Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE ITALIAN BISHOP, by JOHN BYROM



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THE ITALIAN BISHOP, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: There is no kind of a fragmental note
Last Line: "nothing on earth should make a man repine."
Subject(s): Clergy; Priests; Rabbis; Ministers; Bishops


THERE is no kind of a fragmental note,
That please better than an anecdote,
Or fact unpublish'd, when it comes to rise,
And give the more agreeable surprise:
From long oblivion sav'd, an useful hint
Is doubly grateful when reviv'd in print:
A late and striking instance of this kind
Delighted many an attentive mind;
This anecdote my task is to rehearse,
As highly fit to be consign'd to verse.

There liv'd a Bishop, once upon a time,
Where is not said, but Italy the clime;
An honest, pious man, who understood
How to behave as a true Bishop should;
But thro' an opposition, form'd to blast
His good designs, by men of diff'rent cast,
He had some tedious struggles, and a train
Of rude affronts and insults to sustain;
And did sustain;—with calm unruffled mind
He bore them all, and never once repin'd:
An intimate acquaintance, one who knew
What difficulties he had waded thro'
Time after time, and very much admir'd
A patience so provok'd and so untir'd,
Made bold to ask him, if he could impart,
Or teach the secret of his happy art;
"Yes," said the good old prelate, "that I can,
"And 'tis a plain and practicable plan;
"For all the secret that I know of, lies
"In making a right use of my own eyes."
Begg'd to explain himself, how that should be—
"Why, in whatever state I am," said he,
"I first look up to Heav'n; as well aware,
"That to get thither is my main affair.
"I then look down upon the earth, and think,
"In a short space of time, how small a chink
"I shall possess of its extensive ground;
"And then I cast my seeing eyes around,
"Where more distress appears, on ev'ry side,
"Amongst mankind, that I myself abide.
"So that, reflecting on my own concern,
"First—where true happiness is plac'd, I learn:
"Next—let the world, to what it will, pretend,
"I see where all its good and ill must end:
"Last—how unjust it is, as well as vain,
"Upon a fair discernment, to complain.
"Thus looking up, and down, and round about,
"Right use of eyes may find my secret out:
"With heav'n in view—his real home—in fine,
"Nothing on earth should make a man repine."





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