Lindley Murray.

The English reader : or, Pieces in prose and poetry, selected from the best writers... With a few preliminary observations on the principles of good reading (Volume 1829a) online

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To him they cry, in vriifters pinching reign ; >
Nor is their musick, nor their plaint m vain : J
He hears the gay, and the distressful call :
And with unsparing bounty fills them all."

5. "Observe the rising lily's snowy grace ;
Observe the various vegetable race :

They neither toil, nor spin, but careless grow ;
Yet see how warm ihey blush ! how bright thev glow!
What regal vestments can with them compare !
What king so shining I or what queen so fair !'*

6. "If ceaseless, thus, the fowls of heav'n he feeds.
If o'er the fields such lucid robes he spreads ;
Will he not care for you, ye faithless, saj ^

Is he unwise ? or, are ye less than they .''" THOMSON.

SECTION VI.
The death of a good man a strong incentive to virtue^

1. The chamber where the good man meets his fate,

Is privileg'd beyond the common walk ' ^

Of virtuous life, quite in the verge of heav'n.

Fly, ye profane ! if not, draw near with awe,

Receive the blessinj-, and adore the chance,

That threw in this Bethesda your disease :

If unrestor'd by this, despair your cure,

2. For, here, resistless demonstration dwells ;
A death-bed's a detector of the heart.
Here tir'd dissimulation drops her mask,
Thro' life's grimace, that mistress of the scene !
Here real, and apparent, are the same.

You see the man ; you see his hold on heav'n,
If sound his virtue, as Philander's sound.

3. Heav'n waits not the last moment ; owns her friends
On this side death ; and points them out to men ;

A lecture, silent, but of sovereign pow'r !

To vice, confusion : and to virtue, peace.

Whatever I'arce the boastful hero plays,

Virtue alone has majesty in death";

And greater still, the more the tyrant frowns. TOUK0^

SECTION VIL
Reflections on a future state, from a review of icinter.
I. "Tis done ! dread winter spreads his latest glooms ;
And reigns tremendous o'er the conquer'd year.
Pow dead the vegetable kingdom lies !
How dumb the tuneful ! Horrour v.'ide extends
His desolate domain. Behold, fond man !
See here thy pictur'd life : pass some few year*,
Thy flow'ring spring, thy summer's ardent strength/



Kd THE ENGLISH READER. Part 2.

Thy sober autumn fadinp- into age,

And pale concluding winter comes at last.

And shuts the scene.

2. Ah ! whither now are fled
Those dreams of greatness ? those unsolid hopes
Of happiness ? those longing^s after fame ?
Those restless cares ? those'busy bustling days ?
Those gay-spent, festive nights ? those veering thoughts,
Lost between good and ill, that shar'd thy life f

3. All now are vanish'd ! Virtue sole survives,
Immortal, never-failing friend of man,

His guide to happiness on high. And se&! _
'Tis come, the glorious morn ! the second birth
Of heav'n and earth ! awak'ning nature hears
The new-creating word ; and starts to life.
In ev'ry heighteivd form, from pain and death
For ever free. The great eternal scheme,
Involving all, jind in a perfect whole
Uniting as the prospect wider spreads,
To reason's eye renn'd clears up apace.

4. Ye vainly wise ! Ye blind presumptuous ! now,
Confounded in the dust, adore that Power,
And V/isdom oft arraign'd : see now the cause
Why unassuming worth in secret liv'd.

And died neglected : why the good man's share

in life was gall, and bitterness of soul :

Why the lone widow and her orphans pin'd.

In starving solitude ; while luxury,

In palaces lay straining her low thought,

To form unreal wants : why heav'n-borH truth,

And moderation fair, wore the red marks

Of superstition's scourge : why licens'd pain,

That cruel spoiler, that embosom'd foe,

Imbitter'd all our bliss,

5. Ye ^ood distress'd !
Ye noble few ! who here unbending stand
Beneath life's pressure, yet bear up awhile.
And what your bounded view which only saw
A little part, deem'd evil, is no more :

The storms of wint'ry time will quickly pass,

And one unbounded spring encircle all. THOMSON*

SECTION VIII.
Adam's advice to Eve, to avoid temptation.

