Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

SECTION IX.

On procrastination.
Be wise to-day ; 'tis madness to defer:
Next day the fatal precedent will plead ;
Thus on, till wisdom is push'd out of life.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
Year aster year it steals, till all are fled;
And, to the mercies of a moment leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal scene,

Of man's miraculous mistakes, this bears
The palm, " That all men are about to live :'
For.erer on the brink of being born.
All pay themselves the compliment to think,
They, one day, shall not drivel ; and their pride
On this reversion takes up ready praise ;
At least, their own; their future selves applauds ;
How excellent that life they pe'er will lead !
Time lodg'd in their own bands is folly's vails ;
That lodg'd in fate's, to wisdom they consign ;
The thing they can't but purpose, they postpone.
Tis not in folly, not to scorn a fool;
And scarce in buman wisdom to do more.
All promise is poor dilatory man ;
And that thro' ev'ry stage. When young indeed,
In full content, we sometimes nobly rest,
Unanxious for ourselves ; and only wish,
As duteous sons, our fathers were more wise.
At thirty, man suspects himself a fool;
Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan ;
At fifty, cbides his infamous delay ;
Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve ;
In all the magnanimity of thought,
Resolves, and re-resolves, then dies the same.

And why? Because he thinks himself immortal. All men think all men mortal, but themselves ; Themselves, when some alarming shock of fate Strikes thro'their wounded bearts the sudden dread. But their bearts wounded, like the wounded air,

close ; where, past the shaft, no trace is found As from the wing no scar the sky retains ; The parted wave no furrow from the keel; So dies in human hearts the thought of death.

S *

Ev'n' with the tender tear which Nature sheds
O'er those we love, we drop it in their grave.--YOUNG.

SECTION X.
That philosophy, which stops at secondary causes, reproved.
Happy the man who sees a God employ'd
In all the good and ill that checker life!
Resolving all events, with their effects
And manifold results, into the will
And arbitration wise of the Supreme.
Did not bis 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 unforeseen
Contingence might alarm him, and disturb
The smooth and equal course of his affairs,
This truth, pbilosophy, though eagle-ey'd
In pature's tendencies, oft o’erlooks ;
And having found his instrument forgets
Or disregards, or, more presumptuous still,
Denies the pow'r that wields it. God proclaims
His hot displeasure against foolish men
Tbat live an atheist life ; involves the heav'n
Io tempest ; quits his grasp upon the winds,
And gives them all their fury; bids a plague
Kindle a fiery boil upon the skin,
And putrefy the breath of blooming health ;
He calls for famine, and the meagre fiend
Blows mildew from between his shrivel'd lips
And taints the golden ear; he springs his minés
And desolates a pation at a blast:
Forth steps the spruce philosopher, and tells
Of homogeneal 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 source of the disease that nature feels ;
And bids the world take heart and banish fear.
Thou fool ! will thy discov'ry of the cause
Suspend th'effect, or heal it? Has not God
Still wrought by means since first he made the world?
And did be not of old employ his means

To drowo it? What is his creation less
Tban a spacious 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 learo, though late, the genuine cause of all. - COWPER

SECTION XI.
Indignant sentiment on national prejudices and hatred ; and

on slavery.
Oh, for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
Some boundless contiguity of shade,
Where rumour of oppression and deceit,
Of unsuccessful or successful war,
Might never reach me more! Ny ear is pain'd,
My soul is sick with every day's report
Of wrong and outrage with which earth is fill'd.
There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart;
It does not feel for man, The nat’ral bond
Of brotherbood is sever'd, as the fax
That falls asunder at the touch of fire,
He finds his fellow guilty of a skin
Not colour'd like his own; and having pow'r
Tenforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause
Dooms and devotes bim as his lawful prey.
Lands intersected by a narrow frith
Abhor each other, Mountains interpos'd,
Make enemies of nations, who had else,
Like kindred drops, been mingled into one.
Thus man devotes bis brother, and destroys;
And worse than all, and most to be deplor'd,
As human nature's broadest, foulest blot,
Chains him, and tasks him, and exacts his sweat
With stripes, that Mercy, with a bleeding heart,
Weeps when she sees inflicted on a beast.
Then what is man! And wbat man seeing this,
And having human feelings, does not blush
And hang his head, to think himself a man?
I would not have a slave to till my ground,
To carry me, to fan me wbile I sleep,
And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth
That sinews bought and sold have ever earnid:
No: dear as freedom is, and in my heart's
Just estimation priz'd above all price i

I had much rather be myself the slave,
And wear the bonds, than fasten them op bim.
We have no slaves at home-then why abroad?
And they themselves once ferried o'er the wave
That parts us, are emancipate and loos’d.
Slaves cannot breathe in England : if their lungs
Receive our air, that moment they are free ;
They touch our country, and their shackles fall.
That's noble, and bespeaks a nation proud
And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then,
And let it circulate through ev'ry vein
Of all our empire ; that where Britain's power
Is felt, mankind may feel her mercy

too.-COWPER.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

SECTION I.

The morning in summer.
The meek-ey'd morn appears, mother of dews,
At first faint gleaming in the dappled east;
Till far o'er ether spreads the wid'ning glow;
And from before the lustre of her face
White break the clouds away. With quicken'd step
Brown night retires : young day pours in apace,
And opens all the lawny prospect wide.
The dripping rock, the mountain's misty top,
Swell on the sigbt, and brighten with the dawn.
Blue, thro' the dusk, the smoking currents shine ;
And from the bladed field the fearful hare
Limps, awkward: while along the forest glade
The wild deer trip, and often turning, gaze
At early passenger. Music awakes
The native voice of undissembled joy;
And thick around the woodland hymns arise.
Rous'd by the cock, the soon-clad shepherd leaves
His mossy cottage, where with peace he dwells i
And from the crowded fold, in order, drives
His Aock to taste the verdure of the morn.

Falsely luxurious, will not man awake ;
And, springing from the bed of sloth, enjoy
The cool, the fragrant, and the silent bour,

[ocr errors]

To meditation due and sacred song ?
For is there aught in sleep can charm the wise ?
To lie in dead oblivion, losing balf
The fleeting moments of too short a life ;
Total extinction of th'eolightened soul !
Or else to feverish vanity alive,
Wilder'd, and tossing thro' distemper'd dreams?
Who would, in such a gloomy state, remain
Longer than nature craves ; when ev'ry muse
And every blooming pleasure waits without,
To bless the wildly devious morning walk ?-THOMSON.,

SECTION II,
Rural sounds as well as rural sights, delightful,
Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds
Exhilarate the spirit, and restore
The tone of languid nature. Mighty winds,
That sweep the skirt of some far-spreading wood
Of ancient growth, make music, not unlike
The dash of ocean on his winding shore,
And lull the spirit while they fill the mind,
Uonumber'd branches waving in the blast,
And all their leaves fast Buttring all at once.
Nor less composure waits upon the roar
Of distant floods ; or on the softer voice
Of neighb'ring fountain ; or of rills that slip
Through the 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 rocks, and kites that swim sublime,
In still repeated circles, screaming loud,
The jay, the pye, and er’n the boding owl
That hails the rising moon, have charms for me.
Sounds inharmonious in themselves, and harsh,
Yet heard in scenes where peace for ever reigns,
And only there, please highly for their sake.- COWPER.

« PredošláPokračovať »