Page images
PDF
EPUB

Holds er'n th’ Almighty in her airy chain, And oh, when interest every virtue hides,
Gives back his laws, well meant, but meant in When errour blinds, and prejudice misguides,
Its bravery at best a blundering hit, (vain; Alike thy grace, alike thy truth impart,
Its freedom treason, obloquy its wit :

Beam on my soul, and triumph o'er my heart. Its vast request just purely to declaim,

Thuslet me live unbeard of, or forgot, And the dear little licence--to blaspheme:- My wealth content, praise, silence, truth my lot: Say, can cool virtue bere dissuade from ill? Thy word, O God ! my science and delight, Or exil'd reason-pander to the will?

Task of my day and transport of my night: At most a voice or miracle may save,

There taught that he who suti'ers is but tried, And only terrours snatch us from the grave. And he who wonders still may find a guide;

Sappose (though we disown it oft to be! Sanction wiih truth, reward with virtue join'd,
Man from these errours and these passions free: Life without end,anıl laws that reach the mind !
Well taught by art, by nature well inclin'd, Happy the man that such a guide can take,
Steady of judgment, tractable of mind,

Whose character is, never to forsake,
The first step is, the giving folly o'er ;
The last, to practice truth, is ten times more,

Ah me! what lengths of valley get remain,
What hills to climb, ere reason's height he gain?

TO THE PRINCE OF ORANGE, What strength to toil, what labour to pursue,

ON HIS PASSING THROUGH OXFORD IN HIS RETURN Still out of reach, and often out of view.

FROM BATH'.
Then, gracious God, how well dost thou provide
For erring reason an unerring guide!

At length, in pity to a nation's prayer,
To silence explanation (myst'ry's foe),

Thou liv'st, O Nassau, Providence's care ! To lead the tim'rous, and exalt the low : Life's sun, which lately with a gubious ray Ev'n to the best (as all are oft perplext) Gave the last gleams of a short glorious day, Instructive, as true comments on a text. Again with more than noon tide lustre burns ; Then let each hour's new whim the witlings The dial brightens, and the line returns. swell,

Some guardian power, who o'er thy fate pre. Heav'n let them tutor, and extinguish Hell:

sides, Refuse to trust Omniscience on its troth, Whose eyes unerring Albion's welfare guides, Yet take a lawyer's word, or harlot's oath : Tanght yonderstreams with new-felt force to flow, Then bigots, when 'gainst bigots they complain; And bade th' exalted minerals doubly glow. And only singular, because they're vain.

Thus cold and motionless Bethesda stood, Grant none but they the narrow path can hit- Till heavenly influence brooded o'er the flood. When will two wits allow each other wit?

Lo! while our isle with one loud päan rings,
Far other views the solid mind employ, Equal, though silent, homage Isis brings;
A bounded prospect, but a surer joy :-

Isis, whose erring on the modest side
True knowledge when she conquers or abstains, Th' unkind and ignorant mistake for pride.
Like the true hero, equal glory gains.

Here's the task of reason, not of art,
This, this is science, sacred in its end,

Words of the mind, and actions of the heart! True to the views of Heav'n,one's self, and friend, And sure that unbought praise which learning The earliest study, as the latest care,

brings The surest refuge, and the only pray’r.

Outweighs the vast acclaim that deafens kings; O thou, the God, who bigh in Heav'n pre- For souls, supremely sensible and great, sides,

[guides, See through the farce of noise,and pomp of state; Whose eye o'ersees me, and whose wisdom Mark when the fools huzza, or wise rejoice, Deal me that portion of content and rest, [best : And judge exactly between sound and voice. That unknown health, and peace, which suit me Hail, and proceed! be arts like ours thy care, Save me from all the guilt and all the pain, Nor slight those laurels thou wert born to wear : That list of pleasure brings, and lust of gain: | Adorn and emulate thy glorious line, In trial fix me, and in peril shade,

Take thy forefather's worth, and give them thine. 'Gainst foes protect me, 'gainst my passions aid : Blest with each gift that human hearts can move, In wealth my guardian, and in want my guide, In science blest, but doubly blest in love. 'Twixt a mean flattery, and drunken pride : Power, beauty, virtue, dignify thy choice, With life's more dear sensations warm my heart, Each public saffrage, and each private voice. Transport to feel, benevolence ť impart, Each homefelt joy, each public duty send,

From the Epithalamia Oxoniensia, &c. Make me, and give me, all things in the friend.

