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Amid tho spangled sky, the silver lyre.
Great source of day! best image here below
Of thy Creator, ever pouring wide,
From world to world, the vital ocean round,
On nature write with every beam His praise.
The thunder rolls: be hush'd the prostrate world;
While cloud to cloud returns die solemn hymn.
Bleat out afresh, ye hills; ye mossy rocks,
Retain the sound; the broad responsive low,
Ye valleys, raise; for the Great Shepherd reigns,
And his unsuffering kingdom yet will come.
Ye woodlands, all awake: a boundless song
Burst from the groves; and when the restless day,
Kxpiring, lays the warbling world asleep,
Sweetest of birds! sweet Philomela, charm
The listening shades, and teach the night His praise.
Ye chief, for whom the whole creation smiles;
At once the head, the heart, and tongue of all,
Orown the great hymn! in swarming cities vast,
Assembled men to the deep organ join
The long resounding voice, oft breaking clear,
At solemn pauses, through the swelling bass;
And, as each mingling flame increases each,
In one united ardor rise to heaven.
Or if you rather choose the rural shade,
And find a fane in every sacred grove,
There let the shepherd's flute, the virgin's lay,
The prompting seraph, and the poet's lyre,
Still sing the God of Seasons as they roll.
For me, when I forget die darling dicme,
Whether the blossom blows, the Summer ray
Russets the plain, inspiring Autumn gleams,
Or Winter rises in the blackening east—
Be my tongue mute, my fancy paint no more,
And, dead to joy, forget my heart to beat.
Should fate command me to the farthest verge
> FROM THE "CASTLE OF INDOLENCE."
'O mortal man, who livesl here by toil,
In lowly dale, fast by a river's side,
Was naught around but images of rest;
Join'd to the prattle of the purling rills,
Thither continual pilgrims crowded still,
"Behold! ye pilgrims of mis earth, behold!
Who can with her for easy pleasure vie?
"Behold the merry minstrels of the morn,
"Come, ye who still the cumbrous load of life
"With me you need not rise at early dawn,
"No cocks, with me, to rustic labor call,
"What, what is virtue, but repose of mind,
"The best of men have ever loved repose; They hate to mingle in the filthy fray;
Where the soul sours and gradual rancor grows,
uOh, grievous folly! to heap up estate,
ISAAC WATTS. 1674—1748.
Isaac Watts, whose reputation as a prose writer and as a poet is as wide as the world of letters, was born at Southampton on the 17th of July, 1674. At the age of but four years ho began to study the Latin language; but as he was a "dissenter" from the "established"' church, he could not look forward to an education in either of the great universities, and therefore, at the age of sixteen, he was placed under the care of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, who had charge of an academy in London. At the age of twenty he returned to his fathers house, and spent two years in studying for the ministry. At the close of this period he accepted the invitation of Sir John llartopp to reside with him as tutor to his son, and remained with him live years, devoting most of his time to a critical knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures, and entering, during the last year, ui>on the duties of his profession.
In 1698 he was chosen as an assistant to Dr. Chauncey, pastor of an Independent church in Southampton, and on his death, 1702, was elected to succeed hiin. Soon after entering upon his ofiico he was attacked by a dangerous illness, from which he but very slowly recovered. In 1712 he was again seized with a fever so violent and of so long continuance, that it left him in a feeble state for the rest of his life. In this state he found in Sir Thomas Abney a friend such as is not often to be met with. This gentleman received him into his own house, where he remained an inmate of the family for thirtyfix years, that is, to the end of his life, where he was treated the whole time with all the kindness that friendship could prompt, and all the attention that respect could dictate.1 Here he devoted all the time that his health would allow to the composition of his various works, and to his official functions; and when increasing weakness compelled him to relinquish both, his congre
1 "A coalition like this—a state in which the noUona of patronage nnd dependence were owr powered by the perception of reciprocal benefits, deserves a particular memorial."—Dr. Johmoh. Accordingly the great biographer baa given In his Lift; of WaUa a long extract from Dr. Gibbons'a touching account of WatU's residence in thLa family, and then add*: "If this quotaUon ba» appeared long, let It be considered that it comprise* an account of sL\-iuid-tlarty years and those the year* of Dr. Watt*."
gation would not accept his resignation, but, while they elected another pa* tor, continued to him the salary he had been accustomed to receive. On the 25th of November, 1748, without a pain or a struggle, this great and good man breathed his last.1
In his literary character, Dr. Watts may be considered as a poet, a philosopher, and a theologian. As a poet, if he takes not the very first rank in the imaginative, the creative, or the sublime, he has attained what the greatest might well envy,—a universality of fame. He is emphatically the classic poet of the religious world, wherever the English language is known. His version of the Psalms, his three books of Hymns, and his "Divine Songs for Children,'' have been more read and committed to memory, have exerted more holy influences, and made more lasting impressions for good upon the human heart, and have called forth more fervent nspirations fur the joys ami the happiness of heaven, than the productions of any other poet—peihaps it would not be too strong to say than All Other poets, (the sacred bards of course excepted.) living or dead.
As a philosopher, lie has the rare merit of always being practically useful, especially in the education of youth. His "Logic, or Right use of Reason," was for a long time a text-book in the English Universities; and of his "Improvement of the Mind,'' no happier eulogium can be given than that by Dr. Johnson:2 "Few book?,'' says the snge, "have been perused by me with greater pleasure than this; and whoever has the care of instructing others may be charged with deficiency if this book is not recommended."
As a theologian, the compositions of Watts are very numerous, and "every page," says Dr. Drake, "displays his unaffected piety, the purity of his principles, the mildness of his disposition, and tho great goodness of his heart The stylo of all his works is perspicuous, correct, and frequently elegant; and happily for mankind, his labors have been translated and dispersed with a zeal that does honor to human nature; for there are probably few persons who havo studied Uio writings of Dr. Watts widiout a wish for improvement; without an effort to become wiser or better members of society."
A SUMMER EVENING.
How fine lias the day been, how bright was the sun,
And there follow'd some droppings of ruin!
And Ibretells a bright rising again.
1 When he was almost worn out by hli lnQrmiues, he observed, in a conversation with a frwifei. that "lie remembered an aged minister used to say tliat the most learned and kmiu'in*: Christians, when they coine 10 die, have only the name plain promises of llic Gospel for their suwort as ihc common and unlearned." "So," said Walts, "I find it. It is the pl.dn promises of the Gospel that are my support; and I bless Ood they are plain promises, and do not require mtieb labor and pains to understand them, for I can do nothing now but look into my Bible for some promise to support me, and live upon that."
* "He Is one of the few poets," says Dr. Johnson, "with whom youth and ignorance may he ■aiely pleased; and happy will be thai reader whose mind is disposed, by his verses or his prose, to copy his benevolence to man and his reverence to God." Read— his Life in Drake's EssaysJohnson's Life—Memoir, by Southey—Memoirs, by Thomas Gibson.