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To make us but more wretched : Wisdom's eye,
Acute, for what? To spy more miseries?
And worth, so recompens’d, new-points their stings.
Or man surmounts the grave, or gain is loss,
And worth exalted humbles us the more.
Thou wilt not patronize a scheme that makes
Weakness, and vice, the refuge of mankind.
“ Has virtue, then, no joys?"_Yes, joys dear-bought.
Talk ne'er so long, in this imperfect state,
Virtue and vice are at eternal war,
Virtue's a combat ; and who fights for nought?
Or for precarious, or for small reward?
Who virtue's self-reward so loud resound,
Would take degrees angelic here below,
And virtue, while they compliment, betray,
By feeble motives, and unfaithful guards.
The crown, th’unfading crown, her soul inspires :
Tis That, and That alone, can countervail
The body's treacheries, and the world's assaults :
On earth's poor pay our famisht virtue dies.
Truth incontestable ! In spite of all
A BAYLE has preach'd, or a V e believ'd.
In man the more we dive, the more we see
Heav'n's signet stamping an immortal make.
Dive to the bottom of his soul, the base
Sustaining all; what find we? Knowledge, Love.
As light and heat, essential to the sun,
These to the soul. And why, if souls expire ?
How little lovely here? How little known?
Small knowledge we dig up with endless toil ;
And love unfeign'd may purchase perfect hate.
Why starv'd, on earth, our angel appetites;
While brutal are indulg'd their fulsome fill?
Were then capacities divine conferr'd,
As a mock diadem, in savage sport,
Rank insult of our pompous poverty,
Which reaps but pain, from seeming claims so fair?
In future age lies no redress? And shuts
Eternity the door on our complaint?
If so, for what strange ends were mortals made?
The worst to wallow, and the best to weep;
The man who merits most, must most complain :
Can we conceive a disregard in heav'n,
What the worst perpetrate, or best endure ?
. This cannot be. To love, and know, in man
Is boundless appetite, and boundless pow'r;
And these demonstrate boundless objects too.
Objects, pow'rs, appetites, heav'n suits in All;
· Nor nature thro', e'er violates this sweet,
Eternal concord, on her tuneful string.
Is man the sole exception from her laws ?
Eternity struck off from human hope,
(I speak with truth, but veneration too)
Man is a monster, the reproach of heav'n,
A stain, a dark impenetrable cloud
On nature's beauteous aspect; and deforms,
(Amazing blot !) deforms her with her lord.
It such is man's allotment, what is heav'n?
Or own the soul immortal, or blaspheme.
Or own the soul immortal, or invert
All order. Go, mock-majesty! go, man!
And bow to thy superiors of the stall ;
Thro' ev'ry scene of sense superior far:
They graze the turf untillid; they drink the stream
Unbrew'd, and ever full, and unembitter'd
With doubts, fears, fruitless hopes, regrets, despairs ;
Mankind's peculiar! reason's precious dower !
No foreign clime they ransack for their robes ;
Nor brothers cite to the litigious bar; .
Their good is good intire, unmixt, unmarrid;
They find a paradise in ev'ry field,
On boughs forbidden where no curses hang:
Their ill no more than strikes the sense ; unstrecht
By previous dread, or murmur in the rear :
When the worst comes, it comes unfear'd; one stroke
Begins, and ends their woe: They die but once ;
Blest, incommunicable privilege ! for which
Proud man, who rules the globe, and reads the stars,
Philosopher, or hero, sighs in vain.
Account for this prerogative in brutes.
No day, no glimpse of day, to solve the knot,
But what beams on it from eternity.
O sole, and sweet solution ! That unties
The difficult, and softens the severe;
The cloud on nature's beauteous face dispels;
Restores bright order ; casts the brute beneath;
And re-inthrones us in supremacy
Of joy, ev'n here: Admit immortal life,
And virtue is knight-errantry no more;
Each virtue brings in hand a golden dower,
Far richer in reversion: Hope exults ;
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And 'tho much bitter in our cup is thrown,
Predominates, and gives the taste of heaven.
O wherefore is the DEITY so kind ?
Astonishing beyond astonishment !
Heav'n our reward for heav'n enjoy'd below.
Still unsubdu'd thy stubborn heart? -For there
The traitor lurks who doubts the truth I sing.
Reason is guiltless; will alone rebels.
What, in that stubborn heart, if I should find
New, unexpected witnesses 'gainst thee?
Ambition, pleasure, and the love of gain!
Canst thou suspect, that these, which make the soul
The slave of earth, should own her heir of heav'n?
Canst thou suspect what makes us disbelieve
Our immortality, should prove it sure ?
First, then, ambition summon to the bar.
Ambition's shame, extravagance, disgust,
And inextinguishable nature, speak.
Each much deposes ; hear them in their turn.
Thy soul, how passionately fond of fame !
How anxious, that fond passion to conceal !
We blush, detected in designs on praise,
Tho' for best deeds, and from the best of men.
And why? Because immortal. Art divine
Has made the body tutor to the soul;
Heav'n kindly gives our blood a moral flow;
Bids it ascend the glowing cheek, and there
Upbraid that little heart's inglorious aim, . .
Which stoops to court a character from man;
While o'er us, in tremendous judgment sit
Far more than man, with endless praise and blame.
Ambition's boundless appetite out-speaks
The verdict of its shame. When souls take fire
At high presumptions of their own desert,
One age is poor applause ; the mighty shout,
The thunder by the living few begun,
Late time must echo; worlds unborn, resound.
We wish our names eternally to live:
Wild dream, which ne'er had haunted human thought
Had not our natures been eternal too.
Instinct points out an int'rest in hereafter;
But our blind reason sees not where it lies ;
Or, seeing, gives the substance for the shade.
Fame is the shade of immortality,
And in itself a shadow. Soon as caught,
Contemn'd; it shrinks to nothing in the grasp.
Consult th' ambitious, 'tis ambition's cure.
“ And is This all ?” cry'd CÆSAR at his height,
Disgusted. This third proof ambition brings
Of immortality. The first in fame,
Observe him near, your envy will abate :
Sham'd at the disproportion vast, between
The passion, and the purchase, he will sigh
At such success, and blush at his renown.
And why? Because far richer prize invites
His heart ; far more illustrious glory calls;
It calls in whispers, yet the deafest hear.
And can ambition a fourth proof supply?
It can, and stronger than the former three;
Yet quite o'er-look'd by some reputed wise.
Tho' disappointments in ambition puin,