Their feithfutfingA'tlieeiMdfngfdanets nna;
StaU eoui-disiant» Mnrercyet^liioiiiaavr
Mark how the AlMSMttK4yi»g <w^iM^^
While feom Oie JMiNlMjnpnlily JigM c^wiifi,
Digitized by VnOOQ iC
Breathes' ber wide infloenee on Hhe world below,
And bids the tides alternate ebb and flow.
View how in conne the constant seasons rise,
Deform the earth, or beanfi^ the sicies : -
Fiist, Spring advancing, widb her flqw'ry train;
Nex^ Summer's band, that spreads the silvan scene ;.
Then, Antnmn, with her yellow harvests crowned,
And trembling Winter close the annual roond^
Hie T^etable tribes observant trace.
From the tsU cedar to the creeping grass :
The cbaui of animated beings scale.
From the small reptile to tV enormous whale ;
From the strong eagle stooping through the skies,
To the low insect that escafies ttrjr eyes I
And see, if see thou canst, in ev'iy frame.
Eternal Wisdom shine confessed the same :
As proper oigans to the least assigned.
As proper means to propagate the kind.
As just tiie structnre,p and as wise die plan.
As in this lord of all^-debating man ! ,
To (he pen of Samubl Wbsley, brother to the
celebrated John Wbslby, we are indebted for one
of flie sweetest pieces of Sacted Lyrical Poetry otir
language can boast
Isaiah XL, 6-8,
The morning flowers display their sweets,
And gay their silken leaves unfold^
As careless of the noon-tide heats, -^
And fearless of the evening cold.
Nipt by the wind's untimely blast, '
Farehed by 'the sun*s director ray.
The momentary glories waste,
The short-lived beauties die away*
So blooms the human face divine.
When youth its pride of beauty shows ;
Fairer than spring the colours shine.
And sweeter than the new-blown rose.
But worn by slowly rolling years.
Or broke by sickness in a day.
The fiiding gloiy disappears.
Hie shoctplived beauties die away.
Yet these, new-rising from the tmab^
With lustre brIgfatiBr frr shaU shrae^
(If goodness in the lifedid Moon) ' '
Bafip'Qom diseases and dssinu.
BNOLiaH SACBBD POBTAT* IxtiX
L0I nckMit Matt, let dMOh d0TMr«
So UeATOQ but reoonpeBM our psiM ;
Peiiab the gnis, and Me tlM flowar.
If firm the word of God I
The pious and exemplary Doddridgb, author of
so many works which nave acquired and still retain
a high and well merited popularity, and have bene-
fitted, and will benefit so many generatioos, com-
posed a volume of Hymns; they abound in true
piety and heavenly aspirations, and are clothed in
language partaking both of elevation and simplicity.
Isaiah XL, 15-17.
Ye weak inbabitants of olay,
Ye trifliDg^ insecta of a daj,
Low in your native dnat bow down
Before tfa^ £tenial'a awfol tbrooe. '
Witb trembfinr beart, with aolenm eje,
Behold Jehovah aeated high ;
And search what worthy sadrifioe
Your hands can give, your thougfati detise.
Yet Lebanon her cedars bring.
To bhoe before the soVreign King ;
And all the beasts tiiat on it feed,
As vietinis at iiis altar bleed.
Lend let ten thousand trumpets soand.
And call remotest nations round.
Assembled on the crowded plains.
Princes and people, kings and swains.
Joined with the Hying, let the dead
Rising the face of earai o'erspread ;
And while his praise unites their tongnes.
Let angels echo back the songs.
The drop that from the backet fidls,
The dust that hangs upon the scales.
Is more to sky, and eartii, and sea.
Than attthis pomp, O God, to thee.
Isaiah LX, 19-SO.
Ye golden lamps of hesiten, fiiriiwelt,
WHh aU your feeble Kght :
Farewell, thou ever-changjng Moon,
Pale empMMrof the idght.
Digitized by VnOOQ iC
. 11 u.1 »».>WW— II. ,1 ■■iiiiiB I I i m i- ^ IIM 11 ■! ■■ Hi ' ii n i»«ii '
And tlioa, Mfalgeat Mb of 4ay»
My soul, that springs teyoMd ^y sphere,
No iBore deuMuods Hkj m4»
Ye atfos are but the slikwig dast
Of my 4iviDe abode.
