Page images
PDF
EPUB

Come, ye dependents on those brittle things ! 'The smiles of ministers, and breath of kings; Learn hence how vain your hope! how frail your truft! That kings are men, and moulder into duft: That sublunary greatness, earthly power, Is the reflected sun-beam of an hour : A glow-worm, that awhile deceives the sight, And then expires in rottenness and night. And that the man alone is truly wise, Who on the sov'reign Lord of all relies; With whom this truth is ever understood, That honor's virtue, and that great is good.

E P I GRAM M

ON SEEING WORKMEN EMPLOYED ON THE SABBATH DAY IN MAKING PREPARATIONS FOR

THE FIREWORKS TO CELEBRATE THE

PEACE IN 1749.

F

REED from the toil of war and long distress,

(Her bliss increasing, tho' her merit less) Ingrateful BRITAIN ! scarce the tempeft o’er, But of the hand that stills it thinks no more, From her once fav’rite isle RELIGION's Aed, And we again in heathen footsteps tread: Like the poor PERSIANS, we no more aspire, Sunk from our GoD to serve the god of Fire!

AN AN ESSAY ON TIME.

HO' time in haste for ever glides along,

Nor heeds my subject, nor attends my song; Incessant still beneath my searches floats, Waftes in my hands, and fades upon my thoughts ; Yet would I, muse, the wond'rous theme effay, And to the fleeting phantom lend my lay. Thro' all the revolutions, pains, and strife, That or befal, or busy human life, Whether we chase our joys, or tempt our woes, Pursue our toil, or deviate to repose, To manhood rise, or verge beyond our primog One tide transports us, and that tido 13 TIME. Discünül our uaits, i wils commence, 'Tis what admits us here, what bears us hence; Involves us in an unrelaxing course; And what's exempt from time's imperial force ? Wide as th' extent of nature's fair array, Th’unweary'd trav’ller spreads his airy way; By nought controlld, onerigid motion keeps, And matter moulders where his pinion sweeps. For him fierce lightnings cleave the sultry air, For him the total band of meteors war; For him fucceflive seasons, as they ftray, Or scatter genial life, or reap decay. And as in forests we promiscuous see The shooting scyon, and the shiver'd tree;

Or midst a filent shower, as rise and break The bubbles various on the level lake; So births and deaths, an intermingled train, For ever swell the records of his reign. Amongst the stars, or underneath the fun, Whate'er is suffer'd, or whate'er is done; Events or actions, all the vast amount But stretch his scroll, and add to his account. Yet while his stern viciffitudes advance O'er ev'ry orb, thro' all the vast expanse, While scenes fucceed to scenes, and forms to forms, And other thunders roll, and other storms, Sedate he triumphs o'er the general frame, And, changing all things, is himself the fame. Frin would the learn'd th' ideal power define, And on thu mighty measurer cast their line. With emulous ardo. on the the best wait, Contrive their circles, and their æra's state; From these compute, by those the tale devise, And vaunt to match our annals with the skies : Yet ever devious, miss the promis'd end, Tho' METO plan, and tho' CALIPPUS mend; Tho' ancient periods be reform'd by new, -And GREG’RY polish, what HIPPARCHUS drew. Schemes rais'd on schemes, see endless error start, And reg’lar nature mocks the boast of art; In what regard the works of mortals stand To this great fabric of the Almighty's hand, Is his to view; and sure to him alone His world, and all its relatives, are known;

And

And acts and things distant before him lie,
And time itself retires not from his

eye.
But whence, oh muse, celestial voice! rehearse,
That speak'st the theme, and aid'st the sacred verse,
Whence this progressive now, untaught to stay,
This glimmering shadow of eternal day?
When first th' Almighty from the womb of night,
Bade infant-nature hear, and spring to light,
Her place he sever'd from the boundless waste,
And, from eternity, her time to last;
'Twas then it issu'd on the new-form'd stage,
With her coeval, and itself her age;
Ordain'd o’er ether, air, and earth, to range,
The scope of every life, and every change.
Its progress note; th' illustrious globes above,
Shine in its shade, and in its shadow move;
With stated pace around their orbits play,
And waste th' impatient moments on their way;
While to a new eternity consign'd,
They haste from that before, to that behind.
So where some streight its every channel draws,
From main to main th' impetuous waters pass;
Yet rush but to return from whence they came,
The mighty ocean's diff'rent, and the same.
See time launch’d forth in solemn pomp proceed,
And man on man advance, and deed on deed !
No pause, no reft, in all the world appears,
Ev'n live-long patriarchs waste their thousand years.
If Babel's tower no more with heaven contends,
In spiry heights a Nineveh ascends ;

See

L 3

See in their fires each future nation stray,
And or desert, or meet the morning ray !
Or visit Lybia's sands, or Scythia's snows,
And brethren scatter that must soon be foes;
See other kings hold other crouds in chains !
And Nimrod but the first of monarch reigns.
These suns behold a Cyrus lord of all;
These view young Ammon triumph o'er the ball :
Now haughty Rome in martial rigor frowns,
And bears down powerful states, and treads on crowns;
Bids mighty cities in a flame expire,
Nor dreams of Vandal rage, and Gothic fire.
Mankind and theirs possess one common thrall;
And, like the gods that sway them, empires fall.
Some periods void of science, and of fame,
Scarce e'er exist, or leave behind a name;
Mere sluggish rounds to let succession climb;
Obscure and idle expletives of time.
Lo, earth smiles wide, and radiant heaven looks down,
All fair, all gay, and urgent to be known!
Attend, and here are sown delights immense,
For ev'ry intellect and ev'ry sense.
With adoration think, with rapture gaze,
And hear all nature chaunt her Maker's praise.
With reason stor’d, by love of knowlege fir’d,
By dread awaken'd, and by hope inspir’d,
Can we, the product of another's hand,
Nor whence, nor how, nor why we are, demand?
And, not at all, or not aright, employ'd,
Behold a length of years, and all a void ?

Happy,

« PreviousContinue »