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CONTEMPLATIONS ON THE NIGHT.
In the following lines there is something extremely picturesque . Let them be read with a pensive, slow, and solemn mode of delivery.
SHOULD man be vain at this dread midnight hour,
When silence reigns, the heavens and earth would join
To chide his levity-this awful gloom
Should lift his soul on contemplation's wing,
Sedate and solemn as the closing day;
Howe'er his social hours each eve are cheer'd
With harmless pleasures, let each night, array'd
In her dark sable habit, toll the bell
That wakes reflection; serious thoughts inspires.
Say, can the soul, which hovers o'er the tomb
Each dreadful moment, choose a part more wise,
Than stealing from the giddy crowd each eve,
From the gay round of folly, to reflect
On life's short date, its nearness to the grave?
How soon eternity begins, how vast
The debt she has to cancel, ere her peace
Is sign'd in Heaven, which mercy scarce can sign!
Her guilt how weighty, and how weak her powert
The following lines, as well as the Ode in page 239, are commemmerative of the immortal Washington, who was "For earth too good, to Heaven is flown, and left the world in tears."
How to read them with effect, may be at once conceived, by recollecting the feelings and the looks depicted upon the countenance of United America, when deploring the loss of the saviour of his country, and the friend of man.
LINES ON GENERAL WASHINGTON.
THE whole Columbian thunder born to wield,
Great in the senate, splendid in the field;
In wisdom's ken, or battle s keenest flame,
Unrivall'd in the brightest page of fame;
Nor hath the poet's muse e er wove a crown
Equal to cur lov d WASHINGTON s renown.
Approving angels in the realms of light,
Who dip your pens in sun beams when you write
Assist our labouring minds, our efforts join
To paint the Man who did "all hearts combine;"
Could human powers perform as love inclines,
We d write his name on every star that shines!.
Engrave his counsels on the living sky,
To be forever read by every eye!
While moving orbs their heavenly circles run,
His deeds should live, and travel with the sun,
To light all ages in the path of time,
Alture by virtues charms in every clime,
Till GOD shail finish his terrestrial plan,
And stamp his own eternity on Man.
THE TOWN AND COUNTRY CONTRASTED. ALTHOUGH true worth and virtue in the mild And genial soil of cultivated life
Thrive most and may perhaps thrive only there,
Yet not in cities oft. in proud, and gay,
And gain devoted cities. Thither flow,
As to a common and most noisome sewer,
The dregs and sediment of every land.
In cities, foul examples on most minds,
Begets its likeness. Rank abundance breeds
In gross and pamper d cities sloth and lust,
And wantonness, and gluttonous excess.
In cities, vice is hidden with most ease,
or seen with least reproach; and virtue, taught
By frequent lapse, can hope no triumph there
Beyond the achievement of successful flight.
I do confess them nurs ries of the arts,
In which they flourish most, where, in the beams
Of warm encouragement, and in the eye
Of public note, they reach their perfect size.
God made the country, and man made the town,
What wonder then, that health and virtue, gifts
That can alone make sweet the bitter draught
That life holds out to all, should most abound
And least be threaten & in the fields and groves?
Possess ye, therefore, ye who, born about
In chariots and sedaus, know no fatigue
But that of idleness, and taste no scenes
But such as art contrives, possess ye still
Your element; there only can ye shine,
There only minds like yours can do no harm.
Our groves were planted to console at noon
The peasive wand rer in their shades.
The moon-bean, sliding softly in between
The sleeping leaves, is all the light they wish:
Birds warbling, all the music.
We can spare
The splendour of your lamps; they but eclipse
Our softer satellite. Your songs confound
Our more harmonious notes; the thrush departs
Scar'd, and th offended nightingale is mute
There is a public mischief in your mirth;
It plagues your country. Folly such as yours,
Grac d with a sword, and worthier of a fan,
Has made, what enemies could ne er have done.
Our arch of empire, stedfast but for you,
A mutilated structure, soon to fall.
OH, for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
Some boundless contiguity of shade,
Where rumour of oppression and deceit,
Of unsuccessful or successful war,
Might never reach me more. My ear is pain'd,
My soul is sick, with every day s report
Of wrong and outrage with which earth is fill d
There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart:
It does not feel for man; the natural bond
Of brotherhood is sever`d, as the flax
That falls asunder at the touch of fire.
He finds his fellow guilty of a skin
Not colour'd like his own! and, having power
Tenforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause
Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey.
