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The grand effect: acknowledges with joy
His manner, and with rapture taftes his style.
But never yet did philosophic tube,
That brings the planets home into the eye
Of observation, and discovers, else
Not visible, his family of worlds,
Discover him that rules them ; such a veil
Hangs over mortal eyes, blind from the birth,
And dark in things divine. Full often too
Our wayward intellect, the more we learn
Of nature, overlooks her author more,
From instrumental causes proud to draw
Conclusions retrograde, and mad mistake.
But if his word once teach us, shoot a ray
Through all the heart's dark chambers, and reveal
Truths undiscern’d, but by that holy light,
Then all is plain. Philofophy baptiz’d
fountain of eternal love
Has eyes indeed ; and viewing all she fees,
As meant to indicate a God to man,
Gives him his praise, and forfeits not her own.
Learning has borne such fruit in other days
On all her branches: piety has found
Friends in the friends of science, and true pray’r
Has flow'd from lips wet with Castalian dews.
Such was thy wisdom, Newton, childlike sage!
Sagacious reader of the works of God,
And in his word sagacious. Such too thine,
Milton, whose genius had angelic wings,
And fed on marna. And such thine, in whom
Our British Themis gloried with just cause,
Immortal Hale! for deep discernment prais’d,
And found integrity not more, than fam'd
For fanctity of manners undefild.
All flesh is grass, and all its glory fades Like the fair flow'r dishevell’d in the wind ;
Riches have wings, and grandeur is a dream:
The man we celebrate must find a tomb,
And we that worship him, ignoble graves.
Nothing is proof against the general curse
Of vanity, that seizes all below.
The only amaranthine flow'r on earth
Is virtue; th' only lasting treasure, truth.
But what is truth ? 'twas Pilate's question put
To Truth itself, that deign’d him no reply.
And wherefore? will not God impart his light
To them that ask it ?-Freely—'tis his joy,
His glory, and his nature to impart.
But to the proud, uncandid, insincere,
Or negligent enquirer, not a spark.
What's that which brings contempt upon a book,
And him who writes it, though the style be neat,
The method clear, and argument exact ?
That makes a minister in holy things
The joy of many, and the dread of more,
His name a theme for praise and for reproach?
That while it gives us worth in God's account,
Depreciates and undoes us in our own ?
What pearl is it that rich men cannot buy,
That learning is too proud to gather up,
But which the poor, and the despis’d of all,
Seek and obtain, and often find unsought ?
Tell me, and I will tell thee, what is truth.
O friendly to the best pursuits of man,
Friendly to thought, to virtue, and to peace,
Domestic life in rural leisure pass’d!
Few know thy value, and few taste thy sweets,
Though many boast thy favours, and affect
To understand and chuse thee for their own.
But foolish man foregoes his proper bliss,
Ev'n as his first progenitor, and quits,
Though placed in paradise (for earth has still
Some traces of her youthful beauty left)
Substantial happiness for transient joy.
Scenes form'd for contemplation, and to nurse
The growing seeds of wisdom ; that suggest,
By ev'ry pleasing image they present,
Reflections such as meliorate the heart,
Compose the passions, and exalt the mind;
Scenes such as these, 'tis his supreme delight
To fill with riot, and defile with blood.
Should some contagion, kind to the poor brutes
We persecute, annihilate the tribes
That draw the sportsman over hill and dale
Fearless, and rapt away from all his cares;
Should never game-fowl hatch her eggs again,
Nor baited hook deceive the fishes eye;
Could pageantry and dance, and feast and song,
Be quell'd in all our summer-months retreat ;
self-deluded nymphs and swains,
Who dream they have a taste for fields and groves,
Would find them hideous nurs’ries of the spleen,
And crowd the roads, impatient for the town!
They love the country, and none else, who seek
For their own fake its silence and its shade.
Delights which who would leave, that has a heart
Susceptible of pity, or a mind
Cultur'd and capable of sober thought,