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non fuit:" "he ate all, and more than all; what was set before him, and what was kept from him." But then, for spiritual things, for the interest of our souls, and the affairs of the kingdom, we pray to God with just such a zeal as a man begs of a chirurgeon to cut him of the stone; or a condemned man desires his executioner quickly to put him out of his pain, by taking away his life; when things are come to that pass it must be done, but God knows with what little complacency and desire the man makes his request: and yet the things of religion and the spirit are the only things that ought to be desired vehemently, and pursued passionately, because God hath set such a value upon them, that they are the effects of his greatest loving-kindness ; they are the purchases of Christ's blood, and the effect of his continual intercession, the fruits of his bloody sacrifice, and the gifts of his healing and saving mercy; the graces of God's Spirit, and the only instruments of felicity: and if we can have fondnesses for things indifferent or dangerous, our prayers upbraid our spirits when we beg coldly and tamely for those things for which we ought to die, which are more precious than the globes of kings and weightier than imperial sceptres, richer than the spoils of the sea or the treasures of the Indian hills.

Under this title of lukewarmness and tepidity may be comprised also these cautions: that a good man's prayers are sometimes hindered by inadvertency, sometimes by want of perseverance. For inadvertency, or want of attendance to the sense and intention of our prayers, is certainly an effect of lukewarmness, and a certain companion and appendage to human infirmity; and is only so remedied, as our prayers are made zealous, and our infirmities pass into the strengths of the Spirit. But if we were quick in our perceptions, either concerning our danger, or our need, or the excellency of the object, or the glories of God, or the niceties and perfections of religion, we should not dare to throw away our prayers so like fools, or come to God and say a prayer with our mind standing at distance, trifling like untaught boys at their books, with a truantly spirit. I shall say no more to this, but that, in reason, we can never hope that God in heaven will hear our prayers, which we ourselves speak and yet hear not, at the same time when we ourselves speak them with instruments joined to our ears ; even with those organs which are parts of our hearing faculties. If they be not worth attending to, they are not worth God's hearing; if they are worth God's attending to, we must make them so by our own zeal, and passion, and industry, and observation, and a present and a holy spirit.

But concerning perseverance the consideration is something distinct. For when our prayer is, for a great matter and a great necessity, strictly attended to, yet we pursue it only by chance or humour, by the strengths of fancy, and natural disposition; or else our choice is cool as soon as hot, like the emissions of lightning; or like a sunbeam often interrupted with a cloud, or cooled with intervening showers; and our prayer is without fruit, because the desire lasts not, and the prayer lives like the repentance of Simon Magus, or the trembling of Felix, or the Jews' devotion for seven days of unleavened bread during the passover or the feast of tabernacles: but if we would secure the blessing of our prayers, and the effect of our prayers, we must never leave till we have obtained what we need.

93 TREES.

TREES—so beautiful in their individual attributes, so magnificent in their forest groups—are amongst the most lovely and glorious of the materials which Nature spreads before the poets. Spenser makes his Catalogue of Trees full of picturesque associations, by his wonderful choice of epithets :

And forth they pass, with pleasure forward led,
Joying to hear the birds' sweet harmony,
Which, therein shrouded from the tempest's dread,
Seemed in their song to scorn the cruel sky;
Much can they praise the trees so straight and high,
The sailing pine, the cedar proud and tall,
The vine-prop elm, the poplar never dry,

The builder oak, sole king of forests all;
The aspen good for staves ; the

cypress,

funeral.

The laurel, meed of mighty conquerors
And poets sage; the fir that weepeth still,
The willow, worn of forlorn paramours,
The

yew, obedient to the bender's will,

The birch for shafts, the sallow for the mill,
The myrrh sweet bleeding of the bitter wound,
The warlike beech, the ash for nothing ill,

The fruitful olive, and the plantane round,
The carver holm, the maple seldom inward sound.

SPENSER.

