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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
 
Cowper
 
        A Christian’s wit is offensive light,
A beam that aids, but never grieves the sight;
Vig’rous in age as in the flush of youth,
’Tis always active on the side of truth.
  1
        A glory gilds the sacred page,
  Majestic like the sun,
It gives a light to every age,
  It gives, but borrows none.
  2
        A lawyer’s dealings should be just and fair;
Honesty shines with great advantage there.
  3
        A moral, sensible, and well-bred man
Will not affront me, and no other can.
  4
          A story, in which native humor reigns,
Is often useful, always entertains;
A graver fact enlisted on your side
May furnish illustration, well applied;
But sedentary weavers of long tales
Give me the fidgets, and my patience fails.
’Tis the most asinine employ on earth,
To hear them tell of parentage and birth,
And echo conversations dull and dry,
Embellish’d with,—He said,—and, So said I.
  5
        A worm is in the bud of youth,
And at the root of age.
  6
        Absence of occupation is not rest,
A mind quite vacant is a mind distress’d.
  7
        Adored through fear, strong only to destroy.
  8
        Ages elapsed ere Homer’s lamp appear’d,
And ages ere the Mantuan swan was heard;
To carry nature lengths unknown before,
To give a Milton birth, ask’d ages more.
  9
        All affectation; ’tis my perfect scorn;
Object of my implacable disgust.
  10
        All has its date below; the fatal hour
Was register’d in Heav’n ere time began.
We turn to dust, and all our mightiest works
Die too.
  11
        All zeal for a reform, that gives offence
To peace and charity, is mere pretence.
  12
        Am I to set my life upon a throw,
Because a bear is rude and surly? No—
A moral, sensible, and well-bred man,
Will not affront me, and no other can.
  13
        And hast thou sworn on every slight pretence,
Till perjuries are common as bad pence,
While thousands, careless of the damning sin,
Kiss the book’s outside, who ne’er look within?
  14
        And he by no uncommon lot
Was famed for virtues he had not.
  15
        And in that charter reads with sparkling eyes,
Her title to a treasure in the skies.
  16
        And Satan trembles when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees.
  17
        And the tear that is wiped with a little address,
May be follow’d perhaps by a smile.
  18
        As creeping ivy clings to wood or stone,
And hides the ruin that it feeds upon,
So sophistry cleaves close to and protects
Sin’s rotten trunk, concealing its defects.
  19
        Assail’d by scandal and the tongue of strife,
His only answer was a blameless life;
And he that forged, and he that threw the dart,
Had each a brother’s interest in his heart.
  20
 
 
        Be it a weakness, it deserves some praise,
We love the play-place of our early days.
The scene is touching, and the heart is stone,
That feels not at that sight, and feels at none.
  21
        Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
  22
        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.
  23
        Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day,
Live till tomorrow, will have pass’d away.
  24
        But conversation, choose what theme we may,
And chiefly when religion leads the way,
Should flow, like waters after summer show’rs,
Not as if raised by mere mechanic powers.
  25
        But many a crime deemed innocent on earth
Is registered in heaven; and these no doubt
Have each their record, with a curse annex’d.
  26
        But poverty, with most who whimper forth
Their long complaints, is self-inflicted woe;
The effect of laziness, or sottish waste.
  27
        But slaves that once conceive the glowing thought
Of freedom, in that hope itself possess
All that the contest calls for; spirit, strength,
The scorn of danger, and united hearts,
The surest presage of the good they seek.
  28
        But they whom truth and wisdom lead
Can gather honey from a weed.
  29
        But what is truth? ’Twas Pilate’s question put
To Truth itself, that deign’d him no reply.
  30
        But who with filial confidence inspired,
Can lift to heaven an unpresumptuous eye,
And smiling say, my Father made them all.
  31
        Call’d to the temple of impure delight
He that abstains, and he alone, does right.
If a wish wander that way, call it home;
He cannot long be safe whose wishes roam.
  32
        “Can this be true”? an arch observer cries,—
“Yes,” rather moved, “I saw it with these eyes.”
“Sir! I believe it on that ground alone;
I could not had I seen it with my own.”
  33
        Come, evening, once again, season of peace;
Return, sweet evening, and continue long!
Methinks I see thee in the streaky west,
With matron step, slow moving, while the night
Treads on thy sweeping train; one hand employ’d
In letting fall the curtain of repose
On bird and beast, the other charged for man
With sweet oblivion of the cares of day.
  34
        Could he with reason murmur at his case
Himself sole author of his own disgrace?
  35
                            Detested sport,
That owes its pleasures to another’s pain.
  36
        Did Charity prevail, the press would prove
A vehicle of virtue, truth, and love.
  37
                        Doing good,
Disinterested good, is not our trade.
  38
        Domestic happiness, thou only bliss
Of Paradise, that has survived the fall!
  39
                Dream after dream ensues;
And still they dream that they shall still succeed;
And still are disappointed.
  40
        Dress drains our cellar dry,
And keeps our larder lean; puts out our fires.
And introduces hunger, frost, and woe,
Where peace and hospitality might reign.
  41
              Fancy, like the finger of a clock,
Runs the great circuit, and is still at home.
  42
            Fashion, leader of a chatt’ring train,
Whom man for his own hurt permits to reign
Who shifts and changes all things but his shape,
And would degrade her vot’ry to an ape,
The fruitful parent of abuse and wrong,
Holds a usurp’d dominion o’er his tongue,
There sits and prompts him with his own disgrace,
Prescribes the theme, the tone, and the grimace,
And when accomplish’d in her wayward school,
Calls gentleman whom she has made a fool.
  43
        Fate steals along with silent tread,
Found oftenest in what least we dread;
Frowns in the storm with angry brow,
But in the sunshine strikes the blow.
  44
        Forgot the blush that virgin fears impart
To modest cheeks, and borrowed one from art.
  45
        From such apostles, oh ye mitred heads,
Preserve the church; and lay not careless hands
On skulls that cannot teach, and will not learn.
  46
        Give what thou canst, without thee we are poor;
And with thee rich, take what thou wilt away.
  47
                      Glory, built
On selfish principles, is shame and guilt;
The deeds that men admire as half divine,
Stark naught, because corrupt in their design.
  48
        Go, mark the matchless working of the power
That shuts within the seed the future flower:
Bids these in elegance of form excel,
In colour these, and those delight the smell,
Sends nature forth, the daughter of the skies,
To dance on earth, and charm all human eyes.
  49
        God made the country, and man made the town;
What wonder then, that health and virtue, gifts,
That can alone make sweet the bitter draught
That life holds out to all, should most abound,
And least be threatened in the fields and groves?
  50
        Great contest follows, and much learned dust
Involves the combatants; each claiming truth,
And truth disclaiming both.
  51
        Happy the man who sees a God employ’d
In all the good and ill that checker life!
  52
        Hast thou not learn’d what thou art often told,
A truth still sacred, and believed of old,
That no success attends on spears and swords
Unblest, and that the battle is the Lord’s?
  53
        He finds his fellow guilty of a skin
Not color’d like his own, and having pow’r
T’ enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause
Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey.
  54
        He holds no parley with unmanly fears,
Where duty bids he confident steers,
Faces a thousand dangers at her call,
And, trusting to his God, surmounts them all.
  55
                        He is ours,
T’ administer, to guard, t’ adorn the state,
But not to warp or change it. We are his,
To serve him nobly in the common cause,
True to the death, but not to be his slaves.
  56
        He that attends to his interior self,
That has a heart, and keeps it; has a mind
That hungers, and supplies it; and who seeks
A social, not a dissipated life,
Has business.
  57
        He that negotiates between God and man,
As God’s ambassador, the grand concerns
Of judgment and of mercy, should beware
Of lightness in his speech. ’Tis pitiful
To court a grin where you should woo a soul;
To break a jest, when pity would inspire
Pathetic exhortation; and address
The skittish fancy with facetious tales,
When sent with God’s commission to the heart.
  58
        Heaven speed the canvas, gallantly unfurl’d,
To furnish and accommodate a world,
To give the Pole the produce of the sun,
And knit th’ unsocial climates into one.
  59
        Hence jarring sectaries may learn
Their real interest to discern;
That brother should not war with brother,
And worry and devour each other.
