« ForrigeFortsæt »
TO THE READER,
Studious of good, and penitent for ill,
&c. The grandeur of scriptural sublimity, or Still short of grace, yet persevering still ; simplicity, admits of few or no embellishments. As just and true as erring nature can
George Sandys, in the reign of Charles I. seems (For imperfection sets its stamp on man). only to have known this secret. Hea v’n marks the saint, her mansions to adorn, And, having purg'd the chaff, accepts the corn.
And in the morning, rising up a great while bea
fore day, he went and departed into a solitary
place, and there prayed. THE ASCETIC;
Mark, o. i. v. 35.
Deep in a vale, where cloud-born Rhyne
Where pansies mixt with daisies shine,
And asphodels instarr'd with gold; inveni, nisi in angulis, et libellis.
Two forests, skirting round the feet
Half parted by an op’ning glade;
A round Hercynian oaks are seen. Aspicis; illo alii rursus jactantur in alto.
Larches ?, and cypress ever green, At tua securos portus, ülandamque quietein
Unite their hospitable shade. Intravit, non quassa ratis.
Stat. Sylv, L. II.
Impearld with dew, the rosy Mom
Gleams following gleams the Heav'ns adorn,
And gild the theatre below:
And from her misty eye-balls shakes
The balmy dews of soft repose : I had several inducements for venturing to The pir uz lark with grateful lays change the ode into heroic ineasure. The first Ascends the skies, and chants the praise was, that I might diversify the doctrinal part which man to his Creator owes 4. from the descriptive. The second was, that our When lo! a venerable sire appears, excellent and most learned poet, Cowley, had with sprightly footsteps bast'ning o'er the plain; given me his authority for making this change, His tresses bore the marks of fourscore years, in his poem de Plantis. But the third and truer Yet free from sickness he, and void of pain: reason was, that I found it next to impracticable, His eyes with half their youthful clearness shones. to deliver short, unadorned, didactical sentences Still on his cheeks health's tincture gently glow'd, consistently with the copiousness, irregularity, His aged voice retain'd a manly tone, and enthusiasm peculiar to odc-writing.-Let the
His peaceful blood in equal tenour flow'd. reader only make the experiment, and I flatter
At length, beneath a beechen shade reclin'd, ingselt he will join with me in opinion.—Nor have
He thus pour'd forth to Heav'n the transports of I departed any further than in a metaphor or
his mind. two from that original simplicity which characterises my author, however diflicult and self-de
3 Tip-toe. Shakespeare. nying such an undertaking might be in a poeti- 4“ Before we engage in worldly business, or cal composition. What gave me warning was, any common amusements of life, let us be carethat Castalio and Stanhope had both spoiled ful to consecrate the first-fruits of the day, and Thomas a Kempis by attempting to adorn him the very beginning of our holy thoughts unto the with flowery langnage, false elegance, and glaring service of God.”
St. Basil. imagery. And, by the way, to this cause may • Thomas à Kempis had no manifest infirmibe attributed the iniscarriages of many poets, ties of old-age, and retained his eye-sight per. (otherwise confessedly eminent) in their para- fect to the last. phrases of the Psalms of David, the Book of Jub, All that I have ever been able to learn in Ger.
many upon goud authority, concerning hiin, is to man as well as God. “ Wo unto him that is
as follows: He was born at Kempis, or Kenipen, faint-hearted; for he believeth not, therefore
a small walled town in the dutchy of Cleves, shall he not be defended. Wo uoto you that and divcese of Cologn. His family-name was have lost patience: wbat will ye do when the Hamerlein, which signifies in the German Lord shail visit you?—they that fear the Lord language a little hammer. We find also that will say, we will fall into the hands of the Lord, his parents were named John and Gertrude Haand not into the hands of men : for as his ma
merlein. He lived chiefly in the monastery of jesty is, so is his inercy."
Mount St. Agnes ; where his effigy, together with In like manner St. Chrysostom informs us,
a prospect of the monastery, was engraven on a “ That, in proportion as God adds to our tribu- plate of copper that lies over bis body. The said latior, he adds likewise to our retribution."
monastery is now called Bergh-Clooster, or, as This river takes its rise from one of the high- we might say in English, Hiit-Cloyster. Many est ice-mountains in Switzerland,
strangers in their travels visit it. Kempis was 2 The species of Jarch-tree bere meant is cal- | certainly one of the best and greatest men since led sempervirens: the other larches are deciduis the primitive ages. His book of the Imitation foliis
of Christ has seen near forty editions in the ori“Come unto me (Messiah cries)
Stealer of marches, subtile foe, All that are laden and oppress'd :
Sinon of stratagem and woe ! To Thee I come (my heart replies)
Thy fatal blows, ah! who can ward! O Patron of eternal rest!
Around thee lurks a motley train Who walks with me (rejoins the voice)
Of wants, and fears, and chronic pain, In purest day-light shall rejoice,
The hungry Croats of thy guard. Incapable to err, or fall.
(Thus on the flow'r-enamelld lawn, With thee I walk, my gracious God ;
Unconscious of the least surprize, Long l’ve thy painful foot-steps trod,
In thoughtless gambols sports the fawn, Redeemer, Saviour, Friend of all!
Whilst reild in grass the tygress lies. “ Heav'n in my youth bestow'd each good The silent trait'ress crouches low, Of choicer sort: in fertile lands
Her very lungs surcease to blow ; A decent patrimony stood,
At length she darts on hunger's wings; Sufficient for my just demands.
Sure of her distance and success, My form was pleasing; health refin'd
Where Newton could but only guess,
She never misses, when she springs 9.)
“More truly wise the man, whose early youth l*
Is offer'd a free off’ring to the Lord, Plain nature, un-scholastic sense:
A self-addicted votary to truth, And once or twice the Muses smild !
Servant thro' choice, disciple by accord ! "Blest with each boon that sinipler minds desire, Heav'n always did th' unblemish'd turtle choose, Till Heav'n grows weary of their nauseous pray’rs, Where health conjoin'd with spirit most abounds: I made the nobler option to retire 7,
Heav'n seeks the young, nor does the old refuse, And gave the world to worldlings and their heirs; But youth acquits the debt, which age comThe warriors laurels, and the statesman's fame,
pounds! The vain man's hopes for titles and employ, Awkward in time, and sour'd with self-disgrace, The pomp of station, and the rich man's name, The spend-thrift pays bis all, and takes the I left for fools to seek, and knaves t'enjoys ;
bankrupt's place.” An early whisper did its truths impart,
Thus spoke the venerable sage And all the God conceal'd irradiated my heart.
Who ne'er imbib'd Mæonian lore, " Happy the man who turns to Heav'n,
Who drew no aids from Maro's page, When on the landscape's verge of green And yet to nobler flights could soar. Old-age appears, to whom 'tis giv'n
Tanght by the Solyméan maid; To creep in sight, but ny, unseen!
With native elegance array'd,
He gave his easy thoughts to flow; ginal Latin, and above sixty translations have the charms which anxious art deny'd been made from it into modern languages. 'Truth and simplicity supply'd,
Our author died August the 8th, 1471, aged Melodious in religious woe. 92 years.
Poet in sentiment! he feels In the engraving on copper above-mentioned, and lying over his grave, is represented a per- l'he veil which artful charms conceals,
The flame; nor seeks from verse his aid ! son respectfully presenting to him a label on which is written a verse to this effect:
To real beauty proves a shade.
When nature's out-lines dubious are, Oh! where is Peace ? for Thou its paths hast Verse decks them with a slight cymarr"; trod.
