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O days of Heav'n, and nights of equal praise, Youth has a sprightliness and fire to boast,
Crown'd wi the garland of life's blooming years;
Yet Age, by long experience well inform’d,
Well read, well temper'd, with religion warm'd,
Proud of his speed, to overshoot the truth,
That 'tis an honor and a joy to pay.
And, like the stores autumnal suns mature,
What is fanatic frenzy, scorn'd so much,
Well spoken, advocate of sin and shamo, But sage observers oft mistake the flame,
To supplicate his mercy, love his ways,
And prize them above pleasure, wealth, or praise,
Though common sense, allow'd a casting voice, And brings the trifler under rig'rous sway,
And free from bias, must approve the choice,
Convicts a man fanatic in th' extreme,
And wild as madness in the world's esteem
But that disease, when soberly defin'd,
It views the truth with a distorted eye,
And either warps or lays it useless by ;
Its sordid nourishment from man's applause ;
And while at heart sin unrelinquish'd lies,
Presumes itself chief fav'rite of the skies.
'Tis such a light as putrefaction breeds
Of hearts in union mutually disclos'd ;
And, farewell else all hope of pure delight,
Those hearts should be reclaim'd, renew'd, upright
Form, in its stead a covenant of shame,
A dark confed'racy against the laws
of virtue, and religion's glorious cause:
They build each other up with dreadful skill,
Call legions up from Ilell to back the deed;
And, curs’d with conquest, finally succeed.
And with a fearless confidence made known
The sorrows, sympathy esteems its own,
From such communion in their pleasant course,
Meet their opposers with united strength,
But Conversation, choose what theme we may,
That while in health the ground of her support and chiefly when religion leads the way,
Is madly to forget that life is short; Should flow, like waters after summer show'rs, 'That sick she trembles, knowing she m'ist die, Not as if rais'd by mere mechanic pow'rs,
Her hope presumption, and her faith a lie;
And useless as a candle in a skull,
A trick upon the canvas, painted flame.
Tell her again, the sneer upon her face,
And all her censures of the work of grace,
Strange tidings these to tell a world, who treat That in her heart the Christian she reveres,
And while she seems to scorn him, only fears. Will they believe, though credulous enongh,
A poet does not work by square or line, To swallow much upon much weaker proof, As smiths and joiners perfect a design; That there are blest inhabitants of Earth,
At least we moderns, our attention less,
Beyond ih' example of our sires digress,
And, having struck the balance, now proceed. And in the silent watches of the night,
Perhaps however as some years have pass'd,
And I have liv'd recluse, in rural shades,
Great changes and new manners have occurr'd, God's work may serve an ape upon a stage
And blest reforms, that I have never heard, With such a jest, as fill'd with hellish glee And she may now be as discreet and wise, Certain invisibles as shrewd as he ;
As once absurd in all discerning eyes.
Sobriety perhaps may now be found,
And he grown chaste, that was the slave of lus! ; Peruses closely the true Christian's face,
Arts once esteem'd may be with shame dismiss d ; And finds it a mere mask of sly grimace;
Charity may relax the miser's fist; Usurps God's office, lays his bosom bare,
The gamester may have cast his cards away, And finds hypocrisy close lurking there;
Forgot to curse, and only kneel to pray. And, serving God herself through mere constraint, It has indeed been told me (with what weight, Concludes his unfeign'd love of him a feint. How credibly, 'tis hard for me to state) And yet, God knows, look human nature through,
That fables old, that seem'd for ever mute, (And in due time the World shall know it too,) Reviv'd are hast’ning into fresh repute, That since the flow'rs of Eden felt the blast, And gods and goddesses, discarded long That after man's defection laid all waste,
Like useless lumber, or a stroller's song,
Are bringing into vogue their heathen train,
That certain feasts are instituted now,
That all Olympus through the country roves,
To consecrate our few remaining groves,
That having prov'd the weakness, it should seem,
And give the moral springs their proper play, His birthright shaken, and no longer clear, They mean to try what may ai last be done. Than while his conduct proves his heart sincere. By stout substantial gods of wood and stone Retort the charge, and let the World be told And whether Roman rites may not produce She boasts a confidence she does not hold; The virtues of old Rome for English use. That, conscious of her crimes, she feels instead May such success attend the pious plan, A cold misgiving, and a killing dread :
May Mercury once more embellish man,
Grace him again with long-forgotten arts,
SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY ALEXANDER SELKIRK, And teach the softer not to copy theirs :
DURING HIS SOLITARY ABODE IN THE ISLAND OF The change shall please, nor shall it matter aught JUAN FERNANDEZ. Who works the wonder, if it be but wrought. 'Tis time, however, if the case stands thus,
I am monarch of all I survey, For us plain folks, and all who side with us,
My right there is none to dispute; To build our altar, confident and bold,
From the centre all round to the sea, And say as stern Elijah said of old,
I am lord of the fowl and the brute. The strife now stands upon a fair award,
O Solitude! where are the charms If Israel's Lord be God, then serve the Lord :
That sages have seen in thy face? If he be silent, faith is all a whim,
Better dwell in the midst of alarms,
Than reign in this horrible place.