Hie travement of those lietly'iily courts,
li^i^We 1 shall r^igti with God.
- The lather of eternal %bt
' Shall there his beams display;
. Nor4rtiaIlQ«e oioiiieiit's daitoeM mill
\Kitb that unvaried d|iy #
No more the drops of piercing j^ef
Shall swell into mine eyes ;
Nor the meridian stm decline
Amidst those brighter :slfii<e«.
There all the millions of his saints
Shall in one -song nnitey
And ea$jb the bli4s qfaH shall v«iew
tVith infinite :deiUgbt*
FawkjKs^ ibe^c^elebtuted translator, ^o was a cler-
gyman, penned a few religions pieces, ,whi|)h are so
excellent, that wer^gr^t be did not pay bis devotions
ofteaer to the iSacred BInse.
7%e PrcTURE of Old Age, ' '
Panphnved firom tite »even iSrst serves of the xiith Chapter of Eccle^iastes^.
My Son, attentive hear th^ voice oCtrath,
Remember thy Creator in thy.youtfa,
Ere days of pale adversitv appear,
And age and isorrow fill the gloomy year;
When, wearied with vexation^ thou sh>lt say,
* No rest hy night I know, no joy by day.'
Ere the bright sonFs enlig1itenedj>ower was finil,
Ere reason, mmiiary, and fimey &iU
But care succeeds to care» and pain to pain.
As olouds urge ckmds returning alter rain.
Ere yet the arms.onnerred and feeble grow.
The weak legs tremble, and the loose knees bow ;
Ere yet the grinding of the teeth is o'er,
And the dim eyestehbid the Sitti no more;
Ere yet the palUdUps forget to. ipttl^ .
The gums are toothle^ imdithe Yoioeia imiky
Resdess he liyeswhen the iavk hp heara^ .
Yet sweetest mnsic^Sult to iOhfi^i^^l^'W^^ .
BNGLISfl SACBSD POBTRY. IxXXi
A stone or hillock tonit his gfddjpbndii,
Appalled with fear be totten o'er ther pkiii.
And, as the almond-tree white ilowert displays,
His head grows hoary with the lengtt of days ;
As leanness In the grasshopper prevails.
So shrinks his body and his stomach fails.
Doomed to the grave, his last long home, to go,
The mourners march along with solemn woe :
Ere yet life^ silver cord be snapt in twain.
Ere broke the golden bowl that holds the brain ;
Ere broke the pitcher at the foontful heart.
Or life's wheel shivered, and the soul depart,
Then shall the dnst to native Earth be given.
The Sonl shall soar 8id>lime, and wing its way to Heaven.
Christopher SMART^who foar times gained The
Seaianian Prize, at one period of his life had the
misfortone to be the inmate of a madhouse, where he
composed his Sang to David, and, being debarred
pen and ink, wrote it with a coal, or an^ thing that
came in his way, on the wainscot: after hid recovery,
he wrote The Pandtks of our Skwiaur, in familiar
Terse. It is said that Smart was so impressed with
the .importance of th6 subjects of his religious poems,
that he frequently wrote ttiem on his knees. lie pos-
sesses great command of imagery, and at times rises
to sublimity, as the following passage, desciiptlTe of.
The Last Day, will evince : —
A Day shall come, when all this Earth shall perish,
Nor leave behind ev'n Chaos ; it shall come
When all the armies of the elements
Shall war against themselyes ; and mntoal rage.
To make Perdition triumph : it shall coipe
When the capacious atmosphere above
Shall in solphureons thunders groan, and die,
And vanish intavoid; the earth beneath
Shall sever to the centre, and devour
Th' enormous blaae of the destructive flames.
Ye rocks, that mock the raving of the floods,
And proudly frown upon th' impatient deep,
Where is your grandeur now? Ye foaming waves,
That all along Ui' immense Atlantic roar,
la vain ye swell ; will a fbw drops suffice
To quench the inextinguishable fire?
Ye mountains, on wheee eioud-crowned tops the cedars
Are lessened into 8farn|>8, magiiifie piles,
That prop the padnfted chambers of the heavens,
And nx the earth continual; Atfaos, where; '
Where, Te|ieriffe*s, thy stateliness to*day?