True charms by art in vain are drest. To which Kempis returns another strip of paper, Not icy prose could damp bis fire: inscribed as follows:
Intense the flame and mounting high'r, In poverty, retirement, and with God. Brightly victorious when opprest ! He was a canon regular of Augustins, and sub- By this time morn in all its glory shone; prior of mount St. Agnes' monastery. He com- The Suu's chaste kiss absorb'd the virgin-der: posed his treatise On the Imitation of Christ in Th’impatient peasant wish'd his labour done, the sixty-first year of bis age, as appears from The cattle to th' umbrageous streams withdrer: a note of his own writing in the library of his Beneath a cool impecetrable shade, convent.
Quiet, be mus'd.So Jonas safely sate (play'd) Imitation of Christ, Lib. I. c. i.
(When the swift gourd her palmy leaves disgo Solitude is the best school wherein to learn To see the tow'rs of Ninus bow to fate 12. the way to Heaven.”
St. Jerom. “Worldly honours are a trying snare to men 9 This parenthesis was inserted by way of of an exalted station; of course their chief care imitating the famous parenthesis in Horace's must be, to put themselves out of the reach of Ode, which begins envy by humility.”
Qualem ministrum fulminis alitem, &c. “ The pleasures of this world are only the mo- 10 - Eren from the flower till the grape was mentary comforts of the miserable, and not the ripe, bath my heart delighted in Wisdom.” rewards of the happy.” St. August.
Ecclus. c. li. v. 15. • Cætera solicitæ speciosa incommoda vitæ " A thin covering of the gause, or sarsnet. Permisi stultis quærere, habere malis. kind.
Dryd. Cymon & Iphigen) Couleius de Plant. 12 Jonah, c. iv. v. 6.
Th’ Ascetic then drew forth a parchment-scroll, When man desponds, (of human hope bereft)
Let patience be thy first and last coneern;
Life's pendulum in th' other world shall make
Advauces, ou the side it now goes back.
By force, a virtue of celestial kind (1.) 'Tis vanity to wish for length of days; Was never storm'd; by arı 'tis undermin’d 10. The art of living well is wise men's praise.
(5.) All seek for knowledge. Knowledge is no If death, not length of life, engag'd our view, Life would be happier, and death bappier tool. Than this; to know ourselves, and God adore.
Nature foreshows our death : 'tis God's decree; Wouldst thou with profit seek, and learn witli The king, the insect dies; and so must we.
gain? What's natural, and cominon to us all,
Unknown thyself, in solitude remain ". What's necessary ;-none should evil call. Virtue retires, but in retirement blooms, Check thy fond love of life, and human pride; Full of good works, and dying in perfumes 1. Shall man repine at death, when Christ has dy'd? | In thy own heart the living waters rise 13;
(2.) He that can calmly view the mask of Good conscience is the wisdom of the wise ! 16 Will never tremble at the face beneath ; (death, Man's only confidence, uomixt with pride, Probationer of Heav'n, he starts no more Is the firm trust that God is op his side 131 To see the last sands ebb, than those before Like Aaron's rol, the faithful and the just,
(3.) In vain we argue, boast, elude, descant;- Torn from their tree, shall blossom in the dust. No man is honest that's afraid of want.
(6.) God, says the chief of penitents!6, is One, No blood of confessors that bosom warms3, Who gives Himself, his Spirit, and his Son. Which starts at hunger, as the worst of harms 4 “Is hunger irksome?-Thou by Him art fed
(4.) The man with christian preservance fir’ds, With quails miraculous, and Heav'nly bread. Check'd but not stop'd; retarded but not tird; Is thirst oppressive ? -Lift thy eyes, and see Straiten’d by foes, yet sure of a retreat,
Cat’racts of water fall from rocks for thee, In Heav'n's protection rests securely great 6; Art thou in darkness ? -Uncreated light Hears ev'ry sharp alarm without dismay; Is all thy own, and guides thy erring sight. Midst dangers dauntless, and midst terrours gay; Is nakedness thy lot? ---Yet ne'er repine ;Indignant of obstruction glows his fame, The Festments of Eternity are thine. And, struggling, mounts to Heav'n, from whence Art thou a widow?-God's thy consort true. it came:
Art thou an orphan?-He's thy father too." Oppress'd it thrives; its own destroyers tires, And with unceasing fortitude aspires 7.
