Introduction-Scenery from Belfast to Lisburn-&c. &c. &c.
WHILE natal tongues seem dull and dumb to praise
Thy beauties, Lisburn! List the stranger's lays.
If pithless deem'd his verse, thou'lt not refuse
The good intent that fain would fire the Muse.
Were native breasts inspired with equal flame,
Thy town, a nobler niche, in northern fame
Would grace; nor should I venture to proclaim
The greenest, sweetest spot of Erin's name!
Those charms, that worth, which well exalts thy town,
Fain would I raise to high, deserved renown.
I do not seek for self the world's applause,
But string the lyre alone for Lisburn's cause.
I little care for what the crowd call ' Fame,'
That hollow-hearted thing-that empty name
Those rainbow hues which for a while appear,
Rise with a smile, and vanish with a tear ;
Without a fost'ring friend to fan the fire,
That often gleameth from an Irish lyre.
Yet now Faith's eye sees that auspicious clay,
When British bosoms gen'rously display
A care for Poets crush'd, whose only crime
Is that they string the harp in Erin's clime!
His flourishing estate doth me inflame,
To laud in gratitude a Hertford's name ;
Whose noble lineage did ne'er refuse
Such patronage as season'd Thompson's Muse!*
Sol westwards drives his car, his softest beam
Gilds the wide plain surrounding Lagan's stream;
Where shall I first the beauteous scene disclose,
And all the gay variety expose.
For wheresoe'er we turn our wond'ring eyes,
Villas and mountains, lakes and groves arise
Here mansions tower in all their snowy white,
There domes and lofty steeples greet the sight;
Here flocks and herds the fertile pastures fill,
There skipping lambkins gambol o'er the hill;
* Those exquisite productions, "The Seasons," were patronized and
ledicated to the then Countess of Hertford, whose philanthropic heart, and
elegant taste for the beauties of literature, especially poetry, have
immortalised her name. ,
Here is the woodland, green, cascades, and vales,
And silv'ry streams whereon the white swan sails.
Yon sweet enchanting lawns and opening glades
Lead to the vista where be Eden shades ;
Where dwell the vernal blooms in honied bowers,
The redd'ning blossom, and unfolding flowers.
Far as the eye can reach athwart the plain,
Delightful prospects shine in endless train ;
Here giant oaks uprear their reverend forms,
And shade the mansions from surrounding storms;
Here hills arise with sylvan honors crown'd,
There fragrant groves and limpid lakes abound.
Now joy'd I pause-now blythe pursue my way,
While golden sunbeams on the rivers play ;
As from each scene I with regret depart,
Views brighter still fling gladness o'er my heart.
Throughout plantations tasteful deck the ground,
And swell the splendor of the prospect round;
Green to the view, they bloom in pompous pride,
Cheer spacious plains, and grace the Lagan's side,
The various bleach-greens, deck'd with robes of white,
Enrich the landscape o'er, and charm the sight.
Now by this garden, now yon shady grove,
Methinks I through the walks of Eden rove.
There's not a spot of ground but shows the hand
Of taste all o'er this fertile Canaan land!
Each vista shows, amid the scene survey'd,
A rural village in its pomp array'd !
Dunmurry first, in graceful robes of white,
Majestically rises to the sight
Hail sacred spot ! of virtue, peace, the seat,
Epitome of all the soul deems sweet !
How beauteous look thy mansions, ivy-bound
Each rural door with woodbines clustered round;
Oh let me drink of those Elysian gales,
Profusely breathing from thy fragrant vales !
Above the reach of wild Ambition's wind,
Here in full scope can act the studious mind;
Here Meditation, in ethereal mood,
Soars far above the plodding multitude.
Here Learning lights her lamp with Grecian oil
Thy sons have souls as fertile as thy soil!
* * * *
* * *
Now from thy mossy walks and alleys green
I bend my way to Curtis' seat serene,
Where Taste outspreads her wings of glittering hues,
And hospitality invites the Muse.
* * * *
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* * * *
* * *
When Sorrow's iron enters through the soul,
And dark despair would eek her grim control;
From noise of town unto some silent seat,
Amid thy fragrant bowers, I retreat;
Or to some unfrequented Gothic cave,
Bedecked with coral spoils from Lagan's wave.
Here, in the awful stilliness of night,
Sweet Contemplation loves to wing her flight,
Hail Curtis ! in thy mansion I behold
As much as Rome could ever boast of old.