What, iGtna, are thy flames to these ?*-*-N<i more
Than the poor glow-worm to the golden $un.
Nor shall the verdant val lies .then remain
Safe in their meek submission; they the debt
Of nature and of jtistice too must pay.
Yet I most weep for you, ye rival fair,
Amo and Andaiutda; bat for thee
More largely and with filial tears must weep,
O Albion, O my country! Thou must join,
In vain dissevered lirom the rest, mast join
The terrors of th' inevitable ruin.
Nor thou, illustrious monarch of the day ;
Nor thou, Mr queen of night ; nor you, ye stars,
Tbo' million leagues und milUon still remote,
Shail yet survive that day; ye must submit*
Sharers, not b^ght spectators of the scene*^
Sut tbo' the earth shall to the centre perish,
Nor leave behind ev'n Chaos ; tfao* the air
With all the elements must pass away,
VftMi as an ideof s dream ; tho^ tb^ huge rocks,
, That brandish the tall cedars on their tops,
. With humbler vales mus.t to perdition yield ;
Tbo^the gilt Sun, and silver-tressed Moon
' ' * Wilh all her bright retinue must be lost ;
Yet Thou, Greet Fatter of the World, surviv'st
Eternal, as thou wert : Yet still survives .
The soul of man immortal, perfect now,
And cai^dale for unexpiring joys.
Jambs Merrick, €t divine aad poet, wricite much
Sacred Poetary ; amongst which may be famid many
clever Paraphrases of the Psalms, and several other
portions of the Scripture : from these we select
The * Nunc Dimittis.'
'Tiff enough — the hour is come ;
Now within the sileat tomb
Let this mortal frame decay,
JiViIingled with its kindred day ;
Since fhy. mercies, oft. of old
By thy chosen seers foretoM^
Faithfol now and sted&st prove,
GtKi ol'Trath an4 God of X«oye !
. Digitized by VnOOQ iC
BNGLISB SACJUID FOBTRY. IkxiUli
Since at length my aged eye
Sees the Day-spring from on high,
Sun of Righteousness, to thee,
Lto ! the nations bow the knee ;
And the realms of distant kings
Own the healing of thy wings.
Those whcmi Death had overspread
With his dark and dreary shade.
Lift their eyes, and from afar
Hail the light of Jacob's star ;
Waiting till the promised ray
Turn their darkness into day*
See the beams, intensely shed,
Shine o'er Sion's favoured head !
Never may they hence remove,
God of Truth and God of Love !
Nathaniel Cottok, the aniiiOT of The Fables and
many moral poems, which will be admired while
simplicity of thought and harmony of versification
shaU excite praise> wrote several very pleasing short
pieces 6f religious poetry: oar limited space pre-
cludes oar giving more than one specimen to the
reader, otherwise the whole is well worthy of ex-
A Sunday Hymn.
tin ImlUtlon of pr. WAtts.]
This is the day the Lord of Life
Ascended to the skies ; .
My thoughts pursue the lofty scheme.
And to the Heavens arise.
Let no vain cares divert my mind
From this celestial road.
Nor all the honours of the earth-
Betaiii my soul from G(>d«i
Think of the splendours of that places
The joys that are on high ;-
Nor meanly rest coiitented heriB ,
With worlds beneath the sky.
HeaVnisthe birth-place of ihe Saints, •
To Heaven their souls ascend ;
Tb' Ahnigfaty owns his (kVAie rtice "^
Aa Father and ai JB^ieud.
Oh, may these lovely titles prove
My comfort and defence,
When the sick conch shall be my lot,
And Death shall call me hence !
Scott of Amwell^ as he is generally called, was
a Quaker by birtfi. Among bis miscellaneous com-
positions are to be found several Sacred Poems, two
of which obtained Seatonian Prizes: there being no-
thing remarkable either in their style or composition,
our readers must excuse us from presenting them
with any extract.
In this age Sacred Poetry assumed a hew form,
from the labours of Watts, Doddridge, and other
pious and enlightened men; it ceased to be dis-
figured by the poor conceits and metaphysical doc-
trines which had previously been its almost universal
accompaniments; and, instead of being addressed to
the head alone, appealed more forcibly to the heart,
which it roused to devotion by means at once the
most simple and the most powerful.
