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A man he was to all the country dear,
And passing rich with forty pounds a-year ;
Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
Nor e’er had changed, nor wished to change, his place ;
Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power,
By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour ;
Far other aims his heart had learnt to prize,
More bent to raise the wretched, than to rise.
His house was known to all the vagrant train ;
He chid their wanderings, but relieved their pain.
The long-remembered beggar was his guest,
Whose beard descending swept his aged breast ;
The ruined spendthrift, now no longer proud,
Claimed kindred there, and had his claims allowed ;
The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay,
Sat by his fire, and talked the night away ;
Wept o'er his wounds, or tales of sorrow done,
Shouldered his crutch, and showed how fields were won.
Pleased with his guests, the good man learned to glow,
And quite forgot their vices in their woe;
Careless their merits or their faults to scan,
His pity gave ere charity began.
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
And even his failings leaned to virtue's side ;
But, in his duty prompt at every call,
He watched and wept, he prayed and felt for all ;
And, as a bird each fond endearment tries
To tempt her new-fledged offspring to the skies,
He tried each art, reproved each dull delay,
Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.
Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismayed,
The reverend champion stood. At his control
Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul ;
Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise,
And his last faltering accents whispered praise.
At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
His looks adorned the venerable place ;
Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway ;
And fools who came to scoff, remained to pray.
But when a poet, or when one like me,
Happy to rove among poetic flowers,
Though poor in skill to rear them, lights at last
On some fair theme, some theme divinely fair,
Such is the impulse and the spur he feels,
To give it praise proportion'd to its worth,
That not to attempt it, arduous as he deems
The labour, were a task more arduous still.
O scenes surpassing fable, and yet true,
Scenes of accomplished bliss ; which who can see,
Though but in distant prospect, and not feel
His soul refresh'd with foretaste of the joy ?
Rivers of gladness water all the earth,
And clothe all climes with beauty ; the reproach
Of barrenness is past. The fruitful field
Laughs with abundance ; and the land, once lean,
Or fertile only in its own disgrace,
Exults to see its thistly curse repeal’d.
The various seasons woven into one,
And that one season an eternal spring,
The garden fears no blight, and needs no fence,
For there is none to covet ; all are full.
The lion, and the libbard, and the bear,
Graze with the fearless flocks ; all bask at noon
Together, or all gambol in the shade
Of the same grove, and drink one common stream.
Antipathies are none. No foe to man
Lurks in the serpent now : the mother sees,
And smiles to see, her infant's playful hand
Stretch'd forth to dally with the crested worm,
To stroke his azure neck, or to receive
The lambent homage of his arrowy tongue.
All creatures worship man, and all mankind
One Lord, one Father. Error has no place :
That creeping pestilence is driven away ;
The breath of heaven has chased it. In the heart
No passion touches a discordant string,
But all is harmony and love. Disease
Is not : the pure and uncontaminate blood
Holds its due course, nor fears the frost of age.
One song employs all nations; and all cry,
“Worthy the Lamb, for he was slain for us !"
The dwellers in the vales and on the rocks
Shout to each other, and the mountain-tops
From distant mountains catch the flying joy ;
Till, nation after nation taught the strain,
Earth rolls the rapturous Hosanna round.
Behold the measure of the promise fill’d;
See Salem built, the labour of a God !
Bright as a sun the sacred city shines ;
All kingdoms and all princes of the earth
Flock to that light; the glory of all lands
Flows into her ; unbounded is her joy,
And endless her increase. Thy rams are there,
Nebaioth, and the flocks of Kedar there ;
The looms of Ormus, and the mines of Ind,
And Saba's spicy groves, pay tribute there.
Praise is in all her gates ; upon her walls,
And in her streets, and in her spacious courts,
Is heard salvation. Eastern Java there
Kneels with the native of the farthest west;
And Æthiopia spreads abroad the hand,
And worships. Her report has travell’d forth
Into all lands. From every clime they come
To see thy beauty, and to share thy joy,
O Sion ! an assembly such as earth
Saw never, such as heaven stoops down to see.
A SUMMER EVENING’S MEDITATION.
BARBAULD, 1746--1825. 'Tis past ! the sultry tyrant of the south Has spent his short-liv'd rage. More grateful hours Move silent on. The skies no more repel The dazzled sight; but, with mild maiden beams Of temper'd light, invite the cherish'd eye To wander o'er their sphere ; where, hung aloft,
The service past, around the pious man,
With ready zeal, each honest rustic ran ;
Even children followed with endearing wile,
And plucked his gown, to share the good man's smile ;
His ready smile a parents warmth expressed,
Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distressed ;
To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given,
But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven.
As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form,
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm ;
Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
DR. JOHNSON, 1709—1784. On what foundation stands the warrior's pride, How just his hopes, let Swedish Charles decide ; A frame of adamant, a soul of fire, No dangers fright him, and no labours tire ; O’er love, o'er fear, extends his wide domain, Unconquer'd lord of pleasure and of pain ; No joys to him pacific sceptres yield, War sounds the trump, he rushes to the field ; Behold surrounding kings their pow'r combine, And one capitulate, and one resign ; Peace courts his hand, but spreads her charms in vain, “Think nothing gain’d,” he cries, “till nought remain, On Moscow's walls till Gothic standards fly, And all be mine beneath the polar sky." The march begins in military state, And nations on his eye suspended wait; Stern famine guards the solitary coast, And winter barricades the realms of frost ; He comes, nor want nor cold his course delay ; Hide, blushing glory, hid Pultowa's day! The vanquished hero leaves his broken bands
And shows his misery in distant lands,
Condemn'd a needy supplicant to wait,
While ladies interpose, and slaves debate.
But did not chance at length her error mend ?
Did no subverted empire mark his end ?
Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound,
Or hostile millions press him to the ground ?
His fall was destin'd to a barren strand,
A petty fortress, and a dubious hand ;
He left the name, at which the world grew pale,
To point a moral, or adorn a tale.
Vanity of Human Wishes.
THE GREAT RESTORATION.
THE groans of Nature in this nether world,
Which Heaven has heard for ages, have an end.
Foretold by prophets, and by poets sung,
Whose fire was kindled at the prophets lamp,
The time of rest, the promised sabbath, comes.
Six thousand years of sorrow have well-nigh
Fulfill’d their tardy and disastrous course
Over a sinful world ; and what remains
Of this tempestuous state of human things,
Is merely as the working of a sea
Before a calm, that rocks itself to rest ;
For He, whose car the winds are, and the clouds
The dust that waits upon his sultry march,
When sin hath moved him, and his wrath is hot,
Shall visit earth in mercy ; shall descend
Propitious in his chariot paved with love;
And what his storms have blasted and defaced
For man's revolt, shall with a smile repair.
Sweet is the harp of prophecy ; too sweet
Not to be wrong'd by a mere mortal touch ;
Nor can the wonders it records be sung
To meaner music, and not suffer loss.