Imagens da página
PDF

And, while thy grounds a cheap repast afford,
Despise the dainties of a venal lord:
There ev'ry bush with nature's music rings,
There ev'ry breeze bears health upon its wings;
On all thy hours security shall smile,
And bless thine evening walk and morning toil,
Prepare for death if here at night you roam,
And sign your will before you sup from home.
Some fiery fop, with new commission vain,
Who sleeps on brambles till he kills his man;
Some frolic drunkard, reeling from a feast,
Provokes a broil, and stabs you for a jest.
Yet e'en these heroes, mischievously gay,
Lords of the street, and terrors of the way;
Flush'das they are with folly, youth, and wine,
Their prudent insults to the poor confine;
After they mark the flambeaux's bright ap-
proach,
And shun the shining train, and golden coach.
In vain, these dangers past, your doors you
***
And hope the balmy blessings of repose :
Cruel . uilt, o ..., ão,
The o: murd’rer bursts the faithless bar;
Invades the sacred hour of silent rest,
And plants, unseen, a dagger in your breast.
Scarce can our fields, such crowds at Tyburn

die, With hemp the gallows and the fleet supply. Propose your schemes, ye senatorian band, W *...* and means support the sinking nd ; lost ropes be wanting in the tempting spring, To rig another convoy for the king *. A single gaol in Asfred's golden reign, Could half the nation's criminals contain; Fair justice then, without constraint ador'd, Held high the steady scale, but sheath'd the - sword ; No spies were paid, no special juries known, Blest age : , but ah! how diff'rent from our own : Much could I add—but see the boat at hand, The tide retiring, calls me from the land: Farewell!—When youth, and health, and fortune spent, Thou fly'st for refuge to the wilds of Kent; And tir'd like me with follies and with crimes, in angry numbers warn'st succeeding times, Then shall thy friend, nor thou refuse his aid, Still foe to vice, forsake his Cambrian shade; ln virtue's cause once more exert his rage, Thy satire point, and animate thy page.

$130. Great Cities, and London in particular, allowed their due Praise. CowPER.

But tho' true worth and virtue in the mild
And genial soil of cultivated life
Thrive most, and may perhaps thrive only
- there,

Yet not in cities oft; in proud and gay,
And gain-devoted cities. Thither flow,
As to a common and most noisome sewer,
The dregs and seculence of ev'ry land.
In cities, foul example on most minds
Begets its likeness. Rank abundance breeds
In gross and pamper'd cities sloth and lust,
And wantonness, and gluttonous excess.
In cities, vice is hidden with most ease,
Or seen with least reproach; and virtue, taught
By frequent lapse, can hope no triumph there
Beyond th' achievement of successful flight.
I . confess them nurs'ries of the arts,
In which they flourish most; where, in the
beams
Of warm encouragement, and in th' eye
Of public note, they reach their perfect size.
Such London is, by taste and wealth pro-
claim'd
The fairest capital of all the world,
By riot and incontinence the worst.
There, touch'd by Reynolds, a dull blank be-
connes
A lucid mirror, in which Nature sees
All her reflected features. Bacon there
Gives more than female beauty to a stone,
And Chatham's eloquence to marble lips.
Nor does the chisel occupy alone
The pow'rs of sculpture, § the style as much;
Each province of her art her equal care.
With nice incision of her guided steel
She ploughs a brazen field, and clothes a soil
So sterile with what charms soe'er she will,
The richest scenery, and the loveliest forms.
Where finds Philosophy her eagle eye,
With which she gazes at yon burning disk
Undazzled, and detects and counts his spots?
In London. Where her implements exact,
With which she calculates, computes, and
... scans -
All distance, motion, magnitude; and now
Measures an atom, and now girds a world 2
In London. Where has commerce such a
mart,
So rich, so throng'd, so drain'd, and so supplied
As London, opulent, enlarg’d, and still
Increasing London : , Babylon of old
Not inore the glory of the earth, than she
A more jo. world's chief glory now.
She has her praise. Now mark a spot or two
That so much so would do well to purge;
And show this queen of cities, that so fair,
May yet be foul, so witty, yet not wise.
It is not seemly, nor of good report,
That she is slack in discipline; more prompt
Tavenge than to prevent the breach of law.
That she is rigid in denouncing death
On petty.robbers, and indulges life
And liberty, and oft-times honor too,
To peculators of the public gold.
That thieves at home must hang; but he that

p ults

* The nation was discontented at the visits made by George II. to Hanover.

