Imágenes de páginas

All Promife is poor dilatory man,

And that thro' ev'ry ftage. When young, indeed,

In full content, we fometimes nobly rest,
Un-anxious for ourfelves; and only wish,
As duteous fons, our fathers were more wife.
At thirty man fufpects 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,
Refolves, and re-refolves; then dies the fame.'"

And why? Because he thinks himself immortal.
All men think all men mortal, but themselves;
Themselves, when some alarming shock of fate
Strikes thro' their wounded hearts the fudden dread;
But their hearts wounded, like the wounded air,
Soon clofe; where past the shaft, no trace is found.
As from the wing no fcar the sky retains ;
The parted wave no furrow from the keel;
So dies in human hearts the thought of death.
Ev'n with the tender tear which nature fheds
O'er those we love, we drop it in their grave.




BEHOLD the ways

Of Heav'ns eternal destiny to man,

For ever juft, benevolent and wife:

That VIRTUE's awful steps, howe'er pursued


By vexing fortune and intrufive PAIN,
Should never be divided from her chafte,
Her fair attendant, PLEASURE. Need I urge
Thy tardy thought through all the various round
Of this existence, that thy foft'aing foul

At length may learn what energy the hand
Of virtue mingles in the bitter tide

Of paffion fwelling with distress and pain,
To mitigate the sharp with gracious drops
Of cordial pleafure? Afk the faithful youth,
While the cold urn of her whom long he lov'd
So often fills his arms; so often draws

His lonely footsteps at the filent hour,


pay the mournful tribute of his tears?
O! he will tell thee, that the wealth of worlds
Should ne'er feduce his bofom to forego
That facred hour, when stealing from the noise
Of care and envy, fweet remembrance fooths
With virtue's kindeft looks his aching breaft,
And turns his tears to rapture.-Ask the crowd
Which flies impatient from the village-walk
To climb the neighb'ring cliffs, when far below
The cruel winds have hurl'd upon the coaft
Some hapless bark; while facred pity melts
The gen'ral eye, or terror's icy hand
Smites their distorted limbs and horrent hair;
While every mother clofer to her breaft
Catches her child, and pointing where the waves
Foam thro' the fhatter'd veffel, fhrieks aloud,
As one poor wretch that spreads his piteous arms
For fuccour, fwallow'd by the roaring furge,
As now another, dafh'd against the rock,


Drops lifeless down. O deemeft thou indeed
No kind endearment here by nature giv'n
To mutual terror and compaffion's tears?
No fweetly-melting foftnefs which attracts,
O'er all that edge of pain, the social pow'rs
To this their proper action and their end?—
Afk thy own heart; when at the midnight hour,
Slow thro' that ftudious gloom thy paufing eye
Led by the glimm'ring taper moves around
The facred volumes of the dead, the fongs
Of Grecian bards, and records writ by fame
For Grecian Heroes, where the present pow'r
Of heav'n and earth furveys th' immortal page,
E'en as a father bleffing, while he reads
The praises of his fon; if then thy foul,
Spurning the yoke of these inglorious days,
Mix in their deeds and kindle with their flame:
Say, when the profpect blackens on thy view,
When rooted from the bafe, heroic ftates
Mourn in the duft and tremble at the frown
Of curft ambition ;-when the pious band
Of youths that fought for freedom and their fires
Lie fide by fide in gore ;-when ruffian-pride
Ufurps the throne of juftice, turns the pomp
Of public pow'r, the majefty of rule,
The fword, the laurel, and the purple robe,
To flavish empty pageants, to adorn

A tyrant's walk and glitter in the eyes

Of fuch as bow the knee ;-when honour'd urns
Of patriots and of chiefs, the awful bust
And storied arch, to glut the coward-rage
Of regal envy, ftrew the public way

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

With hallow'd ruins !-when the mufe's haunt,
The marble porch where wisdom wont to talk
With Socrates or Tully, hears no more,
Save the hoarfe jargon of contentious monks,
Or female fuperftition's midnight pray'r ;-
When ruthlefs rapine from the hand of time
Tears the destroying fcythe, with furer blow
To sweep the works of glory from their base;
Till defolation o'er the grafs-grown street
Expands his raven-wings, and up the wall,
Where fenates once the pride of monarch's doom'd,
Hiffes the gliding fnake thro' hoary weeds
That clafp the mould'ring column ;-thus defac'd,
Thus widely mournful when the prospect thrills
Thy beating bofom, when the patriot's tear
Starts from thine eye, and thy extended arm
In fancy hurls the thunderbolt of Jove
To fire the impious wreath on Philip's brow,
Or dafh Octavius from the trophied car ;-
Say, does thy fecret foul repine to tafte
The big diftrefs? Or wouldft thou then exchange
Those heart-ennobling forrows, for the lot
Of him who fits amid the gaudy herd
Of mute barbarians bending to his nod,
And bears aloft his gold-invefted front,

And fays within himself, "I am a king,

"And wherefore should the clam'rous voice of woe
"Intrude upon mine ear?"-The baleful dregs
Of these late ages, this inglorious draught
Of fervitude and folly, have not yet,
Bleft be th' Eternal Ruler of the world!
Defil'd to fuch a depth of fordid fhame


The native honours of the human foul,

Nor fo effac'd the image of its fire.




AY, what is tafte, but the internal pow'rs
Active, and ftrong, and feelingly alive
To each fine impulse? a difcerning sense
Of decent and fublime, with quick difguft
From things deform'd, or difarrang'd, or grofs
In fpecies? This nor gems, nor ftores of gold,
Nor purple state, nor culture can bestow;
But God alone, when first his active hand
Imprints the facred bias of the foul.
He, mighty Parent! wife and just in all,
Free as the vital breeze or light of heav'n,
Reveals the charms of nature. Ak the fwain
Who journies homeward from a fummer-day's
Long labour, why forgetful of his toils
And due repose, he loiters to behold
The funshine gleaming as thro' amber clouds,
O'er all the western sky; full soon, I ween,
His rude expreffion and untutor'd airs,
Beyond the pow'r of language, will unfold
The form of beauty fmiling at his heart,
How lovely! how commanding! But tho' Heav'a
In every breast hath fown these early feeds
Of love and admiration, yet in vain,
Without fair culture's kind parental aid,
Without enlivening funs, and genial fhow'rs,

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »