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contain a great number of noble and powerful passages, abound likewise in false and meretricious ornament, unnatural thoughts, harsh expressions, and laboured conceits. The felicity and splendour of his conceptions is continually interrupted with false wit and antithesis. If at one moment he speaks from the heart, at the next his thoughts are evidently produced by a strained and exaggerated fancy.
“He has been well described in a late poem,” says Campbell,“ as one in whom
Still gleams and still expires the cloudy day
Of genuine poetry.' The reader most sensitive to his faults must have felt, that there is in him a spark of originality which is never long extinguished, however far it may be from vivifying the entire mass of his poetry. Many and exquisite are his touches of sublime
expression, of profound reflection, and of striking imagery. It is recalling but a few of these, to allude to his description, in the eighth book, of the man, whose thoughts are not of this world ; to his simile of the traveller, at the opening of the ninth book, to his spectre of the antediluvian world, and to some parts of his very unequal description of the conflagration; above all, to that noble and familiar image,
• When final ruin fiercely drives Her ploughshare o'er creation. It is true, that he seldom, if ever, maintains a flight of poetry long free from oblique associations, but he has individual passages, which Philosophy might make her texts, and Experience select for her mottos.”
The moral influence of his poetry is excellent in the highest degree. No person can arise from the perusal of his Night Thoughts, without feeling more deeply the value of time, the awful solemnity of death, and the unspeakable importance of a preparation for eternity.
REFLECTIONS AT MIDNIGHT,
The bell strikes One. We take no note of time
And can eternity belong to me,
How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,
'Tis past conjecture ; all things rise in proof.
Why then their loss deplore, that are not lost? Why wanders wretched Thought their tombs around In infidel distress? Are angels there? Slumbers, rak'd up in dust, ethereal fire ?
They live! they greatly live a life, on earth Unkindled, unconceiv'd, and from an eye
Of tenderness let heavenly pity fall
DELAY IN THE BUSINESS OF RELIGION.
By Nature's law, what may be may be now; There's no prerogative in human hours. In human hearts what bolder thought can rise Than man's presumption on to-murrow's dawn? Where is to-morrow? In another world. For numbers this is certain ; the reverse Is sure to none; and yet on this perhaps, This peradventure, infamous for lies, As on a rock of adamant we build Our inountain-hopes, spin out eternal schemes, As we the Fatal Sisters could outspin, And, big with life's futurities, expire.
Not ev'n Philander had bespoke his shroud ; Nor had he cause ; a warning was dunied. How
many fall as sudden, not as safe ! As sudden, though for years admonish'd home; Of human ills the last extreme beware; Beware, Lorenzo! a slow-sudden death ; How dreadful that deliberate surprise! Be wise to-day ; 'tis madness to defer: Next day the fatal precedent will plead ; Thus on, till wisdom is push'd out of life. Procrastination is the thief of time: Year after year it steals, till all are fled, And to the mercies of a moment leaves The vast concerns of an eternal scene. If not so frequent, would not this be strange ? That 'tis so frequent, this is stranger still.
Of min's miraculous mistakes, this bears The palm, “ That all men are about to live,” For ever on the brink of being born: All pay themselves the compliment to think They one day shall not drivel, and their pride On this reversion takes up ready praise ; At least their own; their future selves applauds,
How excellent that life they ne'er will lead !
And why? because he thinks himself immortal.
SOCIETY NECESSARY TO HAPPINESS.
Wisdom, though richer than Peruvian mines,
THE WORLD DANGEROUS TO VIRTUE.
Virtue, forever frail as fair below, Her tender nature suffers in the crowd, Nor touches on the world without a stain. The world's infections; few bring back at eve, Immaculate, the manners of the morn. Something we thought, is blotted; we resolvid, Is shaken; we renounc'd, returns again. Each salutation may slide in a sin Unthought before, or fix a former flaw. Nor is it strange; light, motion, concourse, noise, All scatter us abroad. Thought, outward-bound, Neglectful of our home-affairs, flies off In fume and dissipation, quits her charge, And leaves the breast unguarded to the foe.
PICTURE OF A GOOD MAN.
Some angel guide my pencil, while I draw,
With aspect mild, and elevated eye, Behold him seated on a mount serene, Above the fogs of sense, and passion's storm; All the black cares and tumults of this life, Like harmless thunders, breaking at his feet, Excite his pity, not impair his peace. Earth's genuine sons, the sceptred and the slave, A mingled mob! a wandering herd! he sees, Bewilderd in the vale; in all unlike! His full reverse in all! What higher praise ? What stronger demonstration of the right?
The present, all their care; the future, his. When public welfare calls, or private want,
They give to fame; his bounty he conceals. | Their virtues varnish nature; his, exalt.
Mankind's esteem they court; and he, his own.