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Content though mean, and cheerful if not gay, Shuffling her threads about the livelong day,
Lies down secure, her heart and pocket light;
She, for her humble sphere by nature fit,
Has little understanding, and no wit,
Receives no praise; but, though her lot be such,
(Toilsome and indigent) she renders much ;
Just knows, and knows no more, her Bible true,
A truth the brilliant Frenchman never knew ;
And in that charter reads with sparkling eyes
Her title to a treasure in the skies.
O happy peasant! O unhappy bard!
His the mere tinsel, her's the rich reward ;
He praised perhaps for ages yet to come,
She never heard of half a mile from home:
He lost in errors his vain heart prefers,
She safe in the simplicity of hers.
I slur a name a poet may not speak)
Stood pilloried on Infamy's high stage,
And bore the pelting scorn of half an age;
For every dart that Malice ever shot.
The man that mentioned him at once dismissed
All mercy from his lips, and sneered and hissed ;
His crimes were such as Sodom never knew,
And Perjury stood up to swear all true ;
His aim was mischief, and his zeal pretence,
This speech rebellion against common sense,
I knave, when tried on honesty's plain rule,
And when by that of reason, a mere fool;
The world's best comfort was, his doom was pas ed ;
Die when he might, he must be damned at last.
Now, Truth, perform thine office; waft asid
The curtain drawn by Prejudice and Pride,
This more than monster, in his proper guise.
He loved the world that hated him : the tear
That dropped upon his Bible was sincere ;
Assailed by scandal and the tongue of strife,
His only answer was a blameless life ;
And he that forged, and he that threw the dart,
Had each a brother's interest in his heart.
Were copied close in him, and well transcribed.
He followed Paul; his zeal a kindred flame,
His apostolic charity the same.
Like him, crossed cheerfully tempestuous seas,
Forsaking country, kindred, friends, and ease :
Like bim he laboured, and like him content
To bear it, suffered shame where'er he went.
Blush, Calumny! and write upon his tomb,
If honest Eulogy can spare thee room,
Which aimed at him, has pierced the offended skı ; And say, Blot out my sin, confessed, deplored, Against thine image in thy saint, O Lord !
And all are slaves beside. There's not a chain
That hellish foes confederate for his harm
Can wind around him, but he casts it off
With as much ease as Samson his green withes.
He looks abroad into the varied field
Of nature ; and though poor, perhaps, compared
With those whose mansions glitter in his sight,
Calls the delightful scenery all his own.
His are the mountains, and the valley his,
And the resplendent rivers. His to enjoy
With a propriety that none can feel,
But who, with filial confidence inspired,
Can lift to heaven an unpresumptuous eye,
And smiling say— My father made them all!'
Are they not his by a peculiar right,
And by an emphasis of interest his,
Whose eyes they fill with tears of holy joy,
Whose heart with praise, and whose exalted mind
With worthy thoughts of that unwearied love
That planned, and built, and still upholds, a world
So clothed with beauty, for rebellious man?
Yes, ye may fill your garners, ye that reap
The loaded soil, and ye may waste much good
In senseless riot; but ye will not find
In feast, or in the chace, in song or dance,
A liberty like his, who, unimpeached
Of usurpation, and to ne man's wrong,
Appropriates nature as his Father's work,
And has a richer use of yours than you.
He is indeed a freeman. Free by birth
Of no mean city, planned or e'er the hills
Were built, the fountains opened, or the sea
With all his roaring multitude of waves.
His freedom is the same in every state ;
And no condition of this changeful life,
So manifold in cares, whose every day
Bring its own evil with it, makes it less :
For he has wings that neither sickness, pain,
Nor penury can cripple or confine;
No nook so narrow but he spreads them there
With ease, and is at large. The oppressor holds
His body bound ; but knows not what a range
His spirit takes, unconscious of a chain ;
And that to bind him is a vain attempt,
Whom God delights in, and in whom he dwells.
Acquaint thyself with God, if thou wouldst taste
His works. Admitted once to his embrace,
Thou shalt perceive that thou wast blind before :
Thine eye shall be instructed ; and thine heart
Made pure, shall relish with divine delight,
Till then unfelt, what hands divine have wrought.
Brutes graze the mountain top with faces prone
And eyes intent upon the scanty herb
It yields them; or, recumbent on its brow,
Ruminate, heedless of the scene outspread
Beneath, beyond, and stretching far away,
From inland regions to the distant main.
Man views it and admires, but rests content
With what he views. The landscape has his praise
But not its Author. Unconcerned who formed
The paradise he sees, he finds it such;
And, such well-pleased to find it, asks no more.
Not so the mind that has been touched from heaven,
And in the school of sacred wisdom taught
To read his wonders, in whose thought the world,
Fair as it is, existed ere it was.
Not for its own sake merely, but for his
Much more who fashioned it, he gives it praise ;
Praise that from earth resulting, as it ought,
To earth's acknowledged Sovereign, finds at once
Its only just proprietor in Him. :
The soul that sees him, or receives sublimed
New faculties, or learns at least to employ
More worthily the powers she owned before,
Discerns in all things what, with stupid gaze
Of ignorance, till then she overlooked,
A ray of heavenly light, gilding all forms
Terrestrial, in the vast and the minute,
The unambiguous footsteps of the God
Who gives its lustre to an insect's wing,
And wheels his throne upon the rolling worlds.
Much conversant with heaven, she often holds
With those fair ministers of light to man,
That fills the skies nightly with silent pomp,
Sweet conference! inquires what strains were they
With which heaven rang, when every star, in haste
To gratulate the new-created earth,
Sent forth a voice, and all the sons of God
Shouted for joy. Tell me, ye shining hosts,
That navigate a sea that knows no storms,
Peneath a vault unsullied with a cloud,