Tag Archives: religion

William Hamilton, “The Wish”

WILLIAM HAMILTON

 “The Wish”

If join’d to make up virtue’s glorious tale,
A weak, but pious aid can aught avail,
Each sacred study, each diviner page
That once inspired my youth, shall sooth my age,
Deaf to ambition, and to interest’s call;                                                        5
Honour, my titles, and enough, my all;
No pimp of pleasure, and no slave of state,
Serene from fools, and guiltless of the great,
Some calm and undisturb’d retreat I’ll chuse
Dear to myself and friends. Perhaps the muse                                        10
May grant, while all my thoughts her charms imploy,
If not a future fame, a present joy,
Pure from each feverish hope, each weak desire;
Thoughts that improve, and slumbers that inspire,
A steadfast peace of mind, rais’d far above                                               15
The guilt of hate and weakness of Love
Studious of life, yet free from anxious care,
To others candid, to myself severe,
Filial, submissive to the sovereign will,
Glad of the good, and patient of the ill,                                                      20
I’ll work in narrow sphere, what heaven approves,
Abating hatreds, and increasing loves,
My friendship, studies, pleasures, all my own
Alike to envy, and to fame unknown:
Such in form blest asylum let me ly,                                                           25
Take off my fill of life, and wait, not wish to dy.

NOTES:

 3 Diviner “Given by or proceeding from God; having the sanction of or inspired by God” (OED).

19 Filial “Of sentiments, duty, etc.: due from a child to a parent” (OED).

25 Asylum “A benevolent institution affording shelter and support to some class of the afflicted, the unfortunate, the destitute” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (Bangor 1760) pp. 95-96. [Google Books]

Edited by Haley Walker

Anne Ross, “To the memory of a Young Lady, who died in the eleventh year of her age”

[ANNE ROSS]

“To the memory of a Young LADY, who died in the eleventh year of her age”

All ye who mourn
The loss of friends that’s dear,
The mournful scene that is exhibit here,
Bids envy cease, and pity drop a tear.

To you, whose hearts can feel when others mourn,
This is address’d, it soon may be your turn;
Their case to day, to-morrow may be your’s,
The clearest sun oft sets in clouds and showers.

A tender mother reared a darling child,                                                   5
Joy of her friends, and all the country’s pride;
Her person graceful, her complexion fair,
An antient Baronet’s apparent heir.

Her comely face display’d a lively bloom,
Which promis’d health, and many years to come;                               10
T’ inform her mind, and make her wise as fair,
Was still her honour’d mother’s constant care.

For her, to Heav’n, she still address’d her prayer,
That it might always keep her in its care;
That she, in ev’ry stage of life, might shine,                                            15
And see her race, a long and prosp’rous line.

Her aunt and mother saw, with glad surprise,
Inherent virtues near perfection rise:
Their hopes were rais’d, their expectations high;
But soon, alas! their expectations fly.                                                       20

How fleeting are our pleasures, here below?
A stream of joy, now turns a tide of woe.

From bloom of health, this darling child is seiz’d,
Laid on her bed and pain’d with sore disease;
If human aid could cure, that aid was giv’n;                                           25
But who can alter the decree of Heav’n.

How calm and patient in distress she lay;
In all her trouble never ceas’d to pray:
Th’ afflicted mother sends her sighs to Heav’n,
Restore my child, and all I wish is giv’n.                                                   30

If this request’s deny’d, O! help me still,
To be resign’d unto thy heavenly will;
Heav’n, oft in mercy, does our wish deny,
Our surest hope is fix’d above the sky.

The child was quite resign’d; to die was gain,                                           35
Her prayer was not for life, but ease from pain:
Her prayer was not unheard, her wish was given;
Her blessed Saviour takes her home to heaven.

In youth and innocence, the child she dies,
And angels waft her spirit to the skies.                                                     40

NOTES:

Epigraph Unable to trace; possibly provided by the author.

5 reared “To raise a person” (OED).

8 antient “The spelling of ‘ancient’ from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century; it refers to the titles of office or position formerly occupied” (OED).

16 race A poetical term that refers to “a set of children or descendants” (OED).

24 sore “Violent with pain” (Johnson).

40 waft “To carry through the air” (Johnson).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (Glasgow, 1791), pp. 36-38. [Google Books]

Edited by Ka Wing Tsang

Matthew Pilkington, “Happiness”

 [MATTHEW PILKINGTON]

  Happiness

Plagu’d with dependance on the great,
To raise me from my humble state;
With paying court to faithless friends,
Who disappointed all my ends;
With wasting all my blooming years,                                             5
In endless toils, and hopes, and fears;
How fondly longs my soul to gain
The calm, uncrowded rural scene!
To fly the man, whose treach’rous art
Deludes the undesigning heart.                                                     10
No calumny, no pale-cheek’d care,
No envy shall attend me there.
There seated near a gliding stream,
Intent on some inspiring theme,
Or wand’ring o’er the flow’ry vale,                                                  15
Imbibing joy from every gale,
I strive that blissful state to gain,
So fondly sought, so sought in vain.

