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To see a God stretch forth his human hand,
T' uphold the boundless scenes of his command;
To recollect, that, in a form like ours,
He bruis'd beneath his feet th' infernal pow'rs,
Captivity led captive, rose to claim
The wreath he won so dearly in our name;
That thron'd above all height he condescends,
To call the few that trust in him his friends;
That, in the Heav'n of heav'ns,
Too scanty for th' exertion of his beams,
And shines, as if impatient to bestow
Life and a kingdom upon worms below;
That sight imparts a never-dying flame,
Though feeble in degree, in kind the same.
Like him the soul thus kindled from above
Spreads wide her arms of universal love;
And, still enlarg'd as she receives the grace,
Includes creation in her close embrace.
Behold a Christian !-and without the fires
The founder of that name alone inspires,
Though all accomplishment, all knowledge meet,
To make the shining prodigy complete,
Whoever boasts that name--behold a cheat!
Were love, in these the World's last doting years, As frequent as the want of it
appears, The churches warm'd, they would no longer hold Such frozen figures, stiff as they are cold; Relenting forms would lose their pow'r, or cease; And ev’n the dipp'd and sprinkled live in peace : Each heart would quit it's prison in the breast, And flow in free communion with the rest. The statesman, skill'd in projects dark and deep, Might burn his useless Machiavel, and sleep; His budget often fill'd, yet always poor, Might swing at ease behind his study door, No longer prey upon our annual rents, Or scare the nation with it's big contents: Disbanded legions freely might depart, And slaying man would cease to be an art. No learned disputants would take the field, Sure not to conquer, and sure not to yield; Both sides deceiv'd, if rightly understood, Pelting each other for the public good. Did charity prevail, the press would prove A vehicle of virtue, truth, and love; And I might spare myself the pains to show What few can learn, and all suppose they know.
Thus have I sought to grace a serious lay
With many a wild indeed but flow'ry spray,
In hopes to gain; what else I must have lost,
Th' attention pleasure has so much engross'd.
But if unhappily deceiv'd I dream,
And prove too weak for so divine a theme,
Let Charity forgive me a mistake,
That zeal, not vanity, has chanc'd to make,
And spare the poet for his subject's sake.
Nam neque me tantum venientis sibilus austri,
Nec percussa juvant fluctú tam litora, nec quæ
Saxosas inter decurrunt Aumina valles.
VIRG. Ecl. 5.
Though nature weigh our talents, and dispense
To ev'ry man his modicum of sense,
And Conversation in it's better part
May be esteem'd a gift, and not an art,
Yet much depends, as in the tiller's toil,
On culture, and the sowing of the soil.
Words learn'd by rote a parrot may rehearse,
But talking is not always to converse;
Not more distinct from harmony divine,
The constant creaking of a country sign.
As Alphabets in ivory employ,
Hour after hour, the yet unletter'd boy,
Sorting and puzzling with a deal of glee
Those seeds of science call'd his A B C;
So language in the mouths of the adult,
Witness it's insignificant result,
Too often proves an implement of play,
A toy to sport with, and pass time away.
Collect at ev'ning what the day brought forth,
Compress the sum into it's solid worth,
And if it weigh th' importance of a fly,
The scales are false, or algebra a lie.
Sacred interpreter of human thought,
How few respect or use thee as they ought!
But all shall give account of ev'ry wrong,
Who dare dishonour or defile the tongue;
Who prostitute it in the cause of vice,
Or sell their glory at a market-price;
Who vote for hire, or point it with lampoon,
The dear-bought placeman, and the cheap buffoon.
There is a prurience in the speech of some, Wrath stays him, or else God would strike them