Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

A contract made before the nuptial tie, A blessing riches never can supply,

A spot that adds new charms to pretty faces,
An engine us'd in fundamental cases,
A planet seen between the Earth and Sun,
A prize which merit never yet has won,
A loss which prudence seldom can retrieve,
The death of Judas and the fault of Eve,
A part between the ancle and the knee,
A patriot's toast and a physician's fee,
A wife's ambition and a parson's dues,
A miser's idol and the badge of Jews.
If now your happy genius can divine
The correspondent words to every line,
By the first letters will be plainly found
An ancient city that is much renown'd.

THE ANSWER.

PAUCIS, friend Aphanus, abhinc diebus,
With no small pleasure I receiv'd a rebus:
Not that the rebus gave understand,
But old acquaintance Benjamin's own hand:
For all the blessings due to mortal men,
Rebus in omnibus, I wish to Ben.

At his request I sought for ancient city
That lay conceal'd in cabalistic ditty;
So did we all-for when his letter came
Some friends were chair'd around the focal flame;
But rebus out not one of all could make;
Diaphanus himself was quite opake.

Tho' pleas'd with pleasing, when he can do so, His ingenuity he loves to show; If such a thing falls out to be his lot; He is as free to own when it does not: Here he had none, nor any succedaneum, That could discover this same Herculaneum.

Altho' it seem'd to ask when it appear'd, No great Herculean labour to be clear'd; So many different wits at work, no doubt The city's name would quickly be found out; But, notwithstanding variorum lecture, The name lay snug without the least detecture.

You stand entitl'd hereupon to laugh At hapless genius in your friend Diaph. But in excuse for what he must confess, Nor men, nor even ladies here could guess; To variorum seen, or variarum, No more of ancient city than old Sarum.

One thing however rose from this occasion, It put an end to fears of French invasion; And wits, quite frighten'd out of dames and men, When rebus came, came into 'em again: Tho' little skill'd to judge of either matter, Yet the more pleasing puzzle was the latter.

You'll think I'm thinking, upon second thought, That tho' we mist of city that was sought, We might have told you somewhat of the guesses Of luckless neighbours and of neighbouresses; So let us try to give you just an item: For it would take a volume to recite 'em.

"I can't divine," said Chloe, "for my part, What the man means by noblest work of art,'From clock to temple, pyramid, and ship, And twenty diff'rent handyworks you skip; Now, I dare say, when all your votes are past, City or work-'tis Dresden at the last."

"Nor I," said Phillis, "what the man can mean By his next hint of Nature's brightest sceneAmongst so many of her scenes so bright, Who can devise which of 'em is the right? To name a word where brightest scene must lie, And speak my own opinion, sirs,-'tis eye."

"Peace," said a third, of I forget what sex, "Has well known signal that may well perplex; It should be olive-branch, to be well known, But rebus, unconfin'd to that alone, May mean abundance, plenty, riches, trade, Who knows the signal that is here display'd?"

Thus they went on-but, tho' I stir its embers, It is not much that memory remembers: Two ladies had a long disputing match, Whether charm-adding spot was mole or patch; While none would venture to decide the voleOne had a patch and t'other had a mole.

So wife's ambition' made a parted school; Some said to please her husband-some to rule.-On this moot point too rebus would create, As you may guess, a pretty smart debate; Till one propos'd to end it thus, with ease; "The only way to rule him-is to please."

Hold! I forgot-One said, a parson's dues Was the same thing with rhyming badge of Jews,' And tithe was it--but corn, or pig, or goose; What earth or animals of earth produce, From calf and lamb, to turnip and potatoe, Might be the word--which he had nought to say to.

Made for excuse, you see, upon the whole The too great number of the words that poll For correspondency to ev'ry line;

And make the meant one tedious to divine: But we suspect that other points ambiguous, And eke unfair, contribute to fatigue us,

For first, with due submission to my betters, What ancient city could have eighteen letters?

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

If not, the possessor of tunable skill
Unfetter'd, unjingled, may take which he will;
Any plan, to which freedom and judgment impel-
All the bus'ness he knows, is to execute well.

St. Tell me what brings you, gentle youth, to
Rome?

ST. PHILIP NERI AND THE YOUTH.

