Page images
PDF
EPUB

To fortune's arrows bar'd my breast;

Till wisdom came,

A hoary dame!
And told me pleasure was in rest.

“ O
may

I steal
Along the vale
Of humble life, secure from foes !

My friend sincere !

My judgment clear !
And gentle business my repose !

My mind be strong

To combat wrong! Grateful, O king! for favours shown !

Soft to complain

For others' pain!
And bold to triumph o'er my own!

(When fortune's kind)

Acute to find, And warm to relish

every

boon! And wise to still

Fantastic ill, Whose frightful spectres stalk at noon !

- No fruitless toils !

No brainless broils !
Each moment leveli'd at the mark !

Our day so short

Invites to sport;
Be sad and solemn when 'tis dark.

Yet, prudence, still
Rein thou my will !

What's most important, make most dear!

For 'tis in this

Resides true bliss ; True bliss, a deity severe !

“When temper leans

To gayer scenes,
And serious life void moments spares,

The sylvan chase

My sinews brace! Or song unbend my mind from cares !

“ Nor shun, my soul !

The genial bowl, Where mirth, good nature, spirit, flow!

Ingredients these,

Above, to please
The laughing gods, the wise, below.

“Though rich the vine,

More wit, than wine, More sense, than wit, good-will than art,

May I provide !

Fair truth, my pride!
My joy, the converse of the heart !

“ The gloomy brow,

The broken vow,
To distant climes, ye gods ! remove!

The nobly soul'd

Their commerce hold
With words of truth and looks of love!

O glorious aim !
O wealth supreme !

Divine benevolence of soul!

That greatly glows,

And freely flows, And in one blessing grasps the whole;

“ Prophetic schemes,

And golden dreams,
May I, unsanguine, cast away!

Have, what I have !

And live, not leave, Enamour'd of the present day !

My

hours My faults unknown ! My chief revenue in content!

Then, leave one beam

Of honest fame!
And scorn the labour'd monument!

“ Unhurt my urn!

Till that great turn When mighty nature's self shall die !

Time cease to glide,

With human pride, Sunk in the ocean of eternity.”

my own!

ODLA

169

A PARAPHRASE ON PART OF THE

BOOK OF JOB.1

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THOMAS LORD PARKER, BARON OF MACCLESFIELD, LORD HIGH CHANCELLOR OF

GREAT BRITAIN, ETC. ETC.

MY LORD, THOUGH I have not the honour of being known to your lordship, I presume to take a privilege which men of retirement are apt to think themselves in possession of, as being the only method they have of making their way to persons of your lordship's high station without struggling through multitudes for access. I may possibly fail in my respect to your lordship, even while I endeavour to show it most; but if I err, it is because I imagined I ought not to make my first approach to one of your

lordship's exalted character with less ceremony than that of a dedication. It is annexed to the condition of eminent merit, not to suffer more from the malice of its enemies, than from the importunity of its admirers; and perhaps it would be unjust, that your lordship should hope to be exempted from the troubles, when you possess all the talents,

of a patron.

It is disputed amongst the critics who was the author of the book of Job; some give it to Moses, some to others. As I was engaged in this little performance, some arguments occurred to me which favour the former of those opinions ; which arguments I have flung into the following notes, where little else is to be expected.

I have here a fair occasion to celebrate those sublime qualities, of which a whole nation is sensible, were it not inconsistent with the design of my present application. By the just discharge of your great employments, your lordship may well deserve the

prayers of the distressed, the thanks of your country, and the approbation of your royal master: this indeed is a reason why every good Briton should applaud your lordship; but it is equally a reason why none should disturb you in the execution of your important affairs by works of fancy and amusement. I was therefore induced to make this address to your lordship, by considering you rather in the amiable light of a person distinguished for a refined taste of the polite arts, and the candour that usually attends it, than in the dignity of your public character.

The greatness and solemnity of the subjects treated of in the following work cannot fail in some measure to recommend it to a person who holds in the utmost veneration those sacred books from which it is taken ; and would at the same time justify to the world my choice of the great name prefixed to it, could I be assured that the undertaking had not suffered in my hands. Thus much I think myself obliged to say; that if this little performance had not been very indulgently spoken of by some, whose judgment is universally allowed in writings of this nature, I had not dared to gratify my ambition in offering it to your lordship: I am sensible that I am endeavouring to excuse one vanity by another ; but I hope I shall

« PreviousContinue »