Into his overgorg'd and bloated purse
The wealth of Indian provinces, escapes.
Nor is it well, nor can it cone to good,
That, through profane and infidel contempt
Of holy writ, she has perfum'd t annul
And abrogate, as roundly as she may,
The total ordinance and will of s
Advancing fashion to the post of truth,
And centring all authority in modes
And customs of her own, till Sabbath rites
Have dwindled into unrespected forms,
And knees and hassocks are well-nigh divorc'd.
God made the country, and man made the
town. [gifts
What wonder then that health and virtue,
That can alone make sweet the bitter draught
That life holds out to all should most abound,
And least be threaten'd, in the fields and groves?
Possess ye therefore, ye who, borne about,
In chariots and sedans, know no fatigue
But that of idleness, and taste no scenes
But such as art contrives, possess ye still
Your element; there only ye can shine,
There only minds like yours can do no harm.
Our groves were planted to console at noon
The pensive wand'rer in their shades. At eve
The moon-beam, sliding softly in between
The sleeping leaves, is all the sight they wish;
Birds warbling, all the music. . We can spare
The splendor of your lamps; they but eclipse
Our softer satellite. Your songs confound
Our more harmonious notes. The thrush de-
parts - - - - -
Scard, and th' offended nightingale is mute.
There is a public mischief in your mirth ;
It plagues your country. . Folly such as yours,
Grac'd old. a sword, and worthier of a fan,
Has made, which enemies could ne'er have
done,
Our arch of empire, steadfast but for you,
A mutilated structure, soon to fall.

§ 131. The Hant of Discipline in the English University. Cowper.

IN colleges and halls, in antient days,
When learning, virtue, piety, and truth
Were precious, and inculcated with care,
There dwelt a sage, call'd Discipline. His head,
Not yet by time completely silver'd o'er,
Bespoke him past the bounds of freakish youth,
But strong for service still, and unimpair'd.
His eye was meek and gentle, and a smile
Playd on his lips, and in his speech was heard
Paternal sweetness, dignity, and love.
The occupation dearest to his heart
Was to encourage goodness. He would stroke
The head of modest and ingenuous worth
That blush'd at its own praise, and press the
youth - sgrew,
Close to his side that pleas'd him. Learning
Beneath his care, a thriving vigorous plant;
The mind was well inform'd, the passions held
Subordinate, and diligenee was elioice,

