Puslapio vaizdai

Born 1672-Died 1719.

ADDISON's name is early and delightfully connected with all our ideas of whatever is easy, idiomatic, and delicately humorous in the English prose literature. His poetical celebrity rests exclusively on his letter from Italy, one or two devotional hymns, and his tragedy of Cato. The latter production, in Dr. Johnson's language, is rather a poem in dialogue than a drama, rather a succession of just sentiments in elegant language than a representation of natural affections, or of any state probable or possible in human life.

His life was divided between literature and politics, and he is a solitary example of a poet rising so high in the favour of the court as to hold the office of Secretary of State. His death was triumphant in the hopes of the Christian religion, and afforded a most solemn and instructive scene. When he found life drawing to its close he sent for his step-son, the licentious Earl of Warwick, and when the youthful nobleman desired to receive his last injunction, "I have sent for you," he said, "that you may see how a Christian can die."


THE spacious firmament on high,

With all the blue etherial sky,

And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their great original proclaim.

Th' unwearied sun from day to day,
Does his Creator's power display;
And publishes to ev'ry land,
The work of an Almighty hand.

Soon as the evening shades prevail,
The moon takes up the won'drous tale,
And, nightly, to the list'ning earth,
Repeats the story of her birth;

Whilst all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets in their turn,

Confirm the tidings as they roll,

And spread the truth from pole to pole.


*The biographer of Andrew Marvell, has made it appear very probable that this beautiful Ode and the Hymn beginning" The Lord my pasture shall prepare," were written by that pleasant poet and excellent man. They were both inserted in the Spectator, without the name of the author, and have accordingly always passed as Addison's. The reader will see that they bear a great resemblance to the Hymn of the

What though, in solemn silence, all,
Move round the dark terrestrial ball?
What though no real voice nor sound
Amid these radiant orbs be found?
In reason's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,
Forever singing, as they shine,
"The hand that made us is divine."


How are thy servants blest, O Lord!
How sure is their defence!
Eternal wisdom is their guide,
Their help Omnipotence.

In foreign realms, and lands remote,
Supported by thy care,

Through burning climes I passed unhurt,
And breath'd in tainted air.

Thy mercy sweetened every soil,
Made every region please;
The hoary Alpine hills it warmed,
And smooth'd the Tyrrhene seas.

Think, O my soul, devoutly think,
How, with affrighted eyes
Thou saw'st the wide extended deep
In all its horrors rise.

Confusion dwelt on every face,

And fear in every heart;

When waves on waves and gulfs on gulfs

O'ercame the pilot's art.

Yet then from all my griefs, O Lord,
Thy mercy set me free,

Whilst in the confidence of prayer

My soul took hold on thee.

For though in dreadful whirls we hung
High on the broken wave,

I knew thou wert not slow to hear,
Nor impotent to save.

The storm was laid, the winds retired,
Obedient to thy will;

The sea, that roared at thy command,
At thy command was still.

In midst of dangers, fears, and deaths,
Thy goodness I'll adore,

And praise thee for thy mercies past,
And humbly hope for more.

My life, if thou preserv'st my life,
Thy sacrifice shall be;

And death, if death must be my lot,
Shall join my soul to thee.


Born 1674-Died 1718.

WATTS was taught Latin, Greek, and Hebrew at an early age, at the free school at Southampton, his native place. His proficiency was so great, that it was proposed to send him to the University; but he resolved to take his lot with the dissenters. "Such he was," says Dr. Johnson, "as every Christian church would rejoice to have adopted." His education was therefore completed at an academy. He declares that he was a maker of verses from fifteen to forty.

He began to preach in his twenty-fourth year, being chosen assistant to Dr. Chauncey in Southampton, whom he afterwards succeeded. In 1712, he was attacked by a fever of such length and violence, that he never entirely recovered from the weakness to which it reduced him. In this state he found in Sir Thomas Abney a friend, such as is not often to be met with. That gentleman received him into his own house, where he remained an inmate of the family for thirtysix years, and was uniformly treated with the most unalterable friendship, kindness, and attentive respect.

