« PreviousContinue »
Was Newton, Cowper as a seraph mild!
Yet were they champions of the faith, and kept
Here never has Devotion's genius slept,
Nor o'er her ruin'd fanes meek Piety has wept *.
Those who do fear it always hate the light. Let man but know his duties, he pursues His proper good; 'tis only in the night Of ignorance that uncertain are his views, That Cleons his most credulous heart abuse. But knowledge like Ithuriel's spear will show Impostures stripp'd of all their borrow'd hues. What is the fruitful source of human woe ? The fear lest men become too wise the more they know.
Vain fear! before Religion's rising sun
Let sophists to the den of error run
"Such to this British Isle, her Christian Fanes,
Each linked to each for kindred services;
Her spires, her steeple-towers with glittering vanes
Where a few villagers on bended knees
Find solace which a busy world disdains."-WORDSWORTH.
That this "best sun" sheds forth on us to-day.
Good God! what crimes the moral world disgrace, When prejudice would drive right reason from its place!
Are not the gifts of eloquence and wealth,
Thus into minds not guarded well, by stealth
The poison of false doctrine is infused.
E'en freedom has been, often is, misused!
High in the scale of being, not amused
With grovelling joys, but panting for a sphere Where mind shall live with mind through Heaven's "eternal year."
As rushing whirlwinds 'mid the stagnant air,
Thus slaves whom passions prompt, or fell despair,
To which 'gainst all assaults the monarch might resort.
Let others fashion works that charm the
And please the moral taste; we cannot strive
In these with Greece and Italy to vie―
We teach the master-science how to live.
Long may our dear, dear country's glories thrive;
May never pestilence consume her strength; may God Far, far away domestic discord drive;
But, must we bow beneath his chastening rod, Ne'er may
the rebel's bones rest'neath his father's sod.
NOTES ON "ENGLAND."
P. 131, 1. 5.
Such as the royal casuist might approve.
"Hamlet. Give me the man that is not passion's slave, and I will wear him in my heart's core; ay, in my heart of hearts, as I do thee." Shakspeare.
P. 132, 1. 3.
Let others sing the dark-eyed maids of Spain.
P. 133, 1. 10.
That Cleons his most credulous heart abuse.
Cleon was the low demagogue of Athens.-See Thucyd. lib. 3.
P. 134, 1. 4.
Good God! what crimes the moral world disgrace.
"L'auteur du Raoud-al-rakhiar rapporte que Mahomet a prédit que son peuple ou sa religion périroit par deux choses, par l'ignorance et par l'avarice."-D'Herbelot, article, GEHEL.
P, 134, 1. 15.
As rushing whirlwinds 'mid the stagnant air.
If we have any doubt of the dreadful evils arising from the ignorance of the people, let us turn to the page of history, let us look to the cru
sade against the unoffending Albigenses, the convulsions that happened at Paris (equalled only in atrocity by the enormities of the late Revolution,) during the unhappy reign of Charles VI., to the private wars and deadly feuds that, during the middle ages, desolated Germany and Scotland, and then (unless we are bigots, or knaves,) we shall be convinced of the necessity of enlightening the people. It is the Cardinal de Retz who says, that the lower orders are suspicious. They are so, indeed, since they have always been deceived! "Is the limit of human wisdom to be estimated in the science of politics alone by the extent of its present attainments ? Is the most sublime and difficult of all arts, the improvement of the social order, the alleviation of the miseries of the civil condition of man, to be alone stationary, amid the rapid progress of every art, liberal and vulgar, to perfection? "The convictions of philosophy insinuate themselves by a slow, but certain progress into popular sentiment, It is vain for the arrogance of learning to condemn the people to ignorance, by reprobating superficial knowledge. The people cannot be profound; but the truths which regulate the moral and political relations of man are at no great distance from the surface." -Mackintosh's Vindicia Gallicæ, pp. 110-123.