« PreviousContinue »
A man on earth devoted to the skies ;
Like ships at sea, while in, above the world.
With aspect mild, and elevated eye,
Behold him seated on a mount serene,
Above the fogs of sense, and passion's storm:
All the black cares, and tumults of this life,
Like harmless thunders, breaking at his feet,
Excite his pity, not impair his peace.
Earth's genuine sons, the sceptred, and the slave,
A mingled mob! a wand'ring herd! he sees,
Bewilder'd in the vale; in all unlike!
His full reverse in all! What higher praise?
What stronger demonstration of the right?
The present all their care; the future his.
When public welfare calls, or private want,
They give to fame; his bounty he conceals.
Their virtues varnish nature; his exalt.
Mankind's esteem they court; and he his own.
Theirs the wild chace of false felicities;
His, the compos'd possession of the true.
Alike throughout is his consistent piece,
All of one colour, and an even thread ;
While party-colour'd shreds of happiness,
With hideous gaps between, patch up for them
A madman's robe; each puff of fortune blows
The tatters by, and shows their nakedness.
He sees with other than theirs where they Behold a sun, he spies a deity; What makes them only smile, makes him adore. Where they see mountains, he but atoms sees; An empire in his balance, weighs a grain. They things terrestrial worship, as divine : His hopes immortal blow them by, as dust, That dims his sight and shortens his survey, Which longs, in infinite, to lose all bound. Titles and honours (if they prove his fate) He lays aside to find his dignity: No dignity they find in aught besides.
They triumph in externals, (which conceal
Man's real glory,) proud of an eclipse:
Himself too much he prizes to be proud;
Aad nothing thinks so great in man, as man.
Too dear he holds his int'rest, to neglect
Another's welfare, or his right invade;
Their int'rest, like a lion, lives on prey.
They kindle at the shadow of a wrong:
Wrong he sustains with temper, looks on heav'n,
Nor stoops to think his injurer his foe:
Nought, but what wounds his virtue, wounds his peace.
A cover'd heart their character defends :
A cover'd heart denies him half his praise.
With nakedness his innocence agrees:
While their broad foliage testifies their fall.
Their no joys end, where his full feast begins.
His joys create, theirs murder, future bliss.
To triumph in existence, his alone;
And nis alone triumphantly to think
His true existence is not yet begun.
His glorious course was, yesterday, complete :
Death, then, was welcome; yet life still is sweet.
The pleasures of retirement.
O KNEW he but his happiness, of men
The happiest he! who, far from public rage,
Deep in the vale, with a choice iew retir'd,
Drinks the pure pleasures of the rural life.
What tho' the dome be wanting, whose proud gate,
Each morning, vomits out the sneaking crowd
Oi flatterers fálse, and in their turn abus'd ?
Vile intercourse! What though the glitt'ring robe,
Of ev'ry hue reflected light can give,
Or floated loose, or stiff with mazy gold,
The pride and gaze of fools, oppress him not?
What tho', from utmost land and sea purvey'd
For him each rarer tributary life
Bleeds not, and his insatiate table heaps With luxury and death? What tho' his bowl Flames not with costly juice; nor sunk in beds Oft of gay care, he tosses out the night, Or melts the thoughtless hours in idle state? What tho' he knows not those fantastic joys, That still amuse the wanton, still deceive A face of pleasure, but a heart of pain; Their hollow moments undelighted all? Sure peace is his; a solid lite estrang'd To disappointment, and fallacious hope, Rich in content, in nature's bounty rich, In herbs and fruits; whatever greens the spring, When heaven descends in show'rs; or bends the bough When summer reddens, and when autumn beams; Or in the wint❜ry glebe whatever lies Conceal'd, and fattens with the richest sap; These are not wanting; nor the milky drove, : Luxuriant, spread o'er all the lowing vale; Nor bleating mountains; nor the chide of streams, And hum of bees, inviting sleep sincere Into the guiltless breast, beneath the shade, Or thrown at large amid the fragrant hay; Nor aught besides of prospect, grove, or song, Dim grottos, gleaming lakes, and fountains clear. Here too dwells simple truth; plain innocence; Unsullied beauty; sound unbroken youth, Patient of labour, with a little pleas'd; Health ever blooming; unambitious toil; Calm contemplation, and poetic ease.
The pleasure and benefit of an improved and welldirected imagination.
OH! blest of Heav'n, whom not the languid songs O. Luxury, the siren ! not the bribes
Of sordid wealth, nor all the gaudy spoils
O pageant Honour, can seduce to leave
Those ever blooming sweets, which, from the store
Of nature, fair imagination culls,
His the city's pomp,
To charm th' enliven'd sou!! What tho' not all
O mortal offspring can attain the height
Of envied life; tho' only few possess
Patrician treasures, or imperial state;
Yet nature's care, to all her children just,
With richer treasures, and an ampler state,
Endows at large whatever happy man
Will deign to use them.
The rural honours his.
The princely dome, the column, and the arch,
The breathing marble and the sculptur'd gold,
Beyond the proud possessor's narrow claim,
His tuneful breast enjoys. For him, the spring
Distils her dews, and from the silken gem
Its lucid leaves unfolds: for him, the hand
Of autumn tinges every fertile branch
With blooming gold, and blushes like the morn.
Each passing hour sheds tribute from her wings:
And still new beauties meet his lonely walk,
And loves unfelt attract him. Not a breeze
Flies o'er the meadow; not a cloud imbibes
The setting sun's effulgence; not a strain
From all the tenants of the warbling shade
Ascends; bus whence his bosom can partake
Fresh pleasure, unreprov'd. Nor thence partakes
Fresh pleasure only; for the attentive mind,
By this harmonious action on her powers,
Becomes herself harmonious: wont so oft
In outward things to meditate the charm
Of sacred order, soon she seeks at home,
To find a kindred order; to exert
Within herself this elegance of love,
This fair inspir'd delight: her temper'd pow'rs
Refine at length, and every passion wears
A chaster, milder, more attractive mien.
But if to ampler prospects, if to gaze
On nature's form, where negligent of all
These lesser graces, she assumes the port
Of that Eternal Majesty that weigh'd
The world's foundations, if to these the mind
Exalts her daring eye; then mightier far
Will be the change, and nobler. Would the forms
Of servile custom cramp her gen'rous pow'rs?
Would sordid policies, the barb'rous growth
Of ignorance and rapine, bow her down
To tame pursuits, to indolence and fear;
Lo! she appeals to nature, to the winds
And rolling waves, the sun's unwearied course,
The elements and seasons: all declare
For what th' eternal MAKER has ordain'd
The pow'rs of man: we feel within ourselves
His energy divine': he tells the heart,
He meant, he made us to behold and love
What he beholds and loves, the general orb
Of life and being; to be great like Him,
Beneficent and active. Thus the men
Whom nature's works instruct, with God himself
Hold converse; grow familiar, day by day,
With his conceptions; act upon his plan;
And form to his, the relish of their souls.