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Parent of hope, immortal truth! make known
Thy deathless wreaths and triumphs, all thine own :
The silent progress of thy power is such,
Thy means so feeble, and despis’d so much,
That few believe the wonders thou hast wrought,
And none can teach them but whom thou hast taught.
Oh, see me sworn to serve thee, and command
A painter's skill into a poet's hand!
That while I, trembling, trace a work divine,
Fancy may stand aloof from the design,
And light, and shade, and every stroke, be thine.
If ever thou hast felt another's pain,
If ever when he sigh'd hast sigh'd again,
If ever on thy eye-lid stood the tear
That pity had engender'd, drop one here !
This man was happy-had the world's good word,
And with it every joy it can afford;
Friendship and love seem'd tenderly at strife,
Which most should sweeten his untroubled life ;
Politely learn'd, and of a gentle race,
Good breeding and good sense gave all a grace,
And, whether at the toilette of the fair
He laugh'd and trifled, made him welcome there ;
Or, if in masculine debate he shar'd,
Ensur'd him mute attention and regard.
Alas, how chang'd !-Expressive of his mind,
His eyes are sunk, arms folded, head reclin'd ;
Those awful syllables, hell, death, and sin,
Though whisper’d, plainly tell what works within ;
That conscience there performs her proper part,
And writes a doomsday sentence on his heart !
Forsaking, and forsaken of all friends,
He now perceives where earthly pleasure ends :
Hard task--for one who lately knew no care,
And harder still, as learnt beneath despair !
His hours no longer pass, unmark'd, away,
A dark importance saddens every day ;
He hears the notice of the clock, perplex'd,
And cries-perhaps eternity strikes next !
Sweet music is no longer music here,
And laughter sounds like madness in his ear :
His grief the world of all her power disarms ;
Wine has no taste, and beauty has no charms ;
God's holy word, once trivial in his view,
Now by the voice of his experience true,
Seems, as it is, the fountain whence alone
Must spring that hope he pants to make his own.
Now let the bright reverse be known abroad;
Say man's a worm, and power belongs to God.
As when a felon, whom his country's laws
Have justly doom'd for some atrocious cause,
Expects, in darkness and heart-chilling fears,
The shameful close of all his mis-spent years ;
If chance, on heavy pinions slowly borne,
A tempest usher in the dreaded morn,
Upon his dungeon walls the lightning play,
The thunder seems to summon him away,
The warder at the door his key applies,
Shoots back the bolt, and all his courage dies :
If then, just then, all thoughts of mercy lost,
When hope, long lingering, at last yields the ghost,
The sound of pardon pierce his startled ear,
He drops at once his fetters and his fear ;
A transport glows in all he looks and speaks,
And the first thankful tears bedew his cheeks.
Joy, far superior joy, that much outweighs
The comfort of a few poor added days,
Invades, possesses, and o’erwhelms, the soul
Of him, whom hope has with a touch made whole.
"Tis heaven, all heaven, descending on the wings
Of the glad legions of the King of kings ;
"Tis more-'ris God diffus'd through every part,
'Tis God himself triumphant in his heart !
Oh, welcome now the sun's once hated light,
His noon-day beams were never half so bright.
Not kindred minds alone are callid temploy
Their hours, their days, in listening to his joy ;
Unconscious nature, all that he surveys,
Rocks, groves, and streams, must join him in his praise.
These are thy glorious works, eternal truth,
The scoff of wither'd age and beardless youth :
These move the censure and illiberal grin
Of fools that hate thee and delight in sin :
But these shall last when night has quench'd the pole,
And heaven is all departed as a scroll :
And when, as justice has long since decreed,
This earth shall blaze, and a new world succeed,
Then these thy glorious works, and they who share
That hope which can alone exclude despair,
Oh, could I worship aught beneath the skies That earth hath seen, or fancy can devise, Thine altar, sacred liberty, should stand, Built by no mercenary, vulgar hand, With fragrant turf, and flowers as wild and fair As ever dress'd a bank, or scented summer air ! Duly, as ever on the mountain's height The peep of morning shed a dawning light, Again, when evening in her sober vest Drew the grey curtain of the fading west, My soul should yield thee willing thanks and praise For the chief blessings of my fairest days : But that were sacrilege--praise is not thine, But his who gave thee, and preserves thee mine : Else I would say, and as I spake bid fly A captive bird into the boundless sky, This triple realm adores thee-thou art come From Sparta hither, and art here at home. We feel thy force still active, at this hour Enjoy immunity from priestly power, While conscience, happier than in ancient years, Owns no superior but the God she fears. Propitious spirit ! yet expunge a wrong Thy rights have suffer'd, and our land, too long. Teach mercy
to ten thousand hearts, that share The fears and hopes of a commercial care. Prisons expect the wicked, and were built To bind the lawless, and to punish guilt ; But shipwreck, earthquake, battle, fire and flood, Are mighty mischiefs not to be withstood;
And honest merit stands on slippery ground,
Where covert guile and artifice abound.
Let just restraint, for public peace design’d,
Chain up the wolves and tigers of mankind
The foe of virtue has no claim to thee
But let insolvent innocence go free.
Patron of else the most despis’d of men,
Accept the tribute of a stranger's pen ;
Verse, like the laurel, its immortal meed,
Should be the guerdon of a noble deed ;
I may alarm thee, but I fear the shame
(Charity chosen as my theme and aim)
I must incur, forgetting Howard's name.
Blest with all wealth can give thee, to resign
Joys doubly sweet to feelings quick as thine,
To quit the bliss thy rural scenes bestow,
To seek a nobler amidst scenes of woe,
To traverse seas, range kingdoms, and bring home,
Not the proud monuments of Greece or Rome,
But knowledge, such as only dungeons teach,
And only sympathy like thine could reach ;
That grief, sequester'd from the public stage,
Might smooth her feathers, and enjoy her cages
Speaks a divine ambition, and a zeal,
The boldest patriot might be proud to feel.
Oh that the voice of clamour and debate,
That pleads for peace till it disturbs the state,
Were hush'd in favour of thy generous plea-
The poor thy clients, and Heaven's smile thy fee !