Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

675

With senseless noise, his argument the sword,

660 Pretends a zeal for godliness and grace, And spits abhorrence in the Christian's face.

Parent of Hope, immortal Truth! make known Thy deathless wreaths, and triumphs all thine own: The silent progress of thy power is such,

665 Thy means so feeble, and despised so much, That few believe the wonders thou hast wrought, And none can teach them but whom thou hast taught. Oh! see me sworn to serve thee, and command A painter's skill into a poet's hand,

670
That while I trembling trace a work divine,
Fancy may stand aloof from the design,
And light and shade, and every stroke be thine.

If ever thou hast felt another's pain,
If ever when he sighed, hast sighed again,
If ever on thy eyelid stood the tear
That Pity had engendered, drop one here)
This man was happy-had the World's good word,
And with it every joy it can afford;
Friendship and Love seemed tenderly at strife,
Which most should sweeten his untroubled life;
Politely learned, and of a gentle race,
Good breeding and good sense gave all a grace,
And whether at the toilet of the fair
He laughed and trifled, made him welcome there,
Or if in masculine debate he shared,
Ensured him mute attention and regard.
Alas, how changed! Expressive of his mind,
His eyes are sunk, arms folded, head reclined;
Those awful syllables, Hell, Death, and Sin,

690
Though whispered, plainly tell what works within,
That conscience there performs her proper part,
And writes a Doomsday sentence on his heart.
Forsaking, and forsaken of all friends,
He now perceives where earthly pleasure ends;
Hard task! for one who lately knew no care,
And harder still as learnt beneath despair;

680

685

695 700

705

710

[ocr errors]

715

His hours no longer pass unmarked away,
A dark importance saddens every day;
He hears the notice of the clock, perplexed,
And cries, ‘Perhaps eternity strikes next!'
Sweet music is no longer music here,
And laughter sounds like madness in his ear;
His grief the world of all her power disarms,
Wine has no taste, and beauty has no charms;
God's holy word, once trivial in his view,
Now by the voice of his experience true,
Seems, as it is, the fountain whence alone
Must spring that Hope he pants to make his own.

Now let the bright reverse be known abroad;
Say man's a worm, and power belongs to God.
As when a felon, whom his country's laws
Have justly doomed, for some atrocious cause,
Expects in darkness and heart-chilling fears,
The shameful close of all his misspent years,
If chance, on heavy pinions slowly borne,
A tempest usher in the dreaded morn,
Upon his dungeon walls the lightnings play,
The thunder seems to summon him away,
The warder at the door his key applies,
Shoots back the bolt, and all his courage dies:
If then, just then, all thoughts of mercy lost,
When Hope, long lingering, at last yields the ghost,
The sound of pardon pierce his startled ear,
He drops at once his fetters and his fear,
A transport glows in all he looks and speaks,
And the first thankful tears bedew his cheeks.
Joy, far superior Joy, that much outweighs
The comfort of a few poor, added days,
Invades, possesses, and o'erwhelms the soul
Of him whom Hope has with a touch made whole.
'Tis Heaven, all Heaven, descending on the wings
Of the glad legions of the King of kings;
'Tis more-—'tis God diffused through every part,
'Tis God himself triumphant in his heart.

720

725

730

735

Oh! welcome now the sun's once hated light,
His noonday beams were never half so bright.
Not kindred minds alone are called to employ
Their hours, their days, in listening to his joy,
Unconscious nature, all that he surveys,

740 Rocks, groves, and streams, must join him in his praise.

These are thy glorious works, eternal Truth,
The scoff of withered age and beardless youth;
These move the censure and illiberal grin
Of fools that hate thee and delight in sin;

745
But these shall last when night has quenched the pole,
And heaven is all departed as a scroll,
And when, as Justice has long since decreed,
This earth shall blaze, and a new world succeed,
Then these thy glorious works, and they that share

750
That Hope which can alone exclude despair,
Shall live exempt from weakness and decay,
The brightest wonders of an endless day.

Happy the bard, (if that fair name belong
To him that blends no fable with his song)

755
Whose lines uniting, by an honest art,
The faithful monitor's and poet's part,
Seek to delight, that they may mend mankind,
And while they captivate, inform the mind;
Still happier, if he till a thankful soil,

760
And fruit reward his honourable toil;
But happier far, who comfort those that wait
To hear plain truth at Judah’s hallowed gate;
Their language simple, as their manners meek,
No shining ornaments have they to seek,

765
Nor labour they, nor time nor talents waste,
In sorting flowers to suit a fickle taste;
But while they speak the wisdom of the skies,
Which art can only darken and disguise,
The abundant harvest, recompense divine,

770 Repays their work—the gleaning only mine.

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

[ARGUMENT :-Invocation to Charity, 1-Social ties, 15—Humanity of Capt. Cook, 23—Cook and Cortez contrasted, 35–Degradation of Spain, 65—Design of Commerce, 83–Gifts of Art, 97—Slave trade denounced, 137—Slavery unnatural and degrading, 155-Duty of mitigating its miseries, 218—Apostrophe to Liberty, 254—John Howard, 290—Pursuits of Philosophy, 313—Revelation the lamp to Reason, 337—Charity the offspring of Truth, 377—The optician lecturing to a blind nation, 379—Portrait of Charity, 422—Almsgiving as an opiate to the conscience, 447—Satire deprecated, 485–Works of charity alone acceptable at the Judgment Day, 557—Charity exemplified in the life of Christ, 579—Blessed effects of the universal diffusion of Charity, 604).

5

FAIREST and foremost of the train that wait
On man's most dignified and happiest state,
Whether we name thee Charity or Love,
Chief grace below, and all in all above,
Prosper (I press thee with a powerful plea)
A task I venture on, impelled by thee:
Oh! never seen but in thy blest effects,
Nor felt but in the soul that Heaven selects;
Who seeks to praise thee, and to make thee known
To other hearts, must have thee in his own.
Come, prompt me with benevolent desires,
Teach me to kindle at thy gentle fires,

IO

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

And, though disgraced and slighted, to redeem
A poet's name, by making thee the theme.

God, working ever on a social plan,
By various ties attaches man to man;
He made at first, though free and unconfined,
One man the common father of the kind,
That every tribe, though placed as he sees best,
Where seas or deserts part them from the rest,
Differing in language, manners, or in face,
Might feel themselves allied to all the race.
When Cook-lamented, and with tears as just
As ever mingled with heroic dust-
Steered Britain's oak into a world unknown,
And in his country's glory sought his own;
Wherever he found man to nature true,
The rights of man were sacred in his view;
He soothed with gifts, and greeted with a smile,
The simple native of the new found isle ;
He spurned the wretch that slighted, or withstood,
The tender argument of kindred blood,
Nor would endure that any should control
His freeborn brethren of the southern pole.

But though some nobler minds a law respect,
That none shall with impunity neglect,
In baser souls unnumbered evils meet,
To thwart its influence, and its end defeat.
While Cook is loved for savage lives he saved,
See Cortez odious for a world enslaved !
Where wast thou then, sweet Charity? Where then,
Thou tutelary friend of helpless men?
Wast thou in monkish ceils and nunneries found,
Or building hospitals on English ground?
No.-Mammon makes the world his legatee
Through fear, not love; and Heaven abhors the fee.
Wherever found (and all men need thy care)
Nor age nor infancy could find thee there;
The hand that slew till it could slay no more,
Was glued to the sword-hilt with Indian gore.

35

40

45

50

« PredošláPokračovať »