What though no vain display of battles dire
Are sculptured on thy walls, to raise the fire
To Epic flight-the blood more sweetly rolls,
More pleasing combats rage within our souls,
Where din of war and all its horrors cease
Those heaven-sent gifts, the joys of rural Ease.
Who has not heard of Waterloo's dread plain ?
Who'd wish that tragedy to act again
Mars yields to Pan the empire of the Muse-
She sickens at the thoughts which wars infuse;
Peace on the Earth is still her heaven-born cry,
Peace, peace to Man resounds from all on high.
Oh happy owner of this sweet retreat,
Thus blest, thou dost not labor to be ' great;'
Nor for preferments at a court would wait,
Where every gudgeon nibbles at a bait.
* * * *
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* * * *
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* * *
Protect us, heaven ! from their tyrannic frown,
Who'd crush and trample modest merit down.
Their spicy groves and lakes are pensions-places
Their rainbow smiles, the flattered great one's graces
And in the phiz lies their thermometar,
Let but the king's eye wink 'tis morning's star !
Their cascade's rush, is some rough factious speech,
Their Nature's book the lesson placemen teach !
Their Helicon is Sycophancy's * fount,
A seat in Parliament Parnassus Mount !
* Quite sick of fancy.
The state their poem-the court's coquettes their muse
Their patrons, patents-cash their landscape's hues.
The loaves and fishes all their souls inspire,
Reform, the funds, and war bestrings each lyre !
I'm now away to Williamson's domain,
Where Nature's beauties rise in stately train ;
Where groves in majesty expanding wide,
Rejoice in all the strength of Eastern pride;
And call the wearied Bard to catch the gale,
That breathes in honey through the elmy vale ;
Where yonder spacious lawn its verdure shows
See beauteous plantings Lambeg house inclose ;
Trees in their gayest foliage ever green,
Are here on banks of crystal rivers seen;
And fairest fruits, whose healthful fragrance fills
The Zephyrs breathing o'er an hundred hills.
I now depart, my wanderings to pursue,
'Mid landscapes still the same, yet ever new;
See here and there a house 'mid trees appears,
Deck'd round by all that either charms or cheers ;
With velvet lawns, and lakes, and groves, and bowers,
Gardens with gravel walks through beds of flowers.
Hark ! how the feather'd songsters still inspire,
With joyful notes, my inharmonious lyre.
Almost on every tree, on every bush,
Sing the field minstrels-linnet, lark, and thrush.
The dazzling sun, declining with his beams,
Kisses, and mildly heats the silvery streams ;
Amidst whose current golden fishes play,
In freedom sporting out their little day;
Unknown to care, and all those gnawing fears,
Which make man's heart through life a tomb of tears.
Of reason reft, ne'er sway'd by anxious thought,
T' enjoy the present hour their happy lot !
Those lambs see how they skip on yonder plain,
They live Life's luxury without the pain.
No future fears their present bliss destroy-
They bask, up to the latest hour, in joy ;
'Fill suddenly beneath the butcher's knife
They are deprived at once of death and life.
Of all God's wide creation here below,
Man, man alone is doomed to undergo
Alike the pangs of pain and happiness
To-morrow's fears destroying this day's bliss.
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Lo! now I view fair Lisburn's tow'ring spire-
Once more for her I'll string my trembling lyre.
Hail lovely spot! In Erin's diadem,
Where beauty, virtue shines-the brightest gem;
On sweeter spot can Sol or Luna beam,
' Than Hertford's town on Lagan's limpid stream.
Here Nature with a lavish hand has strow'd
Her graces round each simple, neat abode.
A charming scene the local landscape yields,
O'er rich inclosures and luxuriant fields ;
Plantations, lakes, and hills in grandeur rise,
And all those rural sights which charm the eyes
To handsome houses, gardens neat succeed,
While flocks and herds lie scatter'd o'er the mead-
Here ail the shades of beauty tinge the flowers,
And wafted incense fills the blooming bowers.
No snakes, nor toads, nor adders here abound,
To fill with venom dire the smiling ground;
No wolves or bears here panting range the plain
For human blood, the fertile soil to stain;
No ravenous lions here are heard to roar
With flaming tongues, which thirst for human gore ;
Nor serpents with a poisonous hiss are here
To strike the traveller with dread and fear ;
(On those blest plains, oh ! may they never roam,
Except when critics damn for trash my Poem')
High verdant trees bend o'er the Lagan's side,
And strove their leaves along its glassy tide.
