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Orpheus could lead the savage race;
And trees uprooted left their place,

Sequacious of the lyre:
But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher
When to her organ vocal breath was given,
An angel heard, and straight appeared

Mistaking earth for heaven.


As from the power of sacred lays
The spheres began to move,
And sung the great Creator's praise

To all the blessed above;
So when the last and dreadful hour
This crumbling pageant shall devour,
The trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And music shall untune the sky.


[Prefixed to " Paradise Lost."]

Three poets in three distant ages born,

Greece, Italy, and England, did adorn,

The first in loftiness of thought sur

The next in majesty; in both the last,

The force of nature could no further


To make a third, she joined the former two.

[From Religio Laici.]

Dim as the borrowed beams of moon
and stars

To lonely, weary, wandering travellers,

Is reason to the soul: and as on high, Those rolling fires discover but the sky,

Not light us here; T reason's glimmering ray

Was lent, not to assure our doubtful way,

But guide us upward to a better day.
And as these nightly tapers disappear,
When day's bright lord ascends our

So pale grows Reason at Religion's


So dies, and so dissolves in supernatural light.

[From Religio Laid.]


If on the book itself we cast our view.

Concurrent heathens prove the story true;

The doctrine, miracles; which must convince,

For Heaven in them appeals to human sense:

And though they prove not, they con-
firm the cause,

When what is taught agrees with na-
ture's laws.
Then for the style, majestic and

It speaks no less than God in every

Commanding words, whose force is

still the same As the first fiat that produced our


All faiths beside, or did by arms ascend,

Or sense indulged has made mankind their friend;

This only doctrine does our lusts oppose:

Unfed by nature's soil, in which it grows;

Cross to our interests, curbing sense and sin;

Oppressed without, and undermined within,

It thrives through pain; its own tormentors tires;

And with a stubborn patience still aspires.

To what can Reason such effects assign

Transcending nature, but to laws divine?

Which in that sacred volume are contained;

Sufficient, clear, and for that use ordained.

[From Religio Laici.]

The unlettered Christian, who believes in gross,

Plods on to heaven, and ne'er is at a loss:

For the strait-gate would be made

straiter yet, Were none admitted there but men

of wit.

The few by nature formed, with

learning fraught, Born to instruct, as others to be


Must study well the sacred page: and


Which doctrine, this or that, doth best agree

With the whole tenor of the work divine;

And plainliest points to Heaven's revealed design:

Which exposition flows from genuine sense;

And which is forced by wit and eloquence.


A Thousand daily sects rise up and die;

A thousand more the perished race supply;

So all we make of Heaven's discovered will.

Is, not to have it, or to use it ill.

The danger's much the same; on several shelves

If others wreck us, or we wreck ourselves.

What then remains, but, waiving each extreme, The tide of ignorance and pride to stem?

Neither so rich a treasure to forego, Nor proudly seek beyond our power to know:

Faith is not built on disquisitions vain:

The things we must believe are few

and plain: But since men will believe more than

they need, And every man will make himself a


In doubtful questions 'tis the safest way

To learn what unsuspected ancients say:

For 'tis not likely we should higher soar

In search of Heaven, than all the

Church before: Nor can we be deceived, unless we

see [gree. The Scripture and the Fathers disaIf after all they stand suspected still, (For no man's faith depends upon

his will;)

'Tis some relief, that points not

clearly known, Without much hazard may be let


And after hearing what our Church can say.

If still our reason runs another way, That private reason 'tis more just to curb, I disturb.

Than by disputes the public peace

For points obscure are of small use to learn;

But common quiet is mankind's concern.

[From Eleonora.]

A Wife as tender, and as true withal,

As the first woman was before her fall:

Made for the man, of whom she was a part;

Made to attract his eyes, and keep his heart.

A second Eve, but by no crime accursed;

As beauteous, not as brittle as the first.

Had she been first, still Paradise had


And death had found no entrance by her sin.

So she not only had preserved from ill Her sex and ours, but lived their pattern still.

[From Eleonora.]

Want passed for merit at her open door:

Heaven saw, he safely might increase his poor,

And trust their sustenance with her so well,

As not to be at charge of miracle. None could be needy, whom she saw or knew;

All in the compass of her sphere she drew.

He, who could touch her garment, was as sure,

As the first Christians of the apostles' cure.

