Joseph Cottle.

Poems containing John the Baptist. Sir Malcolm and Alla, a tale ... War a fragment. With a Monody to John Henderson; and a sketch of his character online

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Online LibraryJoseph CottlePoems containing John the Baptist. Sir Malcolm and Alla, a tale ... War a fragment. With a Monody to John Henderson; and a sketch of his character → online text (page 1 of 4)
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Yide SIM MAIL C OILM g: AIL LA. p.a-s .

LondoTi,PubUs}yi July 74^7fi^,b^y G.G^J.Bobuuon,Paternostefn






Shewing to all the world

What woman's love can do.








/^^ J^^^^-^c V^-#^,...



For J. Co rx i.e. Bookseller, High-street,

And G

G. and I. Robinsons , Pater-noster-Row,


[Entered at Stationers' Hall,]




CONVICTION that a detailed ac-
count of one murder, occurring either on the
high-road, or on the field of battle, more
intereJls the heart, and leaves on it a longer
impreffion, than the general account of
flaughtered thoufands ; occafioned the Au-
thor to Introduce the Tale of Orlando
and Henry in War a Fk.agment; and
while the reader fighs over individual de-
ftruftion, he fhould remember that War is
but another name for deftruftion in the
vail : in every conteft thoufands of fucli
A inftances

inftances as Henry occur ; fons torn from
their parents, and fathers from their fa-
milies, from the tranquil cot and peaceful
dwelling, doomed to traverfe flormy feas
and defert regions, conflifting with diffi-
culties and dangers, not to benefit, but
devour mankind ; probably without know-
mg the caufe of the diffention, in fupport
of which they hazard their exiftence.

This fmall volume is prefented to the
Public, not from a fond perfuafion of its
merit, but from a belief, that it is the duty of
every man to raife his feeble voice in fup-
port of finking humanity, and not to be
content with thanking God, that he feels
indignant at the enormities of war, without
labouring to infpire the fame abhorrence in
the breafts of others.


( i" }

It is this motive which induced the author
to venture his puny bark upon the ocean
of Criticifm, whofe inhofpitable waves are
flrewed with nobler wrecks and bolder ma-
riners : this urged him for a moment to
leave the fequeftered vale of Life, where he
has been permitted to wander unmolefted ;
and where, from afluming little, he has be-
come the rival of none. May the fame caufe
continue to produce the fame effeft !

To War a Fragment are prefixed two
other pieces. The imaginary tale of Sir
Malcolm and Alia was firfl attempted
in the language of the fifteenth century ;
but the author, not fucceeding to the
extent of his wifhes in the peculiarities
of its ftile, gave it its prefent form, by ex-
punging the orthography and moil obfolete
expreflions, though unwilling entirely to
deprive it of the ancient charafter, it origi-
nally poffefled.

A 2 It

( iv )

It may be deemed rather Ilrange, that one
who has reprobated war, its authors, and
inftruments, fhould ftill, in one part of his
volume, chufe a warrior for the hero of his
piece : in order to combat this charge,
the author hopes, that the fentiments ex-
prefled by his hero will mark him different
from the generality of heroes, and that no
opportunity has been omitted of introducing
juft and ufeful reflections ; yet, indepen-
dently of thefe palliatives, he acknowledges
Sir Malcolm to have been written prior to the
eftablifhment in his mind of thofe principles
which diftated War a Fragment, and
which would now prevent him from aflb-
ciating with the military charaGter thofe
amiable qualities, which from their affinity
with the virtuous heart, might tempt it in the
ardor of admiration almofl to forget the pro-
feflion, from which they unnaturally emanate.


