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And most of all in man that ministers
And serves the altar, in my soul I loath
All affectation. 'Tis my perfect scorn;
Object of my implacable disgust.
What!—will a man play tricks, will he indulge
A silly fond conceit of his fair form,
And just proportion, fashionable mien,
And pretty face, in presence of his God?
Or will he seek to dazzle me with tropes,
As with the di' mond on his lily hand,
And play his brilliant parts before my eyes,
When I am hungry for the bread of life?
He mocks his Maker, prostitutes and shames
His noble office, and, instead of truth,
Displaying his own beauty, starves his flock!
Therefore avaunt all attitude, and stare,
And start theatric, practised at the glass !
I seek divine simplicity in him
Who handles things divine; and all besides,
Tho' learn’d with labour, and tho' much admir'd
eyes and judgments ill-inform’d,
To me is odious as the nasal twang
Heard at conventicle, where worthy men,
Misled by custom, strain celestial themes
Through the prest nostril, spectacle-bestrid.
Some, decent in demeanour while they preach,
That task perform’d, relapse into themselves;
And, having spoken wisely, at the close
Grow wanton, and give proof to ev'ry eyes
Whoe'er was edified, themselves were not!
Forth comes the pocket mirror.–First we stroke
An eye-brow; next, compose a straggling lock;
Then with an air, most gracefully perform’d,
Fall back into our seat, extend an arm,
And lay it at its ease with gentle care,
With handkerchief in hand depending low:
The better hand, more busy, gives the nose
Its bergamot, or aids th' indebted eye
With op'ra glass, to watch the moving scene,
And recognize the slow-retiring fair.-
Now this is fulsome; and offends me more
Than in a churchman slovenly neglect
And rustic coarseness would. An heav'nly mind
May be indiff'rent to her house of clay,
And slight the hovel as beneath her care;
But how a body so fantastic, trim,
And quaint, in its deportment and attire,
Can lodge an heav'nly mind-demands a doubt.
He that negociates between God and man, As God's ambassador, the grand concerns Of judgment and of mercy, should beware Of lightness in his speech. 'Tis pitiful To court a grin, when you should woo a soul; To break a jest, when pity would inspire Pathetic exhortation; and t address The skittish fancy with facetious tales, When sent with God's commission to the heart! So did not Paul. Direct me to a quip Or merry turn in all he ever wrote,
And I consent you take it for
Your only one, till sides and benches fail.
No: he was serious in a serious cause,
And understood too well the weighty terms
That he had ta’en in charge. He would not stoop
conquer those by jocular exploits, Whom truth and soberness assail'd in vain.
Oh, popular applause! what heart of man
Is proof against thy sweet seducing charms?
The wisest and the best feel urgent need
Of all their caution in thy gentlest gales;
But, swell'd into a gust—who then, alas!
With all his canvass set, and inexpert,
And therefore heedless, can withstand thy pow'r?
Praise from the rivel'd lips of toothless, bald
Decrepitude; and in the looks of lean
And craving poverty; and in the bow
Respectful of the smutch'd artificer;
Is oft too welcome, and may much disturb
The bias of the purpose. How much more,
Pour’d forth by beauty splendid and polite,
In language soft as adoration breathes?
Ah, spare your idol! think him human still.
Charms he may have, but he has frailties too!
Dote not too much, nor spoil what ye
All truth is from the sempiternal source Of light divine. But Egypt, Greece, and Rome, Drew from the stream below. More favour’d, we Drink, when we choose it, at the fountain head. To them it flow'd much mingled and defil'd With hurtful error, prejudice, and dreams Illusive of philosophy, so call’d, But falsely. Sages after sages strove In vain to filter off a crystal draught Pure from the lees, which often more enhanc'd
The thirst that slack'd it, and not seldom bred
Intoxication and delirium wild.
In vain they push'd inquiry to the birth