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A HYMN TO CONTENTMENT.
BY DR. THOMAS PARNELL.
LOVELY, lasting peace of mind!
Sweet delight of human kind!
Heavenly born, and bred on high,
To crown the favorites of the sky
With more of happiness below,
Than victors in a triumph know!
Whither, O whither art thou fled,
To lay thy meek, contented head?
What happy region dost thou please
To make the seat of calms and ease ?
Ambition searches all its sphere
Of pomp and state, to meet thee there.
Increasing avarice would find
Thy presence in its gold inshrined.
The bold adventurer plows his way,
Through rocks amidst the foaming sea,
To gain thy love; and then perceives
Thou wert not in the rocks and waves.
The silent heart which grief assails,
Treads soft and lonesome o'er the vales,
Sees daisies open, rivers run,
And seeks (as I have vainly done)
Amusing thought; but learns to know
That solitude's the nurse of woe.
No real happiness is found
In trailing purple o'er the ground :
Or in a soul exalted high,
To range the circuit of the sky,
Converse with stars above, and know
All nature in its form below;
The rest it seeks, in seeking dies,
And doubts at last for knowledge rise.
Lovely, lasting peace, appear;
'This world itself, if thou art here,
Is once again with Eden bless'd,
And man contains it in his breast.
'Twas thus, as under shade I stood, I sung iny wishes to the wood, And, lost in thought, no more perceived The branches whisper as they waved; It seem'd as all the quiet place Confess'd the presence of the Grace; When thus she spoke-Go, rule thy will, Bid thy wild passions all be still, Know God-and bring thy heart to know The joys which from religion flow: Then every grace shall prove its guest, And I'll be there to crown the rest.
Oh! by yonder mossy seat,
In my hours of sweet retreat,
Might I thus my soul employ,
With sense of gratitude and joy ;
Raised as ancient prophets were,
In heavenly vision, praise, and prayer,
Pleasing all men, hurting none,
Pleased and bless'd with God alone;
Then while the gardens take my sight,
With all the colors of delight;
While silver waters glide along,
To please my ear and court my song,
I'll lift my voice, and tune my string,
And thee, Great Source of Nature, sing.
The sun that walks his airy way,
To light the world and give the day;
The moon that shines with borrow'd light;
The stars that gild the gloomy night;
The seas that roll unnumber'd waves;
The wood that spreads its shady leaves;
The field, whose ears conceal the grain,
The yellow treasure of the plain ;
All of these, and all I see,
Should be sung, and sung by me:
They speak their Maker as they can,
But want and ask the tongue of man.
Go, search among your idle dreams,
Your busy or your vain extremes;
And find a life of equal bliss,
Or own the next begun in this.
A THOUGHTFUL being, long and spare, Our race of mortals call him Care, (Were Homer living, well he knew What name the gods have call'd him too ;)
With fine mechanic genius wrought,
And loved to work, though no one bought.
This being, by a model bred
In Jove's eternal sable head,
Contrived a shape empower'd to breathe,
And be the worldling here beneath.
The man rose staring, like a stake,
Wondering to see himself awake!
Then look'd so wise, before he knew
The business he was made to do;
That, pleased to see with what a grace
He gravely show'd his forward face,
Jove talk'd of breeding him on high,
An under-something of the sky...
But ere he gave the mighty nod, Which ever binds a poet's god, (For which his curls ambrosial shake, And mother Earth's obliged to quake) He saw old mother Earth arise; She stood confess'd before his eyes; But not with what we read she wore, A castle for a crown before, Nor with long streets and longer roads Dangling behind her like commodes: As yet with wreaths alone she dress'd, And trail'd a landscape-painted vest. Then thrice she raised, as Ovid said, And thrice she bow'd her weighty head.
Her honors made, Great Jove, she cried, This thing was fashion'd from my side: His hands, his heart, his head, are mine; Then what hast thou to call him thine ?
Nay, rather ask, the monarch said,
What boots his hand, his heart, his head?
Were what I gave removed away,
Thy part's an idle shape of clay.
Halves, more than halves! cried honest Care, Your pleas would make your titles fair; You claim the body, you the soul But I who join❜d them, claim the whole.
Thus with the gods debate began,
On such a trivial cause as Man.
And can celestial tempers rage
(Quoth Virgil) in a latter age?
As thus they wrangled, Time came by;
(There's none that paint him such as I;
For what the fabling ancients sung
Makes Saturn old when Time was young;)
As yet his winters had not shed
Their silver honors on his head ;
He just had got his pinions free
From his old sire, Eternity.
A serpent girdled round he wore,
The tail within the mouth before;
By which our almanacs are clear
That learned Egypt meant the year.
A staff he carried, where on high
A glass was fix'd to measure by,
As amber boxes made a show
For heads of canes an age ago.
His vest, for day and night, was pied;
A bending sickle arm'd his side;
And spring's new month his train adorn ;
The other seasons were unborn.