« VorigeDoorgaan »
Half dead with fear, she gasping lay.
What transport in her bosom grew,
When first the horse appeared in view!
“Let me," says she, “
your back ascend,
And owe my safety to a friend.
You know my feet betray my flight;
To friendship every burden's light.”
The horse replied, “ Poor honest Puss, It grieves my heart to see you thus : Be comforted, relief is near, For all your friends are in the rear." She next the stately bull implored; And thus replied the mighty lord;
“Since every beast alive can tell
That I sincerely wish you well,
without offence, pretend
To take the freedom of a friend.
Love calls me hence; a favorite cow
Expects me near yon barley-mow;
And, where a lady's in the case,
You know all other things give place.
To leave you thus would seem unkind:
But see, the goat is just behind.”
The goat remarked her pulse was high,
Her languid head, her heavy eye:
“My back," says she, “may do you harm:
The sheep's at hand, and wool is warm.”
The sheep was feeble, and complained, “ His sides a load of wool sustained; ” Said he was slow, confessed his fears, “For hounds eat sheep as well as hares."
She now the trotting calf addressed,
To save from death a friend distressed :
“Shall I," says he, “ of tender age,
In this important case engage?
Older and abler passed you by;
How strong are those ! how weak am I!
Should I presume to bear you hence,
Those friends of mine may take offence,
Excuse me, then; you know my heart;
But dearest friends, alas! must part.
How shall we all lament! adieu;
For see, the hounds are just in view."
THOMAS PARNELL, 1679-1718. (Manual, p. 285.)
179. HYMN TO CONTENTMENT.
Lovely, lasting peace of mind!
Sweet delight of human kind!
Heavenly born, and bred on high,
To crown the favorites of the sky
With more of happiness below,
Than victors in a triumph know!
Whither, O whither art thou fled,
To lay thy meek contented head;
What happy region dost thou please
To make the seat of calms and ease!
Ambition searches all its sphere
Of pomp and state, to meet thee there.
Increasing avarice would find
Thy presence in its gold enshrined.
The bold adventurer ploughs his way
Through rocks amidst the foaming sea,
To gain thy love; and then perceives
Thou wert not in the rocks and waves.
The silent heart, which grief assails,
Treads soft and lonesome o'er the vales,
Sees daisies open, rivers run,
And seeks (as I have vainly done)
Amusing thought; but learns to know
That solitude's the nurse of woe.
No real happiness is found
In trailing purple o'er the ground:
Or in a soul exalted high,
To range the circuit of the sky,
Converse with stars above, and know
All nature in its forms below;
The rest it seeks, in seeking dies,
And doubts at last, for knowledge, rise.
Lovely, lasting peace, appear;
This world itself, if thou art here,
Is once again with Eden blest,
And man contains it in his breast,
'Twas thus, as under shade I stood,
I sung my wishes to the wood,
And, lost in thought, no more perceived
The branches whisper as they waved :
It seemed as all the quiet place
Confessed the presence of his grace.
When thus she spoke - Go rule thy will,
Bid thy wild passions all be still,
Know God and bring thy heart to know
The joys which from religion flow:
Then every grace shall prove its guest,
And I'll be there to crown the rest.
Oh! by yonder mossy seat,
In my hours of sweet retreat,
Might I thus my soul employ,
With sense of gratitude and joy:
Raised as ancient prophets were,
In heavenly vision, praise, and prayer;
Pleasing all men, hurting none,
Pleased and blessed with God alone :
Then while the gardens take my sight,
With all the colors of delight;
While silver waters glide along,
To please my ear, and court my song:
I'll lift my voice, and tune my string,
And thee, great source of nature, sing.
The sun that walks his airy way,
To light the world, and give the day;
The moon that shines with borrowed light;
The stars that gild the gloomy night;
The seas that roll unnumbered waves;
The wood that spreads its shady leaves;
The field whose ears conceal the grain,
The yellow treasure of the plain;
All of these, and all I see,
Should be sung, and sung by me:
They speak their Maker as they can,
But want and ask the tongue of man.
Go search among your idle dreams,
Your busy or your vain extremes;
And find a life of equal bliss,
Or own the next begun in this.
EDWARD YOUNG. 1681-1765. (Manual, p. 285.)
