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Too weak for those decisive blows, that once
Ensur'd us mast'ry there, we yet retain
Some small pre-eminence; we justly boast
At least superior jockeyship, and claim
The honours of the turf as all our own!
Go then, well worthy of the praise ye seek,
And show the shame, ye might conceal at home,
In foreign eyes!-be grooms and win the plate,
Where once your nobler fathers won a crown!-
"Tis gen'rous to communicate your skill
To those that need it. Folly is soon learn'd:
And under such preceptors who can fail!
There is a pleasure in poetic pains,
Which only poets know. The shifts and turns,
Th' expedients and inventions multiform,
To which the mind resorts, in chase of terms
Though apt, yet coy, and difficult to win-
T'arrest the fleeting images, that fill
The mirror of the mind, and hold them fast,
And force them sit, till he has pencill'd off
A faithful likeness of the forms he views;
Then to dispose his copies with such art,
That each may find its most propitious light,
And shine by situation, hardly less
Than by the labour and the skill it cost;
Are occupations of the poet's mind
So pleasing, and that steal away the thought
With such address from themes of sad import,
That lost in his own musings, happy man!
He feels th' anxieties of life, denied
Their wonted entertainment, all retire.
Such joys has he that sings. But, ah! not such,
Or seldom such, the hearers of his song.
Fastidious, or else listless, or perhaps
Aware of nothing arduous in a task
They never undertook, they little note
His dangers or escapes, and haply find
Their least amusement where he found the most..
But is amusement all? Studious of song,
And yet ambitious not to sing in vain,
I would not trifle merely, though the world
Be loudest in their praise, who do no more.
Yet what can satire, whether grave or gay?
It may correct a foible, may chastise
The freaks of fashion, regulate the dress,
Retrench a sword-blade, or displace a patch;
But where are its sublimer trophies found?
What vice has it subdued? whose heart reclaim'd
By rigour, or whom laugh'd into reform?
Alas! Leviathan is not so tam'd:
Laugh'd at, he laughs again; and stricken hard,
Turns to the stroke his adamantine scales,
That fear no discipline of human hands.
The pulpit, therefore, (and I name it fill'd
With solemn awe, that bids me well beware
With what intent I touch that holy thing)--
The pulpit (when the satʼrist has at last,
Strutting and vap'ring in an empty school,
Spent all his force, and made no proselyte)-
say the pulpit (in the sober use
Of its legitimate, peculiar pow'rs)
Must stand acknowledg'd,while the world shall stand, The most important and effectual guard,
Support and ornament of Virtue's cause.
There stands the messenger of truth: there stands
The legate of the skies!-His theme divine,
His office sacred, his credentials clear.
By him the violated law speaks out
Its thunders; and by him, in strains as sweet
As angels use, the Gospel whispers peace.
He 'stablishes the strong, restores the weak,
Reclaims the wand'rer, binds the broken heart,
And, arm'd himself in panoply complete
Of heav'nly temper, furnishes with arms
Bright as his own, and trains, by ev'ry rule
Of holy discipline, to glorious war,
The sacramental host of God's elect!
Are all such teachers ?-would to Heav'n all were!
But,hark-the doctor's voice!-fast wedg'd between
Two empirics he stands, and with swoln cheeks
Inspires the news, his trumpet. Keener far
Than all invective is his bold harangue,
While through that public organ of report
He hails the clergy; and, defying shame,
Announces to the world his own and theirs!
He teaches those to read, whom schools dismiss'd,
And colleges, untaught; sells accent, tone,
And emphasis in score, and gives to pray'r
Th' adagio and andante it demands.
He grinds divinity of other days
Down into modern use; transforms old print.
To zigzag manuscript, and cheats the eyes
Of gall'ry critics by a thousand arts.
Are there who purchase of the doctor's ware?
O, name it not in Gath!-it cannot be,
That grave and learned clerks should need such aid.
He doubtless is in sport, and does but droll,
Assuming thus a rank unknown before-
Grand caterer and dry-nurse of the church!
I venerate the man, whose heart is warm, [life, Whose hands are pure, whose doctrine and whose Coincident, exhibit lucid proof
That he is honest in the sacred cause.
To such I render more than mere respect,
Whose actions say that they respect themselves.
But loose in morals, and in manners vain,
In conversation frivolous, in dress
Extreme, at once rapacious and profuse;
Frequent in park with lady at his side,
Ambling and prattling scandal as he goes;
But rare at home, and never at his books,
Or with his pen, save when he scrawls a card;
Constant at routs, familiar with a round
Of ladyships, a stranger to the poor;
Ambitious of preferment for its gold,
And well-prepar'd, by ignorance and sloth,
By infidelity and love of world,
To make God's work a sinecure; a slave To his own pleasures and his patron's pride; From such apostles, O, ye mitred heads, Preserve the church! and lay not careless hands On sculls, that cannot teach, and will not learn. Would I describe a preacher, such as Paul, Were he on earth, would hear, approve, and own, Paul should himself direct me. I would trace His master-strokes, and draw from his design. I would express him simple, grave, sincere ; In doctrine uncorrupt; in language plain, And plain in manner; decent, solemn, chaste, And natural in gesture; much impress'd Himself, as conscious of his awful charge, And anxious mainly that the flock he feeds May feel it too; affectionate in look, And tender in address, as well becomes A messenger of grace to guilty men. Behold the picture ?-Is it like ?-Like whom? The things that mount the rostrum with a skip, And then skip down again; pronounce a text; Cry-hem! and reading what they never wrote Just fifteen minutes huddle up their work, And with a well-bred whisper close the scene! In man or woman, but far most in man, And most of all in man that ministers And serves the altar, in my soul I loathe All affectation. "Tis my perfect scorn; Object of my implacable disgust. What!-will a man play tricks, will he indulge A silly, fond conceit of his fair form And just proportion, fashionable mien And pretty face, in presence of his God? Or will he seek to dazzle me with tropes, As with the diamond on his lily hand,
And play his brilliant parts before my eyes,
When I am hungry for the bread of life?
He mocks his Maker, prostitutes and shames
His noble office, and, instead of truth,
Displaying his own beauty, starves his flock.
Therefore avaunt all attitude and stare,
And start theatric, practis'd at the glass!
I seek divine simplicity in him,
Who handles things divine; and all besides,
Though learn'd with labour, and tho' much admir'd
By curious eyes and judgments ill inform'd,
To me is odious as the nasal twang
Heard at conventicle, where worthy men,
Misled by custom, strain celestial themes
Through the press'd nostril, spectacle-bestrid.
Some decent in demeanour while they preach,
That task perform'd, relapse into themselves;
And, having spoken wisely, at the close
Grow wanton, and give proof to ev'ry eye,
Who'er was edified themselves were not!
Forth comes the pocket mirror.-First we stroke
An eye-brow; next compose a straggling lock;
Then with an air most gracefully perform'd
Fall back into our seat, extend an arm,
And lay it at its ease with gentle care,
With handkerchief in hand depending low;
The better hand more busy gives the nose
Its bergamot, or aids th' indebted eye
With op'ra glass, to watch the moving scene.
And recognise the slow-retiring fair.—
Now this is fulsome, and offends me more
Than in a churchman slovenly neglect
And rustic coarseness would. A heav'nly mind
May be indiff'rent to her house of clay,
And slight the hovel as beneath her care;
But how a body so fantastic, trim,
And quaint, in its deportment and attire,
Can lodge a heav'nly mind-demands a doubt.