ST. Philip Neri, as old readings say,
Met a young stranger in Rome's streets one day; To write it fairly in a book,
And, being ever courteously inclin'd
To give young folks a sober turn of mind,
He fell into discourse with him; and thus
The dialogue they held comes down to us.

Will do the bus'ness? not a bit-
It must be spoke as well as writ.

Y. To make myself a scholar, sir, I come.

St. And, when you are one, what do you intend?
Y. To be a priest, I hope, sir, in the end.
St. Suppose it so what have you next in view?
Y. That I may get to be a canon too.

St. Well; and how then?

may be made a bishop.
What then?

Y. Why, cardinal's a high degree-
And yet my lot it possibly may be.

St. Suppose it was what then?

St. Be it so

Y. Why then, for aught I
[know,

[blocks in formation]

And thus the preacher often gains
His labour only for his pains;
As (if you doubt it) may appear
From ev'ry Sunday in the year.

For how indeed can one expect
The best discourse should take effect,
Unless the maker thinks it worth

But you may be, as you are pleas'd to hope,
Priest, canon, bishop, cardinal, and pope.

ADVICE TO THE REV. MESSRS. H
AND H TO PREACH SLOW.
BRETHREN, this comes to let you know
That I would have you to preach slow;
To give the words of a discourse
Their proper time, and life, and force;
To urge what you think fit to say,
In a sedate, pathetic way;
Grave and delib'rate, as 't is fit
To comment upon holy writ.

Many a good sermon gives distaste,
By being spoke in too much haste;
Which, had it been pronounc'd with leisure,
Would have been listen'd to with pleasure:

Some care and pains to set it forth?
What! does he think the pains he took

What is a sermon, good or bad,
If a man reads it like a lad?

To hear some people, when they preach,
How they run o'er all parts of speech,
And neither raise a word, nor sink,
| Our learned bishops, one would think,
Had taken school-boys from the rod,
To make ambassadors of God.

Y. Why, who can say A just remark, a proper phrase;

For such a one to run along,
Tumbling his accents o'er his tongue,
Shows only that a man, at once,
May be a scholar and a dunce.

Y. Nay, there is nothing further, to be sure,
Upon this Earth, that wishing can procure:
When I've enjoy'd a dignity so high,

As long as God shall please, then-I must die.

St. What! must you die? fond youth! and at

the best

But wish and hope, and may be all the rest!
Take my advice-whatever may betide,
For that which must be, first of all provide;
Then think of that which may be; and indeed,
When well prepar'd, who knows what may suc-
ceed?

So perfect is the Christian scheme,
He that from thence shall take his theme,
And time to have it understood,
His sermon cannot but be good:
If he will needs be preaching stuff,
No time indeed is short enough;
E'en let him read it like a letter,
The sooner it is done, the better.

But for a man that has a head,
Like yours or mine, I'd like to have said,
That can upon occasion raise

In point of sermons, 't is confest,
Our English clergy make the best:
But this appears, we must confess,
Not from the pulpit, but the press:
They manage, with disjointed skill,
The matter well, the manner ill;
And, what seems paradox at first,
They make the best, and preach the worst.

Would they but speak as well as write,
Both excellencies would unite,
The outward action being taught,
To show the strength of inward thought:
Now, to do this, our short-hand school
Lays down this plain and general rule,
"Take time enough"-all other graces
Will soon fill up their proper places.

TO THE SAME,

ON PREACHING EXTEMPORE.

THE hint I gave, some time ago,
Brethren, about your preaching slow,
You took, it seems; and thereupon
Could make two sermons out of one:
Now this regard to former lines,
Paid so successfully, inclines
To send advice the second part:
Try if you cannot preach by heart

Be not alarm'd, as if regard
To this would prove so very hard;
The first admonishment you fear'd
Would so turn out, 'till it appear'd
That custom, only, made to seem
So difficult in your esteem,
What, upon trial, now procures
Your hearers ease, and also yours.

Do but consider how the case
Now stands in fact, in every place,
All Christendom aimost, around,
Except on our reformed ground:
The greatest part, untaught to brook
A preacher's reading from a book,
Would scarce advance within his reach,
Or, then, acknowledge him to preach.

Long after preaching first began,
How unconceiv'd a reading plan!
The rise of which, whatever date
May be assign'd to it, is late:
From all antiquity remote
The manuscriptal reading rote:
No need, no reason prompted, then,
The pulpit to consult the pen.

