« PreviousContinue »
Fate's hasty prey! implore him, re-import A moment, and the world's blown up to thee; The period past; re-give the given hour! The sun is darkness, and the stars are dust. Lorenzo - for yesterday to coine!
Such is the language of the man awake; $ 167. Vanity of Human Enjoyments, taught : And is his ardor vain? Lorenzo! no!
by Experience. To-day is yesterday return'd; return'd 'Tis greatly wise to talk with our past hours; Full power'd to cancel, expiate, raise, adorn,
And ask them, what report they bore to And reinstate us on the rock of peace.
[news. Let it not share its predecessor's fate;
And how they might have borne more welcome Nor like its elder sisters, die a fool.
Their answers form what men experience call : Shall we be pourer for the plenty pour'd ?
If Wisdom's friend, her best : if not, worst for. More wretched for the clemencies of heaven?
O reconcile them! kind Experience cries,
“There'snothinghere, butwhatasnothingweighs; § 165. The Depravity of Man. The more our joy, the more we know it vain; Where shall I find him? angels, tell me And by success are tutor’d to despair." where!
Nor is it only thus, but must be so: You know him; he is near you: point him out ; Who knows not this, tho' grey, is still a child. Shall I see glories beaming from his brow? | Loose then from earth the grasp of fond desire, Or trace his footsteps by the rising flow'rs! Weigh anchor, and some happier clime explore. Your golden wings, now hov'ring o'er him, shed Protection, now, are waving in applause
§ 168. Death unavoidable. To that blest son of foresight! lord of fate! Since by life's passing breath, blown up from That awful independent on To-morrow!
earth, Whose work is done; who triumphs in the past ; Light as the summer's dust, we take in air Whose yesterdays look backwards with a smile; A moment's giddy Aight; and fall again; Nor, like the Parthian, wound him as they fly. Join the dull mass, increase the trodden soil, If not by guilt, they wound us by their fight, | And sleep till earth herself shall be no more; If folly bounds our prospect by the grave : Since then (as emmets their small world o'erAll feeling of futurity benumb'd!
thrown) All relish of realties expir'd ;
We, sore amaz’d, from out earth's ruin crawl, Renounc'd all correspondence with the skies; And rise to fate extreme, of foul or fair, Embruted every faculty divine;
As man's own choice, controller of the skies! Heart-buried in the rubbish of the world: As inan's despotic will, this hour, decrees; The world, that gulph of souls, inmortal souls, Should not each warning give a strong alarm? Squls elevate, angelic, wing'd with fire Warning, far less than that of bosom tom To reach the distant skies, and triumph there From bosom, bleeding o'er the sacred dead? On thrones, which shall not mourn their masters Sould not each dial strike us as we pass, chang'd,
Portentous, as the written wall, which struck, Tho' we from earth; ethereal, they that fell. O'er midnight bowls, the proud Assyrian pale? Such veneration due, ( man, to man! Like that, the dial speaks; and points to thee;
“O man, thy kingdom is departing from thee; $ 166. Instability of Life. And, while it lasts, is emptier than my shade." Who venerate themselves the world despise.
Know, like the Median, fate is in thy walls : For what, gay friend! is this escutcheon'd) Man's make incloses the sure seeds of death; world,
Life feeds the murderer: ingrate! he thrives Which hangs out, Death is one eternal night? On her own meal: and then his nurse devours. A night that glooms us in the noontide ray, And wrapts our thoughts, at banquets, in the $ 169. Life comnared to the Sun-dial. Life's little stage is a small eminence. (shroud. That solar shadow, as it measures life, Inch high the grave above; that home of man, It life resembles too: life speeds away Where dwells the multitude: we gaze around, From point to point, tho' seeming to stand still: We read their monuments; we sigh; and while The cunning fugitive is swift by stealth: We sigh, we sink; and are what we deplor'd; Too subtle is the movement to be seen, Lamenting, or lamented, all our lot!