  60
        Here rills of oily eloquence in soft
Meanders lubricate the course they take.
  61
        His still refuted quirks he still repeats,
New-raised objections with new quibbles meets;
Till sinking in the quicksand he defends,
He dies disputing, and the contest ends.
  62
        How fleet is a glance of the mind!
  Compared with the speed of its flight,
The tempest itself lags behind,
  And the swift-winged arrows of light.
  63
        How shall I speak thee, or thy power address,
Thou god of our idolatry, the Press?
By thee, religion, liberty, and laws,
Exert their influence, and advance their cause:
By thee, worse plagues than Pharaoh’s land befell,
Diffused, make earth the vestibule of hell:
Thou fountain, at which drink the good and wise,
Thou ever bubbling spring of endless lies,
Like Eden’s dread probationary tree,
Knowledge of good and evil is from thee!
  64
        How sweet, how passing sweet, is solitude;
But grant me still a friend in my retreat,
Whom I may whisper—solitude it sweet.
  65
        How various his employments, whom the world
Calls idle, and who justly in return
Esteems that busy world an idler too!
Friends, books, a garden, and perhaps his pen,
Delightful industry enjoyed at home,
And Nature in her cultivated trim,
Dressed to his taste, inviting him abroad.
  66
        How! leap into the pit our life to save?
To save our life leap all into the grave.
  67
        I am monarch of all I survey,
  My right there is none to dispute,
From the centre all round to the sea,
  I am lord of the fowl and the brute.
  68
        I crown thee king of intimate delights,
Fireside enjoyments, home-born happiness,
And all the comforts that the lowly roof
Of undisturb’d retirement, and the hours
Of long, uninterrupted evening, know.
  69
        I pity bashful men, who feel the pain
Of fancied scorn and undeserved disdain,
And bear the marks upon a blushing face
Of needless shame, and self-impos’d disgrace.
  70
        I venerate the man whose heart is warm,
Whose hands are pure, whose doctrine and whose life,
Coincident, exhibit lucid proof
That he is honest in the sacred cause.
  71
        I was a poet too; but modern taste
Is so refined and delicate and chaste,
That verse, whatever fire the fancy warms,
Without a creamy smoothness has no charms.
Thus, all success depending on an ear,
And thinking I might purchase it too dear,
If sentiment were sacrific’d to sound,
And truth cut short to make a period round,
I judg’d a man of sense could scarce do worse
Than caper in the morris-dance of verse.
  72
        I would not enter on my list of friends,
(Though graced with polished manners and fine sense,
Yet wanting sensibility) the man
Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.
  73
        I would not have a slave to till my ground,
To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth
That sinews bought and sold have ever earn’d.
  74
        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.
  75
        In the vast, and the minute, we see,
The unambiguous footsteps of the God,
Who gives its lustre to an insect’s wing
And wheels His throne upon the rolling worlds.
  76
        Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much;
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
  77
        Lands, intersected by a narrow frith,
Abhor each other. Mountains interpos’d
Make enemies of nations, who had else,
Like kindred drops, been mingled into one.
  78
        Learning itself, received into a mind
By nature weak, or viciously inclined,
Serves but to lead philosophers astray,
Where children would with ease discern the way.
  79
        Man in society is like a flow’r,
Blown in its native bed. ’Tis there alone
His faculties expanded in full bloom
Shine out, there only reach their proper use.
  80
        Man may dismiss compassion from his heart,
But God will never.
  81
                    Mansions once
Knew their own masters, and laborious hinds,
That had surviv’d the father, serv’d the son.
Now the legitimate and rightful lord
Is but a transient guest, newly arrived,
And soon to be supplanted. He that saw
His patrimonial timber cast its leaf,
Sells the last scantling, and transfers the price
To some shrewd sharper ere it buds again.
Estates are landscapes, gazed upon awhile,
Then advertised and auctioneer’d away.
  82
            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 as guarded, as its base is sure;
Fixed in the rolling flood of endless years,
The pillar of the eternal plan appears;
The waving storm and dashing wave defies,
Built by that Architect who built the skies.