( V )

It has been the author's endeavour, in
the War Piece, to give a faint image
of that word: of fcourges ; which has
too frequently defolated the world, con-
verted the feats of comfort into the haunts
of defpair, and fcattered wretchednefs and
murder over the faireft portions of the
earth. It is not his intention to invefti-
gate the fancied benefits or concomitant
evils of war in their pofTible extents, but to
enquire if the benevolent mind can contem-
plate its horrors, without afking, with the
energy of honeft indignation, " wherefore
are all thefe things ?" Are men naturally fo
fond of fliedding the blood of their fellow
creatures, as to feek for pretences of fo
doing, at the hazard of their lives ? or does
it not proceed from the prevalence of that
barbarifm and ignorance, which, by con-
tra£ling the boundaries of humanity, pre-
A 3 vent

( vi )

vent man from extending his arms to the
inhabitants of either pole, and embracing all
mankind as friends and brethren ? Where
is the nation that was ever benefited by war ?
Ruin marks its progrefs ; and the viflories
that have been blazoned through the world,
from their attendant calamities, even to the
viftorious, have deferved no other title than
fplendid defeats.

The ages of chivalry are indeed to be re-
gretted ; for, noble were the aftions they
difplayed, when contrafted with the daf-
tardly conduft of after times ; the Poten-
tate of thofe days, in the fervour of re-
fentment, bravely challenged his offender
to a perfonal combat, and with the con.-
flifl; fubfided the indignation of the gene-
rous competitors ; but modern Princes, in-
heriting the titles of their anceflors, without


( vii )

their princely fpirits, fhrink from the barbed
dart, and clafhing fhield, and whilfl yawning
over their many-flavoured banquet, fend ob-
fequious fubjefls to fight their monarchs
battles, and to bleed, and die, in fupporting
their capricious refentments, or arrogated

If we trace the origin of thofe wars, which
defolated the earth in the zenith of Roman
refinement, or during the triumph of Gothic
barbarifm, we fhall find them generally to
have arifen from the haughty pride, or bound-
lefs ambition of a few individuals. Whether
it was confiftent with thofe laws, which
ought to regulate mankind, that one man
with his corrupt advifcrs fhould (port
with the lives and well being of a people, by
plunging them into wars, in which, frprn
fuccefs, they had nothing to hope, and from
A 4 failure

( viii )

failure, much to dread ; thofe ages had
not learnt to determine.

The peafantry of a country are unacquainted
with what is termed the political interefts of
different Hates, and from their occupations,
neceflarily imbibe fentiments of benevolence;
and yet, thefe are the inftruments in the hands
of tyranny for propagating war, and all its hor-
rid confequences. Such will ever be the cafe,
while the underftandings of men are level-
led with brutes ; while they are interdifted
by ignorance from eftimating the re£litude
oi their fuperior's aftions ; and while the
glare of artificial diftinftions appears to lef-
fen their importance in the fcale of fo-
ciety, and prompts them to believe, that,
like the Spaniel, they were formed, implicitly
to fubmit, and not to judge.


( ix )

What can be more repugnant to the fpirit
of humanity, than the contemplation of
thoufands of deluded fellow creatures, for
fome trifling reward, plighting themfelves
to obey one mafter, and that mailer a tyrant ;
following their Chief with fpears and fwords,
to obey his pleafure, and to execute his man-
date, by killing thofe, whofe only crime,
like their own, is that of fubmitting, to be
led like fheep to the flaughter ?

Why, ye peaceful inhabitants of the cot-
tage, do ye deftroy the happinefs oi your
fellow cottagers, and perpetuate your own
mifery ? Why do ye enlifl; under the ban-
ners of tyranny, and ftain your inftruments
of death with a brother's blood ? Know ye
not that all mankind are brethren ? the ofF-
fpring of one common Parent, who has
placed his children in this world in order to


( X )

prepare them for a better, by cherifhing
univerfal benevolence ? not by tyrannizing
over, and like wolves, worrying each other,
but by foftening the incidental afperities
of life, and by the interchange of kind
and beneficent attentions. Remember, that
with your proudeft Lord you are equal can-
didates for immortality ; barter not youx'
precious lives for a hard earned penny ;
join not the horde of' murderers, who are
paid for murdering thofe, whom they know
not, and whom, if they did know
might love.

