« AnteriorContinuar »
My soul's ambition, pleasure, wealth! - my world! | This mouldering, old, partition-wall throw dowo:
Great future ! glorious patron of the puust,
And present! when shall I thy shrine adore?
From Nature's continent, immensely wide,
Divides us. Happy day! that breaks our chain;
That manumits; that calls froin exile home; Devout archangels should the name enjoy,
That leads to Nature's great metropolis, By me unrivall’d; thousands more sublime,
And re-admits us, through the guardian hand None half so dear, as that, which, though unspoke, Of elder brothers, to our Father's throne; Still glows at heart: O how omnipotence
Who hears our Advocate, and, through his wounds Is lost in love! Thou great philanthropist !
Beholding man, allows that tender name. Father of angels! but the friend of man!
'T is this makes Christian triumph a command : Like Jacob, tondest of the younger born!
'T is this makes joy a duty to the wise ; Thou, who didst save him, snatch the smoking brand 'T is impious in a good man to be sad. From out the flames, and quench it in thy blood! See thou, Lorenzo! where hangs all our hope? How art thou pleas'd, by bounty to distress! Touch'd by the cross, we live; or, more than die; To make us groan beneath our gratitude,
That touch which touch'd not angels; more divine Too big for birth! to favour, and confound ! Than that which touch'd confusion into form, To challenge, and to distance all return !
And darkness into glory : partial touch!
Ineffably pre-eminent regard !
From Heaven through all duration, and supports But since the naked will obtains thy smile,
In one illustrious and amazing plan, Beneath this monument of praise unpaid,
Thy welfare, Nature! and thy God's renown; And future life symphonious to my strain,
That touch, with charm celestial, heals the soul (That noblest hymn to Heaven !) for ever lie Diseas'd, drives pain from guilt, lights life in death, Intomb'd my fear of death! and every fear,
Turns Earth to Heaven, to heavenly thropes transThe dread of every evil, but thy frown.
forms Whom see I, yonder, so demurely smile?
The ghastly ruins of the mouldering tomb. Laughter a labour, and might break their rest.
Dost ask me when? When he who died retums; , Ye quietists, in homage to the skies !
Returns, how chang'd! Where then the man of Serene! of soft address! who inildly make
woe? An unobtrusive tender of your hearts,
In glory's terrours all the Godhead burns;
And all his courts, exhausted by the tide
Replenish'd soon, replenish'd with increase
Of pomp, and multitude ; a radiant band
Nature is Christian ; preaches to mankind;
And bids dead matter aid us in our creed. Oh ye cold-hearted, frozen, formalists !
Hast thou ne'er seen the comet's flaming flight? 13 On such a theme, it is impious to be calm;
Th' illustrious stranger, passing, terrour sheds Passion is reason, transport temper, here'.
On gazing nations; from his fiery train Shall Heaven, which gave us ardour, and has shown of length enormous, takes his ample round Her own for man so strongly, not disdain
Through depths of ether; coasts unumber'd worlds What smooth emollients in theology,
Of more than solar glory ; doubles wide Recumbent virtue's downy doctors, preach; Heaven's mighty cape; and then revisits Eart), That prose of piety, a lukewarm praise?
From the long travel of a thousand years Rise odours sweet from incense uninflam'd ? Thus, at the destin'd period, shall return Devotion, when lukewarm, is undevout;
He, once on Earth, who bids the comet blaze : But when it glows, its heat is struck to Heaven; And, with him, all our triumph o'er the tom). To human hearts her golden harps are strung;
Nature is dumb on this important point;
Hear I, or dream I hear, their distant strain, Faith speaks aloud, distinct ; een anders hear :
Faith builds a bridge across the gulf of Death,
To break the shock blind Nature cannot shun, To cheer me in this melancholy gloom ?
And lands thought smoothly on the further short Oh when will Death (now stingless), like a friend, Death's terrour is the mountain faith remores; Admit me of their choir ? ( when will Death. | That mountain barrier between man and peace.
