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Thus Conscience pleads her cause within the breast, At such a sight to catch the poet's flame,
* These are thy glorious works, thou source of good
This universal frame, thus wondrous fair; From cities humming with a restless crowd, Thy pow'r divine, and bounty beyond thought, Sordid as active, ignorant as loud,
Ador'd and prais'd in all that thou hast wrought.
I may resemble thee, and call thee mine."
The recompense that arts or arms can yield,
The bar, the senate, or the tented field, True wisdom will attend his feeble call,
Compar'd with this sublimest life below, And grace his action ere the curtain fall.
Ye kings and rulers, what have courts to show? Souls, that have long despis’d their heav'nly birth, Thus studied, us’d and consecrated thus, Their wishes all impregnated with Earth,
On Earth what is, seems form'd indeed for us. For threescore years employ'd with ceaseless care Not as the plaything of a froward child, In catching smoke and feeding upon air,
Fretful unless diverted and beguild, Conversant only with the ways of man,
Much less to feed and fan the fatal fires Rarely redeem the short remaining ten.
Of pride, ambition, or impure desires, Invet'rate habits choke th' unfruitful heart,
But as a scale, by which the soul ascends Their fibres penetrate its tend'rest part,
From mighty means to more important ends, And, draining its nutritious pow'rs to feed Securely, though by steps but rarely trod, Their noxious growih, starve ev'ry better seed. Mounts from inferior beings up to God,
Happy, if full of days—but happier far, And sees, by no fallacious light or dim, If, ere we yet discern life's ev’ning-star,
Earth made for man, and man himself for him. Sick of the service of a world, that feeds
Not that I mean t'approve, or would enforce Its patient drudges with dry chaff and weeds, A superstitious and monastic course : We can escape from Custom's idiot sway, Truth is not local, God alike pervades To serve the Sov'reign we were born t' obey. And fills the world of traffic and the shades, Then sweet to muse upon his skill display'd And may be feard amidst the busiest scenes, (Infinite skill) in all that he has made!
Or scorn'd where business never intervenes.
But 'tis not easy, with a mind like ours,
And in a world, where, other ills apart,
The roving eye misleads the careless heart, The shapely limb and lubricated joint,
To limit thought, by nature prone to stray Within the small dimensions of a point,
Wherever freakish fancy points the way; Muscle and nerve miraculously spun,
To bid the pleadings of Self-love be still, His mighty work, who speaks and it is done, Resign our own, and seek our Maker's will; Th’invisible in things scarce seen reveal'd, To spread the page of Scripture, and compare To whom an atom is an ample field;
Our conduct with the laws engraven there ;
To measure all that passes in the breast,
Ourselves, and our recov'ry from our fall.
A soul serene, and equally retir'd
From objects too much dreaded or desir’d,
Op'ning the map of God's extensive plan,
We find a little isle this life of man; The cloud-surmounting Alps, the fruitful vales; Eternity's unknown expanse appears Seas, on which ev'ry nation spreads her sails ; Circling around and limiting his years. The Sun, a world whence other worlds drink light, The busy race examine and explore The crescent Moon, the diadem of night;
Each creek and cavern of the dang'rous shore, Stars countless, each in his appointed place, With care collect what in their eyes excels, Fast anchor'd in the deep abyss of space- Some shining pebbles, and some weeds and shelle
Thus loden, dream that they are rich and great, In sighs he worships his supremely fair,
Wins in return an answer of disdain.
Rough elm, or smooth-grain'd ash, or glossy beech, A few forsake the throng; with lifted eyes In spiral rings ascends the trunk, and lays Ask wealth of Heav'n, and gain a real prize, Her golden tassels on the leafy sprays, Truth, wisdom, grace, and peace, like that above,
But does a mischief while she lends a grace, Sealid with his signet, whom they serve and love; Strait’ning its growth by such a strict embrace ; Scorn'd by the rest, with patient hope they wait So love, that clings around the noblest minds, A kind release from their imperfect state,
Forbids th' advancement of the soul he binds; And, unregretted, are soon snatch'd away
The suitor's air, indeed, he soon improves, From scenes of sorrow into glorious day.