8 Ibid. c. 35, No. 2. Ibid. c. 18, No. 2.
9 See also Caussin's Holy Court, Part I, L. 3. 1 This and the following passages marked with | Sect. S2, fol. 1650. a note of reference are extracted almost verbatim 10 " True christian piety was never made a from Kempis's Book of the Imitation of Christ. real captive; it may be killed, but not conquerLib. I, c. 1, 2. See also Lib. 1, c. 19. 23. ed."
St. Jerom. :“ Death, when compared to life, scems to 11 “Imitation of Christ, L. I. c. 20. L. II, be a remedy and not a punishment.”
12 “ The retired Christian, in seeking after an On the same point another primitive Chris- happy life, actually enjoys one ; and possesses tian hath observed, “ That the Supreme Being that already which he only fancies he is pursu, made life short; since, as the troubles of it ing.”
St. Eucber. cannot be removed from us, we may the sooner 13 - Drink waters out of thine own cisterns. be removed from them."
St. Bernard. Prov. c. v, V. 15. See also Rev. c. xxii, v. 1. 3" Dost thou fear poverty ? Christ calls the clear as crystal.” See John, c. vii, v. 38.
“ And he showed me a pure river of water of life, poor man blessed. - Art thou afraid of labour? Pains are produc
14 mitai. of Jesus Christ, L I, c. 6. tive of a crown, [fears no famine:
15 Iunitat. of Jesus Christ, Lib. II, c. 10. - Art thou hungry? A true confidence in God
“ The only means of obtaining true security - for the Supreme Governor of the world beholds is to commit all our interests to God, who conthy warfare; and prepares for thee a crown of stantly knows and is ever willing to bestow good * glory and everlasting rest."
things on them that ask him as they ought.” Hieron. in Epist.
“ Security is no where but in the love and * L. II. Thom. à Kempis.
service of God. It is neither in Heaven, nor 5 Perseverance is an image of eternity." Paradise, much less in the present world. In
Heaven the angels fell from the divine presence; 6" The greatest safety man can have is to iw Paradise Adam lost his abode of pleasure: in fear nothing but God."
St. Bernard. A Human fear depresses, the fear of God exhj- viour." larates."
Cassian. 16 St. August. The ten lines marked with
inverted commas are a literal translation from ? Imitat. of Christ, L. III., c. 5. Ibid. c. 19,
(7.) The men of Science aim themselves to Say, is it much iudignities to bear,
When God for thee thy nature deign'd to wear
Lift or depress the man is still the same 27. Religion trims her lamp, as life retires 20. The happy, if they're wise, must all things fear; True faith, like gold into the furnace cast, Nor need th' unhappy, if they're good, desMaintains its sterling pureness to the last.
pair. Conscience will ev'ry pious act attest 21:
(10.) Hard is the task 'gainst nature's strength A silent panegyrist, but the best!
to strive : (8.) All chastisements for private use are giv'n; Perfection is the lot of none alive ; The revelations Personal of Heav'n 22 :
Or grant frail man could tread th' unerring road, But man in misery mistakes his road,
How could we suffer for the sake of God? Sighs for lost joys, and never turns to God 23. AMiction's ordeal, sharp, but brightly shines; Hearn more than meets her child with sorrows Sep'rates the gold”, and ev'ry vice calcines. try'd ;
In adverse fortune, when the storm runs high, Her dove brings olive, e'er the waves subside24. And sickness graves death's image on the eye, Man gives but once, and grudges when we sue; Nor wealth, nor rank, nor pow'r, assuage the Heav'n makes old gifts the precedents for new.
grief(9.) AMictions have their use of ev'ry kind ; Aşk God to send thee patience or reliefan, At once they humble, and exalt the mind : The infant Moses 'scap'd his wat'ry grave31. The ferment of the soul by just degrees
Heav'n half o'erwhelms the man it means to Refines the true clear spirit from the lees 25.
