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Sit long and late at the carousing board ?
(Such were the sins with which he charg'd his Lord.)
No-the 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 music near,
His measur'd step were govern'd by his ear;
And seems to say-Ye meaner fowl, give place ;
I am all spendour, 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. . J
The plea of works, as arrogant and vain,
Heaven 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 heayen 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 every crime, And sore tormented, long before his time; His prayer preferr'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 whimsy 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 senseMy penitential stripes, my streaming blood, Have purchas'd heaven, and prove my title good.
Turn Eastward now, and fancy shall apply
To your weak sight her telescopic 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 barbarous air to British song ;
No grand inquisitor could worse invent,
Than he contrives, to suffer, well content.
Which is the saint lier 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 sufferings, scripture no where recommends,
Devis'd by self, to answer selfish ends,
Give saintship, then all Europe must agree
Ten starvling hermits suffer less than he.
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 every virtue in them both.
Pride may be pamper’d while the flesh grows lean ;
Humility may clothe an English dean;
That grace was Cowper's his, 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 misery, and abundant grows; .
Io misery fools upon themselves impose.
But why before us protestants produce
An Indian mystic, 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'a, her eyes both gone astray
To watch yon amorous couple in their play,
With bony and unkerchief'd neck, defies
The rude inclemency of wintry skies,
And sails, with lappet-head and mincing airs,
Duly, at clink of bell, to morning prayers...
To thrift and parsimony much inclin'd,
She get allows herself that boy behind.
The shivering urchin, bending as he goes,
With slip-shod heels, and dew-drop at his nose;
His predecessor's coat advanc'd to wear,
Which 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, half 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 bumber every day.
Of temper as envenom'd as an asp ;
Censorious, and her every word a wasp ;
In faithful memory she records the crimes,
Or real, or fictitious, of the times ;
Laughs at the reputations she has torn,
And holds them, dangling at arm's length, in scoti
Such are the fruits of sanctimonious pride, Of malice fed while flesh is mortified : Take, Madam, the reward of all your prayers, 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 paint
Produce them-take a chair-now draw a saint.
Ob, sorrowful and sad! the streaming tears
Channel her cheeksa Niobe appears!
Is this a saint? Throw tints and all away—
True piety is cheerful as the day;
Will weep, indeed, and heave a pitying groan
For others' woes, but smiles upon her own.
What purpose has the King of saints in view ? Why falls the gospel like a gracious dew? To call up plenty from the teeming earth, Or curse the desert with a tenfold dearth? Is it that Adam's offspring may be sav'd From servile fear, or be the more enslav'd ? To loose the links that gall’d mankind before, Or bind them faster on, and add still more ? The freeborn christian has no chains to prove ; Or, if a chain, the golden one of love : No fear attends to quench his glowing fires, What fear he feels his gratitude inspires. Shall he, for such deliverance, freely wrought, Recompense ill? He trembles at the thought.