He continued the associate pastor of his congregation through life; for when, from the infirmities of age having become unable to perform the public duties of his office, he offered to remit the salary connected with it, his people affectionately refused to accept his resignation. In this calm and pious retreat, where every thing contributed to sooth his feelings and promote his restoration to health, he composed most of his voluminous and valuable works. And here he died, after a long life of the most devoted piety and extensive usefulness.

"By his natural temper," says Dr. Johnson, "he was quick of resentment; but by his established and habitual practice he was gentle, modest, and inoffensive. His tenderness appeared in his attention to children and to the poor. To the poor, while he lived in the family of his friend, he allowed the third part of his annual revenue, though the whole was not a hundred a year; and for children he condescended to lay aside

the scholar, the philosopher, and the wit, to write little poems of devotion, and systems of instruction, adapted to their wants and capacities, from the dawn of reason through its gradations of advance in the morning of life. Every man acquainted with the common principles of human action will look with veneration on the writer, who is at one time combating Locke, and at another making a catechism for children in their fourth year. A voluntary descent from the dignity of science is perhaps the hardest lesson that humility can teach. With his theological works I am only enough acquainted to admire his meekness of opposition, and his mildness of censure." Dr. Doddridge has likewise artlessly described the character and pursuits of his venerated friend, in an affectionate dedication to him of his "Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul."

Amidst many things that were unnatural, or trite, Watts has displayed a very vivid imagination, and produced some of the most suitable devotional lyrics in the English language. His poetry is always religiously pure, and some of its shorter strains burn with the chastened sublimity of his pious emotions, expressed in language which could hardly have been rendered more appropriately beautiful. Considered as the work of one mind, his volume of Psalms and Hymns is a remarkable production, and if the best of its contents were selected and published together, such a book would alone entitle him to a high rank among the British poets. His hymns for infant minds display, likewise, a true poetical genius. Had he made poetry the business of his life, his success would doubtless have been eminent; it was only his relaxation. "He is one of the few poets," says Johnson, "with whom youth and ignorance may be safely pleased; and happy will be that reader, whose mind is disposed, by his verses or his prose, to copy his benevolence to man and his reverence to God.'



Every grief we feel,

Shortens the destin'd number: every pulse

Bears a sharp moment of the pain away,

And the last stroke will come. By swift degrees
Time sweeps us off, and we shall soon arrive
At life's sweet period: O celestial point,

That ends this mortal story!

But if a glimpse of light, with flattering ray,

Break through the clouds of life; or wandering fire
Amidst the shades invite your unblest feet,
Beware the dancing meteor, faithless guide,
That leads the lonesome pilgrim wide astray,

To bogs, and fens, and pits, and certain death.
Should vicious pleasure take an angel form,
And at a distance rise by slow degrees,
Treacherous to wind herself into your heart,
Stand firm aloof; nor let the gaudy phantom

Too long allure your gaze, nor tempt your thoughts
In slavery to sense. Still may our souls

Claim kindred with the skies, nor mix with dust
Our holier affections.

O, there are gardens of the immortal kind,
That crown the heavenly Eden's rising hills
With beauty and with sweets; no lurking mischief
Dwells in the fruit, nor serpent twines the bough.
The branches bend, laden with life and bliss,
Ripe for the taste. But 'tis a steep ascent:
Hold fast the golden chain let down from Heaven;
"T will help your feet and wings-I feel its force
Draw upwards-fastened to the pearly gate,

It guides the way unerring. Happy clue

Through this dark wild! 'T was wisdom's noblest work, All join'd by power divine, and every link is love.


THERE is a land of pure delight,
Where saints immortal reign;
Infinite day excludes the night,
And pleasures banish pain.

There everlasting spring abides,
And never withering flowers:
Death, like a narrow sea, divides
This heavenly land from ours.

Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood
Stand drest in living green;
So to the Jews old Canaan stood,
While Jordan rolled between.

But timorous mortals start and shrink
To cross this narrow sea,
And linger, shivering on the brink,
And fear to launch away.

O could we make our doubts remove,-
Those gloomy doubts that rise,—
And see the Canaan that we love,
With unbeclouded eyes.

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