Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

O how unlike the complex works of man, Heav'n's easy, artless, unincumber'd plan! No meretricious graces to beguile, No clust'ring ornaments to clog the pile; From ostentation as from weakness free, It stands like the cerulean arch we see, Majestick in its own simplicity. Inscrib'd above the portal, from afar Conspicuous as the brightness of a star, Legible only by the light they give, Stand the soul-quick’ning words - Believe and live. Too many shock'd at what should charm them

most, Despise the plain direction, and are lost. Heav'n on such terms! (they cry with proud disa

dain,)
Incredible, impossible, and vain !
Rebel, because 'tis easy to obey ;
And scorn, for its own sake, the gracious way.
These are the sober, in whose cooler brains
Some thought of immortality remains;
The rest, too busy or too gay to wait
On the sad theme, their everlasting state,
Sport for a day, and perish in a night,
The foam upon the waters not so light.

Who judg'd the pharisee? What odious cause-
Expos’d him to the vengeance of the laws?
Had he seduc'd a virgin, wrong'd a friend,
Or stabb’d a man to serve some private end?
Was blasphemy his sin ? Or did he stray
From the strict duties of the sacred day?

Sit long and late at the carousing board ?
(Such were the sins with which he charg'd his

Lord.)
Northe man's morals were exact, what then?
Twas his ambition to be seen of men;
His virtues were his pride ; and that one vice
Made all his virtues gewgaws of no price;
He wore them as fine trappings for a show,
A praying, synagogue-frequenting beau.

The self-applauding bird, the peacock, see
Mark what a sumptuous pharisee is he! *
Meridian sun-beams tempt him to unfold
His radiant glories, azure, green, and gold:
He treads as if, some solemn musick near,
His measur'd step were govern’d by his ear:
And seems to say-Ye meaner fowl, give place,
I am all splendour, dignity, and grace!

Not so the pheasant on his charms presumes, Though he too has a glory in his plumes. He, christian like, retreats with modest mien To the close copse, or far-sequester'd green, And shines without desiring to be seen. The plea of works, as arrogant and vain, Heav'n turns from with abhorrence and disdain; Not more affronted by avow'd neglect, Than by the mere dissembler's feign'd respect. What is all righteousness that men devise ? What—but a sordid bargain for the skies? But Christ as soon would abdicate his own, As stoop from Heav'n to sell the proud a throne.

His dwelling a recess in some rude rock, Book, beads, and maple dish, his meagre stock ;

In shirt of hair and weeds of canvass dress’d,
Girt with a bell-rope that the pope has bless'd;
Adust with stripes told out for ev'ry crime,
And sore tormented long before his time;
His pray’r prefer'd to saints that cannot aid ;
His praise postpon’d, and never to be paid;
See the sage hermit, by mankind admir'd,
With all that bigotry adopts inspir’d,
Wearing out life in his religious whim,
Till his religious whimsey wears out him.
His works, his abstinence, his zeal allow'd,
You think him humble-God accounts him proud;
High in demand, though lowly in pretence,
Of all his conduct this the genuine sense
My penitential stripes, my streaming blood,
Have purchas'd Heav'n, and prove my title good.

Turn eastward now, and Fancy shall apply
To your weak sight her telescopick eye.
The bramin kindles on his own bare head
The sacred fire, self-torturing his trade,
His voluntary pains, severe and long,
Would give a barb'rous air to British song;
No grand inquisitor could worse invent,
Than he contrives to suffer, well content.

Which is the saintlier worthy of the two?
Past all dispute, yon anchorite, say you.
Your sentence and mine differ. What's a name?
I say the bramin has the fairer claim.
If suff'rings, Scripture 110 where recommends,
Devis'd by self to answer selfish ends,
Give saintship, then all Europe must agree.
Ten straling hermits suffer less than he.

[ocr errors]

The truth is (if the truth may suit your ear,
And prejudice have left a passage clear),
Pride has attain’d its most luxuriant growth,
And poison'd ev'ry virtue in them both.
Pride may be pamper'd while the flesh grows lean;
Humility may clothe an English dean;
That grace was Cowper'shis, confess’d by all-
Though plac'd in golden Durham's second stall.
Not all the plenty of a bishop's board,
His palace, and his lacqueys, and “My Lord,”
More nourish pride, that condescending vice,
Than abstinence, and beggary, and lice;
It thrives in mis’ry, and abundant grows:
In mis’ry fools upon themselves impose.

But why before us protestants produce
An Indian mystick, or a French recluse?
Their sin is plain ; but what have we to fear,
Reform’d and well instructed? You shall hear.

Yon ancient prude, whose wither'd features show
She might be young some forty years ago,
Her elbows pinion'd close upon her hips,
Her head erect, her fan upon her lips,
Her eye-brows arch’d, her eyes both gone astray
To watch yon am'rous couple in their play,
With bony and unkerchief'd neek defies
The rude inclemency of wintry skies,
And sails with lappet-head and mincing airs
Duly at chink of bell to morning pray’rs.
To thrist and parsimony much inclin'd,
She yet allows herself that boy behind;
The shiv'ring urchin, bending as he goes,
With slipshod heels, and dewdrop at his nose;

His predecessor's coat advanc'd to wear,
With future pages yet are doom'd to share,
Carries her Bible tuck'd beneath his arm,
And hides his hands to keep his fingers warm.

She, balf an angel in her own account,
Doubts not hereafter with the saints to mount,
Though not a grace appears on strictest search,
But that she fasts, and item, goes to church.
Conscious of age, she recollects her youth,
And tells, not always with an eye to truth,
Who -spann'd her waist, and who, where'er he

came, Scrawld upon glass Miss Bridget's lovely name; Who stole her slipper, fill'd it with tokay, And drank the little bumper ev'ry day. of temper as envenom’d as an asp, Censorious, and her ev'ry word a wasp ; In faithful mem'ry she records the erimes, Or real or fictitious, of the times; Laughs at the reputations she has torn, And holds them dangling at arm's length in scorn.

Such are the fruits of sanctimonious pride, Of malice fed while flesh is mortified: Take, Madam, the reward of all your pray’rs, Where hermits and where bramins meet with

theirs ; Your portion is with them.-Nay, never frown, But, if you please, some fathoms lower down.

Artist attend-your brushes and your paintProduce them-take a chair-now draw a saint. Oh sorrowful and sad! the streaming tears Channel her cheeks a Niobe appears!

« PoprzedniaDalej »