1. '* O WOMAN, best are all things as the will
Of God ordain'd them ; his creating hand
Nothing imperfect or deficient left
Of all that he created, much less man,
Or aught that might his happy state secure,
Secure from outward force. Within himself
The danger lies, jet lies within his pow'r :
Against his will hV can receive no harm.

a. But God left free the will ; for what obeys
Reason, m free, and reasoa he made right ;



Chap. 3. DIDACTICK PIECES I6l

But bid her well beware, and still erect.
Lest, by some fair appearing good surprised,
She dictate false, and misinform the wiU
To do what God expressly hath forbid.
Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins
That I should mind thee oft : and mind thou m©,

3. Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve,
Since reason not impossibly may meet
Some specious object by the foe suborn'd,
And fall into deception unaware,

Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warn'd.
Seek not temptation then, which to avoid
Were better, and most likely if from me
Thou sever not ; trial will come unsought.

4. Wouldst thou approve thy constancy .' approve
First thy obedience ; th' other who can know, .
Not seeing thee attempted, who attest?

But if thou think, trial unsouglit may find

Us both securer than thus warn'd thou seem'st,

Go ; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more :

Go in thy native innocence ; rely

On what thou hast of virtue, summon all ;

For God towards thee hath done his part; do thine."

MILTOS>

* SECTION IX.
On procrastination.

1. Be wise to-day : 'tis madness to defer :
Next day the Fatal precedent will plead ;
Thus on. till wisdom is push'd out of life.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
Year after year it steals, till ail are fled ;
And, to the mercies of a moment leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal scene.

2. Of man's miraculous mistakes, this bears
The palm, " That all men are about to live :^'
For ever on the brink of being born.

All pay themselves the compliment to think,
They/one day, shall not driVel : and their pride
On this reversion takes up ready praise ;
At least, their own ; their future selves applauds j
How excellent that life they ne'er will lead !
Time lodg'd in their own hands is folly's vails ;
That lodg'd in fate's, to wisdom they consign ;
The thing they can't but purpose- they postpone,
^Tis not in folly, not to scor,n « fool ;
And scarce in human wi^om to .lo more.

3. All promise is poor .l^Mtory man ;

And that thro' ev'ry stage. When young, indeed,
In fuU contejJt, we'sometimes nobly'rest,
Unanxious for ourselves : and only wish,
As duteous sons, our fathers were more wise-
At thirty, man suspects himself a fool ;
Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan ;
At fifty, chides nis infamous delay ;
O 2



102 THE ENGLISH READER. FaH^

Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve j
In all the mag'nauimity of thouglit,
Resolves, and re-resolves, then" dies the sa;ne.

4. And why ? Because he thinks himsell' iniraortal.
All men think all men mortal, but themselves ;
Themselves, when some alarming- shock of fate
Strikes throujxh their wounded hearts the sudden dread ^
But their hearts wounded, like the wounded air.

Soon close ; where, past the shaft, no trace is found.
As from the wing no scar the sky retains ;
' The parted wave no I'urrow from the keel ;

So dies in human hearts the thought of death.
Ev'n with the tender tear which Nature sheds
O'er those we love, we drop it in their grave. young

SECTION X.
That philosophy , which stops at secondari) causes, reproved,

1. Happy the man who sees a God employ'd.
In all the good and ill that checker life !
Resolving all events, with their effects
And manifold results, into the will

And arbitration wise of the Supreme.
Did not his eye rule ail things, and intend
The least of our concerns ; (since from the least
The greatest oft originate ;) could chance
Find place in his dominion, or dispose
One lawless particle to thvrart his plan;
Then God might be surpris'd, and unforeseen
Contingence might alarm hini; and disturb
The smooth and equal course of his affairs,

2. This truth, philosophy, though eagle-ey'd
In nature's tendencies, oft o'erlooks ;
And having found his instrument, forgets
Or disregards, or, more presumptuous still.
Denies the pow'r that wields it. God proclaims
His hot displeasure against foolish men

