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And most of all in man that ministers
But swell'd into a gust—who then, alas! And serves the altar, in my soul I loihe
With all his canvass set, and inexpert, All affectation. 'Tis my perfect scorn!
And therefore heedless, can withstand thy pow'r? Object of my implacable disgust.
Praise from the rivel'd lips of toothless bald
And craving Poverty, and in the bow
Respectful of the smutch'd artificer, And pretty face, in presence of his God?
Is oft too welcome, and may much disturb Or will he seek to dazzle me with tropes,
The bias of the purpose. How much more, As with the diamond on his lily hand,
Pour'd forth by beauty splendid and polite, And play his brilliant parts before my eyes, In language soft as Adoration breathes! When I am hungry for the bread of life?
Ah, spare your idol! think him human still. He mocks his Maker, prostitutes and shames Charms he may have, but he has frailties too! His noble office, and, instead of truth,
Dote not too much, nor spoil what ye admire. Displaying his own beauty, starves his flock.
All truth is from the sempiternial source Therefore avaunt all attitude, and stare,
of light divine. But Egypt, Greece, and Rome, And start theatric, practis:d at the glass !
Drew from the stream below. More favor'd we I seek divine simplicity in him
Drink, when we choose it, at the fountain-head. Who hanilles things divine; and all besides, To them it flow'd much mingled and defild Though learn'd with labor, and though much admir'd With hurtful error, prejudice, and dreams By curious eyes and judgments ill-inform'd, Illusive of philosophy, so callid, To me is odious as the nasal twang
But falsely. Sages afier sages strove Heard at conventicle, where worthy men,
In vain to filter off a crystal draught Misled by custom, strain celestial themes
Pure from the lees, which ofien more enhanc'd Through the press'd nostril, spectacle-bestrid. The thirst than slak'd it, and not seldom bred Some decent in demeanor while they preach, Intoxication and delirium wild. That task perform’d, relapse into themselves; In vain they push'd inquiry to the birth And having spoken wisely, at the close
And spring-time of the world; ask'd, Whence is man? Grow wanton, and give proof to ev'ry eye, Why formd at all ? and wherefore as he is? Whoe'er was edified, themselves were not!
Where must he find his Maker? with what rites Forth comes the pocket-mirror.--First we stroke Adore him ? Will he hear, accept, and bless ? An eyebrow; next compose a straggling lock ; Or does he sit regardless of his works? Then with an air most gracefully perform'd Has man within him an immortal seed ? Fall back into our seat, extend an arm,
Or does the tomb take all ? If he survive And lay it at its ease with gentle care,
His ashes, where? and in what weal or woe? With handkerchief in hand depending low: Knots worthy of solution, which alone The better hand more busy gives the nose A Deity could solve. Their answers, vague Its bergamot, or aids th' indebted eye
And all at random, fabulous and dark, With opera-glass, to watch the moving scene, Left them as dark themselves. Their rules of life, And recognize the slow-retiring fair.
Defective and unsanction'd, prov'd too weak
Blind Nature to a God not yet reveal'd.
Explains all mysteries, exrept her own,
And so illuminates the path of life, But how a body so fantastic, trim,
That fools discover it, and stray no more. And quaint, in its deportment and attire,
Now tell me, dignified and sapient sir, Can lodge a heav'nly mind-demands a doubt. My man of morals, nurtur'd in the shades
He, that negotiates between God and man, Of Academus—is this false or true?
Is Christ the abler teacher, or the schools ?
To Athens or to Rome, for wisdom short
Grace, knowledge, comfort-an unfathom'd store ? Pathetic exhortation ; and t address
How oft, when Paul has serv'd us with a text, The skittish fancy with facetious tales,
Has Epictetus, Plato, Tully, preach'd ! When sent with God's commission to the heart! Men that, if now alive, would sit content So did not Paul. Direct me to a quip
And humble learners of a Savior's worth, Or merry turn in all he ever wrote,
Preach it who might. Such was their love of truth And I consent you take it for your text,
Their thirst of knowledge, and their candor too! Your only one, till sides and benches fail.
And thus it is--The pastor, either vain No: he was serious in a serious cause,
By nature, or by flatt'ry made so, taught And understood too well the weighty terms To gaze at his own splendor, and l'exalt That he had ta'en in charge. He would not stoop Absurdly, not his office, but himself; To conquer those by jocular exploits,
Or unenlighten'd, and too proud to learn ; Whom truth and soberness assail'd in vain. Or vicious, and not therefore apt to teach ;
O Popular Applause! what heart of man Perverting often by the stress of lewd Is proof against thy sweet seducing charms? And loose example, whom he should instruct; The wisest and the best feel urgent need
Exposes, and holds up to broad disgrace, Of all their caution in thy gentlest gales;
The noblest function, and discredits much
The brightest truths, that man has ever seen You think, perhaps, so delicate his dress,
His daily fare as delicate. Alas!
