« ZurückWeiter »
Those truths which neither use nor years impair,
Invite thee, wooe thee, to the bliss they share.
What dotage will not vanity maintain,
What web too weak to catch a modern brain?
The moles and bats in full affembly find
On special search, the keen-ey'd eagle blind.
And did they dream, and art thou wiser now?
Prove it—if better, I fubmit and bow.
Wisdom and goodness are twin-born, one heart
Must hold both lifters, never seen apart.
So then--as darkness overspread the deep,
'Ere nature rose from her eternal Necp,
And this delightful earth and that fair sky
Leap'd out of nothing, callid by the Most High,
By such a change thy darkness is made light,
Thy chaos order, and thy weakness, might,
And he whose pow'r mere nullity obeys,
Who found thee nothing, form’d thee for his praise.
To praise him is to serve him, and fulfil,
Doing and suff'ring, his unquestion'd will,
'Tis to believe what men inspir'd of old,
Faithful and faithfully inform’d, unfold;:;
Candid and just, with no falfe aim in view,
To take for truth what cannot but be true,
To learn in God's own school the Christian part,
And bind the task assign'd thee to thine heart:
Happy the inan there seeking and there found,
Happy the nation where such' men abound.
How shall a verse impress thee? by what name
Shall I adjure thee not to court thy shame?!
By theirs whose bright example unimpeach'd
Directs thee to that eminence they reach'd,
Heroes and worthies of days past, thy fires ?
Or his, who touch'd their hearts with hallow'd fires?
Their names, alas ! in vain reproach an age
Whom all the vanities they fcorn’d, engage,
And his that seraphs tremble at, is hung
Disgracefully on ev'ry trifler's tongue,
Or serves the champion in forensic war,
To flourish and parade with at the bar.
Pleafure herfelf perhaps suggests' a plea,
If intrest move thee, to persuade ev'n thee;
By ev'ry charm that similes upon her face,
By joys poffessed, and joys still held in chace,
If dear society be worth a thought,
And if the feast of freedom cloy thee not,
Reflect that these and all that seems thine own,
Held by the tenure of his will alone,
Like angels in the service of their Lord,
Remain with thee, or leave thee at his word;
That gratitude and temp’rance in our use
Of what he gives, unsparing and profuse,
Secure the favour and enhance the joy,
That thankless waste and wild abuse destroy.
But above all reflect, how cheap soe'er
Those rights that millions envy thee, appear,
And though resolv'd to risk them, and swim down
The tide of pleasure, heedless of his frown,
That blessings truly sacred, and when giv'n
Mark'd with the signature and stamp of Heav'n,
The word of prophecy, those truths divine
Which make that Heav'n, if thou desire it, thine;
(Awful alternative! believ'd, belov'd,
Thy glory, and thy shame if unimprov'd,)
Are never long vouchsaf'd, if push'd aside
With cold disgust or philofophic pride,
And that judicially withdrawn, disgrace,
Error and darkness occupy their place.
A world is up in arms, and thou, a spot
Not quickly found if negligently sought,
Thy foul as ample as thy bounds are small,
Endur'st the brunt, and dar'st defy them all:
And wilt thou join to this bold enterprize
A bolder still, a contest with the skies?
Remember, if he guard thee and secure,
Whoe'er affails thee, thy success is sure ;
But if he leave thee, though the skill and pow'r
Of nations sworn to spoil thee and devour,
Were all collected in thy single arm,
And thou couldīt laugh away the fear of harm,
That strength would fail, oppos’d against the push And feeble onset of a pigmy rush.
Say not (and if the thought of such defence Should spring within thy bosom, drive it thence) What nation amongst all my foes is free From crimes as base as any charg'd on me? Their measure fill'd—they too shall pay the debt Which God, though long forborn, will not forget ; But know, that wrath divine, when most severe, Makes justice still the guide of his career, And will not punish in one mingled crowd, Them without light, and thee without a cloud.
Muse, hang this harp upon yon aged beech, Still murm'ring with the folemn truths I teach, And while, at intervals, a cold blast sings Through the dry leaves, and pants upon the strings, My soul shall figh in secret, and lament A nation scourg'd, yet tardy to repent. I know the warning song is sung in vain, That few will hear, and fewer heed the strain :