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Who in his sovereign wisdom made them all.
Ye therefore who love mercy, teach
To love it too. The spring-time of our years
Is soon dishonour'd and defiled in most
By budding ills, that ask a prudent hand
To check them. But alas! none sooner shoots,
If unrestrain❜d, into luxuriant growth,
Than cruelty, most devilish of them all.
Mercy to him that shows it, is the rule
And righteous limitation of its act
By which Heaven moves in pardoning guilty man;
And he that shows none, being ripe in years,
And conscious of the outrage he commits,
Shall seek it, and not find it in his turn.
Such teachable and apprehensive parts,
That man's attainments in his own concerns,
Distinguish'd much by reason, and still more
By our capacity of grace divine,
From creatures that exist but for our sake,
Which having served us, perish, we are held
Accountable, and God, some future day,
Will reckon with us roundly for the abuse
Of what he deems no mean or trivial trust.
Superior as we are, they yet depend
Not more on human help, than we on theirs.
Their strength, or speed, or vigilance, were given 610
In aid of our defects. In some are found
Match'd with the expertness of the brutes in theirs,
Are oft-times vanquish'd and thrown far behind.
Some show that nice sagacity of smell,
And read with such discernment in the port
And figure of the man, his secret aim,
That oft we owe our safety to a skill
We could not teach, and must despair to learn 18. 620
But learn we might, if not too proud to stoop
To quadrupede instructors, many a good
And useful quality, and virtue too,
Rarely exemplified among ourselves;
Attachment never to be wean'd, or changed
By any change of fortune, proof alike
Against unkindness, absence, and neglect ;
Fidelity, that neither bribe nor threat
Can move or warp, and gratitude for small
And trivial favours, lasting as the life,
And glistening even in the dying eye.
Man praises man. Desert in arts or arms
Wins public honour; and ten thousand sit
Patiently present at a sacred song,
Commemoration-mad; content to hear
(Oh wonderful effect of music's power!)
Messiah's eulogy, for Handel's sake.
But less, methinks, than sacrilege might serve—
(For was it less? What heathen would have dared
To strip Jove's statue of his oaken wreath
And hang it up in honour of a man?)
Much less might serve, when all that we design
Is but to gratify an itching ear,
In their looks
Much reason, and in their actions, oft appears.
Par. Lost, ix. 558.
On sculls that cannot teach and will not learn.
Book ii. 394.
And give the day to a musician's praise.
Remember Handel? who that was not born
Deaf as the dead to harmony, forgets,
Or can, the more than Homer of his age?
Yes-we remember him. And while we praise
A talent so divine, remember too
That His most holy book from whom it came
Was never meant, was never used before
To buckram out the memory of a man.
But hush!-the muse perhaps is too severe,
And with a gravity beyond the size
And measure of the offence, rebukes a deed
Less impious than absurd, and owing more
To want of judgement than to wrong design.
So in the chapel of old Ely House,
When wandering Charles, who meant to be the third,
Had fled from William, and the news was fresh, 660
The simple clerk but loyal, did announce,
And eke did rear right merrily, two staves,
Sung to the praise and glory of King George.
-Man praises man, and Garrick's memory next,
When time hath somewhat mellow'd it, and made 665
The idol of our worship while he lived,
The God of our idolatry once more,
Shall have its altar; and the world shall go
In pilgrimage to bow before his shrine.
The theatre too small, shall suffocate
Its squeezed contents, and more than it admits
Shall sigh at their exclusion, and return
Ungratified. For there some noble lord
Shall stuff his shoulders with King Richard's bunch,
himself in Hamlet's inky cloak,
And strut and storm and straddle, stamp and stare,
To show the world how Garrick did not act 19.
For Garrick was a worshipper himself;
He drew the Liturgy, and framed the rites
And solemn ceremonial of the day,
And call'd the world to worship on the banks
Of Avon famed in song. Ah! pleasant proof
That piety has still in human hearts
Some place, a spark or two not yet extinct.
19 How his eyes languish! how his thoughts adore
That painted coat which Joseph never wore.
Young. Satire iv.
That the world may know
How far he went for what was nothing worth.
The mulberry tree was hung with blooming wreaths,
The mulberry tree stood centre of the dance,
The mulberry tree was hymn'd with dulcet airs,
And from his touchwood trunk the mulberry tree
Supplied such relics as devotion holds
Still sacred, and preserves with pious care.
So 'twas an hallow'd time. Decorum reign'd,
And mirth without offence. No few return'd
Doubtless much edified, and all refreshed.
-Man praises man.
The rabble all alive,
From tippling-benches, cellars, stalls, and styes,
Swarm in the streets. The statesman of the day,
A pompous and slow-moving pageant comes.
Some shout him, and some hang upon his car
Το gaze in his eyes and bless him. Maidens wave
Their 'kerchiefs, and old women weep for joy;
While others not so satisfied unhorse
The gilded equipage, and turning loose
His steeds, usurp a place they well deserve.
Why? what has charm'd them? Hath he saved the state?
No. Doth he purpose its salvation? No.
Enchanting novelty, that moon at full,
That finds out every crevice of the head
That is not sound and perfect, hath in theirs
Wrought this disturbance. But the wane is near,
And his own cattle must suffice him soon.
Thus idly do we waste the breath of praise,
And dedicate a tribute, in its use
And just direction sacred, to a thing
Doom'd to the dust, or lodged already there.
Encomium in old time was poets' work;
But poets having lavishly long since
Exhausted all materials of the art,
The task now falls into the public hand.
And I, contented with an humble theme,
Have poured my stream of panegyric down
The vale of nature, where it creeps and winds
Among her lovely works, with a secure
And unambitious course, reflecting clear
If not the virtues yet the worth of brutes.
And I am recompensed, and deem the toils
Of poetry not lost, if verse of mine
May stand between an animal and woe,
And teach one tyrant pity for his drudge.
The groans of nature in this nether world,
Which Heaven has heard for ages, have an end.
Foretold by prophets, and by poets sung
Whose fire was kindled at the prophets' lamp,