Billeder på siden


What's Shaftsbury's hairs-breadth morals at the He therefore best infers who steers by fact, 'change?

And weighs not reason's pow'r, but folly's act: Or Tindal's fitness at Philemon's Grange?

Which of these godlike ancients eren drew, Or solid reasoning to the headstrong youth, The whole of ethics justly round and true ? His tutor, pain, experiment his truth?

Had mission or to prophecy or preach, In short one sentence may the whole discuss | Sanction t' excite, authority to teach? As we with truth, truth coincides with us : Nay er'n their rule of morals and of life This boults the matter fairly to the bran, Was often wrong, oft various, oft at strife. And nothing more wits, bards, deans, doctors | Gainst state or priest they little durst impart,

Their lips scarce breath'd the truths that scorch'd Nature, like God, ne'er felt the least cay:

their heart. But human nature has, and oft she may : Hence Samos' sage the current faith advis'd, Full in the child th' unsinew'd sire appears, Hence Plato trimm'd his creeds, and temporiz'd, More weak by growth, more infantine by years ; And Greece for one man's 3 head, in holy rage, And ductile vice each new impression takes, (A strange example in that mod'rate age!) Passive as air, with ev'ry motion shakes. More art employ'd, inore premiums issu'd forth,

Like some true Roman dome mankind appears, Than all our modern deists' heads are worth. The pile impair’d, but not o'erwhelm'd by years: Nay balf the source of most the ancients knew, Ev'n the remains, strength, beauty, use, in part, From Noah they, as he from Eden drew: And faint, or rough, are equal proofs of art : Whence truth in secret pipes to Memphis pass; Yet nothing but the first creating hand

Thence straiņ'd thro' Jewry, water'd Asia last. Shall fill the shadowy lines, or new command, So Nilus wanders mystic in its flow, Bid the stretch'd roof to swell, the arch to bend, And columns tost from Tempe feed the Po. The wings to widen, and the front extend.

Now too, wit's Titans, spite of all their boast, Yet as true madmen most their friends suspect, But combat God with his own arms at most: So wits for this, shall ev'n their God reject. The truths they boast of, and the rules they Not that my verse right reason would control,

know, True freedom limit, or contract the soul : Seen not, or own'd not, first from Scripture flow. Th’exchange were one to bigotry from pride, So painters, us'd to copy, seem t'invent, A hair's-breadth serves to join them, or divide : of aid unconscious, and in theft content. Yet proper decencies must still be had,

Faith strikes the light, but pride assumes the Not meanly pious we, nor vainly mad:

fame, Reason, like Israel, Horeb's place descries, Sure, like th'oblig'd, t'efface her patron's name; But if she gazes wantonly, she dies :

For as when vig'rous breezes drive a feet, If well-attemper'd, her etherial light

Earth seems to stretch, and lab'ring floats to Will fix our slippery steps, and gild our night :

meet, Or else at most we run a rash career,

(Solid herself and fix): so here 'tis thus : Or fare like pilots, who by meteors steer. Nor we to God, but God accedes to us. For like a mark she's faithful to the view,

For, ah! ev'n here, where life a journey runs, But just as distance, force, and aim are true : Blest with new day-light and with nearer suns, Then guide and judge, and guardian of our ways, Virtue's dim lights by God's own band supplied, Test of our deeds, and umpire of our praise, With sanction strengthen’d, honour'd with a Source of our joy, and bound'ry of our grief,

guide, anchor of hope, and pilot of belief,

How few (except instructed first and led) True to the clear, unbiass'd, humble soul, Can thread the maze, or touch the fountain's Wbich trembling seeks her, as the steel its pole. Observe a mean twixt bigotry and pride, [head! Yet ah! how few ev'n ancient times beheld,

Hit the strait way, or err pot in the wide! (When Greece and Rome in arins and arts ex- If reason then scarce finishes the best, cell'l)

Th' unbias'd few, how fares it with the rest? Who thro'life's maze the steps of Nature trod, Wbere errour holds at least a dubious sway, Reason their guide, and truth their unknown god. A war of thoughts, and twilight of a day: The Stagyrite, who bold to Heav'n uvuld soar,

