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Say, does not life its nourishment exceed,
And the fair body its investing weed?
Behold! and look away your low despair--
See the light tenants of the barren air :
To them nor stores nor granaries belong,
Nought but the woodland and the pleasing song ;
Yet your kind heav'nly Father bends his eye
On the least wing that fits along the sky.
To him they sing
when spring renews the plain,
To him they cry in winter's pinching reign ;
Nor is their music or their plaint in vain ;
He hears the gay and the distressful call,
And with unsparing bounty fills them all.
Observe the rising lily's snowy grace,
Observe the various vegetable race ;
They neither toil nor spin, but careless grow,
You see how warm they blush ! how bright they
What regal vestments can with them compare ?
What king so shining, or what queen fair?
If ceaseless thus the fowls of heav'n he feeds,
If o'er the field such lucid robes he spreads,
Will he not care for you, ye faithless, say?
Is he unwise ; or are ye less than they ?
PARAPHRASE ON MATT. VII. 12. Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye
even so to them. Precept divine! to Earth in mercy given; Q sacred rule of action, worthy Heaven!
Whose pitying love ordain'd the bless'd command
To bind our nature in a firmer band ;
Enforce each human suff'rer's strong appeal,
And teach the selfish breast what others feel ;
Wert thou the guide of life, mankind might know
A soft exemption from the worst of wo;
No more the powerful would the weak oppress,
But tyrants learn the luxury to bless ;
No more would Slavery bind a hopeless train
Of human victims in her galling chain :
Mercy the hard, the cruel heart would move
To soften mis’ry by the deeds of love;
And Av'rice from his hoarded treasures give,
Unask'd, the liberal boon, that Want might live!
The impious tongue of Falsehood then would
To blast, with dark suggestions, Virtue's peace;
No more would Spleen or Passion banish rest,
And plant a pang in fond Affection's breast;
By one harsh word, one alter'd look, destroy
Her peace, and wither ev'ry op'ning joy;
Scarce can her tongue the captious wrong explain,
The slight offence which gives so deep a pain !
Th' affected ease that slights her starting tear,
The words whose coldness kills, from lips so dear;
The hand she loves, alone can point the dart,
Whose hidden sting could wound no other heart ;
These, of all pains the sharpest we endure,
The breast which now inflicts, would spring to
Who views unmov'd, from scenes where pleasures
bloom, The flame of genius sunk in mis’ry's gloom, The soul, heaven-form'd to soar, by want deprest, Nor heeds the wrongs that pierce a kindred breast. Thou, righteous Law, whose clear and useful light Sheds on the mind a ray divinely bright, Condensing in one rule whate'er the sage Has proudly taught, in many a labour'd pageBid every heart thy hallow'd voice revere, To Justice sacred and to Nature dear.
CHARITY: A PARAPHRASE ON 1 COR. CHAP. XIII.
Did sweeter sounds adorn my flowing tongue
Than ever man pronounc'd or angel sung ;
Had I all knowledge, human and divine,
That thought can reach or science can define ;
And had I power to give that knowledge birth,
In all the speeches of the babbling Earth ;
Did Shadrach's zeal my glowing breast inspire,
To weary tortures and rejoice in fire ;
Or had I faith like that which Israel saw
When Moses gave them miracles and law ;
Yet, gracious Charity, indulgent guest,
Were not thy power exerted in my breast,
Those speeches would send up unheeded pray'r,
That scorn of life would be but wild despair ;
A cymbal's sound were better than my
; My faith were form, my eloquence were noise.
Charity! decent, modest, easy, kind, Softens the high, and rears the abject mind :
Knows with just reins, and gentle hand to guide
Betwixt vile shame and arbitrary pride.
Not soon provok'd, she easily forgives,
And much she suffers, as she much believes.
Soft peace she brings wherever she arrives
She builds our quiet, as she forms our lives;
Lays the rough paths of peevish nature even,
And opens in each heart a little heaven.
Each other gift which God on man bestows
Its proper bounds and due reflection knows,
To one fix'd purpose dedicates its pow'r,
And finishing its act, exists no more.
Thus, in obedience to what Heaven decrees,
Knowledge shall fail and prophecy shall cease;
But lasting Charity's more ample sway,
Nor bound by time, nor subject to decay,
In happy triumph shall for ever live,
And endless good diffuse, and endless praise receive.
As through the artist's intervening glass Our eye observes the distant planets pass, A little we discover, but allow That more remains unseen than art can show; So whilst our mind its knowledge would improve, (Its feeble eye intent on things above) High as we may we lift our reason up, By faith directed, and confirm’d by hope; Yet are we able only to survey Dawnings of beams, and promises of day. Heaven's faller effluence mocks our dazzled sight, Too great its swiftness, and too strong its light.
But soon the mediate clouds shall be dispellid; The sun shall soon be face to face beheld, In all his robes, with all his glory on, Seated sublime on his meridian thrones TOL,
Then constant Faith and holy Hope shall die, One lost in certainty, and one in joy; Whilst thou, more happy power, fair Charity, Triumphant sister, greatest of the three, Thy office and thy nature still the same, Lasting thy lamp, and unconsum'd thy flame, Shalt still survive Shalt stand before the host of Heaven confess'd, For ever blessing, and for ever bless'd.
THE TWENTY-FIFTH CHAPTER OF JOB PARA:
THEN will vain man complain and murmur still,
And stand on terms with his Creator's will ?
Shall this high privilege to clay be given ?
Shall dust arraign the providence of Heaven?
With reason's line the boundless distance scan?
Oppose Heaven's awful majesty to man?
To what a length his vast dimensions run!
How far beyond the journeys of the Sun!
He hung yon golden balls of light on high,
And launeh'd the planets through the liquid sky:
To rolling worlds he mark'd the certain space,
Fix'd and sustain'd the elemental peace.
Unnumber'd as those worlds his armies move,
And the gay legions guard his realms above;
High o'er th' ethereal plains the myriads rise,
And pour their flaming ranks along the skies :
From their bright arms incessant splendour stream,
And the wide azure kindles with the gleam.
To this low world he bids the light repair, Down through the gulfs of undulating air ;