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That, while I trembling trace a work divine,
Fancy may stand aloof from the design,
And light, and shade, and ev'ry stroke be thine.
If ever thou hast felt another's pain,
If ever when he-sigh'd hast sigh'd again,
If ever on thy eyelid stood the tear,
That pity had engender'd, drop one here.
This man was happy-had the World's good word,
And with it ev'ry joy it can afford;
Friendship and love seem'd tenderly at strife,
Which most-should sweeten his untroubled life;
Politely learn d, and of a gentle race,
Good breeding and good sense gave
all a grace, And whether at the toilette of the fair He laugh'd and trifled, made him welcome there, Or if in masculine debate he shar'd, Ensur'd him mute attention and regard. Alas how chang'd! Expressive of his mind, His eyes are sunk, arms folded, head reclin'd; Those awful syllables, Hell, death, and sin, Though whisper'd, 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 ;
His hours no longer pass unmark'd away,
A dark importance saddens ev'ry day;
He hears the notice of the clock perplex'd,
And cries, Perhaps eternity strikes next;
Sweet music is no longer music here,
And laughsounds like madness in his ear:
His griefie World of all her pow'r 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 pow'r belongs to God.
As when a felon, whom his country's laws
Have justly doom'd 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 dreadful morn,
Upon his dungeon walls the lightning 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 ling'ring, 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 Heav'n, all Heav'n descending on the wings
Of the glad legions of the King of kings;
'Tis more -'tis God diffus'd through ev'ry part,
'Tis God himself triumphant in his heart.
O welcome now the Sun's once hated light,
His noonday beams were never half so bright.
Not kindred minds alone are call'd t' employ
Their hours, their days, in list'ning to his joy;
Unconscious nature, all that he surveys,
Rocks, groves, and streams, must join him in his praise.
These are thy glorious works, eternal Truth,
The scoff of wither'd age and beardless youth;
These move the censure and illib'ral grin
Of fools, that hate thee and delight in sin:
But these shall last when night has quench'd the
And Heav'n 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 who share
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)
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,
And fruit reward his honourable toil:
But happier far, who comfort those, that wait
To hear plain truth at Judah’s hallow'd gate:
Their language simple, as their manners meek,
No shining ornaments have they to seek ;
Nor labour they, nor time nor talents waste,
In sorting flow'rs to suit a fickle taste;
But while they speak the wisdom of the skies,
Which art can only darken and disguise,
Th' abundant harvest, recompence divine,
Repays their work-the gleaning only mine.