1745 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Free

Philargyrus, "To the Rev. Dr. Free of Alban Hall, Oxford, on hearing his Sermon on Colossians, iii.2" Gentleman's Magazine 15 (August 1745) 440.



Long err'd each sage in search of bliss below,
And sought on earth, what earth cou'd not bestow,
Dubious to fix, and timorous to stray,
Still wishing for, and wanting brighter day.
At length that day arose to human sight,
And heav'n bestow'd the long, long-wish'd for light,
Beheld each error with a parent's sigh,
Reform'd the soul, and purg'd the mental eye:
True bliss appear'd in native splendor drest,
Flash'd on the mind, and fir'd the human breast.
Mortals then sought for happiness within,
Crush'd ev'ry lust, and butcher'd ev'ry sin.
No more externals cou'd their love engross,
But even a wish for earth was deem'd a loss.
For men and seraphs in one orbit trod,
Their wish, their center, and their being GOD.
Hail! born of heav'n! this antient light restore
(Bless him ye mortals, and your GOD adore!)
With reason dare to charm the devious soul,
Restrain its passions, and its lusts controul!
Teach us the vanity of things below,
And all our happiness "ourselves to know."
Such tasks as these to FREE alone belong,
In vice infirm, in manly virtue strong;
"Whose good example strengthens all his laws,
And is himself the happy man he draws."