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Bears, on the humblest ground of social life,
Blossoms of piety and innocence.
Such grateful promises his youth displayed:
And, having shown in study forward zeal,
He to the Ministry was duly called;
And straight, incited by a curious mind
Filled with vague hopes, he undertook the charge
Of Chaplain to a military troop
Cheered by the Highland bagpipe, as they marched
In plaided vest, his fellow-countrymen.
This office filling, yet by native power
And force of native inclination made
An intellectual ruler in the haunts
Of social vanity, he walked the world,
Gay, and affecting graceful gayety;
Lax, buoyant, -less a pastor with his flock
Than a soldier among soldiers, lived and roamed
Where Fortune led: -and Fortune, who oft proves
The careless wanderer's friend, to him made known
A blooming Lady, a conspicuous flower,
Admired for beauty, for her sweetness praised, -
Whom he had sensibility to love,
Ambition to attempt, and skill to win.
"For this fair Bride, most rich in gifts of mind, Nor sparingly endowed with worldly wealth. His office he relinquished; and retired From the world's notice to a rural home. Youth's season yet with him was scarcely past, And she was in youth's prime. How free their love.
How full their joy!
In the short course
Till, pitiable doom!
of one undreaded year,
Death blasted all. Death suddenly o'erthrew
Two lovely Children, all that they possessed!
The Mother followed: miserably bare
The one Survivor stood; he wept, he prayed
For his dismissal, day and night, compelled
To hold communion with the grave, and face
With pain the regions of eternity.
An uncomplaining apathy displaced
This anguish; and, indifferent to delight,
To aim and purpose, he consumed his days,
To private interest dead, and public care.
So lived he; so he might have died.
To the wide world's astonishment, appeared'
A glorious opening, the unlooked-for dawn
That promised everlasting joy to France!
Her voice of social transport reached even him!
He broke from his contracted bounds, repaired
To the great City, an emporium then
Of golden expectations, and receiving
Freights every day from a new world of hope.
Thither his popular talents he transferred,
And, from the pulpit, zealously maintained
The cause of Christ and civil liberty,
As one, and moving to oue glorious end.
Intoxicating service! I might say
A happy service; for he was sincere
As vanity, and fondness for applause,
And new and shapeless wishes, would allow
"That righteous cause (such power hath freedom) bound,
For one hostility, in friendly league,
Ethereal natures and the worst of slaves;
Was served by rival advocates that came
From regions opposite as heaven and hell.
One courage seemed to animate them all:
And, from the dazzling conquests daily gained
By their united efforts, there arose
A proud and most presumptuous confidence
In the transcendent wisdom of the age,
And her discernment; not alone in rights,
And in the origin and bounds of power
Social and temporal; but in laws divine,
Deduced by reason, or to faith revealed.
An overweening trust was raised; and fear
Cast out, alike of person and of thing.
Plague from this union spread, whose subtle bane
The strongest did not easily escape;
And he, what wonder! took a mortal taint.
How shall I trace the change, how bear to tell That he broke faith with them whom he had laid In earth's dark chambers, with a Christian's hope! An infidel contempt of Holy Writ
Stole by degrees upon his mind; and hence Life, like that Roman Janus, double-faced; V'ilest hypocrisy, -the laughing, gay Hypocrisy, not leagued with fear, but pride. Smooth words he had to wheedle simple souls: But, for disciples of the inner school,
Old freedom was old servitude, and they
The wisest whose opinions stooped the least
To known restraints; and who most boldly drew
Hopeful prognostications from a creed,
That, in the light of false philosophy,
Spread like a halo round a misty moon,
Widening its circle as the storms advance.
"His sacred function was at length renounced:
And every day and every place enjoyed
The unshackled layman's natural liberty;
Speech, manners, morals, all without disguise.
I do not wish to wrong him; though the course
Of private life licentiously displayed
Unhallowed actions, - planted like a crown
Upon the insolent aspiring brow
Of spurious notions, worn as open signs
Of prejudice subdued, still he retained,
'Mid much abasement, what he had received
From Nature, an intense and glowing mind.
Wherefore, when humble Liberty grew weak,
And mortal sickness on her face appeared,
He colored objects to his own desire
As with a lover's passion. Yet his moods
Of pain were keen as those of better men,
Nay, keener, as his fortitude was less:
And he continued, when worse days were come,
To deal about his sparkling eloquence,
Struggling against the strange reverse with zeal
That showed like happiness. But, in despite
Of all this outside bravery, within
He neither felt encouragement nor hope:
For moral dignity, and strength of mind,
Were wanting; and simplicity of life;
And reverence for himself; and, last and best,
Confiding thoughts, through love and fear of Him
Before whose sight the troubles of this world
Are vain, as billows in a tossing sea.
"The glory of the times fading away, The splendor, which had given a festal air To self-importance, hallowed it, and veiled From his own sight, this gone, he forfeited All joy in human nature; was consumed, And vexed, and chafed, by levity and scorn, And fruitless indignation; galled by pride; Made desperate by contempt of men who throve Before his sight in power or fame, and won, Without desert, what he desired; weak men, Too weak even for his envy or his hate! Tormented thus, after a wandering course Of discontent, and inwardly opprest With malady, in part, I fear, provoked By weariness of life, he fixed his home, Or, rather say, sat down by very chance, Among these rugged hills; where now he dwells, And wastes the sad remainder of his hours,
Steeped in a self-indulging spleen, that wants not Its own voluptuousness; · on this resolved, With this content, that he will live and die