Yet soon man's hour is up, and we are gone. Is death ai distance! no: he has been on thee; Warnings point out our danger, gnomons, time: And given sure earnest of his final blow.[now? As these are useless when the sun is set; Those hours which lately smild, where are they So those, but when more glorious season shines. Pallid to thought, and ghastly! drown'd, all Reason should judge in all; in reason's eye, drown'd
That sedentary shadow travels hard : In that great deep), which nothing disembogucs; But all mankind mistake their time of day; And, dying, they bequeath'd thee small renown. Even age itself: fresh hopes are hourly sown The rest are on the wing: how flect their flight! In furrow'd brows. So gentle life's descent, Already has the fatal train took fire;
We shut our eyes, and think it is a plain :
We take fair dars in winter, for the spring: His God sustains him in his final hour!
Sweet peace, and heavenly hope, and humble
Divinely beam on his exalted soul; [joy, $ 170. Death of the good Blan. Destruction gild, and crown him for the skies. So sung Philander, O! the cordial warınth, Life, take thy chance; but oh for such an end! And clevating spirit, of a friend, For twenty summers ripening by my side; All feculence of falsehood long thrown down;
$ 171. NIGHT II. Picture of Varcissa, DescripAll social virtues rising in his soul;
tion of her Funeral, and a lleflection upon lan. As crystal clear; and smiling, as they rise ! Sweet harmonist! and beautiful as sweet! On earth how lost! Philander is no inore. And young as beautiful! and soft as young! How blessings brighten as they take their flight! And gay as soft! and innocent as gay! His flight Philander took; it were profane And happy (if aught happy here) as good! Tu quench a glory lighted at the skies,
For fortune fond had built her nest on high. And cast in shadows his illustrious close. |Like birds quiie exquisite of nute and plume, Strange! the thene most affecting, most sublime, Transfix'd by fate (who loves a lofty mark) Momentous most to man, should sleep unsung! How from the summit of the grove she fell, Man's highest triumph! man's profoundest fall! And left it unharmonious! all its charms The death-bed of the just! is yet undrawn Extinguish'd in the wonders of her song! By mortal hand; it nierits a divine:
Her song still vibrates in my ravish'd ear, Angels should paint it, angels erer there; Still melting there, and with voluptuous pain There, on a post of honor, and of joy.
(O to forget her!) thrilling thro' my heart! The chamber where the good man meets his Song, Beauty, Youth, Love, Virtue, Joy! this Is privileg'd beyond the coinmon walk (fate Of bright ideas, flow'rs of paradise, (group Of virtuous life, quite in the verge of heaven, A, yet unforfeit! in one blaze we bind, Fly, ve profane! or else draw near with awe, Kneel, and present it to the skies; as all For, here, resistless demonstration dwells; We guess of heaven, and these were all her own: Here tir'd dissiinulation drops her inask, And she was mine; and I was - was! - most Here real and apparent are the saine.
Gay title of the deepest misery! (blest -
Whatever farce the boastful hero plays, Far lovelier! pity swells the tide of love.
And will not the severe excuse a sigh? And greater still, the more the tyrant frowns, Scorn the proud man that is asham'd 10 weep; Philander! he severely frown'd on thee, Our tears induly'd indeed deserve our shame. "No warning given! unceremonious fate! Ye that e'er lost an angel! pity me. "A sudden rush from life's meridian joys! Soon as the lustre languish'd in her eye, "A restless bed of pain! a plunge opaque Dawning a diviner dav of human sight; "Beyond conjecture! feeble nature's dread! And on her cheek, the residence of sprins, “Strong reason shudders at the dark unknown! | Pale omen sat, and scatter'd fears around “A sun extinguished ! a just opening grave! On all that saw, (and who could cease to gaze "And oh! the last, last: what? (can words ex-That once had seen?)—with haste, parental izaste, _ press?
[friend!" I Hew, I snatch'd her from the rigid north, “ Thought reach?) the last, last-silence of a Her native bed, on which black Boreas blew,
Thro'nature's wreck, thro'vanquish'dagonies, And bore her nearer to the sun; the sun Like the stars struggling thro' this midnight (As if the sum conid envy) check'd his beam, gloom.