And forms it to the taste of her he loves, Nor these alone prefer a life recluse,
Teaches his eyes a language, and no less Who seek retirement for its proper use;
Refines his speech, and fashions his address; The love of change, that lives in ev'ry breast, But farewell promises of happier fruits, Genius and temper, and desire of rest,
Manly designs, and learning's grave pursuits; Discordant motives in one centre meet,
Girt with a chain he cannot wish to break, And each inclines its vot'ry to retreat.
His only bliss is sorrow for her sake;
Who will may pant for glory and excel,
Thyrsis, Alexis, or whatever name
May least offend against so pure a flame, The fruits that hang on pleasure's flow'ry stem, Though sage advice of friends the most sincere Whate'er enchants them, are no snares to them. Sounds harshly in so delicate an ear, To them the deep recess of dusky groves,
And lovers, of all creatures, lame or wild, Or forest, where the deer securely roves,
Can least brook management, however mild, The fall of waters, and the song of birds,
Yet let a poet (poetry disarms And hills that echo to the distant herds,
The fiercest animals with magic charms) Are luxuries excelling all the glare
Risk an intrusion on thy pensive mood,
Pastoral images and still retreats,
Sweet birds in concert with harmonious streams,
Are all enchantments in a case like thine, The clouds that flit, or slowly float away,
Conspire against thy peace with one design, Nature in all the various shapes she wears,
Soothe thee to make thee but a surer prey, Frowning in storms, or breathing gentle airs, And feed the fire that wastes thy pow'rs away. The snowy robe her wintry state assumes,
Up—God has form'd thee with a wiser view, Hor summer heats, her fruits, and her perfumes, Not to be led in chains, but to subdue ; All, all alike transport the glowing bard,
Calls thee to cope with enemies, and first Success in rhyme his glory and reward.
Points out a conflict with thyself, the worst.
Woman, indeed, a gift he would bestow
Deserves to be belov'd, but not ador'd.
Post away swiftly to more active scenes, Thy genuine charms, and guide an artless hand, Collect the scatter'd truths that study gleans, That I may catch a fire but rarely known,
Mix with the world, but with its wiser part, Give useful light, though I should miss renown, No longer give an image all thine heart; And, poring on thy page, whose ev'ry line
Its empire is not hers, nor is it thine, Bears proof of an intelligence divine,
"Tis God's just claim, prerogative divine. My feel a heart enrich'd by what it pays,
Virtuous and faithful Heberden, whose skill That builds its glory on its Maker's praise.
Attempts no task it cannot well fulfil, Woe to the man, whose wit disclaims its use, Gives melancholy up to Nature's care, Glitt'ring in vain, or only to seduce,
And sends the patient into purer air. Who studies Nature with a wanton eye,
Look where he comes in this embower'd alcore Admires the work, but slips the lesson by; Stand close conceal'd, and see a statue mole: His hours of leisure and recess employs
Lips busy, and eyes fix'd, foot falling slow, In drawing pictures of forbidden joys,
Arms hanging idly down, hands clasp'd below, Retires to blazon his own worthless name,
Interpret to the marking eye distress, Or shoot the careless with a surer aim.
Such as its symptoms can alone express. The lover, too, shuns business and alarms, That tongue is silent now; that silent tongue Tender idolater of absent charms.
Could argue once, could jest or join the song, Saints offer nothing in their warmest pray’rs, Could give advice, could censure or commend, That he devotes not with a zeal like theirs ; Or charm the sorrows of a drooping friend. "Tis consecration of his heart, soul, time,
Renounc'd alike its office and its sport .And ev'ry thought that wanders is a crime. Its brisker and its graver strains fall short ; 93
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Both fail beneath a fever's secret sway,
Ye groves, (the statesman at his desk exclaims And like a summer-brook are past away.
