THE SIGHTS RETREAT A POEM BY H.W. GENT,

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To the Honoured DR. SLOANE,

SIR,

THE Ensuing POEM, Enti­tul'd, the Sight's Retreat, be­ing the Off-spring of an obscure Muse, is, with all Deference, Dedicated by the Author himself, to your Discreet Com­passion, who being of late almost o're­whelm'd with Darkness, and his Can­dle at present quite Extinguish'd, hum­bly takes leave on a just Consideration of your manifold Virtues and Perfections, to Illuminate the same, and Light it a­gain at your Honour's Altar, who am with all due Submission,

Your Honour's Unfortunate, but Dark and Dutiful Servant. Henry Wari [...].
DARK in a Closet all alone,
(But not to Muse on Pelf,
Nor no Man's Business, but my own
Bewail I will My Self.
I who have Seen and likewise Gon
as Far, ('tween Shore and Shore)
As most hath done, except the Sun,
am like to See no more.
For as the Earth doth Intervene
'tween Sol and Luna's Light,
So by a Turn of Fortune's Spleen,
Eclisped is my Sight:
For what's the World without a Sun,
but 'Chaos as at First?
And what is Man, when Sight is gone,
but a meer lump of Dust?
EYES I have got but cannot See,
so Blind I am of Late,
That all, but sad Obscurity,
has quitted my Estate.
But GOD is Good as well as Just,
He slights not the Distrest;
For what we think to be the Worst,
may prove, hereafter, Best,
Eclips'd from Me are all Good Things
contain'd in Nature's Fold;
The Sun, nor Moon, nor Courts of Kings,
No More! must I behold.
But all is best from Him that's Blest,
to thee no Harm can fall;
For if his Grace shines in thy Breast,
thou art not Blind at all.
No Need in Heav'n of Carnal Sight,
the Eye of Man can't bear
One Glimpse of the Eternal Light;
for GOD Himself is there.
Tobit was Blind, but not in Mind,
Within he had his Sight.
So he who is to GOD Resign'd,
is always in the Light.
Sensual Saul (but now St. Paul)
had not his Sight so well
Before his Visionary Fall,
as after him befel.
He in the Dark mistook the Mark,
for want of Inward Sight,
But when his Dove had reach'd the Ark,
he then beheld the Light.
From whose False Zeal was no Appeal,
so Head-strong was his Sin,
Till JESUS did Himself Reveal,
And then he saw Within.
But when from his obscur'd Sight
the Scales of Sin did fall,
He then became a Shining Light,
and Burning Lamp to all.
Dark in his Sight but not in Mind
perhaps he then might be;
But who can say that he was Blind,
who did our Saviour See.
Who is the Light and Supream Light,
on whom we should depend,
Which yet no Light nor Sensual Sight,
could ever Comprehend.
And this is Truth, That Light Divine,
which Light its self begot,
Which here in Darkness once did shine,
and Darkness knew it not,
This is the Light and perfect Light,
the Ignis of the Mind;
For tho' your Sight be ne'er so Bright,
without it you are Blind.
Give Me this Light, oh, Heavenly Light!
that I the Light may see,
And in thy Bright, Caelestial Sight,
be always Lauding Thee.
Whose Heav'nly Goodness I'll adore,
in thee will put my Trust,
Before I leave this Sinful Shore,
and turn to Natal Dust.
But while I'm Fated Here to stay,
and seek my Sight in vain,
Instruct Me Goodness how I may
Lost Charity Regain.
For how can he Contented be
whose Sight and Wealth is Flown,
Unless he find out Charity
his Trouble to bemoan.
OH! CHARITY, thou Heav'nly Fire,
whose Absence breeds Debate,
Oh! Where from hence dost thou Retire,
When thou absconds the State?
Oh! Where art thou at Present gone,
so far from my Distress?
To what Remoted Province flown?
and where is thy Recess?
If still on Earth we sure should be,
more Prone to dole Relief,
More Prone to shew Humanity,
and ease each others Grief.
A Helpless Friend would not Forsake,
but Vile Ambition Curb,
Which does in State False Faction make,
the Nation to disturb.
But thou art gone where none does know,
long since from Hence art fled;
For if thou wert with Us 'Below,
thou couldst not hide thy Head.
For as the Sun is often hid