Emblem of Life! Man, puny, proud, and vain,
Pops up his head, and walks with 'nigh disdain
On Life's dark shore-and numerous ways does death
Burst the frail bellows of his body's breath.
As a weak leaf on being's fickle sea, He floats awhile-then finds eternity.
The summit of a mountain now I gain,
To view the grand luxuriance of the plain;
Oh! Heavens! what glorious groups all round arise,
Of prospect variegated to charm the eyes ;
Various as colour! countless as its shades,
Rise beauteous mansions, fair domains and glades,
Villas and lakes, flocks and herds, and hills,
Flourishing plantations, roads, spires, and mills !
Orchards and gardens, flowers, fruits, and trees,
Which waft a world of incense on each breeze!
Rivers and rocks, with mountains, towers, and floods,
Cascades and plains, and spicy groves, and woods;
Plenty and gladness reign throughout the scene,
Whose owners hospitable e'er have been;
Such blest display a people happy show,
Industrious, numerous all below.
|Oh ! 'tis sweet for Exile eye to see,
When sadden'd is his heart,
This town in summer's witchery,
He smiles when tears should start.
Ere Night has flung her dusky shroud,
The eye of light to shade;
Ere purple tints melt in the cloud,
And day's bright glories fade.
How sweet, then, on the Belfast road,
To view the landscape's face,
Where boundless beauties lie bestrow'd,
Around this fairy place.
No more he boasts of princely dome,
Or massy pillar's height,
Which proudly mark his natal home,
And worldly minds invite.
How sweet in soft Aurora's hour,
When scarce a Zephyr sighs,
To view Religion's steeple tower
Kissing its native skies.
Oh ! here the Sabbath bell inspires
The mind with awe divine; '
Not all the chants of Dublin Choirs
Could holier wreath entwine
Around the Sinner's sorrowing soul,
To lead his thoughts to heaven's high goal.
As sparrows peck their daily crumb,
'Tis sweet a God to own;
To feel his care abroad-at home
For cot as well as throne.
Not this the' Man of Truth'* contest,
Midst all his treasur'd lore;
Tho' brilliant Voltaire feigned it jest,
In death they ask'd no more.
Be it the Christian's part in life,
This trust throughout to prove,
To feel a God, at home, abroad,
In whom we live and move.
When April with her rainbow skies,
The Queen of beams and showers;
When violets ope, and Zephyr flies
Throughout the woodland bowers
As twilight glimmers o'er the deep,
And bees are on the wing;
When flowers fresh begin to weep,
The reckless thrush to sing.
How sweet to meditate on MAN,
When he nobly acts his part
in this base world!-all things to plan
With philanthropic heart.
Metbinks, while o'er this soil I stray,
Earth Eden sees again;
Here Nature is as bright and gay,
And plenty rules the plain.
'Tis sweet to know that still there be
A chosen few, who ne'er
Could, with a despot's villainy,
A favor'd land lay bare.
All are not Nimrods, man the prey,
All would not force the groan
Of feeling souls, who weep to say,
The FOE of MAN'S his own!
END OF CANTO I.
Battle of Lisnegarvy, (Lisburn) and Defeat of the Rebels in 1641The fire of
BATTLE OF LISNEGARVY.
OH ! that some Genius now of Epic fire,
Wou'd breathe its lofty spirit o'er my lyre
Oh! that I had a Homer's muse, which sung
The dreadful fall of Troy in deathless song;
I'd tell how war did ring on Antrim's plains
How pour'd the blood of heroes' dearest veins.
I'd sing of all those hostile valiant feats,
Which were achiev'd in Lisnegarvy's streets;
When dark Rebellion rear'd his sable flag,
Led on by Bigotry, and that fierce hag,
Intolerance, whose fiend-like rage,
In scenes of blood is anxious to engage.
Like tigers springing fiercely on their prey,
Or the Tornado sweeping life away,
Met the contending armies in their might
The Royal party dash'd into the fight ;
With sword in hand, destruction in their eye,
And hearts undaunted by the foe's war-cry.
The falchions flash, oh ! in the hour of strife,
When ebbs the purple tide of human life;
How Vengeance smiles, and Havoc to the slain
Exulting points, as trophies of his reign.
The rebels reel before each loyal arm,
And prostrate fall like branches in the storm ;
On, on, shouts Rawdon-on my soldiers brave,
The flag of victory o'er our heads shall wave;
Ere you bright sun has ceas'd his beams to fling
At them my heroes-triumph for your king!
The voice of death is heard in
Where slain and slayers in one chaos meet ;
The green-clad chiefs exhort their hosts again.
