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&c. The grandeur of scriptural sublimity, or simplicity, admits of few or no embellishments. George Sandys, in the reign of Charles I. seems only to have known this secret.

And in the morning, rising up a great while be
fore day, he went and departed into a solitary
place, and there prayed.

Mark, c. i. v. 35.
DEEP in avale, where cloud-born Rhyne 1
Through meads his Alpine waters roll'd,
Where pansies mixt with daisies shine,
And asphodels instarr'd with gold;
Two forests, skirting round the feet
Of everlasting mountains, meet,
Half parted by an op'ning glade;
Around Hercynian oaks are seen.→→→
Larches 2, and cypress ever green,
Unite their hospitable shade.

Impearl'd with dew, the rosy Morn
Stood tip-toe on the mountain's brow;
Gleams following gleams the Heav'ns adorn,
And gild the theatre below:

Nature from needful slumber wakes,
And from her misty eye-balls shakes
The balmy dews of soft repose:
The pious lark with grateful lays
Ascends the skies, and chants the praise
Which man to his Creator owes 4.
When lo! a venerable sire appears,
With sprightly footsteps hast'ning o'er the plaing
His tresses bore the marks of fourscore years,
Yet free from sickness he, and void of pain:
His eyes with half their youthful clearness shones.
Still on his cheeks health's tincture gently glow'd,
His aged voice retain❜d a manly tone,
His peaceful blood in equal tenour flow'd.
At length, beneath a beechen shade reclin'd,
He thus pour'd forth to Heav'n the transports of
his mind.

At the end of the 12th stanza in this poem, I had several inducements for venturing to change the ode into heroic measure. The first was, that I might diversify the doctrinal part from the descriptive. The second was, that our excellent and most learned poet, Cowley, had given me his authority for making this change, in his poem de Plantis. But the third and truer reason was, that I found it next to impracticable, to deliver short, unadorned, didactical sentences consistently with the copiousness, irregularity, and enthusiasm peculiar to ode-writing.-Let the reader only make the experiment, and I flatter inyself he will join with me in opinion.-Nor have I departed any further than in a metaphor or two from that original simplicity which characterises my author, however difficult and self-denying such an undertaking might be in a poetical composition. What gave me warning was, that Castalio and Stanhope had both spoiled Thomas a Kempis by attempting to adorn him with flowery language, false elegance, and glaring imagery. And, by the way, to this cause may be attributed the miscarriages of many poets, (otherwise confessedly eminent) in their para-fect to the last. phrases of the Psalms of David, the Book of Job,

to man as well as God. "Wo unto him that is faint-hearted; for he believeth not, therefore shall he not be defended. Wo unto you that have lost patience: what will ye do when the Lord shall visit you?-they that fear the Lord will say, we will fall into the hands of the Lord, and not into the hands of men: for as his majesty is, so is his mercy."

In like manner St. Chrysostom informs us, “That, in proportion as God adds to our tribulation, he adds likewise to our retribution."

This river takes its rise from one of the highest ice-mountains in Switzerland.

2 The species of larch-tree here meant is called sempervirens: the other larches are deciduis folis.

3 Tip-toe. Shakespeare.

4" Before we engage in worldly business, or any common amusements of life, let us be careful to consecrate the first-fruits of the day, and the very beginning of our holy thoughts unto the service of God." St. Basil.

Thomas à Kempis had no manifest infirmities of old-age, and retained his eye-sight per

All that I have ever been able to learn in Germany upon good authority, concerning him, is as follows: He was born at Kempis, or Kempen, a small walled town in the dutchy of Cleves, and diocese of Cologn. His family-name was Hamerlein, which signifies in the German language a little hammer. We find also that his parents were named John and Gertrude Hamerlein. He lived chiefly in the monastery of Mount St. Agnes; where his effigy, together with a prospect of the monastery, was engraven on a plate of copper that lies over his body. The said monastery is now called Bergh-Clooster, or, as we might say in English, Hiit-Cloyster. Many strangers in their travels visit it. Kempis was certainly one of the best and greatest men since the primitive ages. His book of the Imitation of Christ has seen near forty editions in the ori

362

"Come unto me (Messiah cries) All that are laden and oppress'd: To Thee I come (my heart replies) O Patron of eternal rest!