'T is faith disarms destruction; and absolves Know ye how wise your choice, how great your gain? Froin every clamorous charge, the guiltless tomb. Behold the picture of Earth's happiest man:
Whiy disbelieve? Lorenzo! “ Reason bids, “ He calls his wish, it comes ; he sends it back,
Meets the same welcome; yet he still calls on ; All-sacred reason ! source, and soul, of all
Till one calls him, who varies not his call, Demanding praise, on Earth, or Earth above ! But holds him fast, in chains of darkness bound, My heart is thine : deep in its inmost folds,
Till Nature dies, and judgment sets him free; Live thou with life ; live dearer of the two.
A freedom far less welcome than his chain." Wear I the blessed cross, by fortune stamp'd
But grant man happy; grant him happy long: On passive Nature, before thought was born ? Add to life's highest prize her latest hour; My birth’s blind bigot! fir'd with local zeal! That hour, so late, is nimble in approach, No! Reason re-baptis'd ine when adult;
That, like a post, comes on in full career : Weigh'd true, and false, in her impartial scale; How swift the shuttle flies, that weaves thy shroud! My heart became the convert of my head,
Where is the fable of thy former years? And made that choice, which once was but my fate. Thrown down the gulf of time; as far from thee “ On argument alone my faith is built:”.
As they had ne'er been thine; the day in hand, Reason pursu'd is faith ; and unpursued
Like a bird struggling to get loose, is going ; Where proof invites, 't is reason, then, no more: Scarce now possess'd, so suddenly 't is gone; And such our proof, That, or our fuith is right, And each swift moment fled, is death advanc'd Or Reason lies, and Heaven design'd it wrong : By strides as swift ; Eternity is all; Absolve we this? What, then, is blasphemy? And whose Eternity? Who triumphs there?
Fond as we are, and justly fond, of faith, Bathing for ever in the font of bliss ! Reason, we grant, demands our first regard ; For ever basking in the Deity! The mother bonour'd, as the daughter dear. Lorenzo! who? - Thy conscience shall reply. Reason the root, fair faith is but the flower ;
O give it leave to speak; 't will speak ere long, The fading flower shall die; but reason lives
Thy leave unask'd : Lorenzo! hear it now, Immortal, as her father in the skies.
While useful its advice, its accent mild. When faith is virtue, reason makes it so.
By the great edict, the divine decree, Wrong not the Christian; think not reason yours : Truth is deposited with man's last hour; 'T is reason our great Master holds so dear; An honest hour, and faithful to her trust: 'T is reason's injur'd rights his wrath resents; Truth, eldest daughter of the Deity; ”T is reason's voice obey'd his glories crown; Truth, of his council, when he made the worlds; To give lost reason life, he pour'd his own: Nor less, when he shall judge the worlds he made; Believe, and show the reason of a man;
Though silent long, and sleeping ne'er so sound, Believe, and taste the pleasure of a God!
Smother'd with errours, and opprest with toys, Believe, and look with triumph on the tomb : That Heaven-commissioned hour no sooner calls, Through reason's wounds alone thy faith can die ; | But, from her cavern in the soul's abyss, Which dying, tenfold terrour gives to death, Like him they fable under Ætna whelm'd, And dips in venom his twice-mortal sting.
The goddess bursts, in thunder, and in flame; Learn hence what honours, what loud peans, due Loudly convinces, and severely pains. To those, who push our antidote aside ;
Dark demons I discharge, and hydra stings; Those boasted friends to reason, and to man,
The keen vibration of bright truth is Hell: Whose fatal love stabs every joy, and leaves
Just definition ! though by schools untaught. Death's terrour heighten'd, gnawing on his heart. | Ye deaf to truth! peruse this parson'd page, These pompous sons of reason idoliz'd
And trust, for once, a prophet, and a priest; And vilified at once; of reason dead,
“ Men may live fools, but fools they cannot die.”
Night THE FIFTH.
TO THE RIGHT HON. THE EARL OF LITCHFIELD. * Behold the Sun :" and, Indian-like, adore.
Talk they of murals? ( thou bleeding Love! | LORENZO ! to recriminate is just. Thou maker of new morals to mankind !
Fondness for fame is avarice of air. The grand morality is love of thee.
I grant the man is vain who writes for praise. As wise as Socrates, if such they were,
Praise no man e'er deserv’d, who sought no more. (Nor will they 'bate of that sublime renown,)
As just thy second charge. I grant the Muse As noise as Socrates, might justly stand
Has often blush'd at her degenerate sons, Tbe definition of a modern fool.
