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Death, Friendship, and Philander's final scene.
dark cloud an Iris; and from grief
25 (O glorious avarice!) thought of death inspires, As rumour'd robberies endear our gold? O Time! than gold more sacred; more a load Than lead, to fools; and fools reputed wise. What moment granted man without account?
30 What years are squander'd, wisdom's debt unpaid ! Our wealth in days, all due to that discharge. Hafte, haste, he lies in wait, he's at the door, Insidious Death! should his strong hand arrest, No composition sets the prisoner free.
35 Eternity's inexorable chain Fast binds; and vengeance claims the full arrear.
How late I shudder'd on the brink! how late
strain. For what calls thy disease, Lorenzo ? not 45 For Ejculajian, but for moral aid.
Thou think'st it folly to be wise too soon.
55 Is this our duty, wisdom, glory, gain? (These heaven benign in vital union binds) And sport we like the natives of the bough, When vernal suns inspire ? Amusement reigns Man's great demand: To trifle, is to live: 60 And is it then a trifle, too, to die?
Thou say'lt I preach, Lorenzo, 'tis confeft. What if, for once, I preach thee quite awake? Who wants amusement in the flame of battle? Is it not treason, to the soul immortal, Her foes in arms, eternity the prize? Will toys amuse, when medicines cannot cure? When fpirits ebb, when life's enchanting scenes Their lustre lose, and lessen in our sight, As lands, and cities with their glittering spires, 70 To the poor shatter'd bark, by sudden storm Thrown off to sea, and soon to perish there? Will toys amuse? No: Thrones will then be toys, And earth and skies seem dust upon the scale.
Redeem we time? --Its loss we dearly buy. 75 What pleads Lorenzo for his high-priz'd sports ?
He pleads Time's numerous blanks; he loudly pleads
go Who does the best his circumstance allows, Does well, acts nobly; angels could no more. Our outward act indeed admits restraint; ”Tis not in things o'er thought to domineer; Guard well thy thought; our thoughts are heard in heaven.
95 On all important Time, through every age, Though much, and warm, the wise have urg'd; the man Is yet unborn, who duly weighs an hour. " I've lost a day”-the prince who nobly cry'd Had been an emperor without his crown;
100 Of Rome, say, rather, lord of human race: He spoke, as if deputed by mankind, So should all speak: So reason speaks in all: From the soft whispers of that God in man, Why fly to folly, why to phrenzy fly,
For rescue from the blessing we possess ?
Ah! how unjust to nature and himself,
120 (For Nature's voice unftifled would recall) Drives headlong towards the precipice of death; Death, most our dread; death thus more dreadful made; O what a riddle of absurdity! Leisure is pain; takes off our chariot wheels;
cry for mercy to the next amusement;
We call him cruel ; years to moments shrink,
150 And bare existence, man, to live ordain'd, Wrings, and oppresles with enormous weight. And why? since Time was given for use, not waste, Injoin’d to fly; with tempeft, tide, and stars, To keep his speed, nor ever wait for man; 155 Time's use was doom'd a pleasure : wafte, a pain ; That man might feel his error, if unseen : And, feeling, fly to labour for his cure ; Not, blundering, split on idleness for ease. Life's cares are comforts; such by heaven design'd; 160 He that has none, must make them, or be wretched. Cares are employments, and without employ The soul is on a rack; the rack of rest, To souls most adverse ; action all their joy.