by Mist or else by Rain;
But when those Mists are Vanished
the Sun appears again.
But she seems gone for good and all,
has tan'e from Hence her Flight,
Above the Reach of Human Call,
so Wretched is our Plight.
But yet, Methinks some Part of thee,
must still on Earth Remain;
For if there was no Charity
the World would Drown again.
But where that Part does here abide
comes not within my View,
In Court she seems not to Reside,
nor with the Common Crew.
Where then must I her Footsteps trace,
some one to Me declare,
That I may to that Sacred Place
with my Complaint repair.
Where or where not she here doth Dwell,
there's no Man can Decypher,
Unless the Mendicant can tell,
who cannot Live beside her.
But where she's not we all my guess;
all may suppose in Part,
That with the Rich she seldom is,
nor with the Proud of Heart.
With such she has not much to do,
nor they with her the same,
She is as much above their View,
as they beneath my Theam.
The Proud in Purse and Person too,
her Business is to shun,
As They from her here Daily do,
so She from Them doth Run.
Good GOD! to what a Height of Pride,
and Latitude of Sin,
Are they that won't in Her Confide,
dayly involved in?
Diogenes with Torch at Noon,
where Persons Most appear,
Might find an Honest Man as soon!
as find this Precept Here.
You may as well expect to View,
this precept hid in Wealth,
As with a Jew and Miser Crew,
or such as Worship Pelf.
In Skellum Land where Boors abound,
as well the Cinnique might
Go Seek her, (where she ne'er was found)
as with these sordid Wights.
Then tell to me, Dear Charity,
since Thou at Once I know,
As well on Earth as Heav'n can be,
Where Thou abid'st Below.
For if the Court (as some Report)
Nor Town doth Thee Conceal,
I know not where I can Resort
to bring in my Appeal.
If to the Fields my Course I steer,
and search the distant Plains,
I find she seldom does appear
among the Rural Swains.
From Nabal's Breed she flyes with Speed,
and from all Churlish Elves,
Who in their Neighbours greatest Need
only Regard Themselves.
As well I may in ev'ry Part,
where yet the ne'er could Rest,
Go seek her in a Miser's Heart,
or in an Atheist's Breast.
Then since my Search is Here in Vain,
I will to Heav'n by Pray'r.
Ascend and mount the Starry Wane,
and strive to find her there.
But hold, Methinks I hear some say,
My Friend, thou art too Bold;
You must in Course quite lose your Way
if you this Method hold.
'Tis Good, indeed, what you intend,
'tis Good to practise Prayer;
But she must first be here your Friend
e'er you can well get there.
In Me 'tis Base then to Comply
with e ery False Negation,
And slight the Rule of Charity,
which leadeth to Salvation.
Tis She, unless you'd go aside,
and Wander in the Dark,
That in your Way must be your Guide,
or you will miss the Mark.
Patience she gives to them that Toyls,
from no Man's Wants e'er Fled;
The Virgins Lamps she feeds with Oyl,
the Hungary with Bread.
'Tis she prevents our Second Fall,
saves us from one another:
'Tis she that does preserve us all
from Ruining each other.
As Satan was to Tophet hurl'd
for Practising Sedition;
So Charity props up the World
from sinking to Perdition.
Good GOD! Let Me Who cannot See,
from hence all Vice detest,
And all who slight not Charity
be at her Altar Blest.
Bavus the Rich on Belus Poor
look'd with Contempt and Scorn,
'Cause Belus Hat he did not low'r,
he being better Born.
But this is Pride not Charity;
for Charity will bend,
Show Courtesie with Cap and Knee,
either to Foe or Friend.
To JESUS then the God of Light
my Soul I will display,
And to his Name, with all my Might,
Sing Anthems all the Day.
But Charity to seek indeed
no Place more Proper Here
Than in the Creed, or Pilgrim's Weed
and you will find Her there.
Where in Church Militant Below,
Communes with Church Above,
And daily does on Both bestow
the Sacred Band of Love.
Sacred indeed! tho' by Some deem'd
to be but Common Food.
A Sign-Post is as much Esteem'd,
as is the Holy Rood.