save! Boast as we will, and argue as we can,
(11.) Th’ambitious and the covetous desire? None ever knew the virtues of a man,
More than their worth deserves, or wants re Except affliction sists the four from bran26.
quire : 17 «It is gnod to know much and live well: But, ah ! their neighbour's pittance maims their
Not merely for the profit things may yield, but, if we cannot attain both, it is better to desire piety than learning : for knowledge makes no Thus, gain'd by force, or fraudulent design, man truly happy, nor doth happiness consist in the grapes of Naboth yield them blood for intellectual acquisitions. The only valuable thing is a religious life.”
Sti. Greg. Magn. Moral. And again: “That only is the best knowledge Time is truth's surest judge, and judges late: which makes us better.” 18 Imitat, of Christ.
27 Imitat. of Christ, L. III, c. 5. 20 Imitat, of Jesus Christ, L. II, c. 10.
28 Ibid. 21 As in water face answereth to face, so the
29 “ For gold is tried in the fire, and accepheart of man to man." Prov. xxvii, v. 19.
table men in the furuace of adversity.” “Thou canst avoid, sooner or later, whatever
Ecclus. c, ii, f. 5. molesteth thee, except thy own conscience.”
30 Imitat. of Christ, L. III, c. 5. Augustin. in Psalm xxx.
3! Exod, c. II, v. 5. 22 Imitat. of Jesus Christ, L. I, c. 13. “God causeth (affiictions) to come, either soul, gathereth for others, that shall spend his
32 “ He that gathereth by defrauding bis of for correctiou, or for his land, or for mercy."
goods riotously. A covetous man's eye is not saJob, c. xxxvii, v. 13.
tisfied with his portion, and the iniquity of the “ It is the work and providence of God's se
wicked drieth up his soul.” cret counsel, that the days of the elect should
Ecclus. c. xir. bé troubled in their pilgrimage. This present
33 “ Ahab's excuse to Naboth, when he said life is the way to our eternal abode: God therefore in his secret wisdom aftlicts our travel with give me thy vineyard that I may make it a garcontinual trouble, lest the delights of our jour pretences that avaricious and ambitious men
den of herbs, represents in a lively manner the ney might take away the desire of our journey's use, when they waut to make new acquisitions,
St. Greg. Mag. “ No servant of Christ is without amiction. If They lye to their consciences; asking a seeming you expect to be free from persecution, you have trifle, and meaning to obtain soinething rery va
St. Ambrose. not yet so much as begun to be a Christian."
“Woe unto them that covet fields, and take St. August.
them away by violence," Micah, c. ii, v. 2. 23 Imitat. of Christ, L. I, c. 11.
“ They enlarge their desire as Hell, and are as 24 Imitat. of Christ, ibid. See also Gen. c.
death, and cannot be satisfied: woe unto them viii, v. 11.
that encrease that which is not theirs." 25 (mitat. of Christ, L. I, c. 13.