It is pofTible, that the author's mind may
be fufceptible of higher indignation on the
fubjeft of War, from the circumflance of
his having been an eye witnefs, on the
Continent, of a part of thofe horrors which
ever attend it ; the feeing of which, con-


( xi )

taminates the mind ; and the very hear-
ing ot which, imperceptibly petrefies the

By whom is it that the moft inveterate
and deftruftive wars are encouraged ? By
Chriftians ? Nay, not Chriftlans ; the fpirit
of War is oppofite to that fpirit, which the
Divine Founder of our Religion came to
eftablifh : His doftrines are thofe of humility
and peace, not of pride and contention. The
author hopes not toincur the charge of incon-
fillency in the following obfervations, though
their tendency may be different from the
expeftation of the Reader. It appears to
him, that the objeft of our Saviour's miffion,
was not to extinguifn the proper gradations
of fociety, and fuddenly diffolve the obliga-
tions of the bond-man, but rather from a well
ordered adminiftration of affliftions and con-


( xii )

folations, to feparate his afFeftions from this
world, and to fix them on an incorruptible

Though he means not to defend, the juftly
exploded doftrines of non-refiftance, and
paflive obedience ; or affirm, that we are to
relax our efforts to attain the good that is
attainable, yet he is humbly perfuaded, that
amid the corruptions of Governments, and
the revolutions of States, the true Chriftian
will be diftinguiflied more by refignation
than turbulence, and will fubmit to the
ordinances of man, rather than violate the
precepts of God ; being infl:ru6ied not to
build his happlnefs upon any frail con-
ilitution, or his comfort upon any human
eftablifhment : he is told, that it is poffible,
in whatever fituation he may be placed,
therein to be content ; and that even the


( xlll )

aggravations of a corrupt judge, or wicked
ruler, may become the means ot correfting
his underflanding, and of improving his
heart, by enlarging his apprehenfions, or
affording him opportunities for the exerclfe
ot thofe virtues which the purity of his Re-
ligion enjoins. The firftages of Chriftianity
were diflinguifhed for unprincipled impo-
fitions, and intolerant perfecutions, yet the
primitive Chriftians found their way through
them to a better Country ; though defpotifra
cxifted in its vileft forms while our Saviour
fojourned on earth, yet his anathemas were
direfted, not againll the errors of the Go-
vernment, but the vices of the Heart; not
that he palliated oppreflion, or juftified the
oppreffor, both of which he came finally to
extirpate ; but in the glance of divine pre-
fcience, and by appretiating the efficacy of
caufes to effefts, he faid unto bis difclples,

" Go

( xiv )

" Go ye into all the world, and preach the
Gofpd unto every creature ;" well know-
ing, that with fuperior benefits, it contained
alfo the immortal feeds of Liberty, and the
undecaying ftamina of Peace.

In proportion only to the fpread of
Chriflianity will be the permanency of Peace ;
as it prefents the only principle, which can
efFeftually countera6l the influence of pride
and ambition, thofe prominent features in
the human charafter : a concurrence of
fortunate circumftances may tranfiently fup-
prefs that love of power, which intoxicates
the rulers of the world, tho' the fubtle fpirit
will be ever ready to efcape, and fcatter over
the earth its baneful influence : but whilft
we afcribe thefe foothing or fubduing pro-
perties to Chriflianity, we are not enjoined to
fupprefs our indignation of tyrants, or abhor-

( XV )

fence of tyranny, yet, in declaiming on the
poifon, we fhould remember the antidote.

It is Chriftianity alone, which direfts man
to refign vengeance to his Maker ; which
infl;ru£ls him to return good for evil ; to
love his enemies, and to adminifter unto
their wants. The prevalence of this fpirit
would reconcile the contentions of men,
exterminate that felfifh principle, which is
the bane of public and private virtue, and
transform the inhabitants of the world into
beings of a nobler order. Chriftianity alone
is adequate to produce Peace on earth, and
Good-will amongft men ; its firft annuncia-
tion was accompanied with a promife of
thefe bleflings ; and though the powers of
darknefs combine to fruftrate, they fhall
finally be accompliftied.


