Page images

See how the wand'ring croud mistake their way, And, tost about by their own error, stray ! This tumbles headlong from an unseen hill; That lights on a blind path and wanders ftill. * With hafte, but not good fpeed, This hurries on; That moves no faster than a fnail might run. While to and fro another haftes in vain, No sooner in the right, than out again. HERE one walks on alone, whose boalted Ikil) Invites another to attend him ftill; Till among thorns or miry pools they tread, This by his guide, THÁT by himself mifled. Here one in a perpetual circle moves, Another, THERE, in endless mazes roves; And when he thinks his weary 'ramble done, He finds (alas!) he has but just begun. Thus still in droves, the blinded rabble stray, And led by error miss the narrow way.

O that my ways directed were by, thee, From the deceits of baneful error free! 'Till all my motion, like a dart's, became Swift as its flight, unerring as its aim. And when thy law requires me to obey, Let me not loiter, nor mistake the way : But be thyself the bow, thy LAW the white, And I the ARROW destin'd for the flight. And when thou'rt pleas'd to shew thy greatest skill, Make me the polishid shaft t'obey thy will.


[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

THE vernal Aowers, unconfciqus of their bloqm,

From day to day exhale a short perfume;
Regardless how the winged moments ily,
They spring and Aqurish, propagate and die;

The brutal tribes ferenely thoughtless graze
The verdant fields, nor heed the fight of days;
From stage to ftage of life unthinking run,
While, unperceiv'd, decrepid age creeps on;
Fearlefs of future, and the paft forgot,
Happy thro' blindness, calm thrq' want of thought
They dream dull life away, then turn to earth,
Alike unmindful of their death of birth.

But I, distinguish'd with the awful power
Of reason; born to be for cvermore
A candidate for immortality,
An infant-heir of worlds, and ne'er to die;
Shall I, in life's swift course move blindly on,
Mindless how far, or how, or where I run!
No: here I'll pause, from this advanc'd wide tages
And view the progress of my fleeting age,

From my first being measur'd by the fun,
My days a round of thirty years have qug:
But, measur'd by my progress in the race
Of learning, wisdom, knowledge, virtue, grace,



I 2

They shrink into a short contracted span; In these a BABE, in size and years a MAN: These seeds of life divine; as yet ungrown, Or (O tremendous thought !) ev’n yet unsown; My foot just enter'd in the heav'nly road, Unskill'd in the fair path which leads to God; My work undone; my acquisitions small; One day, alas ! sufficient for them all. How vig'rous, earthly trifles to pursue, How flow while heaven's high objects are in view! Pronouncing mortal things with: ready tongue, But lifping themes divine, and stammering long. How faint my taste for solid, manly joys ! Raptur'd with baubles, pleas'd with childish toys; To eat, and drink, and fleep, by instinct taughty Untraind to manly exercise or thought ! In me, alas ! how fadly reconcil'd The wide extremes of man and of the child. Ah! what have I been doing? how have fled My years by ftealth, unnotic'de'er my head ?Amaz'd! surpriz'd I ask, how came I here? Amaz'd at thirty ere I was aware!... Insensibly from youth to riper age, Swiftly we glide along this mortal stage : How quick old age advances in the rear! . How near to youthilyet death perhaps, more neat. So moves the restless watch her little hand, That turns perpetual while it seems to stand; Thus unperceiv'd the candle wastes away, "I?H darkness ends its counterfeited day: V9r T


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


And thus the shadow on the dial cast,
Steals on, unnotic'd, till the hour be past.

The dream now disappears, th'enchanting dream,
That smoothly bore me down time's rapid stream:
Reckless, and unaware!--I-wake at last :
View life's scant wretched-voyage almost past,
And eye th'eternal ocean, fearful, wide, and vast!

As when th' incautious youth, who lightly fails
On forne smooth stream urg'd by soft breathing gales,
Cafts off all fear, nor, till the awful sound
Of boist'rous floods and billows roar around,
Can think of danger; then, with double fright,
Surveys the horrors of th' unwonted fight:
A boundless ocean all its terrors spreads,
To which the smooth deceitful current leads :-
With like surprise I caft my eyes on thee,
'Tremendous ocean, vast eternity!
Oh! why so often, why fo:long forgot!
Why, when so near, thus absent from my thought!
Why was I deaf to the tremendous roar
Of those dread waves which dalh time's mould'ring
Where's now the anchor of unshaken hope, [thore ?
And faith, almighty faith! thy cable rope?
Where lies the coast unknown ? My pilot--where?
Jesus, thou ruler of the feas, appear!
Speak the almighty mandate: “ Peace; be still;"
The lawless waves will soon obey thy will:
Dart thro' these hideous glooms one chearful ray,
These hideous glooms will brighten into day.

If thou but smile, the ocean's calm and clear,
And rocks, and mists, and darkness disappear.

If 'on life past my guilty eye I turn,
My moments, as departing friends, I mourn:
Important friends and messengers of love,
On kind designs commission'd from above :
My gentle tutors sent to educate,
A raw young pupil for the heavenly ftate,
Libral dispensers of unnumber'd means,
To form my 'foul for everlasting scenes ;
All offer'd me their service as they pass’d,
Though not allow'd to stay, and wing'd with hafte,
Us'd all their efforts; all were us'd in vain ;
Slighted, and oh! with hands remorseless flain,
Ungrateful hands ! guilt, horrid spectre ! ftalks
Before my eyes, and haunts my secret walks,
Demanding vengeance :-O my murder'd years!
Cannot these cries, these penitential tears
Recall you back to life? And are you gone
For ever, and no more to see the sun ?
Oh might your light but bless my eyes again!
Fruitless, alas ! the wish, the hope as vain.

Yet cannot grace, unbounded grace divine,
Relieve a conscience so defil'd as mine?--
To thee, great goD! I Ay; “ loft and undone,

I plead the well-spent moments of thy Son; “ I plead his death, who for his murd'rers prays, “ And, O for me, I trust, the murd'rer of my days !"

Of thirty empires, and their vaft affairs,
How mean the trust compar'd with thirty years !

« EelmineJätka »