« EelmineJätka »
The well-turn'd soil with auburn brightness shone, | Whenever adverse fortune choaks the way,
When danger threats, or clouds o'ercast the day, .. An harmony of mould, by nature mixt!
This plant of casualty, unfix'd at root, Not light as air, nor as a cement fix'd :
Shakes with the blast, and casts his unripe fruit; Just firm enough t'embrace the thriving root, But, when the storms of poverty arise, Yet give free expanse to the fibrous shoot; And persecution ev'ry virtue tries, Dilating, when disturb'd by lab'ring hands, Mindless of God, and trusting to himself 8, And smelling sweet, when show'rs refresh the He strands Heav'n's freightage on a dang'rous
(tain, Averse to learn, and more averse to bear, (shelf. Scarce could the reapers' arms the sheaves con- | He sinks, the abject victim of despair! And the full garners swell’d with golden grain; The men of pow'r and pomp resemble seeds Unlike the harvests of degen'rate days,
Sown on rich earth, but choak'd with thorns and One omer sown, one hundred-fold repays:
weeds. Rich product, to a bountiful excess!
Religion strikes them, but they shun the thought; Nor ought we more to ask, nor more possess. Behold the profit, and yet profit nought. The harvest overcomes the reapers' toil;
Heav'n's high rewards they silently contemn, So feeble is the hind, so strong the soil S.
And think the present world suffices them. Man's Saviour thus his parable exprest; Mean-wbile ambition leads the soul astray, He that hath ears to bear, may feel the rest, Far from its natal walk, th' ethereal way;
Int'rest assassins friendship ev'ry hour,
Truth warps to custom,conscience bends to pow'r, INTERPRETATION.
Till all the cultivating hand receives The gift of knowing is to all men giv'n 6;
Is empty blossom, and death-blasted leaves. All know, but few perform, the will of Heav'n ;
Idiots in judgment, baffled o'er and o'er; They hear the sound, but miss the sense convey'd, I still the same bait, still circumvented more; And lose the substance, whilst they view the Self-victims of the cunning they adore ! shade.
Wise without wisdom, busy to no end; When specious doctrines hover round a mind Man still their foe, and Heav'n itself no friend ! Which is not vitally with Heay'n conjoin'd,
The chosen seed, on cultur'd ground, are they The visionary objects float and pass
Who humbly tread the evangelic way. Transient as figures gliding o'er a glass :
The road to Heav'n is uniform and plain : Each but a momentary visit makes,
All other paths are serpentine and vain. And each supplies the place the last forsakes. The true disciple takes the word reveal'd, Satan for ever fond to be employ'd,
Nor rushes on the sanctu'ry conceald, (And changing minds ev'n ask to be destroy'd 7,) | Whilst empty reas'ners emptiest arts employ ; Marks well th’ infirm of faith ; and soon supplies Nothing they build, and all things they destroy! Phantoms of truth, and substances of lyes : The provident of Heav'n unlocks his store, Killing the dying, he a conquest gains;
To clothe the naked, and to feed the poor : And, from a little, steals the poor remains.
To each man gen'rous, and to each man just, · Reason, man's guardian, by neglect, or sleep, Conscious of a depositary trust. Loses that castle, he was meant to keep.
Patient of censure, yet condemning none :
Placid to all, accountable to One.
Evin in prosperity he fears no loss, Who change, for changing's sake, from right Expects a change, and starts not at the cross. to wrong,
All injuries by patience he surmounts; Constant to nothing, and in nothing long;
All sutt'rings God's own med'cines he accounts9: To day they bear the word of God with joy, To morrow they the word of God destroy ;
8 “ We are all careful about small matters, Indiff rent, to assert or to deny:
and negligent in the greatest ; of which this is With zeal they flatter, and with zeal decry.
the reason, we know not where true felicity is.” Such is the fool of wit! who strives with pains
St. Hieron. To lose that paradise the peasant gains.
