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What's Shaftsbury's hairs-breadth morals at the

Or Tindal's fitness at Philemon's Grange?
Or solid reasoning to the headstrong youth,
His tutor, pain, experiment his truth?

In short one sentence may the whole discuss
As we with truth, truth coincides with us :
This boults the matter fairly to the bran,
And nothing more wits, bards, deans, doctors


Nature, like God, ne'er felt the least decay:
But human nature has, and oft she may:
Full in the child th' unsinew'd sire appears,
More weak by growth, more infantine by years;
And ductile vice each new impression takes,
Passive as air, with ev'ry motion shakes.

Like some true Roman dome mankind appears,
The pile impair'd, but not o'erwhelm'd by years:
Ev'n the remains, strength, beauty, use, in part,
And faint, or rough, are equal proofs of art:
Yet nothing but the first creating hand
Shall fill the shadowy lines, or new command,
Bid the stretch'd roof to swell, the arch to bend,
The wings to widen, and the front extend.
Yet as true madmen most their friends suspect,
So wits for this, shall ev'n their God reject.

Not that my verse right reason would control,
True freedom limit, or contract the soul:
Th' exchange were one to bigotry from pride,
A hair's-breadth serves to join them, or divide:
Yet proper decencies must still be had,
Not meanly pious we, nor vainly mad:
Reason, like Israel, Horeb's place descries,
But if she gazes wantonly, she dies:
If well-attemper'd, her etherial light
Will fix our slippery steps, and gild our night:
Or else at most we run a rash career,
Or fare like pilots, who by meteors steer.
For like a mark she's faithful to the view,
But just as distance, force, and aim are true :
Then guide and judge, and guardian of our ways,
Test of our deeds, and umpire of our praise,
Source of our joy, and bound'ry of our grief,
Anchor of hope, and pilot of belief,
True to the clear, unbiass'd, humble soul,
Which trembling seeks her, as the steel its pole.
Yet ah! how few ev'n ancient times beheld,
(When Greece and Rome in arins and arts ex-

Who thro' life's maze the steps of Nature trod,
Reason their guide, and truth their unknown god.
The Stagyrite, who bold to Heav'n would soar,
Trembled at last to die and be no more:
Gods, angels, glories op'd on Plato's view,
Yet judgment quench'd the flames which rapture


Midst myriads, who but Socrates appears
The birth, pride, effort, of three thousand years!
Nothing the rest, or worse than nothing ineant:
God was but chance, and virtue but content :
At best the hero's was an impious name:
Free patriots while they bled were slaves to fame:
Even Hell was fable, and their blest abodes,
Of brutes a synod, or a mob of gods.

He therefore best infers who steers by fact,
And weighs not reason's pow'r, but folly's act:
Which of these godlike ancients even drew,
The whole of ethics justly round and true?
Had mission or to prophecy or preach,
Sanction t' excite, authority to teach?
Nay ev'n their rule of morals and of life
Was often wrong, oft various, oft at strife.
'Gainst state or priest they little durst impart,
Their lips scarce breath'd the truths that scorch'd
their heart.

Hence Samos' sage the current faith advis'd,
Hence Plato trimm'd his creeds, and temporiz'd,
And Greece for one man's 3 head, in holy rage,
(A strange example in that mod'rate age!)
More art employ'd, more premiums issu'd forth,
Than all our modern deists' heads are worth.

Nay half the source of most the ancients knew,
From Noah they, as he from Eden drew:
Whence truth in secret pipes to Memphis pass;
Thence strain'd thro' Jewry, water'd Asia last.
So Nilus wanders mystic in its flow,
And columns tost from Tempe feed the Po.

Now too, wit's Titans, spite of all their boast,
But combat God with his own arms at most:
The truths they boast of, and the rules they

Seen not, or own'd not, first from Scripture flow.
So painters, us'd to copy, seem t' invent,
Of aid unconscious, and in theft content.
Faith strikes the light, but pride assumes the

Sure, like th' oblig'd, t'efface her patron's name;
For as when vig'rous breezes drive a fleet,
Earth seems to stretch, and lab'ring floats to

(Solid herself and fix): so here 'tis thus:
Nor we to God, but God accedes to us.

For, ah! ev'n here, where life a journey runs,
Blest with new day-light and with nearer suns,
Virtue's dim lights by God's own hand supplied,
With sanction strengthen'd, honour'd with a

How few (except instructed first and led)

Can thread the maze, or touch the fountain's
Observe a mean twixt bigotry and pride, [head!
Hit the strait way, or err not in the wide!

If reason then scarce finishes the best,
Th' unbias'd few, how fares it with the rest?
Where errour holds at least a dubious sway,
A war of thoughts, and twilight of a day:
Where prepossession warps the ductile mind,
Where blindfold education leads the blind:
Where interest biasses, ill customs guide,
And strong desires pour on us like a tide :
Where insolence is never at a loss,

But saunters on to Heav'n, a saint in gross:
Where wit must mince a gnat (its throat so

Where ignorance, an ostrich, gorges all:
Where zeal her unknown vow of fury keeps,
And superstition like an idiot weeps:
Where persecution lifts its iron rod,
Bad for good ends, the butcher of the God:

What bramin yet, what sage of Rome or Where pride still list'ning to herself appears,

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New forms Earth's orbit, and new rolls the


• Diagoras.

Holds ev'n th' Almighty in her airy chain,
Gives back his laws, well meant, but meant in
Its bravery at best a blundering hit, [vain;
Its freedom treason, obloquy its wit:
Its vast request just purely to declaim,

And the dear little licence-to blaspheme :-
Say, can cool virtue here dissuade from ill?
Or exil'd reason-pander to the will?
At most a voice or miracle may save,
And only terrours snatch us from the grave.
Suppose (though we disown it oft to be)
Man from these errours and these passions free:
Well taught by art, by nature well inclin'd,
Steady of judgment, tractable of mind,
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 height he gain?
What strength to toil, what labour to pursue,
Still out of reach, and often out of view.

Then, gracious God, how well dost thou provide
For erring reason an unerring guide!
To silence explanation (myst'ry's foe),
To lead the tim'rous, and exalt the low:
Ev'n to the best (as all are oft perplext)
Instructive, as true comments on a text.
Then let each hour's new whim the witlings

Heav'n let them tutor, and extinguish Hell?
Refuse to trust Omniscience on its troth,
Yet take a lawyer's word, or harlot's oath:
Then bigots, when 'gainst bigots they complain;
And only singular, because they're vain.
Grant none but they the narrow path can hit-
When will two wits allow each other wit?

And oh, when interest every virtue hides,
When errour blinds, and prejudice misguides,
Alike thy grace, alike thy truth impart,
Beam on my soul, and triumph o'er my heart.

Thus let me live unheard of, or forgot,
My wealth content, praise, silence, truth my lot:
Thy word, O God! my science and delight,
Task of my day and transport of my night:
There taught that he who suffers is but tried,
And he who wonders still may find a guide;
Sanction with truth, reward with virtue join'd,
Life without end, and laws that reach the mind I
Happy the man that such a guide can take,
Whose character is, never to forsake,

Far other views the solid mind employ,
A bounded prospect, but a surer joy :—
True knowledge when she conquers or abstains,
Like the true hero, equal glory gains.
This, this is science, sacred in its end,
True to the views of Heav'n,one's self, and friend,
The earliest study, as the latest care,
The surest refuge, and the only pray'r.
O thou, the God, who high in Heav'n pre-
Whose eye o'ersees me, and whose wisdom
Deal me that portion of content and rest, [best:
That unknown health, and peace, which suit me
Save me from all the guilt and all the pain,
That lust of pleasure brings, and lust of gain:
In trial fix me, and in peril shade,
'Gainst foes protect me, 'gainst my passions aid:
In wealth my guardian, and in want my guide,
'Twixt a mean flattery, and drunken pride:
With life's more dear sensations warm my heart,
Transport to feel, benevolence t' impart,
Each homefelt joy, each public duty send,
Make me, and give me, all things in the friend.
But most protect and guard me in a mind
Not rashly bold, nor abjectly resigned,