He picks clean teeth, and, busy as he seems
The rout is Folly's circle, which she draws
With magic wand. So potent is the spell,
Unless by Heaven's peculiar grace, escape.
There we grow early grey, but never wise ; The pulpit to the level of the stage;
There form connexions, but acquire no friend; Drops from the lips a disregarded thing.
Solicit pleasure, hopeless of success ;
There they are happiest, who dissemble best
Their weariness; and they the most polite, Soon follows, and, the curb of conscience snapp'd, Who squander time and treasure with a smile, The laity run wild.—But do they now?
Though at their own destruction. She that asks Note their extravagance, and be convinc'd. Her dear five hundred friends, contemns them all, As nations, ignorant of God, contrive
And hates their coming. They (what can they less !) A wooden one; so we, no longer taught
Make just reprisals; and with cringe and shrug, By monitors, that mother-church supplies, And bow obsequious, hide their hate of her. Now make our own. Posterity will ask
All catch the frenzy, downward from her Grace, (If e'er posterity see verse of mine)
Whose flambeaux flash against the morning skies, Some fifty or a hundred lustrums hence,
And gild our chamber-ceiling as they pass, What was a monitor in George's days?
To her, who, frugal only that her thrift
May feed excesses she can ill afford,
And, at the watchman's lantern borrowing light, A monitor is woodplank shaven thin.
Finds a cold bed her only comfort left. We wear it at our backs. There, closely brac'd Wives beggar husbands, husbands starve their wives, And neatly fitted, it compresses hard
On Fortune's velvet altar off'ring up The prominent and most unsightly bones, Their last poor pittance–Fortune, most severe And binds the shoulders flat. We prove its use Of goddesses yet known, and costlier far Sov'reign and most effectual to secure
Than all that held their routs in Juno's Heav'n.A form, not now gymnastic as of yore,
So fare we in this prison-house the World;
And 'tis a fearful spectacle to see
Then shake them in despair, and dance again! And by caprice as multiplied as his,
Now basket up the family of plagues,
As the necessities their authors feel;
Then cast them, closely bundled, ev'ry brat And, making prize of all that he condemns, At the right door. Profusion is the sire. With our expenditure defrays his own.
Profusion, unrestrain'd with all that's base Variety 's the very spice of life,
In character, has litter'd all the land, That gives it all its flavor. We have run And bred, within the mem'ry of no few, Through ev'ry change, that Fancy, at the loom A priesthood, such as Baal's was of old, Exhausted, has had genius to supply ;
A people, such as never was till now. And, studious of mutation still, discard
It is a hungry vice: it eats up all A real elegance, a little us’d,
That gives society its beauty, strength, For monstrous novelty and strange disguise. Convenience, and security, and use : We sacrifice to dress, till household joys
Makes men mere vermin, worthy to be trapp'd And comforts cease. Dress drains our cellar dry, And gibbeted, as fast as catchpole claws And keeps our larder lean; puts out our fires ; Can seize the slipp’ry prey: unties the knot And introduces hunger, frost, and woe,
Of union, and converts the sacred band Where peace and hospitality might reign.
That holds mankind together, to a scourge. What man that lives, and that knows how to live, Profusion, deluging a state with lusts Would fail t'exhibit at the public shows
Of grossest nature and of worst effects, A form as spendid as the proudest there,
Prepares it for its ruin : hardens, blinds, Though appetite raise outeries at the cost? And warps, the consciences of public men, A man o' the town dines late, but soon enough, Till they can laugh at Virtue , mock the fools With reasonable forecast and dispatch,
That trust them; and in th' end disclose a face T' insure a side-box station at half-price.
That would have shock'd Credulity herself,
Unmask'd, vouchsafing this their sole excuse- Add to such erudition, thus acquir’d,
Where science and where virtue are professid ?
That bids defiance to th' united pow'rs When learning, virtue, piety, and truth,
Of fashion, dissipation, taverns, stews. Were precious, and inculcated with care,
Now blame we most the nurslings or the nurse? There dwelt a sage callid Discipline. His head, The children crook'd, and twisted, and deformid, Not yet by Time completely silver'd o'er,
Through want of care ; or her, whose winking eye Bespoke him past the bounds of freakish youth, And slumb'ring oscitancy mars the brood ? But strong for service still, and unimpair'd. The nurse, ro doubt. Regardless of her charge, His eye was meek and gentle, and a smile
She needs herself correction; needs to learn, Play'd on his lips; and in his speech was heard That it is dang'rous sporting with the world, Paternal sweetness, dignity, and love.
