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, lowly verse, go forth, and boldly dare
Plain truth unvarnish'd to the few declare;
What tho' no flow'rs from sweet Parnassus' ground,
To charm the ravish'd sense be strew'd around;
What tho' nor Science rear its stately head,
Nor Genius' golden rays their lustre shed;
Yet admiration for the sacred names
Thy page enrolls, a fair indulgence claims;
And should the noble minds recorded there,
From one afflicted bosom drive the tear,
Teach but one sorrowing heart, by grief opprest,
To turn for refuge to a Saviour's breast;
Or the examples of repentance giv'n,
Recall one erring soul the path to Heav'n;
Then let the Critics satirize, or rail,
And all thy want of classic taste assail;
Whilst I, who seek not thus to raise a name,
No eager candidate for fleeting fame,
Shall, tho' the multitude with scorn deride,
In this, my offspring, feel an honest pride.
spirit! of the realms above,
Harmonious form! whose essence is pure love;
Whose glorious attributes, mild, soft, divine!
With bright refulgence on thy vot'ries shine,
Inestimable gift! Oh, bounteous Heav'n!
To cheer fall'n man, by thy great mercy giv'n,
Fair virtue struggling with earth's woes to sooth,
Light the dark path, and make the rugged smooth:
Hail, blest Religion! whose celestial pow'r
Triumphant smiles at fate's malignant hour,
Thou only real good, that mortals know,
From whose rich source transcendant pleasures flow;
With thee pure Faith, and golden Hope are join'd,
And soft ey'd Charity, of angel mind;
Faith, who her Saviour's Cross embraces fast,
Bright Hope, with eye to happier regions cast,
Fair Charity, of meek, angelic face;
Divine love breathing to the human race.
Inspir'd by thee, benignant, placid, form!
In vain may beat affliction's trying storm,
In vain oppression, with tyrannic sway,
Blast life's best hopes, bid human bliss decay;
In vain may those once deem'd our friends desert,
In vain neglect, or sorrow, wound the heart;
In vain disease the drooping frame assail,
Cheer'd by Religion, ev'ry ill shall fail;
In vain, may Poverty's heart-chilling scowl
Check the warm impulse of the gen'rous soul!
Vain too dependence, which the noble mind
Of feelings honest, sensitive, refin'd,
Shrinks from with dread, yet doom'd to wear the chain,
Soon learns to soar above its galling pain;
Scorns the contumely forc'd on earth to bear,
And contemplates with joy a better sphere.
And, last of all, that bitter, bitter grief,
That probes the soul, and long defies relief,
When Death insatiate, from our weeping eyes,
Tears all we lov'd most dear beneath the skies;
Ah! then the fibres of the wrung soul bleed,
And Earth, and all its hateful joys, recede;
Till this blest pow'r o'erspread the aching breast,
And lull the violence of grief to rest,
Bid the worn suff'rer on his God repose,
And smile triumphant over all his woes;
Seren'd by her, the spirit soars on high,
Views worlds to come, and conquers nature's sigh;
Smiles at this sphere, its pleasures, and its pains,
And calm content, and tranquil peace regains.
Come then, benignant, salutary guest!
To own thy pow'r, is truly to be blest,
Oh! come, pervade my soul, take all my heart,
Inspire each thought, and ev'ry hope impart;
From Earth, deceitful Earth, my wishes wean,
Refine my soul, and make my spirit clean;
Teach me, to ev'ry ill, to bow resign'd,
To bear my trials with an equal mind,
In God, in God alone, to seek a friend,
And on his love for all my wants depend.
He with compassion views my ev'ry tear,
He deigns to listen to my secret pray'r;
He o'er my bosom spreads the sweetest peace,
He bids each woe and silent sorrow cease;
Directs my hopes to those ambrosial bow'rs,
Where evils never come, nor tempest lours;
Where happy spirits rove, unbound and free,
In glorious, endless, Immortality!
And oh! delightful rapture! joy of joys!
The humble, ardent hope, my soul employs;
In those pure realms, from care and sorrow free,
Our friends torn from us we again may see,
With God and them there evermore to live,
In bliss too great for mortal to conceive.
Hear my fond pray'r for once, indulgent muse!
With thy celestial beam my mind infuse;
Fill my wrapt soul with energy sublime,
Transport my views beyond this rolling clime;
Bring Faith, and Hope, and Charity along,
With their mild virtues let me grace my song;
High on Faith's tow'ring wing teach me to soar,
To sing those truths, which trembling I adore;
And all unletter'd, and unknown to fame,
To paint the glories of this mystic flame,
Bold the attempt, to dare with hand profane,
To strike the lyre to this all-perfect strain!
No common hand should touch the solemn string,
No lips unhallow'd dare its praise to sing!
And shall I
then presume my voice to raise,
Of this all perfect theme, to sing the praise;
Dare I , with hand profane, lips uninspir'd,
With neither eloquence, nor genius fir'd,
The ready writer's pen attempt to wield,
And sing those truths our blessed Lord reveal'd?
Oh! thou Almighty, thou omniscient Pow'r!
Who form'd my lot, who guard'st my ev'ry hour,
'Tis Thou, 'tis Thou alone, canst tune my lay,
To my aspiring soul the theme convey,
O'er ev'ry thought that fills my breast preside,
And my unletter'd pen divinely guide.
No flow'rs of rhet'ric, reason should beguile,
Nor sense be sacrific'd to polish'd style;
No fairy vision of the poet's brain
Should grace the verse, or decorate the strain;
Pure should the stream flow glowing from the heart,
Undeck'd by fancy's meretricious art;
Nor need proud learning here its lore display,
Nor genius shed its gold-alluring ray;
Fair Truth alone, the spirit should inspire,
And give the hand to wield the pen of fire.
Yet, winning eloquence, and force divine,
Should fill each thought, and breathe in ev'ry line,
Plain, simple, unadorn'd, persuasive, clear,
The heart to mend, not idly charm the ear,
So far would spread her chaste inviting charms,
So, Virtue triumph in Religion's arms,
So, Penitence would raise its drooping head,
And sweetly smile, tho' ev'ry joy had fled:
Celestial Hope! to wild despair succeed,
And Peace and Comfort be the sinner's meed.
In Hist'ry's page, where mad ambition raves,
Where countless myriads find unhallow'd graves;
Where thirst of conquest, and inhuman pride,
Spread devastation and destruction wide;
Where towns and villages, enwrapt in flame,
Perpetuate the warlike Hero's name;
Where rage of fame from reason plucks the reins,
And drives its furious coursers o'er the plains;
Where, while expiring thousands gasping lie,
Exulting triumph flashes from the eye;
Some noble minds there are, more finely wrought,
With choicest intellect, divinely fraught,
Spirits from all such vain pursuits refin'd,
Models of imitation for mankind,
Names of ambition, in a high degree,
Who sought the favor of the Deity;
Who, with Religion's boundless gifts inspir'd,
The nobler conquest of themselves aspir'd.
When the proud conq'rors of the ancient world
Their Roman Eagles far and near unfurl'd,
When distant regions, polish'd states, and rude,
These hardy, warriors vanquish'd, and subdu'd,
They, when stern fate and black misfortune prest,
Turn'd the victorious steel 'gainst their own breast,
Deeming it great misfortune, to defy,
And brave, by desperation thus to die.
Then Resignation, of celestial birth,
Born of Religion, had not grac'd the earth,
Sweet soothing offspring, Seraph, fair and mild!
Religion's most belov'd and darling child,
'Tis thine a nobler lesson to impart,
Solace and purify the stricken heart;
And, like a rock of adamant, to bind
In fortitude's strong chains the pious mind.
When the white rose, contending with the red,
The golden sceptre pluck'd from Henry's head;
When mad Ambition saw with envious eyes,
And panted to obtain the glitt'ring prize,
Spite of the cares, which from the bauble spring,
Spite of the thorns, which its possessor sting:
When civil discord's wild, rebellious crew,
Against their Sov'reign Lord the weapon drew,
And He, so mild, benevolent, and good,
Saw his beloved kingdom drench'd with blood.
Ill-fated Monarch! born two kingdom's heir,
Yet doom'd each sad vicissitude to bear,
Doom'd to the dregs, the cup of woe to drain,
And taste each sad variety of pain;
Whence drew he mid his sorrows a support,
While thus the victim of ambitious sport?
Divine Religion's, animating form,
Like a kind angel, led him through the storm;
A faithful pilot, ever by his side,
She prov'd his constant, and unerring guide,
And her fair handmaids, Faith, and Hope, combin'd
Tosooth his suff'rings and exalt his mind;
Sublime his soul above his mortal fate,
And make the man, if not the monarch, great.