AT length, in pity to a nation's prayer,
Thou liv'st, O Nassau, Providence's care!
Life's sun, which lately with a dubious ray
Gave the last gleams of a short glorious day,
Again with more than noon-tide lustre burns;
The dial brightens, and the line returns.

Some guardian power, who o'er thy fate pre


Whose eyes unerring Albion's welfare guides,
Taught yonder streams with new-felt force to flow,
And bade th' exalted minerals doubly glow.
Thus cold and motionless Bethesda stood,
Till heavenly influence brooded o'er the flood.

Lo! while our isle with one loud paan rings,
Equal, though silent, homage Isis brings;
Isis, whose erring on the modest side
Th' unkind and ignorant mistake for pride.
Here's the task of reason, not of art,
Words of the mind, and actions of the heart!
And sure that unbought praise which learning

Outweighs the vast acclaim that deafens kings;
For souls, supremely sensible and great,
See through the farce of noise, and pomp of state;
Mark when the fools huzza, or wise rejoice,
And judge exactly between sound and voice.

Hail, and proceed! be arts like ours thy care,
Nor slight those laurels thou wert born to wear :
Adorn and emulate thy glorious line,
Take thy forefather's worth, and give them thine.
Blest with each gift that human hearts can move,
In science blest, but doubly blest in love.

Power, beauty, virtue, dignify thy choice,
Each public suffrage, and each private voice.

'From the Epithalamia Oxoniensia, & 1734. K.

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A CROWN inwove with amarant and gold;
Immortal Amarant! a flow'r which once
In Paradise fast by the tree of life
Began to bloom; but soon for man's offence
To Heav'n remov'd, where first it grew; there


And flow'rs aloft, shading the fount of life.

Par. Lost, 1. III, v. 352.


I SHALL not trouble the public with excuses for venturing to send these Religious Poems into the world; having long since observed, that all apologies made by authors, far from gaining the end proposed, serve only to supply an ill-natured critic with weapons to attack them. This being the case, it shall suface me to say, that I drew up the present writings for my own private consolation under a lingering and dangerous state of health, which it has pleased God to make my portion: nor had I any better opportunity or power of discharging the duties of my profession to mankind. The goodness of my cause may perhaps supply the defects of my poetry; since, in this sense, "the very gleanings of the grapes of Ephraim will be better than the vintage of Abiezer." I promise my readers no extraordinary art in composition or style; but flatter myself they will find some nature, some flame, and some truth.

Parables, fables, emblematic visions, &c. are the most ancient method of conveying truth to mankind. Upwards of forty of the finest and most poetical parts of the Old and New Testament are of this cast, and force their way upon the mind and heart irresistibly, though they are written in prose.

From a just sense of this humble simplicity, I have here translated the plainest and least figurative parable that our Blessed Saviour has delivered to us, relating only to a few un-ornamented circumstances in agriculture.

To express such humble allusions with clearness, propriety, and dignity, was, it must be confessed, one of the hardest pieces of poetry I ever yet undertook; nevertheless, I flattered myself that I was in some degree master of one part of the subject (namely, the culture of land) upon which the parable is founded.

Yet the great and real difficulty still recurred; Difficile est propriè communia dicere.— How far I have succeeded in this, or any other particular, is more than I shall take upón me

to conjecture. Nor shall it be dissembled, but that I had a great inclination to give a paraphrase (or metaphrase rather) of the xxviiith chapter of Deuteronomy; which, I believe, hath never yet been turned into English verse. It is doubtless one of the noblest pieces of poetry in Holy Scripture; being at the same time sublime, and yet plain; seemingly familiar, and yet richly diversified.

