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And trembling all about the breezy dells,
As fluttered by the wings of cherubim.
Meanwhile the bees are chanting a low hymn;
And, lost to sight, the ecstatic lark above
Sings, like a soul beatified, of love,
With, now and then, the coo of the wild pigeon;-
O pagans, heathens, infidels, and doubters!
If such sweet sounds can't woo you to religion,
Will the harsh voices of church cads and touters?
A man may cry Church! Church! at every word,
With no more piety than other people,
A daw's not reckoned a religious bird
Because it keeps a-cawing from a steeple ;
The Temple is a good, a holy place,
But quacking only gives it an ill savor,
While saintly mountebanks the porch disgrace,
And bring religion's self into disfavor!
I have not sought, 't is true, the Holy Land,
As full of texts as Cuddie Headrigg's mother,
The Bible in one hand,
And my own commonplace-book in the other;
But you have been to Palestine - alas !
Some minds improve by travel; others, rather,
Resemble copper wire or brass,
Which gets the narrower by going farther!
Worthless are all such pilgrimages — very!
If Palmers at the Holy Tomb contrive
The human heats and rancor to revive
That at the Sepulchre they ought to bury.
A sorry sight it is to rest the eye on,
To see a Christian creature graze at Sion,
Then homeward, of the saintly pasture full,
Rush bellowing, and breathing fire and smoke,
At crippled Papistry to butt and poke,
Exactly as a skittish Scottish bull
Hunts an old woman in a scarlet cloke.
Suppose the tender but luxuriant hop
Around a cankered stem should twine,
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
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
Those vales so verdant, and those hills so blue;
Enjoy the sunny world, so fresh and fair,
But" (how the simple legend pierced me through !)
"PRIEZ POUR LES MALHEUREUX."
With sweet kind natures, as in honeyed cells, Religion lives, and feels herself at home;
"Look here," he cries, (to give him words,) "Thou feathered clay, thou scum of birds!"Flirting the rustling plumage in her eyes,
"Look here, thou vile predestined sinner, Doomed to be roasted for a dinner, Behold these lovely variegated dyes! These are the rainbow colors of the skies, That heaven has shed upon me con amore, A Bird of Paradise? a pretty story! I am that Saintly Fowl, thou paltry chick! Look at my crown of glory!
Thou dingy, dirty, dabbled, draggled jill !" And off goes Partlett, wriggling from a kick, With bleeding scalp laid open by his bill!
That little simile exactly paints
How sinners are despised by saints.
By saints! the Hypocrites that
Obsequious to the sinful man of riches ;
But put the wicked, naked, barelegged poor
In parish stocks, instead of breeches.
Thrice blessed, rather, is the man with whom
The gracious prodigality of nature,
The balm, the bliss, the beauty, and the bloom,
The bounteous providence in every feature,
Recall the good Creator to his creature,
Making all earth a fane, all heaven its dome !
Letcle creps up quite undehaarse
An' peeked on thom the winder
In' there sot Stulby all alone
Such a parogon is woman
That, you see, it must be true
The is always weastly better
Thaw the best that the can do