Sick of a thousand disappointed aims.) This is a sight for Pity to peruse,
My patrimonial treasure and my pride, Till she resemble fainily what she views,
Beneath your shades your grey possessor hide, Till Sympathy contract a kindred pain,
Receive me languishing for that repose, Pierc'd with ihe woes ihat she laments in vain. The servant of the public never knows. This, of all maladies that man infest,
Ye saw me once (ah those regretted days, Claims most compassion and receives the least : When boyish innocence was all my praise ! Job felt it, when he groan'd beneath the rod Hour after hour delightfully allot And the barb'd arrows of a frowning God; To studies then familiar, since forgot, And such emollients as his friends could spare, And cultivate a taste for ancient song, Friends such as his for modern Jobs prepare. Catching its ardor as I mus'd along; Blest, rather curst, with hearts that never feel, Nor seldom, as propitious Heav'n might send, Kept snug in caskets of close-hammer'd steel, What once I valued, and could boast, a friend, With mouths made only to grin wide and eat, Were witnesses how cordially I press d And minds, that deem derided pain a treat, His undissembling virtue to my breast; With limbs of British oak, and nerves of wire, Receive me now, not uncorrupt as then, And wit that puppet-prompters might inspire, Nor guiltless of corrupting other men, Their sov'reign nostrum is a clumsy joke,
But vers'd in arts, that, while they seem to stay Or pangs enforc'd with God's severest stroke. A falling empire, basten its decay. But with a soul, that ever felt the sting
To the fair haven of my native home, Of sorrow', sorrow is a sacred thing:
The wreck of what I was, fatigued I come; Not to inolest, or irritate, or raise
For once I can approve the patriot's voice, A laugh at his expense, is slender praise ; And make the course he recommends my choice He, that has not usurp'd the name of man, We meet at last in one sincere desire, Does all, and deems 100 little all, he can,
His wish and mine both prompt me to retire. T'assuage the throbbings of a fester'd part, "Tis done-he steps into the welcome chaise, And stanch the bleedings of a broken heart. Lolls at bis ease behind four handsome bays, "Tis not, as heads that never ache suppose, That whirl away from business and debate Forg'ry of fancy, and a dream of woes;
The disencumber'u Atlas of the state. Man is a harp, whose chords elude the sight, Ask not the boy, who, when the brecze of morn Each yielding harmony dispos’d aright;
First shakes the glitt'ring drops frono ev'ry thorn,
Sits linking cherry-stones, or plaiting rush,
To draw th' incautious minnow from the brook, Nor soft declivities with tufied hills,
Are life's prime pleasures in his simple view, Nor view of waters turning busy mills,
His flock the chief concern he ever knew; Parks in which Art precepiress Nature weds, She shines but little in his heedless eyes, Nor gardens interspers :d with flow'ry beds, The good we never miss we rarely prize: Nor gales, that catch the scent of blooming groves, But ask the noble drudge in state affairs, And waft it to the mourner as he roves,
Escap'd from office and its constant cares, Can call up life into his faded eye,
What charms he sees in Freedom's smile express d, That passes all he sees unheeded by ;
In Freedom lost so long, now repossess'd; No wounds like those a wounded spirit feels, The tongue, whose strains were cogent as com No cure for such, till God who makes them heals.
