« ElőzőTovább »
The moonbeam silvering a ruined arch,—the desert wave dashing up a
pyramid; The thunder of jarring icebergs,—the stops of a shepherd's pipe ; The howl of the tiger in the glen,—and the wood-dove calling to her mate ; The vulture's cruel rage,—the grace of the stately swan; The fierceness looking from the lynx's eye, and the dull stupor of the sloth; To these, and to all, is there added each its use, though man considereth
it lightly ; For Power hath ordained nothing which Economy saw not needful.
All things being are essential to the vast ubiquity of God;
Neither is there one thing overmuch, nor freed from honourable servitude.
Were there not a need-be of wisdom, nothing would be as it is;
For essence without necessity argueth a moral weakness.
We look through a glass darkly, we catch but glimpses of truth;
But, doubtless, the sailing of a cloud hath Providence to its pilot,
Doubtless, the root of an oak is gnarled for a special purpose,
The foreknown station of a rush is as fixed as the station of a king,
And chaff from the hand of a winnower, steered as the stars in their courses.
Man liveth only in himself, but the Lord liveth in all things;
And his pervading unity quickeneth the whole creation.
Man doeth one thing at once, nor can he think two thoughts together ;
But God compasseth all things, mantling the globe like air:
And we render homage to His wisdom, seeing use in all His creatures,
For, perhance, the universe would die, were not all things as they are.
EQUAL is the government of heaven in allotting pleasures among men,
And just the everlasting law, that hath wedded happiness to virtue :
For verily on all things else broodeth disappointment with care,
That childish man may be taught the shallowness of earthly enjoyment.
Wherefore, ye that have enough, envy ye the rich man his abundance ?
Wherefore, daughters of affluence, covet ye the cottager's content?
Take the good with the evil, for ye all are pensioners of God,
And none may choose or refuse the cup his wisdom mixeth.
The poor man rejoiceth at his toil, and his daily bread is sweet to him :
Content with present good, he looketh not for evil to the future :
The rich man languisheth with sloth, and findeth pleasure in nothing,
He locketh up care with his gold, and feareth the fickleness of fortune.
Can a cup contain within itself the measure of a bucket ?
Or the straitened appetites of man drink more than their fill of luxury ?
There is a limit to enjoyment, though the sources of wealth be boundless;
And the choicest pleasures of life lie within the ring of moderation.
Also though penury and pain be real and bitter evils,
I would reason with the poor afflicted, for he is not so wretched as he
What right hath an offender to complain, though others escape punishment,
If the stripes of earned misfortune overtake him in his sin ?
Wherefore not endure with resignation the evils thou canst not avert ?
For the coward pain will flee, if thou meet him as a man:
Consider, whatever be thy fate, that it might and ought to have been worse,
And that it lieth in thy hand to gather even blessings from afflictions :
Bethink thee, wherefore were they sent ? and hath not use blunted their
keeness ? Need hope, and patience, and courage, be strangers to the meanest hovel ? Thou art in an evil case, -it were cruel to deny to thee compassion, But there is not unmitigated ill in the sharpest of this world's sorrows : I touch not the sore of thy guilt; but of human griefs I counsel thee, Cast off the weakness of regret, and gird thee to redeem thy loss. Thou hast gained, in the furnace of affliction, self-knowledge, patience, and
humility, And these be as precious ore, that waiteth the skill of the coiner : Despise not the blessings of adversity, nor the gain thou hast earned so
hardly, And now thou hast drained the bitter, take heed that thou lose not the
Power is seldom innocent, and envy is the yoke-fellow of eminence;
And the rust of the miser's riches wasteth his soul as a canker.
The poor man counteth not the cost at which such wealth hath been pur-
chased; He would be on the mountain's top without the toil and travail of the
But equity demandeth recompense ; for high-place, calumny and care ;
For state, comfortless splendour eating out the heart of home ;
For warrior fame, dangers and death; for a name among the learned, a
spirit overstrained; For honour of all kinds, the goad of ambition; on every acquirement, the
tax of anxiety. He that would change with another, must take the cup as it is mixed : Poverty, with largeness of heart ; or a full purse, with a sordid spirit : Wisdom, in an ailing body; or a common mind with health : Godliness, with man's scorn; or the welcome of the mighty, with guilt: Beauty, with a fickle heart; or plainness of face, with affection. For so hath Providence determined, that a man shall not easily discover Unmingled good or evil, to quicken his envy or abhorrence. A bold man or a fool must he be, who would change his lot with another; It were a fearful bargain, and mercy hath lovingly refused it; For we know the worst of ourselves, but the secrets of another we see not, And better is certain bad, than the doubt and dread of worse.
Just, and strong, and opportune is the moral rule of God;
Ripe in its times, firm in its judgments, equal in the measure of its gifts;
Yet men, scanning the surface, count the wicked happy :
Nor heed the compensating peace which gladdeneth the good in his afflictions.
