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DR. ISAAC WATTS (1674-1748), is the most eminent of all our devotional poets. His Hymns and Psalms have been more used in religious services than all the other compositions of the same kind in the language. His Divine and Moral Songs for Children are without a rival in that not unimportant part of national literature.


How fine has the day been, how bright was the sun,
How lovely and joyful the course that he run,
Though he rose in a mist when his race he begun,
And there followed some droppings of rain!
But now the fair traveller's come to the west,
His rays are all gold, and his beauties are best;
He paints the sky gay as he sinks to his rest,

And foretells a bright rising again.

Just such is the Christian; his course he begins,
Like the sun in a mist, when he mourns for his sins,

And melts into tears; then he breaks out and shines,
And travels his heavenly way:

But when he comes nearer to finish his race,

Like a fine setting sun, he looks richer in grace,

And gives a sure hope at the end of his days,
Of rising in brighter array.




Before Jehovah's awful throne,
Ye nations bow with sacred joy:
Know that the Lord is God alone;
He can create, and he destroy.

His sovereign power, without our aid,
Made us of clay, and formed us men;
And when, like wandering sheep, we strayed,
He brought us to his fold again.

We are his people, we his care,

Our souls and all our mortal frame:

What lasting honours shall we rear,
Almighty Maker, to thy name!

We'll crowd thy gates with thankful songs,
High as the heavens our voices raise:
And earth, with her ten thousand tongues,
Shall fill thy courts with sounding praise.

Wide as the world is thy command,

Vast as eternity thy love,

Firm as a rock thy truth must stand,

When rolling years shall cease to move.


How fair is the rose! what a beautiful flower,

The glory of April and May!

But the leaves are beginning to fade in an hour, And they wither and die in a day.

Yet the rose has one powerful virtue to boast,

Above all the flowers of the field;

When its leaves are all dead, and its fine colours lost,
Still how sweet a perfume it will yield!

So frail is the youth and the beauty of men,
Though they bloom and look gay like the rose;
But all our fond care to preserve them is vain,
Time kills them as fast as he goes.

Then I'll not be proud of my youth nor my beauty,
Since both of them wither and fade;

But gain a good name by well-doing my duty;
This will scent like a rose when I'm dead.


PHILIP DODDRIDGE (1702-1751), has also written many beautiful Hymns. His paraphrase of the Epicurean motto "While we live, let us live,” (Dum vivimus vivamus), was pronounced by Johnson, the best epigram in the language.

Live while you live, the epicure would say,
And seize the pleasures of the present day.
Live while you live, the sacred preacher cries,

And give to God each moment as it flies.
Lord in my views let both united be;

I live in pleasure, when I live to thee.


EDWARD YOUNG (1681-1765), was the author of several poems, the most considerable of which is the Night Thoughts. This is written in a highly artificial style, and has more of epigrammatic point than any other work in the language. Almost as a matter of course, the poet is often brilliant at the expense of higher and more important qualities. Still, there are many noble passages, where he seems to speak as from inspiration. The truths of religion are enforced with a commanding energy and persuasion. Epigram and repartee are for the time forgotten, and the poet speaks out with a sincerity and earnestness that carry home conviction to every understanding. The extracts which follow, are all taken from the Night Thoughts.


Blest be that hand divine, which gently laid
My heart at rest beneath this humble shade!
The world's a stately bark, on dangerous seas,
With pleasure seen, but boarded at our peril;
Here, on a single plank, thrown safe ashore,
I hear the tumult of the distant throng,
As that of seas remote, or dying storms;

And meditate on scenes more silent still;
Pursue my theme, and fight the fear of death.
Here like a shepherd, gazing from his hut,
Touching his reed, or leaning on his staff,

Eager ambition's fiery chase I see;
I see the circling hunt of noisy men

Burst law's enclosure, leap the mounds of right,
Pursuing and pursued, each other's prey;
As wolves for rapine; as the fox for wiles;
Till death, that mighty hunter, earths them all.
Why all this toil for triumphs of an hour?
What though we wade in wealth, or soar in fame,
Earth's highest station ends in "here he lies,”
And "dust to dust" concludes her noblest song.


Look nature through, 't is revolution all;

All change, no death; day follows night, and night
The dying day; stars rise and set, and set and rise:
Earth takes the example. See, the Summer gay,
With her green chaplet and ambrosial flowers,
Droops into pallid Autumn: Winter grey,
Horrid with frost and turbulent with storms,

Blows Autumn and his golden fruits away,

Then melts into the Spring: soft Spring, with breath
Favonian, from warm chambers of the south,
Recalls the first. All, to reflourish, fades:

As in a wheel, all sinks to reascend:
Emblems of man, who passes, not expires.


How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,

How complicate, how wonderful is man!

How passing wonder He who made him such!

Who centred in our make such strange extremes,
From different natures marvellously mixed,


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