Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

Infect his happiest moments, he forebodes
Ages of hopeless mifery. Future death,
And death ftill future. Not an hafty stroke,
Like that which fends him to the dusty grave,
But unrepealable enduring death.
Scripture is still a trumpet to his fears :
What none can prove a forg'ry, may be true;
What none but bad men with exploded, must.
That scruple checks him. Riot is not loud-
Nor drunk enough to drown it. In the midst.
Of laughter his compunctions are fincere;
And he abhors the jest by which he shines.
Remorfe begets reform. His master-luft
Falls first before his resolute rebuke,
And seems dethron'd and vanquilh'd. Peace

ensues,
But fpurious and short-livd, the puny child:
Of self-congratulating pride, begot
On fancied Innocence. Again he falls,
And fights again; but finds his beft effay
A presage ominous, portending still
Its own dishonour by a worse relapse.
Till Nature, unavailing Nature, foil'd:
So oft, and wearied in the vain attempt;
Scoffs at her own performance. Reason now
Takes part with appetite, and pleads the cause,
Perversely, which of late the fo condemn'd;
With shallow shifts and old devices, worn

And

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

And tatter'd in the service of debauch,
Cov'ring his shame from his offended fight.

• Hath God indeed giv'n appetites to man,
• And stor'd the earth so pleniteously with means
- To gratify the hunger of his wish,
• And doth he reprobate and will be damn
« The use of his own bounty ? making first

So frail a kind, and then enacting laws
• So strict, that less than perfect must despair ?
· Falsehood! which whoso but suspects of truth,
• Dishonours God, and makes a flave of man,
• Do they themselves, who undertake for hire
• The teacher's office, and dispense at large
« Their weekly dole of edifying strains,
• Attend to their own music ? have they faith
• In what with such folemnity of tone
• And gesture they propound to our belief?
Nay-conduct hath the loudest tongue. The

I voice
Is but an instrument on which the priest

May play what tune he pleases. In the deed,
· The unequivocal authentic deed,
• We find found argument, we read the heart.”.

Such reas'nings (if that name must needs be

long

T'excuses in which reason has no part).
Serve to compose a spirit weil inclin'd
To live on terms of amity and vice,
And fin without disturbance. Often urg'd

(As

(As often as libidinous discourse
Exhausted, he resorts to folemn themes
Of theological and grave import)
They gain at last h isunresery'd affent.
Till harden'd his heart's temper in the forge
Of lust, and on the anvil of despair,
He flights the strokes of conscience. Nothing

moves,
Or nothing much, his constancy in ill,
Vain tamp'ring has but foster'd his disease,
'Tis desp'rate, and he sleeps the sleep of deathi
Hafte now, philofopher, and set him free.
Charm the deaf serpent wisely. Make him hear
Of rectitude and fitness, moral truth
How lovely, and the moral-sense how sure,
Confulted and obey'd, to guide his steps
Directly, to the FIRST AND ONLY FAIR.
Spare not in such a causę. Spend all the pow'rs
Of rant and rhapsody in virtue's praise :
Be most sublimely good, verbosely grand,
And with poetic trappings grace thy prose,
Till it out-mantle all the pride of verfe.-
Ah, tinkling cymbal and high-founding brass,
Smitten in vain ! such music cannot charm
Th' eclipse that intercepts truth's heav'nly beam,
And chills and darkens a wide-wand'ring foul.
The still small voice is wanted. He must speak,

Whose

1

Whose word leaps forth at once to its effect,
Who calls for things that are not, and they come.

Grace makes the slave a freeman. 'Tis a change
That turns to ridicule the turgid speech
And stately tone of moralists, who boast,
As if like him, of fabulous renown,
They had indeed ability to smooth
The shag of savage nature, and were each
An Orpheus, and omnipotent in song.
But transformation of apoftate man
From fool to wise, from earthly to divine,
Is work for Him that made him. He alone,
And he by means in philosophic eyes
Trivial and worthy of disdain, ate hieves
The wonder; humanizing what is brute
In the loft kind, extracting from the lips
Of asps their venom, overpow'ring strength
By weakness, and hoftility by love.

Patriots have toil'd, and in their country's cause Bled nobly, and their deeds, as they deserve, Receive proud recompence. We give in charge Their names to the sweet lyre. Th' historic mufe, Proud of the treasure, marches with it down To latest times; and sculpture, in her turn, Gives bond in stone and ever-during brass To guard them, and t' immortalize her trust. But fairer wreaths are due, though never paid, To those who, pofted at the farine of truth,

Have

Have fall’n in her defence. A patriot's blood,
Well spent in fuch a strife, may earn indeed
And for a time insure to his lov'd land
The sweets of liberty and equal laws ;
But martyrs struggle for a brighter prize,
And win it with more pain. Their blood is shed
In confirmation of the noblest claim,
Our claim to feed upon immortal truth,
To walk with God, to be divinely free,
To foar, and to anticipate the skies.
Yet few remember them. They liv'd unknown
Till persecution dragg'd them into fame,
And chas'd them up to heaven. Their afhes flew

-No marble tells us whither. With their names
No bard embalss and fanctifies his song ;
And History, so warm on meaner themes,
Is cold on this. She execrates indeed
The tyranny that doom'd them to the fire,
But gives the glorious fuff'rers little praise. *

He is the freeman whom the truth makes free, And all are slaves beside. There's not a chain That hellish foes, confed'rate for his harm, Can wind around him, but he cafts it off With as much ease as Samson his green wyths." He looks abroad into the varied field Of Nature, and though poor perhaps, compar'd

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »