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States thrive or wither as moons wax and wane,
Even as his will and his decrees ordain;
While honour, virtue, piety, bear sway,
They flourish; and as these decline, decay;
In just resentment of his injured laws,
He pours contempt on them and on their cause;
Strikes the rough thread of error right athwart
The web of every scheme they have at heart;
Bids rottenness invade and bring to dust
The pillars of support, in which they trust,
And do his errand of disgrace and shame
On the chief strength and glory of the frame.
None ever yet impeded what he wrought,
None bars him out from his most secret thought:
Darkness itself before his eye is light,
And hell's close mischief naked in his sight.
Stand now and judge thyself-Hast thou in- And never of a sabler hue than now,)
That infidels may prove their title good
By an oath dipped in sacramental blood?
A blot that will be still a blot, in spite
Of all that grave apologists may write ;-
And though a bishop toil to cleanse the stain,
He wipes and scours the silver cup in vain.
And hast thou sworn on every slight pretence,
Till perjuries are common as bad pence,
While thousands, careless of the damning sin,
Kiss the book's outside, who ne'er looked within
His anger, who can waste thee with a word,
Who poises and proportions sea and land,
Weighing them in the hollow of his hand,
And in whose awful sight all nations seem
As grasshoppers, as dust, a drop, a dream?
Hast thou (a sacrilege his soul abhors)
Claimed all the glory of thy prosperous wars?
Proud of thy fleets and armies, stolen the gem
Of his just praise, to lavish it on them?
Hast thou not learned, what thou art often told,
A truth still sacred, and believed of old,
That no success attends on spears and swords
Unblest, and that the battle is the Lord's?
That courage is his creature; and dismay
The post, that at his bidding speeds away,
Ghastly in feature, and his stammering tongue
With doleful humour and sad presage hung,
To quell the valour of the stoutest heart,
And teach the combatant a woman's part?
That he bids thousands fly when none pursue,
Saves as he will by many or by few,
And claims for ever, as his royal right,.
The event and sure decision of the fight?
Hast thou, though suckled at fair Freedom's
Exported slavery to the conquered East?
Pulled down the tyrants India served with dread,
And raised thyself, a greater, in their stead?
Gone thither armed and hungry, returned full,
Fed from the richest veins of the Mogul,
A despot big with power obtained by wealth,
And that obtained by rapine and by stealth?
With Asiatic vices stored thy mind,
But left their virtues and thine own behind?
Hast thou, when Heaven has clothed thee with
And, long provoked, repaid thee to thy face,
For thou hast known eclipses, and endured
Dimness and anguish, all thy beams obscured,
When sin had shed dishonour on thy brow;
Hast thou, with heart perverse and conscience seared,
Despising all rebuke, still persevered,
And having chosen evil, scorned the voice
That cried, Repent?-and gloried in thy choice?
Thy fastings, when calamity at last
Suggests the expedient of a yearly fast,
What mean they? Canst thou dream there is a power
In lighter diet at a later hour,
To charm to sleep the threatening of the skies,
And hide past folly from all-seeing eyes?
The fast, that wins deliverance, and suspends
The stroke, that a vindictive God intends,
Is to renounce hypocrisy; to draw
Thy life upon the pattern of the law;
To war with pleasure, idolized before;
To vanquish lust, and wear its yoke no more.
All fasting else, whate'er be the pretence,
Is wooing mercy by renewed offence.
Hast thou within the sin, that in old time
Brought fire from Heaven, the sex-abusing crime,
Whose horrid perpetration stamps disgrace,
Baboons are free from, upon human race?
Think on the fruitful and well-watered spot,
That fed the flocks and herds of wealthy Lot,
Where Paradise seemed still vouchsafed on earth,
Burning and scorched into perpetual dearth,
Or, in his words who damned the base desire,
Suffering the vengeance of eternal fire:
Then nature injured, scandalized, defiled,
Unveiled her blushing cheek, looked on, and
Beheld with joy the lovely scene defaced,
And, having trucked thy soul, brought home the And praised the wrath, that laid her beauties waste.
Far be the thought from any verse of mine,
And farther still the formed and fixed design,
To thrust the charge of deeds that I detest,
Against an innocent, unconscious breast,
The man that dares traduce, because he can
With safety to himself, is not a man:
An individual is a sacred mark,
Not to be pierced in play, or in the dark;
But public censure speaks a public foe,
Unless a zeal for virtue guide the blow.
The priestly brotherhood, devout, sincere,
From mean self-interest and ambition clear,
Their hope in heaven, servility their scorn,
Prompt to persuade, expostulate, and warn,
Their wisdom pure, and given them from above,
Their usefulness ensured by zeal and love,
As meek as the man Moses, and withal
As bold as in Agrippa's presence Paul,
Should fly the world's contaminating touch,
Holy and unpolluted:--are thine such?
Except a few with Eli's spirit blest,
Hophni and Phineas may describe the rest.
Where shall a teacher look, in days like these, For ears and hearts, that he can hope to please? Look to the poor-the simple and the plain Will hear perhaps thy salutary strain: Humility is gentle, apt to learn, Speak but the word, will listen and return. Alas, not so! the poorest of the flock Are proud, and set their faces as a rock; Denied that earthly opulence they choose, God's better gift they scoff at and refuse. The rich, the produce of a nobler stem, Are more intelligent at least-try them. Oh vain inquiry! they without remorse Are altogether gone a devious course; Where beck'ning Pleasure leads them, wildly stray; Have burst the bands, and cast the yoke away.
Now borne upon the wings of truth sublime,
Review thy dim original and prime.
This island, spot of unreclaimed rude earth,
The cradle that received thee at thy birth,
Was rocked by many a rough Norwegian blast,
And Danish howlings scared thee as they passed;
For thou wast born amid the din of arms,
And sucked a breast that panted with alarms.
While yet thou wast a groveling puling chit,
Thy bones not fashioned, and thy joints not knit,
The Roman taught thy stubborn knee to bow,
Though twice a Cæsar could not bend thee now.
His victory was that of orient light,
When the sun's shafts disperse the gloom of night.
Thy language at this distant moment shows
How much the country to the conqueror owes;
Expressive, energetic, and refined,
It sparkles with the gems he left behind;
He brought thy land a blessing when he came,
He found thee savage, and he left thee tame;
Taught thee to clothe thy pinked and painted hide.
And grace thy figure with a soldier's pride.
He sowed the seeds of order where he went,
Improved thee far beyond his own intent,
And, while he ruled thee by the sword alone,
Made thee at last a warrior like his own.
Religion, if in heavenly truths attired,
Needs only to be seen to be admired;
But thine, as dark as witcheries of the night,
Was formed to harden hearts and shock the sight;
Thy Druids struck the well-hung harps they bore
With fingers deeply died in human gore;
And while the victim slowly bled to death,
Upon the rolling chords rung out his dying breath.
Who brought the lamp, that with awakening
Dispelled thy gloom, and broke away thy dreams,
Tradition, now decrepit and worn out,
Babbler of ancient fables, leaves a doubt:
But still light reached thee; and those gods of thine,
Woden and Thor, each tottering in his shrine,
Fell broken and defaced at his own door,
As Dagon in Philistia long before.
But Rome, with sorceries and magic wand,
Soon raised a cloud that darkened every land;
And thine was smothered in the stench and fog
Of Tiber's marshes and the papal bog.
Then priests, with bulls and briefs, and shaven
And griping fists, and unrelenting frowns,
Legates and delegates with powers from hell,
Though heavenly in pretension, fleeced thee well;
And to this hour, to keep it fresh in mind,
Some twigs of that old scourge are left behind.*
The soldiery, the Pope's well-managed pack,
Were trained beneath his lash, and knew the smack;
And, when he laid them on the scent of blood,
Would hunt a Saracen through fire and flood."
Lavish of life to win an empty tomb, *•
That proved a mint of wealth, a mine to Rome,
They left their bones beneath unfriendly skies,
His worthless absolution all the prize.
Thou wast the veriest slave in days of yore,
That ever dragged a chain or tugged an oar;
Thy monarchs, arbitrary, fierce, unjust,
Themselves the slaves of bigotry or lust,
Disdained thy counsels, only in distress
Found thee a goodly sponge for power to press.
Thy chiefs, the lords of many a petty fee,
Provoked and harassed, in return plagued thee;
Called thee away from peaceable employ,
Domestic happiness and rural joy,
To waste thy life in arms, or lay it down
In causeless feuds and bickerings of their own.
Thy parliaments adored on bended knees
The sovereignty they were convened to please;
Whate'er was asked, too timid to resist,
Complied with, and were graciously dismissed;
And if some Spartan soul a doubt expressed,
And, blushing at the tameness of the rest,
Dared to suppose the subject had a choice,
He was a traitor by the general voice.
O slave! with powers thou didst not dare exert,
Verse can not stoop so low as thy desert;
It shakes the sides of splenetic Disdain,
Thou self-entitled ruler of the main,
To trace thee to the date when yon fair sea,
That clips thy shores, had no such charms for thee;
When other nations flew from coast to coast,
And thou hadst neither fleet nor flag to boast,
Kneel now, and lay thy forehead in the dust;
Blush, if thou canst; not petrified, thou must:
Act but an honest and a faithful part;
Now think, if Pleasure have a thought to spare:
If God himself be not beneath her care;
If business, constant as the wheels of time,
Can pause an hour te read a serious rhyme;
If the new mail thy merchants now receive,
Or expectation of the next, give leave;
Oh think! if chargeable with deep arrears
For such indulgence gilding all thy years,
How much, though long neglected, shining yet,
The beams of heavenly truth have swelled the
Compare what then thou wast with what thou art; When persecuting zeal made royal sport
And God's disposing providence confessed,
Obduracy itself must yield the rest-
Then thou art bound to serve him; and to prove,
Hour after hour, thy gratitude and love.
Has he not bid thee, and thy favoured land,
For ages safe beneath his sheltering hand,
Given thee his blessing on the clearest proof,
Bid nations leagued against thee stand aloof,
And charged Hostility and Hate to roar
Where else they would, but not upon thy shore?
His power secured thee, when presumptuous Spain
Baptized her fleet invincible in vain;
Her gloomy monarch, doubtful and resigned
To every pang that racks an anxious mind,
Asked of the waves, that broke upon his coast,
What tidings? and the surge replied-All lost!
And when the Stuart leaning on the Scot,
Then too much feared, and now too much forgot,
Pierced to the very centre of the realm,
And hoped to seize his abdicated helm,
'Twas but to prove how quickly with a frown
He that had raised thee could have pluck'd thee down.
Peculiar is the grace by thee possessed,
Thy foes implacable, thy land at rest;
Thy thunders travel over earth and seas,
And all at home is pleasure, wealth, and ease.
'Tis thus, extending his tempestuous arm,
Thy Maker fills the nations with alarm,
While his own Heaven surveys the troubled scene,
And feels no change, unshaken and serene.
Freedom, in other lands scarce known to shine,
Pours out a flood of splendour upon thine;
Thou hast as bright an interest in her rays
As ever Roman had in Rome's best days.
True freedom is where no restraint is known,
That Scripture, justice, and good sense disown,
Where only vice and injury are tied,
And all from shore to shore is free beside.
Such freedom is-and Windsor's hoary towers
Stood trembling at the boldness of thy powers,
That won a nymph on that immortal plain
Like her the fabled Phoebus wooed in vain;
He found the laurel only-happier you
Th' unfading laurel, and the virgin too!*
Alluding to the grant of Magna Charta, which was extorted from King John by the barons at Runnymede near Windsor.
With tortured innocence in Mary's court,
And Bonner, blithe as shepherd at a wake,
Enjoyed the show, and danced about the stake
The sacred Book, its value understood,
Received the scal of martyrdom in blood.
Those holy men, so full of truth and grace,
Seem to reflection of a different race;
Meek, modest, venerable, wise, sincere,
In such a cause they could not dare to fear;
They could not purchase earth with such a prize,
Or spare a life too short to reach the skies.
From them to thee conveyed along the tide,
Their streaming hearts poured freely when they
Those truths, which neither use nor years impair,
Invite thee, woo thee, to the bliss they share.
What dotage will not vanity maintain?
What web too weak to catch a modern brain?
The moles and bats in full assembly find,
On special search, the keen eyed eagle blind.
And did they dream, and art thou wiser now?
Prove it-if better, I submit and bow.
Wisdom and goodness are twin-born, one heart
Must hold both sisters, never seen apart.
So then-as darkness overspread the deep,
Ere Nature rose from her eternal sleep,
And this delightful earth, and that fair sky,
Leaped out of nothing, called by the Most High;
By such a change thy darkness is made light,
Thy chaos order, and thy weakness might;
And He, whose power mere nullity obeys,
Who found thee nothing, formed thee for his praise.
To praise him is to serve him, and fulfil,
Doing and suffering, his unquestioned will;
'Tis to believe what men inspired of old,
Faithful, and faithfully informed, unfold;
Candid and just, with no false aim in view,
To take for truth, what can not be but true;
To learn in God's own school the Christian part,
And bind the task assigned thee to thine heart:
Happy the man there seeking and there found,
Happy the nation where such men abound.
How shall a verse impress thee? by what name
Shall I adjure thee not to court thy shame?
By theirs, whose bright example unimpeached,
Directs thee to that eminence they reached,
Heroes and worthies of days past, thy sires?
Or his, who touched their hearts with hallowed fires
Their names, alas! in vain reproach an age,
Whom all the vanities they scorned engage!
And His, that seraphs tremble at, is hung
Disgracefully on every trifler's tongue,
Or serves the champion in forensic war,
To flourish and parade with at the bar.
Pleasure herself perhaps suggests a plea,
If interest move thee, to persuade e'en thee;"
By every charm that smiles upon her face,
By joys possessed, and joys still held in chase,
If dear society be worth a thought,
And if the feast of freedom cloy thee not,
Reflect that these, and all that seem thine own,
Held by the tenure of his will alone,
Like angels in the service of their Lord,
Remain with thee, or leave thee at his word;
That gratitude and temperance in our use
Of what he gives, unsparing and profuse,
Secure the favour, and enhance the joy,
That thankless waste and wild abuse destroy.
But above all reflect, how cheap soe'er
Those rights, that millions envy thee, appear,
And, though resolved to risk them, and swim down
The tide of pleasure, heedless of His frown,
That blessings truly sacred, and when given
Marked with the signature and stamp of Heaven,
The word of prophecy, those truths divine,
Which make that Heaven, if thou desire it, thine,
(Awful alternative! believed, beloved,
Thy glory, and thy shame if unimproved,)
Are never long vouchsafed, if pushed aside
With cold disgust or philosophic pride!
And that, judicially withdrawn, disgrace,
Error, and darkness occupy their place.
A world is up in arms, and thou, a spot Not quickly found, if negligently sought,
Thy soul as ample as thy bounds are small,
Endures the brunt, and darest defy them all.
And wilt shou join to this bold enterprise
A bolder still, a contest with the skies?
Remember, if He guard thee and secure,
Whoe'er assails thee, thy success is sure;
But if He leave thee, though the skill and power
Of nations sworn to spoil thee and devour,
Were all collected in thy single arm,
And thou couldst laugh away the fear of harm,
That strength would fail, opposed against the push
And feeble onset of a pigmy rush.
Say not (and if the thought of such defence
Should spring within thy bosom, drive it thence)
What nation amongst all my foes is free
From crimes as base as any charged on me?
Their measure filled, they too shall pay the debt,
Which God, though long forborne, will not forget.
But know what wrath divine, when most severe,
Makes justice still the guide of his career,
And will not punish, in one mingled crowd,
Them without light, and thee without a cloud.
Muse, hang this harp upon yon aged beach, Still murmuring with the solemn truths I teach; And while at intervals a cold blast sings Through the dry leaves, and pants upon the strings, My soul shall sigh in secret, and lament A nation scourged, yet tardy to repent. I know the warning song is sung in vain; That few will hear, and fewer heed the strain; But if a sweeter voice, and one designed A blessing to my country and mankind, Reclaim the wandering thousands, and bring home A flock so scattered and so wont to roam, Then place it once again between my knees; The sound of truth will then be sure to please: And truth alone, where'er my life be cast, In scenes of plenty, or the pining waste, Shall be my chosen theme, my glory to the last.
... doceas iter, et sacra ostia pandas.Virg. Æn. 6.
Ask what is human life-the sage replies, With disappointment lowering in his eyes, A painful passage o'er a restless flood, A vain pursuit of fugitive false good, A scene of fancied bliss and heart-felt care, Closing at last in darkness and despair. The poor inured to drudgery and distress, Act without aim, think little, and feel less, And no where, but in feigned Arcadian scenes, Taste happiness, or know what pleasure means. Riches are passed away from hand to hand, As fortune, vice, or folly may command;
As in a dance the pair that take the lead
Turn downward, and the lowest pair succeed,
So shifting and so various is the plan,
By which Heaven rules the mixed affairs of man;
Vicissitude wheels round the motley crowd,
The rich grow poor, the poor become purse-proud;
Business is labour, and man's weakness such,
Pleasure is labour too, and tires as much.
The very sense of it foregoes its use,
By repetition palled, by age obtuse.
Youth lost in dissipation we deplore,
Through life's sad remnant, what no sighs restore;
Our years, a fruitless race without a prize,
Too many, yet too few to make us wise.