Now, o'er his manes soft Compassion sighs,
And tears of incense pays, as sacrifice,
Worships the genuine virtues of his heart,
And execrates the murd'rous Gloster's part:
Nor, let the suff'rings of the good excite,
One doubt of Mercy, Justice infinite,
Nor, rashly wond'ring, let dim-sighted man
Arraign Almighty wisdom's sov'reign plan,
Rememb'ring what the Sacred Scripture proves,
That most he chastens those, whom most he loves;
Nor deem, tho' guilt may lord it here awhile,
Array'd in virtues sweet, but borrow'd smile;
Deem not, tho' all his impious views succeed,
Tho' fortune wave, exulting o'er his head,
Tho' all her golden treasure's copious store
Into his lap with hand profuse she pour;
Deem him not happy, while his soul is torn,
And conscience goads him like a fest'ring thorn;
While the dire inmates, fear and fell remorse,
Of ease and comfort, bar the peaceful source,
Well suff'ring virtue can this truth attest,
More happy than th' oppressor is th' opprest.
What heart but shudders at that night accurst,
When lurking treachery from its ambush burst,
When bloody massacre, at signal bell,
Rush'd to perform th' infernal work of hell;
When great Coligni, long in arms renown'd,
Whose brow triumphant laurels oft had crown'd;
Whose name, at once terrific and rever'd,
E'en by his foes admir'd, as well as fear'd;
Illustrious vet'ran! by his King decreed,
In life's last stage by massacre to bleed;
See his benignant, yet commanding air,
Strike the assassin mob with shame and fear;
Lo! from the nerveless arm they drop the steel
And at his feet with suppliant air they kneel,
Inspir'd with awe, with rev'rence and amaze,
On his white hair and placid face they gaze;
Implore his pardon, and the deed forego,
Nor dare, tho' he forgives them, strike the blow;
More like a king, than victim, see him stand,
Surrounded by the bloody, weeping band;
But one vile wretch amid the crew was found,
Whose murd'rous heart could give the dying wound;
E'en he, of savage and relentless race,
Dares not behold his victim's heav'nly face,
With eye averted, perpetrates the deed,
Lest touch'd with pity his fell soul recede.
Divine Religion! thus thy heav'nly rays
To bright perfection can its vot'ries raise;
Thus all, who draw from thy nectarious fount,
Can death defy, and ev'ry ill surmount;
What gave Coligni thus to meet his fate?
But the sweet prospect of a future state!
What gave the mob their fury to forbear?
But the divine composure of his air!
'Twas God himself, who well the vet'ran serv'd,
Beam'd in his face, his soul with calmness nerv'd;
Gave him to triumph o'er his treach'rous death,
And with a holy smile resign his breath.
Around the martyr'd Charles's sacred brow,
Her beams resplendent, see the Goddess throw,
When the proud Cromwell, with tyrannic sway,
Pluck'd all his rights and dignities away;
Th' invulnerable breast-plate of his soul,
Firm she repels the darts that round him roll;
When the pick'd tribune with its mock debate,
With pow'r usurp'd, to judge their monarch sate,
He, with magnanimous, unruffled breast,
Mild, yet majestic, firm, and self-possest,
Smiles at the abject, mean, and trait'rous race,
Who sought malignant, for their king's disgrace
Views their proceedings with a tranquil eye,
Nor at their unjust sentence heaves one sigh;
With step compos'd the scaffold he ascends,
And with a godlike smile his sorrows ends.
Lamented victim! of a suff'ring line,
Pursu'd by trials from the pow'r divine;
He bow'd obedient to the chast'ning rod,
And pleas'd, resign'd his spirit to his God:
All Europe at the dire proceeding groan'd,
And Albion's loyal sons his fate bemoan'd;
Rous'd by the stunning and amazing blow,
At once they wept their own, and sov'reign's woe;
Blush'd at the impious, sacrilegious deed,
That gave their Monarch by the axe to bleed.
And when deluded France, in modern times,
Urg'd by foul spirits to infernal crimes;
When Hell let loose its fiends in countless swarms,
When rebel Anarchy rush'd forth to arms;
When the best blood the purple ground bedew'd,
And th' air rung with uproar, wild and rude;
Lo! the best monarch of the Bourbon name,
Branded by wretches with opprobrious shame;
Like England's king, of ev'ry hope bereft,
Nought but Religion's voice to sooth him left,
Delicious draughts from her his soul inhales,
And thus defies misfortune's pois'nous gales;
Fill'd by her tranquil and salubrious stream,
Cheer'd by Truth's radiant, vivifying beam;
Like murder'd Charles, his precious life and crown,
With sweet composure, lays unmurm'ring down;
Not e'en the rites of sepulture bestow'd,
Rites to the meanest and the worst allow'd;
From his lone grave, 'twas said, spontaneous grew
Fresh and fair lilies of the whitest hue;
Pure as the virtuous blood, from whence they sprung,
Which o'er his shade their heads desponding hung,
Weeping soft dews in pity o'er his tomb,
Yet ever florishing in fairest bloom.
Was this the Nation, polish'd and urbane,
These the brave people, loyal and humane?
Henceforth, be savage deeds your only boast,
Deeds, which outvie the sons of Afric's coast;
Heav'ns! since that day, what horrors have ye known?
What Tyrants have usurp'd mild Louis' throne:
Ah! what domestic, agonizing woes,
Since France in arms against her Monarch rose;
Nor yet is vengeance satiate, o'er her head
The sword unsheath'd demands the blood she shed.
And martyr'd Enghien too, to death consign'd!
To ease the tortures of the Tyrant's mind;
E'en now the fun'ral dirge methinks I hear,
E'en now, behold the tributary tear,
The tear that virtue and misfortune drew
From each fine soul, to truth and feelin true,
Above his wrongs his glorious spirit soar'd,
And fled for justice to his God ador'd;
That God, t'wards whom Religion's sacred chain,
Attracts with unresisting gentle rein;
That God, t'wards whom, thro' her harmonious pow'r,
His soul was lifted in the trying hour.
Immortal Goddess! on thy glorious wing
Our pray'rs are wafted to th' eternal King;
Thou peaceful harbinger! 'twixt Man and Heav'n,
To whom a pow'r surpassing thought is giv'n,
Benign supporter thro' this thorny vale,
Thou source of good, whose treasures never fail,
Why will deluded man a shade pursue,
Why clasp a phantom that escapes his view?
Ah! why this cordial friend avoid, forego?
This precious antidote for ev'ry woe?
Ah! blind of soul, thus to despise, reject,
This Angel-form, who would from harm protect,
Disperse thy griefs, alleviate thy pains,
When ev'ry worldly aid and hope are vain;
Should base ingratitude thy bosom sting,
Shelter thou'lt find beneath her fost'ring wing;
Should envy, treach'ry, faithless friendship wound,
Sweet peace and comfort still she'll spread around;
No longer then illusive shades pursue,
Give up ideal bliss, and seek the true;
Say thou art rich, riches take wings and fly,
And light as air all earth-born pleasures die,
Say thou hast ties below, that quite absorb,
Nor give thee to ascend beyond this orb;
Alas! how soon all earthly ties decay,
How soon the God who gave, may take away:
Is it fame, conquest, glory, fires thy breast,
Nor leaves thee room to cultivate this guest?
Ah! shut not out Religion from thy heart,
She'll teach thee to perform a glorious part;
Bid thy free soul its ardent wing expand,
And, like the Patriarch, view its promis'd land.
Should riches fail, should friends belov'd expire,
Should fleeting fame elude thy fond desire,
Still will thy heart possess a source of joy,
Which time, nor chance, nor malice, can destroy;
And when the moment comes, and come it must,
Which gives the body to its parent dust;
When the divine, immortal spark retires,
While the frail mansion sinks, decays, expires;
Oh! in that awful, that tremendous hour,
How from the soul fade riches, rank, and pow'r
Alas! can these afford one moment's stay?
These chase the doubts of guilt and sin away!
These from th' insatiate archer pluck the sting;
These smooth the terrors of the ghastly king;
These in the trembling soul one hope inspire:
These bid it to the joys of heav'n aspire!
Ah no! the parting spirit starts aghast
From such frail reeds, and seeks her hope to cast
On some firm rock, her anxious flight to guide
To unknown worlds, there ever to abide.
Go, view the death-bed of the just and good,
Whose soul with pure Religion is imbu'd;
See how serene and calm he meets his end,
Whilst Angels round his dying couch attend;
Hear him speak comfort to those friends most dear,
Who press around, and shed the holy tear;
For him the tyrant Death can point no sting,
No ghastly terrors in his train can bring;
O'er him no victory the Grave can boast,
Kind Angels wait to waft him to that coast,
Where the Almighty! hid from mortal eye,
Fills his empyreal throne, illumes the sky!
Where the blest Saviour, his beloved Son,
Thro' whom our triumph over death was won;
Who, with majestic smiles of peace and love,
Welcomes blest spirits to the realms above,
Where Cherubim and Seraphim the throne surround,
And sainted Martyrs, for their suff'rings crown'd,
With palms of glory evermore rejoice,
And fill Heav'n's concave with their grateful voice.
youthful blossoms! op'ning to the view,
As lilies fair, and oft as transient too;
Be this sweet flow'r, the emblem of your breast,
Pure as its odor, clear as snowy vest;
Like the tall lily crush'd before its time,
Ye too may droop, and wither in your prime.