And brave the battle's furious shock in vain ;
With dauntless courage rush upon their foes,
The air re-echoes with descending blows;
Now they retreat, and far along the sky
Wild shouts resound-the rebels run-they fly!
The battle's o'er, five
hundred foemen sleep
In death's embrace-amid the blood-stained heap ;
The glorious hero's and the coward's clay
Are scarce distinguished in the dread array;
The marble countenance, so wild and wan,
How sadly vacant when the spirit's gone!
These are thy spoils, Rebellion; nevermore
Mayst thou effect a landing on our shore.*
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* Vide page 14.
THE FIRE OF 1707.
The redbreast sung his matin from the thorn ;
Nature arose, and o'er the laughing earth
The glittering sun-beams waked creation's mirth.
All, all was gay and joyful, as the sound
From Lisnegarvy's turret fell around;
Echo attuned her harp, each grot and dell
Rung back the music of the Sabbath bell.
Ungrateful man! art thou alone the last
To raise thy voice in praise for mercies past.
List! 'tis the sound of
woe-dread thoughts transpire,
Alarm is up, and cries with haste, ' the fire;'
The flame increases, Lisnegarvy burns,
The giant spoiler human effort spurns ;
Each blazing column rears its mighty crest,
And dares man's power its progress to arrest;
Throws its broad flame against the clouded sky,
Majestic in its wild sublimity.
Oh ! 'twas a withering scene; years spent
By plodding man, made the destroyer's spoil.
His goods and stores how quickly they consume,
Each face seems shaded by despair and gloom;
Long-hoarded treasure in confusion burled
The faint resemblance of a burning world!
But hark! from whence proceeds that fearful cry,
'Tis woman's voice! who would stand calmly by,
When she, the rainbow of man's stormy life,
Might fall a victim to the blazing strife.
Away-away, that smoke-black stair ascend,
Where danger threatens-prompt assistance lend-
One dauntless heart springs forward-gains the spot
Where she, for whom his life he valued not,
Stood with despairing look and frantic eye,
Her white hands clasped in wildest agony ;
She shrieks !-he bears her safely to the street
My life! my Mary! is it thus we meet ?'
The youth exclaims, and throwing back her hair,
Gaz'd on her face-his hopes were centred there'.
The sun is down-his journey he has trod,
And darkness walks with all her train abroad;
An awful stillness reigns, and silence keeps
Her lonely midnight watch, while nature sleeps;
The last red flame ascends with crackling sound,
Dismay and terror yet seem spread around ;
Old Lisnegarvy's gone-her stately walls
Are overthrown-destroy'd her ancient halls !
END OF CANTO II
Cathedral-Male Free School-The Echo-Infirmary-Diaper and Damask
Manufactory.-Local Improvements, &c.
OF all the buildings here in bright display,
I'll first to yon Cathedral homage pay ;
To yonder temple first I shall repair,
Where to his Maker, man yields praise and pray'r.
Behold the glorious fabric proudly rise,
Whose beauteous spire soars high amid the skies;
As if to show to our terrestrial ball,
White-rob'd Religion reigneth over all!
This is the holy Sabbath-day, and I
Step in to worship heav'n's great Majesty;
To join in holy homage to his praise
Bask in the soul-felt bliss which prayer conveys;
Return my grateful thanks for mercies past,
And beg his providence while life shall last.
Yon splendid organ elevated high,
Calls forth attention from th' admiring eye; I
It feeds at once two senses with delight,
Sweet to the ear, and beauteous to the sight !
What numerous crowds oppress the groaning aisle,
And gladly throng the consecrated pile;
Oh! say what muse's pen could now portray,
Youth's kindling eye and Beauty's bright array !
Face, form, and dress, in elegance are seen,
A Chloe here, and there a Venus queen!
But hush-the service now is just begun.
How sweet! "Awake my soul and with the sun!"
Now as the solemn organ with the choir,
Waft their soft music with Devotion's fire;
Oh! how my soul is rais'd from earth to heaven,
And more than mortal bliss to me is giv'n !
List, list the hallow'd strain and learn my muse,
Such soft sounds imitate, such breathings chuse ;
Cou'd Orpheus' numbers, or Amphion's lyre,
A sweeter transport thro' the soul inspire ?
Blest Sabbath-day! amid some lonely haunt,
How sweet the Christian's holy songs to chant!
As Ph�bus ushers in that morning's
How sweet, "With one consent let all the earth!"