9 The preacher writes beautifully upon this
subject. Ecclus. C. ii. " My son, if thou come 6 Imbecillior colonus quàm ager. Columella. to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for trial,
6" To sin against knowledge is a greater of set thy heart aright, and constantly endure, and fence than an ignorant trespass; in proportion make not haste in time of trouble;" j. e. be not as a fault, which is capable of no excuse, is impatient to get over thy trouble. “ Cleave unto more heinous than a fault which admits of a to- | him, and depart not away, that thou mayest be lerable defence. J. Mart. Resp. ad Orthod. increased at thy last end. Whatsoever is brought * Ignorance will not excuse sin, when it is a sin
upon thee take cheerfully, and be patient when in itself.”
thou art changed to a low estate. For gold is Anon. Vet.
tried in the fire, and acceptable men in the fur7 " He that is idle tempts Satan to set him to nace of adversity. Look at the generations of work."
Chrysost. Hom. old, and see, did ever any trust in the Lord and Pious Jeremy Taylor once said to a lady, was confounded? or did any abide in his fear
you do not cmploy your children, and was forsaken? or whom did he ever despise, the devil will.” The son of Sirach gives also the l that called upon him? for the Lord is full of following advice : “Send thy son to labour, that I compassion and mercy; he forgiveth sins, and he be not idle ; for idleness teacheth much evil.” | saveth in time of a Miction.-Wo be to the siuner
C. xxxiii, v. 27. that goeth two ways;" i, e, that bath recourse
Studious of good, and penitent for ill,
&c. The grandeur of scriptural sublimity, or Still short of grace, yet persevering still ; simplicity, admits of few or no embellishments. As just and true as erring nature can
George Sandys, in the reign of Charles I. scems (For imperfection sets its stamp on man). I only to have known this secret. Heav'n marks the saint, her mansions to adorn, And, having purg'd the chaff, accepts the corn,
And in the morning, rising up a great while be
fore day, he went and departed into a solitary
place, and there prayed. THE ASCETIC;
Mark, c. i. v. 35. OR, THOMAS A KEMPIS :
Deep in a vale, where cloud-born Rhyne !
Through meads his Alpine waters rollid,
Where pansies mixt with daisies shine,
And aspłodels instarr'd with gold;
Two forests, skirting round the feet
Half parted by an op’ning glade;
Around Hercynian oaks are seen.Aspicis; illo alii rursus jactantur in alto.
Larches ", and cypress ever green, At tua securos portus, blandamque quietein
Unite their hospitable shade. Intravit, non quassa ratis.
Stat. Sylv, L. II.
Impearld with dew, the rosy Morn
Gleams following gleams the Heav'ns adorn,
And gild the theatre below:
Nature from needful slumber wakes,
And from her misty eye-balls shakes
The balmy dews of soft repose : I had several inducements for venturing to
The pious lark with grateful Jays change the ode into heroic measure. The first Ascends the skies, and chants the praise was, that I might diversify the doctrinal part Which man to his Creator ones 4. from the descriptive. The sccund was, that our | When lo! a venerable sire appears. excellent and most learned poet, Cowley, had
With sprightly footsteps hast'ning o'er the plain; given me his authority for making this change, | His tresses bore the marks of fourscore years, in his poem de Plantis. But the third and truer | Yet free from sickness he, and void of pain: reason was, that I found it next to impracticable,
| His eyes with half their youthful clearness shones.
His eyes with half their vouth to deliver short, unadorned, didactical sentences Still on his cheeks health's tincture gently glow'd,' consistently with the copiousness, irregularity, His aged voice retain'd a mauly tone, and enthusiasm peculiar to ode-writing. Let the His peaceful blood in equal tenour flow'd. reader only make the experiment, and I fatter
At length, beneath a beechen shade reclin'd, myself he will join with me in opinion.-Nor have
He thus pour'd forth to Heav'n the transports of I departed any further than in a metaphor or
his mind. two from that original simplicity which characterises my author, however difficult and self-de 3 Tip-toe. Shakespeare. nying such an andertaking might be in a poeti
4 « Before we engage in worldly business, or cal composition. What gave me warning was, any common amusements of life, let us be carethat Castalio and Stanhope had both spoiled ful to consecrate the first-fruits of the day, and Thomas a Kempis by attempting to adorn bim the very beginning of our holy thoughts unto the with flowery language, false elegance, and glaring | service of God.”