FROM THE “NIGHT THOUGHTS."
Be wise to-day: 'tis madness to defer;
Next day the fatal precedent will plead;
Thus on, till wisdom is pushed out of life.
Procrastination is the thief of time;
Year after year it steals till all are fled,
And to the mercies of a moment leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal scene.
If not so frequent, would not this be strange?
That 'tis so frequent, this is stranger still.
Of man's miraculous mistakes, this bears
The palm, “ That all men are about to live,”
Forever on the brink of being born.
All pay themselves the compliment to think
They one day shall not drivel : and their pride
On this reversion takes up ready praise;
At least, their own; their future selves applaud.
How excellent that life — they ne'er will lead !
Time lodged in their own hands is folly's vails;
That lodged in fate's, to wisdom they consign;
The thing they can't but purpose, they postpone.
'Tis not in folly, not to scorn a fool;
And scarce in human wisdom, to do more.
All promise is poor dilatory man,
And that through every stage: when young, indeed,
In full content we, sometimes, nobly rest,
Unanxious for ourselves ; and only wish,
As duteous sons, our fathers were more wise.
At thirty man suspects himself a fool;
Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan;
At fifty chides his infamous delay,
Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve ;
In all the magnanimity of thought
Resolves; and re-resolves; then, dies the same.
And why? Because he thinks himself immortal.
All men think all men mortal, but themselves;
Themselves, when some alarming shock of fate
Strikes through their wounded hearts the sudden dread.
But their hearts wounded, like the wounded air,
Soon close, where, past the shaft, no trace is found.
As from the wing, no scar the sky retains;
The parted wave no furrow from the keel;
So dies in human hearts the thought of death,
E'en with the tender tear which Nature sheds
O'er those we love, - we drop it in their grave.
BISHOP BUTLER. 1692–1752. (Manual, p. 343.)
FROM "THE ANALOGY.” CHAP. VIII. 181. EVIDENCE FOR CHRISTIANITY SUFFICIENT. It is most readily acknowledged that the foregoing treatise is by no means satisfactory; very far from it; but so would any natural institution of life appear, if reduced into a system, together with its evi
dence. Leaving religion out of the case, men are divided in their opinions, whether our pleasures overbalance our pains; and whether it be, or be not, eligible to live in this world. And were all such controversies settled, which, perhaps, in speculation, would be found involved in great difficulties; and were it determined upon the evidence of reason, as nature has determined it to our hands, that life is to be preserved; yet still, the rules that God has been pleased to afford us, for escaping the miseries of it, and obtaining its satisfactions, the rules, for instance, of preserving health, and recovering it when lost, are not only fallible and precarious, but very far from being exact. Nor are we informed by nature, in future contingencies and accidents, so as to render it at all certain, what is the best method of managing our affairs. What will be the success of our temporal pursuits, in the common sense of the word success, is highly doubtful. And what will be the success of them in the proper sense of the word; i. e., what happiness or enjoyment we shall obtain by them, is doubtful in a much higher degree. Indeed, the unsatisfactory nature of the evidence, with which we are obliged to take up in the daily course of life, is scarce to be expressed. Yet men do not throw away life, or disregard the interests of it, upon account of this doubtfulness. The evidence of religion then being admitted real, those who object against it, as not satisfactory, i. e., as not being what they wish it, plainly forget the very condition of our being; for satisfaction, in this sense, does not belong to such a creature as man. And, which is more material, they forget also the very nature of religion. For, religion presupposes, in all those who will embrace it, a certain degree of integrity and honesty; which it was intended to try whether men have or not, and to exercise in such as have it, in order to its improvement. Religion presupposes this as much, and in the same sense, as speaking to a man presupposes that he understands the language in which you speak; or as warning a man of any danger presupposes that he hath such a regard to himself as that he will endeavor to avoid it. And therefore the question is not at all, Whether the evidence of religion be satisfactory; but Whether it be, in reason, sufficient to prove and discipline that virtue, which it presupposes. Now the evidence of it is fully sufficient for all these purposes of probation; how far soever it is from being satisfactory, as to the purposes of curiosity, or any other: and indeed it answers the purposes of the former in several respects, which it would not do if it were as overbearing as is required.