Page images
PDF
EPUB

While Conscience, happier than in ancient years,
Owns no superior but the God she fears.
Propitious spirit ! yet expunge a wrong
Thy rights have suffer'd, and our land, too long.
Teach mercy to ten thousand hearts, that share
The fears and hopes of a commercial care.
Prisons expect the wicked, and were built
To bind the lawless, and to punish guilt ;
But shipwreck, earthquake, battle, fire, and food,
Are mighty mischiefs, not to be withstood ;
And honest Merit stands on slippery ground,
Where covert guile and artifice abound.
Let just Restraint, for public peace design'd,
Chain up the wolves and tigers of mankind;
The foe of virtue has no claim to thee,
But let insolvent Innocence go free.

Patron of else the most despised of mer
Accept the tribute of a stranger's pen;
Verse, like the laurel, its immortal meed,
Should be the guerdon of a noble deed;
I may alarm thee, but I fear the shame
(Charity chosen as my theme and aim)
I must incur, forgetting Howard's name.
Bless'd with all wealth can give thee, to resign
Joys doubly sweet to feelings quick as thine,
To quit the bliss thy rural scenes bestow,
To seek a nobler amidst scenes of woe,
To traverse seas, range kingdoms, and bring home
Not the proud monuments of Greece or Rome,
But knowledge such as only dungeons teach,
And only sympathy like thine could reach;
That grief, sequester’d from the public stage,
Might smooth her feathers, and enjoy her cage:
Speaks a divine ambition, and a zeal
The boldest patriot might be proud to feel.
O that the voice of clamour and debate,
That pleads for peace till it disturbs the state,
Were hush'd in favour of thy generous plea,
The poor thy clients, and Heaven's smile thy fee!
Philosophy, that does not dream or stray,
Walks arm in arm with Nature all his way;

Compasses earth, dives into it, ascends
Whatever steep Inquiry recommends,
Sees planetary wonders smoothly roll
Round other systems under her control,
Drinks wisdom at the milky stream of light,
That cheers the silent journey of the night,
And brings at his return a bosom charged
With rich instruction, and a soul enlarged.
The treasured sweets of the capacious plan,
That Heaven spreads wide before the view of man,
All prompt his pleased pursuit, and to pursue
Still prompt him, with a pleasure always new;
He too has a connecting power, and draws
Man to the centre of the common cause,
Aiding a dubious and deficient sight
With a new medium and a purer light.
All truth is precious, if not all divine;
And what dilates the powers must needs refine.
He reads the skies, and, watching every change,
Provides the faculties an ampler range;
And wins mankind, as his attempts prevail,
A prouder station on the general scale.
But Reason still, unless divinely taught,
Whate'er she learns, learns nothing as she ought;
The lamp of revelation only shews,
What human wisdom cannot but oppose,
That'man in nature's richest mantle clad,
And graced with all philosophy can add,
Though fair without, and luminous within,
Is still the progeny and heir of sin.
Thus taught, down falls the plumage of his
He feels his need of an unerring guide,
And konws that falling he shall rise no more,
Unless the power that bade him stand restore.
This is indeed philosophy; this known
Makes wisdom, worthy of the name, his own
And, without this, whatever he discuss;
Whether the space between the stars and
Whether he measure earth, compute the
Weigh sunbeams, carve a fly, or spit a flea,
The solemn trifler with his boasted skill
Toils much, and is a solemn trifler still:

pride,

us

sea

Has God then given its sweetness to the cane,
Unless his laws be trampled on-in vain?
Built u rrave world, which cannot yet subsist,
Uniess his r ght to rule it be dismiss'd ?
Impudent blasphemy! So Folly pleads,
And Avarice being judge, with ease succeeds.

But grant the plea, and let it stand for just,
That man make man his prey, because he must;
Still there is room for pity to abate,
And soothe the sorrows of so sad a state.
A Briton knows, or if he knows it not,
The Scripture placed within his reach, he ought,
That souls have no discriminating hue,
Alike important in their maker's view;
That none are free from blemish since the fall,
And love divine has paid one price for all.
The wretch, that works and weeps without relief,
Has One that notices his silent grief.
He, from whose hands alone all power proceeds,
Ranks its abuse among the foulest deeds,
Considers all injustice with a frown;
But marks the man that treads his fellow down.
Begone-the whip and bell in that hard hand
Are hateful ensigns of usurp'd command.
Not Mexico could purchase kings a claim
To scourge him, weariness his only blame.
Remember Heaven has an avenging rod :
To smite the poor is treason against God.