St. Basil. imagery. And, by the way, to this cause may Thomas à Kempis had no manifest infirmibe attributed the miscarriages of many poets, ties of old-age, and retained his eye-sight per(otherwise confessedly eminent) in their para- | fect to the last. phrases of the Psalms of David, the Book of Job,
All that I have ever been able to learn in Ger.
many upon good authority, concerning him, is to man as well as God. “Wo unto him that is
| as follows: He was born at Kempis, or Kempen, fajot-hearted; for be believeth not, therefore a small walled town in the dutchy of Cleves, shall he not be defended. Wo unto you that and diocese of Cologn. His family-dame was have lost patience: what will ye do when the Hamerlein, which signifies in the German Lord shall visit you ?-they that fear the Lord | language a little baminer. We find also that will say, we will fall into the hands of the Lord, his parents were named John and Gertrude Haand not into the hands of men : for as his ma- | merlein. He lived cbiefly in the monastery of jesty is, so is his mercy."
Mount St. Agnes; where his effigy, together with In like manner St. Chrysostom informs us, I a prospect of the monastery, was engraves on a " That, in proportion as God adds to our tribu-l plate of copper that lies over his body. The said lation, he adds likewise to our retribution."
inonastery is now called Bergh-Clooster, or, as 1 This river takes its rise from one of the high- we might say in English, Hill-Cloyster. Many est ice-mountains in Switzerland.
strangers in their travels visit it. Kempis was 2 The species of larch-tree here meant is cal- certainly one of the best and greatest men since led sempervirens: the other larches are deciduis
the primitive ages. His book of the Imitation foliisa
of Christ has seen near forty editions in the ori. “Come unto me (Messiah cries)
Stealer of marches, subtile foc,
sinon of stratagem and woe!
Thy fatal blows, ab! who can ward?
Around thee lurks a motley train
(if wants, and fears, and chronic pain, In purest day-light shall rejoice,
The hungry Croats of thy guard.
“ (Thus on the flow'r-enamellid lawn,
Unconscious of the least surprize,
In thoughtiess gambols sports the fama,
Whilst veil'd in grass the tygress lies.
Her very lungs surcease to blow :
At length she darts on hunger's wings;
Sure of her distance and success,
Where Newton could but only guess,
She never misses, when she springs 9.)
“More truly wise the man, whose early youth Of un-affected eloquence,
Is offer'd a free ofl'ring to the Lord,
A self-addicted votary to truth,
Servant thro' choice, disciple by accord!
Heav'n seeks the young, nor does the old refuse, And gave the world to worldlings and their heirs; | But youth acquits the debt, which age comThe warriors Jaurels, and the statesman's fame,
pounds! The vain man's hopes for tities and employ, Awkward in time, and sour'd with self-disgrace, The pomp of station, and the rich man's name, The spend-thrift pays his all, and takes the I left for fools to seek, and knaves t'enjoye;
bankrupt's place." An early whisper did its truths impart,
| Thus spoke the venerable sage And all the God conceal'd irradiated my heart.
Who ne'er imbib'd Mæonjan lore, “ Happy the man who turns to Hear'n,
Who drew no aids from Maro's page, When on the landscape's verge of green | And yet to nobler flights could soar, Old-age appears, to whom 'tis giv'n
Taught by the Solyméan maid; To creep in sight, but fiy, unseen!
With native elegance array'd,
He gave his easy thoughts to flow; xinal Latin, and above sixty translations have the charms which anxious art deay'd been made from it into modern languages. Truth and simplicity supply'd,
Our author died August the 8tli, 1471, aged | Melodious in religious woe, 92 years. In the engraving on copper above-mentioned,
Poet in sentiment! he feels and lying over his grave, is represented a per
The fame; nor seeks from verse his aid!
The veil which artful charms conceals, son respectfully presenting to him a label on
To real beauty proves a sbade, which is written a verse to this effect :
When nature's out-lines dubious are, On' where is Peace? for Thou its paths hast | Verse decks them with a slight cymart 11; trod.
True charms by art in vain are drest. To which Kempis returns another strip of paper, / Not icy prose could damp bis fire: inscribed as follows:
Intense the name and mounting high'r, In poverty, retirement, and with God. | Brightly victorious when opprest! ya was a canon regular of Augustins, and sub- | By this time morn in all its glory shone; prior of mount St. Agnes' monastery. He com- The Sun's chaste kiss absorb'd the virgin-dew: To his treatise On the Imitation of Christ in Th'impatient peasant wish'd his labour done, sixty-first year of his age, as appears from The cattle to th' umbrageous streams withdrew:
of his own writing in the library of his | Beneath a cool impenetrable shade, a no convent.
Quiet, he mus'd. So Jonas safely sate (play'd) 6 Imitation of Christ, Lib. I. c. i.
(When the swift gourd her palmy leaves disToisthe best school wherein to learn To see the tow'rs of Ninus bow to fate 12.
St. Jerom. the way to Heaven.”
A Worldly honours are a trying spare to men 9 This parenthesis was inserted by way of
nevelted station : of course their chief care | imitating the famous parenthesis in Horace's must be, to put themselves out of the reach of Ode, which begins
Nepotian. envy by humility."
Qualem ministrum fulminis alitem, &c. nlensures of this world are only the mo- | 10 " Eren from the flower till the grape was mentary comforts of the miserable, and not the
- ripe, bath my heart delighted in Wisdom." rewards of the bappy.” St. August.
Ecclus. c. li. . 15. * Catera solicitæ speciosa incommoda vitæ
"A thin covering of the ganse, or sorsnet. Permisi stultis quærere, habere malis. kind.
Dryd. Cymou & Iphigen,
Th’Ascetic then dret forth a parchment-scroll, | When man desponds, (of human hope bereft)
Let patience be thy first and last coneern;
Life's pendulum in th’ other world shall make
Advances, ou the side it now goes back.
By force, a virtue of celestial kind (1.) 'Tis vanity to wish for length of days; Was never storm'd; by art 'tis undermiu'd 10. The art of living well is wise men's praise.
(5.) All seek for knowledge. Knowledge is no If death, not length of life, engag'd our view,
more Life would be happier, and death happier tool.. Than this; to know ourselves, and God adore.
Nature foreshows our death : 'tis God's decree; Wouldst thou with profit seek, and learn with The king, the insect dies; and so must we.
gain? What's natural, and common to us all,
Unknown thyself, in solitude remain ". What's necessary;--none should evil call, Virtue retires, but in retirement blooms, Check thy fond love of life, and human pride; Pull of good works, and dying in perfumes !!. Shall man repine at death, wben Christ has dy'd? | In thy own heart the living waters rise '3; .
(2.) He that can calmly view the mask of Good conscience is the wisdom of the wise! 14 Will never tremble at the face beneath ; [death, Man's only confidence, unmixt with pride, Probationer of Heav'n, he starts no more | Is the firm trust that God is op his side 15! To see the last sands ebb, than those before. Like Aaron's rod, the faithful and the just,
(3.) In vain we argue, boast, elude, descant; Torn from their tree, shall blossom in the dust. No man is honest that's afraid of want.
