Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

And self-reproaching conscience. He foresees
The fatal issue to his health, fame, peace, .
Fortune and dignity ; the loss of all
That can ennoble man, and make frail life,
Short as it is, supportable. Still worse,
Far worse than all the plagues with which his fins
Infect his happiest moments, he forebodes
Ages of hopeless misery. Future death,
And death still future. Not an hafty stroke,
Like that which fends him to the dufty 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 wilh exploded, must.
That scruple checks him. Riot is not loud
Nor drunk enough to drown it. In the midit.
Of laughter his compunctions are sincere,
And he abhors the jest by which he shines. .
Remorse begets reform. His master-lust
Falls first before his resolute rebuke,
And seems dethron’d and vanquish'd. Peace ensues,
But spurious and short-liv'd, the puny child.
Of self congratulating pride, begot
On fancied Innocence. Again he falls, .
And fights again ; but finds his best essay
A presage ominous, portending still

Its own dishonour by a worse relapse. Till Nature, unavailing Nature, foild 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 so condemn'd; With shallow shifts and old devices, worn 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 plenteously with means **. To gratify the hunger of his wish, " And doth hereprobate and will he damn “ The use of his own bounty ? making first. “ So frail a kind, and then enacting laws “ So strid, that less than perfe& must despair ? “ Falsehood! which whoso but suspe&s of truth, " Dishonors God, and makes a llave of man. Do they themselves, who undertake for hire “ The teacher's office, and dispense at large " Their weckly dole of edifying strains, “ Attend to their own music? have they faith: “ In what with such solemnity of tone “ And gesture they propound to our belief ?» 6. Nay-conduct hath the loudest'tongue. The “ voice.

66 Is

“ Is but an instrument on which the priest « May play what tune he pleases. : In the deed, « The unequivocal authentic deed, - We find sound argument, we read the heart.”.

Such reas'nings (if that name must needs belong ‘T'excuses in which reason has no part) Serve to compose a spirit well inclin'd To live on terms of amity and vice, And fin without disturbance. Often urg'd : (As often as libidinous discourse Exhausted, he resorts to solemn themes Of theological and grave import) They gain at last his unreserv'd assent. Till harden'd his heart's temper in the forge Of luit, and on the anvil of despair, He slights 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 death.; Haste now, philosopher, and set him free. .. Charm the deaf serpent wisely. Make him hear Of re&titude and fitness ; moral truth. . How lovely, and the moral-sense how sure, Consulted and obey'd, to guide his steps Dire@ly, to the FIRST AND ONLY FAIR.

Spare

Spare not in such a cause. 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 verse.-
Ah, tinkling cymbal and high-sounding 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 soul.
The still small voice is wanted. He inust speak,
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 favage nature, and were each
An Orpheus, and omnipotent in fong.
But transformation of apostate man
From fool to wise, from earthly to divine,
Is work for Him that made him. He alone,
And he by means in philofophic eyes
Trivial and worthy of disdain, atchieves. .
The wonder; humanizing what is brute,

In the loft kind, extra&ing from the lips .
Of asps their venom, overpow'ring strength
By weakness, and hostility 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 muse,
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 shrine of truth,
Have fall’n in her defence. A patriot's blood,
Well spent in such 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 soar, and to anticipate the fkies.
Yet few remember them. They liv'd unknown
Till persecution dragg'd them into fame,

And

« AnteriorContinuar »