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tention of rising to notice; but the change of the ministry at Queen Anne's death put an end to his more brilliant prospects in the church. By means, however, of Swift's recommendation to Archbishop King, he obtained a prebend, and the valuable living of Finglass.
THOMAS PARNELL, an agreeable poet, was descended from an ancient family in Cheshire. His father, who was attached to the cause of the Parliament in the civil wars of Charles I., withdrew to Ireland after the Restoration, where he purchased an estate. His eldest son, Thomas, was born at Dublin, in 1679, and received his school education His domestic happiness received a severe shock in that city. At an early age he was removed to in 1712, by the death of his beloved wife; and it the college, where he was admitted to the degree was the effect on his spirits of this affliction, which of M A. in 1700, took deacon's orders in the same led him into such a habit of intemperance in wine, year, and was ordained priest three years after-as shortened his days. This, at least, is the gloss wards. In 1705 he was presented to the arch- put upon the circumstance by his historian, Golddeaconry of Clogher, and about the same time smith, who represents him, "as in some measure a married a lady of great beauty and merit. He now martyr to conjugal fidelity." But it can scarcely be began to make those frequent excursions to England, doubted, that this mode of life had already been in which the most desirable part of his life was formed when his very unequal spirits had required thenceforth spent. His first connexions were prin- the aid of a glass for his support. He died at Chescipally with the Whigs, at that time in power; and ter, on his way to Ireland, in July 1717, in the Addison, Congreve, and Steele, are named among thirty-eighth year of his age, and was buried in his chief companions. When, at the latter part of Trinity Church, in that city. Queen Anne's reign, the Tories were triumphant, Parnell was the author of several pieces, both in Parnell deserted his former friends, and associated prose and verse; but it is only by the latter that he with Swift, Pope, Gay, and Arbuthnot. Swift in- is now known. Of these a collection was published troduced him to Lord-Treasurer Harley; and, with by Pope, with a dedication to the Earl of Oxford. the dictatorial air which he was fond of assuming, Their characters are ease, sprightliness, fancy, clearinsisted upon the Treasurer's going with his staff in ness of language, and melody of versification; and his hand into the antichamber, where Parnell was though not ranking among the most finished produc. waiting to welcome him. It is said of this poet, tions of the British muse, they claim a place among that every year, as soon as he had collected the the most pleasing. A large addition to these was rents of his estate, and the revenue of his benefices, made in a work printed in Dublin, in 1758, of he came over to England, and spent some months, which Dr. Johnson says, "I know not whence they living in an elegant style, and rather impairing than came, nor have ever inquired whither they are improving his fortune. At this time he was an as- going." siduous preacher in the London pulpits, with the in
A NIGHT-PIECE ON DEATH.
By the blue taper's trembling light,
No more I waste the wakeful night,
Intent with endless view to pore
The schoolmen and the sages o'er:
Their books from wisdom widely stray,
Or point at best the longest way.
I'll seek a readier path, and go
Where wisdom's surely taught below.
How deep yon azure dyes the sky!
Where orbs of gold unnumber'd lie,
While through their ranks in silver pride
The nether crescent seems to glide.
The slumbering breeze forgets to breathe,
The lake is smooth and clear beneath,
Where once again the spangled show
Descends to meet our eyes below.
The grounds, which on the right aspire,
In dimness from the view retire:
The left presents a place of graves,
Whose wall the silent water laves.
That steeple guides thy doubtful sight
Among the livid gleams of night.
There pass with melancholy state
By all the solemn heaps of Fate,
And think, as softly-sad you tread
Above the venerable dead,
Time was, like thee, they life possest,
And time shall be, that thou shalt rest.
Those with bending osier bound,
That nameless heave the crumbled ground
Quick to the glancing thought disclose,
Where toil and poverty repose.
The flat smooth stones that bear a name, The chisel's slender help to fame, (Which ere our set of friends decay Their frequent steps may wear away) A middle race of mortals own, Men, half ambitious, all unknown.