With things so sacred as a nation's trust, The occupation dearest to his heart
The nurture of her youth, her dearest pledge. Was to encourage goodness. He would stroke All are not such. I had a brother once The head of modest and ingenuous worth, Peace to the mem'ry of a man of worth, That blush'd at its own praise; and press the youth A man of letters, and of manners too! Close to his side, that pleas'd him. Learning grew Of manners sweet as Virtue always wears, Beneath his care a thriving vig'rous plant ; When gay Good-nature dresses her in smiles. The mind was well-inforın'd, the passions held He grac'd a college,* in which order yet Subordinate, and diligence was choice.
Was sacred ; and was honor'd, lov'd, and wept, If e'er it chanc'd, as sometimes chance it must, By more than one, themselves conspicuous there. That one among so many overleap'd
Some minds are temper'd happily, and mix'd The limits of control, his gentle eye
With such ingredients of good sense, and taste Grew stern, and darted a severe rebuke:
of what is excellent in man, they thirst His frown was full of terror, and his voice With such a zeal to be what they approve, Shook the delinquent with such fits of awe, That no restraints can circumscribe them more As left him not, till penitence had won
Than they themselves by choice, for wisdom's sake. Lost favor back again, and clos'd the breach. Nor can example hurt them: what they see But discipline, a faithful servant long,
Of vice in others but enhancing more Declin'd at length into the vale of years :
The charms of virtue in their just esteem. A palsy struck his arm; his sparkling eye If such escape contagion, and emerge Was quench'd in rheums of age; his voice, unstrung, Pure from so foul a pool to shine abroad, Grew tremulous, and mov'd derision more
And give the world their talents and themselves, Than rev'rence in perverse rebellious youth. Small thanks to those, whose negligence or sloth So colleges and halls neglected much
Expos'd their inexperience to the snare, Their good old friend ; and Discipline at length, And left them to an undirected choice. O'erlook'd and unemploy'd, fell sick and died. See then the quiver broken and decay'd, Then Study languish’d, Emulation slept,
In which are kept our arrows! Rusting there And Virtue fled. The schools became a scene In wild disorder, and unfit for use, Of solemn farce, where Ignorance in stilts, What wonder, if, discharg'd into the world, His cap well lind with logic not his own,
They shame their shooters with a random fight, With parrot tongue perform'd the scholar's part, Their points obtuse, and feathers drunk with wine ! Proceeding soon a graduated dunce.
Well may the church wage unsuccessful war, Then Compromise had place, and Scrutiny With such artill’ry arm’d. Vice parries wide Became stone blind ; Precedence went in truck, Th' undreaded volley with a sword of straw, And he was competent whose purse was so. And stands an impudent and fearless mark. A dissolution of all bonds ensued;
Have we not track'd the felon home, and found The curbs invented for the mulish mouth
His birth-place and his dam ? The country mourns, Of headstrong youth were broken; bars and bolts Mourns because ev'ry plague, that can infest Grew rusty by disuse ; and massy gates
Society, and that saps and worms the base Forgot their office, op'ning with a touch ;
Of th' edifice, that policy has rais'd, Till gowns at length are found mere masquerade; Swarms in all quarters : meets the eye, the ear, The tassel'd cap and the spruce band a jest, And suffocates the breath at ev'ry turn. A mock'ry of the world! What need of these Profusion breeds them; and the cause itself For gamesters, jockeys, brothellers impure, Of that calamitous mischief has been found: Spendthrifts, and booted sportsmen, oft'ner seen Found too where most offensive, in the skirts With belted waist and pointers at their heels, Of the rob'd pedagogue! Else let th' arraign'd Than in the bounds of duty ? What was learn'd, Stand up unconcious, and refute the charge. If aught was learn'd in childhood, is forgot; So when the Jewish leader stretch'd his arm, And such expense, as pinches parents blue,
And wav'd his rod divine, a race obscene, And mortifies the lib'ral hand of love,
Spawn'd in the muddy beds of Nile, came forth, Is squander'd in pursuit of idle sports
Polluting Egypt: gardens, fields, and plains, And vicious pleasures; buys the boy a name, Were cover'd with the pest; the streets were filld; That sits a stigma on his father's house,
The croaking nuisance lurk'd in every nook ; And cleaves through life inseparably close Nor palaces, nor even chambers, 'scap'd; To him that wears it. What can after-games And the land stank—so num'rous was the fry. Of riper joys, and commerce with the world, The lewd vain world, that must receive him soon,
* Bene't College, Cambridge.
