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She should imbue the tongue with what she sips,
And shed the balmy blessing on the lips,
That good diffused may more abundant grow,
And speech may praise the power that bids it flow.
Yet Fashion, leader of a chattering train,
Whom man for his own hurt permits to reign,
Who shifts and changes all things but his shape,
And would degrade her votary to an ape,
The fruitful parent of abuse and wrong,
Holds a usurped dominion o'er his tongue;
Here sits and prompts him with his own disgrace,
Prescribes the theme, the tone, and the grimace,
And, when accomplished in her wayward school,
Calls gentleman whom she has made a fool.
'Tis an unalterable fixed decree,

That none could frame or ratify but she,

That heaven and hell, and righteousness and sin,
Snares in his path, and foes that lurk within,

God and His attributes (a field of day
Where 'tis an angel's happiness to stray)
Fruits of his love, and wonders of his might,
Be never named in ears esteemed polite;
That he who dares, when she forbids, be grave,
Shall stand proscribed, a nadman or a knave,
A close designer, not to be believed,

Or, if excused that charge, at least deceived.

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The time is short, and there are souls on earth,
Though future pain may serve for present mirth,
Acquainted with the woes that fear or shame
By fashion taught, forbade them once to name,
And having felt the pangs you deem a jest,
Have proved them truths too big to be expressed.
Go seek on revelation's hallowed ground,

Sure to succeed, the remedy they found;

Touched by that Power that you have dared to mock,
That makes seas stable, and dissolves the rock,
Your heart shall yield a life-renewing stream,
That fools, as you have done, shall call a dream.
It happened on a solemn evening tide,



Soon after He that was our Surety died,
Two bosom friends, each pensively inclined,
The scene of all those sorrows left behind,
Sought their own village, busied as they went,
In musings worthy of the great event.

They spake of Him they loved, of Him whose life,
Though blameless, had incurred perpetual strife,
Whose deeds had left, in spite of hostile arts,
A deep memorial graven on their hearts.
The recollection, like a vein of ore,

The further traced, enriched them still the more.
They thought Him, and they justly thought Him, one
Sent to do more than He appeared to have done,
To exalt a people, and to place them high
Above all else; and wondered He should die.
Ere yet they brought their journey to an end,
A stranger joined them courteous as a friend,
And asked them, with a kind, engaging air,
What their affliction was, and begged a share.
Informed, He gathered up the broken thread.
And, truth and wisdom gracing all He said,
Explained, illustrated, and touched so well
The tender theme on which they chose to dwell,
That, reaching home, the night, they said, is near,
We must not now be parted, sojourn here.
The new acquaintance soon became a guest,
And made so welcome at their simple feast,
He bless'd the bread, but vanished at the word,
And left them both exclaiming, ""T was the Lord!
Did not our hearts feel all He deigned to say,
Did they not burn within us by the way?"

Now theirs was converse, such as it behooves
Man to maintain, and such as God approves.
Their views indeed were indistinct and dim,
But yet successful, being aimed at Him.
Christ and His character their only scope,
Their object, and their subject, and their hope.
They felt what it became them much to feel
And, wanting Him to loose the sacred seal,
Found him as prompt as their desire was true
To spread the new-born glories in their view.



Well! what are ages, and the lapse of time,
Matched against truths as lasting as sublime?
Can length of years on God Himself exact?
Or make that fiction which was once a fact?
No! marble and recording brass decay,
And, like the graver's memory, pass away;
The works of man inherit, as is just,
Their author's frailty, and return to dust.
But truth Divine forever stands secure,
Its head is guarded, as its base is sure;
Fixed in the rolling flood of endless years
The pillar of the eternal plan appears,
The raving storm and dashing wave defies,
Built by that Architect who built the skies.
Hearts may be found, that harbor at this hour
That love of Christ, and all its quickening power,
And lips unstained by folly or by strife,
Whose wisdom, drawn from the deep well of life,
Tastes of its healthful origin, and flows,

A Jordan for the ablution of our woes.

O days of heaven, and nights of equal praise,
Serene and peaceful as those heavenly days,
When souls drawn upward in communion sweet,
Enjoy the stillness of some close retreat,
Discourse, as if released, and safe at home,
Of dangers past, and wonders yet to come,
And spread the sacred treasures of the breast
Upon the lap of covenanted rest!

In contrast with this most attractive and delightful picture, let us note how the sight of the undevout gayety of a thoughtless world, in one of the great exchanges of its mirthfulness, affected Cowper. He is writing his friend Unwin in regard to the scenes at Brighton. "There is not, I think, so melancholy a sight in the world (a hospital is not to be compared with it) as that of a thousand




persons distinguished by the name of gentry, who, gentle perhaps by nature, and made more gentle by education, have the appearance of being innocent and inoffensive, yet being destitute of all religion, or not at all governed by the religion they profess, are none of them at any great distance from an eternal state, where self-deception will be impossible, and where amusements can not enter. Some of them, we may say, will be reclaimed ; is most probable, indeed, that some of them will, because mercy, if one may be allowed the expression, is fond of distinguishing itself by seeking its objects among the most desperate class; but the Scripture gives no encouragement to the warmest charity to hope for deliverance for them all. When I see an afflicted and unhappy man, I say to myself, there is, perhaps, a man whom the world would envy, if they knew the value of his sorrows, which are possibly intended only to soften his heart, and to turn his affections toward their proper center. But when I see or hear of a crowd of voluptuaries who have no ears but for music, no eyes but for splendor, and no tongue but for impertinence and folly, I say, or at least I see occasion to say, 'This is madness; this, persisted in, must have a tragical conclusion. It will condemn you not only as Christians unworthy of the name, but as intelligent creatures. You know by the light of nature, if you have not quenched it, that



there is a God, and that a life like yours can not be according to His will.'"

Some of Cowper's letters to Newton, as well as his other correspondents, are exquisitely sportive. His sense of the ludicrous was keen and delicate, and no man that ever wrote English was happier in his descriptions of humorous and ridiculous scenes and encounters. We may refer, for illustration in his prose, to his letter to Newton, giving an account of the beadle thrashing the thief, the constable the beadle, and the lady the constable ; a story which in rhyme would have made a rival of "John Gilpin," and would give some original Cruikshanks in engraving a subject of admirable humor. His description of the life of an Antediluvian, and also of the chase that took place in Olney on the escape of his tame hare, and of the donkey that ran away with the market-woman; as also his letters in the form of prose, but in swift galloping metre, are happy illustr. ions of his native propensity and power. Perhaps the very drollest letters in the whole of his private correspondence as well as the darkest and gloomiest, are to Newton; sufficiently refuting the ill-natured insinuation which we have already had occasion to notice on the part of Southey, that it seemed as if Cowper always went to his correspondence with Newton as if he were a sinner going to the confessional, or toiling under a task. There are numerous inci

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