James Thomson

A Paraphrase On The Latter Part Of The Sixth Chapter Of St Matthew

James Thomson, who wrote under the pseudonym Bysshe Vanolis, was a Scottish Victorian-era poet famous primarily for the long poem The City of Dreadful Night, an expression of bleak pessimism in a dehumanized, uncaring urban environment.






When my breast labours with oppressive care,
And o'er my cheek descends the falling tear:
While all my warring passions are at strife,
Oh! let me listen to the words of life!
Raptures deep-felt his doctrine did impart,
And thus he rais'd from earth the drooping heart.
'Think not, when all your scanty stores afford,
Is spread at once upon the springing board;
Think not, when worn the homely robe appears,
While on the roof the howling tempest bears;
What farther shall this feeble life sustain,
And what shall clothe these shiv'ring limbs again.
Say, does not life its nourishment exceed?
And the fair body its investing weed?
Behold! and look away your low despair -
See the light tenants of the barren air:
To them, not stores, nor granaries, belong;
Nought, but the woodland, and the pleasing song;
Yet, your kind heav'nly Father bends his eye
On the least wing that flits along the sky.
To him they sing, when spring renews the plain;
To him they cry, in winter's pinching reign;
Nor is their music, nor their plaint in vain;
He hears the gay, and the distressful call;
And with unsparing bounty fills them all.'
'Observe the rising lily's snowy grace;
Observe the various vegetable race:
They neither toil, nor spin, but careless grow;
Yet see how warm they blush! how bright they glow!
What regal vestmentscan with them compare?
What king so shining! or what queen so fair!'
'If ceaseless, thus, the fowls of heav'n he feeds;
If o'er the fields such lucid robes he spreads;
Will he not care for you, ye faithless, say?
Is he unwise? or, are ye less than they?'

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