Where prepossession warps the ductile mind, Trembled at last to die and be no more:

Wbere blindfold education leads the blind : Gods, angels, glories op'd on Plato's view, Where interest biasses, ill customs guide, Yet judgment quench'd the flames which rapture and strong desires pour on us like a tide: blew :

Where insolence is never at a loss, Midst myriads, who but Socrates appears But saunters on to Heav'n, a saint in gross: The birthi, pride, effort, of three thousand years! Where wit must mince a gnat (its throat so Nothing the rest, or worse than nothing ineant:

sınall): God was but chance, and virtue but content : Where ignorance, an ostrich, gorges all : At best the hero's was an impious name:

Where zeal her unknown vow of fury keeps, Free patriots while they bled were slaves to fame: And superstition like an idiot weeps: Even Hell was fable, and their blest abodes, Where persecution lifts its iron rod, Of brutes a synod, or a mob of gods.

Bad for good ends, the butcher of the God: What bramio yet, what sage of Rome or Where pride still listuing to herself appears, (reece,

New forms Earth's orbit, and new rolst the Ere forin'd one moral system of a piece?

spueres, Or half an altar rais'd, or duty paid, l'nmix'd with rituals, bomage, inystry, shade?

3 Diagoras,

Holds ev'n th’ Almighty in her airy chain, And oh, when interest every virtuc hides,
Gives back his laws, well meant, but meant in When errour blinds, and prejudice misguides,
Its bravery at best a blundering hit, (vain; Alike thy grace, alike thy truth impart,
Its freedom treason, obloquy its wit :

Beam on my soul, and triumph o'er my heart,
Its vast request just purely to declaim,

Touslet me live unheard of, or forgot, And the dear little licence-to blaspheme:- My wealth content, praise, silence, truth my lot: Say, can cool virtue here dissuade from ill? Thy word, O God! my science and delight, Or exil'd reason—pander to the will?

Task of my day and transport of my night: At most a voice or miracle may save,

There tanghi that he who suffers is but tried, And only terrours snatch us from the grave. And he who wonders still may find a guide;

Suppose (though we disown it oft to be) Sanction with truth, reward with virtue join'd, Man from these errours and these passions free: Life without end, and laws that reach the mind ! Well taught by art, by nature well inclin'd, Happy the man that such a guide can take, Steady of judgment, tractable of mind,

Whose character is, never to forsake,
The first step is, the giving folly o'er ;
The last, to practice truth, is ten times more,

Ah me! what lengths of valley yet remain,
What hills to climb, ere reason's beight he gain?

TO THE PRINCE OF ORANGE, What strength to toil, what labour to pursue,

ON HIS PASSING THROUGH OXFORD IN HIS RETURN Still out of reach, and often out of view.

Then, gracious God, how well dost thou provide
For erring reason an unerring guide!

At length, in pity to a nation's prayer,
To silence explanation (mystry's fue),

Thou liv'st, o Nassau, Providence's care! To lead the tim'rous, and exalt the low :

Life's sun, which lately with a dubious ray Er'n to the best (as all are oft perplext)

Gave the last gleams of a short glorious day, Instructive, as true comments on a text. Again with more than noon-tide lustre burns ; Then let each hour's new whim the witlings The dial brightens, and the line returns. swell,

Some guardian power, who o'er thy fate pres Heav'n let them tutor, and extinguish Hell:

sides, Refuse to trust Omniscience on its troth, Whose eyes unerring Albion's welfare guides, Yet take a lawyer's word, or harlot's oath : Taught yonderstreams with new-felt force to flow, Then bigots, when 'gainst bigots they complain; And bade th' exalted minerals doubly glow. And only singular, because they're vain.

Thus cold and motionless Bethesda stood, Grant none but they the narrow path can hit Till heavenly influence brooded o'er the flood. When will two wits allow each other wit?

Lo! while our isle with one loud pæan rings, Far other views the solid mind employ, Equal, though silent, homage Isis brings; A bounded prospect, but a surer joy :

Isis, whose erring on the modest side True knowledge when she conquers or abstains, Th' unhind and ignorant mistake for pride. Like the true hero, equal glory gains.