Trouble is grudgingly and hardly brook'd, While life's sublimest joys are overlook'd: We wander o'er a sunburnt thirsty soil, Murmuring and weary of our daily toil, Forget to enjoy the palm-tree's offer'd shade, Or taste the fountain in the neighbouring glade: Else who would lose, that had the power to improve, The occasion of transmuting fear to love? O! 'tis a godlike privilege to save, And he that scorns it is himself a slave. Inform his mind; one flash of heavenly day Would heal his heart, and melt his chains away. • Beauty for ashes' is a gift indeed, And slaves, by truth enlarged, are doubly freed.

She speaks of him, her author, guardian, friend,
Whose love knew no beginning, knows no end,
In language warm as all that love inspires,
And in the glow of her intense desires,
Pants to communicate her noble fires.
She sees a world stark blind to what employs
Her eager thought, and feeds her flowing joys;
Though Wisdom hail them, heedless of her call,
Flies to save some, and feels a pang for all:
Herself as weak as her support is strong,
She feels that frailty she denied so long;
And, from a knowledge of her own disease,
Learns to compassionate the sick she sees.
Here see, acquitted of all vain pretence,
The reign of genuine Charity commence.
Though scorn repay her sympathetic tears,
She still is kind, and still she perseveres ;
The truth she loves a sightless world blaspheme,
'Tis childish dotage, a delirious dream:
The danger they discern not, they deny;
Laugh at their only remedy, and die.
But still a soul thus touch'd can never cease,
Whoever threatens war, to speak of peace.
Pure in her aim, and in her temper mild,
Her wisdom seems the weakness of a child:
She makes excuses where she might condemn,
Reviled by those that hate her, prays for them ;
Suspicion lurks not in her artless breast,
The worst suggested, she believes the best ;
Not soon provoked, however stung and teased,
And, if perhaps made angry, soon appeased ;
She rather waives than will dispute her right,
And, injured, makes forgiveness her delight.

Such was the portrait an apostle drew;
The bright original was one he knew;
Heaven held his hand, the likeness must be true.

When one, that holds communion with the skies, Has filled his urn where these pure waters rise, And once more mingles with us meaner things, 'Tis e'en as if an angel shook his wings; Immortal fragrance fills the circuit wide, That tells us whence his treasures are supplied,

So when a ship, well freighted with the stores
The sun matures on India's spicy shores,
Has dropp'd her anchor, and her canvas fur’d,
In some safe haven of our western world,
'Twere vain inquiry to what port she went,
The gale informs us, laden with the scent.

Some seek, when queasy conscience has its qualms,
To lull the painful malady with alms;
But charity not feign'd intends alone
Another's good—theirs centres in their own;
And, too short-lived to reach the realms of peace,
Must cease for ever when the poor shall cease.
Flavia, most tender of her own good name,
Is rather careless of her sister's fame:
Her superfluity the poor supplies,
But, if she touch a character, it dies.
The seeming virtue weighed against the vice,
She deems all safe, for she has paid the price :
No charity but alms aught values she,
Except in porcelain on her mantel-tree.
How many deeds, with which the world has rung,
From pride, in league with ignorance, have sprung
But God o'errules all human follies still,
And bends the tough materials to his will.
A conflagration, or a wintry flood,
Has left some hundreds without home or food:
Extravagance and Avarice shall subscribe,
While fame and self-complacence are the bribe.
The grief proclaimed, it visits every pew,
But first the 'squire's, a compliment but due:
With slow deliberation he unties
His glittering purse, that envy of all eyes,
And, while the clerk just puzzles out the psalm,
Glides guinea behind guinea in his palm,
Till finding, what he might have found before,
A smaller piece amidst the precious store,
Pinch'd close between his finger and his thumb,
He half exhibits, and then drops the sum.
Gold to be sure !—Throughout the town 'tis told,
How the good 'squire gives never less than gold.
From motives such as his, though not the best,
Springs in due time supply for the distress'd;

« PreviousContinue »