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Glide swiftly, bright spirits! the prize is before ye,
A crown never fading, a kingdom of glory!
Supposed to be written by Alexander Selkirk, during his solitary abode in the Island of Juan Fernandez.
I AM monarch of all I survey,
My right there is none to dispute;
From the centre all round to the sea,
I am lord of the fowl and the brute.
O solitude! where are the charms
That sages have seen in thy face?
Better dwell in the midst of alarms,
Than reign in this horrible place.
I am out of humanity's reach,
I must finish my journey alone;
Never hear the sweet music of speech,
I start at the sound of my own.
The beasts that roam over the plain
My form with indifference see;
They are so unacquainted with man,
Their tameness is shocking to me.
Society, friendship, and love,
Divinely bestow'd upon man,
O had I the wings of a dove,
How soon would I taste you again!
My sorrows I then might assuage
In the ways of religion and truth,
Might learn from the wisdom of age,
And be cheer'd by the sallies of youth.
Religion! what treasure untold
Resides in that heavenly word!
More precious than silver and gold,
Or all that this earth can afford:
But the sound of the church-going bell
These valleys and rocks never heard,
Ne'er sigh'd at the sound of a knell,
Or smil'd when a sabbath appear'd.
Ye winds, that have made me your sport,
Convey to this desolate shore
Some cordial endearing report
Of a land I shall visit no more.
My friends, do they now and then send
A wish or a thought after me?
O tell me I yet have a friend,
Though a friend I am never to see?
How fleet is a glance of the mind!
Compar'd with the speed of its flight,
The tempest itself lags behind,
And the swift-winged arrows of light.
When I think of my own native land,
In a moment I seem to be there;
But, alas! recollection, at hand,
Soon hurries me back to despair,
But the sea-fowl is gone to her nest,
The beast is laid down in his lair:
E'en here is a season of rest,
And I to my cabin repair.
There is mercy in every place,
And mercy, encouraging thought! Gives even affliction a grace,
And reconciles man to his lot.
A BIRTH DAY THOUGHT,
Can I, all-gracious Providence!
Can I deserve thy care?
Ah! no I've not the least pretence
To bounties which I share.
Have I not been defended still
From dangers and from death;
Been safe preserv'd from ev'ry ill
E'er since thou gav'st me breath?
I live once more to see the day
That brought me first to light; Oh! teach my willing heart the way To take thy mercies right.
Though dazzling splendour, pomp, and show,
My fortune has denied ;
Yet more than grandeur can bestow
Content hath well supplied.
No strife has e'er disturb'd my peace,
No mis'ries have I known;
And, that I'm bless'd with health and ease
With humble thanks I own.
I envy no one's birth or fame,
Their titles, train, or dress;
Nor has my pride e'er stretch'd its aim
Beyond what I possess.
I ask and wish, not to appear
More beauteous, rich, or gay;
Lord, make me wiser ev'ry year,
And better ev'ry day.
'Tis done!-dread Winter spreads his latest glooms, 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 some few years,
Thyflow'ring 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 unsolid hopes
Of happiness? those longings after fame?
Those restless cares, those busy bustling days?
Those gay-spent, festive, nights? those veering
Lost 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 earth! awak'ning Nature hears
The new creating word, and starts to life,
In every heighten'd form, from pain and death
For ever free. The great eternal scheme,
Involving all, and in a perfect whole
Uniting, as the prospect wider spreads,
To reason's eye refin'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 share
In life was gall and bitterness of soul:
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 embosom'd foe,
Imbitter'd all our bliss.
Ye good distrest!
Ye noble few! who here unbending stand
Beneath life's pressure, yet bear up a while,
And what your bounded view, which only saw
A little part, deem'd Evil, is no more:
The storms of Wintry Time will quickly pass,
And one unbounded Spring encircle all.
Now, Truth, perform thine office; waft aside
The curtain drawn by Prejudice and Pride,
Reveal (the man is dead) to wond'ring eyes
This more than monster, in his proper guise.
He lov'd the World that hated him: the tear
That dropp'd upon his Bible was sincere :
Assail'd by scandal and the tongue of strife,
His only answer was a blameless life;
And he that forg'd, and he that threw the dart
Had each a brother's int'rest in his heart.
Paul's love of Christ, and steadiness unbrib'd,
Were copied close in him, and well transcrib'd.
He follow'd Paul! his zeal a kindred flame,
His apostolic charity the same.
Like him, cross'd cheerfully tempestuous seas,
Forsaking country, kindred, friends, and ease;
Like him he labour'd, and like him content
To bear it, suffer'd shame where'er he went.