(peace! Denied his wonted succour; nor with more What gleams of joy! what more than human Regret beheld her drooping, than the bells Where the frail inortal? the poor abject worm? Or lilies ; fairest lilies, not so fair! No, not in death, the mortal to be found. | Queen lilies! and ve painted populace His coinforters he comforts ; great in ruin, Wħo dwell in fickls, and lead ambrosial lives : With unreluctant grandeur, gives, not yields In morn and ev'ning dew your beauties bathe, His soul sublime ; and closes with his fate. And drink the sum ; which gives your cheeks to How our hearts burnt withiu us at the scene! And out-blaslı (mine excepted) every fair (glow; Whence this brave bound o'er limits fixt to man! You gladlier grew, ambitious of her hand,
Which often cropp'd your odors, incense meet The dead how sacred ! Sacred is the dust
So man is made, nought ininisters delight, When ev'ry passion sleeps that can offend ;
Man hard of heart to man! of horrid things Resenting rallies, and wakes ev'ry woe.
Most horrid! 'Mid stupendous, highly strange! Snatch'd ere thy priine, and in thy bridal hour! Yet oft his courtesies are smoother wrongs; And when kind fortune, with thy lover, sinild! Pride brandishes the favors he confers, And when high flavor'd thy fresh op'ning joys! And contumelious his humanity : And when blind man pronounc'd thy bliss What then his vengeance? hear it not, se stars! complete!
And thou, pale moon! turn paler at the sound! And on a foreign shore, where strangers wept! Man is to man the sorest, surest ill, Strangers to thee; and, more surprising still, A previous blast foretels the rising storm ; Strangers to kindness wept: their eyes let fall O'erwhelining turrets threaten ere they fall; Inhuman tears; strangetears! that trickled down Volcanos bellow ere they diseinbogue; From marble hearts! obdurate tenderness! Earth trembles ere her yawning jaws devour; A tenderness that call'd them more severe; | And smoke betrays the wide consuming fire : In spite of nature's soft persuasion, steel'd; Ruin from man is most conccal'd when near, While nature melted, superstition rav'd; And sends the dreadful tidings in the blow. That mouru'd the dead, and this denied a grave. Is this the flight of fancy? Would it were !
Their sighs incens'd, sighs foreign to the will! Heaven's Sovereign saves all beings but himself Their will the tiger suck'd, outray'd the storm. That hideous sight, a naked human heart ! For, oh! the curs'd ungodliness of zeal! While sinful flesh relented, spirit nurs'd 1 $ 172. NIGHT iv. Death not to be dreaded, In blind infallibility's embrace,
Ilow deep implanted in the breast of man The sainted spirit petrified the breast :
The dread of death! I sing its sor'reign cure. Denied the charity of dust, to spread
Wly start at death? where is he? death arriv'd, O'er dust! a charity their dogs enjoy. [source? | Is past : not came, or gone, be 's never here. What could I do? what succour? what re-time"
Ere hope, sensation fails ; black-boding man With pious sacrilege a grave I stole,
Receives, not suffers, death's tremendous blow, With impious piety that grave I wrong'd;
The knell, the shroud, the mattock, and thegrare; Short in my duty, coward in my gricf!
The deep damp vault, the darkness, and the More like her murderer than friend, I crept
These are the bugbears of a winter's eve, (worin; With soft suspended step, and mufiled deep
The terrors of the living, not the dead." In midnight darkness wbisper'd my list sigh.
Imagination's fool, and error's wretch, I whisper'd what should echo thro' their realms; Mau makes a death which nature never made; Nor writ her namic whose toinb should pierce ('Then on the point of his own fancy falls : the skies.
| And feels a thousand deaths, in fearing one. Presumptuous fear! how durst I dread her foes, While nature's loudest dictates I obey'd ? Pardon necessity, blest shade! Of grief
§ 173. Death desirable to the Aged. And indignation rival bursts I pour'd; (But was death frightful, what has age to fear? Half execration mingled with my pray'r ; If prudent, age should meet the friendly foc, kindled at man, while I his God acord; | And shelter in his hospitable gloom. Sore grudgid the savage land her sacred dust; I scarce can meet a monument but holds Stamp'd the curs'd soil, and with humanity My younger: every date cries " Come away!" (Denied Narcissa) wish'd them all a grive. | And what recalls me? look the world around,
Glows my resentment into guilt? What guilt And tell me what: the wisest cannot tell. Can equal violations of the dead?
Should any born of woman give his thought
Full range, on just dislike's unbonnded field; Grasping at air! for what has earth beside?