Vain are our fondest hopes of bliss,
From such a faithless world as this.                                               20
Where vice in every form appears,
In wanton’d youth and palsy’d years.
Where villainy exalted shines,
And merit unregarded pines;
Angelic probity’s unpriz’d,                                                                25
And heav’n-descended truth despised:
Where friendship’s name conceals a knave,
Subtle and studious to deceive;
(A Corvus, who with great success,
At once can murder and caress;)                                                   30
Where triumps self-adoring pride,
Where virtue’s scorn’d, and God defy’d.

Too long deceiv’d, I strove to know
Felicity in things below;
But now, O pow’r supreme, I see,                                                  35
True happiness resides with thee.
With thee, whose wisdom guides on high
The worlds of light that gild the sky,
And made this earth, a place of pain,
A mix’d unsatisfying scene.                                                            40

Let wealth have wings, and friends profest
Stab the sincere unguarded breast;
Preferment’s golden show’r be shed
On Clodios undeserving head.
Or Calumny’s envenom’d dart                                                       45
Transfix me in the tend’rest part;
Since no distress in time or place,
Can make eternal goodness cease,
In God alone my raptur’d mind
Unmix’d felicity shall find.                                                               50

NOTES:

11 calumny “False charge, slander” (OED).

 15 vale “A dale or valley” (OED).

 16 gale “A song; merriment” (OED).

22 palsyd “Affected with palsy, trembling, tottering” (OED).

25 probity “Moral integrity, decency” (OED).

29 Corvus Latin for raven. May also refer to a raven in Greek mythology known as a trickster and thief.

44 Clodio Unable to trace.

Source: The Magazine of Magazines, vol. 8 (July, 1754), p. 82. [Google Books]

Edited by Keli Landowski

John Pomfret, “To his Friend under Affliction”

REVEREND JOHN POMFRET

“To his Friend under Affliction”

 None lives in this tumultuous State of things,
Where ev’ry Morning some new Trouble brings;
But bold Inquietudes will break his rest,
And gloomy Thoughts disturb his anxious Breast.
Angelick Forms, and happy Spirits are                                                      5
Above the Malice of perplexing Care:
But that’s a blessing too sublime, too high
For those who bend beneath Mortality.
If in the Body there was but one part
Subject to Pain, and sensible of Smart,                                                   10
And but one Passion could torment the Mind,
That Part, that Passion busy Fate would find.
But since Infirmities in both abound,
Since Sorrow both so many ways can wound,
‘Tis not so great a wonder that we grieve                                               15
Sometimes, as ‘tis a miracle we live.

The happiest Man that ever breath’d on Earth,
With all the Glories of Estate and Birth,
Had yet some anxious Care to make him know
No Grandeur was above the reach of Woe.                                           20
To be from all things that disquiet, free,
Is not consistent with Humanity.
Youth, Wit, and Beauty, are such charming things,
O’er which, if Affluence spreads her gaudy Wings,
We think the Person, who enjoys so much,                                          25
No Care can move, and no Affliction touch.
Yet could we but some secret method find
To view the dark Recesses of the Mind,
We there might see the hidden Seeds of Strife,
And Woes in Embryo rip’ning into Life;                                                 30
How some fierce Lust, or boist’rous Passion, fills
The lab’ring Spirit with prolific Ills
Pride, Envy, or Revenge, distract his Soul,
And all Right-reason’s God-like Pow’rs controul.
But if she must not be allow’d to sway,                                                 35
Tho’all without, appears serene and gay,
A cank’rous Venom on the Vitals preys,
And poisons all the Comforts of his Days.

External Pomp, and visible Success,
Sometimes contribute to our Happiness;                                             40
But that, which makes it genuine, refin’d,
Is a good Conscience, and a Soul resign’d:
Then, to whatever End Affliction’s sent,
To try our Virtues, or for Punishment,
We bear it calmly, tho’ a pond’rous Woe,                                              45
And still adore the Hand that gives the blow.
For in Misfortunes this advantage lies,
They make us humble, and they make us wise.
And he that can acquire such Virtues, gains
An ample Recompence for all his pains.                                               50

Too soft Caresses of a prosp’rous Fate
The pious Fervours of the Soul abate;
Tempt to luxurious Ease our careless Days,
And gloomy Vapours round the Spirits raise.
Thus lull’d into a sleep, we dosing lie,                                                    55
And find our Ruin in Security;
Unless some Sorrow comes to our Relief,
And breaks th’ Inchantment by a timely Grief.
But as we are allow’d to chear our sight,
In blackest Days, some glimmerings of Light:                                      60
So in the most dejected Hours we may
The secret Pleasure have to weep and pray.
And those Requests, the speediest passage find
To Heaven, which flow from an afflicted Mind:
And while to him we open our Distress,                                               65
Our Pains grow lighter, and our Sorrows less.
The finest Musick of the Grove, we owe
To mourning Philomel’s harmonious Woe;
And while her Grief’s in charming Notes express,
A Thorny Bramble pricks her tender Breast:                                        70
In warbling Melody she spends the Night,
And moves at once Compassion and Delight.

