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THE FIRE SIDE.
DEAR Chloe, while the busy crowd,
The vain the wealthy and the proud,
In folly's maze advance;
Tho' singularity and pride
Be call'd our choice we'll step aside,
Nor join the giddy dance.
From the gay world, we'll oft retire
To our own family and fire,
Where love our hours employs;
No noisy neighbour enters here,
No intermeddling stranger near,
To spoil our heart-felt joys.
If solid happiness we prize,
Within our breast this jewel lies:
And they are fools who roam:
The world has nothing to bestow;
From our ownselves our joys must flow,
And that dear hut, our home.
Of rest was Noah's dove bereft,
When with impatient wing she left
That safe retreat the ark;
Giving her vain excursion o'er,
The disappointed bird once more
Explor'd the sacred bark.
Tho' fools spurn Hymen's gentle pow'rs,
We, who improve his golden hours,
By sweet experience know,
That marriage rightly understood,
Gives to the tender and the good
A paradise below.
Our babes shall richest comforts bring;
If tutor'd right they'll prove a spring
Whence pleasures ever rise;
We'll form their minds with studious care,
To all that's manly, good and fair,
And train them for the skies.
While they our wisest hours engage,
They'll joy our youth, support our age,
And crown our hoary hairs:
They'll grow in virtue ev'ry day,
And thus our fondest loves repay,
And recompense our cares.
No borrow'd joys! they're all our own,
While to the world we live unknown,
Or by the world forgot;
Monarch's! we envy not your state;
We look with pity on the great,
And bless our humbler lot.
Our portion is not large, indeed;
But then how little do we need!
For nature's calls are few:
In this the art of living lies,
To want no more than may suffice,
And make that little do.
We'll therefore relish, with content,
Whate'er kind Providence has sent,
Nor aim beyond our pow'r; For if our stock be very small, 'Tis prudence to enjoy it all,
Nor lose the present hour.
To be resign'd, when ills betide,
Patient when favours are deny'd,
And pleas'd with favours giv'n:
Dear Chloe, this is wisdom's part;
This is that incense of the heart,
Whose fragrance smells to heav'. We'll ask no long protracted treat, Since winter life is seldom sweet; But, when our feast is o'er,
Grateful from table we'll arise,
Nor grudge our sons with envious eyes,
The relics of our store,
Thus, hand in hand, through life we'll go ;
Its checker'd paths of joy and woe,
With cautious steps we'll tread;
Quit its vain scenes without a tear,
Without a trouble or a fear,
And mingle with the dead.
While conscience like a faithful friend,
Shall through the gloomy vale attend,
And cheer our dying breath;
Shall, when all other comforts cease,
Like a kind angel whisper peace,
And smooth the bed of death.
PROVIDENCE VINDICATED IN THE PRESENT STATE OF MAN.
HEAV'N from all creatures hides the book of fate,
All but the page prescrib'd, their present state;
From brutes what men, from men what spirits know,
Or who could suffer being here below?
The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,
Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?
Pleas'd to the last, he crops the flow'ry food,
And licks the hand just rais'd to shed his blood
Oh blindness to the future! kindly given,
That each may fill the circle mark'd by heaven;
Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall;
Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar;
Wait the great teacher Death; and God adore.
What future bliss, he gives not thee to know,
But gives that hope to be thy blessing now.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
Man never is, but always To Be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutor❜d mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;
His soul proud science never taught to stray
Far as the Solar Walk or Milky Way;
Yet simple nature to his hope has given,
Behind the cloud-topt hill, a humbler heaven;
Some safer world in depth of woods embrac'd,
Some happier island in the watʼry waste;
Where slaves once more their native land behold,
No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold,
TO BE, contents his natural desire;
He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire:
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company.
Go, wiser thou! and in thy scale of sense,
Weigh thy opinion against Providence ;
Call imperfection what thou fanciest such,
Say here he gives too little, there too much.
In pride, in reas'ning pride, our error lies;
All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies.
Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes,
Men would be angels, angels would be gods.
Aspiring to be gods, if angels fell,
Aspiring to be angels, men rebel;
And who but wishes to invert the laws
Of ORDER, Sins against th' ETERNAL CAUSE.
HAS God, thou fool! work'd solely for thy good
Thy joy, thy pastime, thy attire, thy food?
Who for thy table feeds the wanton fawn,
For him as kindly spreads the flow'ry lawn.
Is it for thee the lark ascends and sings?
Joy tunes his voice, joy elevates his wings.
Is it for thee the linnet pours his throat?
Loves of his own, and raptures swell the note.
The bounding steed you pompously bestride,
Shares with his lord the pleasure and the pride.
Is thine alone the seed that strews the plain?
The birds of heav'n shall vindicate their grain.
Thine the full harvest of the golden year?
Part pays, and justly, the deserving steer.
The hog, that ploughs not, nor obeys thy call,
Lives on the labours of this lord of all.
Know, nature's children all divide her care;
The fur that warms a monarch, warm'd a bear.
While man exclaims, "See all things for my use!"
"See man for mine" replies a pamper'd goose.
And just as short of reason he must fall,
Who thinks all made for one, not one for all.
Grant that the pow'rful still the weak control;
Be man the wit and tyrant of the whole;
Nature that tyrant checks; he only knows,
And helps another creature's wants and woes.
Say, will the falcon, stooping from above,
Smit with her varying plumage, spare the dove?
Admires the jay, the insects gilded wings?
Or hears the hawk when Philomela sings?
Man cares for all: to birds he gives his woods,
To beasts his pastures, and to fish his floods ;
For some his int'rest prompts him to provide,
For more his pleasure, yet for more his pride.
All feed on one vain patron, and enjoy
Th' extensive blessing of his luxury.
That very life his learned hunger craves,
He saves from famine, from the savage saves;
Nay, feasts the animal he dooms his feasts;
And, till he ends the being, makes it blest:
Which sees no more the stroke, nor feels the pain,
Than favour'd man by touch ethereal slain.
The creature had his feast of life before;
Thou too must perish when thy feast is o'er!
WEAK and irresolute is man;
The purpose of to-day,
Woven with pains into his plan,
To-morrow rends away.
The bow well bent, and smart the spring,
Vice seems already slain;
But passion rudely snaps the string,
And it revives again.
Some foe to his upright intent
Finds out his weaker part;
Virtue engages his assent,
But pleasure wins his heart.
'Tis here the folly of the wise,
Through all his art, we view;
And while his tongue the charge denies,:
His conscience owns it true.