« السابقةمتابعة »
If, from her humble chamber in the dust,
While proud thought swells, and high desire inflames,
The poor worm calls us for her inmates there;
And, round us, Death's inexorable hand
Draws the dark curtain close; undrawn no more.
Undrawn no more!-Behind the cloud of Death,
Once, I beheld the Sun; a Sun which gilt
That sable cloud, and turn'd it all to gold:
How the grave's alter'd! Fathomless, as Hell!
A real Hell to those who dreamt of Heaven.
Annihilation! How it yawns before me!
Next moment I may drop from thought, from sense,
The privilege of angels, and of worms,
An outcast from existence and this spirit,
This all-pervading, this all-conscious soul,
This particle of energy divine,
Which travels Nature, flies from star to star,
And visits gods, and emulates their powers,
For ever is extinguisht. Horror! death!
Death of that death I fearless once survey'd!
When horror universal shall descend,
And Heaven's dark concave urn all human race,
On that enormous, unrefunding tomb,
How just this verse! this monumental sigh!
Lorenzo! hear, pause, ponder, and pronounce. Just is this history? If such is man, Mankind's historian, though divine, might weep. And dares Lorenzo smile?-I know thee proud; For once let pride befriend thee; pride looks pale At such a scene, and sighs for something more. Amid thy boasts, presumptions, and displays, And art thou then a shadow? Less than shade? A nothing? Less than nothing? To have been, And not to be, is lower than unborn.
Art thou ambitious? Why then make the worm
Thine equal? Runs thy taste of pleasure high?
Why patronize sure death of every joy?
Charm riches? Why choose beggary in the grave,
Of every hope a bankrupt! and for ever?
Ambition, pleasure, avarice, persuade thee
To make that world of glory, rapture, wealth,
They lately prov'd,* the soul's supreme desire.
What art thou made of? Rather, how unmade? Great Nature's master-appetite destroy'd, Is endless life, and happiness, despis'd? Or both wish'd, here, where neither can be found? Such man's perverse, eternal war with Heaven! Dar'st thou persist? And is there nought on Earth, But a long train of transitory forms, Rising, and breaking, millions in an hour? Bubbles of a fantastic deity, blown up In sport, and then in cruelty destroy'd ? Oh! for what crime, unmerciful Lorenzo ! Destroys thy scheme the whole of human race? Kind is fell Lucifer, compar'd to thee: O spare this waste of being half-divine; And vindicate th' economy of Heaven.
Heaven is all love; all joy in giving joy : It never had created, but to bless: And shall it, then, strike off the list of life, A being blest, or worthy so to be? Heaven starts at an annihilating God.
Is that, all Nature starts at, thy desire? Art such a clod to wish thyself all clay? What is that dreadful wish?-The dying groan Of Nature, murder'd by the blackest guilt. What deadly poison has thy nature drunk; To nature undebauch'd no shock so great. Nature's first wish is endless happiness; Annihilation is an after-thought,
A monstrous wish, unborn till virtue dies.
And, oh! what depth of horror lies inclos'd!
For non-existence no man ever wish'd,
But, first, he wish'd the Deity destroy'd.
If so; what words are dark enough to draw
Thy picture true? The darkest are too fair.
Beneath what baleful planet, in what hour
Of desperation, by what fury's aid,
In what infernal posture of the soul,
All Hell invited, and all Hell in joy
At such a birth, a birth so near of kin,
Did thy foul fancy whelp so black a scheme
Of hopes abortive, faculties half-blown,
And deities begun, reduc'd to dust?
There's nought (thou say'st) but one eternal flux
Of feeble essences, tumultuous driven
Through time's rough billows into night's abyss.
Say, in this rapid tide of human ruin,
Is there no rock, on which man's tossing thought
Can rest from terror, dare his fate survey,
And boldly think it something to be born?
Amid such hourly wrecks of being fair,
Is there no central, all-sustaining base,
All-realizing, all-connecting power,
Which, as it call'd forth all things, can recall,
And force destruction to refund her spoil?
Command the grave restore her taken prey?
Bid death's dark vale its human harvest yield,
And earth and ocean pay their debt of man,
True to the grand deposit trusted there?
Is there no potentate whose outstretch'd arm,
When ripening time calls forth th' appointed hour
Pluck'd from foul devastation's famish'd maw,
Binds present, past, and future, to his throne?
His throne, how glorious, thus divinely grac'd,
By germinating beings clustering round!
A garland worthy the divinity!