  83
        Men engage in it compell’d by force,
And fear, not courage, is its proper source,
The fear of tyrant custom, and the fear
Lest fops should censure us, and fools should sneer.
*        *        *        *        *
Am I to set my life upon a throw
Because a bear is rude and surly?—No—
A moral, sensible, and well-bred man
Will not affront me, and no other can.
  84
        Misery still delights to trace
Its semblance in another’s case.
  85
        Most satirists are indeed a public scourge;
Their mildest physic is a farrier’s purge;
Their acrid temper turns, as soon as stirr’d,
The milk of their good purpose all to curd,
Their zeal begotten, as their works rehearse,
By lean despair upon an empty purse.
  86
                  Mountains interposed
Make enemies of nations, who had else
Like kindred drops been mingled into one.
  87
        Nature, exerting an unwearied power,
Forms, opens, and gives scent to every flower;
Spreads the fresh verdure of the field, and leads
The dancing Naiads through the dewy meads.
  88
        No tree in all the grove but has its charms,
Though each its hue peculiar.
  89
        No wild enthusiast ever yet could rest,
Till half mankind were like himself possess’d.
  90
        No, Freedom has a thousand charms to show,
That slaves, howe’er contented, never know.
  91
        None but an author knows an author’s cares,
Or fancy’s fondness for the child she bears.
  92
        Nor rural sights alone, but rural rounds
Exhilarate the spirit, and restore
The tone of languid Nature.
  93
                        Not a flower
But shows some touch, in freckle, streak, or stain,
Of His unrivall’d pencil.
  94
        Not to understand a treasure’s worth,
Till time has stolen away the slightest good,
Is cause of half the poverty we feel,
And makes the world the wilderness it is.
  95
        Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
  96
        O for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
Some boundless contiguity of shade,
Where rumor of oppression and deceit,
Of unsuccessful or successful war,
Might never reach me more.
  97
        O Winter! ruler of the inverted year,
Thy scatter’d hair with sleet-like ashes fill’d,
Thy breath congeal’d upon thy lips, thy cheeks
Fring’d with a beard made white with other snows
Than those of age; thy forehead wrapt in clouds,
A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy throne
A sliding car indebted to no wheels,
But urged by storms along its slippery way;
I love thee, all unlovely as thou seem’st,
And dreaded as thou art.
  98
        Oh, popular applause! what heart of man
Is proof against thy sweet seducing charms?
The wisest and the best feel urgent need
Of all their caution in thy gentlest gales:
But swell’d into a gust—who then, alas!
With all his canvas set, and inexpert,
And therefore, heedless, can withstand thy power?
  99
                        On the summit see,
The seals of office glitter in his eyes;
He climbs, he pants, he grasps them! At his heels,
Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends,
And with a dexterous jerk soon twists him down,
And wins them, but to lose them in his turn.
  100
        Pernicious weed; whose scent the fair annoys,
Unfriendly to society’s chief joys,
Thy worst effect is banishing for hours
The sex whose presence civilizes ours.
  101
        Pleasure admitted in undue degree
Enslaves the will, nor leaves the judgment free.
  102
        Poor England! thou art a devoted deer,
Beset with every ill but that of fear.
The nations hunt; all mock thee for a prey;
They swarm around thee, and thou stand’st at bay.
  103
        Poor Jack,—no matter who,—for when I blame
I pity, and must therefore sink the name,—
Liv’d in his saddle, lov’d the chase, the course,
And always ere he mounted, kiss’d his horse.
  104
        Presume to lay their hand upon the ark
Of her magnificent and awful cause.
  105
        Prison’d in a parlour snug and small,
Like bottled wasps upon a southern wall.
  106
        Religion does not censure or exclude
Unnumbered pleasures, harmlessly pursued.
  107
        Religion, if in heavenly truths attired,
Needs only to be seen to be admired.
  108
        Remorse, the fatal egg by pleasure laid,
In every bosom where her nest is made,
Hatched by the beams of truth, denies him rest,
And proves a raging scorpion in his breast.
  109
        Returning he proclaims by many a grace,
By shrugs and strange contortions of his face,
How much a dunce that has been sent to roam,
Excels a dunce that has been kept at home.
