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Their labour'd efforts to produce a store
Of caustic sayings, none produced before.
They latent virtues have, like gems that shone
On Aaron's breastplate, or the sage's stone.
Still, as the globe of knowledge we turn round,
More desolate wastes than cultured spots are found,
Though German mystics would reclaim—in vain—
Some tracts from speculation's dark domain.
Though Science superadds her annual tome
To treasured lore, predicts she things to come?
Hereafter mightier spirits may displace
Those in the world who fill no little space;
They may discover secret ties, that light
And heat and electricity unite:
Even gravitation, of material laws
The rule, may sink into a wider cause.
Our sons, the flights of science are so high,
On hippogriffs throughout the air may fly;
And fictions by ambitious bards devised,
In an inventive age be realised.
Truth-loving men, o'ermastering selfish will,
This world, a wider paradise, may fill;
And as they further wisdom's mine explore,
Will learn to separate from dross the ore.
Lovers of liberty, alas! proclaim
That man through life has but one selfish aim;
That every act, whatever be its fruit,
In self-regarding interest takes root.
A noble doctrine this our hopes to cheer!-
Fine promise of the millennary year!
While all that grace and beautify our lives
Must now be thrown aside as Reason thrives;
And Poesy, divested of the warm
Colours that Fancy gives, must lose her charm.
The little tyrant of his neighbourhood
Would be a patriot, since he hates the good
Who prosper in their fortunes, and will bawl
For equal laws, to be above them all:
Such paltry tricks as factious jugglers long
Have play'd, still unimproved, delude the throng.
Those who expediency the rule of right
Would make, at once extinguish Gospel-light,
Dethrone the Conscience, and let idols base,—
Ambition, Avarice,--usurp her place.
Pigmies in virtue are the great on earth,
When low the standard is of human worth.
Is an Utopian commonweath the sole
Object of thought-that only Reason's goal?
And has the world unknown no higher bliss
Than that which sanguine minds predict in this?
Minds that are mechanised by logic learn
To think by rule, but not for virtue yearn.
Virtue a never-failing zeal requires
To spread her influence-such as love inspires.
Has the philologist e'er sown the seed
From which springs up to life a virtuous deed?
Has the self-pluming moralist o'erthrown
Idolaters of sense, who faith disown?
But now devotion, fond enthusiasts say,
Diffuses all around a brighter day.
Seeming Religion walks not in this age
With noiseless step; like heralds on a stage
Zealots blow loud the woe-trumpet, then urge
Denunciations, rising surge o'er surge
Against their weaker brethren; through the town
They have, but where's their charity,-renown?
Such fire-enkindling spirits fright the mind,
Destroy the reason, and the judgment blind.
Not such is Keble, Rhedycina's tower
Of strength, but humble as his much-loved flower ; *
Whose "Christian year," too fine for spirits dull,
A golden censer is, of odours full;
A heaven-accepted offering, that fumes
With incense the life-giving word illumes.
That Charity we seemingly adore
Has now less influence than she had of yore.
Who with a comprehensive love embrace
Their flock not only, but the human race,
* See his beautiful Stanzas to the Snowdrop in his "Tuesday in Easterweek."
Like messengers from God, who speed their flight
On embassies of good through worlds of light?
While militant against the church and state,
Sects give mouth-honour to the sects they hate!
Destroy that old alliance, and they burn
(Meek men!) each other's doctrines to o'erturn;
The less perceptible the shades may be
Of difference, they the more will disagree!
Where is that zeal for virtue that entire
Circled the soul, an unconsuming fire?
That strength of purpose which, as Jesus still'd
The raging sea, the calm of passions will'd?
Though Science heavenward oft sublimely soars,
And amid worlds discover'd God adores,
Yet her disciples, analysing laws
Of matter, may forget the great First Cause;
Unless humility, a flower once prized,
But in this wiser age a weed despised,
Shall with its pride-subduing virtue quell
Thoughts that are wont around vain hearts to swell.
Who, like the poet-preacher, glows with love
Inbreath'd by the Great Spirit from above,
Who once on sacred heads in tongues of flame
Down from the triune Sun of Glory came,
Illumining with inward light express'd
Thus visibly the synod of the bless'd?
Here pause the sand runs down the hour-glass,-
Moments away irrevocably pass.
A little line, 'twixt "shall be" and "has been,"
Scarce on the vast map of existence seen,
Is life-a streak of light soon reinvolved
In darkness—an enigma never solved!
Another year is gone, and down the stream
Of time my little bark is hurried,-gleam
Hope's ever-shifting lights afar. The past
Is nought-the prospect of the future vast
And undefined. What do the wise foresee ?-
That all as if it ne'er had been shall be !
What may through intermediate ages rise
We know not; knowledge here no aid supplies.
O pride of human intellect, beyond
His circle vain is the magician's wand!
This world, oft deem'd a paradise, at best
Is but the world-a hell to the oppress'd!
Darken the prospect of the future, man
A care-worn brute is, tyrant-stricken, wan.
Open the pages of the sacred book,
The poor for bliss compensatory look:
Whatever Dives in his full-blown pride
May think of them, for them the Saviour died.