Ah! then reflect, while yet in beauty's bloom,
How short may be your Passage to the tomb,
And ere ye venture on life's flow'ry coast,
Where lurks seducing pleasure's smiling host,
Fast round your souls be fair Religion twin'd,
And with your ev'ry thought and deed combin'd:
So will the sweetest harmony pervade,
So soft tranquility her peaceful shade,
Spread o'er your minds, to bless your future years,
And lead ye safe thro' dangers, storms, and cares;
So will the rougher passions ne'er impart,
Their baleful influence, to the shielded heart;
For wrongs receiv'd no mean revenge take root,
Divine forgiveness is Religion's fruit;
How fine, pathetic, and sublime appears
The Patriarch Joseph, when he melts in tears,
Nor sought the feelings of his soul to check,
But "wept aloud, upon his brother's neck,
"In me (he cries) in me, again behold
"Your brother Joseph! whom to bonds ye sold;
"Now Lord of Egypt, 'twas God sent me here,
"Against this famine for ye to prepare;
"Say does my Father live"--but ah! how vain
To imitate meek Moses' holy strain;
Explore the sacred page, there shall ye find,
Truths to adorn, and elevate the mind;
There God's high pow'r in full perfection see,
There learn his great, his glorious Majesty,
There learn thyself to know, there learn to prize
The spirit's worth, and fit it for the skies.
Come then ye fair, nor slight the homely muse,
Who round your path would peace and love diffuse;
In your young bosoms plant a rich perfume,
Sweeter than all Arabia's od'rous bloom;
A plant, that sown on Earth, to Heav'n shall grow,
And from its trunk unfading pleasure flow.
How sweet for Angels o'er your form to watch!
Inspire your dreams, and hover round your couch!
To keep ye pure, unblemish'd and serene,
Guard all your thoughts, and breathe thro' all your mien,
Prepare your souls with them in Heav'n to dwell,
When God withdraws mortality's thin veil.
And ye, who nurtur'd in the lap of ease,
Have known no pleasure but the wish to please,
Who void of thought have glided down life's stream,
Ingulph'd in fashion's fascinating dream,
Oh! learn to think ere yet it be too late,
And fit your souls for an immortal state.
Ye too, who scorning ev'ry nice barrier,
Have head-long plung'd in lawless guilt's career;
Despising pure Religion's holy laws,
Despising Virtue's secret self-applause,
Have dar'd to triumph over Reason's voice,
Misled by ignorance some, and some by choice
Come turn from sin, your guilty ways forsake,
Come, and your pardon of th' Eternal take;
Let fair Religion now your path direct,
From sin's dominion she'll your steps protect.
When holy David was to sin betray'd,
When guilt's dread impulse, lawless, he obey'd,
When smiling vice her soft allurements spread,
And from his form his guardian Angel fled,
Awhile her mazy path his soul entranc'd,
His guilt increasing as his age advanc'd,
Till God's own Prophet show'd his heinous sin,
Bid him invert his eyes, and look within,
Stopt him, when he his just decree began,
And boldly to him cried, "Thou art the Man;"
Then, o'er his mind conviction flashing burst,
And his dire sin, the royal mourner curst,
Ah! then to sweet Religion's holy shrine,
Trembling he turn'd, and sought for grace divine,
To his offended Maker rais'd his voice,
In strains so sweet as Angels might rejoice;
The Goddess bears the suppliant's pray'r to Heav'n,
And intercedes to have his sins forgiv'n,
Ne'er does this seraph intercede in vain,
So God receives him to his love again.
Thus, when repentant Mary sought the Lord,
And low in dust her former life deplor'd,
When at his feet in tears she humbly knelt,
See him in kind compassion for her melt,
Her penitence, her pious zeal approve,
Commend the precious tribute of her love,
Encourage to forsake her guilty ways,
And spend her life in piety and praise;
Ah! then inspir'd by fair Religion's charms,
She seeks for refuge in a Saviour's arms,
His feet she washes, wipes them with her hairs,
And guilt's fell sting no more her bosom bears.
Hark! from fair Magdalena's holy fane,
How sweet ascends the penitential strain;
A strain so soft, with meek repentance join'd,
At God's high throne must sure acceptance find.
Ah! could those silent walls the woes relate,
Of such as struck with horror at their fate,
Have there sought refuge from a life of guilt,
How would the soul in soft compassion melt;
The tear of pity spring to virtue's eye,
And chastest bosoms heave the tender sigh.
There, many an artless, unsuspicious fair,
Who never dreamt of treach'ry's cruel snare,
Whose native candor, and unsullied mind,
Led her to think too well of human kind,
Led her in man too credulous to trust,
Too late convinc'd he's cruel and unjust;
Her love, her confidence, alas! betray'd,
Where can she succour hope? where seek for aid?
By friends abandon'd, plung'd in deep disgrace,
At once the shame, and horror of her race.
Now, who could dwell upon her mournful tale,
Who, the dire frenzy of her soul reveal?
Imagination shudders at her fate,
With ev'ry woe, with ev'ry ill replete,
Till this kind mansion calls her to its dome,
And offers to her wand'ring feet a home,
There she, with out-stretch'd hands, and weeping eyes,
Inspir'd by this fair goddess of the skies,
Her life of guilt confesses, and deplores,
And her offended God again adores.
Ah! not in vain the penitential sigh,
Ah! not in vain the tear that fills her eye;
Religion soothes her by unseen degrees,
Blunts her keen woe, and gives her bosom ease;
Whispers, that all her sins shall be forgiv'n,
And sister Angels waft her soul to heav'n;
For God has said that with applauding voice,
O'er the repentant, Angels shall rejoice.
Unfeeling man! why thus your art employ?
Why flatter beauty only to destroy?
Why from retirement, where the modest fair,
Breathes the sweet region of untainted air,
Where her pure life in even tenor flows,
In peaceful innocence, and calm repose;
Perhaps an aged parent's only stay,
'Tis hers to soothe his sad, declining day,
With duteous love; perhaps she earns the bread,
With which in life's decline her sire is fed;
Ah! why disturb the pure, the tranquil breast,
In pious love, so blessing, and so blest?
The doting father of his child bereave,
And bring his white hairs sorr'wing to the grave?
Or the fond mother fill with shame and grief,
With everlasting woe, that mocks relief?
Where bright Religion takes a stedfast root,
In manhood's prime, how noble is the fruit!
From the rich trunk, with firm luxuriant stem,
Shoots golden honor, fine intrinsic gem;
And candor of inestimable prize,
Fair virtue, soaring high above disguise;
And self-denial, lofty, gen'rous, grand,
And mild Compassion from its root expand,
And Charity, as soft as heav'n's own dews,
Delighting peace and comfort to diffuse.
How sweet to listen to the orphan's pray'r,
Shield virtue from the base insidious snare,
Of age and indigence avert the sigh,
And bid joy's tear bedew the widow's eye,
And sweet to contemplate in life's decline,
Deeds that still live in mem'ry's treasur'd mine,
Deeds of delight, which time's eventful course,
Reflects with pure and undiminish'd force;
So with her golden rays refulgent Truth,
Gilds the fair actions of a well-spent youth.
While the licentious, dissolute, and vain,
Whose lives have past unholy, and profane;
Distinguish'd by no gen'rous, virtuous deed,
From hateful mem'ry hastily recede;
But all! in vain, the monitor within,
Like the true needle, points to former sin;
In vain may hoary guilt attempt to find,
In life's last stage a refuge for the mind;
In vain to conscience close th' unwilling ear,
Still will the spectres of past crimes appear,
By day, by night, in noise or solitude,
These sad unwelcome guests will on the soul obtrude;
Not so the penitent, who low in dust
Owns his past crimes, and puts in God his trust;
Pure streams of mercy shall o'erspread his soul,
And mild Religion ev'ry wound console.
Thus Peter wept, who Satan's pow'r defi'd,
And yet his blessed Lord with oaths deni'd,
How vain his promise "with thee I may die,"
But never, never, will thy name deny:
When the cock crew th' apostate Peter wept,
Shame and confusion o'er his bosom crept,
Lab'ring with guilt, his Master's eye he caught,
And his stung soul with penitence was fraught;
Then zealous in his blest redeemer's cause,
His gospel preaches, propagates his laws;
Hardships and wrongs long bears, and long defies,
Then in Religion's cause a martyr dies.
When on the cross, the Lord of life expir'd,
When the indignant sun frown'd and retir'd,
When the rocks rent, the graves gave up their dead,
As low he bow'd in pain his sacred head,
The thief repentant sought, nor sought in vain,
Mercy, and pardon, of him to obtain:
Christ hears his pray'r, his sins are all forgiven,
And a place promis'd to his soul in heav'n.
Hear Wolsey with repentant sighs declare,
That monarchs' favors are as light as air;
Hear him, who rul'd so long the courtier crowd,
To whose dread nod a servile nation bow'd,
Hear him, long swoll'n with pomp, with pow'r elate,
With bitter sighs, lament his cruel fate,
Hear him, his Monarch's favor once withdrawn,
With retrospective pang his guilt bemoan,
"Oh! had I been as faithful to my God,
"As fervently the paths of goodness trod,
"As I have sought with zeal to serve my King,
"From whom alone I thought reward could spring,
"He would not thus have left me in mine age,
"Expos'd to cruel, and vindictive rage,"
His high blown grandeur sinks, and all anew,
Immortal glories open on his view;
No longer meanly proud, or vainly great,
His heart examin'd shows its hideous state
Then conscience-struck his soul her sins laments,
And all his fleeting ill spent life repents;
Heart-broken, dying of disease and care,
In vain he seeks a refuge from despair;
In vain he seeks a rock on which to lean,
To shield his age from ruin's hov'ring scene,
Till bright Religion, ever on the wing,
To bid hope in misfortune's bosom spring,
Flies in the softest, sweetest smiles array'd,
And whispers pardon to his fleeting shade;
Welcome within his tortur'd breast she finds,
And his soul's wounds with healing cordial binds:
Fair Faith and Hope in her bright train descend.
To soothe the mourner, and in death befriend.
And the great Charles, who to retirement runs,
And the rank breath of adulation shuns;
He, who so long had made all Europe groan,
T' increase the empire of his mighty throne,
Whose ardent soul, on pow'r and conquest bent,
T' obtain his aim, his life in tumult spent;
But could the triumphs that adorn his name,
Could empire, vict'ry, glory's burning flame,
Could each ambitious wish, each wild desire
That could a haughty Monarch's bosom fire,
Still granted to his vast insatiate breast,
Afford true peace, or bid his cravings rest?
Say, could his mighty schemes when all complete,
His wishes bound, or solid bliss create?
No; fame, and pow'r, and conquest, leave a void,
A restless wish for something, not enjoy'd;
Th' immortal spirit feels her boundless claims,
Springs up from earth, and nobler conquest aims;
Seeks bliss substantial, permanent, and pure,
Bliss, which Religion only can secure;
Seeks to obtain a conquest, diff'rent far,
From the false glory of triumphant war;
A true inheritance within the skies,
That noble, permanent, and glorious prize.
What now his empire, what his glitt'ring crown,
Or what the empty honors of renown?
All, all to fleeting air, to dust dissolves,
Amid th' importance of his great resolves;
Now his celestial soul he seeks to save,
And fit it to survive the yawning grave;
Now owns that all on earth is shadowy, vain;
All pow'r a phantom, and all pleasure--pain.
Divine Religion! adamantine stay,
Not thus thy glories melt, and fade away,
Not thus, possession does thy vot'ries cloy,
Thus mock with empty and fallacious joy;
Thy spring once tasted, but improves the zest,
And still thy pleasure grows upon the breast;
Thou , only Thou , canst fill man's boundless mind,
Nor leave a vacuum, nor a sting behind;
Thou , only Thou , canst raise the soul to God,
Thou , only lead to his august abode;
Thou , only teach to climb th' aerial height,
Where dwells th' Eternal , veil'd from mortal sight.
'Tis thine to crush th' enormous weight of guilt,
And bid the soul in sweet contrition melt;
To heal the mourners who for pardon cry,
And bid the burden from their conscience fly.
As, when the beauteous Caledonian Queen,
In whose fine form, the graces all were seen,
Pursu'd by guilt, and its attendant shame,
For refuge to our island trusting came,
Say, whence she comfort drew to calm her soul,
Indignant grief to mellow and control;
What sooth'd the horrors of her wretched doom,
And with bright hope illum'd her prison's gloom?
What but this sov'reign, this delicious charm,
With resignation could her bosom arm,
And o'er her bleeding sorrow pour its balm?
Inspir'd by her she soars above her woe,
Mocks treach'ry's pow'r, and ev'ry ill below;
Beholds impending Death with tranquil mien,
Surveys its terrors with a smile serene;
Welcomes with joy her sad approaching fate,
And leaves this earthly for a better state.
Ah! if indeed th' unhappy Queen in youth
Forgot awhile the dictates of fair truth,
If for awhile, Religion veil'd her head,
If flow'ry guilt to her soft mazes led;
Sure white rob'd Penitence, that angel guest!
Aton'd her crime, and purifi'd her breast,
The cherub Mercy lull'd her soul to peace,
And bid the stings of tort'ring conscience cease;
For tho' of scarlet's deep and glowing dye,
The sins that raise the penitential sigh,
The Saviour's love shall wash them white as snow,
If from the soul the tear of sorrow flow.
Sweet Valiere too, that lovely fragile flow'r,
Who fell the victim of a monarch's pow'r;
In early youth by fatal love subdu'd,
Faith, Reason, totter'd, when great Louis woo'd;
To quit fair honor's shining path betray'd,
Her peace she barters, and pursues a shade.
But say, could Louis' love, his high-born state,
Subdue her soul, or reconcile her fate?
Could titles, palaces, her grief appease,
Lull Guilt to rest, or give her bosom ease?
Ah! no; in pray'r, in penitence alone,
In seeking mercy from th' Eternal throne,
Comfort and peace, the sorr'wing mourner found,
To soothe her soul, to heal her bleeding wound:
In life's gay bloom, trembling from guilt she fled,
Dead to the world, to all its glories dead;
For God alone she lives, he hears her pray'r,
And from her bosom drives the fiend Despair,
Religion smiles, and Hope relumes her eye,
But 'tis a hope of bliss beyond the sky.
But no such sacrifice does God require,
That weeping guilt should from the world retire;
No bigot's cell, no superstitious rites,
Th' all perfect Being in the least delights;
No; this fair Goddess, rob'd in heav'n's own light,
Hides not her Angel face in shades of night;
Not her's the clouded brow, the frown austere,
Threat'ning her vot'ries with terrific air;
Not her's in convents gloomy walls to dwell,
And bid the cheerful scenes of life farewell;
No, social happiness, and pure delights,
And love benign, her presence most invites;
That gen'ral love her blessed Lord commands,
Which the heart softens, and the mind expands;
Those tender sympathies, which man to man
Endear, and harmonize life's little span.
Ah! blest Religion, daughter of the skies!
To thee my pray'rs, my ardent wishes rise;
Come, and within my heart for ever dwell,
All meaner objects by thy pow'r expel;
Exalt, ennoble, elevate my views,
And Faith, and Hope, and Charity, infuse.
Not for myself alone, but all below,
To thee, great source of peace, my wishes flow;
Soon may thy infl'ence spread from pole to pole,
Breathe in each heart, and gladden ev'ry soul;
May ev'ry nation own the living God,
Revere his name, and tremble at his nod;
On realms of darkness, now in shade immers'd,
May thy bright beams, refulgent Goddess, burst;
Where the glad tidings once, with joyful sound,
Made mountains, hills, and deserts, sing around,
Now fall'n, alas! to error's chains a prey,
Rescue from ign'rance, by thy Sov'reign sway.
Arise Jerusalem! once more awake,
And from thy feet the dust of error shake;
Daughter of Zion, loose thy captive neck,
With beauty's holiness thy self bedeck;
Ah! let the praises of the Lord of hosts,
Again resound throughout your captive coasts;
Let your waste places sing, your hills clap hands,
Let your glad triumphs reach to distant lands;
Again exalt the dread Jehovah's name,
Th' Eternal Lord, whose glory shines like flame;
Who in the Heav'n of Heav'ns has fix'd his throne,
And to thy sons of old his mercy shown.
Ah! fall'n Jerusalem, once more arise,
Let thy loud trumpets pierce th' exulting skies:
Once beauteous city! joy of all the earth!
Arise! awake! to everlasting birth,
Let thy fair virgins raise the drooping head,
Nor mingle tears and ashes with their bread;
No longer desolate with sorrow mourn,
But comfort from the holy Gospel learn;
Confess with praise the everlasting Lord,
Who from captivity thy sons restor'd;
Let cloud-topt Lebanon his praises sing,
On Carmel's brow let flow'rs of incense spring;
Let Hermon, Horeb, Sinai, all rejoice,
And Sharon's plain re-echo to the voice;
Let Superstition seek her native hell,
And there with fiends, and blackest dæmons dwell;
Let vile hypocrisy, her sure ally,
To dens and darkness with the monster fly:
Soon may no spot of all this earth contain
Religion's, Charity's, detested stain;
Let them be hunted from the world's dread bounds,
From the dark pole, which fields of ice surrounds,
And from the burning, unenlighten'd zone,
Where the blest gospel has but feebly shone:
Divine Religion! with thy glorious ray
Lighten their darkness, give them beauteous day;
Be the glad tidings preach'd, and joyful heard,
And those the truth receive who long have err'd;
May Jew, may Turk, may Atheist, all confess,
That God alone their souls can save and bless;
With pow'r tremendous punish, or destroy,
To endless darkness plunge, or raise to lasting joy.
, fair Britannia's free and favor'd isle,
Where Liberty bestows her radiant smile;
Where Arts and Sciences, with lib'ral hand,
Are foster'd up, and to full growth expand;
Where the capacious and enlighten'd mind,
From prejudice and monkish rules refin'd,
Thinks for itself, the sacred page explores,
Nor an unseen and hidden God adores,
Long has the fiend, by cunning churchmen bred,
The fiend of night! dark Superstition, fled;
No longer fair Religion, veil'd from sight,
Deceives her foll'wers with a misty light;
No longer superstitious rites atone
For deeds of guilt, in evil moment done;
No longer now the scourge, the shirt of hair,
The pilgrimage, with feet all bleeding bare;
Nor longer now the deep monastic gloom,
Nor guilty wretch, immur'd alive in tomb,
To linger out life's sad, life's curst remains,
In direst horror, torture's veriest pains;
Ah no! the fraudful--the infernal host,
Which long, too long, by priestcraft rul'd our coast;
Which dar'd to punish with a ranc'rous fate
Th' unhappy victims, who incurr'd its hate,
Is long since crush'd, its tyrant pow'r destroy'd,
And peace and tolerance by all enjoy'd;
No longer now such desolation reigns,
But beauty's holiness o'erspreads our plains;
Nor longer blazes now the furious pile,
Shame and disgrace to Britain's blushing Isle!
Nor Persecution with its cruel train,
The annals of our happy country stain.
Well may those times be deem'd the iron age,
Whose savage deeds deform th' historic page.
Oh! mild Religion! for thy glorious name
What martyrs perish'd by the raging flame!
When bigot Mary, and her minion band,
Rul'd o'er this trembling, this affrighted land;
When the good Bishops to the stake were led,
And with their precious blood the wild fire fed.
Hear pious Cranmer, singing hymns of praise,
Inspir'd by faith's sublime, transcendant rays;
See, with an aspect dignified and grand,
Into the flames he thrusts his erring hand;
Ah! "that unworthy hand!" indignant cries,
"Thou first shalt perish," willing sacrifice!
See rev'rend Latimer embrace his fate,
Firm, unappall'd, magnanimously great!
Trusting in God, and stedfast in his faith,
Th' illustrious martyr triumphs over death.
What matrons, virgins, children, were decreed,
For the same cause, in raging fire to bleed!
Heroic Saints! calmly they met their doom,
Nor shrunk from death's terrific direful gloom.
Etherial Goddess! thy celestial pow'r
Sustain'd their spirits at the awful hour;
Yes, thy triumphant, thy victorious hand,
Inspir'd this chosen, this exalted band;
Their noble souls with Faith and Hope inspir'd,
And with the strength of God their weak frames fir'd.
Above inhuman torture bid them soar,
And seek for mercy on a milder shore;
Unhappy Mary! what fanatic ire,
What bloody malice set thy soul on fire?
What howling furies crept into thy heart?
What Dæmon made thee act thy horrid part?
Ah! gentle Grey! who can thy story read,
Nor feel his soul with sorrow for thee bleed?
Who of thy holy resignation hear,
And veneration's sacred due forbear?
So young, so truly pious, good, and wise,
Stern persecution's spotless sacrifice:
Untimely martyr'd in the bloom of youth,
To add new lustre to the Christian truth;
No wild ambition fill'd her gentle breast,
In sweet retirement all her days were blest;
Her mind with richest draughts of learning fraught,
And God, unceasing, she with ardor sought.
Alas! why drag her to a hateful throne?
Why grace her brows, unwilling, with a crown?
Why of ambitious views make her the sport?
Why lead her steps reluctant to a Court?
Why from her peaceful vales, her shaded bow'rs,
Force her to palaces, and royal tow'rs?
Why tempt the guileless victim thus to go,
To brave the vengeance of a haughty foe?
Too soon the ruthless Queen her fate decreed,
The beauteous innocent is doom'd to bleed;
Her Guilford too, her venerable sire!
All doom'd to perish by avenging ire:
Her much lov'd Guilford, for whose sake alone
The hapless Grey had deign'd t' ascend the throne;
Oh! woe much heavier than her own sad doom,
Those friends belov'd must find a bloody tomb!
'Twas there vindictive Mary touch'd her soul;
Thus drew the tears that down her fair face roll;
Hard was the struggle, but the triumph great,
Religion conquers, and she yields to fate:
Dearer than life she holds her glorious faith,
Nor will she to avert impending death
From aged Suffolk, so belov'd, rever'd,--
From her kind, tender, and her honor'd Lord,
Her pure, divine, and heav'nly faith revoke,
And thus ward off the ignominious stroke:
Ah! no, she animates their pious zeal,
And bids them with their blood their ardor seal;
Her virtuous soul to bliss supreme aspires,
And Heav'n alone could fill her vast desires.
"My friends belov'd, she cried, from grief refrain,
"Come, let us triumph over transient pain;
"Let bright Religion all our hopes employ,
"And fit us to partake eternal joy;
"Think not the blow our spirits shall divide,
"Surrounding Angels shall their passage guide
"To bow'rs of roseate bliss, to smiling plains,
"Where in resplendent light the Godhead reigns:
"Where sainted Martyrs, who his cause have fought,
"Who with their blood have life eternal bought,
"Around the lamb in sweetest concert join,
"And hymn Hosannas with a voice divine!
Deem not that cold, insensible to woe,
Her nature shrunk not from the hov'ring blow;
Or that she calmly saw her aged sire,
On the dread scaffold sentenc'd to expire;
Think not she bade her Lord a last farewell,
Nor felt her breast with love and anguish swell;
No, all those feelings exquisitely fine,
Those sweet emotions, tender, soft, benign,
Which give the soul for others woes to melt,
Within her sympathetic bosom dwelt;
But when the tyrant's persecuting dart
With triple force assail'd her noble heart,
From earthly pow'rs she turn'd to God's high throne,
There sought for mercy--pour'd her heartfelt groan,
There her pure soul in fervent pray'r addrest,
And strength angelic all her mind possest;
Spirits from heav'n their kindly influence breathe,
While sister saints prepare the Martyr's wreath.
Say, who would Mary be and wear the crown?
Wear too the bigot's scowling gloomy frown?
Of mild Religion prostitute the name,
And all its pious attributes blaspheme?
Deluded sov'reign! Charity in vain
Would draw a cov'ring o'er thy odious reign;
For still thy heinous and detested crimes
Must blot the annals of succeeding times.
Such scenes of blood no more our island cloud,
Destroy its splendor, and its glories shroud;
Blind Superstition, with its hydra head,
By lust of pow'r, and swoll'n ambition bred,
Has lost its empire o'er our happy land,
Nor dares again approach Britannia's strand.
Here God himself is seen, is felt, is known,
Here vilest mortals dare approach his throne;
And if to Him our sorrows we confess,
He hears us with a father's tenderness:
Has guilt misled us? still he hears our cry,
Still deigns to view us with a pitying eye;
Remembers that he call'd us into birth,
Gave us existence from our mother earth;
Nor does he hope to find without allay,
Beings that owe their origin to clay;
Not e'en the Angels, who his presence share,
In perfect goodness can with him compare:
Yet only his omniscient, piercing eye,
A shade of imperfection can descry
In their pure nature: He, supremely great,
Spirit Eternal! Essence uncreate!
When his amazing pow'r had form'd the whole,
He deign'd to bless us with a living soul;
Deign'd with a portion of his own pure fire
Man's perishable body to inspire;
Both life and substance gave the mortal frame,
And emanated with celestial flame.
Supreme Creator! how thy mercies shine!
How thy vast deeds bespeak thy pow'r divine!
Ah! who thy wond'rous system can survey,
And not due adoration to thee pay?
Who view thy works, unutterably grand,
Call'd from wild chaos by thy forming hand?
Think of the worlds, that in thy presence lie,
Made and directed by thy sov'reign eye?
Who hear the wond'rous oceans solemn roar,
When its white breakers dash the rocky shore;
Or see its waves in quick succession heave,
And not thy dread omnipotence believe?
Who the proud sun's effulgent glories view,
Yet question whence his vital pow'r he drew?
Who see the liquid canopy of night,
Where golden lustres shine, divinely bright;
Or the chaste moon sail thro' the ambient air,
And not th' Almighty Author's praise declare?
Who trace the planets in their destin'd course,
Nor own the hand that gives those planets force?
The mighty hand! whose influence guides the whole,
Whose will alone the system can control;
At whose dread nod the hills shall melt away,
The Earth dissolve, the elements decay!
One mighty conflagration wrap the whole,
And nought the wreck survive, save man's free soul!