Dangling his cane abouf, and taking snuff,
Lothario cries, What philosophic stuff-
O querulous and weak!-whose useless brain
Once thought of nothing, and now thinks in vain;
Whose eyes reverted weeps o'er all the past,
Whose prospect shows thee a disheartening waste;
Would age in thee resign his wintry reign,
And youth invigorate that frame again,
Renewed desire would grace with other speech,
Joys always prized, when placed within our reach.
For lift thy palsied head, shake off the gloom
That overhangs the borders of thy tomb,
See Nature gay, as when she first began,
With smiles alluring her admirer man;
She spreads the morning over eastern hills,
Earth glitters with the drops the night distils;
The Sun obedient at her call appears,
To fling his glories o'er the robe she wears;
Banks clothed with flowers, groves filled with
The yellow tilth, green meads, rocks, rising grounds,
Streams edged with osiers, fattening every field,
Where'er they flow, now seen and now concealed;
From the blue rim, where skies and mountains meet,
Down to the very turf beneath thy feet,
Ten thousand charms, that only fools despise,
Or pride can look at with indifferent eyes,
All speak one language, all with one sweet voice
Cry to her universal realm, Rejoice!
Man feels the spur of passions and desires,
And she gives largely more than he requires;
Not that his hours devoted all to Care,
Hollow-eyed Abstinence, and lean Despair,
The wretch may pine, while to his smell, taste,
She holds a paradise of rich delight;
But gently to rebuke his awkward fear,
To prove that what she gives, she gives sincere;
To banish hesitation, and proclaim
His happiness, her dear, her only aim.
'Tis grave philosophy's absurdest dream,
That Heaven's intentions are not what they seem.
That only shadows are dispensed below,.
And earth has no reality but wo.
Thus things terrestrial wear a different hue,
As youth or age persuades; and neither true.
So Flora's wreath through coloured crystal seen,
The rose or lily appears blue or green,
But still th' imputed tints are those alone
The medium represents, and not their own.
To rise at noon, sit slipshod and undressed,
To read the news, or fiddle, as seems best,
Till half the world comes rattling at his door,
To fill the dull vacuity till four;
And, just when evening turns the blue vault gray, To spend two hours in dressing for the day;
To make the sun a bauble without use,
Save for the fruits his heavenly beams produce;
Quite to forget, or deem it worth no thought,
Who bids him shine, or if he shine or not;
Through mere necessity to close his eyes
Just when the larks and when the shepherds rise;
Is such a life, so tediously the same,
So void of all utility or aim,
That poor Jonquil, with almost every breath,
Sighs for his exit, vulgarly called death;
For he, with all his follies, has a mind
Not yet so blank, or fashionably blind,
But now and then perhaps a feeble ray
Of distant wisdom shoots across his way,
By which he reads, that life without a plan,
As useless as the moment it began,
Serves merely as a soil for discontent
To thrive in; an encumbrance ere half spent
Oh weariness beyond what asses feel,
That tread ths circuit of the cistern wheel;
A dull rotation, never at a stay,
Yesterday's face twin image of to-day;
While conversation, an exhausted stock,
Grows drowsy as the clicking of a clock.
No need, he cries, of gravity stuffed out
With academic dignity devout,
To read wise lectures, vanity the text:
Proclaim the remedy, ye learned, next;
For truth self-evident, with pomp impressed,
Is vanity surpassing all the rest.
That remedy, not hid in deeps profound,
Yet seldom sought where only to be found,
While poison turns aside from its due scope
Th' inquirer's aim, that remedy is hope.
Life is His gift, from whom whate'er life needs,
With every good and perfect gift, proceeds;
Bestowed on man, like all that we partake,
Royally, freely, for his bounty's sake;
Transient indeed, as is the fleeting hour,
And yet the seed of an immortal flower;
Designed in honour of his endless love,
To fill with fragrance his abode above;
No trifle, howsoever short it seem,
And, howsoever shadowy, no dream!
Its value, what no thought can ascertain,
Nor all an angel's eloquence explain;
Men deal with life as children with their play,
Who first misuse, then cast their toys away;
Live to no sober purpose, and contend
That their Creator had no serious end.
When God and man stand opposite in view,
Man's disappointment must of course ensue.
The just Creator condescends to write,
In beams of inextinguishable light,
His names of wisdom, goodness, power, and love,
On all that blooms below, or shines above;
To catch the wandering notice of mankind,
And teach the world, if not perversely blind,