Who walks with me (rejoins the voice)
In purest day-light shall rejoice,
Incapable to err, or fall.

With thee I walk, my gracious God;
Long I've thy painful foot-steps trod,
Redeemer, Saviour, Friend of all!

"Heav'n in my youth bestow'd each good
Of choicer sort: in fertile lands
A decent patrimony stood,
Sufficient for my just demands.
My form was pleasing; health refin'd
My blood; a deep-discerning mind
Crown'd all the rest,-The fav'rite child
Of un-affected eloquence,
Plain nature, un-scholastic sense:-
And once or twice the Muses smil'd!

"Blest with each boon that simpler minds desire,
Till Heav'n grows weary of their nauseous pray'rs,
I made the nobler option to retire 7,

And gave the world to worldlings and their heirs;
The warriors laurels, and the statesman's fame,
The vain man's hopes for titles and employ,
The pomp of station, and the rich man's name,
I left for fools to seek, and knaves t'enjoy;
An early whisper did its truths impart,
And all the God conceal'd irradiated my heart.
"Happy the man who turns to Heav'n,
When on the landscape's verge of green
Old-age appears, to whom 'tis giv'n
To creep in sight, but fly, unseen!

ginal Latin, and above sixty translations have
been made from it into modern languages.
Our author died August the Sth,, 1471, aged
92 years.

In the engraving on copper above-mentioned, and lying over his grave, is represented a person respectfully presenting to him a label on which is written a verse to this effect:

Stealer of marches, subtile foe,
Sinon of stratagem and woe!
Thy fatal blows, ah! who can ward?
Around thee lurks a motley train
Of wants, and fears, and chronic pain,
The hungry Croats of thy guard.

(Thus on the flow'r-enamell'd lawn,
Unconscious of the least surprize,
In thoughtless gambols sports the fawn,
Whilst veil'd in grass the tygress lies.
The silent trait'ress crouches low,
Her very lungs surcease to blow:
At length she darts on hunger's wings;
Sure of her distance and success,
Where Newton could but only guess,
She never misses, when she springs 9.)
"More truly wise the man, whose early youth 1a
Is offer'd a free off'ring to the Lord,
A self-addicted votary to truth,
Servant thro' choice, disciple by accord!
Heav'n always did th' unblemish'd turtle choose,
Where health conjoin'd with spirit most abounds:
Heav'n seeks the young, nor does the old refuse,
But youth acquits the debt, which age com-
pounds!

Awkward in time, and sour'd with self-disgrace,
The spend-thrift pays his all, and takes the
bankrupt's place."

Thus spoke the venerable sage
Who ne'er imbib'd Mæonian lore,
Who drew no aids from Maro's page,
And yet to nobler flights could soar.
Tanght by the Solyméan maid;
With native elegance array'd,
He gave his easy thoughts to flow;
The charms which anxious art deny'd
Truth and simplicity supply'd,
Melodious in religious woe.

Poet in sentiment! he feels

The flame; nor seeks from verse his aid!

The veil which artful charms conceals,
To real beauty proves a shade.
When nature's out-lines dubious are,

Oh! where is Peace? for Thou its paths hast Verse decks them with a slight cymarr 11; trod.

True charms by art in vain are drest.

To which Kempis returns another strip of paper, Not icy prose could damp his fire: inscribed as follows:

He com

In poverty, retirement, and with God. He was a canon regular of Augustins, and subprior of mount St. Agnes' monastery. posed his treatise On the Imitation of Christ in the sixty-first year of his age, as appears from a note of his own writing in the library of his

Convent.

❝ Imitation of Christ, Lib. I. c. i. 7" Solitude is the best school wherein to learn St. Jerom. the way to Heaven."

"Worldly honours are a trying snare to men of an exalted station; of course their chief care must be, to put themselves out of the reach of Nepotian. envy by humility."