  110
        Sacred interpreter of human thought,
How few respect or use thee as they ought!
But all shall give account of every wrong,
Who dare dishonor or defile the tongue;
Who prostitute it in the cause of vice,
Or sell their glory at a market-price!
  111
        Scenes must be beautiful which daily view’d
Please daily, and whose novelty survives
Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years.
  112
        Seek to delight, that they may mend mankind,
And, while they captivate, inform the mind.
  113
        Silently as a dream the fabric rose;
No sound of hammer or of saw was there.
  114
        Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs
Receive our air, that moment they are free:
They touch our country and their shackles fall.
  115
        Some men make gain a fountain, whence proceeds
A stream of liberal and heroic deeds;
The swell of pity, not to be confined
Within the scanty limits of the mind.
  116
        Some shout him, and some hang upon his car
To 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.
  117
        Stamps God’s own name upon a lie just made,
To turn a penny in the way of trade.
  118
        Suburban villas, highway-side retreats,
That dread th’ encroachments of our growing streets,
Tight boxes neatly sash’d, and in a blaze
With all a July sun’s collected rays,
Delight the citizen, who gasping there,
Breathes clouds of dust, and calls it country air.
O sweet retirement, who would balk the thought
That could afford retirement, or could not?
’Tis such an easy walk, so smooth and straight,—
The second milestone fronts the garden gate;
A step if fair, and if a shower approach
You find safe shelter in the next stagecoach,
There prison’d in a parlor snug and small,
Like bottled wasps upon a southern wall,
The man of business and his friends compress’d,
Forget their labors, and yet find no rest;
But still ’tis rural,—trees are to be seen
From every window, and the fields are green.
  119
        Such dupes are men to custom, and so prone
To rev’rence what is ancient, and can plead
A course of long observance for its use,
That even servitude, the worst of ills,
Because deliver’d down from sire to son,
Is kept and guarded as a sacred thing!
  120
                            The Cross!
There, and there only (though the deist rave,
And atheist, if Earth bears so base a slave);
There and there only, is the power to save.
  121
        The earth was made so various, that the mind
Of desultory man, studious of change
And pleased with novelty, might be indulged.
  122
        The fall of waters and the song of birds,
And hills that echo to the distant herds,
Are luxuries excelling all the glare
The world can boast, and her chief favorites share.
  123
        The kindest and the happiest pair
Will find occasion to forbear;
And something, ev’ry day they live,
To pity, and perhaps forgive.
  124
        The man that hails you Tom or Jack,
And proves by thumps upon your back
    How he esteems your merit,
Is such a friend, that one had need
Be very much his friend indeed
    To pardon or to bear it.
  125
        The man to solitude accustom’d long,
Perceives in everything that lives a tongue;
Not animals alone, but shrubs and trees
Have speech for him, and understood with ease,
After long drought when rains abundant fall,
He hears the herbs and flowers rejoicing all.
  126
        The mind, relaxing into needful sport,
Should turn to writers of an abler sort,
Whose wit well managed, and whose classic style,
Give truth a lustre, and make wisdom smile.
  127
        The path of sorrow, and that path alone,
Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown;
No traveller ever reach’d that blest abode,
Who found not thorns and briars in his road.
  128
        The pipe with solemn interposing puff,
Makes half a sentence at a time enough;
The dozing sages drop the drowsy strain,
Then pause, and puff—and speak, and pause again.
  129
        The rout is Folly’s circle, which she draws
With magic wand. So potent is the spell,
That none decoy’d into that fatal ring,
Unless by heaven’s peculiar grace, escape.
There we grow early gray, but never wise.
  130
        The slaves of custom and established mode,
With pack-horse constancy, we keep the road
Crooked or straight, through quags or thorny dells,
True to the jingling of our leader’s bells.
  131
        The spleen is seldom felt where Flora reigns;
The low’ring eye, the petulance, the frown,
And sullen sadness, that o’ershade, distort,
And mar the face of beauty, when no cause
For such immeasurable woe appears;
These Flora banishes, and gives the fair
Sweet smiles, and bloom less transient than her own.
