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And while she stands abashed, with conscious eye,
Some favourite female of her judge glides by,
Who views with scornful glance the strumpet's fate,
And thanks the stars that made her keeper great;
Near her the swain, about to bear for life
One certain evil, doubts 'twixt war and wife;
But, while the faltering damsel takes her oath,
Consents to ed, and so secures them both.

Yet why, you ask, these humble crimes relate,
Why make the poor as guilty as the great?
To show the great, those mightier sons of pride,
How near in vice the lowest are allied;
Such are their natures and their passions such,
But these disguise too little, those too much:
So shall the man of power and pleasure see
In his own slave as vile a wretch as he;
In his luxurious lord the servant find
His own low pleasures and degenerate mind;
And each in all the kindred vices trace
Of a poor, blind, bewildered, erring race;
Who, a short time in varied fortune past,
Die, and are equal in the dust at last.

JOHN NEWTON

A VISION OF LIFE IN DEATH

In evil long I took delight,

Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,

And stopped my wild career;
I saw One hanging on a Tree

In agonies and blood,
Who fixed His languid eyes on me,

As near His cross I stood.
Sure never till my latest breath

Can I forget that look:
It seemed to

me with His death,
Though not a word he spoke:

My conscience felt and owned the guilt,

And plunged me in despair;
I saw my sins His blood had spilt,

And helped to nail Him there.

Alas! I know not what I did!

But now my tears are vain:
Where shall my trembling soul be hid ?

For I the Lord have slain!
A second look He gave, which said,

'I freely all forgive;
The blood is for thy ransom paid;

I die, that thou may'st live.'

Thus, while His death my sin displays

In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,

It seals my pardon too.
With pleasing grief and mournful joy,

My spirit now is filled
That I should such a life destroy,-

Yet live by Him I killed.

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WILLIAM COWPER

FROM TABLE TALK

[THE POET AND RELIGION] Pity Religion has so seldom found A skilful guide into poetic ground! The flowers would spring where'er she deigned to stray, And every muse attend her in her way. Virtue indeed meets many a rhyming friend, And many a compliment politely penned, But unattired in that becoming vest Religion weaves for her, and half undressed, Stands in the desert shivering and forlorn, A wintry figure, like a withered thorn.

The shelves are full, all other themes are sped,
Hackneyed and worn to the last flimsy thread;
Satire has long since done his best, and curst
And loathsome Ribaldry has done his worst;
Fancy has sported all her powers away
In tales, in trifles, and in children's play;
And 'tis the sad complaint, and almost true,
Whate'er we write, we bring forth nothing new.
'Twere new indeed to see a bard all fire,
Touched with a coal from heaven, assume the lyre,
And tell the world, still kindling as he sung,
With more than mortal music on his tongue,
That He who died below, and reigns above,
Inspires the song, and that his name is Love.

FROM CONVERSATION

[THE DUBIOUS AND THE POSITIVE] Dubious is such a scrupulous good man,Yes, you may catch him tripping if you can. He would not with a peremptory tone Assert the nose upon his face his own; With hesitation admirably slow, He humbly hopes—presumes—it may be so. His evidence, if he were called by law To swear to some enormity he saw, For want of prominence and just relief, Would hang an honest man, and save a thief. Through constant dread of giving truth offence, He ties up all his hearers in suspense; Knows what he knows, as if he knew it not; What he remembers seems to have forgot; His sole opinion, whatsoe'er befall, Centering at last in having none at all. Yet though he tease and baulk your listening ear, He makes one useful point exceeding clear; Howe'er ingenious on his darling theme A sceptic in philosophy may seem, Reduced to practice, his beloved rule Would only prove him a consummate fool;

Useless in him alike both brain and speech,
Fate having placed all truth above his reach;
His ambiguities his total sum,
He might as well be blind and deaf and dumb.

Where men of judgment creep and feel their way,
The positive pronounce without dismay,
Their want of light and intellect supplied
By sparks absurdity strikes out of pride:
Without the means of knowing right from wrong,
They always are decisive, clear, and strong;
Where others toil with philosophic force,
Their nimble nonsense takes a shorter course,
Flings at your head conviction in the lump,
And gains remote conclusions at a jump;
Their own defect, invisible to them,
Seen in another, they at once condemn,
And, though self-idolized in every case,
Hate their own likeness in a brother's face.
The cause is plain and not to be denied,
The proud are always most provoked by pride;
Few competitions but engender spite,
And those the most where neither has a right.

TO A YOUNG LADY
Sweet stream, that winds through yonder glade,
Apt emblem of a virtuous maid-
Silent and chaste she steals along,
Far from the world's gay busy throng:
With gentle yet prevailing force,
Intent upon her destined course;
Graceful and useful all she does.
Blessing and blest where'er she goes;
Pure-bosomed as that watery glass
And Heaven reflected in her face.

THE SHRUBBERY
O happy shades! to me unblest!

Friendly to peace, but not to me!
How ill the scene that offers rest,

And heart that cannot rest, agree!

This glassy stream, that spreading pine,

Those alders quivering to the breeze,
Might soothe a soul less hurt than mine,

And please, if anything could please.

But fixed unalterable Care

Foregoes not what she feels within,
Shows the same sadness everywhere,

And slights the season and the scene.

For all that pleased in wood or lawn

While Peace possessed these silent bowers, Her animating smile withdrawn,

Has lost its beauties and its powers.

The saint or moralist should tread

This moss-grown alley, musing, slow,
They seek like me the secret shade,

But not, like me, to nourish woe!

Me, fruitful scenes and prospects waste

Alike admonish not to roam;
These tell me of enjoyments past,

And those of sorrows yet to come.

FROM THE TASK

[LOVE OF FAMILIAR SCENES]

Scenes that soothed Or charmed me young, no longer young, I find Still soothing and of power to charm me still. And witness, dear companion of my walks, Whose arm this twentieth winter I perceive Fast locked in mine, with pleasure such as love, Confirmed by long experience of thy worth And well-tried virtues, could alone inspire, Witness a joy that thou hast doubled long. Thou knowest my praise of nature most sincere, And that my raptures are not conjured up To serve occasions of poetic pomp, But genuine, and art partner of them all.

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