Imagens das páginas

They quoted books, to him both bold and new,
And scorn'd as fables all he held as true;
“ Such monkish stories and such nursery lies,”
That he was struck with terror and surprise.

“ What! all his life had he the laws obey'd, “ Which they broke through and were not once afraid ? “ Had he so long his evil passions check’d, “ And yet at last had nothing to expect ? “ While they their lives in joy and pleasure led, “ And then had nothing, at the end, to dread? “ Was all his priest with so much zeal convey'd, “ A part! a speech ! for which the man was paid ? “ And were his pious books, his solemn prayers, « Not worth one tale of the admired Voltaire's ? “ Then was it time, while yet some years remain'd, “ To drink untroubled and to think unchain'd, “ And on all pleasures, which his purse could give,

Freely to seize, and while he lived, to live.”

Much time he passed in this important strife,
The bliss or bane of his remaining life;
For converts all are made with care and grief,
And pangs attend the birth of unbelief;
Nor pass they soon ;-with awe and fear he took
The flow'ry way, and cast back many a look.

The youths applauded much. his wise design,
With weighty reasoning o'er their evening wine ;

And much in private 'twould their mirth improve,
To hear how Abel spake of life and love;
To hear him own what grievous pains it cost,
Ere the old saint was in the sinner lost,
Ere his poor mind with every deed alarmd,
By wit was settled, and by vice was charm’d.

For Abel enter'd in his bold career,
Like boys on ice, with pleasure and with fear;
Lingering, yet longing for the joy, he went,
Repenting now, now dreading to repent :
With awkward pace, and with himself at war,
Far gone, yet frightend that he went so far;
Oft for his efforts he'd solicit praise,
And then proceed with blunders and delays:
The young more aptly passion's calls pursue,

and weakness start at scenes so new, And tremble when they've done, for all they dared

to do.

At length example Abel's dread removed,
With small concern he sought the joys he loved ;
Not resting here, he claim'd his share of fame,
And first their votary, then their wit became;
His jest was bitter and his satire bold,
When he his tales of formal brethren told;
What time with pious neighbours he discussid,
Their boasted treasure and their boundless trust :


“ Such were our dreams,” the jovial elder cried ;
“ Awake and live,” his youthful friends replied.

Now the gay clerk a modest drab despised,
And clad him smartly as his friends advised;
So fine a coat upon his back he threw,
That not an alley-boy old Abel knew;
Broad polish'd buttons blazed that coat upon,
And just beneath the watch's trinkets shone,-
A splendid watch, that pointed out the time,
To fly from business and make free with crime:
The crimson waistcoat and the silken hose
Rank'd the lean man among the Borough beaux :
His raven hair he cropp'd with fierce disdain,
And light elastic locks encased his brain:
More pliant pupil who could hope to find,
So deck'd in person and so changed in mind ?

When Abel walk'd the streets, with pleasant mien
He met his friends, delighted to be seen;
And when he rode along the public way,
No beaụ so gaudy and no youth so gay.

His pious sister, now an ancient maid,
For Abel fearing, first in secret pray’d;
Then thus in love and scorn her notions she convey'd :
66 Alas!

“ Hoodwink'd to hell, and not lament thy case,
“ Nor stretch my feeble hand to stop thy headlong race?

my brother! can I see thee


Lo! thou art bound; a slave in Satan's chain, “ The righteous Abel turn’d the wretched Cain ; “ His brother's blood against the murderer cried,

Against thee thine, unhappy suicide ! “ Are all our pious nights and peaceful days, “ Our evening readings and our morning praise, “ Our spirits' comfort in the trials sent, “ Our hearts' rejoicings in the blessings lent, “ All that o'er grief a cheering influence shed, " Are these for ever and for ever fled ?

“ When in the years gone by, the trying years, “ When faith and hope had strife with wants and fears, “ Thy nerves have trembled till thou couldst not eat “ (Dress’d by this hand) thy mess of simple meat; “ When, grieved by fastings, gall’d by fates severe, “ Slow pass’d the days of the successless year; “ Still in these gloomy hours, my brother then “ Had glorious views, unseen by prosperous men: “ And when thy heart has felt its wish denied, 6 What gracious texts hast thou to grief applied; 66 Till thou hast enter'd in thine humble bed,

By lofty hopes and heavenly musings fed ; “ Then I have seen thy lively looks express “ The spirit's comforts in the man's distress.

“ Then didst thou cry, exulting, · Yes, 'tis fit, " • "Tis meet and right, my heart ! that we submit :'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“ And wilt thou, Abel, thy new pleasures weigh

Against such triumphs ?-Oh! repent and pray.

“ What are thy pleasures ?—with the gay to sit, “ And thy poor brain torment for awkward wit; “ All thy good thoughts (thou hat’st them) to restrain, “ And give a wicked pleasure to the vain ; “ Thy long lean frame by fashion to attire, “ That lads may laugh and wantons may admire; “ To raise the mirth of boys, and not to see, “ Unhappy maniac ! that they laugh at thee.

“ These boyish follies, which alone the boy “ Can idly act or gracefully enjoy, “ Add new reproaches to thy fallen state, “ And make men scorn what they would only hate.

“ What pains, my brother, dost thou take to prove “ A taste for follies which thou canst not love?

Why do thy stiffening limbs the steed bestride“ That lads may laugh to see thou canst not ride ? “ And why (I feel the crimson tinge my cheek) “ Dost thou by night in Diamond-Alley sneak ?

“ Farewell ! the parish will thy sister keep, “ Where she in peace shall pray and sing and sleep, “ Save when for thee she mourns, thou wicked, wander

ing sheep! “ When youth is fall’n, there's hope the young may rise, “ But fallen age for ever hopeless lies:

« AnteriorContinuar »