And has th' Almighty giv'n vile reptiles birth,
With animation quicken'd clods of earth,
Who dare his glorious Majesty blaspheme,
Deny his pow'r, and laugh to scorn his name?
See, smiles of rapture genial nature wears,
And grateful incense offers for his cares;
Ambrosial fragrance breathes along the vales,
With richest odor wave the whisp'ring gales;
The tow'ring mountains to his praise resound,
And the low shrub that creeps along the ground;
Luxuriant rallies laugh with cheerful voice,
When their full bosoms swell with treasures choice;
Blessing, and blest, their yellow stores produce,
And man with food supply, and gen'rous juice.
Hear the full concert vibrate thro' the sky,
Where its aërial, happy inmates fly;
Hark! how melodiously their notes they trill,
Whilst Echo wafts the strain from grove to hill.
Ungrateful man! to God they
tune their lays,
To Him thus offer up their mite of praise;
Go, learn of them, cold hearted Atheist, go!
And let thy bosom with devotion glow;
Go, view old ocean in its raging pride,
And own the arm that regulates its tide,
Immutable from endless date, its laws
Proclaim aloud a first Almighty cause,
Proclaim aloud omnipotence sublime,
Whose pow'r shall last beyond remotest time;
Whose great, indulgent, and tremendous name,
Is, ever was, and still shall be the same.
Go, vain philosopher! the system scan,
And own stupendous wisdom form'd the plan;
No more with pride the field of science tread,
By weak, presumptuous arrogance misled;
No more thy shallow mind seek to deceive,
Exert thy reason, and in God believe.
Oh! gracious Lord, vouchsafe to fill my soul,
Each empty hope, each wild desire control,
Make me adore thy ev'ry just decree,
And let the idol of my heart be thee;
Be thou for ever my supreme desire,
For ever to thyself , my mind aspire:
When thy vast works enraptur'd, I survey,
Due homage to thee let thy servant pay;
When in pure meads I breathe the balmy air,
Ah! let me not forget that thou art there;
When the high mountain's hoary top I view,
Be still the theme my tow'ring thoughts pursue;
Or if th' immense expanse of ocean's waves,
When vext by storms it madly beats and raves;
When the red lightning o'er its surface flies,
And the loud thunder rolls along the skies;
Or whether smooth, unruffled as a lake,
Its liquid tide with gentle motion break,
And form symphonious music to the ear,
Oh! may I still thy pow'r supreme declare.
If the proud sun my dazzled eyes behold,
Or night's blue concave hung with lamps of gold;
The moon majestic, pale and pensive queen!
Who adds new lustre to the beauteous scene;
Or the bright planets shining in their round;
Still let me bow, with reverence profound,
Thy vast stupendous, perfect wisdom trace,
Pray for thy mercy, and obtain thy grace.
Eternal Lord! with wonder and amaze,
My soul reflects on thy mysterious ways;
All to my grateful, and adoring eyes,
Proclaims thee infinite, and good, and wise;
On thy great name for ever still I dwell,
With rapture in thy praise my note still swell,
For ever tune my weak unhallow'd lay,
My fervent gratitude to thee to pay.
Not in creation's glorious work alone,
Great God of wonders! has thy mercy shone;
For when thy creature man, elate with pride,
Contemn'd thy bounties, and thy arm defied;
When plung'd in sin and guilt, the path he trod,
That leads to Death's infernal black abode;
Thy only son is from thy presence sent,
To bid the sinner of his ways repent.
He comes, thy heav'nly harbinger of light,
Descends from thy resplendent, blessed sight;
He comes! to preach good will, and peace on earth,
Reclaim the wicked, comfort suff'ring worth;
He comes! man's soul from death and hell to save,
He comes! to offer life beyond the grave;
He comes! the great Messiah, God's own Son,
With his pure blood man's vices to atone;
He comes! all cloth'd in patience, meek and mild,
In pow'r a God, in gentleness a child;
Yes, the mild Saviour comes, all love and peace,
To bid each rude, discordant passion cease;
He comes, great King of Kings, of Heav'n supreme,
By shameful death lost sinners to redeem;
The sick he heals, restores the lame and blind,
Weeps tears of anguish over lost mankind;
Suffers oppression, poverty and woe,
And ev'ry ill, that mortal man can know.
Weep, sad Jerusalem! weep tears of blood!
Weep, till your tears increase the roaring flood!
Ah! weep the Lamb, who for your sins is slain,
Weep your sad country's black, and horrid stain!
Ah! see, to Calvary's detested head,
The spotless Jesus by the Jews is led;
Rudely they buffet, mock, insult, revile,
And shout with triumph o'er their guiltless spoil;
In vile derision by his murd'rers crown'd,
His glorious brow th' accursed thorns surround;
Now the infernal and exulting band
Transfix with nails the dying Saviour's hand,
Enrag'd they pierce his side; the purple blood
Gushes in torrents o'er the blushing wood,
Whilst he, his blessed head in pity bow'd,
Breath'd sweet compassion on the ruffian crowd;
"Father, forgive them," his expiring pray'r,
Whilst they with shrieks of insult rend the air.
The angry sun withdrew, nor deign'd to shine,
When thus they crucified the Lamb divine;
The Temple's veil with deepest horror starts,
And the rude shock its firm-wrought texture parts.
Rebellious man! 'twas for thy sins he died,
For thee the Lord of life was crucified;
He died, to conquer sin and death, for thee;
To hell descends to make thy spirit free.
Then rose triumphant, from th' infernal gates,
Pierc'd the thick cloud, and reach'd his Father's seats:
He rose! He rose! he burst Hell's iron chains,
Foil'd man's dread foe, and now in Heaven reigns:
Hear it, ye nations; hear it, and believe,
Hear, and with gratitude his love receive!
Ah! think upon your Saviour's parting groan,
Think of his pangs, and with deep anguish moan;
Think that for you his precious blood he pour'd,
And to your Maker's favor thus restor'd;
Frequent his bitter sufferings review,
His sorrows borne for all, for me, for you;
And thou, my soul, unworthy of such grace,
His blessed cross by Faith's strong hold embrace;
Ah! bind it firmly to thy grateful breast,
So shalt thou work thy everlasting rest.
Ye heavy laden! to his banners haste,
Come, and the sweetness of his mercy taste;
Refresh your souls with the rich banquet giv'n,
Drink of the cup, and eat the bread of heav'n;
Oh! come, with charity to all mankind,
To your own faults severe, to others blind.
Come, ye that mourn, on him cast all your care,
He from your eye will wipe the streaming tear;
Ye poor! ye virtuous! here by wrongs opprest,
Come, shield your sorrows in a Saviour's breast;
Ye guilty! come, and by Religion's charms,
Seek the protection of his outstretch'd arms;
Oh come! the ways of sin and death forsake,
Come, and your pardon from th' Eternal take;
Come, rise triumphant over Death and Hell,
Against the prince of darkness dare rebel.
Celestial Goddess! fair transcendant guest!
Without thy light what were the human breast?
A dark, confus'd, chaotic, wilder'd mass,
Where hopes and passions in disorder pass;
Mean grov'ling hopes, to earth's low confines chain'd,
Tumultuous passions, rude and unrestrain'd:
Without thy aid, how savage, unrefin'd,
Had prov'd the aggregate of human kind!
Thy gentle precepts soothe the else rough soul,
And bid the thoughts in sweet complacence roll:
May ev'ry heart confess thy sov'reign sway,
So shall all grief and sorrow fade away;
So universal and benignant love,
Pure as angelic spirits feel above,
Shall keep the world in harmony and peace,
Till earth dissolve, and time itself shall cease.
Thou! who first my youthful bosom fir'd,
And with Religion's holy zeal inspir'd;
Who with sweet accents, and an angel's mien,
Where thy soul beam'd soft, gentle, mild, serene;
Earth's only blessing on my mind imprest,
And bid me bind it firmly to my breast;
Ev'ry pure wish that animates this frame,
Ev'ry title glow that springs at virtue's name;
Ev'ry refin'd and elevating thought,
Thy bright example, and thy precepts taught;
But ah! rank weeds have since o'errun the soil,
And half destroy'd, dear saint, thy precious toil;
Yet still Religion holds her pow'rful sway,
And ere they root, plucks those rank weeds away;
Oft do I turn, all weeping to her shrine,
And with deep sighs implore her grace divine;
Implore her aid to elevate my views,
And o'er my wounded spirit peace diffuse.
Ah! then what sweet associations blend!
Again I hear thy voice, my long-lost friend;
Again, my mother, see thy virtuous form,
Smiling serene at life's eventful storm;
Who, while the accents trembled on my tongue,
With pious rapture o'er those accents hung;
Taught me at morn and eve to bend the knee,
And raise my heart in pray'r, great God, to thee.
Again sweet childhood's happy days appear,
Lov'd days of peace, to recollection dear!
With painful fondness mem'ry backward turns,
And by sad contrast o'er the present mourns.
