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Now shrilt with praise, now hoarse with foul reproach,
And both despised sincerely ;' seeking this
Alone-the approbation of his God,
Which still with conscience witness'd to his peace.
This, this is freedom, such as angels use,
And kindred to the liberty of God.
First-born of Virtue ! daughter of the skies !
The man, the state in whom she ruled, was free;
All else were slaves of Satan, Sin, and Death.
Toil on! toil on! ye ephemeral train,
Who build in the tossing and treacherous main,
Toil on,—for the wisdom of man ye mock,
sand-based structures and domes of rock: Your columns the fathomless fountains lave, And
your arches spring up to the crested wave; Ye're a puny race, thus boldly to rear A fabric so vast in a realm so drear.
Ye bind the deep with your secret zone,
The ocean is seald, and the surge a stone ;
Fresh wreaths from the coral pavement spring,
Like the terraced pride of Assyria's king;
The turf looks green where the breakers rollid ;
O'er the whirlpool ripens the rind of gold;
The sea snatch'd isle is the home of men,
And mountains exult where the wave bath been.
But why do you plant, 'neath the billows dark,
The wrecking reef for the gallant bark ?
There are snares enough on the tented field,
'Mid the blossom'd sweets that the valleys yield ;
There are serpents to coil, ere the flowers are up:
There's a paison-drop in man's purest cup,
There are foes that watch for his cradle-breath,
And why need ye sow the floods with death?
Ye build,-ye build,--but ye enter not in,
Like the tribes whom the desert devour'd in their sin
From the land of promise ye fade and die,
Ere its verdure gleams forth on your weary eye;
As the kings of the cloud-crown'd pyramid
Their noteless bones in oblivion bid;
Ye slumber unmark'd 'mid the desolate main,
While the wonder and pride of your works remain.
The keener tempests rise; and fuming dun,
From all the livid east or piercing north
Thick clouds ascend, in whose capacious womb
A vap'ry deluge lies, to snow congeald.
Heavy they roll their fleecy world along,
And the sky saddens with the gather'd storm.
As thus the snows arise, and foul and fierce
All winter drives along the darken'd air,
In his own loose-revolving fields the swain
Disaster'd stands ; sees other hills ascend,
Of unknown joyless brow, and other scenes,
Of horrid prospect, shag the trackless plain ;
Nor finds the river nor the forest, hid
Beneath the formless wild, but wanders on
From hill to dale, still more and more astray,
Impatient, flouncing through the drifted heaps,
Stung with the thoughts of home; the thoughts of home
Rush on his nerves, and call their vigour forth
In many a vain attempt. How sinks his soul !
What black despair, what horror fills his heart !
When, for the dush; spot which fancy feign'd
His tufted cottage, rising through the snow,
He meets the roughness of the middle waste,
Far from the track and bless'd abode of man;
While round bim night resistless closes fast,
And ev'ry tempest, howling o'er his head,
Renders the savage wilderness more wild :
Then throng the busy shapes into his mind,
Of cover'd pits, unfathomably deep,
A dire descent ! beyond the pow'r of frost ;
Of faithless bogs; of precipices high,
Smooth'd up with snow ; and what is land unknown,
What water of the still unfrozen spring,
In the loose marsh or solitary lake,
Where the fresh fountain from the bottom boils.
These check his fearful steps, and down he sinks
Beneath the shelter of the shapeless drift,
Thinking o'er all the bitterness of death,
Mix'd with the tender anguish nature shoots
Through the wrung bosom of the dying man,
His wife, his children, and his friends unseen.
In vain for him th' officious wife prepares
The fire fair blazing, and the vestment warm,
Iu vain his little children, peeping out
Into the mingling storm demand their sire,
With tears of artless innocence. Alas!
Nor wife, nor children, more shall he bebold,
Nor friend, nor sacred home. On ev'ry nerve
The deadly winter seizes, shuts up sense,
And o'er his inmost vitals creeping cold,
Lays him along the snows, a stiffen'd corse,
Stretch'd out, and bleaching in the northern blast.
The path of sorrow, and that path alone,
Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown;
No traveller ever reached that blessed abode,
Who found not thorns and briers in his road.
The world may dance along the flowery plain,
Cheered as they go by many a sprightly strain :
Where nature has her mossy velvet spread,
With unshod feet they yet securely tread :
Admonished, scorn the caution and the friend,
Bent all on pleasure, heedless of its end.
But He, who knew what human hearts would prove,
How slow to learn the dictates of His love,
That hard by nature, and of stubborn will,
A life of ease would make them harder still,
In pity to the souls his grace designed
To rescue from the ruin of mankind,
Called for a cloud to darken all their years,
And said, “Go spend them in a vale of tears.
O balıny gales of soul-reviving air !
O salutary streams that murmur there!
These, flowing from the fount of grace abore;
Those breathed from lips of everlasting love
The Ainty soil, indeed, their feet annoys,
Chill blasts of trouble nip their springing joys;
An envious world will interpose its frown,
To mar delights superior to its own;
And many a pang, experienced still within,
Reminds them of their hated inmate, Sin,
But ills of every shape, and every name,
Transformed to blessings, miss their cruel aim;
And every moment's calm that soothes the breast,
Is given in earnest of eternal rest.
Ah, be not sad, although thy lot be cast
Far from the flock, and in a boundless waste !
No shepherds' tents within thy view appear,
But the chief Shepherd even there is near.
Thy tender sorrows and thy plaintive strain,
Flow in a foreign land, but not in vain ;
Thy tears all issue from a source divine,
And every drop bespeaks a Saviour thine-
So once in Gideon's deece the dews were found,
And drought on all the drooping herbs around.
Be wise today; 'tis madness to defer;
Next day the fatal precedent will plead,
Thus on, till wisdom is pushed out of life!
Procrastination is the thief of time ;
Year after year it steals, till all are ded,
And to the mercies of a moment leaves
The vast concerns of an eterual scene.
If not so frequent, would not this be strange?
That 'tis so frequent, this is stranger still,
Of man's miraculous mistakes this bears
The palm, " That all men are about to live,"
For ever 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 applaud,
How excellent that life they ne'er will lead !
Time lodged in their own hands is Folly's vails ;
That lodged 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 human wisdom to do more.
All promise is poor dilatory man,
And that through every stage. When young, indeed,
In full content we sometinres 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 chides 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 through their wounded hearts the sudden dread.