That live an atheist irfo ; involves the lieav'n
In tempests ; quits his grasp up6%ijthe winds.
And gives them all their fury ; bids a plague
Kindfe a fiery boil upon the skin,
And putrefy the breath of blooming health ;

5. He calls for famine, and the meagre fiend
Blov.'s mildew from between his slirivel'd lips,
And taints the golden ear ; he springs his mines
\nd desolates a nation &t, a blast :

L^^rth steps the spruce philosopher, and tells ■

3f homogeneal and discordant tiprings
\\id principles; of causes, hov/ they'work
By necessary lav^is their sure effects,
Of action an'd re-aciion.
4. He has found

The source of the disease that nature feels 5
And bids the world take heart and banish fi^as.
Thou fool! will thy discov-ry of the cause



Chap. S. DIDACTICK PIECES, _ 165

Suspend th' effect, or heal it ? Has not God
Still wrought by means since first he made the world?
And did he not'of old em.ploy his means
To drown it ? What is his creation less
Than a capacious reservoir of means,
Form'd for his use, and ready at his will?
Go, dress thine eyes with ey*e-salve ; ask of him,
Or ask of whomsoever he has taught ;
And learn, though late, the genuine cause of all. cowper

SECTION XL

Indignant stntimtnts on national prejudices and haired; and on

slavery.

1. Oh, for a lodge in some vast wild-erness,
Some boundless contiguity of shade,
Where rumour of oppression and deceit,
Of unsuccessful or successful war,

Might never reach me more ! My ear is pain'd,

M\^soul is sick with ev'ry day's report

Of wrong and outrage w-ith which earth is fill'd.

There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart ;

It does not feel for man. The nat'ral bond

Of brotherhood is sever'd, as the flax

That falls asunder at the touch of fire.

2. He finds his fellow guilty of a skin

Not colour'd like his own : and having pow'r
T' enforce the v/rong, for such a worthy cause
Dooms and devotes him as his la\vful prey.
Lands intersected by a narrow frith
Abhor each other. JMountains interpos'd,
Make enemies of nations, who had else,
Like kindred drops, been mingled into one.

3. Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys ;
And worse than all, and m.ost to be deplor'd,
As human nature's broadest, foulest blot,
"Chains him, and tasks him, and exacts his. sweat
With stripes, that mercy, with a bleeding heart,
Weeps when she sees inflicted on a beast.

4. Then what is ma.i ! And what man seeing^ this,
And having human feelings, does not blusn
And hang "his head, to think Jiimself a man.

I would not have a slave to till )ny ground.
To carry me, to fan me while I sleep.
And tremble when 1 wake, for all the wealth
That sinews bought and sold have ever earn'd.

5. No: dear as freedom is, and in my heart's
Just estimation priz'd above all price ;

I had much rather be myself the slave,
And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him. ^
We have no slaves at home — then why abroad r
And they themselves once ferried o'er the wave
That parts us, are emancipate and loos'd.

6. Slaves cannot breathe in England: if their lung*
Receive our air, tjiat moment they are free .;



164 THE ENGLISH READER. Part 2.

They touch our country, and their shackles fail.

That's noble, and bespeaks a nation ])roud

And jealous of the biesaing. Spread it then,

And let it circulate throti^h ev'ry vein

Of all your empire : that wiiere Britain's power

Is feit, mankind may feel her mercy too. * cowper.



CHAPTER IV.

DESCRIPTIVE PIECES.

SECTION I.
The morning in summer.
X. The meek-ey'd morn appears, mother of dews,
At first faint gleaming in the dappled east;
Till far o'er ether spreads the wid'ning glow ;
And from before tlie lustre of her face
White break the clouds away. With quicken'd step
Brown night retires : young day pours in apace,
And opens all the lawny prospect wide.

2. The dripping rock, the mountain's misty top,
Swell on the sight, and brighten with the dawn.
Blue, thro' the "dusk, the smoking currents shine ;
And from the biaded field the fearful hare
Limps, awkward : while along the forest-glade
The wild deer trip, and often turning gaze

At early passenger. Musick awakes

The native voice of undissembled joy ;

And thick around the woodland hymns arise.