Oh ! on some mountain's brow how sweet to sing, "
Come anthems loud let's raise to God our King !"
What sacred harp wou'd then not tune its cords,
To play, " This spacious earth is all the Lord's!"
I love on Sabbath-day to sing the song,
How Salem's tribes did to the temple throng ;
Oft on the mountain's top my soul doth thrill,
To chant in holy joy, "To Sion's hill!"
Or when the Tempest roars with furious strife,
How sweet, "Through all the changing scenes of life!"
Then as I gaze on some wave-beaten rock,
I sing, "No change of times shall ever shock!"
Oft by the Lagan's stream, when press'd by woes,
I play, " Protect me, Lord, from all my foes!"
Or Sion's mournful theme her Exiles sung,
When on the willow trees their Harps they hung;
And far away from Home in slavery wept,
As Babel's wave along in freedom swept
Then as Reflection shrouds my soul, I love
The notes, " Oh had I wings like yonder dove;
To soothe my burning, sad, despairing breast,
I'd to some desert flee-there be at rest."
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When Sol has reach'd his
And countless stars glow round the pole ;
When in th' ethereal vault is seen
The Moon in majesty serene.
How sweet beneath the Pleiads' light,
To pray upon some mountain height-
To seek a haunt by Man untrod,
There hold communion with our GOD!
To mark what countless worlds display,
Through boundless space, the Deity;
And hear their sound as on they roll,
His power proclaim from pole to pole
How sweet, when by the torrent's sweep,
To dive in-Meditation deep!
To view those visions of delight,
Then plac'd before the mental sight!
The mighty monarch on his throne
Ne'er feels the bliss to me then known ;
His pomp and pageantry but cheat,
Compared to my then rapturous state.
The Mount! the Mount! where Zephyrs
Waft to high Heaven the melody,
That is the spot I deem most fair,
To sing the psalm or kneel in prayer.
No crimson cushion there is laid,
The pride-plum'd drone to tempt-persuade
To bend a knee who sits at ease,
while to his God is offered praise *
My temple is the hallow'd scene;
My carpet is the grass so green;
My sculptur'd roof the bare blue sky;
My Preacher Nature's majesty!
The storm-the surge-the rock-the tree,
Have holy sounds that speak to me ;
A sacred song the tempest sings,
For God himself walks on its wings !
When heav'n arrays the glittering stars,
And Even 's sons mount high their cars;
I love to seek some solitude,
Far from the busy multitude.
When night would close the eye of day,
Oft went our blessed Lord to pray ;�
Oh! night's the time man's MIND can muse,
And see its home thro' starry views.
It is a common (though very improper) custom is most places of Christian
worship to SIT while the singing is going on-to complete the climax, scarce
ten individuals, out of a congregation of, perhaps, eight hundred, ever join
in a single stanza of the soars of praise and thanksgiving.
� Luke vi. 12.
'Tis then the soul
'Gainst this fleshly prison dwelling;
And spurning earth, pants for that prize,
Which claims a kindred with the skies.
When belfry bell the twelfth hour chimes,
How sweet to muse on by-gone times ;
Ere Hope was found a treacherous beam,
To tempt us on life's turbid stream !
When 'Meath the moon's pale sorrow'd
How sweetly sad our lives to trace
To weep o'er joys of other days,
Ere Death extinguish'd Friendship's blaze
I sip those sweets that then descend
On witber'd hearts without a friend ;
There find the olive-leaf of peace,
And all life's cares and troubles cease.
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The pleasing task of prayer and praise gone thro
The pious preacher now appears to view;
And in the lofty pulpit poureth forth
All that displays the holy Christian's worth-
The list'ning crowds while they with joy admir'd
Salvation's theme, with sacred awe were fir'd
He told how Christ descended from above,
And left his heav'nly throne of light and love ;
How as the earth in sin and slavery slept,
He with a pitying eye in sorrow wept.
Was pleas'd for guilty man to bleed and die,
That he might give us life and liberty;
Crush satan's empire, break sin's slavish chain,
Give light for darkness, happiness for pain!
He show'd the Saviour from
his mother's womb,
Beset with sorrows till he cleft the tomb;
How when ' he came unto his own,' and brought
Salvation's tidings, they ' received him not.'
How all his life was spent in doing good,
To reconcile a guilty world to God.
That he, the King of kings, the Lord of lords,
Was crown'd with thorns, and bound with tearing chords;
To execution like a ruffian led,
And made to bear the cross on which he bled!
