Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Now give the hautboys breath-He comes ! he comes !

Bacchus, ever fair and young,
Drinking joys did first ordain:

Bacchus' blessings are a treasure ;
Drinking is the soldier's pleasure :

Rich the treasure ;

Sweet the pleasure ;
Sweet is pleasure, after pain.
Sooth'd with the sound, the king grew vain ;

Fought all his battles o'er gain;
And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice he slew the slain.

The master saw the madness rise ;
His glowing cheeks, his ardent eyes ;
And while he heaven and earth defy'd,
Chang'd his hand and check'd his pride.

He chose a mournful muse,

Soft pity to infuse :
He sung Darius, great and good,

By too severe a fate,
Fall'n, fall’n, fall'n, fallin,

Fall'n, from his high estate,
And welt'ring in his blood :
Deserted at his utmost need
By those his former bounty fed,
On the bare earth expos'd he lies,
With not a friend to close his eyes.-

With downcast look the joyless victor sat,
Revolving, in his alter'd soul,

The various turns of fate below;
And now and then, a sigh he stole,

And tears began to flow.
The mighty master smil'd to see
That love was in the next degree:
'Twas but a kindred sound to move;
For pity melts the mind to love.

Softly sweet, in Lydian measures,
Soon he sooth'd his soul to pleasures,
War, he sung, is toil and trouble ;
Honour but an empty bubble ;

Never ending, still beginning,
Fighting still, and still destroying:

If the world be worth thy winning,
Think, oh, think it worth enjoying!

Lovely Thais sits beside thee :

Take the good the gods provide thee ;
The many rend the skies with loud applause ;
So love was crown'd; but music won the cause.-
The prince, unable to conceal his pain,

Gaz'd on the fair,

Who caus'd his care;
And sigh'd and look'd, sigh'd and look'd ;
Sigh'd and look’d, and sigh'd again :

At length, with love and wine at once oppress'd,
The vanquish'd victor-sunk upon her breast.

Now, strike the golden lyre again ;
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain ;
Break his bands of sleep-asunder,
And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder.
Hark! hark the horrid sound

Has rais'd up his head,

As awak'd froin the dead ;
And, amaz'd, he stares around.
Revenge, revenge ! Timotheus cries-
See the furies arise !

See the snakes that they rear,

How they hiss in their hair,
And the sparkles that flash from their eyes !

Behold a ghastly band,

Each a torch in his hand ! These are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain,

And unbury'd, remain

Inglorious on the plain.
Give the vengeance due

To the valiant crew.
Behold! how they toss their torches on high,

How they point to the Persian abodes,
And glittring temples of their hostile gods!
The princes applaud, with a furious joy ;
And the king seiz'd a flambeau, with zeal to destroy:

Thais led the way,

To light bim to his prey ;
And, like another Helen-fir'd another Troy.

Thus, long ago,
Ere heaving bellows learn'd to blow,
While organs yet were mute ;
Timotheus, to his breathing flute

And sounding lyre,
Could swell the soul to rage or kindle soft desire.

At last, divine Cecilia came,

Inventress of the vocal frame.
The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,

Enlarg'd the former narrow bounds,

And added length to solemn sounds,
With Nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before.
Let old Timotheus yield the prize,

Or both divide the crown:
He rais'd a mortal to the skies ;

She drew an angel down.

LESSONS IN SPEAKING.

SECTION 1.

ELOQUENCE OF THE PULPIT.

1.-On Truth and Integrity. TRUTH and integrity have all the advantages of appearance, and many more. If the show of any thing be good for any thing, I am sure the reality is better; for why does any man dissemble, or seem to be that which he is not, but because he thinks it good to have the qualities he pretends to ? for, to counterfeit and dissemble, is to put on the appearance of some real excellency. Now, the best way for a man to seem to be any thing, is really to be what he would seem to be. Besides, it is often as troublesome to support the pretence of a good quality, as to have it ; and if a man have it not, it is most likely he will be discovered to want it; and then all his labour to seem to have it is lost. There is something unnatural in painting, which a skilful eye will easily discern from native beauty and complexion.