Now no kind friend is left my way to guide,
Or with sweet sympathy my cares divide;
With whom my ev'ry wish and thought could blend,
By nature, and congenial mind, my friend;
Now no endearing, no maternal home,
By fate impell'd, from place to place I roam;
Yet, taught by thee, to God my mind I raise,
In adoration, gratitude, and praise!
Thou happy spirit, of a better sphere,
Still does thy grateful child thy name revere;
Fast to her heart are all thy precepts bound,
Fast round her soul, thy gentle image wound;
Tho' now I yield no more to stubborn grief,
Since thy blest spirit whisper'd kind relief;
By the sweet vision mellow'd and refin'd,
My woe is sooth'd to no unholy kind;
Too long I sunk, subdued beneath the stroke,
My frame enervated; my heart half broke;
At heav'ns all perfect wisdom dar'd complain,
Dar'd his most righteous, just decrees arraign,
Oft when pale twilight shot his evening ray,
To her lone grave unseen I bent my way;
There on my loss with bitter anguish dwelt,
And melancholy next to madness felt,
There fancy led; I hail'd her heav'nly shade;
There too in fancy's eye her form survey'd.
Ah! did my sorrows to the skies ascend,
And with compassion touch my pitying friend;
Or did th' Almighty, to reclaim my soul,
Its rebel grief to soften and control,
Deign the kind vision to my tortur'd breast,
To bid it peace regain, and tranquil rest.
Sleep's dewy wand my weary eyes had clos'd,
But left my fev'rish mind still discompos'd;
My soul, still busy with its waking pain,
Still restless phantoms haunt my troubled brain;
When sounds melodious float upon mine ear,
Sounds too seraphic for this mortal sphere!
Now, in soft cadences they sweetly fell,
Now rose in full, majestic, solemn swell;
Sounds, such as angels of the blessed choir
Strike in full concert from the silver lyre:
The scene around was exquisitely fair,
Ambrosial odors perfum'd all the air;
Celestial radiance o'er me brightly glow'd,
And show'd the splendor of the blest abode:
"Sure this is Paradise," entranc'd I cried,
"Where happy spirits in full joy reside;"
And my free soul (methought) has past that bourne,
The gulph of death, whence trav'llers ne'er return;
"Surely my spirit roves, unbound and free,
"In these pure regions of felicity;
"Now all my sorrows, all my woes are past,
"And, my lov'd mother, we shall meet at last."
Ah! soon that bliss ineffable I knew;
Her shade etherial met my longing view;
Lovely she seem'd, rob'd in celestial white,
Soft downy pinions guide her graceful flight,
No longer now, enshrin'd in earthly mould,
But disembodied I her form behold;
Yet my glad soul confest her angel face,
And would have sprung to meet her lov'd embrace,
But so much grandeur in her beauteous mien,
Mingled with mild and pensive grace, was seen;
So soft, so tender, yet so dignified,
Appear'd her spirit, now 'twas glorified,
That overaw'd, enraptur'd, and amaz'd,
Prostrate I fell, and on her shadow gaz'd;
But how describe the sweet, the tender look
On me she cast, as thus she mildly spoke?
"Ah! my lov'd child, why still with anguish weep?
"Why each returning night thy lone couch steep
"With bitter tears? why in thy bosom bear
"A cherish'd sorrow, bord'ring on despair?
"Hast thou forgot the precepts that I taught,
"With resignation and submission fraught?
"Hast thou forgot in God's decrees to trust,
"To own his wisdom perfect, good, and just?
"Say, dost thou mourn because releas'd from woe,
"The purest happiness 'tis mine to know?
"Here in these peaceful realms at large I rove,
"Where dwells celestial harmony and love;
"Where Cherubim, all cloth'd with wings of fire,
"To the Eternal tune the silver lyre!
"Hark! the blest choir in full assembly sing
"Praise and thanksgiving to the heav'nly King;
"With voice melodious, some the concert join,
"While with the holiest love their faces shine:
"Here, thro' the Heav'n of Heav'ns with them I fly,
"With them my Maker's presence dare enjoy;
"Chasten'd, and tried by his Almighty hand,
"While doom'd to mingle with the mortal band;
"Confiding still in his mysterious pow'r,
"On him depending in affliction's hour;
"He bade me lean on bright triumphant Faith,
"And Hope, that soars beyond the gates of Death:
"By these refin'd, I kiss'd the chast'ning rod,
"And bow'd obedient to the will of God.
"At length, in mercy, he my soul unbound,
"And with celestial joy for ever crown'd;
"Here, to eternity's unbounded space,
"His wond'rous attributes 'tis mine to trace,
"In these ambrosial amaranthine bow'rs,
"Where He his glory in full splendor pours;
"Where angels, and archangels round him wait,
"With admiration, love, and awe replete;
"Where He, who burst asunder Hell's black chains,
"The Son of God with his great Father reigns;
"Where flow pure crystal, and exhaustless streams,
"And where resplendent light for ever beams;
"Here the free spirit roves in bliss sublime,
"Unfading bliss, known only in this clime;
"And wouldst thou then my happy soul unchain,
"Recall it back to misery and pain?
"Wait a few transient years, thy trial o'er,
"To God submit, and all his ways adore;
"His love, his mercy, wisdom, ne'er distrust,
"Confess him infinite, and good, and just;
"Think not, thou wanderest on Earth alone,
"He deigns to watch thee from his heav'nly throne;
"In him, with ardent glowing faith confide,
"Let golden Hope within thy breast reside;
"To virtue's steep ascent with ardor tread,
"Nor heed the clouds that gather round thy head;
"But onward, with unceasing vigor, climb,
"Nor heed how rough the road, how bleak the clime;
"Religion will thy fainting footsteps cheer,
"Dispel each cloud, illumine all thy sphere;
"Lead thee in triumph to the wish'd for goal,
"Give a luxuriant harvest to thy soul;
"Keep these ambrosial bow'rs within thy view,
"And comfort in thy drooping breast renew;
"She'll lead thee upward to these blest abodes,
"The seat of saints, of angels, and of Gods.
"Ah! then, my child, from sorrow's sleep awake,
"Its chilling torpor from thy senses shake
"Thy impious grief I charge thee to resign,
"Nor longer murmur at the will divine;
"Calamities are friends sent from above,
"The heart to soften, and the virtue prove;
"They wean from Earth, which, like a broken reed,
"Lends no support, bids all who trust it bleed;
"On its sharp point delusive Hope expires,
"And fleeting happiness, alas! retires;
"They strengthen, purify, exalt the mind,
"And give ideal sorrows to the wind.
"How with a mind enervated, opprest,
"Canst thou perform thy Maker's high behest?
"Like the ungrateful servant wilt thou hide
"The talent, which his goodness has supplied?
"To make thee useful while condemn'd to Earth,
"To try thy diligence, and prove thy worth;
"Thy mother speaks! wilt thou refuse to hear,
"Nor seek to join her in this happy sphere?
"Oh! if you love my memory, cease to grieve,
"And peace, and comfort, from my lips receive;
"No longer o'er my mould'ring relics weep,
"Nor from tir'd nature banish balmy sleep;
"But let thy soul its energy regain,
"Nor sink beneath a sorrow, weak as vain;
"Again Religion's holy voice attend,
"Again invoke her for thy bosom's friend;
"Perform with care the task by heav'n decreed,
"Nor from the duties of thy life recede;
"Soon, very soon thy labors will be done,
"And soon thy sublunary race be run;
"Then, if thou well deserve, a blest reward
"In these pure realms for thee shall be prepar'd;
"Then shall Death's angel ope these portals wide,
"And thy free spirit to these mansions guide;
"Where everlasting spring soft incense breathes,
"Where angels, deck'd with never fading wreaths,
"Fly thro' the fair empyrean's blissful seats,
"In full possession of exhaustless sweets."
Then, with all air of tender love she smil'd,
And cried, "Farewell! remember me, my child,"
With looks more soft than language can express,
Rais'd her dear shad'wy hands my form to bless!
Then her light wings of down methought she spread,
And like a dove thro' liquid ether sped!
Now like the bard, who sweetly tun'd his lay,
When death insatiate snatch'd his friends away;
Who first deplor'd with heart-felt tears his fate,
Then, in his christian triumph, nobly great,
Above pale grief, on wing of rapture soar'd,
Trembled at God, and all his ways ador'd;
Like that good man who liv'd belov'd, admir'd,
I bow resign'd, but not like him inspir'd;
Ah! not like him can I with ardor strong,
Describe the glories, which to God belong;
Ah! not like him array immortal truth
In the bright tints of fair enchanting youth.
