« ПредишнаНапред »
The country churls, according to their kind, (who grudge their dues, and love to be behind), the less he sought his offerings, pinch'd the more, and prais'd a priest contented to be poor.
Yet of his little he had some to spare, to feed the famish'd, and to clothe the bare; for mortify'd he was to that degree, a poorer than himself he would not see. True priests, he said, and preachers of the word, where only stewards of their sovereign Lord; nothing was their's; but all the public store; intrusted riches, to relieve the poor. Who, should they steal, for want of his relief, he judg'd himself accomplice with the thief.
Wide was his parish; not contracted close in streets, but here and there a straggling house; yet still he was at hand, without request, to serve the sick, to succour the distress'd; tempting, on foot, alone, without affright, the dangers of a dark tempestuous night.
All this, the good old man perform’d alone, nor spar'd his pains; for curate he had none, nor durst he trust another with his care; nor rode himself to Paul's, the public fair, to chaffer for preferment with his gold, where bishoprics and sinecures are sold. But duly watch'd his flock, by night and day; and from the prowling wolf redeem'd the prey: and hungry sent the wily fox away.
The proud he tam'd, the penetent he cheerd: nor to rebuke the rich offender fear'd. His preaching much, but more his practice wrought (a living sermon of the truths be taught;). for this by rules severe his life he squar'd: that all might see the doctrine which they heard:
for priests, he said, are patterns for the rest (the gold of heaven, who bear the God impress’d:) but when the precious coin is kept unclean, the sovereign's image is no longer seen. If they be foul on whom the people trust, well may the baser brass contract a rust.
The prelate, for his holy life he priz'd; the worldly pomp of prelacy despis’d. His Saviour came not with a gaudy show; nor was his kingdom of the world below. Patience in want, and poverty of mind, these marks of church and churchmen he design'd, and living taught, and dying left behind. The crown he wore was of the pointed thorn: in purple he was crucify'd, not born. They who contend for place and high degree, 'Are not his sons, but those of Zebedee.
Not but he knew the signs of earthly power might well becoine Saint Peter's successor; the holy father holds a double reign, [plain. the prince may keep his pomp, the fisher must be
Such was the saint; who shone with every grace, reflecting, Moses like, bis Maker's face. God saw his image lively was express'd; and his own work, as in creation bless'd.
The tempter saw him too with envious eye; and, as in Job, demanded leave to try. He took the time when Richard was depos'd, and high and low with happy Harry clos’d. This prince, tho'great in arms, the priest withstood:
near tho' he was, yet not the next in blood. · Had Richard unconstrain'd, resign'd the throne, a king can give no more than is his own: the title stood entaild, had Richard had a son.
Conquest, an odious name, was laid aside,
The people's right remains; let those who dare
He join'd not in their choice, because he knew
Gave, while he taught; and edify'd the more,
He went not with the crowd to see a shrine,
In deference to his virtues, I forbear
JOHN POMFRET was the son of the Rev. — Pomsret, rector of Luton in Bedfordshire, where he was born in 1677: After being instructed in grammatical learning, he was sent to Queen's College, Cambridge, where he continued till the year 1698, when he took a master's degree. He then entered into orders and was presented with the living of Malden, in Bedfordshire. The mind of Pomfret appears strongly impressed with sentiments of piety, his conduct well regulated, and his life inno-, cent; yet did milignity asperse bim. Envy, detraction and vice have ever the most numerous associates, while innocence stands unaided and alone. A life so retired, peaceable, and little infected with the follies of the world as that of Pomfret, surety might have been allowed to glide smoothly along the stream of time. Yet was be unjustly reproached with being both a fanatic and a libertine. The former charge appears to be entirely without foundation, and the latter solely derived from the following passage in bis “ Choice.”
And as I near approach'd the verge of life,
while I did for a better state prepare. The malicious interpretation of these lines was, that happiness is more likely to be found in the society of a mistress tban a wife. This reproach was easy of obliteration with reasonable beings, for he was marri. ed at the time he wrote them, and yet his enemies succeeded in affecting Comton, Bishop of London, with scruples which retarded Pomfret's success in applying for an institution of considerable value. This obstruc
tion constrained his attendance in London, where he was seized with the small pox, to which disease he fell a victim in 1713, in the 36th year of his age. Tho' in his compositions, Pomfret has little vigour of thought, or energy of expression, yet his versification is sufficiently smooth for that numerous class of readers, who having no vanity to indulge, nor expertness in criticism to exhibit, seek ovly theirown amusement. The Choice has been long a favourite poem, because it affords a picture resembling those situations in life which are attainable; it does not represent to the reader scenes in which he has no interest, but such as he finds at home or wishes to find. Hurdis says,
a short and feeble flight; yet it was Johnson's opinion that “ be who pleases many must have some species of merit."