If e'er it chanc'd, as sometimes chance it must,
That one, among so many, overleap'd
The limits of control, his gentle eye
Grew stern, and darted a severe ote o
His frown was full of terror, and his voice
Shook the delinquent with such fits of awe
As left him not, till penitence had won
Lost favor back again, and clos'd the breach.
But Discipline, a faithful servant long,
Declin'd at length into the vale of years:
A.palsy struck his arm; his sparksing eye
Was quench'd in rheums o age; his voice
unstrung,
Grew tremulous, and mov’d derision more
The rev'rence in perverse rebellious youth.
So colleges and halls neglected much
Their good old friend; and Discipline at length,
O'erlook'd and unemployd, fell sick, and died.
Then Study languish'd, Emulation slept,
And Virtue fled. The schools became a scene
Of solemn farce, where Ignorance in stilts,
His cap well lin'd with logic not his own,
With parrol tongue perform'd the scholar's part,
Proceeding soon a graduated Dunce. |
Then Compromise had place, and Scrutiny
Became stone blind, Precedence went in truck,
And he was competent whose purse was so.
A dissolution of all bonds ensued :
The curbs invented for the mulish mouth
9f headstrongyouth were broken; bars and bolts
Grew rusty by disuse; and massy gates
Forgot their office, op'ning with a touch;
Till gowns at lengthare found mere masquerade;
The tassel'd cap and the spruce band a jest,
A nock'ry of the world. What need of these
Tor gamester's, jockies, brothellers impure,
Spendthrifts, and booted sportsmen, oft'ner seen
With belted waist, and pointers at their heels,
Than in the bounds of duty? What was learn'd,
If aught was learn'd in childhood, is forgot;
And such expence as pinches parents blue,
And mortifies the libral hand of love,
ls squander'd in pursuit of idle sports
And vicious pleasures; buys the boy a name
That sits a stigma to his father's house,
And cleaves through life inseparably close
To him that wears it. What can after-games
Of riper joys, and commerce with the world,
The lewd vain world that must receivehim soon,
Add to such erudition thus acquir’d,
Where science and where virtue are professd?
They may confirm his habits, rivet fast
His folly; but to spoil him is a task
That bids defiance to th' united pow'rs
Of fashion, dissipation, taverns, stews.
Now, blame we nost the nurslings or the nurse?
The children, crook'd, and twisted, and deform'd
Through want of care, or her, whose winkingeye
And slumb'ring oscitaney mars the brood *
The nurse; no doubt. Regardless of her charge, -
She needs herself correction; needs to learn,
That it is dang'rous sporting with the world,
With things so ...F. a nation's trust,

The nurture of her youth, her dearest pledge.

[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]

5 132. Happy the Freedom of the Man whom Grace makes free—His relish of the IWorks of God—Address to the Creator. CowPER.

HE is the freeman whom the truth makes free,
And all are slaves beside. There's not a chain
That hellish foes confed'rate for his harm
Can wind around him, but he casts it off
MWith as much ease as Samson his green withes.
He looks abroad into the varied field
Of Nature; and tho' poor, perhaps, compar'd
With those whose mansions glitter in his sight,
Çails the delightful scen'ry all his own.
His are the mountains, and the valleys his,
And the resplendent rivers; his to enjoy
With a propriety that none can feel,
Hut who, with filial confidence inspir'd,
Can lift to Heaven an unpresumptuous eye,
And smiling say—My Father made them all :
Are they not his by a peculiar right?
And by an emphasis of int’rest his,
Whose eye they fill with tears of holy joy,
Whoseheart with praise, and whoseexalted mind
With worthy thoughts of that unwearied love
That plann'd, and built, and still upholdsa world
So cloath'd with beauty, for rebellious man?
Yes-ye may fill your garners; ye that reap
The loaded soil, and ye may waste much good
In senseless riot; but ye will not find
In feast or in the chace, in song or dance,
A liberty like his, who, unimpeach'd
Of usurpation, and to no man's wrong,
Appropriates nature as his Father's work,
And has a richer use of yours than you.
He is indeed a freeman; free by birth
Qf no mean city, plann'd or ere the hills
Vere built, the fountains open'd, or the sea,
With all his roaring multitude of waves.
His freedom is the same in ev'ry state ;
And no condition of this changeful life,
So manifold in cares, whose ev'ry day
Brings its own evil with it, makes it less:
For fie has wings that neither sickness, pain,
Nor penury can cripple or confine;
No mook so narrow but he spreads them there
With ease, and is at large. Th' oppressor holds
His body bound, but knows not what a range
His spirit takes, unconscious of a chain;
And that to bind him is a vain attempt,
Whom God delights in, and in whom hedwells.
Acquaint thyself with God, if thou would'st
taste
His works. Admitted once to his embrace,
Thou shalt perceive that thou wast blind before:
Thine eye shall be instructed; and thineheart,
Made pare, shall relish with divine delight,
Till then unfelt, what handsdivine have wrought.
Brutes graze the mountain-top with faces prone,
And eyes intent upon the scanty herb
It yields them ; or, recumbent on its brow,