3. Rous'd by the cock, the soon-clad shepherd leaves
His mossy cottage, where with peace he dwells :
And from the crowded fold, in order, drives

His flock to taste the verdure of the morn.
Falsely luxurious, will not man awake ; _
And, springing from the bed of slotfi, enjoy
The cool, the fragrant, and the silent hour,
To meditation due and sacred song ? . ^

4. For is there aught in sleep can clmrm the wise :■
To lie in dea<' oblivion, losing half .'^'\
The fleeting moments of too short a life ; "'
Total ejftinction of th' enlighten'd soul !

Or else to feverish vanity alive,

Wilder'd, and tossing thro' distemper'd dreams?

Who would, in such a gloomy state, remain

Longer than nature craves ; when ev'ry muse

And every blooming pleasure waits without,

To bless the wildly devious morning walk? thomsok.

SECTION H.

Rural sounds, as ivell as rural sights, delightful.
I. Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds
Exhilarate the spirit, and restore
The tone of' languid nature. Mighty winds,



Chap. *. DESCRIPTIVE PIECES. Ifif

That sweep the skirt of some far-spreading" wood
Of ancient growth, make masick. not unlike
The dash ot ocean on his winding shore,
And lull the spirit while they fill the mind,
Unnumher'd branches wavino- in the blast,
And all their leaves fast fluttering all at once.

2. Nor less composure waits upon the roar
Of distant floods ; or on the softer voice

Of neighb'rin^ fountain : or of rills that slip
Through the cleft rock, and, chiming as they fall -
Upon loose pebbles, lose themselves at length
, In matted grass, that, with a livelier green.
Betrays the secret of their silent course.
Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds ;
But animated nature sweeter still,
To sooth and satisfy the human ear.

3. Ten thousand warblers cheer the day, and one
The live-long night Nor these alone, whose notes
Nice finger'd art must emulate in vain ;

But cawing rooks, and kites that swim sublime,

In still repeated circles, screaming loud,

The jay, the pye, and ev'n the boding owl

That hails the rising moon, have charms for me.

Sounds inharmonious in themselves, and harsh,

Yet heard in scenes where peace for ever reigns,

iftnd only there, please higmy for their sake. cowper.

SECTION III.

The rose.
i. The rose had been wash'd, just wash'd in a showeXj
Which Mary to Anna convey'd ;
The plentiful moisture encumber'd the flower,
And weigh'd down its beautiful head.

2. The cup was all fill'd, and* the leaves were all wet#
And It seem'd to a fanciful view,
To weep for the buds it had left with regret,
On the flourishing bush w^here it grew.
"S. I hastily seiz'd it, unfit as it w^as

For a nosegay, so dripping and drown'd ;
f And swinging it rudely, too rudely, alas !
I 1 snapp'd it — it fell to the ground.

4. And s«ch, I exclaim'd, is the pitiless part,

Some act by the delicate mind.
Regardless of wringing and breaking a heart.
Already to sorrow resign'd.

5. This elegant rose, had I shaken it less,

Might have bloom'd with its owner awhile :
And the tear that is wip'd with a little address,
May be follow'd perhaps by a smile. ' COWPES..-

SECTION IV.
Care of birds for their young,
I. As thus the patient dam assiduous sits,
Not to be tempted from her tender task.



166 THE ENGLISH READER. Part 2.

Or by sharp hunger, or by smooth delio-Jit,
Tho' the whole loosen'd spring around her blows,
Her sympathizing partner takes his stand
High on th' .opponent bank, and ceaseless sings
The tedious time away ; or else supplies
Her place a moment, wiiile she sudden flits
To pick the scanty meal.

2. Th' appointed time
With pious toil fuifill'd, the callov/ young,
Warm'd and expanded into perfect life,
Their brittle bondage break, and come to light,
A helpless family, demanding food

With constant clamour. O what passions then,
What melting sentiments of kindly care,
On the new parents seize !