However well prepar'd before,
By pond'ring, or by writing o'er
What he should say, still it was said
By him that preach'd; it was not read:
Could ancient memory, then, better
Forbear the poring o'er the letter,
Brethren, than yours? if you'll but try,
That fact I'll venture to deny.

Moderns, of late, give proofs enoo
(Too many, as it seems to you)
That matters of religious kind,
Stor'd up within the thoughtful mind,
With any care and caution stor'd,
Sufficient utterance afford,

To tell an audience what they think,
Without the help of pen and ink.

How apt to think too, is the throng,
A preacher short, a reader long!
Claiming, itself, to be the book
That should attract a pastor's look:
If you lament a careless age
Averse to hear the pulpit page,
Speak from within, not from without,
And heart to heart will turn about.

Try it; and if you can't succeed,
'T will then be right for you to read;
Altho' the heart, if that's your choice,
Must still accompany the voice;
And tho' you should succeed, and take
The hint, you must not merely make
Preaching extempore the view,
But ex æternitate too.

But when they tease us with it from the pulpit,
I own, sir Peter, that I cannot gulp it.

TO RL, ESQ.

INDEED, Sir Peter, I could wish, I own,
That parsons would let politics alone;
Plead, if they will, the customary plea,
For such like talk, when o'er a dish of tea:

If on their rules a justice should intrench,
And preach, suppose a sermon, from the bench,
Would you not think your brother magistrate
Was touch'd a little in his hinder pate?
Now which is worse, sir Peter, on the total
The lay vagary, or the sacerdotal?

In ancient times, when preachers preach'd indeed

Their sermons, ere the learned learnt to read,
Another spirit, and another life,

Shut the church doors against all party strife:
Since then, how often heard, from sacred rostrums,
The lifeless din of Whig and Tory nostrums!

'Tis wrong, sir Peter, I insist upon 't; To common sense 't is plainly an affront: The parson leaves the Christian in the lurch, Whene'er he brings his politics to church; His cant, on either side, if he calls preaching, The man's wrong-headed, and his brains want bleaching.

MOSES'S VISION.
MOSES, to whom, by a peculiar grace,

God spake (the Hebrew phrase is) face to face,
Call'd by an heav'nly voice, the rabbins say,
Ascended to a mountain's top one day; [eas'd,
Where, in some points perplex'd, his mind was
And doubts, concerning Providence, appeas'd.

During the colloquy divine, say they,
The prophet was commanded to survey,
And mark what happen'd, on the plain below:
There he perceiv'd a fine, clear spring to flow,
Just at the mountain's foot; to which, anon,
A soldier, on his road, came riding on;
Who, taking notice of the fountain, stopt,
Alighted, drank, and, in remounting, dropt
A purse of gold; but as the precious load
Fell unsuspected, he pursu'd his road:
Scarce had he gone, when a young lad came by,
And, as the purse lay just before his eye,
He took it up; and, finding its content,
Secur'd the treasure; and away he went:

ON CLERGYMEN PREACHING POLITICS. Soon after him, a poor, infirm old man,

Recall the time from conquering William's reign,
And guess the fruits of such a preaching vein:
How oft its nonsense must have veer'd about,
Just as the politics were in, or out:
The pulpit govern'd by no gospel data,
But new success still mending old errata.

Were I a king (God bless me) I should hate
My chaplains meddling with affairs of state;
Nor would my subjects, I should think, be fond,
Whenever theirs the Bible went beyond.
How well, methinks, we both should live together,
If these good folks would keep within their tether!

With age, and travel, weary quite, and wan,
Came to the spring, to quench his thirst, and

drank,

And then sat down, to rest him, on the bank:
There while he sat, the soldier, on his track,
Missing his gold, return'd directly back;

Light off his horse, began to swear, and curse,
And ask'd the poor old fellow for his purse:
He solemnly protested, o'er and o'er,
With hands and eyes uplifted, to implore
Heav'ns attestation to the truth, that he
Nor purse, nor gold, had ever chanc'd to see:
But all in vain; the man believ'd him not,
And drew his sword, and stab'd him on the spot.