The marble tombs that rise on high, Whose dead in vaulted arches lie, Whose pillars swell with sculptur'd stones Arms, angels, epitaphs, and bones, These, all the poor remains of state, Adorn the rich, or praise the great; Who, while on Earth in fame they live, Are senseless of the fame they give.
Ha! while I gaze, pale Cynthia fades,
The bursting earth unveils the shades!
All slow, and wan, and wrapp'd with shrouds, They rise in visionary crowds,
And all with sober accent cry,
"Think, mortal, what it is to die."
Now from yon black and funeral yew, That bathes the charnel-house with dew, Methinks, I hear a voice begin;
(Ye ravens, cease your croaking din,
Ye tolling clocks, no time resound
O'er the long lake and midnight ground!)
It sends a peal of hollow groans,
Thus speaking from among the bones.
"When men my scythe and darts supply,
How great a king of fears am I!
They view me like the last of things;
They make, and then they draw, my strings.
Fools! if you less provok'd your fears,
No more my spectre-form appears.
Death's but a path that must be trod,
If man would ever pass to God;
A port of calms, a state to ease
From the rough rage of swelling seas.”
Why then thy flowing sable stoles,
Deep pendent cypress, mourning poles,
Loose scarfs to fall athwart thy weeds,
Long palls, drawn hearses, cover'd steeds,
And plumes of black, that, as they tread,
Nod o'er the escutcheons of the dead?
Nor can the parted body know,
Nor wants the soul these forms of woe;
As men who long in prison dwell,
With lamps that glimmer round the cell,
Whene'er their suffering years are run,
Spring forth to greet the glittering Sun:
Such joy, though far transcending sense,
Have pious souls at parting hence.
On Earth, and in the body plac'd,
A few, and evil years, they waste:
But when their chains are cast aside,
See the glad scene unfolding wide,
Clap the glad wing, and tower away,
And mingle with the blaze of day.
FAR in a wild, unknown to public view,
From youth to age a reverend hermit grew;
The moss his bed, the cave his humble cell,
His food the fruits, his drink the crystal well:
Remote from men, with God he pass'd the days,
Prayer all his business, all his pleasure praise.
A life so sacred, such serene repose,
Seem'd Heaven itself, till one suggestion rose ;
That Vice should triumph, Virtue, Vice obey,
This sprung some doubt of Providence's sway:
His hopes no more a certain prospect boast,
And all the tenor of his soul is lost:
So when a smooth expanse receives imprest
Calm Nature's image on its watery breast,
Down bend the banks, the trees depending grow,
And skies beneath with answering colors glow:
But if a stone the gentle sea divide,
Swift ruffling circles curl on every side,
And glimmering fragments of a broken Sun,
Banks, trees, and skies, in thick disorder run.
To clear this doubt, to know the world by sight,
To find if books, or swains, report it right,
(For yet by swains alone the world he knew,
Whose feet came wandering o'er the nightly dew)
He quits his cell; the pilgrim-staff he bore,
And fix'd the scallop in his hat before;
Then with the Sun a rising journey went,
Sedate to think, and watching each event.
The morn was wasted in the pathless grass, And long and lonesome was the wild to pass; But when the southern Sun had warm'd the day, A youth came posting o'er a crossing way; His raiment decent, his complexion fair, And soft in graceful ringlets wav'd his hair. Then near approaching, "Father, hail!" he cried, "And hail, my son," the reverend sire replied; Words follow'd words, from question answer flow'd, And talk of various kind deceiv'd the road; Till each with other pleas'd, and loth to part, While in their age they differ, join in heart. Thus stands an aged elm in ivy bound, Thus youthful ivy clasps an elm around.
Now sunk the Sun; the closing hour of day
Came onward, mantled o'er with sober grey;
Nature in silence bid the world repose;
When near the road a stately palace rose:
There by the Moon through ranks of trees they pass,
Whose verdure crown'd their sloping sides of grass.
It chanc'd the noble master of the dome
Still made his house the wandering stranger's home:
Yet still the kindness, from a thirst of praise,
Prov'd the vain flourish of expensive ease.
The pair arrive: the liv'ried servants wait;
Their lord receives them at the pompous gate.
The table groans with costly piles of food,
And all is more than hospitably good.