It is hard to personate and act a part long; for, where truth is not at the bottom, nature will always be endeavouring to return, and will betray herself at one time or other. Therefore, if any man think it convenient to seem good, let him be so indeed; and then his goodness will appear to every one's satisfaction : for truth is convincing, and carries its own light and evidence along with it; and will not only commend us to every man's conscience, but which is much more, to God, who searcheth our hearts. So that, upon all accounts, sincerity is true wisdom. Particularly as to the affairs of this world, integrity hath many advantages over all the artificial modes of dissimulation and deceit. It is much the plainer and easier, much the safer and more secure way of dealing in the world; it hath less of trouble and difficulty, of entanglement and perplexity, of danger and hazard in it; it is the shortest and nearest way to our end, carrying us thither in a straight line; and will hold out, and last longest. The arts of deceit and cunning con

tinually grow weaker and less effectual and serviceable to those that practise them: whereas integrity gains strength by use ; and the more and longer any man practiseth it, the greater service it does him, by confirming his reputation, and encouraging those with whom he hath to do, to repose the greatest confidence in him ; which is an unspeakable advantage in business and the affairs of life.

A dissembler must be always upon his guard, and watch himself carefully that he do not contradict his own pretensions ; for he acts an unnatural part, and therefore must put a continual force and restraint upon himself; whereas, he that acts sincerely, hath the easiest task in the world; because he follows nature, and so is put to no trouble and care about his words and actions; he needs not invent any pretence before hand, nor make excuses afterwards for any thing he hath said or done.

But insincerity is very troublesome to manage. A hypocrite hath so many things to attend to, as make his life a very perplexed and intricate thing. A liar hath need of a good memory, lest he contradict at one time what he said at another. But truth is always consistent with itself, and needs nothing to help it out; it is always near at hand, and sits upon our lips, and is ready to drop out before we are aware ; whereas a lie is troublesome, and one trick needs a great many more to make it good.

Add to all this, that sincerity is the most compendious wisdom, and an excellent instrument for the speedy despatch of business. It creates confidence in those we wave to deal with, saves the labour of many inquiries, and brings things to an issue in a few words. It is like travelling in a plain beaten road, which commonly brings a man sooner to his journey's end than by ways, in which men often lose themselves. In a word, whatever convenience may be thought to be in falsehood and dissimülation, it is soon over; but the inconvenience of it is perpetual, because it brings a man under an everlasting jealousy and suspicion, so that he is not believed when he speaks the truth, nor trusted when perhaps he means honestly. When a man hath once forfeited the reputation of his integrity, nothing will then serve his turn, neither truth nor falsehood.

Indeed, if a man were only to deal in the world for a day, and should never have occasion to converse more with mankind, never more need their good opinion or good word, it were then no great matter (as far as respects the affairs of this world) if he spent his reputation all at once, and ventured it at one throw. But, if he be to continue in the world, and would have the advantage of reputation whilst he is in it, let him make use of sincerity in all his words and actions; for nothing but this will hold out to the end. All other arts will fail; but truth and integrity will carry a man through, and bear him out to the last.

II.-On Doing as we would be Done unto. HUMAN laws are often so numerous as to escape our memories ; so darkly sometimes, and inconsistently worded, as to puzzle our understandings ; and they are not unfrequently rendered still more obscure by the nice distinctions and subtile reasonings of those who profess to clear them: so that, under these several disadvantages, they lose much of their force and influence; and, in some cases, raise more disputes, than, perhaps, they determine. But here is a law, attended with none of these inconveniences; the grossest minds can scarce misapprehend it; the weakest memories are capable of retaining it; no perplexing comment can easily cloud it; the authority of no man's gloss upon earth can (if we are but sincere) sway us to make a wrong construction of it. What is said of all the gospel precepts by the evangelical prophet, is more eminently true of this : “ It is a highway; and the wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein."

It is not enough that a rule, which is to be of general use, is suited to all capacities, so that, wherever it is represented to the mind, it is presently agreed to: it must also be apt to offer itself to our thoughts, and lie ready for present use, upon all exigencies and occasions. And such, remarkably such, is that which our Lord here recommends to us. We can scarce be so far surprised by any immediate necessity of acting, as not to have time for a short recourse to it, room for a sudden glance as it were upon it, in our minds ; where itrests and sparkles always, like the Urim and Thummim on the breast of Aaron. There is no occasion for us to go in search of it to the oracles of law, dead or living; to the code or pandects ; to the volumes of divines or moralists : we need look no further than ourselves for it: for, (to use the opposite expression of Moses,) “ This commandment which I command thee this day, is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that

« ZurückWeiter »