I am out of humanity's reach,
I must finish my journey alone, As when returning to the theme they meant;
Never hear the sweet music of speech, As mendicants, whose business is to roam,
I start at the sound of my own. Make ev'ry parish but their own their home.
The beasts, that roam over the plain, Though such continual zigzags in a book,
My form with indifference see ;
Their tameness is shocking to me:
Society, friendship, and love,
Divinely beslow'd upon man, But now to gather up what seems dispers'd,
O, had I the wings of a dove,
How soon would I taste you again!
In the ways of religion and truth,
Might learn from the wisdom of age, To close in sable ev'ry social scene,
And be cheer'd by the sallies of youth And give good company a face severe, As if they met around a father's bier ;
Religion! what treasure untold For tell some men, that pleasure all their bent,
Resides in that heavenly word! And laughter all their work, is life misspent,
More precious than silver and gold, Their wisdom bursts into this sage reply,
Or all that this Earth can afford. " Then mirih is sin, and we should always cry." But the sound of the church-going bell To find the medium asks some share of wit,
These valleys and rocks never heard, And therefore 'tis a mark fools never hit:
Never sigh'd at the sound of a knell,
Or smil'd when a sabbath appeard.
Ye winds, that have made me your sport,
Some cordial endearing report
Of a land, I shall visit no more.
A wish or a thought after me?
O tell me I yet have a friend,
Though a friend I am never to see.
How fleet is a glance of the mind !
Compar'd with the speed of its flight, Sprightly and fresh, enriches ev'ry theme,
The tempest itself lags behind, While all the happy man possess'd before,
And the swifi-winged arrows of light. The gift of Nature, or the classic store,
When I think of my own native land, Is made subservient to the grand design
In a moment I seein to be there ; For which Heav'n form d the faculty divine.
But alas! recollection at hand
Soon hurries me back to despair.
The beast is laid down in his lair ;
Even here is a season of rest, Once take the shell beneath his just command,
And I to my cabin repair. In gentle sounds it seems as it complain'd
There's mercy in every place, Of the rude injuries it late sustain'd,
And mercy, encouraging thought!
Gives even affliction a grace,
Now see him mounted once again
Upon his nimble steed, Full slowly pacing o'er the stones,
With caution and good heed.
But finding soon a smoother road
Beneath his well-si.od feet, The snorting beast began to trot,
Which gall'd him in his seat.
So, “Fair and softly,” John he cried,
But John he cried in vain; That trot became a gallop soon,
In spite of curb and rein.
So stooping down, as needs he must
Who cannot sit upright, He grasp'd the mane with both his hands,
And eke with all his might.
“I am a linen-draper bold,
As all the world doth know,
Will lend his horse 10 go."
And, for that wine is dear,
Which is both bright and clear."
O'erjoy'd was he to find,
She had a frugal mind.
But yet was not allow'd
Should say that she was proud.
Where they did all get in;
To dash through thick and thin.
Were never folk so glad,
As if Cheapside were mad.
Seiz'd fast the flowing mane,
But soon came down again;
His journey to begin,
Threo customers come in.
His horse, who never in that sort
Had handled been before, What thing upon his back had got
Did wonder more and more.
Away went Gilpin, neck or nought;
Away went hat and wig ;
of running such a rig.
The wind did blow, the cloak did fly,
Like streamer long and gay, Till, loop and button failing both,
At last it few away.
Then might all people well discern
The bottles he had slung;
As hath been said or sung.