3. Away they fly
Afiectionate, and undesiring bear

The most delicious morsel to their young ; ,

Which equally distributed, again

The search begins. Even so a gentle pair,

By fortune sunk, but form'd of gen'rous mould,

And charm'd v/ith cares beyond the vulgar breast

In some lone cot amid the distant woods,

Sustain'd alone by providential Heav'n,

Oft, as they weepincr eye their infant tr lin,

Check their own appetites, and give them all. thomsoi?>

SECTION V.

XAberiy and slavery contrasted. Part of a letter written from

Italy by Addison.

1. How has kind Heav'n a'lorn'd the happy land,
And scatter'd blessings with a wasteful hand ;.
But what avail her unexhausted stores,

Her blooming mountains, and her sunny shores.
With all the gifts that heav'n and earth impart.
The smiles of nature, and the charms of art.
While proud oppression in her valleys reigns,
And tyranny -usurps her happy plains.^
The poor inhabitant beholds in vain
The redd'ning orange, and the swelling graia-?
Joyless he sees the growing oils and wines,
And in the myrtle's fragrant shade repines,

2. Oh, Liberty, tliou pow'r supremely brio:ht,
Profuse of bliss, and pregnant with delight t
Perpetual pleasures in thy presence reign i
And. smiling plenty leads thy wanton train.
Eas'd of her load, subjection grows more light;
And poverty looks cheerful in thy sight.
Thou mak'st the gloomy face of nature gay :
Giv'st beauty to the sun, and pleasure to the day.
On foreign rnountains, may the sun refine

The grape's soft juice, and mellow it to wine i
With citron ;^rovcs adorn a distant soil.
And the fat olire svell nith floods of oil ■



Chag^i. DESCRIPTIVE PIECEH. IfljT

We envy not the warmer clime, that lies

In ten degrees of more indulo-ent skies ;

Nor at the coarseness of ourlieav'n repine,

Tho' o'er our heads the frozen Pleiads shine :

'Tis Liberty that crowns Britannia's isle,

And makes herbarren rocks, and her bleakmountaingflnile,

SECTION VI.

Chariti/. Ji paraphrase on the ISth chapter of the Jirst eputU

to the Corinthians,

1. Did sweeter sounds adorn my flowing- tongue,
Than ever man pronouncM or angel sung ;"
Had I all knowledge, human and divine,
That thought can reach, or scieace can define ;
And had I pow'r to give that knowledge birth,
In all the speeches of the babbling eartli j

Did Shadrach's zeal my glowing breast" inspire,
To weary tortures, and rejoice m fire ;
Or had I faith like that which Israel saw,
When Moses gave them miracles, and law :
Yet, gracious charity, indulgent guest,
Were not thy pow'r exerted in my breast 5
Those speeche's would send up unheeded pray'r;
That scorn of life would be but wild despair ;
A cymbal's sound were better than my voice ;
My 'faith were form ; my eloquence were noise,

2, Charity, decent, modest*, easy, kind.
Softens the high, and rears the abject mind ;
Knows vv^ith just reins, and gentle hand, to guide
Betwixt vile shame, and arbitrary pride. •
Not soon provok'd, she easily forgives ;

And much she suffers, as she much believes.

Sofl peace she brings wherever she arrives;

She builds cur quiet, as she forms our lives :

Lays the rough paths of peevish nature even i

And opens in each heart a little heav'n.
S. Each other gift, which God On man bestows,

Its proper bounds, and due restriction knows ;

To one fix'd purpose dedicates its pow'r ;

And finishing its act, exists no more.

Thus, in obedience to what Heav'n decrees,

Knowledge shall fail, and prophecy shall cease ;

But lastino- charity's more ample sway,

Nor bound by time, nor subject to decay,

In happy triumph shall for ever live ;

And endless good diffuse, and endless praise receive
4. As through the artist's intervening glass.

Our eye observes the distant planets pass :

A little we discover ; but allow.

