Imatges de pÓgina




HE is the freeman, whom the truth makes free,1 And all are slaves besides. There's not a chain, That hellish foes, confed'rate for his harm, Can wind around him, but he casts it off, With as much ease as Samson his green withes. He looks abroad into the varied field Of nature, and though poor, perhaps, compar'd With those whose mansions glitter in his sight, Calls the delightful scenery all his own. His are the mountains, and the valleys his, And the resplendent rivers: his t' enjoy With a propriety that none can feel, But who, with filial confidence inspir'd, Can lift to Heav'n an unpresumptuous eye, And smiling say-"My Father made them all!" Are they not his by a peculiar right, Whose eye they fill with tears of holy joy, Whose heart with praise, and whose exalted mind With worthy thoughts of that unwearied love, That plann'd, and built, and still upholds, a world So cloth'd with beauty, for rebellious man? Yes - ye may fill your garners, ye that reap The loaded soil, and ye may waste much good In senseless riot; but ye will not find In feast, or in the chase, in song or dance,

1 See Romans, vi. 22. John, viii. 32.


A liberty like his, who, unimpeach'd
Of usurpation, and to no man's wrong,
Appropriates nature as his Father's work,
And has a richer use of yours than you.
He is indeed a freeman. Free by birth
Of no mean city'; plann'd or ere the hills
Were built, the fountains open'd, or the sea,
With all his roaring multitude of waves.
His freedom is the same in ev'ry state;
And no condition of this changeful life,
So manifold in cares, whose ev'ry day
Brings its own evil with it, makes it less:
For he has wings, that neither sickness, pain,
Nor penury, can cripple or confine.

No nook so narrow but he spreads them there
With ease, and is at large. Th' oppressor holds
His body bound, but knows not what a range
His spirit takes, unconscious of a chain :
And that to bind him is a vain attempt,
Whom God delights in, and in whom he dwells.

Acquaint thyself with God 2, if thou wouldst taste
His works. Admitted once to his embrace,
Thou shalt perceive that thou wast blind before:
Thine eye shall be instructed, and thine heart
Made pure, shall relish, with divine delight
Till then unfelt, what hands divine have wrought.


But there is yet a liberty3, unsung
By poets, and by senators unprais'd,

Which monarchs cannot grant, nor all the pow'rs
Of earth and hell confed'rate, take away:

A liberty, which persecution, fraud,
Oppression, prisons, have no pow'r to bind;
Which whoso tastes can be enslav'd no more.
'Tis liberty of heart deriv'd from Heav'n,
Bought with His blood, who gave it to mankind,
And seal'd with the same token. It is held
By charter, and that charter sanction'd sure
By th' unimpeachable and awful oath
And promise of a God. His other gifts
All bear the royal stamp, that speaks them his,
And are august; but this transcends them all.

1 Hebrews, xii. 22. xiii. 14. 2 Job, xxii. 21. 3 See Romans, viii. 38.

His other works, the visible display1
Of all-creating energy and might,

Are grand no doubt, and worthy of the word,
That, finding an interminable space
Unoccupied, has fill'd the void so well,

And made so sparkling what was dark before.
But these are not his glory. Man, 'tis true,
Smit with the beauty of so fair a scene,
Might well suppose th' artificer divine
Meant it eternal, had he not himself
Pronounc'd it transient, glorious as it is,
And, still designing a more glorious far,
Doom'd it as insufficient for his praise.
These therefore are occasional, and pass;
Form'd for the confutation of the fool,
Whose lying heart disputes against a God 2;
That office serv'd, they must be swept away.
Not so the labours of his love: they shine
In other heav'ns than these that we behold,
And fade not. There is Paradise that fears
No forfeiture, and of its fruits he sends
Large prelibation3 oft to saints below.
Of these the first in order, and the pledge,
And confident assurance of the rest,
Is liberty; a flight into his arms
Ere yet mortality's fine threads give way,
A clear escape from tyrannizing lust,
And full immunity from penal woe..



I was a stricken deer, that left the herd
Long since. With many an arrow deep infix'd
My panting side was charg'd, when I withdrew
To seek a tranquil death in distant shades.
There was I found by one who had himself
Been hurt by th' archers. In his side he bore,
And in his hands and feet, the cruel scars.
With gentle force soliciting the darts,

He drew them forth, and heal'd and bade me live.
Since then, with few associates, in remote

1 Romans, i. 20.

2 Psalm liii. 1.

3 Foretaste.

4 Genesis, xlix. 23. Cowper alludes to this passage as typical of Christ.

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