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Men take no pleasure but in new designs ;
And what they hope for, what they have outshines.
Our sheep and oxen seem no more to crave,
With full content feeding on what they have;
Vex not themselves for an increase of store,
But think to-morrow we shall give them more.
What we from day to day receive from Heav'n,
They do from us expect it should be giv'n.
We made them not, yet they on us rely,
More than vain men upon the Deity;
More beasts than they! that will not understand
That we are fed from his immediate hand.
Man, that in him has being, moves, and lives,
What can he have or use but what he gives?
So that no bread can nourishment afford,
Or useful be, without his Sacred Word.
CANTO II. Earth praises conquerors for shedding blood, Heav'n those that love their foes, and do them good. It is terrestrial honour to be crown'd For strowing men, like rushes, on the ground. True glory 'tis to rise above them all, Without the advantage taken by their fall. He that in fight diminishes mankind, Does no addition to his stature find; But he that does a noble nature show, Obliging others, still does higher grow: For virtue practis'd such a habit gives, That among men he like an angel lives : Humbly he doth, and without envy, dwell, Lov'd and admir'd by those he does excel.
Fools anger show, which politicians hide;
Blest with this fear, men let it not abide.
The hunible man, when he receives a wrong,
Refers revenge to whom it doth belong :
Nor sees he reason why he should engage,
Or vex his spirit, for another's rage.
Plac'd on a rock, vain men he pities, tost
On raging waves, and in the tempest lost.
The rolling planets, and the glorious syn,
Still keep that order which they first begun;
They their first lesson constantly repeat,
Which their Creator as a law did set.
Above, below, exactly all obey;
But wretched men have found another way:
Knowledge of good and evil, as at first,
(That vain persuasion!) keeps them still accurst!
The Sacred Word refusing as a guide,
Slaves they become to luxury and pride.
As clocks, remaining in the skilful hand
Of some great master, at the figure stand,
But when abroad, neglected they do go,
At random strike, and the false hour do show;
So from our Maker wandering, we stray,
Like birds that know not to their nests the way.
In him we dwelt before our exile here,
And may, returning, find contentment there:
True joy may find, perfection of delight,
Behold his face, and shun eternal night.
Silence, my Muse! make not these jewels cheap
Exposing to the world too large an heap.
Of all we read the Sacred Writ is best,
Where great truths are in fewest words exprest.
Wrestling with death, these lines I did indite; No other theme could give my soul delight,
O that my youth had thus employ'd my pen!
Or that I now conld write as well as then!
But 'tis of grace if sickness, age, and pain,
Are felt as throes, when we are born again:
Timely they come to wean us from this earth,
As pangs that wait upon a second birth.
Occasioned upon sight of the fifty third chapter of Isaiah
turned into verse by Mrs. Wharton ?
Poets we prize, when in their verse we find
Some great employment of a worthy mind.
Angels have been inquisitive to know
The secret which this oracle does show.
Wbat was to come Isaiah did declare,
Which she describes as if she had been there;
Had seen the wounds, which to the reader's view
She draws so lively, that they bleed anew.
As ivy thrives which on the oak takes hold,
So with the prophet's may her lines grow old !
If they should die, who can the world forgive,
(Such pious lines !) when wanton Sappbo's live?
Who with his breath his image did inspire,
Expeets it should foment a pobler fire:
» Aue Lee, afterward Marchioness of Wharton.
Not love which brutes as well as men may know;
But love like his to whom that breath we owe.
Verse so design'd, on that high subject wrote,
Is the perfection of an ardent thought;
The smoke which we from barning incense raise,
When we complete the sacrifice of praise.
In boundless verse the fancy soars too high
For any object but the Deity.
What mortal can with Heav'n pretend to share
In the superlatives of wise and fair?
A meaner subject when with these we grace,
A giant's habit on a dwarf we place.
Sacred should be the product of our Muse,
Like that sweet oil, above all private use,
On pain of death forbidden to be made,
But when it should be on the altar laid.
Verse shows a rich inestimable vein,
When dropp'd from Heaven 'tis thither sent again,
Of bounty 'tis that he admits our praise,
Which does not him, but us that yield it, raise:
For as that angel up to Heav'n did rise,
Borne on the tame of Manoah's sacrifice;
So, wing'd with praise, we penetrate the sky,
Teach clouds and stars to praise him as we fly;
The whole creation, (by our fall made groan!)
His praise to echo, and suspend their moan.
For that He reigns all creatures should rejoice,
And we with songs supply their want of voice.
The church triumphant, and the church below,
In songs of praise their present union show:
Their joys are full; our expectation long;
In life we differ, but we join in song.
Angels and we, assisted by this art,
May.sing together, though we dwell apart.
Thus we reach Heav'n, while vainer poems must No higher rise than winds may lift the dust: From that they spring; this from his breath that
gave, To the first dust, the' immortal soul we have. His praise well sung, (our great endeavour here) Shakes off the dust, and makes that breath appear.
He that did first this way of writing grace',
Convers’d with the Almighty face to face:
Wonders he did in sacred verse unfold,
When he had more than eighty winters told.
The writer feels no dire effect of age,
Nor verse, that flows from so divine a rage.
Eldest of poets, he beheld the light,
When first it triumphd o'er eternal night:
Chaos he saw, and could distinctly tell
How that confusion into order fell.
As if consulted with, he has exprest
The work of the Creator, and his rest;
How the flood drown'd the first offending race,
Which might the figure of our globe deface.
For new-made earth, so even and so fair,
Less equal now, uncertain makes the air ;
Surpris'd with heat and unexpected cold,
Early distempers make our youth look old:
Our days so evil, and so few, may tell
That on the ruins of that world we dwell.