Page images
PDF

O would his influence bless
With faith and holiness .
The laggart people of our favour'd isle!

But if too deep and wide

Have spread corruption's tide,
O might he deign on me and mine to smile!
So shall we ne'er with due devotion fail
The consecrated day of solemn rest to bail ;

So shall we still resort

To Sion's hallow'd court,
And lift the heart to him that dwells above;

Thence, home returning, muse

On sweet and solemn views, Or fill the void with acts of holy love; Then lay us down in peace to think we've given Another precious day to fit our souls for heaven!

[merged small][ocr errors]

INFORM me, Virtue, is it true;
Does Pleasure really dwell with you ?

The sons of sense say,-No.
They say that all who mind your rules
Are gloomy superstitious fools,

And every joy forego.
They say and openly maintain,
That your rewards are care and pain ;

And while of heav'n you preach,
At best 'tis but a phantom fair,
The soul is mortal, melts in air,
And heav'n shall never reach.

Or tell me, Pleasure, what you feel;
Speak honestly, nor aught conceal :

The matter is of weight.
Pleasure, sweet power, to Nature dear!
I never wish to be austere;

I seek the happiest state.

Pleasure replies, with modest smile,
Let not a name the heart beguile :

My name the sons of sense
Have oft assum'd; but, trust me, they
From happiness are far astray!

'Tis all a mere pretence.

To me they boast alliance near;
As men of pleasure, men of cheer,

If you will them believe:
Meanwhile, they are of Circe's crew,
Wretched, defiled; with painted hue,

Weak mortals to deceive.

Mine is a purer, nobler rise,
Virtue, my parent, from the skies

Came down to bless the earth,
With me, the child she bore to Love;
A beauteous happy pair above

And here of highest worth !

Virtue, I grant, is often tried
By sickness, sorrow, envy, pride;

Nor is asham'd to mourn.
But trial strengthens: conscience cheers,
Of death and woe, prevents the fears :

Assaults to vict'ry turn.

Of active life the hard turmoils,
The patriot's cares, the hero's toils,

In brighter triumphs end.
Of friendship, sympathy, the pains
A generous soul accounts her gains,

While all the good commend.

But who can paint the heart-felt glow
Of holy love, of thought the flow

Reciprocal, sincere ?
Faith's firm repose, hope's vision bright,
Of God's approving face the light,

Of prayer the rapt'rous tear ?

Nor deem sich bliss an empty form; 'Tis solid, 'twill defy the storm

And keep the breast serene; When all the merriment of vice, A low-born vapour, sudden flies,

And leaves a void within!

A naked void where nought can come,
But self-reproach and secret gloom,

Earnest of future woe!
Let braggart sinners loudly boast:
To joy, to peace, to comfort lost,

True hearts they do not know.

They dare not face rich Folly's frown;
To saucy greatness they bow down,

Held fast in Passion's chain.
They talk of liberty; 'tis prate,
The slayes of appetite and fate,

They start at every pain.

Lest death their trembling souls should seize,
Their blood with mortal horrors freeze,

And all their prospects end;
At that inevitable hour,
My parent, Virtue, proves her power,

An everlasting friend.
In life, in death, I follow her;
She, she alone can joys confer,

To fill the human beart :
From Heav'n together first we came :
Constant we breathe one common flame,

And never, never part!

THE CAPTIVES' SONG

[HENRY NEILE.] We sat us down by Babel's streams, And dreamed soul.saddening memory's dreams; And dark thoughts o'er our spirits crept Of Sion—and we wept, we wept ! Our harps upon the willows hung Silent, and tuneless, and unstrung; For they who wrought our pains and wrongs, Asked us for Sion's pleasant songs. How can we sing Jehovah's praise To those who Baal's altars raise? How warble Judah's freeborn hymns, With Babel's fetters on our limbs ? How chant thy lays dear Fatherland To strangers on a foreign strand? Ah no! we'll bear grief's keenest sting, But dare not Sion's anthems sing.

Place us where Sharon's roses blow;
Place us where Siloe's waters flow;
Place us on Lebanon, that waves
Its cedars o'er our fathers' graves :
Place us upon that holy mount,
Where stands the temple, gleams the fount;
And love and joy shall loose our tongues,
To warble Sion's pleasant songs.

If I should e'er, earth's fairest gem,
Forget thee, O Jerusalem!
May my right hand forget its skill,
To wake the slumbering lyre at will!
If from my heart, e'en when most gay,
Thy memory e'er should fade away,
May my tongue rest within my head
Mute as the voices of the dead !

Remember, O remember, Lord,
In that day Edom's race abhorred;
When once again o'er Salem's towers,
The sun of joy its radiance pours,
Forget not them whose hateful cry
Rose loud and fiend-like to the sky,
• Be that unholy city crushed,
Raze, raze it even with the dust!'

Daughter of Babylon, the hour
Is coming that shall bow thy power,
The Persian sword shall make thee groan,
The Mede shall fill Belshazzar's throne;
Blest shall he be who bids thee sip
The cup thou heldst to Salem's lip,
And mocks thee, weeping o'er the stones
Red with thy children's bleeding bones.

« PreviousContinue »