Page images
PDF
EPUB

Here nectar flows; it sparkles in our sight : 690
Rich to the tasie, and genuine from the heart.
High-flavour'd bliss for gods ! on earth how rare !
On earth low lost :-Philander is no more.

Think'st thou the theme intoxicates my song ?
Am I too warm? --Too warm I cannot be.

595 I loved him much, but now I love him more. Like birds, whose beauties languish, half conceald, Till, mounted on the wing, their glossy plumes Espanded, shine with azure, green, and gold; How blessings brighten as they take their figt! 600 His flight Philander took, his upward flight, If ci er soul ascer.ded. Had he dropp’d, (That eagle genius!) O had he let fall One feather as he few, I then had wrote What friends might flatter, prudent foes forbear, CO3 Rivals scarce damn, and Zvilus reprieve. Yet what I can I must: it were profane To qneuch a glory lighted at the skies, And cast in shadow's bis illustrious closu. Stranyc! the theme most affecting, most subli.no: 610 Momentous most to man, should sleep unsung ! And yet it sleeps, by genius unawaked, Painim or Christian, to the bluslı of Wit. Man's highcit triumph, man's profoundest fall, T'he deathbed of the just! is yel tindrawn 615 By inortal hand; it merits a divine : Angels should paint it, angels ever thero, There on a post of honour and of joy.

Dare I presume, llen? but Philander bids, And glory tempts, and inclination calls.

C20 Yet am I struck, as struck the soul beneath Aerial groves' impenetrable gloom, Or in some mighty ruin's solemn shade, Or gazing, hy pale lamps, ou highborn dust In vaults, thin courts of poor unflatter'd kings, Or at the midnight allar's hallow'd flame. It is religion to proceed: I pause-

And enter, awed, the tenspie of my theme.
Is it his deathbed ? No; it is his shrine ·
Behold him there just rising to a god.

630
The chamber where the good man meets his fate
Is privileged heyond the common walk
Of virtuous life, quite in the verge of Heaven.
Fly, ye profane! if not, draw near with awe,
Receive the blessing, and adore the chance

635 That threw in this Bethesda your disease : 'If unrestored by this, despair your cure ; For here resistless Demonstration dwells. A deathbed 's a detector of the heart! Here tired Dissimulation drops her mask, 610 Through Life's grimace that mistress of the scene ! Here real and apparent are the saino. You see the man, you sce his hold on Heaven, If sound his virtue, as Philander's sound. Heaven waits not the last moment ; owns l:er friends On this side death, and points them out to men; 646 A lecture silent, but of sovereign power! To Vice confusion, and to Virtuc pcace.

Whatever farce the boastful buro plays, Virtue alone has majesty in death;

650 And greater still, the more the tyrant frowns. Philander ! le severely frown'd on thee. No warning given! unceremonious fate! A sudden rush from life's meridian joys ! A wrench from all we love! from all we are. 655 A restless bed of pain ! a plunge opaque Beyond conjecture ! feeble Nature's dread! Strong Reason's shudder at the dark unknown ! A sun extinguishod! a just opening grave ! 659 And, oh! the last, the last ; what ? (can words express, Thought reach it ?) the last-silence of a friend !' Where are those horrors, that amazement, where This hideous group of ills which singly shock? Dornand from man-I thought him man, till now. 664

Through Nature's wreck, through vanquish'd agonies

(Like the stars struggling through this midnight gloom)
What gleams of joy! what more than human peace !
Where the frail mortal, the poor abject worm ?
No, not in death the nortal to be found.
His conduct is a legacy for all,

670
Richer than Mammon's for his single heir.
His comforters he comforts; great in ruin,
With unreluctant grandeur gives, not yields
His soul sublime, and closes 'vith his fate.

How our hearts burn'd within us at the scene 675 Whence this brave bound o'er limits fix'd to man ? His God sustains him in his final hour ! His final hour brings glory to his God ! Man's glory Heaven vouchsafes to call her own. We gaze, we wecp; mix'd tears of grief and joy! 680 Amazement strikes : devotion bursts to flame : Christians adore ! and infidels believe !

As some tall tower, or lofty mountain's brow, Detains the Sun, illustrious, from its height, While rising vapours and descending shades, 635 With damps and darkness, drown the spacious vale • Undamp'd by doubt, undarken’d by despair, Philander thus augustly rears his head, At that black hour which general horror sheds On the low level of the inglorious throng : 690 Sweet peace, and heavenly hope, and humble joy Divinily beam on his exalted soul; Destruction gild and crown him for the skies, With incommunicable lustre bright.

NIGHT III.

Narcissa.

TI) HER GRACE THE DUCHESS OF PORTLAND.

Ignoscenda quidem, scirent si ignoscere manes,

VIRG.

From dreams, where thought in Fancy's mazeruns mad,
To Reason, that heaven-lighted lamp in man,
Once more I wake ; and at the destined hour,
Punctual as lovers to the moment sworn,
I keep my assignation with my woe.

5 0! lost to virtue, lost to manly thought, Lost to the noble sallies of the soul ; Who think it solitude to be alone. Communion sweet! communion large and high ! Our reason, guardian-angel, and our God!

10 Then nearest these, when others most remote; And all, ere long, shall be remote but these : How dreadful, then, to meet them all alone, A stranger! unacknowledged ! unapproved ! Now woo them, wed them, bind them to thy breast : 15 To win thy wish creation has no more : Or if we wish a fourth, it is a friend. — But friends how mortal! dangerous the desire.

Take Phæbus to yourselves, ye baskıng bards ! lucbriate at fair Fortune's fountain head, And reeling through the wilderness of joy,

Where Sense runs savage, broke from Reason's chain,
And sings false peace, till smother'd by the pal.
My fortune is unlike, unlike my song,
Unlike the Deity my song invokes.

25 I to day's soft-eyed sister pay my court (Endymion's rival,) and her aid implore, Now first implored in succour to the Muso.

Thou who didst lately borrow Cynthia’s* form, And modestly forego thine own: O thou

30 Who didst thyself, at midnight hours, inspire ! Say, why not Cynthia, patroness of song? As thou her crescent, she thy character Ass:mes; still more a goddess by the change.

Are there demurring wits who dare dispute 35 This revolution in the world inspired ? Ye train Pierian! to the lunar sphere, In silent hour, address your ardent call For ajd immortal, less her brother's right. She with the spheres harmonious nightly leads 40 Tho mazy dance, and hears their matchless strain, A strain for gods, denied to mortal ear. Transmit it heard, thou silver queen of Heaven' What title or what name endears thee most? Cynthia ! Cyllene ! Phæbe-or dost hear

45 With higher gust, fair Portland of the skies? Is that the enft enchantment calls thee down, More powerful than of old Circean charm: Come, but from heavenly banquets with thee bring The soul of song, and whisper in inine ear

50 The theft divine; or in propitious dieams (For dreams are thine) tranfuse it through the breast Of thy first votary—but not thy last, If, like thy namesake, thou art ever kind. And kind thou wilt be, kind on such a theme ;

55 A theme so like thee, a quite lunar theme, Soft, modest, melancholy, female, fair ! A theme that rose all pale, and told my soul

At the Duke of Norfolk's inasquerade.

« PreviousContinue »