"The pleasures of this world are only the mo-
mentary comforts of the miserable, and not the
rewards of the happy."
St. August.

Cætera solicita speciosa incommoda vitæ
Permisi stultis quærere, habere malis.
Couleius de Plant.

Intense the flame and mounting high'r,
Brightly victorious when opprest!
By this time morn in all its glory shone;
The Sun's chaste kiss absorb'd the virgin-dew:
Th' impatient peasant wish'd his labour done,
The cattle to th' umbrageous streams withdrew:
Beneath a cool impenetrable shade,
Quiet, he mus'd. So Jonas safely sate [play'd)
(When the swift gourd her palmy leaves dis-
To see the tow'rs of Ninus bow to fate 12.

9 This parenthesis was inserted by way of imitating the famous parenthesis in Horace's Ode, which begins

Qualem ministrum fulminis alitem, &c.

10 Even from the flower till the grape was ripe, hath my heart delighted in Wisdom."

Ecclus. c. li. v. 15. "A thin covering of the gause, or sarsuetkind. Dryd. Cymon & Iphigen; 12 Jonah, c. iv. v. 6.

Th' Ascetic then drew forth a parchment-scroll, And thus pour'd out to Heav'n th' effusions of his soul.

THE MEDITATION OF THOMAS A KEMPIS.

(1.) 'Tis vanity to wish for length of days ;
The art of living well is wise men's praise.
If death, not length of life, engag'd our view,
Life would be happier, and death happier too!.
Nature foreshows our death: 'tis God's decree;
The king, the insect dies; and so must we.
What's natural, and common to us all,
What's necessary;-none should evil call.
Check thy fond love of life, and human pride;
Shall man repine at death, when Christ has dy'd?
(2.) He that can calmly view the mask of
Will never tremble at the face beneath; [death,
Probationer of Heav'n, he starts no more
To see the last sands ebb, than those before".
(3.) In vain we argue, boast, elude, descant; —
No man is honest that's afraid of want.
No blood of confessors that bosom warms3,
Which starts at hunger, as the worst of harms 4
(4.) The man with christian preservance fir'ds,
Check'd but not stop'd; retarded but not tir'd;
Straiten'd by foes, yet sure of a retreat,
In Heav'n's protection rests securely great ;
Hears ev'ry sharp alarm without dismay;
Midst dangers dauntless, and midst terrours gay;
Indignant of obstruction glows his flame,
And, struggling, mounts to Heav'n, from whence
it came:

Oppress'd it thrives; its own destroyers tires,
And with unceasing fortitude aspires 7.

1 This and the following passages marked with a note of reference are extracted almost verbatim from Kempis's Book of the Imitation of Christ. Lib. I, c. 1, 2. See also Lib. 1, c. 19. 23.

"Death, when compared to life, seems to be a remedy and not a punishment."

St. Macar.

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When man desponds, (of human hope bereft)
Patience and Christian heroism are left,
Let patience be thy first and last coneern;
The hardest task a Christian has to learn 9 !
Life's pendulum in th' other world shall make
Advances, on the side it now goes back.

By force, a virtue of celestial kind Was never storm'd; by art 'tis undermin❜d 10. (5.) All seek for knowledge. Knowledge is no

more

Than this; to know ourselves, and God adore. Wouldst thou with profit seek, and learn with gain?

Unknown thyself, in solitude remain ".
Virtue retires, but in retirement blooms,
Full of good works, and dying in perfumes 12.
In thy own heart the living waters rise 13;
Good conscience is the wisdom of the wise! 14
Man's only confidence, unmixt with pride,
Is the firm trust that God is on his side 151
Like Aaron's rod, the faithful and the just,
Torn from their tree, shall blossom in the dust.
(6.) God, says the chief of penitents16, is One,
Who gives Himself, his Spirit, an | his Son.

