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His ears are open to the fofteft cry,
His grace defcends to meet the lifted eye;
He reads the language of a filent tear;
And fighs are incenfe from a heart fincere.
Such are the vows, the facrifice I give;
Accept the vow, and bid the fuppliant live:
From each terreftrial bondage fet me free;
Still ev'ry with that centers not in thee;
Bid my fond hopes, my vain difquiets ccafe,
And point my path to everlasting peace.
If the foft hand of winning pleasure leads By living waters, and thro' flow'ry meads, When all is fimiling, tranquil and ferene, And vernal beauty paints the flatt'ring scene, Oh! teach me to elude each latent fnare, And whiffer to my fliding heart, Beware! With caution let me hear the Syren's voice, And doubtful, with a trembling heart, rejoice. If friendless, in a vale of tears I stray, Where briars wound, and thorns perplex my way, Still let my steady foul thy goodness fec, And with ftrong confidence lay hold on thee; With equal eye my various lot receive, Refign'd to die, or refolute to live; Prepar'd to kifs the fceptre or the rod, While God is feen in all, and all in God.
I read his awful name, emblazon'd high With golden letters on th'illumin'd fky; Nor lefs the myftic characters I fee Wrought in each flow'r, infcrib'd on ev'ry tree; In ev'ry leaf that trembles to the breeze I hear the voice of God among the trees; With thee in fhady folitudes I walk; With thee in bufy crowded cities talk; In ev'ry creature own thy forming pow'r ; In each event thy providence adore. Thy hopes fhall animate my drooping foul, Thy precepts guide me, and thy fear controul. Thus fhall I reft, unmov'd by all alarms, Secure within the temple of thine arms; From anxious cares, from gloomy terrors free, And feel myself omnipotent in thee. Then when the laft, the clofing hour draws nigh, And earth recedes before my fwimming eye; When trembling on the doubtful edge of fate I ftand and stretch my view to either state, Teach me to quit this tranfitory fcene With decent triumph and a look ferene; Teach me to fix my ardent hopes on high, And having liv'd to thee, in thee to die!
$51. A Summer Evening's Meditation. Mrs. BARBAULD. One fun by day, by night ten thoufana fhine. YOUNG.
IS paft! The fultry tyrant of the fouth 'TIS Has fpent his fhort-liv'd rage: more grateful hours
Move filent on; the skies no more repel
The dazzled fight, but with mild maiden beams
Of temper'd light, invite the cherish'd eye
To wander o'er their sphere; where hung aloft
Dian's bright crefcent, like a filver bow
New ftrung in heaven, lifts high its beamy horns,
Impatient for the night, and feems to push
Her brother down the sky. Fair Venus fhines
Ev'n in the eye of day: with fweetest beam
Propitious fhines, and shakes a trembling flood
Of foften'd radiance from her dewy locks.
The fhadows fpread apace; while meeken'deve,
Her cheek yet warm with blushes, flow retires
Thro' the Hefperian gardens of the weft,
And shuts the gates of day. 'Tis now the hour
When contemplation, from her funless haunts,
The cool damp grotto, or the lonely depth
Of unpierc'd woods, where wrapt in folid fhade
She mus'd away the gaudy hours of noon,
And fed on thoughts unripen'd by the fun,
Moves forward; and with radiant finger points
To yon blue concave fwell'd by breath divine,
Where, one by one, the living eyes of heav'n
Awake, quick kindling o'er the face of æther
One boundless blaze; ten thousand trembling
And dancing luftres, where th'unfteady eye,
Reftlefs and dazzled, wanders unconfin'd
O'er all this field of glories: fpacious field,
And worthy of the Master: he, whose hand
With hieroglyphics elder than the Nile,
Infcrib'd the myftic tablet, hung on high
To public gaze, and faid, Adore, O man,
The finger of thy God! From what pure wells
Of milky light, what foft o'erflowing urn,
Are all thefe lamps fo fill'd? thefe friendly lamps,
For ever ftreaming o'er the azure deep
To point our path, and light us to our home.
How foft they flide along their lucid spheres!
And filent as the foot of time, fulfil
Their deftin'd courfes: Nature's felf is hufh'd,
And but a scatter'd leaf, which ruftles thro'
The thick-wove foliage, not a found is heard
To break the midnight air, tho' the rais'd ear,
Intenfely lift'ning, drinks in ev'ry breath.
