« PreviousContinue »
It is not from his form, in which we trace Strength join'd with beauty, dignity with grace, That man, the master of this globe, derives His right of empire over all that lives. That form, indeed, th' associate of a mind Vaft in its pow'rs, ethereal in its kind, That form, the labour of Almighty fkill, Fram'd for the service of a free-born will, Afferts precedence, and bespeaks controul, But borrows all its grandeur from the soul. Here is the state, the fplendour, and the throne, An intellectual kingdom, all her own. For her, the mem'ry fills her ample page With truths pour'd down from ev'ry distant age; For her amaffes an unbounded store, The wisdom of great nations, now no more :
Though laden, not incumber'd with her fpoil;
Laborious, yet unconscious of her toil;
When copioully fupplied, then moft enlarg'd;
Still to be fed, and not to be surcharg'd.
For her the fancy, roving unconfin'd,
The present muse of ev'ry pensive mind,
Works magic wonders, adds a brighter hue
To pature's scenes than nature ever knew.
At her command winds rise and waters roar,
Again fhe lays them flumb'ring on the shore;
With flow'r and fruit the wilderness fupplies,
Or bids the rocks in ruder pomp arise.
For her the judgment, umpire in the strife
That grace and nature have to wage through life,
Quick-lighted arbiter of good and ill,
Appointed fage preceptor to the will,
Condemns, approves, and with a faithful voice
Guides the decision of a doubtful choice.
Why did the fiat of a God give birth
fair sun and his attendant earth?
And, when descending he resigns the skies,
Why takes the gentler moon her turn to rife,
Whom ocean feels through all his countless waves,
And owns her pow'r on ev'ry hore he laves?
Why do the seasons still enrich the year,
Fruitful and young as in their first career ?
Spring bangs her infant bloffoms on the trees,
Rock'd in the cradle of the western breeze,
Summer in haste the thriving charge receives
Beneath the shade of her expanded leaves,
Till autumn's fiercer heats and plenteous dews
Dye them at last in all their glowing hues.-
"Twere wild profusion all, and bootlefs walte,
Pow'r mifemploy'd, munificence misplacd,
Had not its Author dignified the plan,
And crown'd it with the majesty of man.
Thus form'd, thus plac'd, intelligent, and taught,
Look where he will, the wonders God has wrought,
The wildest scorner of his Maker's laws
Finds in a fober moment time to pause,
To press th’ important question on his heart,
Why form’d at all, and wherefore as thou art .?"
If man be what he feems this hour a flave,
The next mere dust and alhes in the grave;
Endu'd with reason only to descry
His crimes and follies with an aching eye ;
With passions, just that he may prove, with pain,
The force be spends against their fury, vain ;
And if, soon after having burnt, by turns,
With ev'ry lust with which frail nature burns,
His being end where death diffolves the bond, The tomb take all, and all be blank beyond Then he, of all that nature has brought forthy Stands felf-impeach'd, the creature of leaft worth, And, useless while he lives; and when he dies, Brings into doubt the wisdom of the skies.
Truths that the learn'd pursue with eager thoughty Are not important always as dear-bought, Proving at last, though told in pompous strains, A childish waste of philofophic pains ; But truths on which depends our main concern, That 'tis our shame and mis'ry not to learn, Shine, by the side of ev'ry path we tread, With such a lultre, he that runs may read. 'Tis true, that, if to crifle life
away Down to the sun-set of the latest day, Then perish on futurity's wide shore, Like fleeting exhalations, found no more, Were all that Heav'n requir'd of human kind, And all the plan that destiny design'd, What none could rev'rence all might justly blame, And man would breathe but for his Maker's shame. But reason heard, and nature well perus’d, At once the dreaming mind is disabus'd.
If all we find possessing earth, sea, air,
Refle&t His attributes who plac'd them there,
Fulfil the purpose, and appear design'd
Proofs of the wisdom of th' all-seeing Mind,
'Tis plain the creature, whom he chose t’invest
With kingship and dominion o'er the rest,
Receir'd his nobler nature, and was made
Fit for the pow'r in which he stands array'd,
That first or last, hereafter if not here,
He too might make his Author's wisdom clear,
Praise him on earth, or, obstinately dumb,
Suffer his justice in a world to come.
This once believ'd, 'twere logic mifapplied
To prove a consequence by none denied,
That we are bound to cast the minds of youth
Betimes into the mould of heav'nly truth,
That, taught of God, they may indeed be wise,
Nor, ignorantly wand'ring, miss the skies.
In early days the conscience has in most A quickness, which in later life is lost: Preserv'd from guilt by falutary fears, Or, guilty, foon relenting into tears. Too careless often, as our years proceed, What friends we fort with, or what books we read,