mands, And thou, sad suff'rer under nameless ill,
Rever'd at home, and felt in foreign lands, That yields not to the touch of human skill, Shall own itself a stamm'rer in that cause, Improve the kind occasion, understand
Or plead its silence as its best applause. A Father's frown, and kiss his chast'ning hand. He knows indeed that wheiher dress'd or rude, To thee the day-spring, and the blaze of noon, Wild without art, or arifully subdued, The purple ev’ning, and resplendent Moon, Nature in ev'ry form inspires delight, The stars, that, sprinkled o'er the vault of night, But never mark'd her with so just a sight. Seem drops descending in a show'r of light, Her hedge-row shrubs, a variegated store, Shine not, or undesir'd and hated shine,
With woodbine and wild roses mantled o'er, Seen through the medium of a cloud like thine : Green balks and furrow'd lands, the stream tha Yet seek him, in his favor life is found,
spreads All bliss beside a shadow or a sound :
Its cooling vapor o'er the dewy meads,
That melt and fade into the distant sky,
Beauties he lately slighted as he pass'd, Borrowing a beauty from the works of grace, Seem all created since he travel'd last. Shall be despis'd and overlook'd no more,
Master of all th' enjoyments he design d, Shall fill thee with delights unfelt before,
No rough annoyance rankling in his mind, Impart to things inanimate a voice,
What early philosophic hours he keeps, And bid her mountains and her hills rejoice; How regular his meals, how sound he sleeps! The sound shall run along the winding vales, No sounder he, that on the mainmast-head, And thou enjoy an Eden ere it fails.
While morning kindles with a windy red,
Begins a long look-out for distant land,
And ignorance of better things makes man,
Th' unpitied victim of ill-judg'd expense,
With one consent to rush into the sea.But nowhere with a current so serene,
Ocean exhibits, fathomless and broad, Or half so clear, as in the rural scene.
Much of the pow'r and majesty of God. Yet how fallacious is all earthly bliss,
He swathes about the swelling of the deep, What obvious truths the wisest heads may miss ! That shines and rests, as infants smile and sleep; Some pleasures live a month, and some a year, Vast as it is, it answers as it flows But short the date of all we gather here; The breathing of the lightest air that blows; No happiness is felt except the true,
Curling and whit’ning over all the waste,
Abrupt and horrid as the tempest roars,
Till he, that rides the whirlwind, checks the rein, The spot he lov'd has lost the pow'r to please ;
Then all the world of waters sleeps again.To cross his ambling pony day by day,
Nereids or Dryads, as the fashion leads, Seems at the best but dreaming life away; Now in the foods, now panting in the meads, The prospect, such as might enchant despair, Vot'ries of Pleasure still, where'er she dwells, He views it not, or sees no beauty there;
Near barren rocks, in palaces, or cells, With aching heart, and discontented looks, O grant a poet leave to recommend Returns at noon to billiards or to books,
(A poet fond of Nature, and your friend) But feels, while grasping at his faded joys, Her slighted works to your admiring view; A secret thirst of his renounc'd employs.
Her works must needs excel, who fashion'd you. He chides the tardiness of ev'ry post,
Would ye, when rambling in your morning ride, Pants to be told of battles won or lost,
With some unmeaning coxcomb at your side, Blames bis own indolence, observes, though late, Condemn the pratiler for his idle pains, 'Tis criminal to leave a sinking state,
To waste unheard the music of his strains, Flies to the levée, and, receiv'd with grace, And, deaf to all th' impertinence of tongue, Kneels, kisses hands, and shines again in place. That, while it courts, affronts and does you wrong? Suburban villas, highway-side retreats,
Mark well the finish'd plan without a fault, That dread the encroachment of our growing streets, The seas globose and huge, th' o'er-arching vault, Tight boxes, neatly sash'd, and in a blaze
Earth's millions daily fed, a world employ'd With all a July sun's collected rays,
In gath'ring plenty yet to be enjoy'd, Delight the citizen, who, gasping there,
Till gratitude grew vocal in the praise
Not to redeem his time, but his estate,
Sighs o'er the beauties of the charming scene.
Nature indeed looks prettily in rhyme; From ev'ry window, and the fields are green; Streams tinkle sweetly in poetic chime: Ducks paddle in the pond before the door, The warblings of the blackbird, clear and strong, And what could a remoter scene show more? Are musical enough in Thomson's song; A sense of elegance we rarely find
And Cobham's groves, and Windsor's green retreats, The portion of a mean or vulgar mind,
When Pope describes them, have a thousand sweets
He likes the country, but in truth must own, Nor yet the swarms, that occupy the brain,
Where dreams of dress, intrigue, and pleasure Poor Jack-no matter who—for when I blame,
reign; I pity, and must therefore sink the name,
Nor such as useless conversation breeds, Liv'd in his saddle, lov'd the chase, the course, Or lust engenders, and indulgence feeds. And always, ere he mounted, kiss'd his horse. Whence, and what are we? to what end ordain'd! The estate, his sires had own'd in ancient years, What means the drama by the world sustain'd? Was quickly distancu, match'd against a peer's. Business or vain amusement, care or mirth, Jack vanishid, was regretted and forgot;
Divide the frail inhabitants of Earth. 'Tis wild good-nature's never-failing lot.
Is duty a mere sport, or an employ? At length, when all bąd long suppos’d him dead, Life an intrusted talent, or a toy? By cold submersion, razor, rope, or lead,
Is there, as reason, conscience, Seripture, say, My lord, alighting at his usual place,
Cause to provide for a great future day, The Crown, took notice of an ostler's face, When, Earth's assign'd duration at an end, Jack knew his friend, but hop'd in that disguise Man shall be summon'd, and the dead attend ? He might escape the most observing eyes, The trumpet-will it sound ? the curtain rise ? And whistling, as if unconcern'd and gay,
And show th' august tribunal of the skies, Curried his nag, and look'd another way. Where no prevarication shall avail, Convinc'd at last, upon a nearer view,
Where eloquence and artifice shall fail,
Yet let me stand excus’d, if I esteem
Thus some retire to nourish hopeless woe; And, after poising her advent'rous wings,
Far more intelligent and better taught
The strenuous use of profitable thought, Some sway'd by fashion, some by deep disgust; Than ye, when happiest and enlighten'd most, Some self-impoy'rish'd, and because they must; And highest in renown, can justly boast. But few, that court Retirement, are aware
A mind unnerv'd, or indispos'd to bear of half the toils they must encounter there. The weight of subjects worthiest of her care, Lucrative offices are seldom lost
Whatever hopes a change of scene inspires, For want of pow?rs proportion'd to the post : Must change her nature, or in vain retires. Give ev'n a dunce th' employment he desires, An idler is a watch, that wants both hands; And he soon finds the talents it requires ;
As useless if it goes, as when it stands. A business with an income at its heels
Books therefore, not the scandal of the shelves, Furnishes always oil for its own wheels.
In which lewd sensualists print out themselves; But in his arduous enterprise to close
Nor those, in which the stage gives vice a blow, His active years with indolent repose,
With what success let modern manners show; He finds the labors of that state exceed
Nor his, who, for the bane of thousands born, His utmost faculties, severe indeed.
Built God a church, and laugh'd his word to scorn, 'Tis easy to resign a toilsome place,
Skilful alike to seem devout and just, But not to manage leisure with a grace ;
And stab religion with a sly side-thrust; Absence of occupation is not rest,
Nor those of learn'd philologists, who chase
A panting syllable through time and space,
But such as learning without false prelence,
The friend of truth, th' associate of sound sense, There feels a pleasure perfect in its kind,
And such as in the zeal of good design, Ranges at liberty, and spuffs the wind :
Strong judgment lab'ring in the Scripture mine,
Worthy to live, and of eternal use :
Amusement and true knowledge hand in hand.
And, while she polishes, perverts the taste; But reverses (for human minds will act)
Habits of close attention, thinking heads, Specious in show, impossible in fact,
Become more rare as dissipation spreads, 'Those flimsy webs, that break as soon as wrought, Till authors hear at length one gen'ral cry, Attain not to the dignity of thought :
Tickle and entertain us, or we die.