A throne, by Heaven's omnipotence in smiles,
Built (like a pharos towering in the waves)
Amidst immense effusions of his love!
An ocean of communicated bliss!
An all-prolific, all-preserving god!
This were a god indeed.-And such is man,
As here presum'd: he rises from his fall.
Think'st thou Omnipotence a naked root,
Each blossom fair of Deity destroy'd?
Nothing is dead; nay, nothing sleeps; each soul,
That ever animated human clay,
Now wakes; is on the wing: and where, O where,
Will the swarm settle ?-When the trumpet's call,
As sounding brass, collects us, round Heaven's throne
Conglob'd, we bask in everlasting day,
(Paternal splendor!) and adhere for ever.
Had not the soul this outlet to the skies,
In this vast vessel of the universe,
How should we gasp, as in an empty void!
How in the pangs of famish'd hope expire!
How bright my prospect shines! how gloomy thine!
A trembling world! and a devouring God!
Earth, but the shambles of Omnipotence!
Heaven's face all stain'd with causeless massacres
Of countless millions, born to feel the pang
Of being lost. Lorenzo! can it be?
This bids us shudder at the thoughts of life.
Who would be born to such a phantom world,
Where nought substantial but our misery?
Where joy (if joy) but heightens our distress,
So soon to perish, and revive no more?
The greater such a joy, the more it pains.
A world, so far from great, (and yet how great
It shines to thee!) there's nothing real in it;
Being, a shadow; consciousness, a dream;
A dream, how dreadful! Universal blank
Before it, and behind! Poor man, a spark
From non-existence struck by wrath divine,
Glittering a moment, nor that moment sure,
'Midst upper, nether, and surrounding night,
His sad, sure, sudden, and eternal tomb!
Lorenzo! dost thou feel these arguments?
Or is there nought but vengeance can be felt?
How hast thou dar'd the Deity dethrone?
How dar'd indict him of a world like this?
If such the world, creation was a crime;
For what is crime but cause of misery?
Retract, blasphemer! and unriddle this,
Of endless arguments above, below,
Without us, and within, the short result!
"If man's immortal, there's a God in Heaven."
But wherefore such redundancy? such waste
Of argument? One sets my soul at rest!
One obvious, and at hand, and, oh!—at heart.
So just the skies, Philander's life so pain'd,
His heart so pure; that, or succeeding scenes
Have palms to give, or ne'er had he been born.
"What an old tale is this "" Lorenzo cries.-
I grant this argument is old; but truth
No years impair; and had not this been true,
Thou never hadst despis'd it for its age.
Truth is immortal as thy soul; and fable
As fleeting as thy joys: be wise, nor make
Heaven's highest blessing, vengeance; O be wise!
Nor make a curse of immortality.
Say, know'st thou what it is, or what thou art? Know'st thou the importance of a soul immortal? Behold this midnight glory: worlds on worlds! Amazing pomp! redouble this amaze; Ten thousand add; add twice ten thousand more; Then weigh the whole; one soul outweighs them all;
And calls th' astonishing magnificence
Of unintelligent creation poor.
For this, believe not me; no man believe;
Trust not in words, but deeds; and deeds no less
Than those of the Supreme; nor his, a few:
Consult them all; consulted, all proclaim
Thy soul's importance: tremble at thyself;
For whom Omnipotence has wak'd so long:
Has wak'd, and work'd, for ages; from the birth
Of Nature to this unbelieving hour.
The genuine cause of every deed divine:
That is the chain of ages, which maintains
Their obvious correspondence, and unites
Most distant periods in one blest design:
That is the mighty hinge, on which have turn'd
All revolutions, whether we regard
The natural, civil, or religious, world,
The former two but servants to the third :
To that their duty done, they both expire,
Their mass new-cast, forgot their deeds renown'd:
And angels ask, "Where once they shone so fair?”
To lift us from this abject, to sublime;
This flux, to permanent; this dark, to-day;
This foul, to pure; this turbid, to serene;
This mean, to mighty!-for this glorious end
Th' Almighty, rising, his long sabbath broke!
The world was made; was ruin'd; was restor❜d;
Laws from the skies were publish'd; were repeal'd;
On Earth kings, kingdoms, rose; kings, kingdoms,
In this small province of his vast domain, (All Nature bow, while I pronounce his name!) What has God done, and not for this sole end, To rescue souls from death? The soul's high price Is writ in all the conduct of the skies. The soul's high price is the Creation's key, Unlocks its mysteries, and naked lays
Fam'd sages lighted up the Pagan world;
Prophets from Sion darted a keen glance
Through distant age; saints travel'd; martyrs bled;
By wonders sacred Nature stood controll'd;
The living were translated; dead were rais'd;
Angels, and more than angels, came from Heaven,
And, oh! for this, descended lower still:
Guilt was Hell's gloom; astonish'd at his guest,
For one short moment Lucifer ador'd:
Lorenzo! and wilt thou do less?-For this,
That hallow'd page, fools scoff at, was inspir'd,
Of all these truths-thrice-venerable code!
