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Through every period of my life
Thy goodness I'll pursue ;
The glorious theme renew.
When nature fails, and day and night
Divide thy works no more,
Thy mercy shall adore.
A joyful song I'll raise ;
To utter all thy praise.
Spectator No. 465. The confirmation of faith.
The Supreme Being has made the best arguments for his own existence in the formation of the heavens and earth ; and these are arguments which a man of sense cannot forbear attending to, who is out of the noise and hurry of human affairs. Aristotle says, that should a man live under ground, and there converse with works of art and mechanism, and should afterwards be brought up into the open day, and see the several glories of the heaven and earth, he would immediately pronounce them the works of such a being as we define God to be. The psalmist has very beautiful strokes of poetry to this purpose in that exalted strain, “The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament sheweth his handy-work. One day telleth another : and one night certifieth another. There is neither speech nor language: but their voices are heard among them. Their sound is gone out into all the lands: and their words unto the ends of the world.” As such a bold and sublime manner of thinking furnished very noble matter for an ode, the reader may see it wrought into the following one:
Thy mercy sweeten'd every soil,
Made every region please :
And smooth'd the Tyrrhene seas.
Think, O my soul, devoutly think,
How, with affrighted eyes,
In all its horrors rise !
Confusion dwelt in every face,
And fear in every heart : When waves on waves, and gulfs on gulfs,
O’ercame the pilot's art.
Yet then from all my griefs, O Lord,
Thy mercy set me free,
My soul took hold on thee.
For though in dreadful whirls we hung
High on the broken wave,
Nor impotent to save.
The storm was laid, the winds retired,
Obedient to thy will ;
At thy command was still.
In midst of dangers, fears, and death,
Thy goodness I'll adore,
And humbly hope for more.
My life, if thou preserv'st my life,
Thy sacrifice shall be ;
Shall join my soul to thee.
Spectator No. 513. A thought in sickness.
When, rising from the bed of death,
O’erwhelm'd with guilt and fear, I see my Maker, face to face,
O how shall I appear !
If yet, while pardon may be found,
And mercy may be sought,
And trembles at the thought ;
When thou, O Lord, shalt stand disclosed,
In majesty severe,
O how shall I appear !
But thou hast told the troubled mind,
Who does her sins lament, The timely tribute of her tears
Shall endless woe prevent.
Then see the sorrows of my heart,
Ere yet it be too late ;
To give those sorrows weight.
For never shall my soul despair
Her pardon to procure,
To make her pardon sure.
LIFE AND WRITINGS OF ADDISON.
The Life of Joseph Addison. By Lucy AIKIN. London : 1843.
SOME reviewers are of opinion that a lady who dares to publish a book renounces by that act the franchises appertaining to her sex, and can claim no exemption from the utmost rigor of critical procedure. From that opinion we dissent. We admit, indeed, that in a country which boasts of many female writers, eminently qualified by their talents and acquirements to influence the public mind, it would be of most pernicious consequence that inaccurate history or unsound philosophy should be suffered to pass uncensured, merely because the offender chanced to be a lady. But we conceive that, on such occasions, a critic would do well to imitate the courteous knight who found himself compelled by duty to keep the lists against Bradamante. He, we are told, defended successfully the cause of which he was the champion; but, before the fight began, exchanged Balisarda for a less deadly sword, of which he carefully blunted the point and edge.
Nor are the immunities of sex the only immunities which Miss Aikin may rightfully plead. Several of her works,
1 Orlando Furioso, xlv., 68.