  132
        The statesman, lawyer, merchant, man of trade
Pants for the refuge of some rural shade,
Where all his long anxieties forgot
Amid the charms of a sequester’d spot,
Or recollected only to gild o’er
And add a smile to what was sweet before,
He may possess the joys he thinks he sees,
Lay his old age upon the lap of ease,
Improve the remnant of his wasted span,
And having lived a trifler, die a man.
  133
        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!
  134
        There goes the parson, oh illustrious spark!
And there, scarce less illustrious, goes the clerk.
  135
        There is a pleasure in poetic pains,
Which only poets know.
  136
        There is in souls a sympathy with sounds,
And as the mind is pitch’d, the ear is pleas’d
With melting airs or martial, brisk or grave;
Some chord in unison with what we hear
Is touch’d within us, and the heart replies.
  137
        There is in souls a sympathy with sounds;
How soft the music of those village bells,
Falling at intervals upon the ear
In cadence sweet, now dying all away.
  138
        They fix attention, heedless of your pain,
With oaths like rivets forced into the brain;
And e’en when sober truth prevails throughout,
They swear it, till affirmance breeds a doubt.
  139
        They love the country, and none else, who seek
For their own sake its silence and its shade.
Delights which who would leave, that has a heart
Susceptible of pity, or a mind
Cultured and capable of sober thought.
  140
        This fond attachment to the well-known place
Whence first we started into life’s long race,
Maintains its hold with such unfailing sway,
We feel it e’en in age, and at our latest day.
  141
        Time, as he passes us, has a dove’s wing,
Unsoil’d, and swift, and of a silken sound.
  142
        ’Tis liberty alone that gives the flower
Of fleeting life its luster and perfume;
And we are weeds without it.
  143
        ’Tis Providence alone secures
In every change both mine and yours.
  144
        ’Tis Revelation satisfies all doubts,
Explains all mysteries except her own,
And so illuminates the path of life,
That fools discover it, and stray no more.
  145
        To follow foolish precedents, and wink
With both our eyes is easier than to think.
  146
        To swear, to game, to drink, to show at home
By lewdness, idleness, and Sabbath-breach,
The great proficiency he made abroad,
T’ astonish and to grieve his gazing friends,
To break some maiden’s and his mother’s heart,
To be a pest where he was useful once,
Are his sole aim, and all his glory now.
  147
        True charity, a plant divinely nursed,
Fed by the love from which it rose at first,
Thrives against hope, and in the rudest scene,
Storms but enliven its unfading green;
Exub’rant is the shadow it supplies,
Its fruit on earth, its growth above the skies.
  148
        True modesty is a discerning grace
And only blushes in the proper place;
But counterfeit is blind, and skulks through fear,
Where ’tis a shame to be asham’d t’ appear:
Humility the parent of the first,
The last by vanity produc’d and nurs’d.
  149
        Truths on which depend our main concern,
That ’tis our shame and misery not to learn,
Shine by the side of every path we tread
With such a lustre, he that runs may read.
  150
        War’s a game, which, were their subjects wise,
Kings would not play at.
  151
                                We are his,
To serve him nobly in the common cause,
True to the death, but not to be his slaves.
  152
        We sacrifice to dress, till household joys
And comforts cease. Dress drains our cellar dry,
And keeps our larder lean; puts out our fires,
And introduces hunger, frost and woe,
Where peace and hospitality might reign.
  153
        What is there in the vale of life
Half so delightful as a wife;
When friendship, love and peace combine
To stamp the marriage-bond divine?
  154
        What peaceful hours I once enjoy’d!
  How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
  The world can never fill.
  155
        What we admire we praise; and when we praise,
Advance it into notice, that its worth
Acknowledged, others may admire it too.
  156
        When perjury, that heaven-defying vice,
Sells oaths by tale, and at the lowest price,
Stamps God’s own name upon a lie just made,
To turn a penny in the way of trade.
  157
        When scandal has new-minted an old lie,
Or tax’d invention for a fresh supply,
’Tis call’d a satire, and the world appears
Gathering around it with erected ears;
A thousand names are toss’d into the crowd,
Some whisper’d softly, and some twang’d aloud,
Just as the sapience of an author’s brain,
Suggests it safe or dangerous to be plain.