Then led to rest, the day's long toil they drown,
Deep sunk in sleep, and silk, and heaps of down.
At length 'tis morn, and at the dawn of day,
Along the wide canals the zephyrs play:
Fresh o'er the gay parterres the breezes creep,
And shake the neighboring wood to banish sleep.
Up rise the guests, obedient to the call:
An early banquet deck'd the splendid hall;
Rich luscious wine a golden goblet grac'd,
Which the kind master forc'd the guests to taste.
Then, pleas'd and thankful, from the porch they go;
And, but the landlord, none had cause of woe:
His cup was vanish'd; for in secret guise
The younger guest purloin'd the glittering prize.
As one who spies a serpent in his way,
Glistening and basking in the summer ray,
Disorder'd stops to shun the danger near,
Then walks with faintness on, and looks with fear,
So seem'd the sire; when far upon the road,
The shining spoil his wily partner show'd.
He stopp'd with silence, walk'd with trembling heart,
And much he wish'd, but durst not ask to part:
Murmuring he lifts his eyes, and thinks it hard,
That generous actions meet a base reward.
While thus they pass, the Sun his glory shrouds,
The changing skies hang out their sable clouds;
A sound in air presag'd approaching rain,
And beasts to covert scud across the plain.
Warn'd by the signs, the wandering pair retreat,
To seek for shelter at a neighboring seat.
'Twas built with turrets on a rising ground,
And strong, and large, and unimprov'd around;
Its owner's temper, timorous and severe,
Unkind and griping, caus'd a desert there.
As near the miser's heavy doors they drew,
Fierce rising gusts with sudden fury blew;
The nimble lightning mix'd with showers began,
And o'er their heads loud rolling thunders ran.
Here long they knock, but knock or call in vain,
Driven by the wind, and batter'd by the rain.
At length some pity warm'd the master's breast,
('Twas then his threshold first receiv'd a guest);
Slow creaking turns the door with jealous care,
And half he welcomes in the shivering pair;
One frugal fagot lights the naked walls,
And Nature's fervor through their limbs recalls:
Bread of the coarsest sort, with eager wine,
(Each hardly granted) serv'd them both to dine;
And when the tempest first appear'd to cease,
A ready warning bid them part in peace.
With still remark the pondering hermit view'd, In one so rich, a life so poor and rude; "And why should such," within himself he cried "Lock the lost wealth a thousand want beside ?" But what new marks of wonder soon take place, In every settling feature of his face;
When from his vest the young companion bore
That cup, the generous landlord own'd before,
And paid profusely with the precious bowl
The stinted kindness of this churlish soul.
But now the clouds in airy tumult fly!
The Sun emerging opes an azure sky;
A fresher green the smelling leaves display,
And, glittering as they tremble, cheer the day:
The weather courts them from the poor retreat,
And the glad master bolts the wary gate.
Though loud at first the pilgrim's passion grew,
|Sudden he gaz'd, and wist not what to do;
Surprise in secret chains his words suspends,
And in a calm his settling temper ends.
But silence here the beauteous angel broke
(The voice of music ravish'd as he spoke.)
"Thy prayer, thy praise, thy life to vice unknown,
In sweet memorial rise before the throne:
These charms, success in our bright region find,
And force an angel down, to calm thy mind;
While hence they walk, the pilgrim's bosom For this, commission'd, I forsook the sky,
With all the travel of uncertain thought;
His partner's acts without their cause appear,
Twas there a vice, and seem'd a madness here:
Detesting that, and pitying this, he goes,
Lost and confounded with the various shows.
Now Night's dim shades again involve the sky,
Again the wanderers want a place to lie,
Again they search, and find a lodging nigh,
The soil improv'd around, the mansion neat,
And neither poorly low, nor idly great:
It seem'd to speak its master's turn of mind,
Content, and not to praise, but virtue kind.