The character of the times was vastly improved ;
the dissolute manners and unsettled principles of the
former age had been gradually corrected by the writ-
ings of the eminent Moralists and Divines by whom
this was adorned, and a brighter era was now open-
ing upon our country.
DR. JOHNSON— MRS. ELIZABETH CARTER— CHAT-
TERTON— LOGAN— BLACKLOCK —ROBERTS —MA-
SON— DR. BLAIR- DR. GLYNN— BISHOP LOWTH—
BISHOP PORTEUS-DR. OGILVIE-COWPER— NEW-
TON- BURNS-GRAHAME— HENRY KIRKE WHITE
-LORD BYRON— MATURIN.
That great philosopher and moralist Dr. Samuel
Johnson, in his varied and multitudinous writmgs.
Digitized by VnOOQ iC
ENGLISH SACEJBD POETRY. hooev
hos, we lament to say, left us hut one slight speci-
men of Sacred Poesy — it is as follows : —
Proverbs XI, 6-n.
Tarn io^ Uie prudent Ant tirjr beedful eyes,
Obierve lier labours^ sloggard, ftnd be wise :
No stern command, no monkery voice
Prescribes her dotiea^ or direots ber choice ;
Yet^ timely provident, sbe hastes away
To snatch the blessings of the plenteous day:
When fraitfolsammer loads the teeming plain,
She €rop8.the harvest, and «he stores the grain.
How long shall sloth usurp thy useless hours.
Unnerve tby vigour, and enchain thy powers;
While artful shades Ihy downy couch enclose.
And soft solicitation courts repose ?
Amidst the drowsy charms of dull delight <
Year chases year with unremitted flight,
Till want now following, fraudulent and slow.
Shall spring to seize thee like an ambushed foe.
Contemporary and intimate with Dr. Johnson was
that learned and highly-gifted lady^ Mrs. Eliza-
beth Carter. Much of her poetry is of a moral
and didactic nature; but the following partakes, in
an eminent degree, of the religious feelings which
unifonnly characterized her, through along and well-
Thoughts tu Midnioht.
While Night in solemn shade invests the Pole,
And calm reflection soothes the pensive soul;
While Reason undisturbed asserts her sway,
And life's deceitful colours fade away :
To Thee ! all-conscious presence I I devote
This peaceful interval of sober thought.
Here all my better faculties confine.
And be this hour of sacred silence Thine.
If, by the day's illusive scenes misled.
My erring soul from Virtue's patlrhas strayed ;
If by example snared, by passion warmed.
Some false delight my giddy sense has charmed.
My calmer thoughts the wretched choice reprove,
And my best hopes are centered in Thy love.
Deprived of this, can life one joy afford ?
Its utmost boast a vain unmeaning word,
Digitized by VnOOQ iC
But, -ah ! how oft my lawless passions rove,
And break .those awful precepts I approve !
Pursue the fatal impulse I abhor,
And violate the virtue I adore !
Oft, when thy gracious Spirif s guardian care
Warned my fond soul to shun the tempting snare,
My stubborn will his gentle aid represt,
And checked the rising goodness in my breast ;
Mad with vain hopes, or ur^ed by false desires.
Stilled his soft voice, and quenched his sacred fires.
With grief opprest, and prostrate in the dust,
Should'st thou condemn, J own the sentence just.
But, oh, thy softer titles let me claim.
And plead my cause by Mercy's gentle name.
Mercy, that wipes the penitentisd tear.
And dissipates the horrors of despair ;
From rigorous Justice steals the vengeful hour.
Softens the dreadful attribute of power;
Disarms the wrath of an offended God,
And seals my pardon in a Saviour's blood.
All-powerful Grace, exert thy gentle sway,
And teach my rebel passions to obey.
Lest lurking Folly with insidious art
Regain my 'volatile, inconstant heart.
Shall evVy high resolve devotion frames
Be only lifeless sounds and specious names?
Or rather while thy hopes and fears controul
In this still hour each motion of my soul.
Secure its safety by a sudden doom,
And be the soft retreat of sleep my tomb.