  158
        Where penury is felt the thought is chain’d,
And sweet colloquial pleasures are but few.
  159
        Who ever keeps an open ear
For tattlers, will be sure to hear
The trumpet of contention;
Aspersion is the babbler’s trade,
To listen is to lend him aid,
And rush into dissension.
  160
                    Whoso seeks an audit here
Propitious, pays his tribute, game or fish,
Wild fowl or venison, and his errand speeds.
  161
        Wisdom and Goodness are twin born, one heart
Most hold both sisters, never seen apart.
  162
        With spots quadrangular of diamond form,
Ensanguined hearts, clubs typical of strife,
And spades, the emblems of untimely graves.
  163
        Without one friend, above all foes,
Britannia gives the world repose.
  164
        Words learn’d by rote, a parrot may rehearse,
But talking is not always to converse;
Not more distinct from harmony divine,
The constant creaking of a country sign.
  165
        Would I describe a preacher,
*        *        *        *        *
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.
  166
        Yon ancient prude, whose wither’d features show
She might be young some forty years ago,
Her elbows pinion’d close upon her hips,
Her head erect, her fan upon her lips,
Her eyebrows arch’d, her eyes both gone astray
To watch yon amorous couple in their play,
With bony and unkerchief’d neck defies
The rude inclemency of wintry skies,
And sails, with lappet-head and mincing airs,
Duly at chink of bell to morning prayers.
  167
        Your Lordship and your Grace, what school can teach
A rhetoric equal to those parts of speech?
What need of Homer’s verse, or Tully’s prose,
Sweet interjections! if he learn but those?
Let rev’rend churls his ignorance rebuke,
Who starve upon a dog’s ear’d Pentateuch,
The Parson knows enough who knows a Duke.
  168
  A fool may now and then be right by chance.  169
  A fool with judges, amongst fools a judge.  170
  A life of ease is a difficult pursuit.  171
  A snug and friendly game at cards.  172
  Absence of occupation is not rest.  173
  Accomplishments have taken virtue’s place, and wisdom falls before exterior grace.  174
  Acquaint thyself with God, if thou wouldst taste His works.  175
  Alas! if my best Friend, who laid down His life for me, were to remember all the instances in which I have neglected Him, and to plead them against me in judgment, where should I hide my guilty head in the day of recompense? I will pray, therefore, for blessings on my friends, even though they cease to be so, and upon my enemies, though they continue such.  176
  All learned, and all drunk!  177
  All truth is precious, if not all divine; and what dilates the powers must needs refine.  178
  An idler is a watch that wants both hands.  179
  Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day, live till to-morrow, will have passed away.  180
  Blest be the art that can immortalize,—the art that baffles time’s tyrannic claim to quench it.  181
  Books are not seldom talismans and spells.  182
  Built God a church and laughed His word to scorn.  183
  But, oh, Thou bounteous Giver of all good, Thou art, of all Thy gifts, Thyself the crown!  184
  Detested sport, that owes its pleasures to another’s pain.  185
  Doing nothing with a deal of skill.  186
  Domestic happiness, thou only bliss of paradise that hath survived the fall.  187
  Events of all sorts creep or fly exactly as God pleases.  188
  Examine well his milk-white hand, the palm is hardly clean,—but here and there an ugly smutch appears. Foh! It was a bribe that left it. He has touched corruption.  189
  Farewell! “But not for ever.”  190
  Flavia, most tender of her own good name, is rather careless of a sister’s fame.  191
  Folly ends where genuine hope begins.  192
  For truth is unwelcome, however divine.  193
  From thoughtless youth to ruminating age.  194
  Gloriously drunk, obey the important call.  195
  God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.  196
  Good sense, good health, good conscience, and good fame,—all these belong to virtue, and all prove that virtue has a title to your love.  197
  Habits are soon assumed; but when we strive to strip them off, ’tis being flayed alive.  198
  Happy the man who sees a God employed in all the good and ills that checker life.  199
  He that runs may read.  200
  Heaven’s harmony is universal love.  201
  His wit invites you by his looks to come; but when you knock, it never is at home.  202
  How happy it is to believe, with a steadfast assurance, that our petitions are heard even while we are making them; and how delightful to meet with a proof of it in the effectual and actual grant of them.  203