( xvi )

It may not be amifs to inform the reader,
that War a Fragment was extra6led
from a didaftic Poem of fome extent on
Happiness. If the fpecimen given Ihould
be approved of, the remainder of the piece
will probably appear in a fecond edition.







'ER Jordan's wave and wild Bethabara's plain,
Where rocks on rocks in clouded grandeur reign;
Dark-fhaded forefts fpread their empire wide,
And whiten'd torrents lave the mountain's fide ;
The Prophet John retir'd from mortal fight, c

To baik at large in Heaven's refulgent light :

B 2


Arouftd his loins a leathern belt he wore^

Of Camel's hair a fhaggy veftment bore ;

Amid the foliag'd gloom he pafs'd his time,

Or o'er the mountain crag eflay'd to climb, 19

No filken couch or ftoried roof he found ;

A flone his pillow, and his bed the ground ;

No note harmonious fwell'd the defert blaft,

No coftly changes lengthen'd his repafl ;

The God of Abraham tun'd his mental ear, 15

The God of Ifaac fent his locufhs near,

The God of Jacob calm'd the angry wind,

And the wild honey taught him where to find,

Pour'd on his foul the ray prophetic, giv'n

To point to man the dawning path to Heav'n, 2©

When fame had rais'd amid th' unletter'd throng
A wifh to hear the heaven-born Prophet's fong,

JOHN THE baptist; 5

Borne o'er the fultry glebe and pathlefs wild.
The anxious parent and the wondering child.

Fill'd with celeftial zeal he wav'd his hand ;



And thus with folemn awe addrefs'd thelifl'ningband.

There fhandeth one amongfb you, yet unknown.
The Eternal's Son, and Partner of his throne ;
Before the world was fafhion'd into form,
And o'er the wat'ry chaos pafs'd the florm, 30

His fecret thought the ruthlefs winds obey,
He fpake and darknefs brighten'd into day,
Afpiring trees from fheril clods arife,
And Eden's richeft fragrance fills the fkies.

The heav'n- anointed Prophets oft have told, 35
What diflant, favour'd ages fhould unfold ;
. B 3


This is that age, behold falvation nigh!

Let every heart rejoice, let every tear be dry.

Long have mankind in pagan bondage lain ;

Your race full long fuftain'd a ritual chain ; 40

Long has the Toul in darknefs pin'd away,

With here and there a folitary ray ;

But now the fun of righteoufnefs fhall rife,

And beams refulgent burft upon your eyes.

Your fathers faw with extacies untold, 4^

The joyful day your eyes fhall foon behold,
By faith enrich'd, their opening views fublime,
With blooming years beyond the bound of time ;
But now no longer cherifli'd by a few.
Each thirfty fhrub fliall fip the heavenly dew, 50
From winter's ftorm-beat grave exulting rife ;
And with new verdure hail ferener fkies.


Of whom I fpeakj foon fhall you fee him near.
No flaming God to rouze his creature's fear.
No potent Chief viftorious arms to guide, 55

Born to controul, and nurs'd in royal pride 1
But in the promis'd feed, with afpe£t mild.
Your eyes fhall greet the fpirit of a child.

'Tis not to grafp the laurels of the great
Your Saviour comes, to blaze in regal ftate, 60

Kingdoms invade, and conqueft's curfes fhower,
Nations to fcourge,or fruitful climes devour;
Peafants unwrong'd infpire with ardour dread,
To rob fome diftant peafants of their bread ;
But to condemn ambition's ruthlefs fway, Gj^

To tell mankind no more on man to prey,
To teach humility, bid difcord ceafe,
And plant the feeds of univerfal peace,
B 4


Thefe hands unworthy of fo great a charge,
Dare not prefume his latch et to enlarge ; 7'^