How deep the filence, yet how loud the praise !
But are they filent all? or is there not
A tongue in ev'ry star that talks with inan,
And wooes him to be wife? nor wooes in vain.
This dead of midnight is the noon of thought,
And wisdom mounts her zenith with the stars.
At this ftill hour the felf-collected foul
Turns inward, and beholds a stranger there
Of high defcent, and more than mortal rank;
An embryo God; a fpark of fire divine,
Which must burn on for ages, when the fun
(Fair tranfitory creature of a day!)
Has clos'd his golden eye, and, wrapt in fhades,
Forgets his wonted journey thro' the caft.
Ye citadels of light, and feats of Gods!
Perhaps my future home, from whence the foul
Revolving periods paft, may oft look back,
With recollected tendernefs, on all
The various bufy fcenes the left below,
Its deep laid projects and its ftrange events,
As on fome fond and doating tale that footh'd
Her infant hours; O be it lawful now
To tread the hallow'd circle of your courts,
And with mute wonder and delighted awe
Approach your burning confines.
On fancy's wild and roving wingI fail [thought,
To blefs my longing fight;
Thy mein compos'd, thy even pace,
Thy meck regard, thy matron grace,
And chafte fubdu'd delight.
No more by varying paffions beat,
O gently guide my pilgrim feer
To find thy hermit cell; Where in fome pure and equal fky, Beneath thy foft indulgent eye,
The modeft virtues dwell.
Simplicity in attic veft,
And Innocence with candid breast,
And clear undaunted eye;
And Hope, who points to diftant years,
Fair op'ning thro' this vale of tears
A vifta to the sky.
There Health, thro' whose calm bofom glide
The temp'rate joys in even tide,
That rarely ebb or flow;
And Patience there, thy fifter meek,
Prefents her mild, unvarying cheek
To meet the offer'd blow.
He influence taught the Phrygian fage
A tyrant mafter's wanton rage
With fettled fimiles to meet :
Inur'd to toil and bitter bread,
He bow'd his meek submitted head,
And kifs'd thy fainted feet.
But thou, oh Nymph retir'd and coy!
In what brown hamlet doft thou joy
To tell thy tender tale ?
The lowlieft children of the ground,
Mofs.rofe and violet bloffom round,
And lily of the vale.
O fay what foft propitious hour
I beft may choofe to hail thy pow'r,
And court thy gentle fway?
When Autumn, friendly to the Mufe,
Shall thy own modeft tints diffuse,
And thed thy milder day.
When Eve, her dewy star beneath,
Thy balmy fpirit loves to breathe,
And ev'ry ftorm is laid;
If fuch an hour was e'er thy choice,
Oft let me hear thy foothing voice
Low whitp'ring thro' the fhade.
·§ 53. To Wifilom. Mrs BAREAULD,
Dona præfentis rape lætus horæ, ac
Lingue fevera. HORAT.
WISDOM! if thy foft controul
Can footh the fickness of the foul;
Can bid the warring paffions ceafe,
And breathe the calm of tender peace;
Wifdom! I blef's thy gentle fway, -
And ever, ever will obey.
But if thou com'ft with frown auftere
To nurse the brood of care and fear;
To bid our fweeteft paffions die,
And leave us in their room a figh;
Than I no lonely Hermit plac'd Where never human footstep trac'd, Lefs fit to play the part,
And juft to ftop, and just to move,
With felf-refpecting art:
But ah! thofe pleafures, loves, and joys,
Which I too keenly taste,
The Solitary can defpife,
Can want, and yet be bleft!
He needs not, he heeds not,
Or human love or hate;
Whilft I here, must cry here,
At perfidy ingrate !
Oh! enviable early days,
When dancing thoughtlefs Pleasure's maze,
To care to gilt unknown!
How ill exchang'd for riper times,
To feel the follies or the crimes
Of others, or my own!
Ye tiny elves that guiltless fport,
Like linnets in the bush,
When manhood is your with! The loffes, the croffes,
That active man engage; The fears all, the tears all,
Of dim declining Age!