Hail, pious Young! great poet of thy God,
From whose rich mind luxuriant treasures flow'd;
'Twas thine by night the starry spheres to mount,
There deep inhale at Contemplation's fount,
Thy free soul borne on light excursive wing,
The spangled curtain pierc'd--His praise to sing,
Who touch'd thy spirit with etherial fire,
And sweet as Jesse's Son's attun'd thy lyre;
'Twas thine to show the love of God to man,
Creation's and Redemption's beauteous plan;
'Twas thine th' existence of the soul to show,
Emancipated from its chains below;
In golden numbers,--in pure eloquence,
To sing thy Maker's dread magnificence;
Now gone to join that blest seraphic host,
To dwell with angels on that blissful coast;
For which his glad soul panted,--there to praise
In more exalted notes, more hallow'd lays;
That awful Being, that Eternal name,
That all enrapturing, all inspiring theme:
Ah! when like him shall I my breath resign,
When taste of mercy at the fount divine?
When will my weary pilgrimage be o'er,
My voyage finish'd on this rocky shore?
Presumptuous cease thy bold inquiries, stay,
Wait the good time of God's appointed day!
Thy time is in his hand, he rules thy fate,
Limits with wisdom thy terrestrial state.
What tho' he has tried, and giv'n thee much to bear;
Still he regards thee with peculiar care;
What tho' thy friends belov'd are from thee torn,
He leaves thee not, all comfortless alone;
No, in thy cup one cordial drop's infus'd;
Around thy path one gladsome beam diffus'd;
That overwhelms, and fills my grateful heart,
But mocks my untaught muse, thy simple art;
'Tis that one Being, of exalted birth,
But more distinguish'd by intrinsic worth;
Form'd in Compassion's sweetest, finest mould,
Deigns with a tender int'rest to behold
My cares, and sorrows, deigns to sympathize
With soothing voice, and mild expressive eyes;
Who, from her elevation can descend,
A lonely, friendless wand'rer to befriend:
Her's the best gift of God! far, far more great
Than all the mockery of pomp and state;
Her's that sweet charity so well defin'd
By Paul, th' Apostle, not to gifts confin'd;
That lib'ral feeling, that expands the heart,
And gives the tear for others woes to start.
Oh God! Almighty God! if e'er my pray'r
Acceptance found at thy attentive ear;
Oh! grant this fervent, this sincere request,
And be my gen'rous friend for ever blest!
On her, and all her race thy blessings show'r,
Protect them always with thy saving pow'r;
Till the kind mandate, by thy wisdom giv'n,
Waft them without a groan from Earth to Heav'n.
And Thou, to whom all hearts reveal'd appear,
Thou know'st my gratitude to be sincere;
No adulations fawning, servile strain
Shall e'er my verse with flatt'ry's incense stain;
Never shall fortune, rank, inspire my lays,
'Tis goodness, virtue, charity, I praise:
But, ah! in vain while sojourning below,
My grateful heart its boundless thanks would show;
In better worlds, better may be exprest
The warm emotions that o'erwhelm my breast.
Till that blest period comes that breaks the chain,
And frees th' imprison'd soul from sin and pain,
May I my great, ador'd Creator serve,
In truth and spirit all his laws observe;
By bright Religion's animating eye,
Soar above malice, and my wrongs defy;
How weak is human pow'r when God inspires
The zealous heart with pure celestial fires!
When Faith, and Hope, and Charity, unite,
How empty persecution's utmost spite!
Th' aspiring spirit unappall'd remains,
Wrapt in itself its dignity sustains,
Enjoys a sweet and undisturb'd repose,
Above the efforts of a host of foes;
Ah! what in this revolving, fleeting clime,
Can wound the soul that pants for joys sublime?
Here, fast as ocean's waves, our moments run,
And leave the bus'ness of our lives undone:
As trav'llers hast'ning o'er a desert waste,
So to eternity's dread bourne we haste.
Oh! time, thou ever rapid, rolling tide,
How swift, how unobserv'd, 'tis thine to glide!
How certain, how destructive, is thy pow'r,
Cutting down thousands each revolving hour!
Where are the moments on thy pinions borne?
Down thy own gulph for ever, ever flown;
In thy abyss entomb'd--never to rise,
Never shalt thou give up thy sacrifice:
All! all! to thy resistless scythe must yield,
And Death and thou, long lord it o'er the field,
With tyrant pow'r long manifest your sway,
Till God decrees that pow'r to melt away.
Yes, ruthless delegates! your pow'r is giv'n,
And shall be snatch'd away by all wise-heav'n;
He nods, he wills, your destin'd bound is o'er,
Time shall expire, and Death shall be no more!
Glorious Eternity shall change the scene,
And all appear, as nought had ever been!
The period shall arrive when this firm world
Back to its native chaos shall be hurl'd;
Mountains, Volcanoes, now that proudly rear
The hoary head shall instant disappear;
Planets that round the sun duly revolve,
Drop from their centre, and to nought dissolve;
The golden stars, Heav'n's azure height that grace,
To shine and twinkle, all at once shall cease;
Dread Seas and Oceans now that wildly roar
With rage impetuous--then shall be no more;
The sun himself, that glorious lamp of fire,
Shall either cease, and back to nought retire,
Or, bursting from his sphere, his gorgeous rays
Enwrap the Earth in one tremendous blaze.
Ah! then, ye high-rais'd pyramids and tow'rs,
Relics of ancient days! of human pow'rs!
Where's now your grandeur, where your boasted might?
All sunk in ruin! lost in endless night!
Then shall the trumpet with a solemn sound
Convoke the quick and dead to join around;
The clouds shall part, the Son of God descend,
Angels and archangels his train attend,
All cloth'd with pow'r, with majesty divine,
Justice and Mercy on his forehead shine;
He, who for guilty man's salvation bled,
Now comes to judge the living and the dead;
He comes! the man on Calvary who died,
The God by guilty wretches crucified!
Illustrious grandeur! in his heav'nly mien,
Mingled with mildest charity, is seen
The man of sorrows; once despis'd, opprest,
Comes to strike terror in the guilty breast!
Triumphant now, all dazzling to behold,
Down he descends thro' clouds of radiant gold;
The throne of awful judgment is prepar'd
The bad to punish, and the good reward.
Oh Lamb divine! where shall the guilty fly,
To shun the terror of thy searching eye?
What can sustain the virtuous at that hour,
When aw'd by thy tremendous blaze of pow'r?
Behold where fearless, rang'd at thy right hand,
The faithful vot'ries of Religion stand,
In mild humility they stand array'd,
Nor bold presuming, nor by fear dismay'd;
She who upheld them thro' life's thorny road,
Presents them now, unblushing to their God;
All who beneath her banners refuge found,
Nor turn'd aside, tho' threat'ning tempests frown'd;
All, who look'd forward to a future state,
And patient, conquer'd all the ills of fate;
All, who unmov'd could prosp'rous vice survey,
Yet the pure dictates of fair truth obey,
Are now presented by this angel friend,
To join his glorious train, and to the skies ascend.
While coward guilt avoids his piercing sight,
And calls aloud for tenfold shades of night;
In vain to mountain, cavern, den, they run,
His bright omniscient eye they cannot shun,
And self-tormenting conscience still pursues,
And dresses ev'ry crime in darkest hues;
A monstrous and appalling, hideous train,
Press on the soul with never-ceasing pain:
Ah! wise too late, lost time they would retrieve,
Too late would on the Saviour's pow'r believe.
Now shall the book of life be open shown,
And now the secrets of all hearts be known,
And on the wond'ring mind the truth shall burst,
Why modest virtue, in black clouds immers'd,
By pompous guilt, insulted, and dismay'd,
Dar'd not to raise its persecuted head,
And trembling innocence, contemn'd, deprest,
Shall in its turn erect its tow'ring crest;
Shall look its vile accusers into shame,
And white and spotless, show its injur'd fame.
While dark Suspicion, with its own keen dart,
Of scorpion stings, shall pierce its hideous heart;
On its own breast inflict the cank'ring wound
It dealt before, malignant, all around,
And with'ring Envy, with its hissing tongue,
Whence venom'd lies, and blasting slander sprung,
And that invidious foe of virtuous men,
Its sister Jealousy, of scowling mien,
Now self-condemn'd, in vain from Conscience turn,
In vain her heavy strokes with horror spurn;
Before th' all-righteous Judge they stand expos'd,
Their specious arts and villanies disclos'd.
Almighty Father! ere that dreadful day,
May ev'ry baleful passion skulk away;
Back to their parent Sin may they retire,
And sire and offspring all at once expire;
Free from offence, and pure as man can be,
May all present themselves, great God, to thee;
May thy seraphic, fair, celestial Child,
Present them whole, whom Sin had once defil'd.
Etherial spirit! bright refulgent star!
Whose mild and placid beams extend afar;
Thou stedfast, certain, never-failing guide,
Bequest of him who for the guilty died,
Sweet intercessor! thou, and thou alone,
Canst teach lost man his vices to atone;
Thy blessed influence can alone prepare
The sons of Earth to join the Lord in air;
Thou only to the realms of light convey,
And give thy vot'ries everlasting day.
PRINTED BY A. J. VALPY, TOOK'S COURT,