Years unexperienc'd rush on numerous ills;
But grant to life some perquisites of jov; And miss such numbers, numbers too of such,
To play life's subtle game, I scarce beliero
With me, that time is come; my world is dead: Life's lee is not more shallow, than impure, A new world rises, and new manners reign: And vapid ; sense and reason show the door, What a pert race starts up! the strangers gaze, Call for my bier, and point me to the dust. And I at thein; my neighbour is unknown.
§ 176. Address to the Deity. 174. Folly of Human Pursuits. TO Thou great arbiter of life and death! Blest be that hand divine, which gently laid Nature's in mortal, immaterial sun! . My heart at rest beneath this humble shed! Whose all-prolific bcam late called me forth . The world 's a stately bark, on dangerous seas, From darkness, teeming darkness, where I lay With pleasure seen, but boarded at our peril;
The worm's inferior, and, in rank, beneath Here, on a single plank, thrown safe ashore,
| The dust I tread on, high to bear ny brow, I hear the tumult of the distant throng, To drink the spirit of the golden day, As that of seas remote, or dying storms; And triumph in existence; and could'st know And meditate on scenes, more silent still; No motive, but iny bliss; with Abraham's joy, Pursue my theme, and fight the fear of death. Thy call I follow to the land unknown; Here like a shepherd, gazing from his hut, I trust in thee, and know in whom I trust; Touching his reed, or leaning on his staff,
Or life or death is equal; neither weighs, Eager ambition's fiery chace I see;
All weight in this --O let me live to thee! I see the circling hunt of noisy men Burst law's inclosure, leap the mounds of right, S 177. Fears of Death extinguished by Man's Pursuing and pursued, each other's prey;
Redeniption. As wolves, for rapine; as the fox for wiles ; Tho'nature's terrors, thus, may be represt; Till death, that mighty hunter, earths them all. Still frowns grim death; gilt points the tyrant's Why all this toil for triumphs of an hour?
spear. What, tho' we wade in wealth, or soar in fame? Who can appease its anguish? how it burns! Earth's highest station ends in “ here he lies," What handla harhin
What hand the barb'd, envenom'd thought can And“ dust to dust " concludes her noblest song.
draw? . . If this song lives, posterity shall know
What healing hand can pour the balm of peace One, tho' in Britain born, with courtiers bred, | And turn my sight undaunted on the tomb? Who thought even gold might come a day too' With joy. - with grief, that healing hand I late;
Ah! too conspicuous! it is fix'd on bigh: [see; Nor on his subtle death-bed plann'd his scheme Onhigh?-_Whatmeansmyphrenzy? Iblaspheine, For future vacancies in church, or state ; | Alas ! how low! how far beneath the skies! Some avocation dceming it to die;
The skies it forin'd; and now it bleeds for me Unbit by rage canine of dying rich:
But bleeds the balm I want yet still it bleeds: Guilt's blunder! and the loudest laugh of hell. | Draw the dire steel ah no! the dreadful
blessing $ 175. Folly of the Love of Life in the Aged. What heart or can sustain? or dares forego ? O my coevals! remnant of yourselves! There hangs all human hope: that nail supports Poor human ruins, tott'ring o'er the grave! Our falling universe: that gone, we drop: Shall we, shall aged men, like aged trees, Horror receives us, and the disinal wish Strike deeper their vile root, and closer cling. Creation had been smother'd in her birth. Still more enamour'd of this wretched soil: (out, Darkness his curtain, and his bed the dust, Shall our pale, wither'd hands be still stretch'd When stars and sun are dust beneath his throne! Trembling, at once with eagerness and age? In heaven itself can such indulgence dwell? With avarice, and convulsions grasping hard? 10 what a groan was there? A groan not his,
He seis'd our dreadful right, the load sustain'd, (Heav'n's sov'reign blessings clust'ring from the
O for their song to reach my lofty thenie! And in his great ascent, the proof supreme
He rose ! he rose! he burst the bass of death Lest I blaspheme my subject with my song. Lift up your heads, ye everlasting gates,
Thou most indulgent,most tremendous, power! And give the king of glory to come in! Still more tremendous, for thy wond'rous love! Who is the king of glo.? he who left Thatarms, with awe more awful, thycommands; His throne of glory, for the pang of death : And foul transgression dips in sevenfold night, Lift up your heads, ye everlasting gates, How our hearts tremble at thy love immense! And give the king of glory to coine in! In love immense, inviolably just! (stretch'darms. Who is the king of glirvi le who slew
O'er guilt, (how mountainous!) with out. The ravenous foe, that gorg'd all human race? Stern justice, and soft-smiling love, einbrace, The king of glory, he, whose glory fillid Supporting, in full majesty, thy throne, Heaven with amazement at his love to inan; When seem'd its majesty to need support, And with divine complacency beheld Or that, or man inevitably lost.