That more remains unseen, than art can show ;

So whilstour mind its knowledge would improve

(Its feeble eye intent on things above^)

High as we may, we lift our reason up,

By faith directed, and conlirm'd by hope;-



m tHE ENGLISH READER, Part%

Yet are we able only to survey,
Dawnings of beams, and promises of day ;
Heav'ri's fuller affluence mocks our dazzled sight}
Too great its swiftness, and too strong its light,
$. But soon the mediate clouds shall be dispell'd j
The sun shall soon be face to face beheld,
In all his robes, with all his glory on.
Seated sublime on his meridfan throne. .,
Then constant faith, and holy hope shall die^
jOne lost in certainty, and one in joy :
Whilst thou, more happy pow'r', fair charity^ <>

Triumphant sister, greatest of the three,
Thy office, and thy nature still the same.
Lasting thy lamp, and unconsum'd thy flame,
Shalt still survive —

Shalt stand before the host of heav'n confest.
For ever blessing, and for ever blest.

SECTION VII.

Picture of a good man.

1. Some angel guide my pencil, while I draw,
tVhat nothing>else than angel can exceed,
A man on earth devoted to the skies ;
Like ships at sea, while in, above the world.
With aspect mild, and elevated eye,
Behold him seated on a mount serene,
Above the fogs of sense, and passion's storm:
All the black cares, and tumults of this life,
Like harmless thunders, breaking at his feet,
Excite his pity, not impair his peace.

2. Earth's genuine sons, the sceptred, and the slave ;,
A mingled mob ! a wand'rino- herd ! he sees,
Bewilder'd in the vale ; in all unlike •

His full reverse m all ! What higher praise ?
What stronger demonstration of the right.?
The present all their care ; the future his.
When publick welfare calls, or private want,
They give to fame ; his bounty he conceals.
Their virtues varnish nature ; his exalt.
Mankind's esteem they court ; and he his own.

3. Theirs the wild chase of false felicities ;
His, the compos'd possession of the true.
Alike throughout is his consistent piece,
All of one colour, and an even thread ;
While party-colour'd shades of happiness.
With liideous gaps between, patcfh up for them
A madman's robe ; each puff of fortune blows
The tatters by, and shows their nakedness.

4. He sees with other eyes than theirs : where they
Behold a sun, he spies a Deity ;

What makes them only smile, makes him adore.
Where they see mountains, he but atoms sees ;•
An empire "in his balance, weighs a grain.
They things terrestrial worsiiip as divine ^



Chap.i. DESCRIPTIVE PIECES. 160

His hopes immortal blow them by, as dust,
That dims Ins sight and shortens his survey,
Which lonos, in intinite, to lose all bound.

5. Titles and nonours (ifthev prove his fate)
He lays aside to find his dignity ;

No dignity they find in aught b'esides.
They triumph in externals, (which conceal
Man's real glory,) proud of an eclipse :
Himself too much he prizes to be proud ;
And nothing thinks so great in man, as man.
Too dear he holds his int'rest, to neglect
Another's welfare, or his right invade ;
Their int'rest, like a lion, lives on prey.

6. They kindle at the shadow of a wrong ;
Wrong he sustains with temper, looks on heav'n,
Nor stoops to think his injurer liis foe :

Nought, but what wounds his virtue, Wounds his peace.
A cover'd heart their character defends ;
A cover'd heart denies him half his praise.
7 With nakedness his innocence agrees 1

While their broad foliage testifies their fall !

Their no-joys end, where his full feast begins:

His joys create, theirs murder, future bliss.

To triumph in existence, his alone ;

And his alone triumphantly to think

His true existence is not yet be^un.

His glorious course was, yesterdav, complete :

Death, then, was welcome ; yet life still is sweet, younc.

SECTION VIII.
77ie pleasures of retirement.

1. O KNEW he but his happiness, of men

The happiest he ! who, far from publick rage,
Deep in the vale, with a choice few retir'd,
Drinks the pure pleasures of the rural life.

2. What tho' the dome be v/anting, whose proud gate,
Each morning, vomits out the sneaking crowd

Of flatterers false, and in their turn abus'd ?

V^ile intercourse I What though the glitt'ring robe,

Of every hue reflected light can give,

Or floated loose, or stifl* with mazy gold,

The pride and gaze of fools, oppress him not?



Online LibraryLindley MurrayThe English reader : or, Pieces in prose and poetry, selected from the best writers... With a few preliminary observations on the principles of good reading (Volume 1829a) → online text (page 21 of 35)