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Κεφαλαιον δη παιδειας ορθη τροφη. .
Plato Αρχη πολιτειας απασης νεων τροφα.
INSCRIBED TO THE REV. WM. CAWTHORNE UNWN
It is not from his form, in which we trace
Strength join'd with beauty, dignity with grace.
That man, the master of this globe, derives
His right of empire over all that lives.
That form indeed, the associate of a mind
Vast in its powers, ethereal in its kind,
That forin, the labour of Almighty skill,
Framed for the service of a freeborn will,
Asserts precedence, and bespeaks control,
But borrows all its grandeur from the soul.
Hers is the state, the splendour, and the throne,
An intellectual kingdom all her own.
For her the Memory fills her ampie page
With truths pour'd down from every distant ago;
For her amasses an unbounded store,
The wisdom of great nations, now no more;
Though laden, not encumber'd with her spoil ;
Laborious, yet unconscious of her toil;
When copiously supplied, then most enlarged;
Still to be fed, and not to be surcharged.
For ber the l'ancy, roving unconfined,
The present inuse of every pensive mind,
Works magis: wonders, adds a brighter hue
To Nature's ncenes than Nature ever knew.
At her command winds rise, and waters ruar,
Again she lays them slumbering on the shore;
With flower and fruit the wilderness supplies,
Or bids the rocks in ruder pomp arise.
For her the Judgment, un pire in the strife,
That grace and nature have to wage through life,
Quick-sighted arbiter of good and ill,
Appointed sage preceptor to the Will,
Condemns, approves, and with a faithful voice
Guides the decision of a doubtful choice.
Why did the fiat of a God give birth
To yon fair Sun, and his attendant Earth ?
And, when descending he resigns the skies,
Why takes the gentler Moon her turn to rise,
Whom Ocean feels through all his countless wayol,
And owns her power on every shore he laves ?
Why do the seasons still enrich the year,
Fruitful and young as in their first career ?
Spring hangs ber infant blossoms on the trees,
Rock'd in the cradle of the western breeze:
Summer in haste the thriving charge receives
Beneath the shade of her expanded leaves,
Till autumn's fiercer heats and plenteous dews
Dye them at last in all their glowing hues.-
"Twere wild profusion all, and bootless waste,
Power misemploy'd, munificence misplaced,
Had not its Author dignified the plan,
And crown'd it with the majesty of man.
Thus formid, thus placed, intelligent, and taught,
Look where he will, the wonders God has wrough
The wildest scorner of his Maker's laws
Finds in a sober moment time to pause,
To press th' important question on his heart,
• Why form'd at all, and wherefore as thou art ?'
If man be what he seems, this hour a slave,
The next mere dust and ashes in the grave,
Endued with reason only to descry
His crimes and follies with an aching eye ;
With passions, just that he may prove with pain,
The force he spends against their fury vain;
And if, soon after having burnt, by turns,
With every lust with which frail nature burns,
His being end, where death dissolves the bond,
The tomb take all, and all be blank beyond ;
Then he, of all that nature has brought forth,
Stands self-impeach'd the creature of least worth
And useless while he lives, and when he dies,
Brings into doubt the wisdom of the skies.
Truths that the learn'd pursue with eager thought,
Are not important always as dear-bought,
Proving at last, though told in pompous strains,
A childish waste of philosopbic pains ;
But truths on which depend our main concern,
That 'tis our shame and misery not to learn
Shine by the side of every path we tread
With such a lustre, he that runs may read.
'Tis true that, if to trifle life away
Down to the sunset of their latest day,
Then perish on futurity's wide shore
Like fleeting exhalations, found no more,
Were all that heaven required of humankind,
And all the plan that destiny design'd,
What none could reverence all might justly blame,
and man would breathe but for his Maker's shame.
But reason heard, and nature well perused,
At once the dreaming mind is disabused,
If all we find possessing earth, sea, air,
Reflect His attributes, who placed them there,
Fulfil the purpose, and appear design'd
Proofs of the wisdom of the all-seeing mind,
'Tis plain the creature, whom he cbuse to invest
With kingship and dominion o'er the rest,
Received his nobler nature, and was made
Fit for the power, in which he stands array'd;
That first, or last, hereafter, if not here,
He too might make his Author's wisdom clear,
Praise him on earth, or obstinately dumb,
Suffer his justice in a world by come.
This once believed, 'twere logic misapplied,
To prove a consequence by none denied,
That we are bound to cast the minds of youth
Betimes into the mould of heavenly truth,
That taught of God they may indeed be wise,
Nor ignorantly wandering miss the skies.
In early days the conscience has in mort A quickness, which in later life is lost: Preserved from guilt by salutary fears, Or guilty, soon relenting into tears. Too care less often, as our years proceed, What friends we sort with, or what books we read, Our parents yet exert a prudent care, To feed our infant minds with proper fare ; And wisely store the nursery by degrees With wholesome learning, yet acquired with ease. Neatly secured from being soil'd or torn Beneath a pane of thin translucent horn, A book (to please us at a tender age *Tis call'd a book, though but a single page) Presents the prayer the Saviour deign'd to teach, Which children use, and parsons—when they preach. Lisping our syllables, we scramble next Through moral narrative, or sacred text; And learn with wonder how this world began, Who made, who marr'd, and who has ransom'd man: Points, which, unless the Scripture made them plain, The wisest heads might agitate in vain. O thou, whom, borne on fancy's eager wing Back to the season of life's happy spring, I pleased reinember, and, while memory yet Holds fast her ofhce here, can ne'er forget; Ingenious dreamer, in whose well-told tale Sweet fiction and sweet truth alike prevail ; Whose humorous vein, strong sense, and simple style May teach the gayest, make the gravest smile; Witty, and well employ'd, and, like thy Lord, Speaking in parables his slighted word; I name thee not, lest so despised a name Should move a sneer at thy deserved fame; Yet e'en in transitory life's late day, That mingles all my brown with sober gray, Revere the man, whose pilgrim marks the road, And guides the progress of the soul to God. 'Twere well with most, if books, that could engago Their childhood, pleased them at a riper age; The man, approving what had charm’d the boy Would die at last in comfort, peare, and joy;
And not with curses on his beart, who stole
The gem of truth from his unguarded soul.
The stamp of artless piety impressid
By kind tuition on his yielding breast,
The youth now bearded, and yet pert and raw,
Regards with scorn, though once received with awi
And warp'd into the labyrinth of lies,
That babblers, call'd philosophers, devise,
Blasphemes his creed, as founded on a plan
Replete with dreams, unworthy of a man.
Touch but his nature in its ailing part,
Assert the native evil of his heart,
His pride resents the charge, although the proof
Rise in his forehead, and seem rank enough:
Point to the cure, describe a Saviour's cross
As God's expedient to retrieve his loss,
The young apostate sickens at the view,
And hates it with the malice of a Jew.
How weak the barrier of mere nature proves,
Opposed against the pleasures nature loves !
While self-betray'd, and wilfully undone,
She longs to yield, no sooner woo'd than won.
Try now the merits of this bless'd exchange
Of modest truth for wit's eccentric range.
Time was, he closed as he began the day,
With decent duty, not ashamed to pray:
The practice was a bond upon his heart,
A pledge he gave for a consistent part;
Nor could he dare presumptuously displease
A Power, confess'd so lately on his knees.
But now farewell all legendary tales,
The shadows fly, philosophy prevails;
Prayer to the winds, and caution to the waves;
Religion makes the free by nature slaves.
Priests hare invented, and the world admired
What knavish priests promulgate as inspired !
Till reason, now no longer overawed,
Resumes her powers, and spurns the clumsy fraud
And, common-sense diffusing roal day,
The meteor of the Gospel dies away.
• See 2 Chron, ch. xxvi. ver. 19.