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of winter within the Polar Circle, and of a thaw, and concludes the poem with moral reflections on a future ftate.

His reflections on midnight, and the address to the Su. preme Being, are pious and beautiful.

As yet ’tis midnight deep. The weary clouds,
Slow-meeting, mingle into folid gloom.
Now, while the drowsy world lies loft in sleep,
Let me associate with the serious Night,
And Contemplation her fedate compeer ;
Let me shake off th' intrusive cares of day,
And lay the meddling senses all afide.

Where now, ye lying vanities of life!
Ye ever-tempting ever-cheating train !
Where are you now? and what is your amount?
Vexation, disappointment, and remorse.
Sad, fickening thought! and yet

deluded man,
A scene of crude disjointed visions past,
And broken slumbers, rises still resolv'd
With new-flush'd hopes, to run the giddy round.

FATHER of light and life! thou GOOD SUPREME!
O teach me what is good ! teach me THYSELF!
Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,
From every low pursuit! and feed my soul
With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure ;
Sacred, fubftantial, never-fading bliss !

The description of a deep snow, and of a husbandman loft in it, with the reflections on the wants and miseries of mankind, are seasonable and pathetic.

As thus, the snows arise; and foul, and fierce;
All winter drives along the darken'd air ;
In his own loofe-revolving fields, the fwain
Disaster'd stands ; fees other hills ascend,
Of unknown joyless brow; and other scenes,
Of horrid prospect, shag the trackless plains :
Nor finds the river, nor the forest, hid
Beneath the formless wild; but wanders on
From hill to dale, ftill more and more astray ;
Impatient flouncing thro' the drifted heaps,
Stung with the thoughts of home; the thoughts of home

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Rush on his nerves, and call their vigour forth
In many a vain attempt. How finks his soul!
What black despair, what horror fills his heart !
When for the dusky spot, which fancy feign'd
His tufted cottage rising thro' the snow,
He meets the roughness of the middle waste,
Far from the track, and blest abode of man ;
While round him night refiftless closes fast,
And every tempeft, howling o'er his head,
Renders the savage wilderness more wild.
Then throng the busy shapes into his mind,
Of cover'd pits, unfathomably deep,
A dire descent! beyond the power of frost,
Of faithless bogs; of precipices huge,
Smooth'd up with snow; and, what is land, unknown,
What water, of the still unfrozen spring,
In the loose marsh or solitary lake,
Where the fresh fountain from the bottom boils.
These check his fearful steps ; and down he finks
Beneath the shelter of the shapeless drift,
Thinking o'er all the bitternefs of death,
Mix'd with the tender anguilh nature shoots
Throʻthe wrung bosom of the dying man,
His wife, his children, and his friends unseen.
In vain for him th' officious wife prepares
The fire fair blazing, and the vestment warmy;
In vain his little children, peeping out
Into the mingling storm, demand their fire,
With tears of artless innocence. Alas!
Nor wife, nor children, more shall he behold,
Nor friends, nor sacred home. On every nerve
The deadly winter seizes ; shuts up sense;
And, o'er his inmost vitals creeping cold,
Lays him along the snows, a stiffned corse,
Stretch'd out, and bleaching in the northern blaft.

Ah little think the gay licentious proud,
Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround;
They, who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth,
And wanton, often cruel, riot waste;
Ah tle think they, while they dance along,
How many feel, this very moment death
And all the sad variety of pain,

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His conclufion glows with a stain of piety worthy of a christian poet and philosopher, and is too perspicuous and forcible to require or admit of any remark.

'Tis done! dread Winter spreads his latest gloom,
And reigns tremendous o'er the conquer'd year.
How dead the vegetable kingdom lies !
How dumb the tuneful! Horror wide extends
His desolate domain. Behold, fond man!
See here thy pictur'd life ; pass fome few years,
Thy flowering spring, thy summer's ardent strength,
Thy sober autumn fading into age,
And pale concluding winter comes at last,
And shuts the scene. Ah! whither now are fled,
Those dreams of greatness ? Those unfolid hopes
Of happiness ? Those longings after fame?

