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Man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes.' This is generally understood to have been meant ironically, as if he had said, Indulge all the pleasures to which your corrupt affections or natural inclinations lead, for he adds: “but know thou,” be assured of this, " that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.” (see Orton's Exposition. Vol. v. p. 141.)
The next Song, Sir, by Dr. Dalton, a Doctor in Divinity, begins (p. 63.)
Preach not me your musty rules,
Ye drones that mould in idle cell;
The senses always reason well.
Here, again, Sir, the Poet and the Divine are at variance with scripture, there we are told, that “ The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked : Who can know it?" (Jeremiah xvii. 9.) And if, by the senses, we are to understand not reason, but the animal appetites, which I suppose is the meaning, then again the Poet is at variance with the Apostle, who says “ Walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the
other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal. v. 17.) The song proceeds :
If short my span, I less can spare
To pass a single pleasure by.
Which, if not literally false, so long as pleasure does not interfere with duty, yet, as it stands here, is evidently part of a system reprobated. by some of the foregoing observations.
To this song you have annexed a Note: 66 This and the following short piece are taken from the writer's alteration of Comus, by which he has certainly given more force to the voluptuous doctrine than Milton would have approved, yet has displayed a fine taste and uncommon talents for compositions of this kind.” After what you have said before upon the subject of taste, (see p. 16.) and upon Milton's 66 lax morality” and “ sophistical arguments," (p. 181, 184.) I think, Sir, you have here written your own condemnation of the song in question, and of the following one, by the same author, and from the same piece, beginning “ By the gaily-circling glass”. It (p. 64.) ends with
habits of one (however cheerful) who gives to his daily duties the 'attention requisite, and who feels himself accountable to his Creator and Judge for the use which he makes of his time, as well as of all other talents intrusted to his management ?
The next Song, “ Busy, curious, thirsty Fly!” (p. 64.) is amongst the Drinking Songs in the first volume of my Collection, with a third verse, which I found attached to it in some collection, and a fourth the first added. It deserves the praise you have bestowed upon it.
The next, by Fawkes, in imitation of Anacreon,
56 When I drain the rosy bowl,” (p. 65.) contains the usual ingredients of an Anacreontic, the Nine-Bacchus-Venus-&c. It casts a ridicule on “ sober counsels", it recommends the disgraceful jollity which leads to intoxication as the means of sweeping away our sorrows and getting rid of that time as a dull companion, which is one of our most valuable treasures; and it represents the quaffing of the sparkling wine, with its accompaniments, as what sets the true value upon “ life's rural scene, sweet, sequester'd, and serene." How ill applied are these epithets to any scene filled with the disgusting restlessness and noise of Bacchanalians, or with
the uncheering dulness of men, who, by present or habitual sottishness, have stupified their senses! And what a contrast is here to the true and rational enjoyment of rural scenery! I cannot forbear in this place inserting a passage from Cowper's TABLE TALK on the corruption of poetry :
In Eden, ere yet innocence of heart
That theme on earth exhausted, though above
'Twas thus till luxury seduc'd the inind
Lines 584, &c.
To this I will add, from The Minor Min. STREL, By William Holloway, an
ON NEW PRINCIPLES.
“I said of laughter it is mad, and of mirth what doeth it."
Ecclks. ii. 2.
Fill the nectar-sparkling bowl,
Come, my boon companions ! now
* However unpleasant the truth may be, we venture to as. sert, that the most enchanting of our Anacreontics have a tendency only to cherish Infidelity, and promote sentiments inimical to the principles of Christianity.