Here's the task of reason, not of art, This, this is science, sacreil in its end,

Words of the mind, and actions of the heart! True to the views of Heav'n,one's self, and friend, And sure that unbought praise which learning The earliest study, as the latest care,

brings The surest refuge, and the only pray'r.

Outweighs the vast acclaim that deafens kings;
O thou, the God, who high in Heav'n pre- For souls, supremely sensible and great,

[guides, See through the farve of noise,and pomp of state;
Whose eye o'ersees me, and whose wisdom Mark when the fools huzza, or wise rejoice,
Deal me that portion of content and rest, [best : And judge exactly between sound and voice.
That unknown health, and peace, which suit me Hail, and proceed! be arts like ours thy care,
Save me from all the guilt and all the pain, Nor slight those laurels thou wert born to wear ;
That lust of pleasure brings, and lust of gain: Adorn and emulate thy glorious line,
In trial fix me, and in peril shade,

Take thy forefather's worth, and give them thine.
'Gainst foes protect me, 'gainst my passions aid : Blest with each gift that human hearts can move,
In wealth my guardian, and in want my guide, In science blest, but doubly blest in love.
'Twixt a mean flattery, and drunken pride : Power, beauty, virtue, dignify thy choice,
With life's more dear sensations warm my heart, Each public suffrage, and each private voice.
Transport to feel, benevolence t' impart,
Each homefelt joy, each public duty send,

From the Epithalamia Oxoniensia, &ce
Make me, and give me, all things in the friend.

1734. K.
But most protect and guard me in a mind
Not rashly bold, nor abjectly resigned.

[ocr errors][merged small]




Deus ora movet : Sequar ora moventem
Rite Deum !

to conjecture. Nor shall it be dissembled, but THE AMAPANTHINE CROWN DESCRIBED BY MILION. that I had a great inclination to give a paraA crown inwove with amarant and gold; phrase (or metaphrase rather) of the xxviiith Immortal Amarant! a flow'r which once

chapter of Deuteronomy; which, I believe, hath In Paradise fast by the tree of life

never yet been turned into English verse. It is Pegan to bloom ; but soon for man's offence 1

doubtless one of the noblest pieces of poetry in To Heav'n remov'd, where first it grow; there Holy Scripture; being at the same time sublime, grows,

and yet plain ; seemingly fainiliar, and yet And flow'rs aloft, shading the fount of life. richly diversified. Par. Lost, 1. III, v. 352. In this chapter, the change of ideas and events

from a state of obedience to a state of disobedi.

ence, exhibits a power of language, imagery, and PREFACE.

just thinking, which no un-inspired writings erer I Shall not trouble the public with excuses for have laid claim to with justice, or ever shall. renturing to send these Religious Poems into the But, when I came to take a closer view of the preworld; having long since observed, that all apo- cipice and its dangers, “my heart tremblcd," as Jogies made by authors, far from gaining the end Job says, “and was moved out of its place;" I proposed, serve only to supply an ill-natured threw down the pencil in despair, and left the critic with weapons to attack them. This being undertaking to some abler hand; namely, to the case, it shall sufice me to say, that I drew some future Milton, Dryden, or Pope. up the present writings for my own private con- Upon the whole, I may perhaps venture to solation under a lingering and dangerous state of persuade myself, that the intention of the prehealth, which it has pleased God to make my sent work is commendable, and that the work portion: nor had I any better opportunity or when perused, may prove useful (more or less) power of discharging the duties of my profession to my fellow-christians. to mankind. The goodness of my cause may Conscious of my own inabilities, and being deperhaps supply the defects of my poetry; since, sirous that the reader may receive soine ad. in this sense, "the very gleanings of the grapes of vantage by casting his eyes over these poems, I Ephraim will be better than the vintage of Abie- have added in a few potes, the most remarkable zer.” I promise my readers no extraordinary art passages I had an eye to in the Holy Scriptures, in composition or style; but flatter myself they and in the writings of the primitive fathers; will find some nature, some flame, and some they being the only compass and charts which I truth.