Hither the walkers turn with weary feet, Then bless the mansion, and the master greet: Their greeting fair, bestow'd with modest guise, The courteous master hears, and thus replies:
Without a vain, without a grudging heart, To him who gives us all, I yield a part; From him you come, for him accept it here, A frank and sober, more than costly cheer." He spoke, and bid the welcome table spread, Then talk of virtue till the time of bed, When the grave household round his hall repair, Warn'd by a bell, and close the hours with prayer.
At length the world, renew'd by calm repose,
Was strong for toil, the dappled Morn arose;
Before the pilgrims part, the younger crept
Near the clos'd cradle where an infant slept,
And writh'd his neck: the landlord's little pride,
O strange return! grew black, and gasp'd, and died.
Horror of horrors! what! his only son!
How look'd our hermit when the fact was done;
Not Hell, though Hell's black jaws in sunder part,
And breathe blue fire, could more assault his heart.
Confus'd, and struck with silence at the deed,
He flies, but trembling, fails to fly with speed.
His steps the youth pursues; the country lay
Perplex'd with roads, a servant show'd the way:
A river cross'd the path; the passage o'er
Was nice to find; the servant trod before;
Long arms of oaks an open bridge supplied,
And deep the waves beneath the bending glide.
The youth, who seem'd to watch a time to sin,
Approach'd the careless guide, and thrust him in;
Plunging he falls, and rising lifts his head,
Then flashing turns, and sinks among the dead.
Wild, sparkling rage inflames the father's eyes,
He bursts the bands of fear, and madly cries,
"Detested wretch!"-But scarce his speech began,
When the strange partner seem'd no longer man:
His youthful face grew more serenely sweet;
His robe turn'd white, and flow'd upon his feet;
Fair rounds of radiant points invest his hair;
Celestial odors breathe through purpled air;
And wings, whose colors glitter'd on the day,
Wide at his back their gradual plumes display.
The form ethereal burst upon his sight,
And moves in all the majesty of light.
Nay, cease to kneel-thy fellow-servant I. "Then know the truth of government divine, And let these scruples be no longer thine. "The Maker justly claims that world he made, In this the right of Providence is laid; Its sacred majesty through all depends On using second means to work his ends: "Tis thus, withdrawn in state from human eye, The power exerts his attributes on high, Your actions uses, nor controls your will, And bids the doubting sons of men be still.
"What strange events can strike with more surprise,
Than those which lately struck thy wondering eyes?
Yet, taught by these, confess th' Almighty just,
And where you can't unriddle, learn to trust!
"The great, vain man, who far'd on costly food,
Whose life was too luxurious to be good;
Who made his ivory stands with goblets shine,
And forc'd his guests to morning draughts of wine,
Has, with the cup, the graceless custom lost,
And still he welcomes, but with less of cost.
"The mean, suspicious wretch, whose bolted door
Ne'er mov'd in duty to the wandering poor;
With him I left the cup, to teach his mind
That Heaven can bless, if mortals will be kind.
Conscious of wanting worth, he views the bowl,
And feels compassion touch his grateful soul.
Thus artists melt the sullen ore of lead,
With heaping coals of fire upon his head;
In the kind warmth the metal learns to glow,
And loose from dross the silver runs below.
'Long had our pious friend in virtue trod, But now the child half-wean'd his heart from God;
(Child of his age) for him he liv'd in pain,
And measur'd back his steps to Earth again.
To what excesses had his dotage run?
But God, to save the father, took the son.
To all but thee, in fits he seem'd to go,
(And 'twas my ministry to deal the blow,)
The poor fond parent, humbled in the dust,
Now owns in tears the punishment was just.
"But now had all his fortune felt a wrack,
Had that false servant sped in safety back;
This night his treasur'd heaps he meant to steal,
And what a fund of charity would fail!
Thus Heaven instructs thy mind: this trial o'er,
Depart in peace, resign, and sin no more."
On sounding pinions here the youth withdrew, The sage stood wondering as the seraph flew. Thus look'd Elisha when, to mount on high, His master took the chariot of the sky; The fiery pomp ascending left to view; The prophet gaz'd, and wish'd to follow too.
The bending hermit here a prayer begun, "Lord! as in Heaven, on Earth thy will be done :' Then gladly turning sought his ancient place, And pass'd a life of piety and peace.