Deists! perform your quarantine; and then
Fall prostrate, ere you touch it, lest you die.
Nor less intensely bent infernal powers
To mar, than those of light, this end to gain.
O what a scene is here!-Lorenzo! wake!
Rise to the thought; exert, expand thy soul,
To take the vast idea: it denies
All else the name of great. Two warring worlds!
Not Europe against Afric; warring worlds!
Of more than mortal! mounted on the wing
On ardent wings of energy and zeal,
High-hovering o'er this little brand of strife!
This sublunary ball-But strife, for what?
In their own cause conflicting? No; in thine,
In man's. His single interest blows the flame;
His the sole stake; his fate the trumpet sounds,
Which kindles war immortal. How it burns!
Tumultuous swarms of deities in arms!
Force, force opposing, till the waves run high,
And tempest Nature's universal sphere.
Such opposites eternal, stedfast, stern,
Such foes implacable, are good and ill; [them
Yet man, vain man, would mediate peace between
Think not this fiction, “There was war in Heaven.”
From Heaven's high crystal mountain, where it hung,
Th' Almighty's out-stretch'd arm took down his bow,
And shot his indignation at the deep:
Re-thunder'd Hell, and darted all her fires.
And seems the stake of little moment still?
And slumbers man, who singly caus'd the storm?
He sleeps.-And art thou shock'd at mysteries?
The greatest, thou. How dreadful to reflect,
What ardor, care, and counsel, mortals cause
In breasts divine! how little in their own!
Where'er I turn, how new proofs pour upon me! How happily this wondrous view supports My former argument! How strongly strikes Immortal life's full demonstration, here!
Why this exertion? Why this strange regard
From Heaven's Omnipotent indulg'd to man?—
Because, in man, the glorious dreadful power,
Extremely to be pain'd, or blest, for ever.
Duration gives importance; swells the price.
An angel, if a creature of a day,
What would he be? A trifle of no weight;
Or stand, or fall; no matter which; he's gone.
Because immortal, therefore is indulg'd
This strange regard of deities to dust.
Hence, Heaven looks down on Earth with all her eyes:
Hence, the soul's mighty moment in her sight:
Hence, every soul has partisans above,
And every thought a critic in the skies:
Hence, clay, vile clay! has angels for its guard,
And every guard a passion for his charge:
Hence, from all age, the cabinet divine
Has held high counsel o'er the fate of man.
Nor have the clouds those gracious counsels hid:
Angels undrew the curtain of the throne,
And Providence came forth to meet mankind:
In various modes of emphasis and awe,
He spoke his will, and trembling Nature heard;
He spoke it loud, in thunder and in storm.
Witness, thou Sinai! whose cloud-cover'd height,
And shaken basis, own'd the present God;
Witness, ye billows! whose returning tide,
Breaking the chain that fasten'd it in air,
Swept Egypt, and her menaces, to Hell:
Witness, ye flames! th' Assyrian tyrant blew
'To sevenfold rage, as impotent, as strong:
And thou, Earth! witness, whose expanding jaws
Clos'd o'er presumption's sacrilegious sons:*
Has not each element, in turn, subscrib'd
The soul's high price, and sworn it to the wise?
Has not flame, ocean, etler, earthquake, strove
To strike this truth through adamantine man?
If not all adamant, Lorenzo! hear;
All is delusion; Nature is wrapt up
In tenfold night, from reason's keenest eye;
There's no consistence, meaning, plan, or end,
In all beneath the Sun, in all above
(As far as man can penetrate,) or Heaven
Is an immense, inestimable prize;
Or all is nothing, or that prize is all-
And shall each toy be still a match for Heaven,
And full equivalent for groans below?
Who would not give a trifle to prevent
What he would give a thousand worlds to cure?
Lorenzo! thou hast seen (if thine to see)
All Nature, and her God (by Nature's course,
And Nature's course controll'd) declare for me:
The skies above proclaim, " immortal man!”
And, "man immortal!" all below resounds.
