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1. Mary! I want a lyre with other strings,

Such aid from heaven as some have feigned they drew, An eloquence scarce given to mortals, new

And undebased by praise of meaner things,
2. That ere through age or woe I shed my wings

I may record thy worth with honour due,
In verse as musical as thou art true,

And that immortalizes whom it sings:--
3. But thou hast little need. There is a Book

By seraphs writ with beams of heavenly light,

On which the eyes of God not rarely look, 4. A chronicle of actions just and bright

There all thy deeds, my faithful Mary, shine;
And since thou own'st that praise, I spare thee mine.

-William Couper. "Cowper writes,” it has been said, “with an intensity of pathetic tenderness peculiar to his loving and ingenuous nature. Cowper is our highest master in simple pathos.”


1. But first from under shady arborous roof,

Soon as they forth were come to open sight
Of day-spring, and the sun who, scarce uprisen,
With wheels yet hovering o'er the ocean-brim,
Shot parallel to the earth his dewy ray,
Discovering in wide landscape all the east
Of Paradise and Eden's happy plains,
Lowly they bowed adoring, and began


Their orisons, each morning duly paid
In various style.

For neither various style
Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise
Their Maker, in fit strains pronounced, or sung
Unmeditated; such prompt eloquence
Flowed from their lips, in prose or numerous verse;
More tuneable than needed lute or harp
To add more sweetness; and they thus began:


3. "These are Thy glorious works, Parent of good,

Almighty! Thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair; Thyself how wondrous then!
Unspeakable, who sitt'st above these heavens
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare

Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine. 4. Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,

Angels, for ye behold Him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in heav'n,
On earth join all ye creatures to extol

Him first, Him last, Him midst, and without end. 5. Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,

If better thou belong not to the dawn,
Sure pledge of day, thou crown'st the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise Him in thy sphere,
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou Sun, of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge Him thy greater; sound His praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb’st,

And when high noon hast gain'd, and when thou fall'st.
Moon, that now meet’st the orient sun, now fly’st,
With the fixed stars, fixed in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wandering fires, that move
In mystic dance not without song, resound

His praise, who out of darkness called up light. 6. Air, and ye elements, the eldest birth

Of nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix
And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye mists and exhalations, that now rise
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or grey,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world's great Author rise;
Whether to deck with clouds the uncoloured sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,

Rising or falling, still advance His praise. 7. His praise, ye winds that from four quarters blow,

Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines,
With every plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye that warble as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune His praise.
Join voices, all ye living souls: ye birds
That singing up to Heaven-gate ascend,

Bear on your wings and in your notes His praise. 8 Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk

The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep;
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill or valley, fountain or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught His praise.
Hail, universal Lord ! be bounteous still
To give us only good; and if the night

Have gathered aught of evil, or conceald,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.”

- Paradise Lost, book v.

Questions on the lesson :—What did Adam and Eve see as they emerged from their retreat? What is said of the sun's position? Of his rays? What he made visible? What two things were no wanting to enable them to praise? What different forms did their praise take? What name is given to God? What emotion do His works excite? If His works are so fair what may be inferred regarding himself? What do His lowest works tell us of Him? Whom does the speaker in vite first to praise Him? Why does he invite them first? How is the morning (or evening) star described? The moon? What other heavenly bodies are called upon? What other objects in Nature are invited to take part in the hymn?

five other wandering fires, the five planets known in Milton's time, viz.:—Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. As Venus has already been referred to, the Earth may be included.

In mystic dance, not without song, the followers of Pythagoras believed that the heavenly bodies, including the sun, moon, and planets, revolved round a great central fire, or hearth of the universe. The spaces between these heavenly bodies were believed to have been determined according to the laws of musical harmony. Hence arose the belief that, as they revolved, the planets occasioned musical notes according to their position, which notes together constituted a musical harmony--"the music of the spheres.”

in quaternion run, earth, water, air, ether (or fire) were formerly believed to perpetuate by their alternation the whole framework of nature. From earth was water, from water, air, from air, ether; and then reversely from ether, air, from it water, and from water earth.


1. The pleasure arising from wit proceeds from our surprise at suddenly discovering two things to be similar in which we suspected no similarity. The pleasure arising from bulls proceeds from our discovering two things to be dissimilar in which a resemblance might have been suspected. The same doctrine will apply to wit and to bulls in action. Practical wit discovers connection or relation between actions in which duller understandings discover none; and practical bulls originate from an apparent relation between two actions, which more correct understandings immediately perceive to have no relation at all.

2. Louis XIV., being extremely harassed by the repeated solicitations of a veteran officer for promotion, said one day loud enough to be heard: “That gentleman is the most troublesome officer I have in my service.” “That is precisely the charge," said the old man, "which your Majesty's enemies bring against me."

An English gentleman was writing a letter in a coffeehouse; and perceiving that an Irishman stationed behind him was taking that liberty which Parmenio used with his friend Alexander, instead of putting his seal upon the lips of the curious impertinent, the English gentleman thought proper to reprove the Hibernian, if not with delicacy, at least with poetical justice. He concluded writing his letter in these words: “I would say more, but a tall Irishman is reading over my shoulder every word I write.” “You say what is false, you scoundrel," said the self-convicted Hibernian.

3. The pleasure derived from the first of these stories proceeds from the discovery of the relation that subsists between the object he had in view, and the assent of the officer to an observation so unfriendly to that end. In the first rapid glance which the mind throws upon his words, he appears, by his acquiescence, to be pleading against himself. There seems to be no relation between what he says and what he wishes to effect by speaking.

4. In the second story, the pleasure is directly the

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