing wave defies,
Built by that architect, who built the skies.
Hearts may be found, that harbour at this hour
That love of Christ, and all its quickening power ;
And lips unstained by folly or by strife,
Whose wisdom, drawn from the deep well of life,
Tastes of its healthful origin, and Aows
A Jordan for th' ablution of our woes.
Oh days of heaven, and nights of equal praise,
Serene and peaceful as those heavenly days,
When souls drawn upwards, in communion sweet,
Enjoy the stillness of some close retreat,
Discourse, as if released and safe at home,
Of dangers past and wonders yet to come,
And spread the sacred treasures of the breast
Upon the lap of covenanted rest.

« PreviousContinue »