  How readily we wish time spent revoked, that we might try the ground again where once—through inexperience, as we now perceive—we missed that happiness we might have found!  204
  I would not enter on my list of friends (though graced with polished manners and fine sense, yet wanting sensibility) the man who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.  205
  It is the primal curse, but softened into mercy, made the pledge of cheerful days and nights without a groan.  206
  Lives spent in indolence, and therefore sad.  207
  Man may dismiss compassion from his heart, but God will never.  208
  Man on the dubious waves of error toss’d.  209
  Mercy to him that shows it, is the rule.  210
  My soul is sick with every day’s report of wrong and outrage with which earth is filled.  211
  Nature is but a name for an effect, whose cause is God.  212
  No man was ever scolded out of his sins.  213
  None but an author knows an author’s cares.  214
  Not a flower but shows some touch, in freckle, streak, or stain, of His unrivaled pencil. He inspires their balmy odors, and imparts their hues,  215
  Not to understand a treasure’s worth till time has stole away the slighted good, is cause of half the poverty we feel, and makes the world the wilderness it is.  216
  Now let us sing, long live the king.  217
  O popular applause! what heart of man is proof against thy sweet, seducing charms?  218
  O solitude! where are the charms that sages have seen in thy face?  219
  Quick is the succession of human events. The cares of to-day are seldom the cares of to-morrow; and when we lie down at night, we may safely say to most of our troubles, “Ye have done your worst, and we shall meet no more.”  220
  Religion, richest favor of the skies.  221
  Remorse, the fatal egg by pleasure laid.  222
  Sin let loose speaks punishment at hand.  223
  Some to the fascination of a name surrender judgment hoodwinked.  224
  Spring hangs her infant blossoms on the trees.  225
  Strange as it may seem, the most ludicrous lines I ever wrote have been written in the saddest mood.  226
  Such stuff the world is made of.  227
  That good diffused may more abundant grow.  228
  The art of poetry is to touch the passions, and its duty to lead them on the side of virtue.  229
  The bird that flutters least is longest on the wing.  230
  The false fire of an overheated mind.  231
  The few that pray at all pray oft amiss.  232
  The innocent seldom find an uneasy pillow.  233
  The lie that flatters I abhor the most.  234
  The only amaranthine flower on earth is virtue.  235
  The parable of the prodigal son, the most beautiful fiction that ever was invented; our Saviour’s speech to His disciples, with which He closed His earthly ministrations, full of the sublimest dignity and tenderest affection, surpass everything that I ever read; and like the spirit by which they were dictated, fly directly to the heart.  236
  The proud are ever most provoked by pride.  237
  The rich are too indolent, the poor too weak, to bear the insupportable fatigue of thinking.  238
  The sounding jargon of the schools.  239
  The statesman, lawyer, merchant, man of trade, pants for the refuge of some rural shade.  240
  The still small voice is wanted.  241
  There is in souls a sympathy with sounds.  242
  There is no flesh in man’s obdurate heart; he does not feel for man.  243
  Those flimsy webs that break as soon as wrought, attain not to the dignity of thought.  244
  Thus neither the praise nor the blame is our own.  245
  True charity, a plant divinely nurs’d.  246
  True modesty is a discerning grace.  247
  Variety is the very spice of life.  248
  Vice stings us even in our pleasures, but virtue consoles us even in our pains.  249
  Visits are unsatiable devourers of time, and fit only for those who, if they did not visit, would do nothing.  250
  We sacrifice to dress till household joys and comforts cease. Dress drains our cellar dry, and keeps our larder lean.  251
  We turn to dust, and all our mightiest works die too.  252
  When from soft love proceeds the deep distress, ah! why forbid the willing tears to flow?  253
  When nations are to perish in their sins, ’tis in the Church the leprosy begins.  254
  Where thou art gone, adieus and farewells are a sound unknown.  255
  Who loves a garden loves a greenhouse, too.  256
  Wit, now and then, struck smartly, shows a spark.  257
  With paths like rivets forced into your brain.  258
 
 
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