Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

Is spread at once opon the sparing board;
Think not, when worn the homely robe appears,
While on the roof the howling tempest hears;
What farther shall this feeble life sustain,
And what shall clothe these shiv'ring limbs again.
Say, does not life its nourishment exceed?
And the fair body its investing weed?
Behold! and look away your low despair-
See the light tenants of the barren air:
To them, nor stores, nor granaries, belong;
Nought, but the woodland, and the pleasing song;
Yet, your kind heav'nly Father bends his eye
On the least wing that flits along the sky.
To him they sing when spring renews the plain;
To him they cry, in winter's pinching reign;
Nor is their music, nor their plaint in vain :
He hears the gay, and the distressful call;
And with unsparing bounty fills them all."

"Observe the rising lily's snowy grace;
Observe the various vegetable race:
They neither toil, nor spin, but careless grow;
Yet see how warm they blush! how bright they glow;
What regal vestments can with them compare!
What king so shining! or what queen so fair!"

"If ceaseless, thus, the fowls of heav'n he feeds; If o'er the fields such lucid robes he spreads; Will he not care for you, ye faithless, say ? Is he unwise? or, are ye less than they?

SECTION VI.

THOMSON

The death of a good man a strong incentive to virtue.

THE chamber where the good man meets his fate,
Is privileg'd beyond the common walk
Of virtuous life, quite in the verge of heav'n..
Fly, ye profane! if not, draw near with awe,

[ocr errors]

Receive the blessing, and adore the chance,
That threw in this Bethesda your disease:
If unrestor'd by this, despair your cure.
For, here, resistless demonstration dwells;
A death-bed's a detector of the heart.
Here tir'd dissimulation drops her mask,
Thro' life's grimace, that mistress of the scene!
Here real, and apparent, are the same.
You see the man; you see his hold on heav'n,
If sound his virtue, as Philander's sound.
Heav'n waits not the last moment; owns her friends
On this side death; and points them out to men ;
A lecture, silent, but of sov'reign pow'r!

To vice, confusion; and to virtue, peace.
Whatever farce the boastful hero plays,
Virtue alone has majesty in death;
And greater still, the more the tyrant frowns.

SECTION VII.

YOUNG

Reflections on a future state, from a review of winter.

'Tis done! dread winter spreads his latest glooms, And reigns tremendous o'er the conquer'd year. How dead the vegetable kingdom lies!

How dumb the tuneful! Horror wide extends
His desolate domain. Behold, fond man!
See here thy pictur'd life: pass some few years,
Thy flow'ring spring, thy summer's ardent strength,
Thy sober autumn fading into age,

And pale concluding winter comes at last,
And shuts the scene. Ah! whither now are fled
Those dreams of greatness? those unsolid hopes
Of happiness? those longings after fame?
Those restless-cares? those busy bustling days?
Those gay-spent, festive nights? those veering thoughts,
Lost between good and ill, that shar'd thy life?

eye

All now are vanish'd! Virtue sole survives,
Immortal, never-failing friend of man,
His guide to happiness on high. And see!
'Tis come, the glorious morn! the second birth
Of heaven and earth! awak'ning nature hears
The new-creating word; and starts to life,
In ev'ry heighten'd form, from pain and death
For ever free. The great eternal scheme,
Involving all, and in a perfect whole
Uniting as the prospect wider spreads,
To reason's refin'd clears up apace.
Ye vainly wise! Ye blind presumptuous! now,
Confounded in the dust, adore that Power,
And Wisdom oft arraign'd: see now the cause
Why unassuming worth in secret liv'd,
And died neglected: why the good man's share
In life was gall, and bitterness of soul :
Why the lone widow and her orphans pin'd
In starving solitude; while luxury,
In palaces lay straining her low thought,
To form unreal wants: why heav'n-born truth,
And moderation fair, wore the red marks
O superstition's scourge why licens'd pain,
That cruel spoiler, that embosom'd foe,
Imbitter'd all our bliss. Ye good distress'd!.
Ye noble few! who here unbending stand
Beneath life's pressure, yet bear up awhile,
And what your bounded view, which only saw
A little part, deem'd evil, is no more:
The storms of wint'ry time will quickly pass,
And one unbounded spring encircle all.

SECTION VIII.

"O WOMAN, best are all things as the will Of God ordain'd them; his creating hand.

THOMSON.

ADAM's advice to EvE, to avoid temptation..

Nothing imperfect or deficient left
Of all that he created, much less man,
Or aught that might his happy state secure,
Secure from outward force. Within himself
The danger lies, yet lies within his power:
Against his will he can receive no harm.
But God left free the will; for what obeys
Reason, is free, and reason he made right;
But bid her well beware, and still erect,
Lest, by some fair appearing good surpris'd,
She dictate false, and misinform the will
To do what God expressly hath forbid.
Not then mistrust, butteder love, enjoins
That I should mind thee oft: and mind thou me.
Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve,
Since reason not impossibly may meet
Some specious object by the foe suborn'd,
And fall into deception unaware,
Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warn'd.
Seek not temptation then, which to avoid
Were better, and most likely if from me
Thou sever not; trial will come unsought.
Wouldst thou approve thy constancy? approve
First thy obedience; th' other who can know,
Not seeing thee attempted, who attest?
But if thou think, trial unsought may find
Us both securer than thus warn'd thou seem'st,
Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more:
Go in thy native innocence; rely

On what thou hast of virtue, summon all;

For God towards thee hath done his part; do thine."

MILTON

SECTION IX.

On procrastination.

BE wise to-day; 'tis madness to defer:

*

Next day the fatal precedent will plead ;

Thus on, till wisdom is push'd out of life.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
Year after year it steals, till all are filed;
And, to the mercies of a moment leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal scene.

Of man's miraculous mistakes, this bears The palm, "That all men are about to live:" For ever on the brink of being born, All pay themselves the compliment to think, They, one day, shall not drivel; and their pride On this reversion takes up ready praise; At least, their own; their future selves applauds : How excellent that life they ne'er will lead ! Time lodg'd in their own hands is folly's vails That lodg'd in fate's, to wisdom they consign; The thing they can't but purpose, they postpone, 'Tis not in folly, not to scorn a fool;

;

And scarce in human wisdom to do more.
Al promise is poor dilatory man;

And that thro' ev'ry stage. When young, indeed,
In full content we sometimes nobly rest,
Unanxious for ourselves; and only wish,
As duteous sons, our fathers were more wise:
At thirty, man suspects 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,
Resolves, and re-resolves, then dies the same.

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 sudden dread:
But their hearts wounded, like the wounded air,
Soon close; where, past the shaft, no trace is found.
As from the wing no scar the sky retains;
The parted wave no furrow from the keel;
So dies in human hearts the thought of death

« PoprzedniaDalej »