(6.) God, says the chief of penitents16, is One, No blood of confessors that bosom warms, Who gives Himself, his Spirit, an bis Son. Which starts at hunger, as the worst of harms 4 | “Is hunger irksome?—Thou by Him art fed
(4.) The man with christian preservance fir'ds, With quails miraculous, and Hear'nly bread. Check'd but not stop'd ; retarded but not tir'd; Is thirst oppressive ? -Lift thy eyes, and see Straiten'd by foes, yet sure of a retreat,
Cat'racts of water fall from rocks for thee. In Heav'n's protection rests securely great ; Art thou in darkness? - Uucreated light Hears ev'ry sharp alarm withont dismay; Is all thy own, and guides thy erring sight. Midst dangers dauntless, and midst terrours gay; Is nakedness thy lot? --Yet ne'er repine ; Indignant of obstruction glows his flame,
The vestments of Eternity are thine. And, struggling, mounts to Heav'n, from whence Art thou a widow ?-God's thy consort true. it came:
Art thou an orphani-He's thy father too." Oppress'd it thrives; its own destroyers tires, And with unceasing fortitude aspires 7.
8 Ibid. c. 35, No. 2. Ibid. c. 18, No. 2.
9 See also Caussin's Holy Court, Part I, L: 3. 1 This and the following passages marked with | Sect. S2, fol. 1650. a note of reference are extracted almost verbatim 10“True christian piety was never made a from Kempis's Book of the Imitation of Christ. real captive; it may be killed, but not conquerLib. I, c. 1, 2. See also Lib. 1, c. 19. 23.
St. Jerom. 2 “ Death, when compared to life, scems to 11 “ Imitation of Christ, L. I, c. 20. L. II, be a remedy and not a punishment.”
12 “ The retired Christian, in seeking after an On the same point another primitive Chris- happy life, actually enjoys one; and possesses tian hath observed, “ 'That the Supreme Being that already which he only fancies he is pursumade life short; since, as the troubles of it | ing."
St. Eucher. cannot be removed from us, we may the sooner 13“ Drink waters out of thine own cisterns. be removed from them.” St. Bernard. Prov. C. v, V. 15. See also Rev. c. xxii, v. 1. 3“ Dost thou fear poverty ? Christ calls the
“ And he showed me a pure river of water of life,
clear as crystal.” See John, c. vii, v. 38. poor man blessed.-- Art thou afraid of labour? Pains are produc
14 Imitat. of Jesus Christ, L I, c. 6. tive of a crown, [fears no farmine:
15 Imitat. of Jesus Christ, Lib. II, c. 10. Art thou hungry? A true confidence in God
“ The only means of obtaining true security - for the Supreme Governor of the world beholds
al is to commit all our interests to God, who con
own of stantly knows and is ever willing to bestow good thy warfare; and prepares for thee a crown of sto glory and everlasting rest."
things on them that ask him as they ought.”
Cassian. Hieron. in Epist.
" Security is no where but in the love and • L. II. Thom. à Kempis.
service of God. It is neither in Heaven, nor 5 Perseverance is an image of eternity."
Paradise, much less in the present world. In St. Bernard.
Heaven the angels fell from the divine presence: 6 « The greatest safety man can have is to in Paradise Adam lost his abode of pleasure: in fear nothing but God.”
Senec. the world Judas fell from the school of our Sa. “ Human fear depresses, the fear of God exhi- viour.”
St. Bernard. larates."
16 St. August. The ten lines marked with
inverted commas are a literal translation from 7 Imitat. of Christ, L, III., c. 5. Ibid. c. 19,
(17.) The men of Science aim themselves to Say, is it much indignities to bear,
When God for thee thy nature deign'd to wear?
Lift or depress-the man is still the same 27.
The happy, if they're wise, must all things fear; True faith, like gold into the furnace cast, Nor need th' unhappy, if they're good, desMaintains its sterling pureness to the last.
pair. Conscience will ev'ry pious act attest 21:
(10.) Hard is the task 'gainst nature's strength A silent panegyrist, but the best!
to strive : (8.) All chastisements for private use are giv'n; Perfection is the lot of none alive; The revelations Personal of Heav'n 22 :
Or grant frail man could tread th' unerring road, But man in misery mistakes bis road,
| How could we suffer for the sake of God? Sighs for lost joys, and never turns to God 23.