55. Death. Dr. PORTEUS, Bp. of London.
FRIEND to the wretch whom
I woo thee, Death! In fancy's fairy paths
Let the gay fongfter rove, and gently trill
The ftrain of empty joy. Life and its joys
I leave to thofe that prize them. At this hour,
This folemn hour, when filence rules the world,
And wearied nature makes a gen'ral paufe;
Wrapt in night's fable robe, through cloyfters,
And charnels pale, tenanted by a throng [drear
Of meagre phantoms fhooting cross my path
With filent glance, I seek the fhadowy vale
Of Death. Deep in a murky cave's recefs,
Lav'd by Oblivion's liftlefs ftream, and fenc'd
By fhelving rocks, and intermingled horrors
Of yew and cyprefs fhade, from all intrufion
Of bufy noontide beam, the Monarch fits
In unfubftantial majefty enthron'd.
At his right hand, nearest himself in place
And frightfulness of form, his parent Sin
With fatal industry and cruel care
Bufies herself in pointing all his ftings,
And tipping every fhaft with venom drawn
From her infernal store: around him rang'd
In terrible array, and mixture frange
Of uncouth fhapes, ftand his dread Minifters,
Foremost Old Age, his natural ally
And firmest friend: next him difeafes thick,
A motly train; Fever, with cheek of fire;
Confumption wan; Palfy, half warm with life,
And half a clay-clod lump; joint-tort'ring Gout,
And ever-gnawing Rheum; Convulfion wild!
Swoin Dropfy; panting Afthma; Apoplex
Full-gorgd. There too the Peftilence that walks
In darkness, and the Sickness that destroys
At broad noon-day. Thefe, and a thousand more,
Horrid to tell, attentive wait; and, when
By Heav'n's command Deathwaves his ebon wand,
Sudden rush forth to execute his purpose,
And scatter defolation o'er the earth.
Ill-fated Man, for whom fuch various forms
Of mis'ry wait, and mark their future prey
Ah why, all-righteous Father, didft thou make
This creature, Man? why wake th'unconscious
To life and wretchednefs? O better far [duft
Still had he slept in uncreated night,
If this the lot of Being! Was it for this
Thy Breath divine kindled within his breaft
The vital flame? For this was thy fair image
Stampt on his foul in godlike lineaments ?
For this dominion giv'n him abfolute
O'er all thy works, only that he might reign
Supreme in woe? From the bleft fource of Good
Could Pain and Death proceed? Could fuch foul ills
Fall from fair Mercy's hands? Far be the thought,
The impious thought! God never made a creature
But what was good. He made a living Soul;
The wretched Mortal was the work of Man.
Forth from his Maker's hands he fprung to life
Fresh with immortal bloom; no pain he knew,
No fear of change, no check to his defires, [ftood
Save one command; that one command, which
'Twixt him and Death, the test of his obedience,
Urg'd on by wanton curiosity,
He broke. There in one moment was undone
The faireft of God's works. The fame rath hand,
That pluck'd in evil hour the fatal fruit,
Unbarr'd the gates of Hell, and let loose Sin
And Death, and all the family of Pain,
To prey on Mankind. Young Nature faw
The monftrous crew, and shook thro'all her frame.
Then fled her new-born luftre, then began
Heaven's cheerful face to lowr, then vapours
The troubled air, and form'd a veil of clouds
To hide the willing Sun. The earth, convuls'd
With painful throes, threw forth a bristly crop
Of thoras and briars! and Infect, Bird, and Beast,
That wont before with admiration fond
To gaze at Man, and fearlefs. crowd around hin,
Now fled before his face, funning in hafte
Th'infection of his mifery. He alone,
Who justly might, th'ofended Lord of Man,
Turu'd not away his face; he, full of pity,
Forfook not in this uttermoft diftrefs
His beft lov'd work. That comfort ftill remain'd
(That beft, that greateft comfort in affliction)
The countenance of God; and thro' the gloom
Shot forth fome kindly pleams, to cheer and warm
Th'offender'sfinkingfoul. Hope fent from Heav'n,
Uprais'd his drooping head, and thew'd afar
A happier fcene of things; the Promis'd Seed
Trampling upon the Serpent's humbled creft;
Death of his fting difarm'd; and the dark grave,
Made pervious to the realms of endless day,
No more the limit but the gate of life. [ground,
Cheer'd with the view, Man went to till the
From whence he rofe; fentenc'd indeed to toil
As to a punishment, yet (ev'n in wrath,
So merciful is Heav'n) this toil became
The folace of his woes, the fweet employ
Of many a live-long hour, and fureft guard
Against Disease and Death. Death,tho'denounc'è,
Was yet a diftant ill, by feeble arm
Of Age, his fole fupport, led flowly on.
