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We thwart the Deity; and 'tis decreed,
Who thwart his will, shall contradict their own.
Hence our unnatural quarrels with ourselves;
Our thoughts at enmity; our bosom-broils;
We push time from us, and we wish him back;
Lavish of lustrums, and yet fond of life ;
Life we think long, and short ; Death seek, and shun;
Body and soul, like peevish man and wife,
United jar, and yet are loth to part.
Oh the dark days of vanity! while here,
How tasteless! and how terrible, when gone !
Gone! they ne'er go; when past, they haunt us still;
The spirit walks of ev'ry day deceas'd ;
And smiles an angel, or a fury frowns.
Nor death, nor life delight us. If time past,
And time possest, both pain us, what can please?
That which the Deity to please ordain'd,
Time us'd. The man who consecrates his hours
By vig'rous effort, and an honest aim,
At once he draws the sting of life and death;
He walks with nature; and her paths are peace.
Our error's cause and cure are seen: See next
Time's Nature, Origin, Importance, Speed;
And thy great Gain from urging his career.
All-sensual man, because untouch'd, unseen,
He looks on Time as nothing. Nothing else
Is truly man's; 'tis fortune's.-Time's a god.
Hast thou ne'er heard of Time's omnipotence ?
For, or against, what wonders he can do!
And will: To stand blank neuter he disdains.
Not on those terms was Time (heav'n's stranger !) sent
On his important embassy to man.
LORENZO! no: On the long-destin'd hour,
From everlasting ages growing ripe,
That memorable hour of wondrous birth,
When the DREAD SIRE, on emanation bent,
And big with nature, rising in his might,
Callid forth creation (for then Time was born),
By Godhead streaming thro' a thousand worlds;
Not on those terms, from the great days of heaven,
From old eternity's mysterious orb,
Was Time cut off, and cast beneath the skies;
The skies, which watch him in his new abode, .
Measuring his motions by revolving spheres ;
That horologe machinery divine.
Hours, days, and months, and years, his children, play,
Like num'rous wings around him, as he flies:
Or, rather as unequal plumes, they shape
His ample pinions, swift as darted flame,
To gain his goal, to reach his antient rest,
And join anew Eternity his sire;
In his immutability to nest,
When worlds, that count his circles now, unhing'd,
(Fate the loud signal sounding) headlong rush
To timeless night and chaos, whence they rose.
Why spur the speedy? Why with levities
New wing thy short, short day's too rapid fight?
Know'st thou, or what thou dost, or what is done? · Man flies from Time, and Time from man ; too soon
In sad divorce this double flight must end :
And then, where are we? where, Lorenzo! then
Thy sports ? thy pomps ?—I grant thee, in a state
Not unambitious; in the ruffled shroud,
Thy Parian tomb's triumphant arch beneath.
Has Death his fopperies? Then well may Life
Put on her plume, and in her rainbow shine.
Ye well-array'd! Ye lilies of our land !
Ye lilies male ! who neither toil, nor spin,
(As sister lilies might) if not so wise
As Solomon, more sumptuous to the sight!
Ye delicate! who nothing can support,
Yourselves most insupportable ! for whom
The winter rose must blow, the sun put on
A brighter beam in Leo; silky-soft
Favonius breathe still softer, or be chid;
And other worlds send odours, sauce, and song,
And robes, and notions, fram'd in foreign looms!
O ye Lorenzos of our age! who deem
One moment unamus'd, a misery
Not made for feeble man! who call aloud
For ev'ry bawble driveld o'er by sense;
For rattles, and conceits of ev'ry cast,
For change of follies, and relays of joy,
To drag your patient through the tedious length
Of a short winter's day-say, sages! say,
Wit's oracles ! say, dreamers of gay dreams!
How will you weather an eternal night,
Where such expedients fail?
O treach'rous Conscience ! while she seems to sleep On rose and myrtle, lulld with syren song;
While she seems, nodding o'er her charge, to drop
On headlong Appetite the slacken'd rein,
And give us up to licence, unrecallid,
Unmark'd ; see, from behind her secret stand,
The sly informer minutes ev'ry fault,
And her dread diary with horror fills.
Not the gross Act alone employs her pen;
She reconnoitres Fancy's airy band,
A watchful foe! the formidable spy,
List’ning, o'erhears the whispers of our camp:
Our dawning purposes of heart explores,
And steals our embryos of iniquity.
As all-rapacious usurers conceal
Their doomsday-book from all-consuming heirs ;
Thus, with indulgence most severe, she treats
Us spendthrifts of inestimable Time;
Unnoted, notes each moment misapply'd ;
In leaves more durable than leaves of brass,
Writes our whole history; which Death shall read
In ev'ry pale delinquent's private ear; .
And Judgment publish ; publish to more worlds
Than this; and endless ages in groans resound.
LORENZO, such that Sleeper in thy breast !
Such is her slumber; and her vengeance such
For slighted counsel; such thy future peace!
And think'st thou still thou canst be wise too soon?
But why on Time so lavish is my song?
On this great theme kind Nature keeps a school,
To teach her sons herself. Each night we die,
Each morn are born anew: Each day, a life!
And shall we kill each day? If Trifling kills;
Sure Vice must butcher. O what heaps of slain
Cry out for vengeance on us! Time destroy'd
Is Suicide, where more than Blood is spilt.
Time flies, death urges, knells call, heav'n invites,
Hell threatens: All exerts; in effort, all;
More than creation labours !—labours more?
And is there in creation, what amidst
This tumult universal, wing'd dispatch,
And ardent energy, supinely yawns?-
Man sleeps; and Man alone; and Man, whose fate,
Fate irreversible, intire, extreme,
Endless, hair-hung, breeze shaken, o'er the gulph
A moment trembles; drops! and Man, for whom
All else is in alarm! Man, the sole cause
Of this surrounding storm! and yet he sleeps,
As the storm rock'd to rest.-Throw Fears away?
Throw Empires, and be blameless. Moments seize;
Heav'n's on their wing: A moment we may wish,
When worlds want wealth to buy. Bid Day stand still
Bid him drive back his car, and reimport
This period past, regive the given hour.
Lorenzo, more than miracles we want;
LORENZO-O for yesterday to come!
Such is the language of the man awake ;
His ardour such, for what oppresses thee.
And is his ardour vain, LORENZO? No;
That more than miracle the gods indulge ;
To-day is Yesterday return’d; return'd
Full power'd to cancel, expiate, raise, adorn,