have made use of in my navigation. Parables, fables, emblematic visi

A mixture of pleasing and instructive poetry the most ancient method of conveying truth to cannot fail to engage the attention of all rational mankind. Upwards of forty of the finest and and serious readers : “For, as it is hurtful to drink most poetical parts of the Old and New Testa- wine, or water, alone ; and as wine mingled ment are of this cast, and force their way upon wth water is pleasant, and delighteth the taste; the mind and heart irresistibly, though they are even so speech, finely framed, delighteth the written in prose.

ears of them that read the story." From a just sense of this humble simplicity, I

2 MACCAB. Ch. ult. v. ult. bave here translated the plainest and least figurative parable that our Blessed Saviour has delivered to us, relating only to a few un-ornament. CHRIST'S PARABLE OF THE ed circumstances in agriculture.

SOWER. To express such humble allusions with clear- I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open ness, propriety, and dignity, was, it must be con

my dark saying upon the harp. Psalm xlix, fessed, one of the hardest pieces of poetry I ever

V. 4. yet undertook; nevertheless, I flattered myself All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude that I was in some degree master of one part of

in parables. Without a parable spake he not the subject (namely, the culture of land) upon

unto them. Matth. C. xiii, v. 34. which the parable is founded.

A wise man will hear, and increase learning, Yet the great and real difficulty still recurred;

and a man of understanding shall attain unto Difficile est propriè communia dicere.

wise counsels: to understand a proverb (a How far I have succeeded in this, or any other

parable) and the interpretation; the words of

ihe wise, and their dark sayings. Prov. c, i. particular, is more than I shall take upon me

V. 5, 6.

&c. are

[ocr errors]



HEN vernal show'rs and sunsbine had uns LONG e'er th’ Ascréan bard i bad learnt to

The frozen bosom of the torpid ground, sing,

[bound Or Homer's fingers touch'd the speaking string ; To wake the flow'rs and vivify the air,

When breezes from the western world repair Long e'er the supplemental arts bad found

Th’industrious peasant left his early bed, Th' embroid'ry of auxiliary sound;

And o'er the fields his seeds for harvest spread, The Hear'n-born Muse the paths of nature chose: Emblems and fables her whole mind disclose,

With equal hand, and at a distance due, Victorious o'er the soul with energy of prose!

(Impartially to ev'ry furrow true)

The life-supporting grain he justly threw'.
True poetry, like Ophir's gold, endures

As was the culture, such was the return;
All trials, yet its purity sccures;
Invert, disjoint it, change its very name,

Of weeds a forest, or a grove of corn,

But, where he dealt the gift on grateful soils, The essence of the thoughts remains the same. Something there is, which endless charms affords,

Harvests of industry o'er-paid his toils.

Some seeds by chance on brashy 3 grounds he And stamps the majesty of trnth on words. The son of Gideon, 'midst Cherizim's snow,

threw, Unskill'd in numbers taught the stream to flow,

And some the winds to flinty head-lands blew;

Sudden they mounted, pre-mature of birth, With conscious pridc disdain'd the aids of art,

But pin’d and sicken’d, unsupply'd with earth e And pour'd a full conviction on the heart: His Cedar, Fig-tree, and the Bry'r convey

Whilst burning suns their vital juice exhald, The bighest notions in the humnblest way a.

And, as the roots decay'd, the foliage fail'd. In Nathan's fable strong and mild conspire,

Some seeds he ventur'd on ungrateful lands, The suppliant's meekness and the poet's fire:

Tough churlish clays, and loose unthrifty sands; Till waken'd nature bade the tears to flow,

The step-dame soil refus’d a nurse's care: And David's muse assum'd the voice of woe .

The plants were sickly, juiceless, pale, and bare.

On trodden paths a casual portion fell:
The wise, all-knowing Saviour of mankind
Mix'd ease with strength, and truth with em-

Condemn'd in scanty penury to dwell,
blem join'd:

And half-deny'd the matrix of a cell; Omniscience, vested with full pow'r to choose,

While other seeds, less fortunate than they, O’erlooks the strong, nor does the weak refuse's. Slept, starv'd and naked, on the hard high-way, Leaves pageantry of means to feebler man,

From frost defenceless, and to birds a prey.