Retain'd by sense to plead her filthy cause;
To raise the low, to magnify the mean,
As if to magic numbers' powerful charm
'T was given, to make a civet of their song
And lifts our swine-enjoyments from the mire. (For such alone the Christian banner fly)
1 The fact notorious, nor obscure the cause,
We wear the chains of pleasure and of pride. And, feeling, give assent; and their assent
Wit dares attempt this arduous enterprise. A Muse that will not pain thee with thy praise ;
O thou! Blest Spirit! whether the supreme, Wit hammers out a reason new, that stoops
Great antemundane Father ! in whose breast To sordid scenes, and meets them with applause, Embryo creation, unborn being, dwelt, Wit calls the graces the chaste zone to loose; And all its various revolutions roll'd Nor less than a plump god to fill the bowl:
Present, though future ; prior to themselves; A thousand phantoms, and a thousand spells, Whose breath can blow it into nought again; A thousand opiates scatters, to delude,
Or, from his throne some delegated power, To fascinate, inebriate, lay asleep,
Who, studious of our peace, dost turn the thought And the fool'd mind delightfully confound. [more; From vain and vile, to solid and sublime ! Thus that which shock'd the judgment, shocks no Unseen thou lead'st me to delicious draughts That which gave pride offence, no more offends. Of inspiration, from a purer stream, Pleasure and pride, by nature mortal foes,
And fuller of the god, than that which burst At war eternal, which in man shall reign,
From fam'd Castalia : nor is yet allay'd By wit's address, patch up a fatal peace,
My sacred thirst; though long my soul has rar.gid And hand in hand lead on the rank debauch, Through pleasing paths of moral and divine, From rank, refin'd to delicate and gay.
By thee sustain'd, and lighted by the stars. Art, cursed art! wipes off th' indebted blush By them best lighted are the paths of thought ; From Nature's cheek, and bronzes every shame. Nights are their days, their most illumin'd hours. Man smiles in ruin, glories in his guilt,
By day, the soul, o'erborne by life's career, And infamy stands candidate for praise.
Stunn'd by the din, and giddy with the glare, All writ by man in favour of the soul,
Reels far from reason, jostled by the throng. These sensual ethics far, in bulk, transcend.
By day the soul is passive, all her thoughts The flowers of eloquence, profusely pour'd | Impos'd, precarious, broken ere mature. O'er spotted vice, fill half the letter'd world. By night, from objects free, from passion cool, Can powers of genius exorcise their page,
Thoughts uncontroll’d, and unimpress'd, the births And consecrate enormities withi song?
I of pure election, arbitrary range,
Not to the limits of one world confin'd;
Let Indians, and the gay, like Indians, fond
Darkness has more divinity for me; To visit being universal there,
It strikes thought inward; it drives back the soul And being's Source, that utmost flight of mind ! | To settle on herself, our point supreme ! Yet, spite of this so vast circumference,
There lies our theatre! there sits our judge. Well knows, but what is moral, nought is great. Darkness the curtain drops o'er life's dull scene; Sing syrens only? Do not angels sing?
"T is the kind hand of Providence stretch'd out There is in poesy a decent pride,
"Twixt man and vanity; 't is reason's reign, Which well becomes her when she speaks to prose, And virtue's too ; these tutelary shades Her younger sister ; haply, not more wise. Are man's asylum from the tainted throng.
Think'st thou, Lorenzo! to find pastimes here? Night is the good man's friend, and guardian too; No guilty passion blown into a flame,
It no less rescues virtue, than inspires. No foible flatter'd, dignity disgrac'd,
| Virtue, for ever frail, as fair, below, No fairy field of fiction, all on flower,
Her tender nature suffers in the crowd, No rainbow colours, here, or silken tale :
Nor touches on the world, without a stain : But solemn counsels, images of awe,
The world 's infectious ; few bring back at eve, Truths, which eternity lets fall on man spheres, Immaculate, the manners of the morn. With double weight, through these revolving Something we thought, is blotted! we resolu'd, This death-deep silence, and incumbent shade : Is shaken ; we renounc'd, returns again. Thoughts, such as shall revisit your last hour; Each salutation may slide in a sin Visit uncall'd, and live when life expires;
Unthought before, or fix a former flaw. And thy dark pencil, midnight ! darker still
Nor is it strange: light, motion, concourse, naise, In melancholy dipt, embrowns the whole.
All, scatter us abroad; thought outward bound, Yet this, even this, my laughter-loving friends! Neglectful of our home affairs, flies of Lorenzo! and thy brothers of the smile !
In fume and dissipation, quits her charge, If, what imports you most, can most engage, And leaves the breast unguarded to the foe. Shall steal your ear, and chain you to my song. Present example gets within our guard, Or if you fail me, know, the wise shall taste And acts with double force, by few repellid. The truths I sing; the truths I sing shall feel ; | Ambition fires ambition ; love of gain
Strikes, like a pestilence, from breast to breast; | The blush of weakness to the bane of woe.
The noblest spirit, fighting her hard fate,
In this damp, dusty region, charg'd with storms,
Our utmost strength, when down, to rise again;
And not to yield, though beaten, all our praise.
· 'Tis vain to seek in men for more than man.
Emerging from the shadows of the grave,
Where grief detain'd me prisoner, mounting high,
This sacred shade, and solitude, what is it?. And struck the stars ; now feel my spirits fail ; 'T is the felt presence of the Deity.
They drop me from the zenith ; down I rush, Few are the faults we flatter when alone,
Like him whom fable fledg'd with waxen wings, Vice sinks in her allurements, is ungilt,
In sorrow drown'd - but not in sorrow lost. And looks, like other objects, black by night. How wretched is the man who never mourn'd! By night an atheist half-believes a God.
I dive for precious pearl in sorrow's stream : Night is fair virtue's immemorial friend; Not so the thoughtless man that only grieves; The conscious Moon, through every distant age, Takes all the torment, and rejects the gain Has held a lamp to wisdom, and let fall,
(Inestimable gain !) and gives Heaven leave On contemplation's eye, her purging ray.
To make him but more wretched, not more wise. The fam'd Athenian, he who woo'd from Heaven If wisdom is our lesson (and what else Philosophy the fair, to dwell with men,
Ennobles man? what else have angels learnt?)
Than genius, or proud learning, e'er could boast.
Digests not into sense her motley meal.
This book-case, with dark booty almost burst,
This forager on others' wisdom, leaves
A pomp untameable of weeds prevails.
And loves to boast, where blush men less inspir'd.
Considers reason as a leveller;
And scorns to share a blessing with the crowd.
Crassus but sleeps, Ardelio is undone.
1 Wisdom less shudders at a fool, than wit.
glebe, But droop by day, and sicken in the sun.
And hearts obdurate feel her softening shower ;
Her golden harvest triumphs in the soil.
If so, Narcissa! welcome my Relapse;
I'll raise a tax on my calamity,
And reap rich compensation from my pain.
Thoughts, which may bear transplanting to the skies,
Though natives of this coarse penurious soil :
Nor wholly wither there, where seraphs sing,
And, peradventure, of no fading flowers.
| Say on what themes shall puzzled choice descend ?
“ Th' importance of contemplating the tomb; | For that who thrones can offer, offer thrones; Why men decline it; suicide's foul birth ;
Insolvent worlds the purchase cannot pay. The various kind of grief ; the faults of age; “ Oh let me die his death!” all Nature cries. And death's dread character - invite my song." “ Then live his life." - All Nature faulters there.
And, first, th' importance of our end survey'd Our great physician daily to consult, Friends counsel quick dismission of our grief : To commune with the grave, our only cure. Mistaken kindness! our hearts heal too soon.
What grave prescribes the best? - A friend's; Are they more kind than he, who struck the blow ?
and yet, Who bid it do his errand in our hearts,
From a friend's grave how soon we disengage! And banish peace, till nobler guests arrive,
E'en to the dearest, as his marble, cold. And bring it back, a true and endless peace ? Why are friends ravisht from us? 'T is to bind, Calamities are friends : as glaring day
By soft affection's ties, on human hearts, Of these unnumber'd lustres robs our sight; The thought of death, which reason, too supine, Prosperity puts out unnumber'd thoughts
Or misemploy'd, so rarely fastens there. Of import high, and light divine, to man.
