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it is only fashioned into baubles. His prose, however, excels his verse. The character of a Holy Man will be accepted by all Christians as a delightful portrait of sincere, and even of tolerant, piety.
A Holy Man
Is only happy, for infelicity and sin were born twins; or rather, like some prodigy with two bodies, both draw and expire the same breath. Catholic faith is the foundation on which, he erects Religion, knowing it a ruinous madness to build in the air of a private spirit, or on the sands of any new schism. His impiety is not so bold as to bring divinity down to the mistake of reason, or to deny those mysteries his apprehension reacheth not. His obedience moves still by direction of the magistrate; and should conscience inform him that the command is unjust, he judgeth it nevertheless high treason, by rebellion, to make good his tenets; as it were the basest cowardice, by dissimulation of religion, to preserve temporal respects. He knows human policy but a crooked rule of action, and, therefore, by a distrust of his own knowledge, attains it; confounding with supernatural illumination, the opinionated judgment of the wise. In prosperity he greatly admires the bounty of the Almighty Giver, and useth, not abuseth, plenty; but in adversity he remains unshaken, and, like some eminent mountain, hath his head above the clouds. For his happiness is not meteor-like, exhaled from the vapours of this world, but it shines a fixt star, which when by misfortune it appears to fall, only casts away the slimy matter. Poverty he neither fears nor covets, but cheerfully entertains, imagining it the fire which tries virtue; nor how tyrannically soever it usurp on him doth he pay to it a sigh or wrinkle; for he who suffers want without reluctancy, may be poor, not miserable. He sees the covetous prosper by usury, yet waxeth not lean with envy; and when the posterity of the impious flourish, he questions not the Divine justice; for temporal rewards distinguish not ever the merits of men. • • • Tame he weighs not, but esteems a smoke, yet such as carries with it the sweetest odour, and riseth usually from the sacrifice of our best actions. Pride he disdains, when he finds it swelling in himself, but easily forgiveth it in another. • • • He doth not malice the over-spreading growth of his equals, but pities, not despiseth, the fall of any man; esteeming yet no storm of fortune dangerous, but what is raised through our own demerit. " " •" In conversation, his carriage is neither plausible to flattery, nor reserved to rigour, but he so demeans himself as created for society. In solitude he remembers his better part is angelical, and, therefore, his mind practiseth the best discourse without assistance of inferior organs! He is never merry, but still modest; not dissolved into indecent laughter, or tickled with wit, scurrilous or injurious. He cunningly searcheth into the virtues of others, and liberally commends them; but buries the vices of the imperfect in a charitable silence, whose manners he reforms, not by invectives, but example. In prayer he is frequent, not apparent; yet as he labours not the opinion, so he fears not the scandal of being thought good. He every day travels his meditations up to Heaven, and never finds himself wearied with the journey; but when the necessities of nature return him down to earth, he esteems it a place he is condemned to. * * * * To live he knows a benefit, and the contempt of it ingratitude, and therefore loves, but not dotes on life. Death, how deformed soever an aspect it wears, he is not frighted with, since it not annihilates but unclouds the soul. He, therefore, stands every moment prepared to die; and though he freely yields up himself when age or sickness summon him, yet he with more alacrity puts off his earth when the profession of faith crowns him a martyr.
Henry Vaughan was bor n in Wales, in 1621, and in his seventeenth year was entered of Jesus College, Oxford, from whence, after a residence of two years, he was removed by his father to one of the Inns of Court in London, where he studied the law, until the commencement of the civil war, when, we are told by Anthony Wood, "he was taken home by his friends, and followed the pleasant paths of poetry and philology." He afterwards applied himself to physic, and became an eminent practitioner in his native place. Thus his life glided harmlessly and beneficially away, at a distance from the miseries under which so many of his fellow-creatures were suffering. He lived in the neighbourhood of Brecknock; and in the Olor Iscanus are frequent invitations to his friends to partake of his rustic pleasures. He died, Wood thinks, on the 29th of April, 1695, and was buried in the parish-church of Llansenfried, about two miles from Brecknock.
Vaughan's poetry has never received the praise it deserves. Mr. Campbell pronounces him one of the harshest of the inferior order of the school of conceit; but to his sacred poems, a milder criticism is due: they show considerable originality and picturesque grace. He was an imitator of Herbert, of whom he makes affectionate mention, and whom he often resembles in the negligence of his versification, and the inappropriateness of his imagery. But he occasionally swept the harp with a master's hand: what an affecting solemnity runs through these stanzas:—
They are all gone into the world of light!
And I alone sit lingering here;
And my sad thoughts doth clear.
It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast,
Like stars upon some gloomy grove,
After the sun's remove.
I see them walking in an air of glory,
My days, which are at best but dull and hoary,
O holy Hope! and high Humility,
High as the heavens above:
To kindle my cold love.
Dear beauteous Death! the jewel of the just,
Shining no where but in the dark;
He that hath found some fledged bird's nest, may know
At first sight if the bird be flown;
O, Father of eternal life, and all
Created glories under thee!
Into true liberty.
Either disperse these mists which blot and fill
My perspective as they pass,
Where I shall need no glass.
The image of the bird, in the 6th stanza, is very charming. The last verse is imitated from Herbert's poem on Grace.
Happy those early days, when I
Oh, how I long to travel back,
These lines will find an echo in many bosoms, for the same aspiration must have risen to the lips of every one. But we know that " the enlightened spirit" belongs more to the maturity of age than to the inexperienced innocence of childhood; and to the eye of the Christian pilgrim, in the most desolate path of his wanderings, "the shady City of Palm Trees" is visible, and the blackness of the remote horizon often glows with the orient light of the Bowers of Paradise.
The Wheat H.
And seldom yielded flowers,
The softer dressings of the spring,
Or summer's later store,
Which thorns, not roses, wore;
Praise soiled with tears, and tears again
This day I bring for all Thy pain.
A pretty verse on the burial of an infant should not be omitted:—
Blest infant bud whose blossom-life,
Did only look about and fall,
Of milk and tears, the food of all.
The verses on Peace may be compared with Herberts poem:—
My Soul, there is a Countrie,
Far beyond the stars,
All skilful in the wars;
Sweet Peace sits crown'd with smiles,
Commands the beauteous files.
He is thy gracious friend,
And, (O my soul awake!)
To die here for thy sake.
There grows the flower of Peace,
Thy fortress and thy ease;
For none can that secure;
Thy God, thy Life, thy Care.