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Calls otT from heavenly truth this reasoning me,
And tells me, I'm a brute as much as he.
If on sublimer wings of love and praise,
My soul above the starry vault I raise,
Lured by some vain conceit, or shameful lust,
I flag, I drop, and flutter in the dust.
The towering lark thus from her lofty strain
Stoops to an emmet, or a barley grain.
By adverse gusts of jarring instincts tost,
I rove to one, now to the other coast;
To bliss unknown my lofty soul aspires,
My lot unequal to my vast desires.
As 'mongst the hinds a child of royal birth
Finds his high pedigree by conscious worth;
So man, amongst his fellow brutes exposed,
Sees he's a king, but 'tis a king deposed:
Pity him, beasts! you, by no law confined,
Are barr'd from devious paths by being blind;
Whilst man, through opening views of various ways
Confounded, by the aid of knowledge strays;
Too weak to choose, yet choosing still in haste,
One moment gives the pleasure and distate;
Bilk'd by past minutes, while the present cloy,
The flattering future still must give the joy.
Not happy, but amused upon the road,
And (like you) thoughtless of his last abode,
Whether next sun his being shall restrain
To endless nothing, happiness, or pain.
Around me, lo, the thinking, thoughtless crew, (Bewilder'd each) their different paths pursue; Of them I ask the way; the first replies, Thou art a god; and sends me to the skies. Down on the turf (the next) thou two-legg'd beast, There fix thy lot, thy bliss, and endless rest. Between these wide extremes the length is such, I find I know too little or too much.
"Almighty Power, by whose most wise command, Helpless, forlorn, uncertain here I stand; Take this faint glimmering of thyself away, Or break into my soul with perfect day 1" This said, expanded lay the sacred text, The balm, the light, the guide of souls perplex'd: Thus the benighted traveller that strays Through doubtful paths, enjoys the morning rays; The nightly mist, and thick descending dew, Parting, unfold the fields, and vaulted blue. "0 Truth divine! enlighten'd by thy ruy, I grope and guess no more, but see my way; Thou clear dst the secret of my high descent, And told me what those mystic tokens meant; Marks of my birth, which I had worn in vain, Too hard for worldly sages to explain. Zeno's were vain, vain Epicurus' schemes, Their systems false, delusive were their dreams;
Unskill'd my two-fold nature to divide,
One nursed my pleasure, and one nursed my pride:
Those jarring truths winch human art beguile,
Thy sacred page thus bids me reconcile."
Offspring of God, no less thy pedigree,
What thou once wert, art now, and still may be,
Thy God alone can tell, alone decree;
Faultless thou dropt from his unerring skill,
With the bare power to sin, since free of will:
Yet charge not with thy guilt his bounteous love,
For who has power to walk, has power to rove:
Who acts by force impell'd, can naught deserve;
And wisdom short of infinite may swerve.
Borne on tliy new-imp'd wings, thou took'st thy flight,
Left thy Creator, and the realms of light;
Disdain'd his gentle precept to fulfil;
And thought to grow a god by doing ill:
Though by foul guilt thy heavenly form defaced,
In nature chang'd, from happy mansions chased,
Thou still retaiu'st some sparks of heavenly fire,
Too faint to mount, yet restless to aspire;
Angel enough to seek thy bliss again,
And brute enough to make thy search in vain.
The creatures now withdraw their kindly use,
Some fly thee, some torment, and some seduce;
Repast ill suited to such different guests,
Fur what thy sense desires, thy soul distastes;
Thy lust, thy curiosity, thy pride,
Curb'd, or deferr'd, or balk'd, or gratified,
Rage on, and make thee equally unbless'd,
In what thou want'st, and what thou hast possess'd:
In vain thou hopest for bliss on this poor clod,
Return, and seek thy Father, and thy God:
Yet think not to regain thy native sky,
Borne on the wings of vain philosophy;
Afysterious passage! hid from human eyes;
Soaring you'll sink, and sinking you will rise:
Let humble thoughts thy wary iwtsteps guide,
Regain by meekness what you lost by pride.
ELIZABETH ROWE. 107J—1737.
Elizabeth Rowe, distinguished for her piety, literature, and poetical talents, was the daughter of Sir. Walter Singer, a clergyman of Ilchcster. She early evinced a very decided taste for reading and poetry, and in her twenty-second year she published a volume of " Poems on Several Occasions, by Philomela.'' In 1710 she married Mr. Thomas Rowe, a gentleman ol considerable literary attainments, who was some years her junior, but who, to her great grief, died of consumption but a few years after their marriage, at the early age of twenty-eight. After his death she retired to Frome, in the neighborhood of which she possessed a paternal estate, and there composed her once celebrated work, « Letters from the Dead to the Living.'1 She died in 1737.
« The poems of Mrs. Rowe," says Southey, "show much spirit and cultivation, and are chiefly characterized by their devotion. They are at times a little more enthusiastic than is allowable even for poetry, and are sometimes distorted by metaphysics, but generally their beauties prevail over their faults/'
Oh! lead me to some solitary gloom,
Where no enlivening beams nor cheerful echoes come;
But silent all, and dusky let it be,
Remote, and unfrequented but by me;
Mysterious, close, and sullen as that grief
Which leads me to its covert for relief.