Moses, with horrour and amazement seiz'd, Fell on his face-the voice divine was pleas'd To give the prophet's anxious mind relief, And thus prevent expostulating grief"Be not surpris'd; nor ask how such a deed The world's just Judge could suffer to succeed: The child has caus'd the passion, it is true, That made the soldier run the old man thro'; But know one fact, tho' never yet found out, And judge how that would banish ev'ry doubtThis same old man, thro' passion once as wild, Murder'd the father of that very child."

ON THE AUTHOR'S COAT OF ARMS. THE hedge-hog for his arms, I would suppose, Some sire of ours, beloved kinsfolk, chose, With aim to hint instruction wise, and good, To us descendants of his Byrom blood; I would infer, if you be of this mind, The very lesson, that our sire design'd.

He had observ'd that Nature gave a sense, To ev'ry creature, of its own defence; Down from the lion, with his tearing jaws, To the poor cat, that scratches with her paws; All show'd their force, when put upon the proof, Wherein it lay, teeth, talons, horn, or hoof.

Pleas'd with the porcupine, whose native art Is said to distance danger by his dart; To rout his foes, before they come too near, From ev'ry hurt of close encounter clearThis, had not one thing bated of its price, Had been our worthy ancestor's device.

A foe to none; but ev'ry body's friend; And loath, although offended, to offend; He sought to find an instance, if it could, By any creature's art, be understood, That might betoken safety, when attack'd; Yet where all hurt should be a foe's own act.

At last the hedge-hog came into his thought, And gave the perfect emblem that he sought: This little creature, all offence aside, Rolls up itself in its own prickly hide, When danger comes; and they that will abuse Do it themselves, if their own hurt ensues.

Methinks I hear the venerable sage"Children! descendants all thro' ev'ry age! Learn, from the prudent urchin in your arms, How to secure yourselves from worldly harms: Give no offence;-to you if others will, Firmly wrapt up within yourselves, be still.

"This animal is giv'n for outward sign Of inward, true security divine: Sharp, on your minds, let pointed virtues grow, That, without injuring, resist a foe;

VOL XV.

Surround with these an honest, harmless heart, And he, that dwells in it, will take your part.

"Whatever ills your christian peace molest, Turn to, the source of grace, within your breast: There lies your safety-O that all my kin May ever seek it-where 't is found-within! That soul no ills can ever long annoy, Which makes its God the centre of its joy.”

VERSES,

INTENDED TO HAVE BEEN SPOKEN AT THE BREAKING UP OF THE FREE GRAMMAR-SCHOOL IN MANCHESTER, IN THE YEAR 1748, WHEN LAUDER'S CHARGE OF PLAGIARISM UPON MILTON ENGAGED THE PUBLIC ATTENTION.

THE MASTER'S SPEECH.

OUR worthy founder, gentlemen, this day,
Orders the youth an hour's poetic play:
Me, on its annual return, to choose
One single subject for their various Muse:
That you may see how Fancy will create
Her diff'rent image in each youngster's pate.

Now, since our Milton, a renowned name, Had been attack'd for stealing into fame; I told 'em-" Lads, now be upon your guard; Exert yourselves, and save your famous bard: He's call'd a plagiary-'t is your's to show The vain reproach, and silence Milton's foe.

"The point," said I, "at which ye now take. aim,

Remember, as ye rhyme, is Milton's fame;
Fame as a poet only, as attack't

For plund'ring verses-ne'er contest the fact;
Defend your bard, tho' granted; and confine
To three times six, at most, your eager line."

Then lend a fav'ring ear, whilst they rehearse Short, and almost extemporary verse:

A thought work'd up, that came into the mind, With rhymes the first, and fittest, they could find. Such was their task-the boys have done their best; Take what you like, sirs,-and excuse the rest..

FIRST LAD. MILTON pursu'd, in numbers more sublime, Things unattempted yet in prose, or rhyme: "T is said, the bard did but pretend to soar, For such, and such-attempted them before.

'Tis now an age ago since Milton writ; The rest-are sunk into Oblivion's pit: A critic diving to their wrecks, perhaps, Has, now and then, bro't up some loosen'd scraps

We'll not dispute the value of them nowBut, say one thing which critics must allow; Which all the nations round us will confessMilton alone-attempted with success.

SECOND LAD.

WHEN Milton's ghost into Elysium came, To mix with claimants for poetic fame, Some rose, the celebrated bard to meet; Welcom'd, and laid their laurels at his feet.

« ZurückWeiter »