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Though griefs unnumber'd throng thee round,
Still in thy God confide,
Whose finger marks the seas their bound,
And curbs the headlong tide. Merrick.
COUNSELS OF REASON AND RELIGION.
Is life, alas !,our favourite theme !
Tis all a vain, or painful dream.
A dream which fools or cowards prize,
But slighted by the brave or wise.
Who lives, for others' ills must groan,
Or bleed for sorrows of his own;
Must journey on with weeping eye,
Then pant, sink, agonize, and die.
And shall a man arraign the skies,
Because man lives, and mourns, and dies?
Impatient reptile ! Reason cried;
• Arraign thy passion and thy pride :
Retire, and commune with thy heart,
Ask, whence thou cam'st, and what thou art ?
Explore thy body and thy mind,
Thy station too, why here assign'd ?
The search shall teach thee life to prize,
And make thee grateful, good, and wise.
Why do you roam to foreign climes,
To study nations, modes, and times ?
A science often dearly bought,
And often what avails you nought?
Go, man, and act a wiser part,
Study the science of your heart.
This home philosophy, you know,
Was priz'd some thousand years ago.*
* Know Thyself-a celebrated saying of Chilo, one of ther
men of Greece.
Then why abroad a frequent guest ?
Why such a stranger to your breast?
Why turn so many volumes o'er,
Till Dodsley can supply no more?
Not all the volumes on thy shelf,
Are worth that single volume, Self.
For who this sacred book declines,
Howe'er in other arts he shines;
Though smit with Pindar's noble rage,
Or vers'd in Tully's manly page;
Though deeply read in Plato's school;
With all his knowledge is a fool.
Proclaim the truth-say, what is man?
His body from the dust began;
And when a few short years are o'er,
The crumbling fabric is no more.
• But whence the soul? From Heav'n it came!
Oh! prize this intellectual flame.
This nobler Self with rapture scan,
'Tis mind alone which makes the man.
Trust me, there's not a joy on earth,
But from the soul derives its birth.
Ask the young rake (he'll answer right)
Who treats by day, and drinks by night,
What makes his entertainments shine,
. What gives the relish to his wine;
He'll tell thee, (if he scorns the beast)
That social pleasures form the feast.
The charms of beauty too shall cloy,
Unless the soul exalts the joy.
The mind must animate the face,
Or cold and tasteless every grace.
What! must the soul her pow'rs dispense To raise and swell the joys of sense ?
Know then my dictates must prevail,
Or surely each fond wish shall fail.
Come then, is Happiness thy aim ?
Let mental joys be all thy game.
Repeat the search, and mend your pace,
The capture shall reward the chase.
Let every minute, as it springs,
Convey fresh knowledge on its wings;
Let every minute, as it ffies,
Record thee good as well as wise. ·
While such pursuits your thoughts engage.
In a few years you'll live an age.
Who measures life by rolling years?
Fools measure by revolving spheres.
Go thou, and fetch th' unerring rule
From Virtue's, and from Wisdom's school,
Who well improves life's shortest day,
Will scarce regret its setting ray;
Contented with his share of light,
Nor fear nor wish th' approach of night.
And when Disease assaults the heart,
When Sickness triumphs over Art,
Reflections on a life well past
Shall prove a cordial to the last;
This med'cine shall the soul sustain,
And soften or suspend her pain ;
Shall break Death's fell tyrannic pow'r,
And calm the troubled dying hour.'
Blest rules of cool prudential age !
I listen'd, and rever'd the sage.
When lo! a form divinely bright
Descends and bursts upon my sight,
A seraph of illustrious birth!
(Religion was her name on earth)
Supremely sweet her radiant face,
And blooming with celestial grace!
Three shining cherubs form'd her train,
Wavd their light wings, and reach'd the plain;
Faith, with sublime and piercing eye,
And pinions fluttering for the sky:
Here Hope, that smiling angel, stands,
And golden anchors grace her hands;
There Charity, in robes of white,
Fairest and favourite maid of light!
The seraph spake~"'Tis Reason's part,
To govern, and to guard the heart;
To lull the wayward soul to rest,
When hopes and fears distract the breast.
Reason may calm this doubtful strife,
And steer thy bark through various life:
But when the storms of death are nigh,
And midnight darkness veils the sky,
Shall Reason then direct thy sail,
Disperse the clouds, or sink the gale?
Stranger, this skill alone is mine,
Skill! that transcends his scanty line.
That hoary sage has counsel'd right-
Be wise, nor scorn his friendly light.
Revere thyself-thou'rt near allied
To angels on thy better side.
How various e'er their ranks or kinds,
Angels are but unbodied minds;
When the partition-walls decay,
Men emerge angels from their clay...
“Yes, when the frailer body dies,
The soul asserts her kindred skies.
But minds, though sprung from heavenly race,
Must first be tutor'd for the place.