"Is hunger irksome?-Thou by Him art fed
With quails miraculous, and Heav'nly bread.
Is thirst oppressive?-Lift thy eyes, and see
Cat'racts of water fall from rocks for thee.
Art thou in darkness?—Uncreated light
Is all thy own, and guides thy erring sight.
Is nakedness thy lot?-Yet ne'er repine ;-
The vestments of Eternity are thine.
Art thou a widow?-God's thy consort true.
Art thou an orphan?-He's thy father too."

8 Ibid. c. 35, No. 2. Ibid. c. 18, No. 2. 9 See also Caussin's Holy Court, Part I, L. 3. Scct. S2, fol. 1650.

10 "True christian piety was never made a real captive; it may be killed, but not conquer

ed."

St. Jerom. 11 "Imitation of Christ, L. I. c. 20. L. II, c. 10.

12 "The retired Christian, in seeking after an happy life, actually enjoys one; and possesses that already which he only fancies he is pursu ing." St. Eucher. 13 Drink waters out of thine own cisterns. Prov. c. v, V. 15. See also Rev. c. xxii, v. 1. "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal." See John, c. vii, v. 38. 14 Imitat. of Jesus Christ, L. I, c. 6. 15 Imitat. of Jesus Christ, Lib. II, c. 10.

"The only means of obtaining true security is to commit all our interests to God, who constantly knows and is ever willing to bestow good things on them that ask him as they ought."

Cassian.

"Security is no where but in the love and service of God. It is neither in Heaven, nor Paradise, much less in the present world. In Heaven the angels fell from the divine presence: in Paradise Adam lost his abode of pleasure: in the world Judas fell from the school of our SaSt. Bernard. viour."

16 St. August. The ten lines marked with inverted commas are a literal translation from him.

(7.) The men of Science aim themselves to

show 17,

And know just what imports them not to know 18.
(Once having miss'd the truth, they farther stray:
As men ride fastest who have lost their way ;)
Whilst the poor peasant that with daily care'
Improves his lands and offers Heav'n his pray'r,
With conscious boldness may produce his face
Where proud philosophers shall want a place1.
Philosophy in anxious doubts expires:
Religion trims her lamp, as life retires 20.
True faith, like gold into the furnace cast,
Maintains its sterling pureness to the last.
Conscience will ev'ry pious act attest 21:
A silent panegyrist, but the best!

(8.) All chastisements for private use are giv❜n;

The revelations Personal of Heav'n 22:
But man in misery mistakes his road,

Sighs for lost joys, and never turns to God 23.
Heav'n more than meets her child with sorrows
try'd;

Her dove brings olive, e'er the waves subside24.
Man gives but once, and grudges when we sue;
Heav'n makes old gifts the precedents for new.

(9.) Afflictions have their use of ev'ry kind;
At once they humble, and exalt the mind:
The ferment of the soul by just degrees
Refines the true clear spirit from the lees 25.
Boast as we will, and argue as we can,
None ever knew the virtues of a man,
Except affliction sifts the flour from bran26.

17" It is good to know much and live well: but, if we cannot attain both, it is better to desire piety than learning: for knowledge makes no man truly happy, nor doth happiness consist in intellectual acquisitions. The only valuable thing is a religious life."

Sti. Greg. Magn. Moral. And again: "That only is the best knowledge

which makes us better."

18 Imitat. of Christ.

19 Ibid.

20 Imitat. of Jesus Christ, L. II, c. 10.

21 As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man." Prov. xxvii, v. 19. "Thou canst avoid, sooner or later, whatever molesteth thee, except thy own conscience." Augustin. in Psalm xxx.

22 Imitat. of Jesus Christ, L. I, c. 13. "God causeth (afflictions) to come, either for correction, or for his land, or for mercy." Job, c. xxxvii, v. 13.

Say, is it much indignities to bear,
When God for thee thy nature deign'd to wear?
If slander vilifies the good man's name,
It hurts not; but prevents a future shame,
The censure and reproaches of mankind
Are the true christian mentors of the mind.

No other way humility is gain'd;
No other way vain glory is restrain'd.
Nor worse, nor better we, if praise or blame
Lift or depress-the man is still the same 27.
The happy, if they're wise, must all things fear;
Nor need th' unhappy, if they're good, des-

pair.

