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What lovely visions yield their place
To cold material laws!
And yet, fair bow, no fabling dreams,
But words of the Most High,
Have told why first thy robe of beams
Was woven in the sky.
When o'er the green undeluged earth
Heaven's covenant thou didst shine,
How came the world's gray fathers forth
To watch thy sacred sign!
And when its yellow lustre smiled
O'er mountains yet untrod,
Each mother held aloft her child,
To bless the bow of God.
Methinks thy jubilee to keep,
The first made anthem rang,
On earth deliver'd from the deep,
And the first poet sang.
Nor ever shall the Muse's eye
Unraptured greet thy beam;
Theme of primeval prophecy,
Be still the poet's theme.
The earth to thee its incense yields,
The lark thy welcome sings,
When glittering in the freshen'd fields
The snowy mushroom springs.
How glorious is thy girdle cast
O'er mountain, tower, and town,
Or mirror'd in the ocean vast,
A thousand fathoms down.
As fresh in yon horizon dark,
As young thy beauties seem,
As when the eagle from the ark
First sported in thy beam.
For faithful to its sacred page,
Heaven still rebuilds thy span,
Nor lets the type grow pale with age,
That first spoke peace to man.
TURN, turn thy hasty foot aside,
Nor crush that helpless worm :
The frame thy wayward looks deride
Required a God to form.
The common Lord of all that move,
From whom thy being flow'd,
A portion of his boundless love
On that poor worm bestow'd.
The sun, the moon, the stars he made To all his creatures free;
And spreads o'er earth the grassy blade For worms as well as thee.
Let them enjoy their little day,
Their lowly bliss receive:
O! do not lightly take away
The life thou canst not give.
ON MARY, THE WIFE OF THE REV. W. MASON.
TAKE, holy earth, all that my soul holds dear;
Take that best gift, which Heaven so lately gave.
To Bristol's fount I bore, with trembling care,
Her faded form-she bow'd to taste the wave,
And died! Does youth, does beauty read the line?
Does sympathetic fear their breast alarm?
Speak, dead MARIA; breathe a strain divine-
E'en from the grave thou shalt have power to charm!
Bid them be chaste, be innocent, like thee;
Bid them in duty's sphere as meekly move,
'And if as fair, from vanity as free,
As firm in friendship, and as fond in love; Tell them, though 't is an awful thing to die,
('T was even to thee)—yet the dread path once trod, HEAVEN lifts its everlasting portals high,
And bids the pure in heart behold their GOD.
A PARISH Priest was of the pilgrim train,
An awful, reverend, and religious man;
His eye diffused a venerable grace,
And charity itself was in his face.
Rich was his soul, though his attire was poor,
As God had clothed his own ambassador ;
For such on earth his bless'd Redeemer bore.
Of sixty years he seem'd; and well might last
To sixty more, but that he lived too fast;
Refined himself to soul, to curb the sense,
And made almost a sin of abstinence:
Yet had his aspect nothing of severe,
But such a face as promised him sincere.
Nothing reserved or sullen was to see;
But sweet regards, and pleasing sanctity:
Mild was his accent, and his action free.
With eloquence innate his tongue was arm'd;
Though harsh the precept, yet the people charm'd.
For, letting down the golden chain from high,
He drew his audience upward to the sky;
And oft with holy hymns he charm'd their ears,
A music more melodious than the spheres ;
For David left him, when he went to rest,
His lyre; and after him he sung the best.
He bore his great commission in his look,
But sweetly temper'd awe; and soften'd all he spoke.
He preach'd the joys of heaven and pains of hell,
And warn'd the sinner with becoming zeal;
But on eternal mercy loved to dwell.
He taught the Gospel rather than the Law,
And forced himself to drive; but loved to draw.
For fear but freezes minds; but love, like heat,
Exhales the soul sublime to seek her native seat.
To threats the stubborn sinner oft is hard,
Wrapp'd in his crimes, against the storm prepared;
But when the milder beams of mercy play,
He melts and throws his cumbrous cloak away.
Lightning and thunder, Heaven's artillery,
As harbingers before the Almighty fly:
Those but proclaim his style, and disappear;
The stiller sound succeeds, and-GoD is there!
Though he had little, he had some to spare,
To feed the famish'd, and to clothe the bare:
For mortified he was to that degree,
A poorer than himself he would not see.
Wide was his parish; not contracted close
In streets, but here and there a straggling house :
Yet still he was at hand, without request,
To serve the sick, to succor the distress'd,
Tempting on foot, alone, without affright,
The dangers of a dark tempestuous night.
All this the good old man perform'd alone,
Nor spared his pains, for curate he had none.
The proud he tamed, the penitent he cheer'd;
Nor to rebuke the rich offender fear'd.
His preaching much, but more his practice wrought,
A living sermon of the truths he taught.
For this by rules severe his life he squared,
That all might see the doctrines that they heard: