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Sceptre and crown
Must tumble down,
And, in the dust, be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.
Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill : But their strong nerves at last must yield; They tame but one another still:
Early or late
They stoop to fate,
And must give up their murm'ring breath,
When they pale captives creep to death.
The garlands wither on your brow,
Then boast no more your mighty deeds;
Upon Death's purple altar now
See where the victor victim bleeds :
All hands must come
To the cold tomb,
Only the actions of the just,
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust.
(POMFRET.) BOLD is the wretch, and blasphemous the man, Who, finite, will attempt to scan The works of Him that's infinitely wise,
And those he cannot comprehend, denies :
As if a space immense were measurable by a span.
Thus the proud sceptic will not own
That Providence the world directs,
Or its affairs inspects,
But leaves it to itself alone.
How does it with almighty grandeur suit,
To be concern'd with our impertinence;
Or interpose his power for the defence
Of a poor mortal, or a senseless brute ?
Villains could never so successful prove,
And unmolested in those pleasures live,
Which honour, ease, and affluence give :
While such as Heav'n adore, and virtue love,
And most the care of Providence deserve,
Oppress'd with pain and ignominy, starve.
What reason can the wisest show,
Why murder does unpunish'd go ?
If the Most High, that's just and good,
Intends and governs all below;
And yet regards not the loud cries of guiltless blood;
But shall we things unsearchable deny,
Because our reason cannot tell us why
They are allow'd, or acted by the Deity ?
"Tis equally above the reach of thought
To comprehend how matter should be brought
From nothing, as existent be
From all eternity.
And yet that matter is, we feel and see.
Nor is it easier to define
What ligatures the soul and body join :
Or how the mem'ry does the impression take
Of things, and to the mind restores 'em back.
Did not th’ Almighty, with immediate care,
Direct and govern this capacious all,
How soon would things into confusion fall;
Earthquakes the trembling ground would tear;
And blazing comets rule the troubled air;
Wide inundations with resistless force
The lower provinces o’erflow,
In spite of all that human strength could do,
To stop the raging sea's impetuous course :
Murder and rapine ev'ry place would fill,
And sinking virtue stoop to prosp'rous ill;
Devouring pestilences rave,
And all that part of nature which has breath,
Deliver to the tyranny of death,
And hurry to the dungeons of the grave,
If watchful Providence were not concern'd to save.
Let the brave soldier speak, who oft has been
In dreadful sieges, and fierce battles seen.
How he's preserv'd when bombs and bullets fy
So thick, that scarce one inch of air is free :
And though he does ten thousand see,
Fall at his feet, and in a moment die,
Unhurt retreats, or gains unhurt the victory.
Let the poor shipwreck'd sailor show, To what invisible protecting pow'r
He did his life and safety owe,
When the loud storm his well-built vessel tore,
And half a shatter'd plank convey'd him to the shore.
Nay, let th' ungrateful sceptic tell us how
His tender infancy protection found,
And helpless childhood was with safety crown's,
If he'll no Providence allow?
When he had nothing but his nurse's arms
To guard him from innumerable fatal harms.
From childhood, how to youth he ran
Securely, and from thence to man?
How in the strength and vigour of his years,
The feeble bark of life he saves,
Amidst the fury of tempestuous waves,
From all the dangers, he foresees, or fears;
Yet ev'ry hour 'twixt Scylla and Charybdis steers;
If Providence, which can the seas command,
Held not the rudder with a steady hand ?
To this far nook the Christian exiles fled,
Each fettering tie of eartbly texture breaking;
Wealth, country, kindred, cheerfully forsaking,
For that good cause in which their fathers bled.
By Faith supported and by Freedom led,
A fruitful field amidst the desert making,
They dwelt secure, whenkings and priests were quaking
And taught the waste to yield them wine and bread.
And is their worth forgot ? their spirit gone?
Now, in the breach of wickedness forthbreaking,
At the lone watchman's warning call awaking,
To lift the faithful standard is there none ?
Yes-still’mong the dry bones there is shaking,
And a faint glimmering still where former lustre shone
With gallant pomp, and beauteous pride,
The floating pile in harbour rode,
Proud of her freight, the swelling tide
Reluctant left the vessel's side,
And rais'd it as she flow'd.
The waves with eastern breezes curl’d,
Had silver'd half the limpid plain ; The anchors weigh’d, the sails unfurld, Serenely moved the wooden world,
And stretch'd along the main.
The scaly natives of the deep
Press to admire the vast machine, In sportive gambols round it leap, Or swimming low due distance keep,
In homage to their queen.
Thus as life glides in gentle gale,
Pretended friendship waits on pow'r,
But early quits the borrow'd veil
When adverse fortune shifts the sail,
And hastens to devour.
In vain we fly approaching ill,
Danger can multiply its form;
Expos’d, we fly like Jonah still,
And Heaven, when 'tis Heaven's will,
O'ertakes us in a storm.
The distant surges foaming white
Foretel the furious blast;
Dreadful, though distant was the sight,
Confed rate winds and waves unite,
And menace every mast.
Winds whistling thro' the shrouds, proclaim
A fatal harvest on the deck;
Quick in pursuit as active fame,
Too soon the rolling ruin came,
· And ratify'd the wreck..