Afiction's ordeal, sharp, but brightly shines ; Ilear'a more than meets her child with sorrows Sep'rates the gold, and ev'ry vice calcines. try'd ;
| lo adverse fortune, when the storm runs high, Her dove brings olive, e'er the waves subside24. | And sickness graves death's image on the eye, Man gives but once, and grudges when we sue; Nor wealth, nor rank, nor pow'r, assuage the Heav'n makes old gifts the precedents for new.
grief(9.) Afictions have their use of ev'ry kind; | Ask God to send thee patience or relief3o. At once they humble, and exalt the mind : The infant Moses 'scap'd his watry gravel, The ferment of the soul by just degrees
Heav'n half o'erwhelms the man it means to Refines the true clear spirit from the lees 25,
save! Boast as we will, and argue as we can,
(11.) Th' ambitious and the covetous desire32 None ever knew the virtues of a man,
More than their worth deserves, or wants re® Except affliction sists the flour from bran26.
quire : 17 « It is good to know much and live well: 1
Not merely for the profit things may yield,
But, ah ! their neighbour's pittance maims their but, if we cannot attain both, it is better to desire piety than learning : for knowledge makes no
Thus, gain'd by force, or fraudulent design, man truly happy, nor doth happiness consist in
The grapes of Naboth yield them blood for
The intellectual acquisitions. The only valuable
wine 33 thing is a religious life.” Sti. Greg. Magn. Moral.
1 (12) Nothing but truth can claim a lasting And again: “That only is the best knowledge
Time is truth's surest judge, and judges late: which makes us better.” 18 Imitat. of Christ.
27 Imitat. of Christ, L. III, c. 5. 20 Imitat. of Jesus Christ, L. II, c. 10.
28 Ibid. 21 « As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.”
29 “ For gold is tried in the fire, and accepe Prov. xxvii, v. 19.
table men in the furnace of adversity." “ Thou canst avoid, sooner or later, whatever
Ecclus. c. ii, s. 5. molesteth thee, except thy own conscience."
30 Imitat. of Christ, L. III, c. 5. Augustin. in Psalm xxx. , 22 Imitat. of Jesus Christ, L. I, c. 13.
31 Exod.c. II, v.5.
32 “ He that gathereth by defrauding bis omn “God causeth (aflictions) to come, either for correction, or for his land, or for mercy."
%, soul, gathereth for others, that shall spend his
goods riotously. A covetous man's eye is not saJob, c. xxxvii, v. 13.
| tisfied with his portion, and the iniquity of die "It is the work and providence of God's secret counsel, that the days of the elect should
| wicked drieth up his soul.”
Ecclus. C. xir, be troubled in their pilgrimage. This present) 33 « Ahab's excuse to Naboth, when he said life is the way to our eternal abode: God there. I fore in his secret wisdom afflicts our travel with
| give me thy vineyard that I may make it a gara
den of herbs, represents in a lively manner the continual trouble, lest the delights of our jour
pretences that araricious and ambitious men ney might take away the desire of our journey's
St. Greg. Mag.
| use, when they want to make new acquisitions. “ No servant of Christ is without affiction. If
They lye to their consciences; asking a seemins you expect to be free from persecution, you have
trifle, and meaning to obtain something rery va.
St. Ambrose. not yet so much as begun to be a Christian."
" Woe unto them that covet fields, and take 23 Imitat. of Christ, L. I, c. 11.
them away by violence.” Micah, c. ii, v. 2. 24 Imitat. of Christ, ibid. See also Gen. c.
“ They enlarge their desire as Hell, and are as
death, and cannot be satisfied: woe gnto them viii, 1. 11. 25 (mitat. of Christ, L. I, c. 13.
that encrease that wbich is not theirs.” 26 Ibid. Lib. I, c. 16. Lib. III, c. 12. See
Hab, c. ii, v. 5, i also Amos, c, ix. v. 3, and Luke c. xxii, v. 51.
1 34 Imitat, of Jesus Christ, L. 1, , 3,