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Hark! how it floats apon the dewy air!
O what a dying, dying close was there !
"Tis harmony from yon sequestered bower,
Sweet harmony, that sooths the midnight hour !
Long ere the charioteer of day had run
His morning course, th' enchantment was begun;
And he shall gild yon mountain's height again,
Ere yet the pleasing toil becomes a pain.
Is this the rugged path, the steep ascent,
That virtue points to ? Can a life thus spent
Lead to the bliss she promises the wise,
Detach the soul from earth, and speed her to the skies
Ye devotees to your adored employ,
Enthusiasts, drunk with an unreal joy,
Love makes the music of the blest above,
Heaven's harmony is universal love;
And earthly sounds, though sweet and well com-
bined, And lenient as soft opiates to the mind, Leave vice and folly unsubdued behind.
Gray dawn appears; the sportsman and his train, Speckle the bosom of the distant plain; 'Tis he, the Nimrod of the neighbouring liars, Save that his scent is less acute than theirs ; For persevering chase, and headlong leaps, True beagle as the staunchest hoand he keeps. Charged with the folly of his life's mad scene, He takes oflence, and wonders what you mean; The joy the danger and the toil o'erpays'Tis exercise, and health, and length of days. Again impetuous to the field he flies; Leaps every fence but one, there falls and dies; Like a slain deer, the tumbrel brings him home, Unmissed bat by his dogs and by his groom.
Ye clergy, while your orbit is your place, Lights of the world, and stars of human race;
But, if eccentric ye forsake your sphere, Prodigies ominous, and viewed with fear. The comet's baneful influence is a dream; Your's real and pernicious in th' extreme. What then !-are appetites and lusts laid down With the same ease that man puts on his gown? Will avarice and concupiscence give place, Charmed by the sounds-Your Reverence,or Your Grace? No. But his own engagement binds him fast; Or, if it does not, brands him to the last What atheists call him-a designing knave, A mere church juggler, hypocrite, and slave. Oh, laugh or mourn with me the rueful jest, A cassocked huntsman, and a fiddling priest! He from Italian songsters takes his cue; Set Paul to music, he shall quote him too. He takes the field, the master of the pack, Cries—Well done saint! and claps him on the back. Is this the path of sanctity? Is this To stand a way-mark in the road to bliss ? Himself a wanderer from the narrow way, His silly sheep, what wonder if they stray ? Go, cast your orders at your bishop's feet, Send your dishonoured gown to Monmouth-street! The sacred function in your hands is madeSad sacrilege ! no function, but a trade!
Occiduus is a pastor of renown, When he has prayed and preached the sabbath down, With wire and catgut he concludes the day, Quavering and semiquavering care away. The full concerto swells upon your ear ; All elbows shake. Look in, and you would swear The Babylonian tyrant with a nod Had summoned them to serve bis golden god. So well that thought th' employment seems to suit, Psaltery and sackbut, dulcimer and flute.
Oh fie! 'tis evangelical and pure :
Observe each face, how sober and demure !
Ecstasy sets her stamp on every mien;
Chins fallen, and not an eye-ball to be seen.
Still I insist, though music heretofore
Has charmed me much (not even Occiduus more),
Love, joy, and peace make harmony more meet
For sabbath evenings, and perhaps as sweet.
Will not the sickliest sheep of every flock
Resort to this example as a rock;
There stand, and justify the foul abuse
Of sabbath hours with plausible excuse ;
If apostolic gravity be free
To play the fool on Sundays, why not we?
If he the tinkling harpsichord regards
As inoffensive, what offence in cards ?
Strike up the fiddles, let us all be gay,
Laymen have leave to dance, if parsons play.
Oh Italy!-thy sabbaths will be soon
Our sabbaths, closed with mummery and builoon.
Preaching and pranks will share the motley scene,
Ours parcelled out, as thine have ever been,
God's worship and the mountebank between.
What says the prophet? Let that day be blest
With holiness and consecrated rest.
Pastime and business both it should exclude,
And bar the door the moment they intrude ;
Nobly distinguished above all the six,
By deeds in which the world must never mix.
Hear him again. He calls it a delight,
A day of luxury, observed aright,
When the glad soul is made heaven's welcome guest,
Sits banquetting, and God provides the feast.
But triflers are engaged and cannot come ;
Their answer to the call is-Not at home.
Oh the dear pleasures of the velvet plain, The painted tablets, dealt and dealt again.
Cards, with what rapture, and the polished die,
The yawning chasm of indolence supply !
Then to the dance, and make the sober moon
Witness of joys that shun the sight of noon.
Blame, cynic, if you can, quadrille or ball,
The snug close party, or the splendid hall,
Where night, down-stooping from her ebon throne,
Views constellations brighter than her own.
'Tis innocent, and harmless, and refined,
The balm of care, elysium of the mind.
Innocent! Oh, if venerable time,
Slain at the foot of pleasure be no crime,
Then, with his silver beard and magic wand,
Let Comus rice archbishop of the land !
Let him your rubric and your feast prescribe!
Grand metropolitan of all the tribe.
Of manners rough, and coarse athletic cast.
The rank debauch suits Clodio's filthy taste.
Rufillus, exquisitely formed by rule,
Not of the moral, but the dancing school,
Wonders at Clodio's follies, in a tone
As tragical, as others at his own.
He cannot drink five bottles, bilk the score,
Then kill a constable, and drink five more ;
But he can draw a pattern, make a tart,
And has the ladies etiquette by heart.
Go, fool; and, arm in arm, with Clodio, plead
Your cause before a bar you little dread;
But know, the law, that bids the drunkard die,
Is far too just to pass the trifier by.
Both baby-featured, and of infant size,
Viewed from a distance, and with heedless eyes,
Folly and innocence are so alike,
The difference, though essential, fails to strike.
Yet folly ever has a vacant stare,
A simpering countenance, and a trifling air ;
Bat innocence, sedate, serene, erect,
Delights us, by engaging our respect.
Man, nature's guest by invitation sweet,
Receives from her both appetite and treat ;
But, if he play the glutton and exceed,
His benefactress blushes at the deed,
For nature, nice, as liberal to dispense,
Made nothing but a brute the slave of sense.
Daniel ate pulse by choice-example rare !
Heaven blessed the youth and made him fresh and fair.
Gorgonius sits, abdominous and wan,
Like a fat squab upon a chinese fan :
He snuffs far off the anticipated joy;
Turtle and venison all his thoughts employ;
Prepares for meals as jockies take a sweat,
Oh, nauseous !-an emetic for a whet!
Will Providence overlook the wasted good ?
Temperance were no virtue if he could.
That pleasures, therefore, or what such we call,
Are hurtful, is a truth confessed by all.
And some, that seem to threaten virtue less,
Still hurtful, in th' abuse, or by th' excess.
Is man then only for his torment placed,
The centre of delights he may not taste?
Like fabled Tantalus, condemned to hear
The precious stream still purling in his ear,
Lip-deep in what he longs for, and yet curst
With prohibition, and perpetual thirst?
No, wrangler—destitute of shame and sense,
The precept, that enjoins him abstinence,
Forbids him none but the licentious joy,
Whose fruit, though fair, tempts only to destroy.
Remorse, the fatal egg by pleasure laid
In every bosom where her nest is made,
Hatched by the beams of truth, denies him rest,
And proves a raging scorpion in his breast.