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Thy mercies never shall remove,
The Sun of Righteousness on me
Hath rose, with healing in His wings;
Contented now upon my thigh
I halt, till life's short journey end; All helplessness, all weakness, I
On Thee alone for strength depend; Nor have I power from Thee to move; Thy Nature, and Thy Name, is Love.
Lame as I am, I take the prey,
Hell, earth, and sin, with ease o'ercome;
I leap for joy, pursue my way,
And as a bounding hart fly home!
Weary of all this wordy strife,
These notions, forms, and modes, and names, To Thee, the Way, the Truth, the Life,
Whose love my simple heart inflames,
Forth from the midst of Babel brought,
Parties and sects I cast behind;
Redeem'd by Thine almighty grace,
But cleave to those who cleave to Thee; But only in Thy saints delight,
Who walk with God in purest white.
One with the little flock I rest,
The members sound who hold the Head; The chosen few, with pardon blest,
And by the anointing Spirit led Into the mind that was in Thee, Into the depths of Deity.
My brethren, friends, and kinsmen these,
And all Thy counsels to fulfil,
For these, howe'er in flesh disjoin'd,
Where'er dispersed o'er earth abroad, Unfeigned unbounded love I find,
And constant as the life of God; Fountain of life, from thence it sprung, As pure, as even, and as strong.
Joined to the hidden church unknown
And glory in the uniting grace,
AN HYMN FOR SERIOUSNESS.
Thou God of glorious majesty,
A worm of earth I cry,
Lo! on a narrow neck of land,
A point of life, a moment's space
O God, mine inmost soul convert,
Give me to feel their solemn weight,
Before me place in dread array
When Thou with clouds shalt come
Said to have been suggested by a rocky isthmus at the Land's End in Cornwall
Be this my one great business here,
My future bliss to insure,
Then, Saviour, then my soul receive, Transported from the vale, to live
And reign with Thee above, Where faith is sweetly lost in sight, And hope in full supreme delight, And everlasting love.
[SHENSTONE was born at the Leasowes, near Hales Owen in 1714: he died at the same place in 1763. In 1737, while still at Pembroke College, Oxford, he published some miscellaneous poems anonymously. The Judgment of Hercules appeared in 1741, The Schoolmistress next year. works, prose and verse, were published in 1764, the year after his death.]
Shenstone is our principal master of what may perhaps be called the artificial-natural style in poetry; and the somewhat lasting hold which some at least of his poems have taken on the popular ear is the best testimony that can be produced to his merit. It is very hard to shape any critical canons likely to pass muster nowadays, and yet capable of saving the bulk of his verse. But the first and second of his Pastoral Ballads always fix themselves in the memory of those who, possessing that faculty, are set in childhood to the not very grateful task of learning them; and on re-reading them years after, they do not wholly lose their charm, though the reader may be tempted rather to smile than to sympathise. The Schoolmistress, especially the charming passage here, as usually, given, has something of the same grace, so has the Dying Kid; while the poem on St. Valentine's Day would perhaps be the best of Shenstone's works but for some inexcusable negligences of expression which ten minutes study would have corrected. It is difficult to believe that Shenstone ever gave much study to his work, or that he possessed any critical faculty. His elegies, though not always devoid of music, are but dreary stuff, and his more ambitious poems still drearier. His attempts at the style of Prior and Gay are for the most part valueless. Yet when all this is discarded, 'My banks they are furnished with bees,' and a few other such things, obstinately recur to the memory and assert that their author after all was a poet. In the mixture of grace and pathos with a certain triviality, with much that is artificial, and with not a little that is downright foolish, Shenstone comes nearer to Goldsmith than to any other English author. His tenderness,