Lands intersected by a narrow frith,
Abhor each other. Mountains interpos'd,
Make enemies of nations: who had else,
Like kindred drops, been mingled into one.
Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys;
And, worse than all, and most to be deplor d,
As human nature's broadest, foulest blot,
Chains him, and tasks him, and exacts his sweat
With stripes, that mercy, with a bleeding heart,
Weeps when she sees inflicted on a beast.
Then what is man? And what man, seeing this,
And having human feelings, does not blush,
And hang his head, to think himself a man?
I would not have a slave to till my ground,
To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
Aud tremble when I wake, for all the wealth
That sinews, bought and sold, have ever earn.
No: dear as freedom is, and in my heart s
Just estimation, prized above all price,
I had much rather be myself the slave,
And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him
We have no slaves at home-then why abroad
And they, themselves, once ferry do er the waye
That parts us, are emancipate and loos d.
"New England has pro slaves. Her air, so free
"To slavery is death. Convey them here,
"They pine for liberty; nd if their lungs
Receive our air, that moment they are free;
They touch our country, and their shackles fall.
That s noble, and bespeaks a nation proud
And jealous of toe blessing. Spread it then,
And let it circulate through every vein
Of all "the Union; that where "Columbia's" power
Is felt, mankind may feel her mercy too.
THE pulpit, therefore, (and I name it, fill'd
With solemn awe that bids me weil beware
With what intent I touch that holy thing,)
I say the pulpit (in the sober use
Of its ligitimate, peculiar powers,,
Must stand acknowledg d, while the world shall stand, The most important and effectual guard,
Support, and ornament, of virtue s cause.
There stands the messenger of truth; there stands
The legate of the skies! His theme divine,
His office sacred, his credentials clear.
By him the violated laws speaks out
Its thunders; and by him, in strains as sweet
As angels use the gospel whispers peace.
He stablishes the strong, restores the weak,
Reclaims the wanderer binds the broken heart,
And, arm'd himself in panoply complete
Of heavenly temper, furnishes witt. arms,
Bright as his own, and trains, by every rule
Of holy discipline, to glorious war,
The sacramental host of God select!
Are all such teachers?-would to heaven all were!
But hark-the doctor s voice?-fast wedg'd between
Two empirics he stands, and with swollen cheeks
Inspires the news, his trumpet. Keener far
Than all invective is his bold harangue,
While through that public organ of report:
He hails the clergy; and, defying shame,
Announces to the world his own and theirs:
He teaches those to read, whom schools dismiss'd,
And colleges, untaught; sells accent, tone,
And emphasis, in score; and gives to prayer
Th' adagio and andante it demands.
He grinds divinity of other days
Down into modern use; transforms old print
To zig-zag manuscript, and cheats the eyes
Of gallery critics by a thousand arts.
THE PETITMAITRE PARSON AND GOOD PREACHER CONTRASTED.
I VENERATE the man whose heart is warm,
Whose bands are pure, whose doctrine and whose life,
Coincident exhibit lucid proof
That he is honest in the sacred cause.
To such I render more than mere respect,
Whose actions say that they respect themselves.
But loose in morals, an.. in mor is vain,
In conversation frivolous, in dress
Extreme at once rapacious and profuse!
Fréquent in park with lady at his side,
Ambling and prattling scandal as he gues;
But rare at home, and never at his books,
Or with his peu, save when he scrawls a card;
Constant at routs, familiar with a round
Of ladyships a stranger to the poor;
Ambitious of preferment for its gold,
And well prepar d, by ignorance and sloth,
By infidelity and love of the world,
To make God s work a sinecure; a slave
To his own pleasures and his patron s pride;
From such Apostles, oh ye nitred heads,
Preserve me! and lay not careless hands
On skulls that cannot teach, and will not learn.
Would I describe a preacher, such as Paul,
Were he on earth, would hear, approve, and own-
Paul should himself direct me. I would trace
His master-strokes, and draw from his design.
I would express him simple, grave, sincere;
In doctrine uncorrupt; in language plain,
And plain in manner; decent solemn, chaste,
And natural in gesture; much impress'd
Himself, as conscious of his awful charge,
And anxious mainly that the flock he feeds
May feel it too; affectionate in look
And tender in address, as well becomes
A messenger of grace to guiity men.
Behold the picture! Is it like ?-Like whom?
The things that mount the rostrum with a skip,
And then skip down again; pronounce a text;
Cry-hem; and reading what they never wrote,
Just fifteen minutes huddle up their work,
And with a well-bred whisper close the scene!