In this chapter, the change of ideas and events from a state of obedience to a state of disobedience, exhibits a power of language, imagery, and just thinking, which no un-inspired writings ever have laid claim to with justice, or ever shall. But, when I came to take a closer view of the precipice and its dangers, "ny heart trembled," as Job says, "and was moved out of its place;" I threw down the pencil in despair, and left the undertaking to some abler hand; namely, to some future Milton, Dryden, or Pope.

Upon the whole, I may perhaps venture to persuade myself, that the intention of the present work is commendable, and that the work when perused, may prove useful (more or less) to my fellow-christians.

Conscious of my own inabilities, and being desirous that the reader may receive soine advantage by casting his eyes over these poems, I have added in a few notes, the most remarkable passages I had an eye to in the Holy Scriptures, and in the writings of the primitive fathers; they being the only compass and charts which I have made use of in my navigation.

A mixture of pleasing and instructive poetry cannot fail to engage the attention of all rational and serious readers: "For, as it is hurtful to drink wine, or water, alone; and as wine mingled wth water is pleasant, and delighteth the taste; even so speech, finely framed, delighteth the ears of them that read the story."

2 MACCAB. Ch. ult. v. ult.


I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp. PSALM xlix, v. 4.

All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude

in parables. Without a parable spake he not unto them. MATTH. c. xiii. v. 34.

A wise man will hear, and increase learning, and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: to understand a proverb (a parable) and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. PROV. c. i. v. 5, 6.


LONG e'er th' Ascréan bard had learnt to

Or Homer's fingers touch'd the speaking string;
Long e'er the supplemental arts had found
Th' embroid'ry of auxiliary sound;

The Heav'n-born Muse the paths of nature chose:
Emblems and fables her whole mind disclose,
Victorious o'er the soul with energy of prose!
True poetry, like Ophir's gold, endures
All trials, yet its purity secures;
Invert, disjoint it, change its very name,
The essence of the thoughts remains the same.
Something there is, which endless charms affords,
And stamps the majesty of truth on words.

The son of Gideon', 'midst Cherizim's snow,
Unskill'd in numbers taught the stream to flow,
With conscious pridc disdain'd the aids of art,
And pour'd a full conviction on the heart:
His Cedar, Fig-tree, and the Bry'r convey
The highest notions in the humblest way.

In Nathan's fable strong and mild conspire,
The suppliant's meekness and the poet's fire:
Till waken'd nature bade the tears to flow,
And David's muse assum'd the voice of woe 4.
The wise, all-knowing Saviour of mankind
Mix'd ease with strength, and truth with em-
blem join'd:

Omniscience, vested with full pow'r to choose,
O'erlooks the strong, nor does the weak refuse 3:
Leaves pageantry of means to feebler man,
And builds the noblest, on the plainest plan:
Divine simplicity the work befriends,
And humble causes reach sublimest ends.

True flame of verse, O sanctifying fire 6!
Warm not my genius, but my heart inspire!
On my cleans'd lips permit the coals to dwell
Which from thy altar on Isaiah fell 7!
Cancel the world's applause; and give thy grace
To me, the meanest of the tuneful race.
Teach ine the words of Jesus to impart
With energy of pow'r, but free from art.
Thy emanations light and heat dispense;
To sucklings speech, to children eloquence!-
Like Habakkuk 8, I copy, no indite;
Tim'rous like him, I tremble whilst I write !
But Jeremiah with new boldness sung,
When inspiration rush'd upon his tongue 9.
The pow'rs of sacred poesy were giv❜n
By Him that bears the signature of Heav'n '.

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WHEN vernal show'rs and sunshine had un-
The frozen bosom of the torpid ground, [bound
To wake the flow'rs and vivify the air,
When breezes from the western world repair
Th' industrious peasant left his early bed,
And o'er the fields his seeds for harvest spread,
With equal hand, and at a distance due,
(Impartially to ev'ry furrow true)

The life-supporting grain he justly threw'.
As was the culture, such was the return;
Of weeds a forest, or a grove of corn.
But, where he dealt the gift on grateful soils,
Harvests of industry o'er-paid his toils.

