Page images


as we read, what new unknown controul, 125 "What sacred energy assails the soul ! We seem to feel an impulse that's divine, 'Tis God himself that breathes from


line: Curb’d or subdu'd our madding passions stand, And own the force of an Almighty hand. 130 Ambition burning with a fev'rish rage, Learns hence, its dang'rous turbulence t'assuage. And roving lust, with fires unholy fraught, Is check'd, or ere it wantons into thought. It melts the heart, which unrelenting Pride, 135 Or ruthless Avarice had petrified. Revenge, that pants for mischief or for blood, That breathes out threat'nings in his ireful mood, And wildly scorning Reason's soft controul, Blazes, a conflagration of the soul;

140 Or broods delib'rate o'er its purpose fell, And in its breast keeps down the smother'd hell,

with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” Ephes iv. 31, 32.

That there in secret agony-it bear's,
Implacable, by penitence or tears :
Lo! in obedience to the potent word, 145
Resigns each cruel thought, and drops the thirsty

Unmanly Fear, with abject thoughts deprest,
To Courage brightens his aspiring crest.
The Christian should disdain improper fear,
For cowardice is a destructive snare.

150 'Tis better in a worthy cause to die, Than live in wickedness and infamy. And why should he of dying be afraid, Who knows his peace with his Creator made? 'Tis like an exile backward to go home, 153 A captive fearing his release should come ; 'Tis like a seaman troubled in a storm, Loth that his ship the voyage should perform. And Fortitude, the truest Fortitude, With more than Stoic steadiness endu'd, 100 Firm, patient, calm, determin'd, and resign'd, Spreads her impervious shield around the mind.

In pain and danger hence undaunted be,
And tread upon the Roman constancy:
And be than all their vaunted heroes more 165
Above their history, their fable soar.
Tho' some, but few, to deathless praise aspir'd,
With ardent love of sacred Virtue fir'd:
(For still from early prejudice inclin'd,
We praise too much the scourges of mankind) 170
As firm Fabricius, temperate and wise,
Whose elevated mind could wealth despise ;
With the dictator of illustrious fame;
And Cicero, a great immortal name.
And I will grant, insensible to fear,

By freedom fir'd, the people's mad career,
And an usurping traitor's lust of pow'r,
Conspicuous and unshaken, like a tow'r;
Cato, awhile with noble zeal withstood,
Collected in himself, and obstinately good. j&o
But like a coward at the last he died,
A voluntary sacrifice to pride:

By one rash act his mighty name profan'd,
And wither'd every laurel he had gain’d.
O had these doctrines touch'a, inspir’d his mind,
The tyrant's rage he would have met resign'd;
Like Teneriffe unmov'd, he would have stood,
And brav'd the storm, and the descending flood ;
And tho' Fate all her gloomy terrors hurl’d,
Have liv'd, and smild at grief, at Cæsar, and the
world !


But let us, with the temper that is meet,
With humble awe affectionate, replete,
The more this joyful Gospel to display,
Its heav'n-sprung Author's holy life survey.
He, when the great progenitors of man, 195
Had fall’n from bliss thro' their delusions vain,
By which their whole unhappy future race,
Would have been banish'd from their Maker's grace,
Altho' the first in his great Father's love,
And all the arch-angelic pow'rs above,

[ocr errors]


Yet freely chose to die for their offence,
Thro' the excess of his benevolence.
Superior Spirits in amazement mov'd,
The dear intent with highest praise approv'd.
Which by blest voices was harmonious sung, 2053
And Heav'n with loudest hallelujahs rung.
His life as an example was applied.
A willing Sacrifice for sin he died.
Forbear then, Sceptic, insolent as vain,
For this, eternal justice to arraign;
For what spontaneously he chose to do,
It could not be injustice to allow.
Nor weakly think, if thy obdurate soul
No gen'rous love can soften or controul,
That some great spirits, for the public good, 215
Will not with chearfulness resign their blood;
Whose souls sublime, e'en when with pain opprest,
Feel bliss, if conscious 'twill make others blest. 220


But how this life mysterious shall we scan?
How trace the won'drous steps of God and man?

« PreviousContinue »