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Yet sure of heaven themselves, as if they'd cribbed | Who looks on erring souls as straying pigs,
And driven to church as to the parish pound.
I do confess, without reserve or wheedle,
I view that grovelling idea as one
Worthy some parish clerk's ambitious son,
A charity-boy who longs to be a beadle.
On such a vital topic sure 't is odd
How inuch a man can differ from his neighbor ;
One wishes worship freely given to God,
Another wants to make it statute-labor, –
The broad distinction in a line to draw,
As means to lead us to the skies above,
Sir Andrew and his love of law,
the Saviour with his law of love.
Like the magnetic needle to the Pole ;
But what were that intrinsic virtue worth,
Suppose some fellow, with more zeal than knowl. And dote upon a jest
Fresh from St. Andrew's college,
Should nail the conscious needle to the north?
I do confess that I abhor and shrink
From schemes, with a religious willy-nilly,
That frown upon St. Giles's sins, but blink
The peccadilloes of all Piccadilly,
My soul revolts at such bare hypocrisy,
And will not, dare not, fancy in accord
The Lord of Hosts with an exclusive lord
Of this world's aristocracy.
It will not own a notion so unholy
As thinking that the rich by easy trips
May go to heaven, whereas the poor and lowly
Must work their passage, as they do in ships. I've no ambition to enact the spy
One place there is, — beneath the burial-sod,
Where all mankind are equalized by death;
Juggle who will elsewhere with his own soul,
He who can come beneath that awful cope,
In the dread presence of a Maker just,
Who metes to every pinch of human dust
One even measure of immortal hope,
He who can stand within that holy door,
With soul unbowed by that pure spirit-level, On Bible stilts I don't affect to stalk ;
And frame unequal laws for rich and poor,
For man may pious texts repeat,
The humble records of my life to search,
But sometimes I have "sat at good men's feasts,"
Dear bells ! how sweet the sounds of village bells
When on the undulating air they swim !
Now loud as welcomes ! faint, now, as farewells !
And trembling all about the breezy dells,
Gifted with noble tendency to climb,
Yet weak at the same time,
And as the climate and the soil may grant,
You might have been High-Priest to Mumbo
through heathen ignorance perchance, Because it keeps a-cawing from a steeple ;
Not having knelt in Palestine, -- I feel
None of that griffinish excess of zeal
Some travellers would blaze with here in France.
Nor for a scuffle with the idols hanker
Like crazy Quixotte at the puppet's play,
If their “offence be rank," should mine be rancor
Suppose the tender but luxuriant hop
What Kentish boor would tear away the prop
So roughly as to wound, nay, kill the bine ?
The images, 't is true, are strangely dressed,
With gauds, and toys extremely out of season ;
The carving nothing of the very best,
The whole repugnant to the eye of Reason,
Shocking to Taste, and to Fine Arts a treason,
Yet ne'er o'erlook in bigotry of sect
"world ayont, Acknowledgment of good, of man's futility,
One truly Catholic, one common form,
At which unchecked
All Christian hearts may kindle or keep warm,
Say, was it to my spirit's gain or loss,
One bright and balmy morning, as I went
From Liege's lovely environs to Ghent,
If hard by the wayside I found a cross,
That made me breathe a prayer upon the spot,
While Nature of herself, as if to trace
The emblem's use, had trailed around its base
The blue significant Forget-Me-Not ?
Methought, the claims of Charity to urge
More forcibly along with Faith and Hope,
The pious choice had pitched upon the verge
Of a delicious slope,
Giving the eye much variegated scope ! -
“Look round,” it whispered, “on that prospect A sorry sight it is to rest the eye on,
Those vales so verdant, and those hills so blue;
But" (how the simple legend pierced me through!)
“PRIEZ POUR LES MALHEUREUX."
With sweet kind natures, as in honeyed cells,
But only on a formal visit dwells
To his tuned spirit the wild heather-bells Where wasps instead of bees have formed the Ring Sabbath knells ; comb.
The jubilate of the soaring lark Shun pride, O Rae ! - whatever sort beside
Is chant of clerk ; You take in lieu, shun spiritual pride !
For choir, the thrush and the gregarious linnet; A pride there is of rank, a pride of birth, The sod 's a cushion for his pious want; A pride of learning, and a pride of purs”, And, consecrated by the heaven within it, A London pride, -- in short, there be on earth The sky-blue pool, a font. A host of prides, some better and some worse ; Each cloud-capped mountain is a holy altar ; But of all prides, since Lucifer's attaint,
An organ breathes in every grove; The proudest swell's a self-elected Saint.
And the full heart 's a Psalter,
Rich in deep hymns of gratitude and love !
Once on a time a certain English lass
Was seized with symptoms of such deep decline, Strutting and dancing, and now planted stiff,
Cough, hectic flushes, every evil sign, In all his pomp of pageantry, as if
That, as their wont is at such desperate pass, He felt “the eyes of Europe
on his tail !
The doctors gave her over — to an ass.
Accordingly, the grisly Shade to bilk,
Each morn the patient quaffed a frothy bowl He wheels, he sidles,
Of asinine new milk, As last, with stately dodgings in a corner, Robbing a shaggy suckling of a foal, He pens a simple russet hen, to scorn her Which got proportionably spare and skinny ; Full in the blaze of his resplendent fan ! Meanwhile the neighbors cried, “Poor Mary
Ann ! “Look here," he cries, (to give him words,)
She can't get over it ! she never can !" “ Thou feathered clay, thou seum of birds!".
When, lo ! to prove each prophet was a ninny, Flirting the rustling plumage in her eyes,
The one that died was the poor wet-nurse Jenny. “Look here, thou vile predestined sinner, Doomed to be roasted for a dinner,
To aggravate the case, Behold these lovely variegated dyes !
There were but two grown donkeys in the place; These are the rainbow colors of the skies, And, most unluckily for Eve's sick daughter, That heaven has shed upon me con amore, The other long-eared creature was a male, A Bird of Paradise ? - a pretty story !
Who never in his life had given a pail
Of milk, or even chalk-and-water.
No matter : at the usual hour of eight
day, How sinners are despised by saints.
Bad time for hasses, though! good lack ! good By saints ! — the Hypocrites that ope heaven's
lack ! door
Jenny be dead, miss, but I'ze brought ye Obsequious to the sinful man of riches;
Jack, But put the wicked, naked, barelegged poor
He does n't give no milk, – but he can bray.” In parish stocks, instead of breeches.
So runs the story, Thrice blessed, rather, is the man with whom
And, in vain self-glory, The gracious prodigality of nature,
Some Saints would sneer at Gubbins for his blind. The balm, the bliss, the beauty, and the bloom,
ness; The bounteous providence in every feature,
But what the better are their pious saws Recall the good Creator to his creature,
To ailing souls, than dry hee-haws, Making all earth a fane, all heaven its dome !
Without the milk of human kindness?