The distant heard, by fame, her pious deeds,

And laid her up for their extremest needs;

A future cordial for a fainting mind; For, what was ne'er refused, all hoped to find.

Each in his turn, the rich might

freely come, As to a friend; but to the poor, 'twas


As to some holy house the afflicted came,

The hunger-starved, the naked and

the lame; Want and disease both fled before

her name, For zeal like hers her servants were

too slow;

She was the first, where need required, to go;

Herself the foundress and attendant too.

[From Eleonora.]

As precious gums are not for lasting fire,

They but perfume the temple, and expire:

So was she soon exhaled and vanished hence;

A short sweet odor of a vast expense.

She vanished, we can scarcely say she died:

For but a now did heaven and earth divide:

She passed serenely with a single breath;

This moment perfect health, the next

was death: One sigh did her eternal bliss assure; So little penance needs, when souls

are almost pure. As gentle dreams our waking thoughts


Or, one dream passed, we slide into a new;

So close they follow, such wild order keep,

We think ourselves awake, and are


So softly death succeeded life in her: She did but dream of heaven, and she was there.

No pains she suffered, nor expired

with noise; Her soul was whispered out with

God's still voice; As an old friend is beckoned to a


And treated like a long-familiar guest.

He took her as he found, but found her so,

As one in hourly readiness to go: E'en on that day, in all her trim prepared;

As early notice she from heaven had heard;

And some descending courier from above [move;

Had given her timely warning to reOr counselled her to dress the nuptial room.

For on that night the bridegroom was to come,

He kept his hour, and found her

where she lay Clothed all in white, the livery of the


Scarce had she sinned in thought, or

word, or act; Unless omissions were to pass for


That hardly death a consequence

could draw, To make her liable to nature's law. And, that she died, we only have to


The mortal part of her she left below:

The rest, so smooth, so suddenly she went,

Looked like translation through the firmament.

[From The Character of a Good Parson.]


Yet of his little he had some to spare,

To feed the famished and to clothe

the bare: For mortified he was to that degree, A poorer than himself he would not


True priests, he said, and preachers

of the word, Were only stewards of their sovereign


Nothing was theirs; but all the public store:

Intrusted riches, to relieve the poor.

The proud he tamed, the penitent he cheered; Nor to rebuke the rich offender feared;

His preaching much, but more his

practice wrought (A living sermon of the truths he


For this by rules severe his life he squared.

That all might see the doctrines

which they heard. For priests, he said, are patterns for

the rest;

(The gold of heaven, who bear the

God impressed); But when the precious coin is kept


The sovereign's image is no longer seen.

If they be foul on which the people trust,

Well may the baser brass contract a rust.

[From Absalom and Achilophel.)


A Fiery soul, which, working out its way,

Fretted the pigmy body to decay, And o'er-informed the tenement of clay.

A daring pilot in extremity;
Pleased with the danger, when the

waves went high He sought the storms; but, for a calm


Would steer too nigh the sands to

boast his wit. Great wits are sure to madness near


And thin partitions do their bounds divide.

[blocks in formation]


'Tis a fearful night in the winter time,

As cold as it ever can be; The roar of the blast is heard like the chime Of the waves of an angry sea. The moon is full, but her silver light The storm dashes out with its wings to-night;

And over the sky from south to north, Not a star is seen as the wind comes forth

In the strength of a mighty glee.

All day had the snow come down — all day

As it never came down before; And over the hills, at sunset, lay

Some two or three feet, or more; The fence was lost, and the wall of stone;

The windows blocked and the wellcurbs gone;

The haystack had grown to a mountain lift,

And the wood-pile looked like a monster drift, As it lay by the farmer's door.

The night sets in on a world of snow, While the air grows sharp and chill,

And the warning roar of a fearful blow

Is heard on the distant hill; And the Norther, see! on the mountain peak In his breath how the old trees writhe

and shriek! He shouts on the plain, ho ho! ho ho! He drives from his nostrils the blinding snow, And growls with a savage wilL

Such a night as this to be found abroad,

In the drifts and the freezing air, Lies a shivering dog, in the field, by the road, With the snow in his shaggy hair. He shuts his eyes to the wind and growls;

He lifts his head, and moans and howls; [sleet. Then crouching low, from the cutting His nose is pressed on his quivering feetPray what does the dog do there?

Afarmer came from the village plain, But he lost the travelled way;

And for hours he trod with might and main A path for his horse and sleigh;

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