Here daws with riotous excesses feed,
And builds the noblest, on the plainest plan:
Divine simplicity the work befriends,

And choughs, the cormorants of grain, succeeds And humble causes reach sublimest ends.

Next wily pigeons take their silent stand, True flame of verse, O sanctifying fire 6!

And sparrows last, the gleaners of the land. Warm not my genius, but my heart inspire !

Another portion mock'd the seedsman's toil, On my cleans'd lips permit the coals to dwell

Dispens'd upon a rich, but weedy soil:

Fat unctuous juices gorg'd the rank-fed root;
Which from thy altar on Isaiah fell 7 !
Cancel the world's applause; and give thy grace Hence, where the life-supplying grain was spread,

And plethories of sap produc'd no fruit.
To me, the meanest of the tuneful race.
Teach ine the words of Jesus to impart

The rav’nous dock uprears its iniscreant head;

Insatiate thistles, tyrants of the plains ;
With energy of pow'r, but free froin art.
Thy emanations light and heat dispense;

And lurid-hemloc, ting'd with puis'nous stains, To sucklings speech, to children eloquence !

What these might spare, th' incroaching thorns

demand; Like Habakkuk 8, I copy, no indite; Tim'rous like him, I tremble whilst I write!

Exhaust earth's virtue, and perplex the land 4 But Jeremiah with new boldness sung,

At ļast, of precious grain a chosen share When inspiration rush'd upon his tongue 9.

Was sown on pre-dilected land with care; The pow'rs of sacred poesy were giv'n

(A cultur'd spot, accustom'd to receive By Him that bears the signature of Heav'n '.

All previous aids that industry can give ;) Hesiod.

2 Jotham.

• “Bless God, who hath given thee two de 3 sce the whole parable, Judg. c. ix. v. 7--21.

narii, namely, the law and the gospel, in res On this occasion David composed the 50th compence for thy submission and labour.” Psalm.

Chrysost. Hom. in Luc. c. 10. s It is the uniform doctrine of Scripture,

• “They that fear the Lord are a sure seed, and " That flight shall perish from the swift, and they that love him an honourable plant: they the strong shall not strengthen his force, neither

that regard not the law, are a dishonourable shall the mighty deliver himself.” Amos, c. ii. seed: they that transgress the commandments,

are a deceitful seed." E clus. C. X. v. 19. V. 14. 6 Rom. c. xv. v.16. 2 Thess. c. ii, v, 13. 1 Pet.

3 Brashy lands, in an husbandry-sense, sigc. i. v. 2.

nify lands that are dry, shallow, gravelly, and 7 Isaiah c. vij. v. 6.

pebbly. Such sort of grounds the old Romans 8 Hab. c. ii. y. 2.

called glareous : • Jer. c. i. v. 6, &c. 8, 9.

- Jejuna quidem clivosi glarea ruris. John, c, vi. ver. 27.

Virg. Georg. II. * See Hosea, C. X V. 4 and 8.


The well-turn'd soil with auburn brightness shone, | Whenever adverse fortune choaks the way, Mellow'd with nitrous air and genial sun: When danger threats, or clouds o'ercast the day An harmony of mould, by nature mixt!

This plant of casualty, unfix'd at root, Not light as air, nor as a cement fix'd:

Shakes with the blast, and casts bis unripe fruit; Just firm enough tembrace the thriving root, But, when the storms of poverty arise, Yet give free expanse to the fibrous shoot; And persecution ev'ry virtue tries, Dilating, when disturb’d by lab’ring hands, Mindless of God, and trusting to himself, And smelling sweet, when show'rs refresh the He strands Heav'n's freightage on a dang'rous lands.

(tain, Averse to learn, and more averse to bear, (shelf. Scarce could the reapers' arms the sheaves con- He sinks, the abject victim of despair! And the full garuers swell’d with golden grain; The men of pow'r and pomp resemble seeds Unlike the harvests of degen’rate days,

Sown on rich earth, but choak'd with thorns and One omer sown, one hundred-fold repays:

weeds. Rich product, to a bountiful excess!

Religion strikes them, but they shun the thought; Nor ought we more to ask, nor more possess. Behold the profit, and yet profit nought. The harvest overcomes the reapers' toil ;

Heav'n's high rewards they silently contemn, So feble is the hind, so strong the soill.