With what he views. The landscape has his
praise, - - - - s'
But not its Author. Unconcern'd who form'd
The paradise he sees, he finds it such ;
And, such well-pleas'd to find it, asks no more.
Notso the mind thathasbeentouch'dfromHeav'n,
And in the school of sacred wisdom taught
To read his wonders, in whose thought the world,
Fair as it is, existed ere it was: -
Not for its own sake merely, but for his
Much more who fashion'd it, he gives it praise;
Praise that, from earth resulting, as it ought,
To earth's acknowledg'd Sovereign, finds at
Once
Its only just proprietor in Him.
The ...] that sees him, or receives sublim'd
New faculties, or learns at least t' emplo
More worthily the pow'rs she own'd §e,
Discerns in . things, what, with stupid gaze
Of ignorance, till then she overlook'd,
Array of heavenly light gilding all forms
Terrestrial, in the vast and the minute,
The unambiguous footsteps of the God
Who gives its lustre to an insect's wing,
And wheels his throne upon the rolling worlds.
Much conversant with Heaven, she often holds
With those fair iministers of light to man,
That fill the skies nightly oft silent pomp,
Sweet conference 1 inquires what strains were
they
With which Heaven rang, when ev'ry star, in
haste
To gratulate the new created earth,
Sent forth a voice, and all the sons of God
Shouted for joy – “Tell me ye shining hosts,
“That navigate a sea that knows no storms,
“Beneath a vault unsullied with a cloud,
“lf from your elevation, whence ye view
“Distinctly scenes invisible to man,
“And systems, of whose birth no tidings yet
“Have reach'd this nether world, ye spy a race
“Favor'd as ours, transgressors from the womb,
“And hasting to a grave, yet doom'd to rise,
“And to possess a brighter Heaven than yours?
“As one who, long detain'd on foreign shores,
“ Pants to return, and when he sees afar
“His country's weather bleach'd and batter'd
rocks -
“From the green wave emerging, darts an eye
“Radiant with joy towards the happy land;
“So I with animated hopes ...i.
“And many an aching wish, your beamy fires,
“That show like beacons in the blue abyss,
“Ordain'd to guide th' embodied spirit home
“From toilsome life to never-ending rest.
“Love kindles as I gaze. ... I feel desires
“That give assurance of their own success,
“And that infus'd from Heav'n must thither
tend."
So reads he nature, whom the lamp of truth

Ruminate, heedless of the scene outspread Illuminates; thy lamp, mysterious Words

Qeneath, becond, and stretching far away
Frominiaud regions to the distant inain.
an views it and admires, but rests content

Which whoso sees no longer wanders lost,
With intellects bemaz'd, in endless doubt,

[ocr errors]

But runs the road of wisdom. Thou hast built,
L 1 Willi

With means that were not, till by thee employ'd,
Worlds that had never beeu, hadst thou in
strength
Been less, or less henevolent than strong.
They are thy witnesses, who speak thy pow'r
And goodness infinite, but speak in ears
That hear not, or receive not their report.
In vain thy creatures testify of thee -
Till thou proclaim thyself. Theirs is indeed
A teaching voice; but 'tis the praise of thine,
That whom it teaches it makes prompt to learn,
And with the boon gives talents for its use.
'ill thorn art heard, imaginations vain
Possess the heart, and fables false as hell,
Yet deem'd oracular, lure down to death
The uninform'd and heedless sons of men.
We give to chance, blind chance, ourselves as
blind,
The glory of thy work, which yet appears
Perfect and unimpeachable of blame,
Challenging human scrutiny, and prov'd
Then skilful most when most severely judg’d.
But chance is not, or is not where thou reign'st:
Thy providence forbids that fickle pow'r
If pow'r she he that works but to confound)
4. mix her wild vagaries with thy laws.
Yet thus we dote, refusing, while we can,
Instruction, and inventing to ourselves
Gods such as guilt makes welcome, Gods that