Some seeds by chance on brashy 3 grounds he


And some the winds to flinty head-lands blew ;
Sudden they mounted, pre-mature of birth,
But pin'd and sicken'd, unsupply'd with earth
Whilst burning suns their vital juice exhal'd,
And, as the roots decay'd, the foliage fail'd.

Some seeds he ventur'd on ungrateful lands,
Tough churlish clays, and loose unthrifty sands;
The step-dame soil refus'd a nurse's care:
The plants were sickly, juiceless, pale, and bare.
On trodden paths a casual portion fell:
Condemn'd in scanty penury to dwell,
And half-deny'd the matrix of a cell;
While other seeds, less fortunate than they,
Slept, starv'd and naked, on the hard high-way,
From frost defenceless, and to birds a prey.
Here daws with riotous excesses feed,
And choughs, the cormorants of grain, succeed
Next wily pigeons take their silent stand,
And sparrows last, the gleaners of the land.

Another portion mock'd the seedsman's toil,
Dispens'd upon a rich, but weedy soil:
Fat unctuous juices gorg'd the rank-fed root;
Hence, where the life-supplying grain was spread.
And plethories of sap produc'd no fruit.
The rav'nous dock uprears its miscreant head;
Insatiate thistles, tyrants of the plains;

And lurid-hemloc, ting'd with pois'nous stains.
What these might spare, th' incroaching thorns

Exhaust earth's virtue, and perplex the land
At last, of precious grain a chosen share
Was sown on pre-dilected land with care;
(A cultur'd spot, accustom'd to receive
All previous aids that industry can give ;)

"Bless God, who hath given thee two de narii, namely, the law and the gospel, in re compence for thy submission and labour." Chrysost. Hom. in Luc. c. 10.

"They that fear the Lord are a sure seed, and they that love him an honourable plant: they that regard not the law, are a dishonourable seed: they that transgress the commandments, are a deceitful seed." Ecclus. c. x. v. 19.

3 Brashy lands, in an husbandry-sense, signify lands that are dry, shallow, gravelly, and pebbly. Such sort of grounds the old Romans called glareous :

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The well-turn'd soil with auburn brightness shone,
Mellow'd with nitrous air and genial sun:
An harmony of mould, by nature mixt!
Not light as air, nor as a cement fix'd:
Just firm enough t' embrace the thriving root,
Yet give free expanse to the fibrous shoot;
Dilating, when disturb'd by lab'ring hands,
And smelling sweet, when show'rs refresh the
Scarce could the reapers' arms the sheaves con-
And the full garners swell'd with golden grain;
Unlike the harvests of degen'rate days,
One omer sown, one hundred-fold repays:
Rich product, to a bountiful excess !—
Nor ought we more to ask, nor more possess.
The harvest overcomes the reapers' toil;
So feble is the hind, so strong the soil 5.

Man's Saviour thus his parable exprest;
He that hath ears to hear, may feel the rest.


THE gift of knowing is to all men giv'n ";
All know, but few perform, the will of Heav'n;
They hear the sound, but miss the sense convey'd,
And lose the substance, whilst they view the

When specious doctrines hover round a mind
Which is not vitally with Heav'n conjoin'd,
The visionary objects float and pass
Transient as figures gliding o'er a glass:
Each but a momentary visit makes,
And each supplies the place the last forsakes.-
Satan for ever fond to be employ'd,

(And changing minds ev'n ask to be destroy'd?,)
Marks well th' infirm of faith; and soon supplies
Phantoms of truth, and substances of lyes:
Killing the dying, he a conquest gains;
And, from a little, steals the poor remains.
Reason, man's guardian, by neglect, or sleep,
Loses that castle, he was meant to keep.

