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A soul exalted above earth; a mind
Skilled in the characters that form mankind;
And, as the sun in rising beauty drest,
Looks to the westward from the dappled east,
And marks, whatever clouds
Ere yet his race begins, its glorious close;
An eye like his to catch the distant goal;
Or, ere the wheels of verse begin to roll,
Like his to shed illuminating rays
On every scene and subject it surveys :
Thus graced, the man asserts a poet's name,
And the world cheerfully admits the claim.
MORAL MAXIMS, EPIGRAMS, &c.
I. LIVE WHILE YOU LIVE 1
“LIVE while you live,” the epicure would say,
And seize the pleasures of the present day.
“Live while you live,” the sacred preacher cries,
“And give to God each moment as it flies.”
Lord! in my views let both united be;
I live in pleasure when I live to Thee.
II. LINES UNDER MILTON'S PORTRAIT.
THREE poets in three distant ages born,
Greece, Italy, and England, did adorn.
The first in loftiness of thought surpassed;
The next in majesty; in both the last.
The force of nature could no further go,
To make a third, she joined the former two.
The wretch, condemned with life to part,
Still, still on hope relies;
And every pang that rends' the heart
Bids expectationo rise.
(1) Dr. Johnson has pronounced this epigram the finest in the language.
(2) Expectation-is here employed in precisely the same sense as hope; for the distinction between them, see note 1, p. 203.
Hope, like the glimmering taper's light,
Adorns and cheers the
And still, as darker grows the night,
Emits a brighter ray.
IV. LINES WRITTEN BY LORD BYRON IN HIS BIBLE.2
WITHIN this awful volume lies
The mystery of mysteries :
Happiest they of human race,
To whom their God has given grace
To read, to fear, to hope, to pray,
To lift the latch-to force the way;
But better had they ne'er been born
Who read to doubt, or read to scorn.
THE wise and active conquer difficulties
By daring to attempt them : sloth and folly.
Shiver and shrink at sight of toil and hazard,
And make the impossibility they fear.
O’ER crackling ice, o'er gulfs profound,
With nimble glide the skaters play:
O'er treacherous pleasure's flowery ground,
Thus lightly skim and haste away.
IF thou wishest to be wise,
Keep these words before thine eyes :-
What thou speak’st, and how, beware!
Of whom—to whom-when-and where.
(1) Like the, &c.—It is scarcely necessary to point out the singular beauty of this stanza, “which," as Mr. Montgomery has remarked, “like the taper itself, grows clearer and brighter the more it is contemplated."
(2) These lines may be found in one of Sir Walter Scott's tales; their application to a worthier subject is said to be originally due to Lord Byron, as above stated.
IX. CONQUER BY KINDNESS.
SAFER to reconcile a foe, than make
A conquest of him, for the conquest's sake;
This tames the power of doing present ill,
But that disarms him of the very will.
What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted ?
Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just;
And he but naked, though locked up in steel,
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.
From the Latin of Milton.
CONTEMPLATE when the sun declines
Thy death, with deep reflection;
And when again he rising shines,
Thy day of resurrection !
XIII. THE WORLD'S WEALTH.
The swelling of an outward fortune can
Create a prosperous, not a happy man ;
A peaceful Conscience is the true Content,
And Wealth is but her golden ornament.
From the Latin of Martial. « To-MORROW I will live," the fool doth say-To-day itself's too late; the wise lived yesterday.
XV. LET TRUE WORTH BE SEEN.
To hide true worth from public view,
Is burying diamonds in their mine;
All is not gold that shines, 'tis true;
But all that is gold-ought to shine!
THERE is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
What is grandeur, what is power ?
Heavier toil, superior pain.
What the bright reward we gain ?
The grateful memory of the good.
Sweet is the breath of vernal shower,
The bee's collected treasures sweet,
Sweet Music's melting fall; but sweeter yet
The still small voice of Gratitude.
Who read a chapter when they rise,
Shall ne'er be troubled with ill eyes.
Who shuts his hand hath lost his gold;
it hath it twice told.
Who goes to bed and doth not pray,
Maketh two nights to every day.
Who by aspersions throw a stone
At the head of others, hit their own.
XIX. WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE.
KNOWLEDGE descries alone; Wisdom applies ;
That makes some fools, this maketh none but wise.
In my afflictions, Knowledge apprehends
Who is the author, what the cause, and ends :
It finds that Patience is my sad relief,
And that the hand that caused can cure my grief.
To rest contented here is but to bring
Clouds without rain, and heat without a spring;
But sacred Wisdom doth apply that good
Which simple Knowledge barely understood.
Wisdom concludes, and in conclusion proves,
That wheresoever God corrects, he loves.
LIKE to the falling of a star,
Or as the flights of eagles are;
Or like the fresh spring's gaudy hue,
Or silver drops of morning dew;
Or like a wind that chafes the flood,
Or bubbles which on water stood :
Even such is man, whose borrowed light
Is straight called in, and paid to-night.
The wind blows out, the bubble dies;
The spring entombed in autumn lies;
The dew dries up, the star is shot;
The flight is past—and man forgot !