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O Man! and on thine own undoing bent, Wherewith canst thou be blest, if not with these con
16. Mild pupils in submission's perfect school, Two thousand souls were gather'd here, and here Beneath the Jesuit's all-embracing rule They dwelt, obeying him with love sincere, That never knew distrust, nor felt a fear, Nor anxious thought which wears the heart away. Sacred to them their laws, their Ruler dear;
Humbler or happier none could be than they Who knew it for their good in all things to obey.
And to the Prophets and the Patriarchs old
18. There on the altar was his image set, The lamp before it burning night and day, And there was incensed, when his votaries met Before the sacred shrine, their beads to say, And for his fancied intercession pray, Devoutly as in faith they bent the knee. Such adoration they were taught to pay ;
Good man, how little had he ween'd that he Should thus obtain a place in Rome's idolatry !
19. But chiefly there the Mother of our Lord, His blessed daughter, by the multitude Was for their special patroness adored. Amid the square on high her image stood, Clasping the Babe in her beatitude, The Babe Divine on whom she fix'd her sight; And in their hearts, albe the work was rude,
It rais’d the thought of all-commanding might, Combin'd with boundless love and
20. To this great family the Jesuit brought His new-found children now ; for young and old He deem'd alike his children while he wrought For their salvation, ... seeking to unfold The saving mysteries in the creed enroll'd, To their slow minds, that could but ill conceive The import of the mighty truths he told.
But errors they have none to which they cleave, And whatsoe'er he tells they willingly believe.
21. Safe from that pride of ignorance were they That with small knowledge thinks itself full wise. How at believing aught should these delay, When every where new objects met their eyes To fill the soul with wonder and surprise ? Not of itself, but by temptation bred, In man doth impious unbelief arise ;
It is our instinct to believe and dread, God bids us love, and then our faith is perfected.
22. Quick to believe, and slow to comprehend, Like children, unto all the teacher taught Submissively an easy ear they lend: And to the font at once he might have brought These converts, if the Father had not thought Theirs was a case for wise and safe delay, Lest lightly learnt might lightly be forgot;
And meanwhile due instruction day by day Would to their opening minds the sense of truth convey.
But in their dreams, a mixed disorder'd train, The busy scenes of day disturb’d their hearts again.
24. Even when the spirit to that secret wood Return’d, slow Mondai's silent stream beside, No longer there it found the solitude Which late it left: strange faces were descried, Voices, and sounds of music far and wide, And buildings seem'd to tower amid the trees, And forms of men and beasts on every side,
As ever wakeful fancy hears and sees, All things that it had heard, and seen, and more than these.
25. For in their sleep strange forms deform’d they saw Of frightful fiends, their ghostly enemies, And souls who must abide the rigorous law Weltering in fire, and there with dolorous cries Blaspheming roll around their hopeless eyes ; And those who doom'd a shorter term to bear In penal flames, look upward to the skies,
Seeking and finding consolation there, And feel, like dew from heaven, the precious aid of prayer.
26. And Angels who around their glorious Queen In adoration bent their heads abased ; And infant faces in their dreams were seen Hovering on cherub-wings; and Spirits placed To be their guards invisible, who chased With fiery arms their fiendish foes
away : Such visions overheated fancy traced,
Peopling the night with a confused array That made its hours of rest more restless than the day.
27. To all who from an old erratic course Of life, within the Jesuit's fold were led, The change was perilous. They felt the force Of habit, when till then in forests bred, A thick perpetual umbrage overhead, They came to dwell in open light and air. This ill the Fathers long had learnt to dread,
And still devised such means as might prepare The new-reclaim’d unhurt this total change to bear.
28. All thoughts and occupations to commute, To change their air, their water, and their food, And those old habits suddenly uproot Conform’d to which the vital powers pursued Their functions, such mutation is too rude For man's fine frame unshaken to sustain. And these poor children of the solitude
Began ere long to pay the bitter pain That their new way of life brought with it in its train.
29. On Monnema the apprehended ill Came first; the matron sunk beneath the weight Of a strong malady, whose force no skill In healing might avert, or mitigate. Yet happy in her children's safe estate Her thankfulness for them she still exprest; And yielding then complacently to fate,
With Christian rites her passing hour was blest, And with a Christian's hope she was consign'd to rest.