Yet I with Heart and Supple Knee
to this Blest Cross will creep,
And there Absorpt, as I should be,
another Deluge Weep.
Where to the Good of the First Class,
to whom these Lines I send,
She may Prefer a Pauper's Case,
and raise Him up a Friend.
For if we all were in one State,
and She should all forgo,
Who could prevent a Sodom Fate
from Burning all below?
From Woes at Present and to Come,
Destruction, Death and Hell,
And all the Plagues Abroad or Home,
or ever yet Befell.
What will ye do, Oh! Sons of Men,
when Christ Returns with Ire,
To Visit Jacobs Race again,
and Judge the World by Fire:
Then shall we wish as all will do,
that Charity had Stay'd,
And that to Her we'd been more True,
and in Her Robe aray'd.
When Trembling from the Grave you must,
like a Poor wite Dismay'd,
Once more put on your Native Dust,
and quit the Naucious Shade;
Instead of being then a Friend,
will Agravate Your Case,
No more will on Your State attend,
but stand tween You and Grace.
Occult and hid then will She be,
will leave You to Your Fate,
To Gods Desicive Equity,
and Heav'ns impending Hate,
Therefore in Closset Dark will I,
once more in this sad State,
Delate on my Obscurity,
and my Dark Lanthorne Fate.
When Sol withdraws his Splendid Ray,
and Rain on Earth does Power,
When Clouds does Skreen us from the Day,
and Heav'n above does Lower,
But worse it tis in my Dark way;
now quite Depriv'd of Light,
In Green-Land, Bears sees more of Day,
and less then I of Night.
But 'tis not so with my Blind Fate,
Devoid of Earthly Bliss,
For whilst I'm in this Gloomy State,
the World a Dung'on is,
Cemerian Darkness is my Lott,
with me in this Tereen,
Tho' Wonders more I have forgot,
then Half the World has seen.
Wretched and Sad is that Mans Case,
that nothing here can Spy,
In this Confused Wretched Place,
But his own Misery,
But what availeth Wonders here,
on Sea or yet on Shore,
To one whose Sight does Disappear,
and is to See no more.
Helpful are all things in their kind,
that are to Care allay'd,
Except the Sick that nought can mind,
nor for themselves provide,
Before the Great Fiat was said,
and Sin did Grace invade,
Apollo slept in Thetis Bed,
and all the World was Shade.
Then Sinful Manhood came in Play,
whose utmost Care has been,
His Souls Salvation to Betray,
and more and more to Sin,
With which Contaminating Vice,
undone was all Mankind,
And with the same Sin in a Trice,
was I my Self made Blind.
Great is that Darkness Christ does Say,
Surprizes ev'ry Part,
Of this our Transitory Clay,
as well as of the Heart:
The Eye of Heav'n or Phaebus Bright,
His Beams to all Reveals,
But if Mans Sight saw not his Light,
what wou'd the Sun avail.
For any good that can from thence
redown unto the Blind,
Having no other Providence,
to keep Sedate the Mind,
Useless the Carnal Eye is there
where this true Light is found,
No Pearls nor Chataraks are where,
Such Lustre does abound.
Faith is my Eye and Heav'n my Hope,
with Faith instead of Sight,
To Paradice my way I'le Grope,
and There enjoy the Light,
But Darkness proves my Fatal Share,
with me to Live in Sorrow,
And for a Life to Day take Care,
which may be gone to Morrow.
But fincc I'm here Constrain'd to Dwell,
nor no good thing to View,
God keep me from the way to Hell,
and let what will Ensue,
All others may all things behold,
and State their Greedy Eyes,
The Avariceous Man with Gold,
as Fopps and Fools with Toys.
So may they still, but let my Heart,
O God which is thy Right,
For Thee alone be set apart,
and in Thy Law Delight,
But since from Sin we shou'd live clear,
and keep our selves from Strife,
My Self I will not sancy here,
but in another Life.
Where Chaff from the good Seed is fann'd,
and Piety sits Crown'd,
Where Christ is Plac'd at Gods Right Hand,
and Tryumphs does abound,
In which Blest Mansion may the just,
who here does Vice Detest,
And in the Lord do put their Trust,
with my good Reader Rest.
FINIS.

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