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Of tenderness let heavenly pity fall
DELAY IN THE BUSINESS OF RELIGION.
Br Nature's law, what may be may be now; There's no prerogative in human hours. In human hearts what bolder thought can rise Than man's presumption on to-morrow's dawn? Where is to-morrow? In another world. For numbers this is certain; the reverse Is sure to none; and yet on this perhaps, This peradventure, infamous for lies, As on a rock of adamant we build Our nountain-hopes, spin out eternal schemes, As we the Fatal Sisters could outspin, And, big with life's futurities, expire.
Not ev'n Philander had bespoke his shroud; Nor had he cause; a warning was denied. How many fall as sudden, not as safe! As sudden, though for years admonish'd home; Of human ills the last extreme beware; Beware, Lorenzo! a slow-sudden death ; How dreadful that deliberate surprise! Be wise to-day; 'tis madness to defer: Next day the fatal precedent will plead ; Thus on, till wisdom is push'd out of life. Procrastination is the thief of time: Year after year it steals, till all are fled, And to the mercies of a moment leaves The vast concerns of an eternal scene. frequent, would not this be strange ?
If not so
That 'tis so frequent, this is stranger still.
Of man's miraculous mistakes, this bears The palm, "That all men are about to live," For ever on the brink of being born: All pay themselves the compliment to think They one day shall not drivel, and their pride On this reversion takes up ready praise; At least their own; their future selves applauds,
How excellent that life they ne'er will lead !
And scarce in human wisdom to do more.
All promise is poor dilatory man,
And that through every stage. When young, indeed,
As duteous sons, our fathers were more wise.
And why? because he thinks himself immortal. All men think all men mortal but themselves; Themselves, when some alarming shock of Fate Strikes through their wounded hearts the sudden dread: But their hearts wounded, like the wounded air, Soon close; where past the shaft no trace is found. As from the wing no scar the sky retains, The parted wave no furrow from the keel, So dies in human hearts the thought of death: Ev'n with the tender tear which Nature sheds O'er those we love, we drop it in their grave.
SOCIETY NECESSARY TO HAPPINESS.
WISDOM, though richer than Peruvian mines,
Joy is an import; joy is an exchange;
Rich fruit! heaven-planted! never pluck'd by one.
THE WORLD DANGEROUS TO VIRTUE.
VIRTUE, forever frail as fair below,
Nor is it strange; light, motion, concourse, noise,
PICTURE OF A GOOD MAN.
SOME angel guide my pencil, while I draw,
With aspect mild, and elevated eye, Behold him seated on a mount serene, Above the fogs of sense, and passion's storm; All the black cares and tumults of this life, Like harmless thunders, breaking at his feet, Excite his pity, not impair his peace. Earth's genuine sons, the sceptred and the slave, A mingled mob! a wandering herd! he sees, Bewilder'd in the vale; in all unlike! His full reverse in all! What higher praise? What stronger demonstration of the right?
The present, all their care; the future, his. When public welfare calls, or private want, They give to fame; his bounty he conceals. Their virtues varnish nature; his, exalt. Mankind's esteem they court; and he, his own. Theirs, the wild chase of false felicities; His, the composed possession of the true. Alike throughout is his consistent peace; All of one colour, and an even thread; While party-colour'd shreds of happiness, With hideous gaps between, patch up for them A madman's robe; each puff of fortune blows The tatters by, and shows their nakedness.
He sees with other eyes than theirs. Where they
A cover'd heart denies him half his praise.
And his alone triumphantly to think
Born 1686-Died 1758.
ALLAN RAMSAY, a native of Scotland, received his early education at the parish school, and, at the age of fifteen, became apprentice to a wigmaker. On finishing his apprenticeship he left this business entirely, and married in his twenty fourth year the daughter of an attorney in Edinburgh, where he established a bookshop. In 1728, he published the drama of the Gentle Shepherd, which was soon admired and re-printed, even beyond the limits of Scotland, to which its obscure dialect would have seemed likely at first to confine
its reputation. So early as 1750 the tenth edition of this comedy was printed at Glasgow.
His disposition was naturally kind, shrewd, and good humoured. He never was seduced, either by his fondness for poetical composition, or by his intimacy with men of rank and talents, to whom his genius gave him access, from a quiet and diligent attention to his trade, which thus yielded him a happy competence.
Ramsay's claims to a lasting poetical celebrity rest exclusively on the merits of "The Gentle Shepherd." The moral tendency of this pastoral drama is generally excellent, though it contains some gross expressions and allusions, which detract much from the pleasure with which it may be perused. The plot is deeply interesting, and founded on occurrences growing out of the real state of the country, at the period in which it is laid; so that all its incidents are such as might have often happened in actual life. Nothing in it is foreign, imitated, or artificial, but every thing is national and unaffected. Its scenery is that of Scotland, and of Scotland alone; and it is drawn with so much freshness and truth to nature, that the peasants are said to delight in pointing out the very localities which it describes.
It possesses fine humour, and in some scenes a deep pathos. Its characters are all original, and depicted with the hand of a master. By a few artless and simple touches, they are made to stand out from the canvass with a verisimilitude and individuality, not inferior to those of Shakspeare. Its poetry, like that of Burns, has gone down into the heart of a whole nation. Its rural songs may be heard on every mountain-side and in every hamlet; and its sentences of practical wisdom have passed into proverbs among the Scottish peasantry.
THE PLEASURES OF DOMESTIC LIFE.
Jenny. O, 't is a pleasant thing to be a bride!
Peggy. Yes, it's a heartsome thing to be a wife,
To hear their little plaints and keep them right.
1 Afterwards. 2 Children, a term of contempt. 3 Vexatious. 4 Must. 5 One. 6 Falls. 7 Broth. 8 Loses. 9 A proverb, meaning, every thing 14 If goes wrong. 10 Miscalls. 12 Fireside. 13 Plenty. 11 Worse. 15 Have.