1734. K. But most protect and guard me in a mind Not rashly bold, nor abjectly resigned.

THE AMARANTH,

OR, RELIGIOUS POEMS;

CONSISTING OF FABLES, VISIONS, EMBLEMS, &c.

Deus ora movet : Sequar ora moventem
Rite Deum !

to conjecture. Nor shall it be dissembled, but TRE AMAPANTHINE CROWN DESCRIBED BY MILTON.

that I had a great inclination to give a paraA crown inwove with amarant and gold; pbrase (ur metaphrase rather) of the xxviiith Immortal Amarant! a flow'r which once

chapter of Deuteronomy; which, I believe, hath In Paradise fast by the tree of life

never yet been turned into English verse. It is Pegan to bloom ; but soon for man's offence doubtless one of the noblest pieces of poetry in To Heav'n remov'd, where first it grew; there Holy Scripture; being at the same time sublime, grows,

and yet plain ; seemingly familiar, and yet And Aow'rs aloft, shading the fount of life. richly diversified. Par. Lost, l. III, v. 352. In this chapter, the change of ideas and events

from a state of obedience to a state of disobedi.

ence, exhibits a power of language, imagery, and PREFACE,

just thinking, which no un-inspired writings ever I shall not trouble the public with excuses for have laid claim to with justice, or ever shall, venturing to send these Religious Poems into the But, when I came to take a closer view of the preworld; having long since observed, that all apo- cipice and its dangers,"my heart trembled, as Jogies made by authors, far from gaining the end Job

says, “ and was moved out of its place;" I proposed, serve only to supply an ill-natured threw down the pencil in despair, and left the critic with weapons to attack them. This being undertaking to some abler hand; namely, to the case, it shall suffice me to say, that I drew some future Milton, Dryden, or Pope. up the present writings for my own private con- Upon the whole, I may perhaps venture to solation under a lingering and dangerous state of persuade myself, that the intention of the prehealth, which it has pleased God to make my sent work is commendable, and that the work portion; nor had I any better opportunity or when perused, may prove useful (more or less) power of discharging the duties of my profession to my fellow-christians. to mankind. The goodness of my canse may Conscious of my own inabilities, and being de. perhaps supply the defects of my poetry ; since, sirous that the reader may receive soine ad. in this sense, "the very gleanings of the grapes of vantage by casting his eyes over these poems, I Ephraim will be better than the vintage of Abies have added in a few notes, the most remarkable zer.” I promise my readers no extraordinary art passages I had an eye to in the Holy Scriptures, in composition or style; but fatter myself they and in the writings of the primitive fathers; will find some nature, some flame, and some they being the only compass and charts which I truth.

have made use of in my navigation. Parables, fables, emblematic visions, &c. are A mixture of pleasing and instructive poetry the most ancient method of conveying truth ta cannot fail to engage the attention of all rational mankind. Upwards of forty of the finest and and serious readers : “For, as it is hurtful to drink most poetical parts of the Old and New Testa- wine, or water, alone ; and as wine mingled ment are of this casi, and force their way upon w th water is pleasant, and delighieth the taste; the mind and heart irresistibly, though they are even so speech, finely framed, delighteth the written in prose.

ears of them that read the story.” From a just sense of this humble simplicity, I

2 MACCAD. Ch. ult. v, ult. have here translated the plainest and least figurative parable that our Blessed Saviour has delivered to us, relating only to a few un-ornament.

CHRIST'S PARABLE OF THE ed circumstances in agriculture. .

SOWER, To express such humble allusions with clear-I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open ness, propriety, and dignity, was, it must be con

my dark saying upon the harp. Psalm xlix, fessed, one of the hardest pieces of poetry I ever yet undertook; nevertheless, I fattered myself All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude that I was in some degree master of one part of

in parables. Without a parable spake he not the subject (namely, the culture of land) upon

unto them, Matri. c, xiii. v. 34. which the parable is founded.