No Choice had e’er so happy an Event,
But he that made it, did that Choice repent.
So weak’s our Judgement, and so short’s our sight,                            75
We cannot level our own Wishes right:
And if sometimes we make a wise advance,
T’our selves we little owe, but much to chance.
So that when Providence, for secret Ends,
Corroding Cares, or sharp Affliction sends                                            80
We must conclude it best it should be so,
And not desponding, or impatient grow.
For he that will his confidence remove,
From boundless Wisdom, and eternal Love,
To place it on himself, or human Aid,                                                     85
Will meet those Woes he labours to evade.
But in the keenest Agonies of Grief,
Content’s a Cordial that still gives Relief.
Heaven is not always angry when he strikes,
But most Chastises those, whom most he likes.                                   90
And if with humble Spirits they complain,
Relieves the Anguish, or rewards the Pain.

NOTES:

3 Inquietudes Restlessness, uneasiness.

29 Seeds of Strife An allusion to Proverbs 16:28 “A perverse man spreads strife, /And a slanderer separates intimate friends.”

31-33 Lust… Pride, Envy, or Revenge Four of the Seven Cardinal Sins; an allusion to them can be found in Proverbs 6:16-19.

38 Comforts of his Days. John 14:1-31, the belief in God as the Father and belief/faith in Christ.

39 Pomp Archaic: vain and boastful display (OED).

68 Philomel An allusion to the daughter of the ancient Athenian king, Pandion. She was raped by the husband (Tereus) of her sister (Procne). While Tereus pursued both Philomel and Procne, Philomel was turned into a swallow and Procne into a nightingale (in Latin versions, Philomel was turned into a nightingale and Procne into a swallow) (Oxford Dictionaries online). The nightingale is known for its unique song.

70 Thorny Bramble A prickly bush plant, also a biblical allusion to the “the Burning bush” in which God appeared before Moses. It is also a symbol of the purity of the Virgin Mary.

88 Cordial Stimulating medicine.

Source: Poems Upon Several Occasions (5th edition) (London, 1720), pp. 60-63. [Google Books]

Edited by Frankie Carrillo

“Philotheorus,” “Card Playing Philosophized, Addressed to a Young Lady, with a Pack of Cards”

“PHILOTHEORUS”

“CARD PLAYING Philosophized, Addressed to a Young Lady, with a Pack of Cards”

 From this little gay playful machine,
As beheld in contention, we view,
How the various departments of men,
Life’s business and pleasures pursue.

Since, while some play the Child, and the Fool,                               5
The Knave others play—in their evil
More advanc’d in iniquities school,
The Deuce others play, and the Devil.

There are the proud King and the vain Queen,
The false Heart, and gay Di’mond who play;                                    10
While with Clubs, and with Spades, there are seen,
Some urging their desperate way.

But, to vary the dark-grounded scene,
As life and experience require:
To Women there are, and to Men,                                                     15
To Christians and Saints, who aspire.

Thus far, my dear Pupil, at large——
Now to vary our prospect and stand:
And, point we, and bring home the charge,
As our “business and bosoms demand.”                                          20

Ask we, Monica, what is the part,
You and I are found playing below?
Is it founded in nature, or art?
Or does it from principle flow?

Does it rise upon virtue and worth?                                                 25
Is honor it’s groundwork and base?
On religion proceeds it, and truth?
How happy, where this is the case!

An acquaintance thus formed, must prove
To fair Friendship a certain advance;                                                 30
Nor terminate here, but to Love,
To the Christian Agapee inhance.

Then come my dear Sister and friend,
Leaving sense and the body behind,
To a purer commixture unbend,                                                         35
To the purer commixture of Mind!

Learn we, Ma’am, the heavenly art,
From the trunk to the head to repair;
And, quitting the animal part,
Display the wing’d cherubim there.                                                   40

What have We, my fair Colleague, to do
With the softer suggestions of sense?
Since God and High heav’n are in view,
Let us banish these blandishments hence.

Away, fond seducers, begone!                                                           45
Give us up our spirit’al pow’rs;
With sense and passions we’ve done;
The sweets of Religion be ours!

Commensurate these, while we live,
Our fastest companions will prove;                                                  50
Not to say latest life they’ll survive,
And join us in the regions above.

There, lost in the visions of Grace,
And swimming in oceans of Love,
We shall see GOD and our Father’s bright face,                              55
As it shines, through our JESUS above!

NOTES:

2 view Corrected from a printer’s error “wiew.”

6 Knave “A dishonest or unprincipled man; a rogue” (OED).

8 iniquities “Unrighteous acts” or “sins” (OED).

21 Monica Name likely derived from St. Monica, known for her Christian piety, prudence and chastity; also recognized for her promotion of Christian values through motherhood (The Original Catholic Encyclopedia).

32 Agapee From the Greek “agape;” the concept of Christian love rather than sexual romantic love (Online Etymology Dictionary).  

40 cherubim Cherubs; angels (OED).

44 blandishments Flattery (OED).

49 commensurate “To define the extent of; to measure” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (September, 1767), pp. 517-518.

Edited by Lee Hammel