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Soon as the ev'ning shades prevail,
What though in solemn silence, all
How are thy servants blest, O Lord!
How sure is their defence !
Their help Omnipotence.
* Published in the Spectator as a Divine Ode,' made by a gentleman on the conclusion of his travels.-G.
In foreign realms and lands remote,
Supported by thy care, Through burning climes I pass'd unhurt,
And breath'd in tainted air.
Thy mercy sweeten'd every soil,
Made every region please:
And smooth'd the Tyrrhene seas.
Think, O my soul, devoutly think,
How with affrighted eyes,
In all its horrors rise !
Confusion dwelt in ev'ry face,
And fear in ev'ry heart, When waves on waves, and gulfs on gulfs,
O'ercame the pilot's art.
Yet then from all my griefs, O Lord,
Thy mercy set me free, Whilst in the confidence of pray'r
My soul took hold on thee.
* The allusion in these lines is to a violent gale he encount Italian tour.--Vide Life.-G.
For though in dreadful whirls we hung
High on the broken wave,
Nor impotent to save.
If yet, while pardon may be found,
And mercy may be sought,
And trembles at the thought.
When thou, O Lord, shall stand disclos'd,
In majesty severe,
O how shall I appear!
But thou hast told the troubled mind,
Who does hèr sins lament, The timely tribute of her tears
Shall endless wo prevent.
Then see the sorrow of my heart,
Ere yet it be too late;
To give those sorrows weight.
For never shall my soul despair,
Her pardon to procure,
To make her pardon sure.
A SONG FOR ST. CECILIA'S DAY,
AT OXFORD, #
CECILIA, whose exalted hymns,
With joy and wonder fill the blest,
Known and distinguish'd from the rest,
Thy vocal sons of harmony ;
Enliven all our earthly airs,
Tune ev'ry string and ev'ry tongue,
Let all Cecilia's praise proclaim,
The success of Alexander's Feast, made it fashionable for succeeding poets, to try their hand at a musical ode: but they mistook the matter, when they thought it enough to contend with Mr. Dryden. It was reserved for one or two of our days to give us a true idea of lyric poetry in English.
[Hurd probably alludes to Collins and Gray, who, however, with all their merit, still leave “Alexander's feast,” the first lyric in the language. Johnson speaks of this in higher terms than any other critic I have seen, and says that it was partly imitated by Pope, and has something of Dryden's force.--G.]