(10.) Hard is the task 'gainst nature's strength to strive :

Perfection is the lot of none alive;

Or grant frail man could tread th' unerring road,
How could we suffer for the sake of God?
Affliction's ordeal, sharp, but brightly shines;
Sep'rates the gold29, and ev'ry vice calcines.
In adverse fortune, when the storm runs high,
And sickness graves death's image on the eye,
Nor wealth, nor rank, nor pow'r, assuage the

grief

Ask God to send thee patience or relief30.
The infant Moses 'scap'd his wat’ry grave31.
Heav'n half o'erwhelms the man it means to
save!

(11.) Th' ambitious and the covetous desire More than their worth deserves, or wants re quire :

field:

Not merely for the profit things may yield,
But, ah! their neighbour's pittance maims their
Thus, gain'd by force, or fraudulent design,
The grapes of Naboth yield them blood for
wine 33

(12) Nothing but truth can claim a lasting
date 94;

Time is truth's surest judge, and judges late:

27 Imitat. of Christ, L. III, c. 5.
28 Ibid.

29" For gold is tried in the fire, and accep-
table men in the furnace of adversity."
Ecclus. c. ii, v. 5.
30 Imitat. of Christ, L. III, c. 5.
31 Exod, c. II, v. 5.

32He that gathereth by defrauding his own soul, gathereth for others, that shall spend his goods riotously. A covetous man's eye is not satisfied with his portion, and the iniquity of the wicked drieth up his soul."

Ecclus. c. xiv.

"It is the work and providence of God's secret counsel, that the days of the elect should bé troubled in their pilgrimage. This present 33 "Ahab's excuse to Naboth, when he said life is the way to our eternal abode: God there- give me thy vineyard that I may make it a garfore in his secret wisdom afflicts our travel with den of herbs, represents in a lively manner the continual trouble, lest the delights of our jour-pretences that avaricious and ambitious men ney might take away the desire of our journey's use, when they want to make new acquisitions. St. Greg. Mag. "No servant of Christ is without affliction. If They lye to their consciences; asking a seeming you expect to be free from persecution, you have trifle, and meaning to obtain something very va not yet so much as begun to be a Christian." St. August.

end."

23 Imitat. of Christ, L. I, c. 11. 24 Imitat. of Christ, ibid. See also Gen. c. viii, v. 11.

25 Imitat. of Christ, L. I, c. 13.

26 lbid. Lib. I, c. 16. Lib. III, c. 12. See also Amos, c. ix, v. 3, and Luke c, xxii, v. 31.

luable."

St. Ambrose. "Woe unto them that covet fields, and take them away by violence," Micah, c. ii, v. 2. "They enlarge their desire as Hell, and are as death, and cannot be satisfied: woe unto them that encrease that which is not theirs."

Hab. c. ii, v. 5, 6

34 Imitat, of Jesus Christ, L. I, c. 3

And, for thy guide, be he alone believ'd,
Who never can deceive, nor is deceiv'd 35!
Thus safe thro' waves the sons of Isr'el trod ;
Their better magnet was the lamp of God: [led
And thus Heav'n's star Earth's humble shepherds
To their Messiah in his humbler bed.

But if vain glory prompts the tongue to boast,
In vain we strive to give, the gift is lost.
Wealth, unbestow'd, is the fool's alchymy ;-
Misers have wealth, but taste it not ;-and die.
In ev'ry purse that th' avaricious bears,
There's still a rent, which wily Satan tears11:

(13.) Flatt'ry and fame at death the vain for- A man may mend it, at returning light,

sake,

And other knaves and fools their honours take36, (14.) Tease not thy mind; nor run a restless round

In search of science better lost than found.
Still teach thy soul a sober course to try,
And shun the track of singularity!

(15.) Presumptuous flights and sceptical debates
Foretel (Cassandra-like) the fall of states.
So Greece and Rome soon moulder'd to decay,
When Epicurus' system gain'd the day.
But those who make prophaneness stand for wit,
Desp'rate apply the pigeons to their feet:
Bankrupts of sense, and impudently bad;
Their judgment ruin'd, and their fancy mad!
Like Daniel's 37 goat 38 in th' insolence of youth,
Stars they displace, and overturn the truth.