Cowper paints “the woodland scene” with a lighter pencil: his outlines are less defined; but his whole picture is true as well as beautiful :

Not distant far, a length of colonnade
Invites us: Monument of ancient taste,
Now scorn'd, but worthy of a better fate.
Our fathers knew the value of a screen
From sultry suns, and in their shaded walks
And long protracted bowers enjoy'd at noon
The gloom and coolness of declining day.
We bear our shades about us; self-deprived
Of other screen, the thin umbrella spread,
And range an Indian waste without a tree.
Thanks to Benevolus; he spares me yet
These chestnuts ranged in corresponding lines,
And, though himself so polish’d, still reprieves
The obsolete prolixity of shade.

Descending now (but cautious, lest too fast)
A sudden steep, upon a rustic bridge
We pass a gulf in which the willows dip
Their pendent boughs, stooping as if to drink.
Hence ankle-deep in moss and flowery thyme
We mount again, and feel at every step
Our foot half sunk in hillocks green and soft,
Raised by the mole, the miner of the soil.
He, not unlike the great ones of mankind,
Disfigures earth, and, plotting in the dark,
Toils much to earn a monumental pile
That

may record the mischiefs he has done.
The summit gain'd, behold the proud alcove
That crowns it! yet not all its pride secures

The grand retreat from injuries impress'd
By rural carvers, who with knives deface
The panels, leaving an obscure rude name
In characters uncouth, and spelt amiss.
So strong the zeal to immortalize himself
Beats in the breast of man, that even a few,
Few transient years, won from the abyss abhorr’d
Of blank oblivion, seem a glorious prize,
And even to a clown. Now roves the eye,
And, posted on this speculative height,
Exults in its command. The sheep-fold here
Pours out its fleecy tenants o'er the glebe.
At first progressive as a stream, they seek
The middle field; but scatter'd by degrees
Each to his choice, soon whiten all the land.
There, from the sun-burnt hay-field homeward creeps
The loaded wain, while lightend of its charge
The wain that meets it passes swiftly by,
The boorish driver leaning o'er his team
Vociferous, and impatient of delay.
Nor less attractive is the woodland scene,
Diversified with trees of every growth,
Alike, yet various. Here the grey smooth trunks
Of ash, or lime, or beech, distinctly shine,
Within the twilight of their distant shades ;
There lost behind a rising ground, the wood
Seems sunk, and shorten'd to its topmost boughs.
No tree in all the grove but has its charms,
Though each its hue peculiar; paler some,
And of a wannish grey; the willow such
And poplar, that with silver lines his leaf,
And ash far-stretching his umbrageous arm;
Of deeper green the elm; and deeper still,
Lord of the woods, the long-surviving oak.
Some glossy-leaved and shining in the sun,
The maple, and the beech of oily nuts
Prolific, and the lime at dewy eve
Diffusing odours : nor unnoted pass

The sycamore, capricious in attire,
Now green, now tawny, and, ere autumn yet
Have changed the woods, in scarlet honours bright.
O'er these, but far beyond (a spacious map
Of hill and valley interposed between),
The Ouse, dividing the well-water'd land,
Now glitters in the sun, and now retires,
As bashful, yet impatient to be seen.

CowPER. Scott associates the “forest fair” with the feudal grandeur of hunt and falconry :

The scenes are desert now, and bare,
Where flourish'd once a forest fair,
When these waste glens with copse were lined,
And peopled with the hart and hind.
Yon thorn-perchance whose prickly spears
Have fenced him for three hundred years,
While fell around his green compeers-
Yon lonely thorn, would he could tell
The changes of his parent dell,
Since he, so grey and stubborn now,
Waved in each breeze a sapling bough;
Would he could tell how deep the shade,
A thousand mingled branches made;
How broad the shadows of the oak,
How clung the rowan to the rock.
And through the foliage show'd his head,
With narrow leaves and berries red;
What pines on every mountain sprung,
O'er
every

dell what birches hung,
In every breeze what aspens shook,

i What alders shaded

every

brook!
“Here in my shade," methinks he'd say,
"The mighty stag at noontide lay:
The wolf I've seen, a fiercer game,
(The neighbouring dingle bears his name,
With lurching step around me prowl,
And stop against the moon to howl;

с

VOL. II.

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