sleep,
Or disregard our follies, or that fit
Amus’d spectators of this bustling stage.
Thee we reject, unable to abide
Thy purity, till pure as thou art pure,
Made such by thee, we love thee for that cause
For which we shunn'd and hated thee before.
Then we are free: then liberty, like day,
Breaks on the soul, and by a flash froin Hea-

ven
Fires all the faculties with glorious joy,
A voice is heard, that inortal ears hear not
Till thou hast touch'd them; 'tis the voice of

song,
A loud Hosanna sent from all thy works,
Which he that hears it with a shout repeats,
And adds his rapture to the gen'raf praise,
In that blest moment, Nature, throwing wide
Her veil opake, discloses with a smile
The Author of her beautics, who, retir'd
hind his own creation, works unseen
By the impure, and hears his pow'r denied.
Thou art time source and centre of all minds,
Their only point of rest, Eternal Word:
From thee departing, they are lost, to rove
At randon, without honor, hope, of peace.
From thee is all that sooths the |. of man,
His high endeavour, and his glad suecess,
His strength to suffer, and his will to serve.
But, O ! thou bounteous Giver of all good,
Thou art of all thy gifts thyself the crown :
Give what thou calist, without thee we are
or ;
And with thce rich, take what thou wilt
away.

§ 133. That Philosophy which stops at Securdary Causes reprored. Cowper.

HAPPY the man who sees a God enploy'd
In all the good and ill that chequer life!
Resolving all events, with their effects
And manifold results, into the will
Amid arbitration wise of the Supreme.
Did not his eye rule all things and intend
The least of our concerns (since from the least
The greatest oft originate); could chance
Find place in his dominion, or dispose
One lawless particle to thwart his plan ;
Then God might be surpris'd, and unforesees
Contingence might alarm him, and disturb
The smooth and equal course of his affairs,
This truth, philosophy, though eagle-eyed
In nature's tendencies, oft overlooks;
And, having found his instrument, forgets
Or disregards, or, more presumptuous still,
Denies the pow'r that weilds it. God proclaims
His hot displeasure against foolish men
That live an atheist life; involves the heaven
In tempests; quits his grasp upon the winds.
And gives them all their fury; bids a plague
Kindle a fiery bile upon the skin,
And putresy the breath of blooming health.
He calls for famine; and the meagre fiend
Blows mildew from between his shriverd lips,
And taints the golden ear : he springs is
inines,
And desolates a nation at a blast.
Forth steps the spruce philosopher, and tells
Of hounogeneal and discordant springs
And principles; of causes, how they work
By necessary laws their sure effects,
Of action, and re-action. He has found
The souree of the disease that Nature feels,
And bids the world take heart and banish
fearr.
Thou fool! will thy discovery of the eruse
Suspend th' effect, or heal it? Has not God
Still wrought by means since first he made the
world 2
And did he not of old employ his means
To drown it 2 What is his creation less
Than a capacious reservoir of means
Form'd for his use, and ready at his will?
Go, dress thine eyes with eye-salve; ask of
him; -
Or ask of whomsoever he has taught,
And learn, tho' late, the genuine cause of all.

§ 134. Rural Sounds as well as Sights delightful CowPER. Non raral sights alone, but rural sounds Exhilarate the spirit, and restore The tone of languid Nature. Mighty winds, That sweep the skirt of some far spreadine wood Of antient growth, make music not unhike The dash of ocean on his winding shore, | And lull the spirit while they fill the mind... Unnumberi

[ocr errors]

Unnumber'd branches waving in the blast,
And all their leaves fast flutt'ring all at once.
Nor less composure waits upon the roar
Of distant floods, or on the softer voice
Of neighboring fountain, or of rills that slip
throos cleft rock, and chiming as they
fall
Upon loose pebbles, lose themselves at length
In matted grass, that with a livelier green
Betrays the secret of their silent course,
Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds,
But animated nature sweeter still,
To sooth and satisfy the human ear.
Ten thousand warblers cheer the day, and one
The live-long night: nor these alone, whose
notes -
Nice-finger'd art must emulate in vain,
But cawing rooks, and kites, that swim sublime
In still repeated circles, screaming loud,
The jaye, the pye, and ev'n the boding owl
That hails the rising moon, have charms for
line. -
Sounds inharmonious in themselves and harsh,
Yet, heard in scenes where peace for ever
reigns,

And only there, please highly for their sake.