Powers most illumin'd wilder'd in the theme. What, but the fathomless of thought divine The theme, the joy,howthen shallmansustain? Could labor such expedient from despair, Oh the burst gates! crush'd sting! demolish'd And rescue both ? Both rescue! both exalt!
(heaven, O how are both exalted by the deed!
Last gasp ! of vanquish'd death. Shout earth and A wonder in omnipotence itself!
This sum of good to man: whose nature, then, A mystery, no less to gods than men!
Took wing, and mounted with him from the Nót, thus, our infidels th’Eternal ciraw, Then, then, I rose; then first humanity (tomb! A God all o'er, consuminate, absolute,
Triumphant pass'd the crystal ports of light, Full orb'd, in his whole round of rays complete: And seisid eternal youth. Mortality They set at odds heaven's jarring attributes; Was then transferr'd to death; and heaven's due And with one excellence another wound; | Unalienably seal'd to this frail frame, Tration Maim heaven's perfection, break its equal beams, | This child of dust. — Man, all-immortal! hail; Bid mercy triumph over — God himself, Hail, heaven ! all lavish of strange gifts to man! Undeify'd by their opprobrious praise;
Thine all the glory! man's the boundless bliss. A God all mercy, is a God unjust.
L Where am I rapt by this triuinphant theine, Ye brainless wits, ye baptiz'd infidels, Ou christian joy's exulting wing, above The ransom was paid down; the fund of heaven Th' Aonian mount? --Alas! small cause for joy! - Amazing, and amaz’d, pour'd forth the price, What if to pain, immortal; if extent All price beyond : tho' curious to compute, of being, to preclude a close of woe? Archangels fail'd to cast the mighty sum: Where, then, my boast of immortality? Its value vast, ungrasp'd by minds create, I boast it still, tho'cover'd o'er with guilt ; For ever hides, and glows in the supreme. For guilt, not innocence, his life he pour'd.
And was the ransom paid? It was: and paid 'Tis guilt alone can justify his death; (What can exalt the bounty more?) for you. Nor that, unless his death can justify The sun beheld it - no' the shocking scene Relenting guilt in heaven's indulgent sight. Drove back his chariot; midnight veil'd his face If sick of folly, I relent; he writes Not such as this ; not such as nature makes; My name in heaven, with that inverted spear. A midnight, nature shudder'd to behold; (A spear deep dipt in blood !) which pierc'd his A midnight new! from her Creator's frown! And open'd there a font for all mankind (side, Sun! didst thou fly thy Maker's pain? or start Who strive, who combat crimes, to drink, and At that enormous load of huinan guilt, (cross; This, only this, subdues the fear of death. [live: Which bow'd his bless'd head; o'erwhelmed his Madegrownthecentre;burstearth’smarblewomb, 1 $ 178. Greatness of the Redemption. 1 With pangs, strange pangs! deliver'd of her dead : And what is this? — Survey the wond'rous Hell howl'd; and heav'n, that hour, let fall a tear; cure : Heav'n wept, that man might smile! heaven bled, And, at each step, let higher wonder rise ! That man might never die
I“ Pardon for infinite offence! and pardon What beart of stone but glows at thoughts “ Thro' means that speak its value infinite! like these?
[mount " A pardon bought with blood! with blood diSuch contemplations mount us; and should vine! The mind still higher; nor even glance on man, “With blood divine of him I made my foe; Unraptur'd, uninflam'd ; where roll my thoughts “ Persisted to provoke! tho'woo'd-and aw'd, To rest from wonders? How my soul is caught!“ Bless'd, and chastis’d, a flagrant rebel still!