What scenes of agony the garden saw,
How e'en angels comforting wept in awe;
While all the powers of Darkness him withstood
How from his forehead flow'd great drops of blood !
The Preacher paus'd-the people's sighs supply
The pause--tears tremble now in ev'ry eye.
That when the storm burst on his hallow'd head,
How, like the world, friends and followers fled.
At length was by a treacherous kiss betray'd,
And to the slaughter like a sheep convey'd ;
How for his cruel murderers he pray'd
Was giv'n, when thirst crav'd drink, a cup of gall
Scourg'd, mock'd, and spit upon, despis'd by all!
With striking eloquence showed how the seed
Of woman bruis'd the subtle serpent's head.
The awful groan that rent th' affrighted sky;
The quaking of the Cross that felt him die!
How Nature all ran chaos at the sight;
The Sun himself refusing Heaven's light !
The holy Temple's veil that rent in twain ;
How from the graves the dead came forth again.
Told how the astonished rocks did rend and brake;
In dread convulsions how the Earth did quake ;
The bound of billows beating on the shore;
The crash of Towers, the Tempest's dreadful roar.
How hills and mountains hid their crested beads;
Volcanoes sank beneath their brimstone beds !
He showed how Christ, by rising from the grave,
Triumph'd o'er Death, and prov'd his power to save.
How thus accomplish'd was Redemption's plan;
How JESUS liv'd, died, rose again for MAN;
Obtain'd a Pardon written with his blood,
Peace granting to a sin-sunk world with God ;
Begg'd we'd the proffer'd benefits embrace,
The glorious plenitude of gospel grace !
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The service o'er, th' Assembly all dismist,
To muse awhile I cannot now resist.
Around what costly marble slabs descried,
Which state that such have lived-that such have died !
Lesson how solemn! sad for those who've sold
Their souls to sin for rotten pomp and gold.
Sweet to the sufferer for virtue's sake,
Can thoughts of death e'er make the righteous quake?
When all the long inscriptions I perus'd,
A holy awe was through my soul diffus'd ;
And as the fire kindled 'neath my tongue,
I such a strain as this in silence sung
Religion! oh thou dear consoling
Richer than all the gold that Earth can claim !
Of all our friends thou art the faithful one,
That 'bides with Wo, when all the rest are gone!
Thou to the couch of pain art first to haste,
First to the bed of Death, thou leav'st it last !
'Tis thine to lead the wretch with patient soul,
Midst sands, and rocks, and seas, where tempests roll !
Thou, on Life's treacherous ocean art the star,
That cheers the mariner from land afar!
Thou guid'st us thro' the foaming waves of Care,
Hind'rest our wreck, on rocks of dark Despair!
Thou art the appointed one,
the gracious guide,
Destin'd to lead us to a Saviour's side;
Thy brilliant rays can darkest clouds illume,
And, e'en in Death, dispel the sable gloom!
Beyond the grave, thou on Faith's wing dost fly,
And bid'st us fix our anchor in the sky!
When Worth's in sickness sunk,
and Man's mean pride
Has to the heart that spurns to crouch, denied
The meed to Merit due-the kindly cheer
Than even felons get with pitying tear
Oh ! then thy sun flings forth a glorious light,
Which dissipates the darkness of Wo's night;
And Hope, thy sister star, 'mid tempests rife,
Refulgent beams, and setteth but with Life!
Say who in Sorrow's sable
That hath not felt thy force, confest thy power ?
Who, when of all bereft, nought else to lose,
Has not enjoy'd the balm Thou canst infuse!
'Twas oft the poet's lot-his lowly song
Has been inspired by cold neglect and wrong;
Oft has he strung his Harp, by sorrow mov'd,
And mourn'd for faithless friends be longest loved
'Twas his the cold world's policy to scan,
Genius to see spurn'd-because poor the man
Learning and modest Worth to find discarded,
While fawning knaves and dunces were regarded.
Laborious Toil, that well deserved renown,
O'erlook'd for some vain, witless, tasteless clown!
But still through all Religion tun'd his lyre,
Strung the lax nerve, and rous'd poetic fire;
Like minds superior at the Martyr's stake,
When the soul's noblest energies awake;
Bask'd in the ever-glorious, heaven-sent ray,
Which the World cannot give, nor take away
MALE FREE SCHOOL*
And now my
lyre would strike her loudest tone,
To yon fair spot where mental light has shone
So many years, and where, with fearless hand,
Instruction waves her ensign round the land.