Far from the busy world's detested noise,
Its wretched pleasnres, and distracted joys;
Far from the jolly fools, who laugh and play,
And dance, and sing, impertinently gay,
Their short, inestimable hours away;
Far from the studious follies of the great,
The tiresome farce of ceremonious state.
There, in a melting, solemn, dying :>train,
Let me all day upon my lyre complain,
And wind up all its soft harmonious strings,
To noble, serious, melancholy things.
And let no human foot, but mine, e'er trace
The close recesses of the sacred place:
Nor let a bird of cheerful note come near,
To whisper out his airy raptures here.
Only the pensive songstress of the grove,
Let her, by mine, her mournful notes improve;
While drooping winds among the branches sigh,
And sluggish waters heavily roll by.
Here, to my fatal sorrows let me give
The short remaining hours I have to live.
Then, witli a sullen, deep-fetch'd groan expire,
And to the grave's dark solitude retire.
In imitation of Canticles, v. C, 7.
Ye pure inhabitants of light,
Ye virgin minds above.
And mighty force of love:
Your love to human kind,
My absent Lord to find.
And climb'd the hills around;
Among the swains have found.
By every stream and rock;
My vain industry mock.
I tmced the city's noisy streets,
Ami told my cares aloud i
Among the thoughtless crowd.
He oft has blast my sight,
Disclosed the heavenly light
But with these glorious views, no more
I feast my mvish d eyes,
My eager search he flies.
His sacred footsteps tmce,
And bless the happy place.
Or where perpetual snow
To find my Lord, I'd go.
Nor unfrequented shore,
Where hungry lions roar.
To his embmce I'd fly,
Would be content to die.
HENRY GROVE. 1083—1738.
Hskht Gnove, a "dissenting" clergyman of great litemture and piety, was born at Taunton, Somersetshire, 1083. He was early impressed by his parents with an ardent love for religion and momlity, and at school and at the academy 1 he acquired a taste for the elegant authors of Greece and Rome, which he cultivated through life with unwearied fondness and assiduity, and which gave uncommon gmce and beauty to his style. At the age of twentytwo he entered the ministry, for which be was eminently qualified by his piety and learning; and ho became a very popular preacher. On the decease of Mr. Warren, the preceptor of the academy nt Taunton, Mr. Grove was elected to fill his place, and his first publication was an essay dmwn up for the use of his pupils, entitled, "The Regulation of Diversions," designed to call off the attention of youth from the too eager pursuit of pleasure, and to infuse into them a thirst for the acquisition of knowledge and virtue.2 His
1 "Dissenters" had not the privilege of Oxford an d Cambridge Universities
1 "If I were to pruy for a taste which should stand me in stead under pverv variety of c^ntnstances, and be a imim
next writings for the public were contributions for the Spectator. Numbers 588, 601, 620, and C35 (the last number) are from his pen. He also published many treatises of a strictly religious character. Of these, " A Discourse on Secret Prayer,'' « The Evidence of our Saviour's Resurrection Considered," "Some Thoughts concerning the Proof of a Future State from Reason," and "Discourses on the Lord's Supper,'' anil on " Saving Faith," are best known.
'• In all his writings, Mr. Grove, taking the Scripture solely for his guide, adhered to the result of his own inquiries; his mind was biased by no systems or creeds, and his theology, therefore, was purely practical, and, as far as the fallibility of men will allow in judging of the text, perfectly conformable to the tenor of the Gospel."1 After living a life of great benevolence and practical piety, he died on the 27th of February, 1738, in the fifty-fifth year of his age. The following extracts from one of his letters to a friend, draw a true picture of his own character, in his directions for
THE TRUE ART OF ENJOYING LIFE.
It will not be altogether out of character, if I write down a few reflections on the art of improving human life, so as to pass it in peace and tranquillity, and make it yield the noblest pleasures it is capable of affording us. The first rule, and in a manner comprehensive of all the rest, is always to consider human life in its connection, as a state of trial, with an everlasting existence. How does this single thought at once raise and sink the value of every thing under the sun? sink it as a part of our worldly portion; raise it as a means and opportunity of promoting the glory of the great Author of all good, and the happiness, present and future, of our fellow-creatures as well as our own ?—In the next place, we are to lay down this for a certain maxim, and constantly attend to it, that our happiness must arise from our own temper and actions, not immedaitely from any external circumstances. These, at best, are only considerable, as they supply a larger field to the exercise of our virtue, and more leisure for the improvements and entertainments of the mind: whereas, the chief delights of a reasonable being must result from its own operations, and reflections upon them as consonant to its nature, and the order it holds in the universe. How do I feel myself within? Am I in my natural state 1 Do I put my faculties to their right use ?—To require less from others than is commonly done, in order to be pleased, and to be more studious to please them, not from a meanness of spirit, not from artful views, but from an unaffected benevolence, is another rule of greater importance than is easily imagined; and more ef
hands a most perverse selection of books. Yoo place him In contact with the best society In every period of history—with the wisest, the willlest—with ttie lenilerost, and the purest characters that have adorned humanity. You make lilm a denixen of all nations—a contemporary of all ages. The world has been created for him. It U hardly possible but the cliaracter should take a higher and better tone from the constant habit of associating In thought with a class of thinkers, to say the least of it, above the average of humanity." From Sir John Jlcrschet's "Discourse on the Study of N itunl Philosophy." 1 Drake's Essays, vol. ill. p. Slo.