Not then, as fince, the fhort-liv'd fons of men
Flock'd to his realms in countless multitudes;
Scarce in the courfe of twice five hundred years
One folitary ghost went shiv'ring down
To his unpeopled fhore. In fober ftate,
Through the fequefter'd vale of rural life,
The venerable Patriarch guilclefs held
The tenor of his way; Labour prepar'd
His fimple fare, and Temp'rance rul'd his board,
Tir'd with his daily toil, at early eve
He funk to fudden reft; gentle and pure
As breath of evening Zephyr, and as sweet,
Were all his flumbers; with the Sun he rose,
Alert and vigorous as He, to run [ftrength,
His deftin'd course. Thus nerv'd with giant
He ftemm'd the tide of time, and stood the shock
Of ages rolling harmless o'er his head.
At life's meridian point arriv'd, he stood,
And looking round, faw all the vallies fill'd
With nations from His loins; full-well content
To leave his race thus fcatter'd o'er the earth,
Along the gentle flope of life's decline
He bent his gradual way, till full of years
He dropt like mellow fruit into his grave,
Such in the infancy of time was Man;
So calm was life, so impotent was Death!
O had he but preferv'd thefe few remains,
The fhatter'd fragments of loft happiness,
Snatch'd by the hand of Heav'n from the fad wreck,
Of innocence primæval, still had he liv'd
In ruin great; tho' fall'n, yet not forlorn;
Though mortal, yet not everywhere beset
With Death in every fhape! But he, impatient
To be completely wretched, haftes to fill up
The measure of his woes.-'Twas Man himself
Brought Death into the world; and Man himself
Gave keenness to his darts, quicken'd his pace,
And multiply'd destruction on mankind.
Firft Envy, eldest-born of Hell, embrued Her hands in blood, and taught the Sons of Men To make a Death which Nature never made, And God abhorr'd; with violence rude to break The thread of life ere half its length was run, And rob a wretched brother of his being. With joy Ambition faw, and foon improv'd The execrable deed. 'Twas not enough By fubtle fraud to fnatch a single life: Puny impiety! whole kingdoms fell To fate the luft of power: more horrid still, The fouleft ftain and scandal of our nature Became its boaft. One Murder made a Villain, Millions a Hero. Princes were privileg'd To kill; and numbers fanctified the crime. Ah! why will Kings forget that they are Men' And Men that they are brethren? Why delight In human facrifice Why burft the ties Of Nature, that should knit their fouls together In one foft bond of amity and love? Yet ftill they breathe deftruction, still go on Inhumanly
Inhumanly ingenious to find out
New pains for life, new terrors for the grave,
Artificers of Death! Still Monarchs dream
Of univerfal empire growing up
From universal ruin. Blaft the design,
Great God of Hofts, nor let thy creatures fall'
Unpitied victims at Ambition's fhrine!
Yet fay, thould Tyrants learn at laft to feel, And the loud din of battle cease to bray; Should dove-ey'd Peace o'er all the earth extend Her olive branch, and give the world repofe, Would Death be foil'd? Would health, and ftrength, and youth
Defy his pow'r? Has he no arts in store,
No other shafts fave thofe of war? Alas!
Ev'n in the fmile of Peace, that finile which sheds
A heav'nly funfhine o'er the foul, there basks
That ferpent Luxury. War its thousands flays,
Peace its ten thoufands. In th'embattled plain
Tho' Death exults, and claps his raven wings,
Yet reigns he not ev'n there fo abfolute,
So merciless, as in yon frantic fcenes
Of midnight revel and tumultuous mirth,
Where in th'intoxicating draught conceal'd,
Or couch'd beneath the glance of lawlefs Love,
He fnares the fimple youth, who nought fufpecting,
Means to be bleft-but finds himself undone.
Down the fmoothftream of life the ftripling darts,
Gay as the morn; bright glows the vernal fky,
Hope fwells his fails, and patlion fteers his courfe.
