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Marshalling all his terrors as he came,
Thunder, and earthquake, and devouring flame,
From Sinai's top Jehovah gave the law,
Life for obedience, death for every flaw.
When the great Sovereign would his will express,
He gives a perfect rule-what can He less ?
And guards it with a sanction as severe
As Vengeance can inflict, or sinners fear:
Else his own glorious rights He would disclaim,
And man might safely trifle with his name.
He bids him glow with unremitting love
To all on Earth, and to Himself above;
Condemns the injurious deed, the slanderous tongue,
The thought that meditates a brother's wrong;
Brings not alone the more conspicuous part,
His conduct, to the test, but tries his heart.
Hark! universal Nature shook and groaned;
'Twas the last trumpet-see the Judge enthroned !
Rouse all your courage at your utmost need,
Now summon every virtue, stand and plead.
What! silent ? Is your boasting heard no more?
That self-renouncing wisdom, learned before,
Had shed immortal glories on your brow,
That all your virtues cannot purchase now.
All joy to the believer! He can speak-
Trembling yet happy, confident yet meek.
• Since the dear hour that brought me to thy foot,
And cut up all my follies by the root,
I never trusted in an arm but thine,
Nor hoped, but in thy righteousness divine ;
My prayers and alms, imperfect and defiled,
Were but the feeble efforts of a child;
Howe'er performed, it was their brightest part,
That they proceeded from a grateful heart;
Cleansed in thine own all-purifying blood,
Forgive their evil, and accept their good;
I cast them at thy feet-my only plea
Is what it was, dependence upon Thee;
While struggling in the vale of tears below,
That never failed, nor shall it fail me now.'
Angelic gratulations rend the skies,
Pride falls unpitied, never more to rise,
Humility is crowned, and Faith receives the prize.
"Tantane, tam patiens nullo certamine tolli
Virg. [Æn. v. 390].
[ARGUMENT :—Why should the Muse weep for England? 1-State of Israel when the Prophet wept for her, 33— The Babylonian Captivity, 73–National decline commences in the Church, 95-State of the Jews at Messiah's advent, 123—Privileges of the Jews, 161-Causes of their downfall and dispersion, 213—Warning from the history to Britain, 241 -Her sins and dangers, 272--Adverse events ordered by Providence, 310—The nation is called to self-judgment, 340—Her ambition and vain-glory, 346—Her conduct to India, 364—Abuse of the Sacrament, 376– Hypocritical fasts, 390_Character of the Clergy, 438—Of the people, 450—State of the ancient Briton, 466— The Roman power beneficial, 474-Introduction of the Gospel, 500—Papal supremacy, 508—Subsequent blessings of Providence, 562—Reasons for gratitude, and the service of God, 644–With His favour we may defy the world, 694—The poet fears his warnings will prove in vain, 718.]
Why weeps the Muse for England ? What appears
In England's case to move the Muse to tears?
From side to side of her delightful isle,
Is she not clothed with a perpetual smile ?
Can Nature add a charm, or Art confer
A new-found luxury, not seen in her?
Where under Heaven is Pleasure more pursued,
Or where does cold Reflection less intrude ?
Her fields, a rich expanse of wavy corn,
Poured out from Plenty's overflowing horn;
Ambrosial gardens, in which Art supplies
The fervour and the force of Indian skies;
Her peaceful shores, where busy Commerce waits
To pour his golden tide through all her gates,
Whom fiery suns, that scorch the russet spice
Of eastern groves,
and oceans floored with ice,
Forbid in vain to push his daring way
To darker climes, or climes of brighter day;
Whom the winds waft where'er the billows roll,
From the world's girdle to the frozen pole;
The chariots bounding in her wheel-worn streets,
Her vaults below, where every vintage meets;
Her theatres, her revels, and her sports ;
The scenes to which not youth alone resorts,
But age, in spite of weakness and of pain,
Still haunts, in hope to dream of youth again ;
All speak her happy :-let the Muse look round
From East to West, no sorrow can be found,
Or only what in cottages confined,
Sighs unregarded to the passing wind.
Then wherefore weep for England ? What appears
In England's case to move the Muse to tears?
The prophet wept for Israel; wished his eyes
Were fountains fed with infinite supplies;
For Israel dealt in robbery and wrong;
There were the scorner's and the slanderer's tongue,
Oaths used as playthings or convenient tools,
As Interest biased knaves, or, Fashion fools;
Adultery, neighing at his neighbour's door;
Oppression, labouring hard to grind the poor;
The partial balance and deceitful weight;
The treacherous smile, a mask for secret hate;
Hypocrisy, formality in prayer,
And the dull service of the lip were there;
Her women, insolent and self-caressed,
By Vanity's unwearied finger dressed,
Forgot the blush that virgin fears impart
To modest cheeks, and borrowed one from Art;
Were just such trifles, without worth or use,
As silly pride and idleness produce;
Curled, scented, furbelowed, and flounced around,
With feet too delicate to touch the ground,
They stretched the neck, and rolled the wanton eye,
And sighed for every fool that fluttered by.
He saw his people slaves to every lust,
Lewd, avaricious, arrogant, unjust;
He heard the wheels of an avenging God
Groan heavily along the distant road;
Saw Babylon set wide her two-leaved brass
To let the military deluge pass;
Jerusalem a prey, her glory soiled,
Her princes captive, and her treasures spoiled ;
Wept till all Israel heard his bitter cry,
Stamped with his foot, and smote upon his thigh,
But wept, and stamped, and smote his thigh, in vain;
Pleasure is deaf when told of future pain,
And sounds prophetic are too rough to suit
Ears long accustomed to the pleasing lute:
They scorned his inspiration, and his theme,
Pronounced him frantic, and his fears a dream,
With self-indulgence winged the fleeting hours,
Till the foe found them, and down fell the towers.
Long time Assyria bound them in her chain,
Till penitence had purged the public stain,
And Cyrus, with relenting pity moved,
Returned them happy to the land they loved;
There, proof against prosperity, awhile
They stood the test of her ensnaring smile,
And had the grace in scenes of peace to show,
The virtue they had learned in scenes of woe.
But man is frail, and can but ill sustain
A long immunity from grief and pain,
And after all the joys that Plenty leads,
With tiptoe-step Vice silently succeeds.
When He that ruled them with a shepherd's rod,
In form a man, in nit God,
Came, not expected in that humble guise,
To sift and search them with unerring eyes,