Thine is the harp of
Orpheus, whose art
Can tame the tigers of the human heart ;
That mollifies the fury of that strife,
Which interdicted knowledge makes so rife!
No more is idleness of Youth the bane,
Here lowest ignorance may learning gain;
The Scriptures, too, are taught in this abode,
That Sacred Book which lifts the heart to God;
Nor sect nor party feeling here prevail,
Truth guides the helm and spreads her flowing sail.
The invitation, like the Gospel call,
Is universal, and extends to all.
Established in 1810, by the late John Crossly, Esq. and the Rev. Thomas
Cupples.-See pave 32.
We joy to see again the happy reign,
Whose sway has shivered Ignorance's chain;
We joy to see that tree, Religion, sow'd,
(Whose roots and branches are the Word of God;)
No longer styled by demons' poisonous breath,
As unfit food, the Upas tree of death.
Thy root is truth, thy stem is virtue's power,
Mercy and charity thy fruit and flower!
No longer live we 'neath the iron yoke,
That made the word of Truth a sealed Book!
But all the country wide, from great to least,
The peasant poor as well as learned priest,
Enjoy the blessings of the glorious Word,
The everlasting knowledge of the Lord!
No longer now shall Judah Ephraim
No more shall Ephraim Judah's lot perplex;
No more to witness party feuds our lot,
T'ruth's tide flows thro' the palace and the cot.
The glorious orb of intellectual day
Has driven clouds of mental night away;
Now beams intelligence from every eye,
And upwards springs the song of piety.
Lisburn's free-school ! thy seeds
of virtuous lore
Have shed their influence on a foreign shore;
So long as virtue is on earth
Thy founders' memory shall be revered;
Their patriotic acts shall win renown,
Long as philanthropy shall rule the town.
Crossley, thy worth is yet
And coming ages more thy praise shall tell.
In many a heart thy memory is enshrined,
Few like thyself on earth thou'st left behind.
When here below, 'twas thine to wipe the tear
Off sorrow's cheek-the poor man's home to cheer
Where lank-fac'd Poverty took her abode,
To raise Despair, and point to Zion's God.
Peace to thy shade-the children thou bast nurst
In Learning's lap, ere thy bright spirit burst
Its bonds of clay, bless'd Crossley's honor'd name,
And live the trophies of thy glorious fame!
And thou, too, Cupples,
generous friend of youth,
Long may you live the advocate of Truth ;
Still in that path thy footsteps be inclined,
Guide of the opening and inquiring mind.
'Tis glorious work the voice of youth to raise,
In songs of joy to their Creator's praise ;
A noble course was thine, to take the field
In Virtue's cause, Philanthropy thy shield.
Wherever Vice with all her strain arose,
Thou Overt enroll'd among her greatest foes.-
Amid the world's Half-worshipp'd worthies, thou
Hast won unfading laurels for thy brow.
* * * *
* * *
Literature! Thermometer of a State
In thy downfall is seal'd a nation's fate;
All that is worthy Being fades
Comes Degradation's Night-farewell the Day, K
Where arts and sciences can flourish free,
There, there's the Sun of true Prosperity.
All hail Lancaster ! man of
Who first in Education's cause stood forth;
In those dark ages when Ignorance secure,
By fettering trammels 'pound th' untutor'd poor.
mounts his throne again,
Thou brok'st the vile Usurper's slavish chain;
Now base monopolizers can no more
Keep to themselves the precious mental Ore;
But as the waters overspread the sea,
The glorious privilege to all is flee.
No longer tricks of quarantine and toll
Detain our vessels from the wish'd-for goal;
Exclusion's reckless tempests drive no more
Our little Literary barks ashore.
Lancaster ! whose blest systematic
Hath prov'd thee best and firmest friend of Man;
While Truth, Philanthropy on earth prevail,
While Freedom's Bulwarks stand in Britain-hail !
Bright Altar of a bloodless sacrifice,
Restorer of Instruction's Paradise
While Man is free and degradation fear'd,
Thy boundless worth and mem'ry still shall be revered .'
What tho' thy work is praised from pole to pole,
The poor man's friend, Instruction's sun and soul ;
O heartless world! thy name they glorify,
Whilst thou thyself art left to starve and die.
Alas! alas! that he to whom we owe
Those streams of knowledge which now overflow
To him beneath whose quick improving band,
Bright scene-, arise, as by a wizard's wand.