Those restless cares? Those busy bustling days ?
Those gay-spent, festive nights ? Those veering thoughts
Loft between good and ill, that shar'd thy life?
All now are vanish'd ! VIRTUE sole-survives,
Immortal never-failing friend of man,
His guide to happiness on high. And see !
'Tis come, the glorious morn! the second birth
Of heaven, and earch ! awakening nature hears
The new.creating word, and starts to life,
In every heightend form, from pain and death
For ever free. The great eternal scheme.
Involving all, and in a perfeet whole
Uniting, as the prospect wider spreads,
To reason's

eye

retin'd clears up apace.
Ye vainly wise! ye blind presumptuous ! now,
Confounded in the dust, adore that Power,
And WISDOM oft arraign'd: see now the cause,
Why unassuming worth in secret liv’d.
And dy'd, neglected : why the good man's fhare
In life was gall and bitterness of foul :
Why the lone widow and her orphans pin'd
In starving solitude; while luxury,
In palaces, lay straining her low thought,
To form unreal wants : why heaven-born truth,
And moderation fair, wore the red marks
Of superstition's scourge : why licens'd pain,
That cruel spoiler, that emborom'd foe,

Imbitter'd all our bliss. Ye good distreft!
Ye noble few! who here unbending stand
Beneath life's preffure, yet bear up a while,
And what your bounded view, which only saw
A little part, deemd evil is no more :
The storms of WINTRY Time will quickly pals,
And one unbounded SPRING encircle all,

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HE method of writing Precepts in verse, and em

bellishing them with the graces of poetry, had its rise, we may suppose, from a due consideration of the frailties and perverseness of human nature ; and was intended to engage the affections, in order to improve the mind and amend the heart.

Were it possible to inspect into the minds of men, and fee their inmost thoughts, we should find, I am afraid, that most of the human race are fond of appearing wiser than they are, and though they wish for knowledge are unwilling to confess the want of it, or to seek after science for fear of being thought ignorant. Yet there are others, especially amongst our youth, who are under no apprehenfion of this kind, but fly from knowledge only because the roads to it are rugged, and the approaches difficult of access. To footh therefore the vanity of the one, and to semove the indolence of the other, poetry was called in to the aid of science, which by its peculiar gracefulness and address could foften the appearance of instruction, and render rules that were dull and disagreeable, sprightly and entertaining. The inventor of didactic poetry knew not only the defects of mankind, but likewise the force and power of a genteel and winning address : He confider'd that ignorance and inattention were not the only enemies to science ; but that pride, impatience, and affectation, were likewise to be vanquished ; and therefore adorned and enriched his precepts, that pleasure might allure the one, and keep the other in countenance,

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Men must be taught as if you taught them not,
And things unknown propos'd as things forgot.

POPE.

Knowledge that is conveyed thus indirectly, and with out the appearance of a dictator, will be learned with more ease, sink deeper into the underftanding, and fo fix itself in the mind as not to be easily obliterated. And these considerations, we may suppose, induced the priests and bards of old to deliver their laws and religious maxims in verse.

Didactic or Preceptive Poetry, has been usually employed either to illustrate and explain our moral duties ; our philosophical enquiries ; our business and pleasures; or in teaching the art of criticism or poetry itself. It may be adapted, however, to any other subject, and may, in all cases, where instruction is designed, be employed to good purpose. Some subjects, indeed, are more proper than others, as they admit of more poetical ornaments, and give a greater latitude to genius ; but what. ever the subject is, those precepts are to be laid down that are the most useful, and they should follow each other in a natural easy method, and be delivered in the most agreeable engaging manner. What the prose writer tells you ought to be done, the poet often conveys under the form of a narration, or thews the necessity of in a description ; and by representing the action as done, or doing, conceals the precept that should enforce it. The poet, likewise, instead of telling the whole truth, or laying down all the rules that are requisite, selects fuch parts only as are the most pleasing, and communicates the rest indirectly, with out giving us an open view of them; yet takes care that nothing hall escape the reader's notice with which he ought to be acquainted. He discloses just enough to lead the imagination into the parts that are concealed, and the mind, ever gratified with its own discoveries, is compli. mented with exploring and finding them out ; which, tho' done with ease, seems so confiderable as not to be obtained but in consequence of its own adroitness and fagacity:

But this is not sufficient to render didactic poetry always pleasing; for where precepts are laid down one after a:

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