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Before the pilgrims part, the younger erept
Confus'd, and struck with silence at the deed, He flies, but trembling, fails to fly with speed. His steps the youth pursues; the country lay Perplex'd with roads, a servant shew'd the way; A river cross'd the path; the passage o'er Was nice to find; the servant trod before; Long arms of oak an open bridge supply'd, And deep the waves beneath the bending glide. The youth, who seem'd to watch a time to sin, Approach'd the careless guide, and thrust him in; Plunging he falls, and rising lifts his head, Then plashing turns, and sinks among the dead.
Wild, sparkling rage inflames the father's eyes, He bursts the bands of fear, and madly cries, Detested wretch!-But scarce his speech began, When the strange partner seem'd no longer man: His youthful face grew more serenely sweet, Ilis robe turn'd white, and flow'd upon his feet;
Fair rounds of radiant points invest his hair;
Tho' loud at first the pilgrim's passion grew,
Thy pray', thy praise, thy life to vice unknown, In sweet memorial rise before the throne: These charm's, success in our bright region find, And force an angel down, to calm thy mind; For this commission'd, I forsook the sky, Nay, cease to kneel-Thy fellow-servant I.
Then know the truth of government divine, And let these scruples be no longer thine.
The Maker justly claims that world he made, In this the right of Providence is laid; Its sacred majesty through all depends On using second means to work his ends:
'Tis thus, withdrawn in state from human eye,
The great vain man, who far'd on costly food, Whose life was too luxurious to be good; Who made his iv'ry stands with goblets shine, And fore'd his guests to morning draughts of wine, Has, with the cup, this graceless custom lost, And still he welcomes, but with less of cost.
The mean, suspicious wretch, whose bolted door Ne'er mov'd in pity to the wand'ring poor; With him I left the cur, to teach his mind That Heav'n can bless, if mortals will be kind. Conscious of wanting worth, he views the bowl, And feels compassion touch his grateful soul. Thus artists melt the sollen ore of lead, With heaping coals of fre upon its head; In the kind warmth the metal learns to glow, And, loose from dross, the silver runs below.
Long had our pious friend in virtue trod, But now the child halfwean'd his heart from God; (Child of his age) for him he liv'd in pain, And measur'd back, his steps to earth again. To what excesses had his dotage run! But God, to save the father, took the son. To all but thee, in fits he seem'd to go, (And 'twas my ministry to deal the blow)
fond parent humbled in the dust, Now owns, in tears, the punishment was just.
But how had all his fortune felt a wrack, Had that false servant sped in safety back! This night his treasur’d heaps he meant to steal, Then what a fund of charity would fail !
Thus Heav'n instructs thy mind: this trial o'er, Depart in peace, resign, and sin no more.
On sounding pinions here the youth withdrew, The sage stood wond’ring as the seraph flew. Thus look'd Elisha when to mount on high, His master took the chariot of the sky: The fiery pomp ascending, left the view; The prophet gaz'd, and wish'd to follow. too. The bending hermit here a pray'r begun, Lord! as in heav'n, on earth thy will be done. Then gladly turning, sought his ancient place, And pass'd a life of piety and peace. :
NIGHT-PIECE ON DEATH
By the blue taper's trembling light,
o'er: Their books from wisdom widely stray, Or point at best the longest way. I'll seek a readier path and go Where wisdom's surely taught below.
How deep yon azure dyes the sky!