What old inhabitant of Lisburn, who
Remembers her low state some years ago,
Owns not the vast improvement which has wrought
Such wondrous beauties o'er the once dull spot;
For here the rutted street, and f�tid
The rugged pathway, and the cabin foul,
Gave nought but mean appearance to the eye,
And oft the fairest prospects would destroy.
What's Lisburn now ? Is there
a man who e'er,
Has not admir'd that renovation fair,
Which blooms beneath a Stannus' constant care.
Come Gratitude, and snow-white Truth reveal,
His fond concern, his unremitting zeal,
His highest wish, and ever-anxious thought,
In ev'ry golden plan that can be wrought,
By head or hand, to make an Eden spot!
No more old cabins, void of
Obtrude themselves upon the traveller's sight ;
Those hovels which used ev'ry eye displease,
(Degrading that fair path thro' lofty trees
At ev'ry entrance) all are now replac'd
By handsome houses, built with happy taste.
No more is seen the narrow filthy lanes,
No pools now stand bereft of proper drains,
But health and cleanliness throughout obtains.
Like as the precious marble
from the mine
Wants but the Sculptor's hand to make it shine;
So Lisburn lay neglected, while within K 2
Intrinsic beauty stood unknown, unseen;
Until a faithful Guardian's skilful hand
Uprais'd it beauteous, 'neath his magic wand;
Improvement soon brought Nature's gifts to view,
While art and taste her brightest scenes renew.
As when some nation, torn
by discord's feud,
The whole is thrown into confusion rude ;
Until some Statesman, high in wisdom's fame,
The torch of Peace re-lights in Order's flame.
Such was the town, when like a beam of light,
Far flashing o'er the face of silent night,
A stranger came, and with incessant care,
Bade renovation fix its standard there.
Refin'd, re-organiz'd each part anew,
And with utility gave Beauty's hue.
He, Phidias-like, bestowed new light and life,
The failing tree pruned with Improvement's knife
His active skill her native strength explor'd,
Her long lost beauties he at length restored ;
Such actions like to these our feelings raise,
To yield him Gratitude as well as Praise.
on Improvement's base the fabrics rise,
And with attractive gracefulness surprize ;
Not in the vogue of vain and gaudy arts,
But strict harmonious symmetry of parts.
Whoe'er would retrospectively
How fast th' Estate was falling to decay,
Should hail with joy the hour a Stannus came,
When with Improvement's torch he raised that flame,
Where we may read, beneath its lustrous light,
Here-here at least " Whatever is, is right."
Stannus ! still may tby skill with taste exert
Its pow'rs in union with industrious art ;
And finish'd flowing grace give to the soil,
Now made obsequious by band of toil.
Still may thy zealous soul he deep imbued,
To nourish ev'ry plan for Lisburn's good ;
The worthy feel in thee an honest pride,
And in thy known integrity confide;
Nor want a head or heart of ampler worth,
To drive the march of Renovation forth.
The trophies of thy sterling worth are found
In all thy numerous tasteful works around;
Which speak a lasting honor to thy name,
That Envy's pois'nous breath can ne'er defame!
When dire distemper in its giant might,
Stalk'd through our land and left a fearful blight;
O'er the gay bridegroom flung its dread eclipse,
And dash' d the cup of pleasure from his lips ;
When on the wings of pestilential breath,
The Eastern plague rode on his white horse-Death ;
As many Rachels wept for children dead,
Or husbands gasping on., infectious bed'
When fluid with vapours, the nocturnal breeze
Diffus'd around that army of Disease ;
And frowning seem'd the erst glad cheerful sun,
To sink 'neath Ocean's wave as Day was done ;
While the wan weaver gastly plied his loom,
With fear awaiting for the general doom.
Insatiate swept was father, mother, son,
Into one grave-Yet this destructive one
Pass'd by thee, Lisburn-highly favor'd spot,
Tho' oft tby worth and virtue are forgot;
Thou wert remember'd by the King of kings,
From whom all hope, all preservation springs;
Health breathes around tbee-thou dost largely share
A Landlord's bounty and a Guardian's care.
Tho' I've no claim to that
Which flashes bright from old Apollo's Lyre;
'Tis mine to scorn the sycophantic lay,
The tune that's undeserv'd I spuru to play;
Free and unshackled as the breath of heaven,
I give whate'er I give without being driven;
Descrying oft the darkness of the Earth,
Where'er the rays of Light have blush'd to birth;
I hail with joy the renovated spot,
In Lisburn see that cheering glorious lot;
And tho' some grievances might still be shown,
I wont be first to fling the vengeful stone.
END OF CANTO III.