From the pure bofom of his Father, fee !
(Wonder oh Heavens ! thou Earth aftonilh'd be I)
Affuming mortal form, the Prince of Peace
Defcends to bid the powers of darknefs ceafe :
To fpeak his might my tongue would ftrivein vain, 75
To paint his worth exceeds an Angel's flrain,
Wide as created bounds his goodnefs proves,
Vafb as the range of thought his Spirit moves,
From him the Pleafures run their fmiling race.
And every joy which cheers creation's face. 80

Glance on the heavens above, the earth beneath.
See fportive life in forms ten thoufand breathe.
Amid the fun-beam's warmth what myriads fair.
Charm the mus'd ear, or wanton through the air :


Say what untutor'd energy of thought, 85

This countlefs train of fhapes to being brought,
All form'd to ferve fome feparate end aright
Beyond the narrow verge of human fight.

Learn v/ith delight through heaven's ethereal fpace.
What fecret hand fupports the feather 'd race ; go
What feeling heart provides a full fupply,
And arms with piercing glance the vulture's eye :
That power firft bade the plumy tribes appear,
That God fupports them in their fhort career ;
From guiding comets round the orb of day, 95

From pointing ftorms their defolating way.
His ear regards the hungry raven's call,
His eye defcends to mark the fparrow fall ;
To grant the vegetating world his aid.
To guard from ambient ill each rifing blade, 100


Whofe flrains of filent eloquence proclaim

The power, which Angels vainly ftrive to name.

If nature's lower works your plaudit raife,
If finite objefts claim unbounded praife;
Exalt your wilder'd glance to feenes on high, 105
Where Heaven's fair offspring charms the wand 'ring eye.
See rolling worlds in ftated paths abide.
See countlefs fyftems round their centres glide,
Stars ever glorious blazing on their way,
Or dimly clad in fancy's doubtful ray, no

And thefe but atoms of that boundlefs whole,
Which ether fweeps beyond the vifual pole.

Know ye, ye liftening tribes, to what ye tend ?
Seek ye to know where life her race fharll end ?
Count ye the lingering moments long, that bind 1 15
To earth's low confines man's immortal mind ?


This world unworthy you too highly rate,
A thorn-ftrew'd paflage to a better ftate ;
The joys which vibrate now your raptur'd brain,
Compar'd with joys eternal, are but pain. lao

Let not the veil of fenfe your profpeft hide,
Nor Satan's wiles from heaven your fteps divide ;
Ten thoufand mortal foes around you roam,
Ten thoufand reftlefs minds, who want a home,
An anchorage for their fouls, whofetongues areled 1 25
To blaft the narrow path, tlicy fcorn to tread ;
Ingenious trifles gain their thoughtlefs fmilc ;
The block. that fpeaks, the fhell that charms awhile,
The flirub that bloffoms, and the itrcam that winds,
The bird that twitters, and the gem that fliines ; 130
With glowing zeft their ravifli'd eyes explore,
But, the illumin'd fpirit pants for more :


If only here, our fhort-liv'd fleps remain.
If endlefs fleep fucceed to years of pain,
Then will we feek our forrows to beguile, 135

And count the pafling moments with a fmile ;
But, if ere long from little more than night,
Our fpirits take their everlafting flight ;
Launch to fome blifsful hemifphere afar,
Beyond the full-orb 'd fun and twinkling ftar ; 140
Or dwell where nought enliv'ning cheers the foul,
Where howling winds and deaf 'ning thunders roll,
Where fick'ning mifls and groans unceafing rife,
Where hatred reigns, and hope for ever flies.
Indignant lightnings endlefs as their doom, 145

In quick fucceffion dart along the gloom ;
Ordain'dthe realms to taint with fulphurous breath:
And light the dying gafp of vanquilh'd Death :


If, through Thee, Life ! this fatal verge we tread,
If fuch diftinftions hang upon thy thread ; 150

Far other thoughts immortal fouls fhould fway,
And deathlefs minds far nobler calls obey :
But thoughtlefs man, to weak deception prone,
Fancies all lives uncertain but his own,
Or ftill more wild, purfues delufion's tide, 255

Owns the great truth, yet calls the cares afide.