Safe glides his little bark along the shore
Where virtue takes her stand; but if too far
He launches forth beyond difcretion's mark,
Sudden the tempeft fcowls, the furges roar,
Blot his fair day, and plunge him in the deep.
O fad but fure mischance! O happier far
To lie like gallant Howe 'midft Indian wilds
A breathless corfe, cut off by favage hands
In carliest prime, a generous facrifice
To freedom's holy caufe, than fo to fall,
Torn immature from life's meridian joys,
A prey to Vice, Intemp'rance, and Difcafe.
Yet die ev'n thus, thus rather perish ftill, Ye Sons of Pleafure, by th'Almighty ftrick'n, Than ever dare (though oft, alas! ye dare) To lift against yourfelves the murd'rous fteel, To wreft from God's own hand the fword of Justice,
And be your own avengers! Hold, rash Man,
Though with anticipating speed thou'lt rang'd
Through every region of delight, nor left
One joy to gild the evening of thy days;
Though life feem one uncomfortable void,
Guilt at thy heels, before thy face defpair;
Yet gay this fcene, and light this load of woe,
Compar'd with thy hereafter. Think, O think,
And, ere thou plunge into the vait abyis,
Paufe on the verge a while, look down and fee
Thy future manfion. Why that start of horror?
From thy flack hand why drops th'uplifted fteel?
Didft thou not think fuch vengeance muft await
The wretch that, with his crimes all freth about
Rufhes irreverent, unprepar'd, uncall'd, [him,
Into his Maker's prefence, throwing back
With infolent difdain his choiceft gift?
Live then, while Heav'n in pity lends thee life, And think it all too fhort to wash away, By penitential tears and deep contrition, The fcarlet of thy crimes. So fhalt thou find Reft to thy foul, fo unappall'd fhalt meet Death when he comes, not wantonly invite His ling'ring ftroke. Be it thy fole concern With innocence to live, with patience wait Th'appointed hour; too foon that hour will come, Tho' Nature run her courfe. But Nature's God, If need require, by thousand various ways, Without thy aid, can fhorten that fhort pan, And quench the lamp of life. O when he comes, Rous'd by the cry of wickednefs extreme To Heav'n afcending from fome guilty land, Now ripe for vengeance; when he comes array'd In all the terrors of Almighty wrath, Forth from his bofom plucks his ling'ring arm, And on the mifereants pours deftruction down, Who can abide his coming? Who can bear His whole displeasure? In no common form Death then appears, but ftarting into fize Enormous, meafures with gigantic stride Th'aftonifh'd earth, and from his looks throws Unutterable horror and dismay. [round All nature lends her aid. Each element Arms in his caufe. Ope fly the doors of heav'n, The fountains of the deep their barriers break; Above, below, the rival torrents pour, And drown Creation; or in floods of fire Defcends a livid cataract, and confumes An impious race. Sometimes,when allicem speace, Wakes the grim whirlwind,andwith rude embrace Sweeps nations to their grave, or in the deep Whelms the proud wooden world; full many a Floats on his wat'ry bier, or lies unwept [youth On fome fad defart fhore! At dead of night, In fullen filence ftalks forth Peftilence: Contagion, close behind, taints all her steps With pois'nous dew; no fmiting hand is feen, No found is heard, but foon her fecret path Is mark'd with defolation; heaps on heaps Promifcuous drop. No friend, no refuge, near; All, all, is falfe and treacherous around; All that they touch, or tafte, or breathe, is Death.
But ah! what means that ruinous roar? why fail
Thefe tott'ring feet? Earth to its center feels
The Godhead's power, and trembling at his touch
Through all its pillars, and in ev'ry pore,
Hurls to the ground with one convulfive heave
Precipitating domes, and towns, and tow'rs,
The work of ages. Crush'd beneath the weight
Of gen'ral devaftation, millions find
One common grave; not ev'n a widow left
To wail her fans: the house, that should protect,
Entombs its matter; and the faithlefs plain,
If there he flies for help, with fudden yawn
Starts from beneath him. Shield me, gracious
O fnatch me from deftruction! If this Globe,
This folidGlobe,which thine own hand hath made
So firm and fure, if this my fteps betray;
If my own mother Earth, from whence I fprung,
Rife up with rage unnatural to devour
Her wretched offspring, whither thall I fly ?