Thou art the nurse of Virtue, in thine arms
She smiles, appearing, as in truth she is,
Heaven-born, and destin'd to the skies again.
Thou art not known where Pleasure is ador'd,
That reeling goddess with the zoneless waist
And wand'ring eyes, still leaning on the arm
mestic happiness. Some account of myself. For thou art meek and constant, hating change, The vanity of many of their pursuits, who are And finding in the calm of truth-tried love reputed wise. Justification of my censures. Joys, that her stormy raptures never yield. Divine illumination necessary to the most expert Forsaking thee, what shipwreck have we made philosopher. The question, What is truth? an- of honor, dignity, and fair renown! swered by other questions. Domestic happiness Till prostitution elbows us aside addressed again. Few lovers of the country. In all our crowded streets; and senates seem My tame hare.
Occupations of a retired gen. Conven'd for purposes of empire less, tleman in his garden. Pruning. Framing. Than to release th' adult’ress from her bond. Green-house. Sowing of flower-seeds. The Th' adult'ress! what a theme for angry verse! country preferable to the town even in the win- What provocation to th' indignant heart,
Reasons why it is deserted at that sea- That feels for injur'd love! but I disdain
Ruinous effects of gaming, and of expen- The nauseous task, to paint her as she is, sive improvement. Book concludes with an Cruel, abandon'd, glorying in her shame! apostrophe to the metropolis.
No :-let her pass, and charioted along
In guilty splendor, shake the public ways; As one, who long in thickets and in brakes The frequency, of crimes has wash'd them white, Entangled winds now this way and now that And verse of mine shall never brand the wretch, His devious course uncertain, seeking home; Whom matrons now of character unsmirch'd Or, having long in miry ways been foild
And chaste themselves, are not asham'd to own. And sore discomfited, from slough to slough Virtue and vice had bound'ries in old time, Plunging and half-despairing of escape ;
Not to be pass'd : and she, that had renounc'd
By all that priz’d it; not for prudery's sake,
But dignity's, resentful of the wrong.
Desirous to return, and not receiv'd :
But was a wholesome rigor in the main, To tell its slumbers, and to paint its dreams, And taught th' unblemish'd to preserve with care Have rambled wide. In country, city, seat That purity, whose loss was loss of all. Of academic fame (howe'er deserv'd),
Men too were nice in honor in those days, Long held, and scarcely disengag'd at last. And judgid offenders well. Then he that sharp'd, But now with pleasant pace a cleanlier road And pocketed a prize by fraud obtain'd, I mean to tread. I feel myself at large,
Was mark'd and shunn'd as odious. He that sold Courageous, and refresh'd for future toil,
His country, or was slack when she requir'd If toil await me, or if dangers new.
His ev'ry nerve in action and at stretch, Since pulpits fail, and sounding-boards reflect Paid with the blood, that he had basely spard, Most part an empty ineffectual sound,
The price of his default. But now-yes, now What chance that I, to fame so little known, We are become so candid and so fair, Nor conversant with men or manners much, So lib'ral in construction, and so rich Should speak to purpose, or with better hope In Christian charity, (good-natur'd age !) Chck the satiric thong? "Twere wiser far
That they are safe, sinners of either sex, For me, enamourd of sequester'd scenes,
Transgress what laws they may. Well-dressid, wellAnd charm'd with rural beauty, to repose,
Hypocrisy, detest her as we may,
(And no man's hatred ever wrong'd her yel) Feeds a blue flame, and makes a cheerful hearth; May claim this merit still—that she admits There, undisturb'd by folly, and appriz'd
The worth of what she mimics with such care, How great the danger of disturbing her,
And thus gives virtue indirect applause ; To muse in silence, or at least confine
But she has burnt her mask not needed here, Remarks that gall so many, to the few
Where vire has such allowance, that her shifts My partners in retreat. Disgust conceal'd
And specious semblances have lost their use. Is ofi-times proof of wisdom, when the fault
i was a stricken deer, that left the herd Is obstinate, and cure beyond our reach.
Long since. With many an arrow deep infix'd Domestic Happiness, thou only bliss
My panting side was charg'd, when I withdrew, Of Paradise, that hast surviv'd the fall!
To seek a tranquil death in distant shades. Though few now taste thee unimpair'd and pure, There was I found by one, who had himself Or lasting long enjoy thee! too infirm,
Been hurt by th' archers. In his side he bore, Or 100 incantious, to preserve thy sweets
And in his hands and feet, the cruel scars.