A wise man will hear, and increase learning, Yet the great and real difficulty still recurred;

and a man of understanding shall attain unto Difficile est propriè communia dicere,

wise counsels: to understand a proverb (a How far I have succeeded in this, or any other

parable) and the interpretation; the words of

The wise, and their dark sayings, Prov. c. i. particular, is more than I shall take upon me

V. 5, 6.

V. 4.

PARABLE.
INTRODUCTION.

Whey veral show'rs and sunshine had unLong e'er th' Ascréan bard' had learnt to

The frozen bosom of the turpid ground, [bound fing, Or Homer's fingers touch'd the speaking string ; To wake the How'rs and vivify the air,

When breezes from the western world repair Long e'er the supplemental arts had found Th’embroid'ry of auxiliary sound;

To'industrious peasant left his early bed, The Heav'n-born Muse the paths of nature chose:

And o'er the fields bis seeds for harvest spreads Emblems and fables her whole mind disclose,

With equal hand, and at a distance due, Victorious o'er the soul with energy of prose!

(Impartially to ev'ry furrow true) True poetry, like Ophir's gold, endures

The life-supporting grain he justly threw'. All trials, yet its purity secures;

As was the culture, such was the return; Invert, disjoint it, change its very name,

Of weeds a forest, or a grove of corn: The essence of the thoughts remains the same.

But, where he dealt the gift on grateful soils, Something there is, which endless charms affords,

Harvests of industry o'er-paid his toils. And stamps the majesty of truth on words.

Some seeds by chance on brashy 3 grounds he The son of Gideon", 'midst Cherizim's snow,

threw, Unskill'd in numbers taught the stream to dow,

And some the winds to flinty head-lands blew; With conscious pridc disdaiw'd the aids of art,

Sudden they mounied, pre-mature of birth, And ponr'd a full conviction on the heart :

Bui pin’d and sicken’d, unsupply'd with earth: His Cedar, Fig-tree, and the Bry'r convey

Whilst burning suns their vital juice exhald, The highest notions in the humblest way 8.

And, as the roots decay'd, the foliage fail'd.

Some seeds he ventur'd on ungrateful lands, In Nathan's fable strong and mild conspire, The suppliant's meekness and the poet's fire:

Tough churlish clays, and loose unthrifty sands; Till waken'd nature bade the tears to flow,

The step-da ne soil refus'd a nurse's care: And David's muse assum'd the voice of woe 4.

The plants were sickly, juiceless, pale, and bare. The wise, all-knowing Saviour of mankind

On trodden paths a casual portion fell: Mix'd ease with strength, and truth with em

Condemn’d in scanty penury to dwell, blem join'd:

And half-deny'd the matrix of a cell; Omniscience, vested with full pow'r to choose,

While other seeds, less fortunate than they, O’erlooks the strong, nor does the weak refuse's: Slept, starv'd and naked, on the hard high-way,

Proin frost defenceless, and to birds a prey.
Leaves pageantry of means to feebler man,

Here daws with riotous excesses feed,
And builds the noblest, on the plainest plan;
Divine simplicity the work befriends,

And choughs, the cormorants of grain, succeed ; And humble causes reach sublimest ends.

Next wily pigeons take their silent stand, True flame of verse, O sanctifying fire 6!

And sparrows last, the gleaners of the land. Warm not my genius, but my heart inspire!

Another portion mock'd the seedsman's toil, On my cleans'd lips permit the coals to dwell

Dispens’d upon a rich, but weedy soil: Which from thy altar on Isaiah fell 7!

Pat unctuous juices gorg'd the rank-fed root; Cancel the world's applause; and give thy grace Hence, where the life-supplying grain was spread,

And plethories of sap produc'd no fruit.
To me, the meanest of the tuneful race.
Teach ine the words of Jesus to impart

The rav'nous dock uprears its miscreant head;

Insatiate thistles, tyrants of the plains ; With energy of pow'r, but free from art.

And lurid-hemloc, ting'd with pois'nous stains. Thy emanations light and heat dispense; To sucklings speech, to children eloquence !

What these might spare, th' incroaching thorns Like Habakkuk 8, I copy, no indite;

demand; Tim'rous like him, I treinble whilst I write !