(16.) He, who adopts religions, wrong or right, Is not a convert, but an hypocrite : Him, seeming what he is not, man esteems; God hates him, for he is not what he seems. The bull-rush thus a specious outside wears, Smooth as the shining rind the poplar bears: But strip the cov'ring of its polish'd skin, And all is insubstantial sponge within. When not a whisper breaths upon the trees, Unmov'd it stands, but bends with ev'ry breeze. It boasts th' ablution of a silver flood, But feeds on mire, and roots itself in mud. (17.) Self-love is foolish, criminal, and vain39, Therefore, O man, such partial views restrain: And often take this counsel for a rule,

To please one's self is but to please one fool40. (18.) The alms we give, we keep the alms

-we save

:

We lose possessing only what we gave 41,

25

:

-Neque decipitur,neque decipit unquam.
Manil.

36 "There is no work that shows more art and industry than the texture of a spider's web. The delicate threads are so nicely disposed, and so curiously interwoven one with another, that you would think it produced by the labour of a celestial being; yet nothing in the event is more fragil and insubstantial. A breath of wind tears it to pieces, and carries it away. Just so are worldly acquisitions made by men in exalted stations, and reputedly wise and cunning."

37 Dan. c. viii, v. 10, 11.

Origen.

38 The prophet here means, by the goat, the king of Greece, the region of vain philosophy.

"He that lovetb himself most, hath of all men the happiness of finding the fewest rivals."

Auon. Vet.

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But the arch-fiend undarns the work at night.
Useless, O miser! are thy labours found;
And all thy vintage leaks on thirsty ground
Chimeric nonsense! Riches unemploy'd
In doing good, are riches unenjoy'd;

The slave who sets his soul on worthless pelf,
Is a mere Dioclesian to himself;

A wretched martyr in a wretched cause;
Alive, unhonour'd; dead, without applause!
Boast not of homage to Earth's monarchs giv'n;
A Paula's 44 name is better known in Heav'n.
(19.) Riches no more are ours, than are the
[laves.
Of yonder Rhyne, which our Mount-Agnas 45
Th' impatient waters no continuance make;
Adopt new owners, and their old forsake.

waves

46 As those who call for wines, beyond their share,

Refund the draughts which nature cannot bear; (Whilst bile and gall corroding in their breast Demand a passage, and admit no rest :) Just so rapacious misers swell their store; To di'monds di'monds add, and ore to ore; They gulp down wealth,-and, with heart piercing pain,

And clay-cold qualms, discharge the load again. Death bursts the casket, and the farce is o'er. (Curst is that wealth, which never eas'd the poor !) [floor;

Whilst fools and spendthrifts sweep it from the The gold of Ophyr 47 dazzles their weak eyes, Turquoises 48 next their weaker minds surprise, Rich, deeply azur'd, like Italian skies.

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44 Paula was a Roman lady descended from the Gracchi and Scipios. Her husband was of the Julian race. After his decease, she gave most of her possessions to the poor, and retired from Rome to a solitude at Bethlehem. That

incomparable virgin Eustochium was her daughter. Both their histories are drawn at large by St. Jerom, and addressed to Eustochium. Paula has written some excellent verses on religious subjects.

She built a temple at Emmäus in honour of our Blessed Saviour. Her tomb is at Bethlehem.

The inscription for her and her daughter was written by St. Jerom. Sandy's Trav. fol. 135. 139, &c.

45 The name of the monastery where Kempis resided.

46 Part of this paragraph, is copied from Job, c. xx, v. 14, 15, 18. Compare also Job, c. xxvii, v. 19, 20, 21.

47 Gold of Ophir. See 1 Kings c. ix, v. 28. 1 Chron. xxix, v. 4. 2 Chron. viii, v. 18. Psalm xlv, v. 9. Isaiah xiii. v. 12.

48 Turquoises. "The true oriental turquoise

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