He drew them forth, and heal'd, and bade me live.
Since then, with few associates, in remote
Defend me therefore, common sense, say I,
From reveries so airy, from the toil
“ 'T were well,” says one sage erudite, profound, With other views of men and manners now Terribly arch'd, and aquiline his nose, Than once, and others of a life to come.
And overbuilt with most impending brows, I see that all are wand'rers, gone astray
• 'T' were well, could you permit the World to live Each in his own delusion; they are lost
As the World pleases: what's the World to you ?" In chase of fancied happiness, still woo'd
Much. I was born of woman, and drew milk And never won. Dream after dream ensues; As sweet as charity from human breasts. And still they dream, that they shall still succeed, I think, articulate, I laugh and weep, And still are disappointed. Rings the world And exercise all functions of a man. With the vain stir. I sum up half mankind, How then should I and any man that lives And add two-thirds of the remaining half,
Be strangers to each other ? Pierce my vein, And find the total of their hopes and fears Take of the crimson stream meand'ring there, Dreams, empty dreams. The million fit as gay,
And catechize it well: apply thy glass, As if created only like the fly,
Search it, and prove now if it be not blood That spreads his motley wings in th' eye of noon, Congenial with thine own; and, if it be, To sport their season, and be seen no more. What edge of subtlety canst thou suppose The rest are sober dreamers, grave and wise, Keen enough, wise and skilful as thou art, And pregnant with discov'ries new and rare. To cut the link of brotherhood, by which Some write a narrative of wars, and feats
One common Maker bound me to the kind ? Of heroes little known; and call the rant
True, I am no proficient, I confess, A history: describe the man, of whom
In arts like yours. I cannot call the swift His own coëvals took but little note,
And perilous lightnings from the angry clouds, And paint his person, character, and views,
And bid them hide themselves in earth beneath ; As they had known him from his mother's womb. I cannot analyze the air, nor catch They disentangle from the puzzled skein,
The parallax of yonder lum'nous point, In which obscurity has wrapp'd them up,
That seems half-quench'd in the immense abyss : The threads of politic and shrewd design,
Such pow'rs I boast not-neither can I rest
A silent witness of the headlong rage,
God never meant, that man should scale the Extract a register, by which we learn,
Though wondrous: he commands us in his word Some, more acute, and more industrious still, To seek him rather, where his mercy shines. Contrive creation; travel nature up
The mind, indeed, enlighten'd from above, To the sharp peak of her sublimest height,
Views him in all; ascribes to the grand cause And tell us whence the stars; why some are fix'd, The grand effect; acknowledges with joy And planetary some; what gave them first His manner, and with rapture tastes his style. Rotation, from what fountain flow'd their light. But never yet did philosophic tube, Great contest follows, and much learned dust That brings the planets home into the eye Involves the combatants; each claiming truth, Of Observation, and discovers, else And truth disclaiming both. And thus they spend Not visible, his family of worlds, The little wick of life's poor shallow lamp Discover him, that rules them; such a veil In playing tricks with nature, giving laws Hangs over mortal eyes, blind from the birth, To distant worlds, and trifling in their own.
And dark in things divine. Full often too
Our wayward intellect, the more we learn
From instrumental causes proud to draw
But if his word once teach us, shoot a ray They should go out in fume, and be forgot! Through all the heart's dark chambers, and reveal Ah! what is life thus spent ? and what are they Truths undiscern'd but by that holy light, But frantic, who thus spend it? all for smoke- Then all is plain. Philosophy, baptiz'd Eternity for bubbles proves at last
In the pure fountain of eternal love, A senseless bargain. When I see such games Has eyes indeed ; and viewing all she sees Play'd by the creatures of a Pow'r who swears As meant to indicate a God to man, That he will judge the Earth, and call the fool Gives him his praise, and forfeits not her own. To a sharp reck'ning, that has liv'd in vain; Learning has borne such fruit in other days And when I weigh this seeming wisdom well, On all her branches: piety has found And prove it in the infallible result
Friends in the friends of science, and true pray’r So hollow and so false-I feel my heart
Has flow'd from lips wet with Castalian dews. Dissolve in pity, and account the learn'd,
Such was thy wisdom, Newton, childlike sage! If this be learning, most of all deceiv'd.. Sagacious reader of the works of God, Great crimes alarm the conscience, but it sleeps, And in his word sagacious. Such 100 thine, While thoughtful man is plausibly amus'd. Milton, whose genius had angelic wings,