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Proceeding Spirit, our defence,
Who dost the gifts of tongues dispense,
And crown'st thy gifts with eloquence.
Refine and purge our earthy parts;
But, O, inflame and fire our hearts !
Our frailties help, our vice control,
Submit the senses to the soul;
And when rebellious they are grown,
Then lay thine hand, and hold them down.
Chase from our minds the infernal foe,
And peace, the fruit of love, bestow;
And, lest our feet should step astray,
Protect and guide us in the way.
Make us eternal truths receive,
And practise all that we believe:
Give us Thyself, that we may see
The Father, and the Son, by Thee.
Immortal honor, endless fame,
Attend the Almighty Father's name!
The Saviour Son be glorified,
Who for lost man's redemption died !
And equal adoration be,
Eternal Paraclete, to Thee!
FROM “RELIGIO LAICI.”
147. Faith. What then remains, but, waiving each extreme, The tide of ignorance and pride to stem? Neither so rich a treasure to forego; Nor proudly seek beyond our power to know: Faith is not built on disquisitions vain; The things we must believe are few and plain. But, since men will believe more than they need, And every man will make himself a creed, In doubtful questions 'tis the safest way To learn what unsuspected ancients say: For 'tis not likely we should higher soar In search of Heaven, than all the church before: Nor can we be deceived unless we see The Scripture and the Fathers disagree. If after all they stand suspected still For no man's faith depends upon his will –
'Tis some relief, that points not clearly known,
Without much hazard may be let alone :
And, after hearing what our church can say,
If still our reason runs another way,
That private reason 'tis more just to curb,
Than by sputes the public peace disturb :
For points obscure are of small use to learn,
But common quiet is mankind's concern.
148. EPISTLE TO CONGREVE.
O that your brows my laurel had sustained !
Well had I been deposed, if you had reigned,
The father had descended for the son;
For only you are lineal to the throne.
Thus, when the state one Edward did depose,
A greater Edward in his room arose :
But now, not I, but poetry is cursed;
For Tom the second reigns like Tom the first.
But let them not mistake my patron's part,
Nor call his charity their own desert.
Yet this I prophesy: thou shalt be seen
(Though with some short parenthesis between)
High on the throne of wit, and, seated there,
Not mine, that's little, but thy laurel wear.
Thy first attempt an early promise made,
That early promise this has more than paid.
So bold, yet so judiciously you dare,
That your least praise is to be regular.
Time, place, and action, may with pains be wrought,
But genius must be born, and never can be taught.
This is your portion; this your native store;
Heaven, that but once was prodigal before,
To Shakspeare gave as much; she could not give him more.
Maintain your post: that all the fame you need;
For 'tis impossible you should proceed.
Already I am worn with cares and age,
And just abandoning th' ungrateful stage:
Unprofitably kept at Heaven's expense,
I live a rent-charge on his providence;
But you, whom every Muse and Grace adorn,
Whom I foresee to better fortune born,
Be kind to my remains; and, O, defend,
Against your judgment, your departed friend!
Let not th' insulting foe my fame pursue, -
But shade those laurels which descend to you:
And take for tribute what these lines express :
You merit more; nor could my love do less.
FROM "THE COCK AND THE Fox."
149. DREAMS. Dreams are but interludes which Fancy makes; When monarch Reason sleeps, this mimic wakes : Compounds a medley of disjointed things, A mob of cobblers, and a court of kings: Light fumes are merry, grosser fumes are sad: Both are the reasonable soul run mad; And many monstrous forms in sleep we see, That neither were, nor are, nor ne'er can be. Sometimes forgotten things long cast behind Rush forward in the brain, and come to mind. The nurse's legends are for truths received, And the man dreams but what the boy believed. Sometimes .we but rehearse a former play, The night restores our actions done by day; As hounds in sleep will open for their prey. In short, the farce of dreams is of a piece, Chimeras all; and more absurd, or less.
150. ALEXANDER'S FEAST. An ODE IN HONOR OF ST. CECILIA'S DAY. 'Twas at the royal feast for Persia won
By Philip's warlike son;
Aloft in awful state
The godlike hero sate
On his imperial throne:
His valiant peers were placed around; Their brows with roses and with myrtles bound
(So should desert in arms be crowned):
The lovely Thais, by his side,
Sate, like a blooming Eastern bride,
In flower of youth and beauty's pride.
Happy, happy, happy pair!
None but the brave,
None but the brave,
None but the brave deserves the fair.
Timotheus, placed on high
Amid the tuneful quire,
With flying fingers touched the lyre:
The trembling notes ascend the sky,
And heavenly joys inspire.
The song began – from Jove,
Who left his blissful seats above
(Such is the power of mighty love). A dragon's fiery form belied the god, Sublime on radiant spires he rode.
The listening crowd admire the lofty sound,
A present deity! they shout around:
A present deity! the vaulted roofs rebound :
With ravished ears
The monarch hears,
Assumes the god,
Affects to nod,
And seems to shake the spheres.
The praise of Bacchus then, the sweet musician sung:
Of Bacchus ever fair and ever young:
The jolly god in triumph comes;
Sound the trumpets; beat the drums;
Flushed with a purple grace,
He shows his honest face;
Now give the hautboys breath: he comes ! he comes !
Bacchus, ever fair and young,
Drinking joys did first ordain;
Bacchus' blessings are a treasure,
Drinking is the soldier's pleasure :
Rich the treasure,
Sweet the pleasure ;
Sweet is pleasure after pain.
Soothed with the sound, the king grew vain;
Fought all his battles o’er again;
And thrice he routed all his foes; and thrice he slew the slain.
The master saw the madness rise;
His glowing cheeks, his ardent eyes;
And, while he Heaven and Earth defied,
Changed his hand, and checked his pride.
He chose a mournful Muse,
Soft pity to infuse:
He sung Darius great and good,
By too severe a fate,
Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen,
Fallen from his high estate,
And welt'ring in his blood;
Deserted, at his utmost need,
By those his former bounty fed:
On the bare earth exposed he lies,
With not a friend to close his eyes.
With downcast looks the joyless victor sate,
Revolving in his altered soul
The various turns of Chance below;
And, now and then, a sigh he stole;
And tears began to flow.
The mighty master smiled, to see
That love was in the next degree :
'Twas but a kindred sound to move,
For pity melts the mind to love.
Softly sweet, in Lydian measures,
Soon he soothed his soul to pleasures.
War, he sung, is toil and trouble;
Honor, but an empty bubble;
Never ending, still beginning,
Fighting still, and still destroying;
If the world be worth thy winning,
Think, O, think it worth enjoying :
Lovely Thais sits beside thee,
Take the good the gods provide thee!
The many rend the skies with loud applause;
So Love was crowned, but Music won the cause.
The prince, unable to conceal his pain,
Gazed on the fair
Who caused his care,
And sighed and looked, sighed and looked,
Sighed and looked, and sighed again:
At length, with love and wine at once oppressed,
The vanquished victor sunk upon her breast.
Now strike the golden lyre again :
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain.
Break his bands of sleep asunder,
And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder.
Hark, hark, the horrid sound
Has raised up his head!
As awaked from the dead,
And amazed, he stares around.
Revenge! revenge! Timotheus cries,
See the Furies arise :
See the snakes that they rear,
How they hiss in their hair,
And the sparkles that flash from their eyes.
Behold a ghastly band,
Each a torch in his hand!
Those are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain,
And unburied remain
Inglorious on the plain :