The seeds upon a flinty surface cast,
Denote the worldly-wise, who think in haste:
Who change, for changing's sake, from right

to wrong,

Constant to nothing, and in nothing long; To day they hear the word of God with joy, To morrow they the word of God destroy; Indiff rent, to assert or to deny :

Whenever adverse fortune choaks the way,
When danger threats, or clouds o'ercast the days
This plant of casualty, unfix'd at root,
Shakes with the blast, and casts bis unripe fruit;
But, when the storms of poverty arise,
And persecution ev'ry virtue tries,
Mindless of God, and trusting to himself 8,
He strands Heav'n's freightage on a dang❜rous
Averse to learn, and more averse to bear, [shelf.
He sinks, the abject victim of despair!

With zeal they flatter, and with zeal decry.
Such is the fool of wit! who strives with pains
To lose that paradise the peasant gains.-

Imbecillior colonus quàm ager. Columella.

The men of pow'r and pomp resemble seeds Sown on rich earth, but choak'd with thorns and weeds.

To sin against knowledge is a greater offence than an ignorant trespass; in proportion as a fault, which is capable of no excuse, is more heinous than a fault which admits of a tolerable defence"" J. Mart. Resp. ad Orthod. "Ignorance will not excuse sin, when it is a sin in itself."

Anon, Vet.

Religion strikes them, but they shun the thought;
Behold the profit, and yet profit nought.
Heav'n's high rewards they silently contemn,
And think the present world suffices them.
Mean-while ambition leads the soul astray,
Far from its natal walk, th' ethereal way;
Int'rest assassins friendship ev'ry hour,
Truth warps to custom,conscience bends to pow'r,
Till all the cultivating hand receives

7" He that is idle tempts Satan to set him to work."

Chrysost. Hom. Pious Jeremy Taylor once said to a lady, "Madam, if you do not employ your children, the devil will." The son of Sirach gives also the following advice: "Send thy son to labour, that he be not idle; for idleness teacheth much evil," C. xxxiii, v. 27.

Is empty blossom, and death-blasted leaves.
Idiots in judgment, baffled o'er and o'er;
Still the same bait, still circumvented more;
Self-victims of the cunning they adore!
Wise without wisdom, busy to no end;
Man still their foe, and Heav'n itself no friend!
The chosen seed, on cultur'd ground, are they
Who humbly tread the evangelic way.
The road to Heav'n is uniform and plain :
All other paths are serpentine and vain.
The true disciple takes the word reveal'd,
Nor rushes on the sanctu'ry conceal'd,
Whilst empty reas'ners emptiest arts employ;
Nothing they build, and all things they destroy !
The provident of Heav'n unlocks his store,
To clothe the naked, and to feed the poor:
To each man gen'rous, and to each man just,
Conscious of a depositary trust.

Patient of censure, yet condemning none;
Placid to all, accountable to One.
Ev'n in prosperity he fears no loss,
Expects a change, and starts not at the cross.
All injuries by patience he surmounts;
All suff'rings God's own med'cines he accounts?:

"We are all careful about small matters, and negligent in the greatest; of which this is the reason, we know not where true felicity is." St. Hieron.

9 The preacher writes beautifully upon this subject. Ecclus. C. ii. "My son, if thou come to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for trial, set thy heart aright, and constantly endure, and make not haste in time of trouble;" i. e. be not impatient to get over thy trouble. "Cleave unto him, and depart not away, that thou mayest be increased at thy last end. Whatsoever is brought upon thee take cheerfully, and be patient when thou art changed to a low estate. For gold is tried in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of adversity.-Look at the generations of old, and see, did ever any trust in the Lord and was confounded? or did any abide in his fear and was forsaken? or whom did he ever despise, that called upon him? for the Lord is full of compassion and mercy; he forgiveth sins, and saveth in time of affliction.-Wo be to the sinner that goeth two ways;" i, e. that hath recourse

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