Hab. c. ii, v. 5, 26 Ibid. Lib. I, c. 16. Lib. III, c. 12. See
34 Imitat, of Jesus Christ, L. 1, , 3, alzo Amos, C, iz, v. 3, and Luke c, xxii, v. 3i.
7 (12) Nothing but truth can claim a lasting
And, for thy guide, be he alone believ'd, But if vain glory prompts the tongue to boast,
There's still a rent, which wily Satan tearst: (13.) Flatt’ry and fame at death the vain for- A man may mend it, at returning light, sake,
But the arch-fiend undarns the work at night. And other knaves and fools their honours take36. Useless, O miser! are thy labours found; (11.) Tease not thy mind; nor run a restless And all thy vintage leaks on thirsty ground, round
Chimeric nonsense ! Riches unemploy'd
Is a mere Dioclesian to himself;
A Paula's 44 name is better known in Heav'n. But those who inake prophaneness stand for wit, (19.) Riches no more are ours, than are the Desp'rate apply the pigeons to their feet:
[laves. Bankrupts of sense, and impudently bad; Of yonder Rhyne, which our Mount-Agnas 45 Their judgment ruin'd, and their fancy mad! Th' impatient waters no continuance inake; Like Daniel's 37 goat 38 in th' insolence of youth, Adopt new owners, and their old forsake. Stars they displace, and overturn the truth. 40° As those who call for wines, beyond their (16.) He, who adopts religions, wrong or right,
share, Is not a convert, but an hypocrite :
Refund the draughts which nature cannot bear; Him, seeming what he is not, man esteems; (Whilst bile and gall corroding in their breast God hates him, for he is not what he seems. Demand a passage, and admit no rest :) The bull-rush thus a specious outside wears, Just so rapacious misers swell their store; Smooth as the shining rind the poplar bears : To di’monds di'monds add, and ore to ore; But strip the cor'ring of its polish'd skin, They gulp down wealth, -and, with heart pierAnd all is insubstantial sponge within.
cing pain, When not a whisper breaths upon the trees, And clay-cold qualms, discharge the load again. Unmov'd it stands, but bends with ev'ry breeze. Death bursts the casket, and the farce is o'er. It boasts th' ablution of a silver flood,
(Curst is that wealth, which never eas'd the But feeds on mire, and roots itself in mud.
[floor; (17.) Self-love is foolish, criminal, and vain39, Whilst fools and spendthrifts sweep it from the Therefore, O man, such partial views restrain : The gold of Ophyr 41 dazzles their weak eyes, And often take this cuunsel for a rule,
Turquoises 48 next their weaker minds surprise, To please one's self is but to please one fool40. Rich, deeply azur’d, like Italian skies. (18.) The alms we give, we keep: the alms
lost; those which thou charitably bestowest, are We lose : possessing only what we gave “,
42 Haggai, c. i, v. 6. 35 -Neque decipitur, neque decipit unquam.
Virg. 36 " There is no work that shows more art and 44 Paula was a Roman lady descended from industry than the texture of a spider's web. The the Graccbi and Scipios. Her husband was of delicate threads are so nicely disposed, and so the Julian race. After his decease, she gave curiously interwoven one with another, that you most of her possessions to the poor, and retired would think it produced by the labour of a ce- from Rome to a solitude at Bethlehem. That lestial being ; yet nothing in the event is more incomparable virgin Eustochium was her daughfragil and insubstantial. A breath of wind tears Both their histories are drawn at large by it to pieces, and carries it away. Just so are St. Jerom, and addressed to Eustochium. Paula worldly acquisitions made by men in exalted has written some excellent verses on religious stations, and reputedly wise and cunning." subjects.
Origen. She built a temple at Emmäus in honour of - 37 Dan. c. viii, v. 10, 11.
our Blessed Saviour. Her tomb is at Bethlehem. 28 The prophet here means, by the goat, the The inscription for her and her daughter was king of Greece, the region of vain philosophy. written by St. Jerom. Sandy's Trav. fol. 13).
19“ He that lovelb himself most, hath of all 139, &c. men the happiness of finding the fewest rivals.” 45. The name of the monastery where Kempis
Anon. Vet. resided. 40.56 He that pleaseth himself, pleaseth a 46 Part of this paragraph, is copied from Job, fool."
c. XX, v. 14, 15, 18. Cumpare also Job, C. " " There is that scattereth and yet increas- xxvii, v. 19, 20, 21. eth; and there is that withholding more than is 47 Gold of Ophir. See 1 Kings c. ix, v. 28. 1 meet, but it tendeth to poverty.”
Chron. xxix, v. 4. 2 Chron. viii, v. 18. Psalm
Prov. c. xi, v. 24. xlv, v. 9. Isaiah xiji. v. 12. “ The riches which thou treasurcst up, are 48 Turquoises. “ The true oriental turquoise