Exhaust earth's virtue, and perplex the land 46 But Jeremiah with new boldness sung,

At last, of precious grain a chosen share When inspiration rush'd upon his tongue ,

Was sown on pre-dilected land with care; The pow'rs of sacred poesy were giv'n

(A cultur’d spot, accustom'd to receive By Him that bears the signature of Heav'n '.

All previous aids that industry can give;) Hesiod.

2 Jotham.

“Bless God, who hath given thee two de. 3 Sce the whole parable, Judg. c. ix. v. 7-21.

narii, namely, the law and the gospel, in reOn this occasion David coinposed the 50th compence for thy submission and labour."

Chrysost. Hom. in Luc. c. 10. psalm. s It is the uniform doctrine of Scripture,

• “They that fear the Lord are a sure seed, and " That night shall perish from the swift, and they that love him an honourable plant: they

that regard not the law, are a dishonourable the strong shall not strengthen his force, neither shall the mighty deliver himself.” Amos, c. ij.

seed: they that transgress the commandments,

are a deceitful seer'.' E clus. c. X. v. 19. v. 14. 6 Rom. c. xv. V.16. 2 Thess. c. ii. v. 13. 1 Pet. nify lands that are dry, shallow, gravelly, and

3 Brashy lands, in an busbandry-sense, sigc, i. v.2. 7 Isajah c. vij. v. 6.

pebbly. Such sort of grounds the old Romans 8 Hab. c. ií. v. 2.

called glareous : 9 Jer. c. i. v. 6, &c. 8, 9.

- Jejuna quidem clivosi glarea ruris. 10 John, c, vi. ver. 27.

Virg. Georg. II. • See Hosea, c. X, V. 4 and 8.

1

The well-turn'd soil with auburn brightness shone, Whenever adverse fortune choaks the way, Mellow'd with nitrous air and genial sun: 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 bis 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 ; Anci 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 Hear'n's freightage on a dang'rous lands.

[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,
Ile that hath ears to hear, may feel the rest, Far from its natal walk, th' ethereal way;

Int'rest assassins friendship ev'ry hour,
INTERPRETATION.

Truth warps to custom conscience bends to pow'r,

Till all the cultivating hand receives The gift of knowing is to all men giv'n ; Is empty blossom, and death-blasted leares. 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, 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 Heav'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 reveald, 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 littlc, 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 : The seeds upon a flipty surface cast,

Placid to all, accountable to One, Denote the worldly-wise, who think in haste : 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 fiatter, 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;" i. 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."

For gold is Anon. Vet.

thou art changed to a low estate.

tried in the fire, and acceptable men in the fur7" He that is idle tempts Satan to set bim 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 “ Madam, if you do not employ your children, and was forsaken? or whom did he ever despise, the devil will.” The son of Sirach gives also the that called upon him? for the Lord is full of following advice : “Send thy son to labour, that compassion and mercy; he forgiveth sins, and he be not idle ; for idleness teacheth much evil.” saveth in time of amiction.-Wo be to the siuner

Ç. xxxiii, v. 27.

that goeth two ways;" i, e, that bath recourse

A VISION.

TO THE READER.

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. seems (For imperfection sets its stamp on man). 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,
In omnibus requiem quæsivi, et nusquam And aspłodels instarr'd with gold;
Inveni, nisi in angulis, et libellis.

Two forests, skirting round the feet Symbol. Kempisian. Of everlasting mountains, meet, At nunc, discussa rerum caligine, verum

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
Stood tip-toe 8 on the mountain's brow;

Gleams following gleams the Heav'ns adorn,
ADVERTISEMENT

And gild the theatre below:
Nature from needful slumber wakes,

And from her misty eye-balls shakes
At the end of the 12th stanza in this poem,

The balmy dews of soft repose : I had several inducements for venturing to

The pious lark with grateful lays 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 second 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 halftheir youthful clearness shones. 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 flatter

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 wbich characterises my author, however difficult and self-de

3 Tip-toe. Shakespeare. nying such an andertaking might be in a poeti- * “ 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 bis 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, faint-hearted; for he 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-name 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 chiefly 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,

a prospect of the monastery, was engraves on a “ That, in proportion as God adds to our tribu- 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 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 foliise

of Christ has seen near forty editions in the ori

« EelmineJätka »