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Was one, whom Justice, on an equal pian
grave concern, her kind suspicions there : The wretch, who once sang wildly, danc'd, and laugh'd, And suck'd in dizzy madness with his draught, Has wept a silent flood, revers'd his ways, Is sober, meek, benevolent, and prays,
Go now, and with important tone demand
530 And grace be grace indeed, and life a gift ; The poor
reclaim'd inhabitant, his eyes Glist’ning at once with pity and surprise, Amaz'd that shadows should obscure the sight Of one, whose birth was in a land of light, 535 Shall answer, Hope, sweet Hope, has set me free, And made all pleasures else mere dross to me.
These amidst scenes as waste as if denied The common care that waits on all beside, Wild as if Nature there, void of all good,
540 Play'd only gambols in a frantick mood (Yet charge not heavenly skill with having plann'd A play thing world, unworthy of his hand ;) Can see his love, though secret evil lurks In all we touch, stamp'd plainly on his works; 545 Deem life a blessing with its num'rous woes, Nor spurn away a gift a God bestows.
Hard task indeed o'er arctick seas to roam !
Leuconomus, (beneath well-sounding Greek, I slur a name, a poet must not speak,) Stood pilloried on Infamy's high stage, And bore the pelting scorn of half an age : The very butt of Slander, and the blot For ev'ry dart that Malice ever shot. The man that mention'd him at once dismiss 'd 560 All mercy from his lips, and sneer'd and hissd ; His crimes were such as Sodom never knew, And Perjury stood up to swear all true; His aim was mischief, and his zeal pretence, His speech rebellion against common sense ;
565 A knave, when tried on honesty's plain rule ; And when by that of reason, a mere fool ; The World's best comfort was, his doom was pass d : Die when he might, he must be damn'd at last.
Now, Truth, perform thine office; waft aside 570 The curtain drawn by Prejudice and Pride, Reveal, (the man is dead) to wond'ring eyes, This more than monster in his proper guise. He lov'd the world that hated him; the tear That dropp'd upon his Bible was sincere :
575 Assail'd by scandal and the tongue of strife, His only answer was a blameless life ; And he that forg'd, and he that threw the dart, Had each a brother's int'rest in his heart. Paul's love of Christ, and steadiness unbribid, 580 Were copied close in him, and well transcrib’d. He follow'd Paul ; his zeal a kindred flame, His apostolick charity the same. Like him, cross'd cheerfully tempestuous seas, Forsaking country, kindred, friends, and ease ; 585
Like him he labour'd, and like him content
say, Blot out my sin, confess'd, deplor'd, Against thine image, in thy saint, O Lord !
No blinder bigot, I maintain it still,
605 By this, with nice precision of design, He draws upon life's map a zigzag line, That shows how far 'tis safe to follow sin, And where his danger and God's wrath begin. By this he forms, as pleas'd he sports along, 610 His well-pois'd estimate of right and wrong ; And finds the modish manners of the day, Though loose, as harmless as an infant's play.
Build by whatever plan Caprice decrees, With what materials, on what ground you please ; 615 Your hope shall stand unblam’d, perhaps admir'd, If not that hope the Scripture has requir'd. The strange conceits, vain projects, and wild dreams, With which hypocrisy for ever teems, (Though other follies strike the publick eye,
620 And raise a laugh,) pass unmolested by ; But if, unblamable in word or thought, A man arise, a man whom God has taught
With all Elijah's dignity of tone,
630 To prove, that without Christ all gain is loss, All hope despair, that stands not on his cross ; Except the few his God may have impressid, A tenfold frenzy seizes all the rest.
Throughout mankind, the Christian kind at least, There dwells a consciousness in ev'ry breast, 636 That folly ends where genuine hope begins, And he that finds his Heav'n must lose his sins. Nature opposes with her utmost force This riving stroke, this ultimate divorce ;
640 And, while religion seems to be her view, Hates with a deep sincerity the true : For this, of all that ever influenc'd man, Since Abel worshipp’d, or the world began, This only spares no lust, admits no plea,
645 But makes him, if at all, completely free ; Sounds forth the signal, as she mounts her car, Of an eternal, universal war ; Rejects all treaty, penetrates all wiles,
649 Scorns with the same indiff'rence frowns and smiles ; Drives through the realms of Sin, where Riot reels, And grinds his crown beneath her burning wheels ! Hence all that is in man, pride, passion, art, Pow’rs of the mind, and feelings of the heart, Insensible of Truth's almighty charms,
655 Starts at her first approach, and sounds to arms! While Bigotry, with well-dissembled fears, His eyes shut fast, his fingers in his ears, Mighty to parry and push by God's word With senseless noise, his argument the sword, 660
Pretends a zeal for godliness and grace,
Parent of Hope, immortal Truth ! make known
665 Thy means so feeble, and despis’d so much, That few believe the wonders thou hast wrought, And none can teach them, but whom thou hast taught. O see me sworn to serve thee, and command A painter's skill into a poet's hand.
If ever thou hast felt another's pain :
690 Though whisper'd plainly, tell what works within ; That Conscience there performs her proper part, And writes a doomsday sentence on his heart; Forsaking, and forsaken of all friends, He now perceives where earthly pleasure ends ; 695 Hard task ! for one who lately knew no care, And harder still as learn'd beneath despair ;