§ 135 The Wearisomeness of what is commonly called a Life of Pleasure. Cowper.

The spleen is seldon felt where Flora reigns;
The low'ring eye, the petulance, the frown,
And sullen sadness, that o'ershade, distort
And mar the face of beauty, where no cause
For such immeasurable woe appears;
These Flora banishes, and gives the fair
Sweet smiles and bloom, less transient than her
own.
It is the constant revolution, stale
And tasteless, of the same repeated joys,
That o: and satiates, and makes languid
ife
A pedlar's pack, that bows the bearer down.
Health ... and the spirits ebb; the heart
Recoils from its own choice—at the full feast
Is famish’d—finds no music in the song,
No smartness in the jest, and wonders why.
Yet thousands still desire to journey on,
Though o, and weary of the path they
t -

reach. The paralytic, who can hold her cards, But cannot play them, borrows a friend's hand To deal and shuffle, to divide and sort Her mingled suits and sequences, and sits, Spectatress both and spectacle, a sad And silent cypher, while her proxy plays. Others are dragg'd into the crowded room Between supporters; and, once seated, sit, Through downright inability to rise, Till the stout bearers lift the corpse again, These speak a loud memento. o: even these Themselves love life, and cling to it; as he That overhangs a torrent, to a twig,

They love it, and yet loath it; fear to die,
Yet scorn the purposes for which they live,
Then wherefore inot renounce then l No-
the dread,
The slavish dread of solitude, that breeds
Reflection and remorse, the fear of shame,
And their invet'rate habits-all forbid.
Whom call we gay ? That honor has been
lon
The boast of mere pretenders to the name.
The innocent are gay—the lark is gay,
That dries his feathers, saturate with dew,
Beneath the rosy cloud, while yet the beams
Of day-spring overshoot his humble most.
The peasant too, a witness of his song,
Himself a songster, is as gay as he.
But save me from the gaiety of those
Whose head-achs nail them to a noon-day bed;
And save me too from theirs whose haggard
eves
Flash Joondon, and betray their pangs
For property stript off by cruel chance;
From gaiety that fills the bones with pain,
The mouth with blasphemy, the heart with
WOt.
§ 136. Satirical Review of our Trips to France.
Cowper.

Now hoist the sail, ahd let the streamers float
Upon the wanton breezes. Strew the deck
With lavender, and sprinkle liquid sweets,
That no rude favor maritime invade
The noise of nice nobility. Breathe soft
Ye clarionets, and softer still ye flutes,
That winds and waters, lull'd by magic sounds,
May bare us smoothly to the Gallic shore.
True, we have lost an empire—let it pass.
True, we may thank the perfidy of France,
That pick'd §. jewel out of England's crown,
With all the cunning of an envious shrew :
And let that pass—'twas but a trick of state.
A brave man knows no malice, but at once
Forgets in peace the injuries of war,
And gives his distrest foe a friend's embrace.
And, * as we have been, to the very
a
Brav'd and defied, and in our own sea prov'd
Too weak for those decisive blows that once
Insur'd us mast'ry there, we yet retain
Some small pre-eininence: we justly boast
At least superior jockeyship, and claim
The honors of the turf as all our own.
Go then, well worthy of the praise ye seek,
And show the shame ye night conceal, at
home,
In sereign eyes!—be grooms, and win the
plate,
Where once your nobler fathers won a crown:
§ 137. The Pulpit the Engine of Reformation.
CowPER.
The Pulpit therefore (and I name it, fill'd
With solemn awe, that bids ine well beware
Ll 2 With

« AnteriorContinuar »