Calm let me slumber in that dark repose.
Till the last mom its orient beam disclose :
Then, when the great Archangel's potent sound
Shall echo through Creation's ample round,
Waked from the sleep of Death, with joy survey
The op'ning splendours of eternal day.
That child of genius and misfortune^ Thomas
Chatterton, who, perhaps, has a better cla.im to
the title of Prodigy than any on whom it has been
lavished, claims oilr attention . as the author of a
beautiful Hymn, written at the age oi eleven. When
we take a review of tiie- early poetical productions
of the greatest poets of any age, we are struck with
astonishment to observe how vastly superior what
ENGLISH SACRED POETRY. IxXXYU
we now presentthe reader with^ is to all tbe precocious
emanations with which it can be put in competition.
HYMN/or Christmas Day.
Almigbty Framer of the skies,
Q let our pure doYotion rise
. Like incense in tby sight ;
Wrapt in impenetrable shade,
Tbe texture of our souls were made,
Till tby command gave light.
The Sun of Glory gleamed the ray,
Refined the darkness into day.
And bid the vapours fly ;
Impelled by bis eternal love,
He left his palaces above
To cheer our gloomy sky.
How shall we celebrate the day,
When God appeared in mQrtal clay,
The mark of worldly scorn ;
When tb' ArcbangeFs heavenly lays
Attempted the Redeemer's praise.
And hailed Salvation's morn?
Almighty form the Godhead wore,
The pains of poverty be bore, .
To gaudy pomp unknown :
Though ill a human walk he trod^
Still was the man Almighty God, /
In glory all bis own!
Despised, oppressed, the Godhead bears
Tbe torments of this vale of tears.
Nor bad his vengeance rise ;
He saw the creatures be had made
Revile his power, his peace invade,
He saw with Mercy's eyes.
How shall we celebrate bis name.
Who groaned beneath a life of shame,
In all afflictions tried?
The soul is raptured to conceive
A truth which being must believe, —
The God Eternal died!
My soul, exert thy powers, adore ;
Upon devotlon^s plumage soar.
To celebrate tbe day,
The God from whom creation sprung'
Shall animate my grateful tongue, .
From him I'll catch tbe lay.
The beautiful Scotch poet John Logan, besides
mmiy oHier religions poems^ composed nine Hymns,
all of which partake greatly of the feeling and good
taste so distinguisbable throughout his poetic effa-
slons. 'Fhey are so equally written, that we as wil-
lingly present our readers with the ^r^, as any other,
by which they will form an accurate judgment of the
• Tke Pra^yer of Jaoo».
O God of Abraham, by whose hand
Thy people still are fed.
Who throagh this weary pilgrimage
Had all our fathers led ;
Our TOWS, our prayers, we now present
Before thy throne of graee ;
God of our fathers, be the God
Of their succeeding race !
Through each perplexing path of life
Our wand'ring footsteps gutde ;
Give OS this day oar daily bread>
And raiment fit provide.
O sprcitd thy covering wings aroiuid.
Till all our wanderings cease*
And at our Father's loved abode
Our feet arrive in peace.
Now, with the humble voice of prayer,
Thy mercy we implore, '
Then with the g^efiri voice of praise
Thy goodness we'll adore.
BlacklocK) the fellow countryman of the pre*
ceding^ who lost his si^t before he was six months
old, and has consequenfly been extolled as a prodigy
on account of his descriptive powers, was a writer
also of Sacred Poetry, much of which is deserving
of considerable admiration, especially if we take
into consideration the melancholy deprivation under
which he suffered. We insert the commencement
of a long Paraphrase on the I04th Psalm, by which
the reader will oe enabled to judge of his powers.
ENGLISH 8ACRBD POSTRT. IXXXlX
Arise, my sool ! on wings seraphic rise !
And praise th' almigbty Soi^'reign of the skies ;
In whom alone essential glory shines.
Which not the heaVn of heaVns, nor boundless space confines*
When darkness ruled with universal sway.
He spoke, and kindled up the blaze of day ;
First, fairest offspring of th' omnific word I '
Which like a garment clothed its sovereign Lord.
