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Guns, halberts, swords, and pistols, great and small,
In starry forms dispos'd upon the wall.
We wonder, as we gazing stand below,
That brass and steel should make so fine a show;
But, though we praise th’exact designer's skill,
Account them implements of mischief still.
No works shall find acceptance, in that day
When all disguises shall be rent away,
That square not truly with the scripture plan,
Nor spring from love to God, or love to man.
As he ordains things, sordid in their birth,
To be resolv'd into their parent earth;
And, though the soul shall ssek superior orbs,
Whate'er this world produces, it absorbs ;
So self sterts nothing but what tends apace
Home to the goal where it began the race.
Such as our motives is our aim must be;
If this be servile, that can ne'er be free :
If self employ us, whatso'er is wrought,
We glorify that self, not him we ought.
Such virtues had need prove their own reward,
The Judge of all men owes them no regard.
True Charity, a plant divinely nurs’d,
Fed by the love from which it rose at first,
Thrives against hope ; and, in the rudest scene,
Storms but enliven its unfading green;
Exub'rant is the shadow it supplies;
Its fruit on earth, its growth above the skies.
To look at him, who form’d us and redeem'd;
So glorious now, though once so disesteem’d;
To see a God stretch forth his human hand, T' uphold the boundless scenes of his command ; To recollect that, in a form like our's, He bruis'd beneath his feet th'infernal pow'rs, Captivity led captive, rose to claim The wreath he won so dearly in our name; That, thron'd above all height, he condescends To call the few that trust in him his friends; That, in the heav'n of heav'ns, that space he deems Too scanty for th’exertion of his beams, And shines, as if impatient to bestow Life and a kingdom upon worms below; That sight imparts a never-dying flame, Though feeble in degree, in kind the same. Like him, the soul, thus kindled from above, Spreads wide her arms of universal love ; And, still enlarg'd as she receives the grace, Includes creation in her close embrace. Behold a Christian !....and, without the fires The founder of that name alone inspires, Though all accomplishment, all knowledge meet, To make the shining prodigy complete, Whoever boasts that name....behold a cheat ! Were love, in these the world's last doting years, As frequent as the want of it appears, The churches warm’d, they would no longer hold Such frozen figures, stiff as they are cold; Relenting forms would lose their pow'r, or cease; And ev'n the dipt and sprinkled live in peace:
Each heart would quit its prison in the breast,
And flow in free communion with the rest.
The statesman, skill'd in projects dark and deep,
Might burn his useless Machiavel, and sleep;
His budget, often fill’d, yet always poor,
Might swing at ease behind his study door,
No longer prey upon our annual rents,
Or scare the nation with its big contents :
Disbanded legions freely might depart,
And slaying man would cease to be an art.
No learned disputants would take the field,
Sure not to conquer, and sure not to yield;
Both sides deceiv’d, if rightly understood,
Pelting each other for the public good.
Did charity prevail, the press would prove
A vehicle of virtue, truth, and love;
And I might spare myself the pains to show
What few can learn, and all suppose they know,
Thus have I sought to grace a serious lay
With many a wild, indeed, but flow'ry spray,
In hopes to gain, what else I must have lost,
Th' attention pleasure has so much engross'd.
But if, unhappily deceiv'd, I dream,
And prove too weak for so divine a theme,
Let Charity forgive me a mistake
That zeal, not vanity, has chanc'd to make,
And spare the poet for his subject's sake.
Nam neq; me tantum venientis sibilus austri,
Nec percussa juvant fluctu tam litora, nec quæ
Saxosas inter decurrunt flumina valles.
VIRG. Ecl. 5.
THOUGH nature weigh our talents, and dispense
To ev'ry man his modicum of sense,
And Conversation, in its better part,
May be esteem'd a gift and not an art,
Yet much depends, as in the tiller's toil,
On culture, and the sowing of the soil.
Words learn'd by rote a patriot may rehearse,
But talking is not always to converse ;
Not more distinct from harmony divine,
The constant creaking of a country sign.
As alphabets in ivory employ,
Hour after hour, the yet unletter'd boy,
Sorting and puzzling with a deal of glee
Those seeds of science call’d his A B C;
So language in the mouths of the adult,
Witness its insignificant result,
Too often proves an implement of play, A toy to sport with and pass time away. Collect at ev’ning what the day brought forth, Compress the sum into its solid worth, And, if it weigh th' importance of a fly, The scales are false, or Algebra a lie. Sacred interpreter of human thought, How few respect or use thee as they ought! But all shall give account of ev'ry wrong, Who dare dishonour or defile the tongue; Who prostitute it in the cause of vice, Or sell their glory at a market-price; Who vote for hire, or point it with lampoon.... The dear-bought placeman, and the cheap buffoon.
There is a prurience in the speech of some, Wrath stays him, or else God would strike them
His wise forbearance has their end in view;
They fill their measure, and receive their due.
The heathen law-givers of ancient days,
Names almost worthy of a Christian's praise,
Would drive them forth from the resort of men,
And shut up ev'ry satyr in his den.
Oh, come not ye near innocence and truth,
Ye worms that eat into the bud of youth!
Infectious as impure, your blighting pow'r
Taints in its rudiments the promis'd flow'r;
Its odour perish'd and its charming hue,
Thenceforth 'tis hateful, for it smells of you.