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MORECRAFT, the usurer, will e'en unbend,
And give a dinner to his pigeon'd Friend.
Mind has its lights and shadows, that, to please,
Into each other melt by slow degrees:
But with alternate colours dark and bright,
The glaring contrast shocks the moral sight.
Strange inconsistencies will show that all
The wisest feel the curse of Adam's fall.
Good God! MARCELLUS by the gay and grave
Approved, became the vilest passion's slave.
Pure were his thoughts in boyhood, modest sense
Adorn'd a mind that hated all pretence.
Poor fallen youth, how changed! thou lately wast
Thy country's pride; but now-the world's outcast.
Oh may swift vengeance hurl its lightnings down
On their base heads by whom this youth's o'erthrown!
Pass we this theme-the subject will involve
A knotty question which no Bard can solve:
Why should this man, since Virtue "with his growth
Grew," be at once the worthless thing we loathe ?
Bad spirits ever vigilant will glide
Into the heart's recess, and there abide ;
Expelling the fair forms of Love and Truth,
Though beautiful, but transient guests in sooth.
ALCIPHRON opens Nature's Book, and reads
That there's a God, as visible in weeds
As worlds; and yet the sceptic is perplex'd;
With "qualities," and "modes," and "substance" vex'd.
Words, vague in meaning chill his holy zeal,
And counteract what he must see and feel.
Is he in danger? then he will adore
God, and forget the quibbling sophist's lore:
Conscience will dissipate the mists that cloud
Thoughts, very weak indeed, when very proud.
Thus the presumptuous intellect of man
Passes its bounds, but ends where it began.
While Heaven pours forth varieties of light
In beautiful profusion, what delight
It is to view the woodlands, lawns between:
Brief joy, perchance! soon clouds may supervene,
Deepening their shadows o'er the woods that now
With an intensity of radiance glow.
That joy is like a moment's sunshine, gone
Ere you can feel it, we have often known:
But Friendship is a plant that will outlast
The gusts of care, or Sorrow's wintry blast.
Then may'st thou see, my Friend, a good old age,
Happy as DEMONAX, and quite as sage,
And when her mild farewell to life is given,
May Angel Faith direct thy soul to Heaven!
May it please your Lordship to withdraw yourself
Unto this neighbouring grove, there shall you hear
How the sweet treble of the chirping birds,
And the soft stirring of the moved leaves,
Running delightful descant to the sound
Of the base murmuring of the bubbling brook,
Become a concert of good instruments:
While twenty babbling echoes round about
Out of the stony concave of their mouths
Restore the vanish'd music of each close,
And fill your ears full with redoubled pleasure.
THE golden morn of youth is gone, and man
Reaches his noon of life without a plan :
As snow falls softly on the mountain height,
Time passes by: 'tis noon-day now-'tis night:
Though whispers oft the still small voice within,
To waste, or misapply thy time, is sin.
Yet it is pleasant here to gaze away
In sweet forgetfulness of cares the day,
The long long summer's day; while flowers exhale
Their fragrance borne along the western gale,
That o'er our Avon's bosom gently breathes,
Till in the sun her "crisped smiles" she wreathes;
Or glory in that sun, till thought elate
Would o'er the horizon round its orb dilate ;
Or trace resemblance to that monarch proud
Of Alps, Mont Blanc, in some high-towering cloud;
Or wander lonely through the solemn grove
With every feeling hush'd, save that of love,
Love of a Being who is evermore
All that a grateful spirit must adore!
As clouds along the stream in varied hues
Their lovely shadows rapidly diffuse;
So o'er life's current changeful Fancy glides,
In shapes swift-flitting o'er the restless tides.
All the fine plans thy subtle mind hath spun
Melt into air, like mists before the sun;
Yet why regret? substantial systems wrought
By heads of statesmen crumble into nought.
The wings of time though oft-repeated shocks
Beat down opinions strong as granite rocks;
Senates have sanction'd schemes they now deride;
Oh what a lesson this to human pride!
Bacon has said—then take it in my rhyme-
The slaves of custom are the sport of time;
How, as they strive to check his onward course,
He whirls them round with a resistless force!
While knowledge, strong as is the ocean's tide,
Scatters opposing errors far and wide;
Sweeping away the veil that time has thrown
O'er old opinions all must soon disown.
Though knowledge be progressive, mystery shrouds
The glowing sons of fancy in her clouds,
So brilliant, they divert aspiring youth
From following sober lights hung out by truth.
But ah! from them involved within the mass,
Too soon away the brilliant colours pass.
Mystical poetry with wondrous art
Entwines itself around the enthusiast's heart.
Alastor gathers images remote
From human use, as stimulants to thought:
With projects wild his brain distemper'd teems,
His world appears impalpable as dreams :
Vague phantoms take the place of living forms,
And torturing doubt a noble mind deforms.
How can a soul which matter clogs discern
Abstraction's shadowy tribe? their nature learn?
Awhile they rush before our mental sight
Enlarged, then far recede, and all is night!
We shape our projects from a chaos wild
Of dreams that ought not to delude a child;
Then, as our air-built phantasies deceive
Hopes that are nursed in spite of reason-grieve.