On liquid air he bade the columns rise
That prop the starry concave of the skies ;
Difiiised the blue expanse from pole to pole,
And spread circumfluent aether round the whole.
Soon as he bids impetuous tempests fly,
To wing his sounding chariot through the sky.
Impetuous tempests the command obey.
Sustain his flight, and sweep tb' aerial way.
Fraught with his mandates, from the realms on high.
Unnumbered hosts of radiant ^heralds fly
From orb to orb, with progress unconfined.
As lightning swift, resistless as the wind*
* ♦ ♦
William Hayward Roberts wrote A Poetical
Essay on the Attributes and Providence of the Deity,
and several other pieces of Sacred Poetry. Many
passages of these possess considerable merits bat
we regret that our limits preclude us from quoting
Among flie productions of that elegant poet and
profound scholar William MaIson, we find the fol-
lowing^ which is remarkable for its simplicity and
harmony of versification : —
Hymn far York Cathedral.
Again the day returns of holy rest.
Which when he made the world, Jehovah blest,
When, like his own, he bade his labours cease.
And all be piety, and all be peace.
While impious men despise Thy sage decree, ,
From Tain deceit and fadse philosophy,'
Let ns its wisdom own, its blessings feel,
Receive with gratitude, perform with seaL
Let us devote this consecrated day
To learn his will, and all we learn obey ;
In pnre Religion's hallowed duties share.
And join in penitence, and join in prayer.
Digitized by VnOOQ iC
So shall the God of Morcy pleased receive
That only tribate man has power to gi^re t
So shall he hear, while fenreotly we raise
Our eboral barnooy ia hymns of praise.
Father of heaven ! in whom our hq)es confide,
Whose power defends us, and whose precepts gnide^
In life our guardian, and in death oar friend.
Glory supteme be thine till Time shall end !
Br. Hugh Blair.— -The merits of (his pious di-
vine and elegant prose ivriter mast, we imagine, be
known to all onr readers, and by them donbUess his
poem of The Grave is prized as it deserves to be.
The natare, feeling, and pathos displayed throughout
this poem, entitle him to a high rank among modem
sacred poets. We select from the poem in question
the admirable passage in ipduch the airthor dilnraMles
from suicide, as a specimen of the splendid talents
and force of reasoning with which it is enriched.
If death were nothing, and nought after death ;
If when men died» at once they ceased to be,
Retjoming to the barren womb of nothing,
Whence first they sprang, then might the debauchee
Untrembling mouth the heavens :— then nri^t the drankard
Reel over bu full bowl, and» when 'tis drained,
Fill up another to the brim, and laugh
At the poor bugbear death :-«>then might the wretch
That's weary of the world, and tired of life.
At onee give each inqnietiide the slip,
By stealing ont of being, when he pleftsed.
And by what way, wheQier by hemp or steel;
Death^ thousand doors stand open. — Who could force
The ill'-pleased guest to sit out his full time.
Or blame him if he goes ?— Sure he does well,
That helps himself as timely as he can,
When able — But if there's an hererfter ;
(And that there is, conscience, uninfluenced
And suffered to speah out, tells every man ;}
Then must it be. tm «wfiil thing to die :
More horrid yet to die by one's own hand^
Self-murder .'-^jnaie it net: our island's shame.
That makes her the reproach of neighbouring jttates*
Shall nature, swerving from her earliest dictate,
'^-i^reservation, fall by her own act?
1 it, H^ven l-^Let not, upon disgust,
SNGLISB 8AeBB|> POBTBY. XCl
- ,- - - ■ •■ ■ - ■ ' I . ..
The sbamelewi hand be foully crimaoiied o'er
With bk>od of ita own lord. — Dreadful attempt!
Jast reeking from self-alaaghter, in a rage.
To rash into the presence of our Judge ;
A$ if we challenged him to do his worst,
And mattered not his wrath!— Unheard of tortures
Muirt be reserved for such : these herd together ;
The common damned shun their society,
And look upon themselves as fiends less foul.
Our time is fixed, and all our days are numbered !
How long, how short, we know not : — (his we know,
Daty requires we calmly wait the summons,
Nor dare to stir till Heaven shall give p»ermisflion :
IAk6 sentries that must keep their destined stand.
And wait th' appointed hour, till they're relieved.