Oh ! all ye liftening tribes, who this to hearj
Have dar'd the Jordan wide and defert drear,
Think when a few revolving years are fled,
To death ordain' J, where each fhall lay his head ; 260
When the fcar'd fpirit hovering o'er the tomb.
On diftant fhores awaits her lading doom;
Forc'd on the venturous furge to launch alone.
The vain hope faded and the ftrong heart flown,


The bleak winds Howling, and the bark untry'd, 165

The ocean ftormy, and the paffage wide ;

O'er the black wave the eye reluftant toils,

From the cold glance the fick'ning foul recoils :

But hear, ye tribes, the truth from heaven receiv'd,

To Abraham promis'd and with joy believ'd, 170

Your great Mefliah foon fhall be your guide.

And fafely bear you o'er this boifterous tide ;

Glory to God, th' angelic chorus fang.

Good will to man, the ethereal concave rang,

And whilfh the tidings vibrate on your ear, 175

The meek and lowly Jefus drav/eth near :

What though your Prince in humble ftate be born,

What though no crown the Saviour's head adorn ;

For fallen man he lays his fceptre by.

For your redemption leaves his native fky, 180


No more fliall Death the king of terrors reign,
And o'er creation cad his icy chain,
Defpair no longer heave the rending figh,
And hope revolting cloud th' expiring eye ;
But Faith defcending from the realms of light, 185
Difpel your fears, and aid your heaven-bound flight ;
Lead you through him, whofe miflion I proclaim,
From man's applaufe to feek eternal fame ;
To fhun the paflin^ trifles of a day,
To call from earth your wand'ring thoughts away, 1 90
To fee beyond the dreary vale of time,
A profpefl; opening cloudlefs and fublime.
Where mind fhall bloom, and thoughtunfhackl'd grow.
Where pain no more the new-born foul fhall know,
Where joys fubflantial, lading, and refin'd, 195

Shall feall the fenfes, and tranfport the mind.


Beyond what eye hath feen or heart conceiv'd,

Prophet foretold or Patriarch believ'd :

Where God fhall cleanfe the heart, no more to figh

And wipe the final tear from every eye. 200

Soon fhall your black horizon gleam with day,
Nor death o'er nature caft a fickly ray,
Soon fhall your mental darknefs take, its flight,
And IMMORTALITY be brought to light.

But know, tho' all fhall fee the eternal ftate, 205
Far different fcenes will difi^erent fouls await ;
Many, who here have gone with honors crown'd,
Through life applauded, and in death renown'd.
Have gain'd the monarch's fmile, the vulgar gaze,
The ftatefman's honors, or the warrior's bays, 210


Robb'd of their tinfel charms, and borrow'd light,
Shall then their fruits receive in endlefs night :
Yet hear with joy each heavy laden foul,
O'er whom affliftion's fwelling furges roll ;
Others opprefs'd, and poor, who here below, 215
Have drank their cup of bitternefs and woe ;
Whofe heads corroding cares have bent to earth,
And roam'd dejeftion's viftim from their birth ;
To death defcended by a gloomy way.
Have found beyond the grave eternal day. 220

If ye unting'd by prejudice receive
Your coming Saviour, and his words believe,
His precepts bind delighted to your heart,
And life refign before you bid them part,


His meeknefs imitate, his patience fhare, 225

Love what he lov'd, and what he fuffer'd bear ;

Tho' anguifli finite your path, or wafting pain,

The poor man's lot be your's, the captive's chain ;

A better portion waits in yonder {kies,

A golden harveft in reverfion lies, 230






Shewing to all the World,

What Woman's Love can do.






VV HERE Clyde tumultuous burfts his fource,

The theme of Scottifli long,
And near a mountain's craggy bafe.
Meandering rolls along ;

1 3 4

Online LibraryJoseph CottlePoems containing John the Baptist. Sir Malcolm and Alla, a tale ... War a fragment. With a Monody to John Henderson; and a sketch of his character → online text (page 1 of 4)