They see not the frightful dreams that crowd a bad man's pillow,
Like wreathed adders crawling round his midnight conscience;
They hear not the terrible suggestions, that knock at the portal of his will,
Provoking to wipe away from life the one weak witness of the deed;
They know not the torturing suspicions that sting his panting breast,
When the clear eye of penetration quietly readeth off the truth.
Likewise of the good what know they ? the memories bringing pleasure,
Shrined in the heart of the benevolent, and glistening from his eye ;
The calm self-justifying reason that establisheth the upright in his purpose ;
The warm and gushing bliss that floodeth all the thoughts of the religious.
Many a beggar at the cross-way, or gray-haired shepherd on the plain,
Hath more of the end of all wealth, than hundreds who multiply the means.
Moreover, a moral compensation reacheth to the secrecy of thought;
For if thou wilt think evil of thy neighbour, soon shalt thou have him for thy
And yet he may know nothing of the cause that maketh thee distasteful
to his soul,
The cause of unkind suspicion, for which thou hast thy punishment:
And if thou think of him in charity, wishing or praying for his weal,
He shall not guess the secret charm that lureth his soul to love thee.
For just is retributive ubiquity : Samson did sin with Dalilah,
And his eyes and captive strength were forfeit to the Philistine :
Jacob robbed his brother, and sorrow was his portion to the grave :
David must fly before his foes, yea, though his guilt is covered:
And He, who seeming old in youth, () was marred for others' sin,
For every special crime must bear its special penalty :
By luxury, or rashness, or vice, the member that hath erred suffereth,
And therefore the Sacrifice for all was pained at every pore.
Alike to the slave and his oppressor cometh night with sweet refreshment, And half of the life of the most wretched is gladdened by the soothings of
sleep. Pain addeth zest unto pleasure, and teacheth the luxury of health : There is a joy in sorrow, which none but a mourner can know; Madness hath imaginary bliss, and most men have no more; Age hath its quiet calm, and youth enjoyeth not for haste; Daily, in the midst of its beatitude, the righteous soul is vexed; And even the misery of guilt doth attain to the bliss of pardon. Who, in the face of the born-blind, ever looked on other than content ? And the deaf ear listeneth within to the silent music of the heart. There is evil poured upon the earth from the overflowings of corruption, Sickness, and poverty, and pain, and guilt, and madness, and sorrow; But, as the water from a fountain riseth and sinketh to its level, Ceaselessly toileth justice to equalize the lots of men : For, habit, and hope, and ignorance, and the being but one of a multitude, And strength of reason in the sage, and dulness of feeling in the fool, And the light elasticity of courage, and the calm resignation of meekness, And the stout endurance of decision, and the weak carelessness of apathy, And helps invisible but real, and ministerings not unfelt, Angelic aid with worldly discomfiture, bodily loss with the soul's gain, Secret griefs, and silent joys, thorns in the flesh, and cordials for the spirit, 6-Short of the insuperable barrier dividing innocence from guilt,-) Go far to level all things, by the gracious rule of Compensation.
Face thy foe in the field, and perchance thou wilt meet thy master,
For the sword is chained to his wrist, and his armour buckled for the battle;
But find him when he looketh not for thee, aim between the joints of his
And the crest of his pride will be humbled, his cruelty will bite the dust.
Beard not a lion in his den, but fashion the secret pitfall,
So shalt thou conquer the strong, thyself triumphing in weakness.
The hurricane rageth fiercely, and the promontory standeth in its might,
Breasting the artillery of heaven, as darts glance from the crocodile ;
But the small continual creeping of the silent footsteps of the sea
Mineth the wall of adamant, and stealthily compasseth its ruin.
The weakness of accident is strong, where the strength of design is weak:
And a casual analogy convinceth, when a mind beareth not argument.
Will not a man listen ? be silent; and prove thy maxim by example:
Never fear, thou losest not thy hold, though thy mouth doth not render a
Contend not in wisdom with a fool, for thy sense maketh much of his conceit; And some errors never would have thriven, had it not been for learned
refutation ; Yea, much evil hath been caused by an honest wrestler for truth, And much of unconscious good, by the man that hated wisdom : For the intellect judgeth closely, and if thou overstep thy argument, Or seem not consistent with thyself, or fail in thy direct purpose, The mind that went along with thee, shall stop and return without thee, And thou shalt have raised a foe, where thou mightest have won a friend.
Hints, shrewdly strown, mightily disturb the spirit,
Where a barefaced accusation would be too ridiculous for calumny:
The sly suggestion toucheth nerves, and nerves contract the fronds,
And the sensitive mimosa of affection trembleth to its root;
And friendships, the growth of half a century, those oaks that laugh at
Have been cankered in a night by a worm, even as the prophet's gourd.
Hast thou loved, and not known jealousy ? for a sidelong look
Can please or pain thy heart more than the multitude of proofs :