« PreviousContinue »
Rich as Eden's happy ground,
And with choicer plenty crown'd.
Here, on all the shining boughs,
Knowledge fair and useful grows;
On the same young flow'ry tree,
All the seasons you may see;
Notions in the bloom of light,
Just disclosing to the sight:
Here are thoughts of larger growth,
Rip'ning into solid truth:
Fruits refin'd of noble taste;
Seraphs feed on such repast.
Here, in green and shady grove,
Streams of pleasure mix with love:
There, beneath the smiling skies,
Hills of contemplation rise:
Now, upon some shining top,
Angels light, and call me up;
I rejoice to raise my feet,
Both rejoice when there we meet.
There are endless beauties more Earth hath no resemblance for; Nothing like them round the pole, Nothing can describe the soul; "Tis a region half unknown, That has treasures of its own,
More remote from public view
Than the bowels of Peru;
Broader 'tis and brighter far
Than the golden Indies are:
Ships that trace the wat❜ry stage,
Cannot coast it in an age;
Harts or horses, strong and fleet,
Had they wings to help their feet,
Could not run it half way o'er
In ten thousand days and more.
Yet the silly wand'ring mind, Loth to be too much confin'd, Roves and takes her daily tours, Coasting round the narrow shores, Narrow shores of flesh and sense, Picking shells and pebbles thence; Or she sits at Fancy's door, Calling shapes and shadows to her, Foreign visits still receiving, And t' herself a stranger living.
Ne never would she buy
Indian dust or Tyrian dye,
Never trade abroad for more,
If she saw her native store,
If her inward worth were known,
She might ever live alone.
PARAPHRASE ON THE THIRTEENTH CHAPTER
FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS.
DID sweeter sounds adorn my flowing tongue,
Than ever man pronounc'd or angel sung;
Had I all knowledge, human and divine,
That thought can reach, or science can define;
And had I pow'r to give that knowledge birth,
In all the speeches of the babbling earth;
Did Shadrach's zeal my glowing breast inspire,
To weary tortures, and rejoice in fire;
Or had I faith like that which Israel saw,
When Moses gave them miracles, and law;
Yet, gracious Charity, indulgent guest,
Were not thy pow'r exerted in my breast;
Those speeches would send up unheeded pray'r;
That scorn of life would be but wild despair:
A tymbal's sound were better than my voice,
My faith were form, my eloquence were noise.
Charity, decent, modest, easy, kind,
Softens the high, and rears the abject mind!
Knows with just reins and gentle hand to guide
Betwixt vile shame, and arbitrary pride:
Not soon provok'd, she easily forgives;
And much she suffers, as she much believes;
Soft peace she brings wherever she arrives;
She builds our quiet, as she forms our lives;
Lays the rough paths of peevish nature even,
And opens in each heart a little heaven.
Each other gift, which GOD on man bestows, Its proper bounds and due restriction knows; To one fix'd dedicates its power, purpose And finishing its act, exists no more. Thus, in obedience to what heav'n decrees,
Knowledge shall fail, and prophecy shall cease:
But lasting Charity's more ample sway,
Nor bound by time, nor subject to decay,
In happy triumph shall for ever live,
And endless good diffuse, and endless praise re
As through the artist's intervening glass, Our eye perceives the distant planets pass, A little we discover; but allow
That more remains unseen than art can show:
So whilst our mind its knowledge would improve, (Its feeble eye intent on things above)
High as we may, we lift our reason up,
By Faith directed, and confirm'd by Hope:
Yet we are able only to survey
Dawnings of beams and promises of day.
Heav'n's fuller effluence mocks our dazzled sight;
Too great its swiftness, and too strong its light.
But soon the mediate clouds shall be dispell'd; The sun shall soon be face to face beheld In all his robes, with all his glory on, Seated sublime on his meridian throne.
Then constant Faith and holy Hope shall die, One lost in certainty, and one in joy: Whilst thou, more happy pow'r, fair Charity, Triumphant sister, greatest of the three, Thy office and thy nature still the same, Lasting thy lamp, and unconsum'd thy flame, Shalt still survive
Shalt stand before the host of heaven confest,
For ever blessing, and for ever blest.