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A poem by James Parkerson


Title:     Advice
Author: James Parkerson [More Titles by Parkerson]

Vile man, abstain from every artful plan,
When found out disgrace the name of man;
Let those who steal, repent and sin no more,
Ere Law decrees, it’s vengeance on them pour;
From trifling things, we greater ills pursue,
Till the Law’s fangs are brought within our view;
Stop, stop bad courses, ere it be too late,
And justice dooms you to a culprit’s fate.
Riots avoid, tho’ mischief none you do,
Your being at them, brings a stain on you;
Those who look on, will afterwards repent,
And share alike in point of punishment:
The Law expressly properly declare,
He adds to tumult, that is present there;
Take my advice, let reason bear her sway,
From scenes of discord, always keep away;
You’d think it hard, a worthless savage crew,
Should gain by plunder, all your goods from you:
The worst of men are foremost on a plan,
To gain by rapine every way they can;
Do you suppose, that wasting others store,
Can ease the hardships of the labouring poor;
No such a course, our present ills increase,
And robs the Nation of its inward peace.
From late example, all are taught to know,
Dreadful his fate, that strikes confusion’s blow;
Then let us quiet at our cots remain,
And better times will cheer us once again.
All means are trying comforts to restore,
To ease the hardships of the labouring poor;
Think what distress awaits dishonest ways,
Immured in prison many wretched days;
Not only days, perhaps they shed their tears,
In Foreign Lands for many dismal years;
Not only years perhaps are doom’d for life,
Abroad to roam, from children, home and wife:
Should it your lot in prison for to be,
Implore with fervent prayer the Deity;
Who will in time if you sincerely pray,
Lessen your troubles each succeeding day:
It’s thro’ our Saviour’s aid that we should crave,
A gracious pardon ere we meet the grave;
His intercession with the King of Kings,
Alone can save you from eternal stings.
When at the court, for trial you appear,
Speak nought but truth, you better for it fare;
For should you dare to introduce a lie,
Justice’s sharp eye each falsehood will descry:
I’ve known a perjur’d witness brought to swear,
The guilty felon, of his crime is clear:
Dismay’d, confus’d, he feels alas! too late,
Such impious conduct greatly aggravate;
Besides he answers at the awful day,
For causing others from the truth to stray.
Whatever happens in this vale of tears,
Our Maker knows, give him your fervent prayers:
Let your demeanor if in prison be,
Such as the jailor can contrition see;
For his report may mitigate your doom,
And sometimes save you from a prison’s gloom.
Religious Books if you can read attend,
They are in solitude the pris’ner’s friend;
When at the Chapel, do not cast away,
By inattention what the Chaplain say:
It’s pure Religion cheers each good man’s heart,
And will in time its blessings soon impart;
Such as perhaps you never knew before,
And doubtless will your peace of mind restore.
The Bible read when in your dismal cell,
Read it attentive, ere you bid farewell;
To him who may companion with you be;
Your soul that night may be required of thee.
A scene I witnessed, and not long time since,
Would stop the errors of an hardened prince;
Three men were sentenc’d by the law to die,
To hear them mourn, to see the drooping eye;
Would cause sensations of a painful kind,
While anxious cares oppress the tortur’d mind.
A pious Chaplain strove, to bring in view,
The proffer’d pardon if repentants true.
He said that God was merciful and just,
To implore forgiveness, on his word to trust;
There is a record where the scripture say,
Those that repent he will not cast away;
A sigh or tear cannot that boon impart,
It must be fervent from the head and heart:
Thro’ Jesus’ aid vile sinners doth he save,
If true repentants, ere they meet the grave.
Each wish’d they could recal, the time that’s past,
And they would live as if each day the last:
Just before death, they pray’d me to implore,
An erring mortal to transgress no more;
Hope their lov’d Chaplain might for ever be
When call’d on high, blessed to eternity;
They knew his worth his heart is of a kind,
That plants soft pity to a feeling mind;
Deeker as Chaplain, few can e’er excel,
Belov’d by all who bid the jail farewell.
When first I saw these wretched men in jail,
Before their trial did their fate bewail;
Soon as the sentence met each anxious ear,
Resign’d and true repentants did appear;
One and all cried out, oh that God how just!
To stop our sad career, on thee we’ll trust;
One cause alone have made this sad distress,
Neglecting Lord’s day and our drunkenness.

[The end]
James Parkerson's poem: Advice