Nor reason, nor affection, no, nor both The man how blest, who, sick of gaudy scenes, Combin'd, can break the witchcrafts of the world. (Scenes apt to thrust between us and ourselves !) Behold, th' inexorable hour at hand! İs led by choice to take his favourite walk,
Behold, th' inexorable hour forgot! Beneath death's gloomy, silent, cypress shades, And to forget it, the chief aim of life, Unpierc'd by vanity's fantastic ray;
Though well to ponder it, is life's chief end. To read his monuments, to weigh his dust,
Is Death, that ever-threatening, ne'er remote, Visit his vaults, and dwell among the tombs! That all-important, and that only sure, Lorenzo! read with me Narcissa's stone;
(Come when he will) an unexpected guest ? (Narcissa was thy favourite !) let us read
Nay, though invited by the loudest calls Her moral stone! few doctors preach so well; Of blind imprudence, unexpected still? Few orators so tenderly can touch
Though numerous messengers are sent before, The feeling heart. What pathos in the date ! To warn his great arrival. What the cause, Apt words can strike: and yet in them we see The wondrous cause, of this mysterious ill? Faint images of what we, here, enjoy.
All Heaven looks down astonisb'd at the sight. What cause have we to build on length of life?
Is it, that life has sown her joys so thick, Temptations seize, when fear is laid asleep; We can't thrust in a single care between? And ill foreboded is our strongest guard.
Is it, that life has such a swarm of cares, See from her tomb, as from an humbler shrine, The thought of death can't enter for the throng? Truth, radiant goddess ! sallies on my soul, Is it, that time steals on with downy feet, And puts Delusion's dusky train to ilight;
Nor wakes indulgence from her golden dream? Dispels the mists our sultry passions raise,
To-day is so like yesterday, it cheats; From objects low, terrestrial, and obscene :
We take the lying sister for the same. And shows the real estimate of things ;
Life glides away, Lorenzo! like a brook ; Which no man, unafflicted, ever saw ;
For ever changing, unperceiv'd the change. Pulls off the veil from Virtue's rising charms; In the same brook none ever bath'd him twice : Detects Temptation in a thousand lies.
To the same life none ever twice awoke. Truth bids me look on men, as autumn leaves, We call the brook the same; the same we think And all they bleed for, as the summer's dust, Our life, though still more rapid in its flow; Driven by the whirlwind : lighted by her beams, Nor mark the much, irrevocably laps'd, I widen my horizon, gain new powers,
And mingled with the sea. Or shall we say See things invisible, feel things remote,
(Retaining still the brook to bear us on) Am present with futurities; think nought
That life is like a vessel on the stream ? To man so foreign, as the joys possest ;
In life embark'd, we smoothly down the tide Nought so much his, as those beyond the grave. Of time descend, but not on time intent; No folly keeps its colour in her sight;
Amus'd, unconscious of the gliding wave; Pale worldly wisdom loses all her charms ;
Till on a sudden we perceive a shock; In pompous promise, from her schemes profound, We start, awake, look out; what see we there? If future fate she plans, 't is all in leaves,
Our brittle bark is burst on Charon's shore. Like Sibyl, unsubstantial, fleeting bliss !
Is this the cause death flies all human thought? At the first blast it vanishes in air.
Or is it judgment, by the will struck blind, Not so, celestial : wouldst thou know, Lorenzo! That domineering mistress of the soul ! How differ worldly wisdom, and divine ?
Like him so strong, by Dalilah the fair? Just as the waning, and the waxing Moon.
Or is it fear turns startled reason back, More empty worldly wisdom every day ;
From looking down a precipice so steep? And every day more fair her rival shines.
'Tis dreadful, and the dread is wisely plac d, When later, there 's less time to play the fool. By Nature, conscious of the make of man. Soon our whole term for wisdom is expir'd :
A dreadful friend it is, a terrour kind, (Thou know'st she calls no council in the grave :) A flaming sword to guard the tree of life. And everlasting fool is writ in fire,
By that unaw'd, in life's most smiling hour, Or real wisdom wafts us to the skies.
The good-man would repine ; would suffer joys, As worldly schemes resemble Sibyls' leaves, And burn impatient for his promis'd skies The good man's days to Sibyls' books compare, The bad, on each punctilious pique of pride, (In ancient story read, thou know'st the tale,) Or gloom of humour, would give rage the rein; In price still rising, as in number less,
Bound o'er the barrier, rush into the dark, Inestimable quite his final hour.
And mar the schemes of Providence below.