And think the present world suffices them. Man's Saviour thus his parable exprest;

Mean-while ambition leads the soul astray,
He that hath ears to hear, may feel the rest. Far from its natal walk, th' ethereal way;

Int'rest assassins friendship ev'ry hour,

Truth warps to custom conscience bends to porir,

Till ail the cultivating band receives The gift of knowing is to all men giv'n ;

Is empty blossom, and death-blasted leaves. All know, but few perform, the will of Heav'n ; Idiots in judgment, baffled o'er and o'er; They hear the sound, but miss the sense convey'd, Still the same bait, still circumvented more ; And lose the substance, whilst they view the Self-victims of the cunning they adore ! shade.

Wise without wisdom, busy to no end ; When specious doctrines horer round a mind

Man still their foe, and Heav'n itself no friend ! Which is not vitally with Heav'n conjoin'd, The chosen seed, on cultur'd ground, are they The visionary objects float and pass

Who humbly tread the evangelic way. Transient as figures gliding o'er a glass :

The road to Heav'n is uniform and plain : Each but a momentary visit makes,

All other paths are serpentine and vain. And each supplies the place the last forsakes. - The true disciple takes the word reveal'd, Satan for ever fond to be employ'd,

Nor rushes on the sanctu'ry conceal'd, (And changing minds ev'n ask to be destroy'd 7,) Whilst empty reas’ners emptiest arts employ; Marks well th’infirm of faith ; and soon supplies Nothing they build, and all things they destroy! Phantoms of truth, and substances of lyes :

The provident of Heav'n unlocks, Killing the dying, he a conquest gains; To clothe the naked, and to feed the poor: And, from a little, steals the poor remains. To each man gen'rous, and to each man just, Reason, man's guardian, by neglect, or sleep, Conscious of a depositary trust. Loses that castle, he was meant to keep.

Patient of censure, yet condemning none : The seeds upon a flinty surface cast,

Placid to all, accountable to One. Denote the worldly-wise, who think in haste:

Ev’n in prosperity he fears no loss, Who change, for changing's sake, from right | Expects a change, and starts not at the cross.

All injuries by patience he surmounts; Constant to nothing, and in nothing long; All suff'rings God's own med'cines he accounts: To day they hear the word of God with joy, To morrow they the word of God destroy;

8 « We are all careful about small matters, Indiff rent, to assert or to deny:

and negligent in the greatest ; of which this is With zeal they flatter, and with zeal decry. the reason, we know not where true felicity is." Such is the fool of wit ! who strives with pains

St. Hieron. To luse that paradise the peasant gains.

9 The preacher writes beautifully upon this

subject. Ecclus. C. ii. “My son, if thou come 5 Imbecillior colonus quàm ager. Columella. to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for trial,

6 " To sin against knowledge is a greater of- set thy heart aright, and constantly endure, and fence than an ignorant trespass; in proportion make not haste in time of trouble;” i. e. be not as a fault, which is capable of no excuse, is impatient to get over thy trouble. “ Cleare unto more heinous than a fault which admits of a to him, and depart not away, that thou mayest be Jerable defence J. Mart. Resp. ad Orthod. increased at thy last end. Whatsoever is brought " Ignorance will not excuse sin, when it is a sin upon thee take cheerfully, and be patient when in itself."

thou art changed to a low estate. For gold is Anon. Vet.

tried in the fire, and acceptable men in the fur7“ He that is idle tempts Satan to set him to nace of adversity. Look at the generations of work.”

Chrysost. Hom. old, and see, did ever any trust in the Lord and Pious Jeremy Taylor once said to a lady, was confounded? or did any abide in his fear “ Madam, if you do not employ your children, and was forsaken? or whom did he ever despise, the devil will.” The son of Sirach gives also the that called upon him? for the Lord is full of following advice : “ Send thy son to labour, that compassion and mercy; he forgiveth sins, and be be not idle ; for idleness teacheth much evil,” saveth in time of affliction-Wo be to the siuner

C. xxxiij, v. 27. that goeth two ways;" i, e. that bath recourse

to wrong,

« ForrigeFortsæt »