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Faith, with his virtue, he indeed professid, But doubts deprived his ardent mind of rest; Reason, his sovereign mistress, fail'd to show Light through the mazes of the world below; Questions arose, and they surpass'd the skill Of his sole aid, and would be dubious still ; These to discuss he sought no common guide, But to the doubters in his doubts applied ; When all together might in freedom speak, And their loved truth with mutual ardour seek. Alas! though men who feel their eyes decay Take more than common pains to find their way, Yet, when for this they ask each other's aid, Their mutual
is the more delay'd: Of all their doubts, their reasoning clear'd not one, Still the same spots were present in the sun ; Still the same scruples haunted Edward's mind, Who found no rest, nor took the means to find.
But though with shaken faith, and slave to fame, Vain and aspiring on the world he came ; Yet was he studious, serious, moral, grave, No passion's victim, and no system's slave; Vice he opposed, indulgence he disdain'd, And o'er each sense in conscious triumph reign'd.
Who often reads, will sometimes wish to write, And Shore would yield instruction and delight: A serious drama he design'd, but found 'Twas tedious travelling in that gloomy ground; A deep and solemn story he would try, But
grew ashamed of ghosts, and laid it by; Sermons he wrote, but they who knew his creed, Or knew it not, were ill disposed to read ; And he would lastly be the nation's guide, But, studying, fail'd to fix upon a side; Fame he desired, and talents he possess'd, But loved not labour, though he could not rest, Nor firmly fix the vacillating mind, That, ever working, could no centre find.
'Tis thus a sanguine reader loves to trace The Nile forth rushing on his glorious race; Calm and secure the fancied Traveller goes Through sterile deserts and by threat'ning foes ; He thinks not then of Afric's scorching sands, Th’ Arabian sea, the Abyssinian bands; Fasils and Michaels, and the robbers all, Whom we politely chiefs and heroes call: He of success alone delights to think, He views that fount, he stands upon the brink, And drinks a fancied draught, exulting so to drink.
In his own room, and with his books around,
There was a house where Edward ofttimes went, And social hours in pleasant trifling spent; He read, conversed and reason'd, sang and play'd, And all were happy while the idler stay'd ; Too happy one, for thence arose the pain, Till this engaging trifler came again.
But did he love? We answer, day by day, The loving feet would take th' accustom'd way, The amorous eye would rove as if in quest Of something rare, and on the mansion rest; The same soft passion touch'd the gentle tongue, And Anna's charms in tender notes were sung; The ear too seem'd to feel the common flame, Sooth’d and delighted with the fair one's name;
And thus as love each other part possess'd,
Pleased in her sight, the Youth required no more ; Not rich himself, he saw the Damsel poor; And he too wisely, nay, too kindly loved, To pain the being whom his soul approved.
A serious Friend our cautious Youth possess'd,
The youthful Friend, dissentient, reason'd still
The Friend, indulging a sarcastic smile, Said—“Dear Enthusiast! thou wilt change thy style, « When Man's delusions, errors, crimes, deceit, “ No more distress thee, and no longer cheat.”
Yet lo! this cautious Man, so coolly wise, On a young Beauty fixt unguarded eyes ; And her he married: Edward at the view Bade to his cheerful visits long adieu; But haply err’d, for this engaging Bride No mirth suppress’d, but rather cause supplied : And when she saw the friends, by reasoning long, Confused if right, and positive if wrong, With playful speech and smile, that spoke delight, She made them careless both of wrong and right.
This gentle Damsel gave consent to wed,