The world a system of theology,
Read by the greatest strangers to the schools;
If honest, learn'd; and sages o'er a plow.
Is not, Lorenzo! then, impos'd on thee
This hard alternative; or, to renounce
Thy reason, or thy sense; or, to believe?
What then is unbelief? "Tis an exploit ;
A strenuous enterprise: to gain it, man
Must burst through every bar of common sense;
Of common shame, magnanimously wrong;
And what rewards the sturdy combatant?
His prize, repentance; infamy, his crown.
But wherefore, infamy ?-For want of faith, Down the steep precipice of wrong he slides;
* Korah, &c.
There's nothing to support him in the right.
Faith in the future wanting is, at least
In embryo, every weakness, every guilt;
And strong temptation ripens it to birth.
If this life's gain invites him to the deed,
Why not his country sold, his father slain?
"Tis virtue to pursue our good supreme;
And his supreme, his only good is here.
Ambition, avarice, by the wise disdain'd,
Is perfect wisdom, while mankind are fools,
And think a turf, or tomb-stone, covers all:
These find employment, and provide for sense
A richer pasture, and a larger range;
And sense by right divine ascends the throne,
When virtue's prize and prospect are no more;
Virtue no more we think the will of Heaven.
Would Heaven quite beggar virtue, if belov'd?
"Has virtue charms?"-I grant her heavenly
But if unportion'd, all will interest wed;
Though that our admiration, this our choice.
The virtues grow on immortality;
That root destroy'd, they wither and expire.
A deity believ'd, will nought avail;
Rewards and punishments make God ador'd;
And hopes and fears give conscience all her power.
As in the dying parent dies the child,
Virtue, with immortality, expires.
Who tells me he denies his soul immortal,
Whate'er his boast, has told me, he's a knave.
His duty 'tis, to love himself alone;
Nor care though mankind perish, if he smiles.
Who thinks ere long the man shall wholly die,
Is dead already; nought but brute survives.
And are there such ?-Such candidates there are
For more than death; for utter loss of being,
Being, the basis of the Deity!
Ask you the cause?-The cause they will not teli
Nor need they: O the sorceries of sense!
They work this transformation on the soul,
Dismount her, like the serpent at the fall,
Dismount her from her native wing, (which soar'd
Erewhile ethereal heights.) and throw her down,
To lick the dust, and crawl in such a thought.
Is it in words to paint you? O ye fall'n!
Fall'n from the wings of reason, and of hope!
Erect in stature, prone in appetite!
Patrons of pleasure, posting into pain!
Lovers of argument, averse to sense!
Boasters of liberty, fast bound in chains!
Lords of the wide creation, and the shame!
More senseless than th' irrationals you scorn!
More base than those you rule! Than those you pity
Far more undone! O ye most infamous
Of beings, from superior dignity!
Deepest in woe from means of boundless bliss!
Ye curst by blessings infinite! because
Most highly favor'd, most profoundly lost!
Ye motley mass of contradiction strong!
And are you, too, convinc'd, your souls fly off
In exhalation soft, and die in air,
From the full flood of evidence against you?
In the coarse drudgeries and sinks of sense,
Your souls have quite worn out the make of Heaven
By vice new-cast, and creatures of your own:
But though you can deform, you can't destroy;
To curse, not uncreate, is all your power.
Lorenzo! this black brotherhood renounce;
Renounce St. Evremont, and read St. Paul.
Ere rapt by miracle, by reason wing'd,
His mounting mind made long abode in Heaven.
This is free-thinking, unconfin'd to parts,
To send the soul, on curious travel bent,
Through all the provinces of human thought;
To dart her flight through the whole sphere of man;
Of this vast universe to make the tour;
In each recess of space, and time, at home;
Familiar with their wonders; diving deep;
And, like a prince of boundless interests there,
Still most ambitious of the most remote;
To look on truth unbroken, and entire;
Truth in the system, the full orb; where truths
By truths enlighten'd, and sustain'd, afford
An arch-like, strong foundation, to support
Th' incumbent weight of absolute, complete
Conviction; here, the more we press, we stand
More firm who most examine, most believe.
Parts, like half-sentences, confound; the whole
Conveys the sense, and God is understood;
Who not in fragments writes to human race:
Read his whole volume, sceptic! then reply.
This, this, is thinking free, a thought that grasps
Beyond a grain, and looks beyond an hour.
Turn up thine eyes, survey this midnight scene;
What are Earth's kingdoms, to yon boundless orbs,
Of human souls, one day, the destin'd range?
And what yon boundless orbs, to godlike man?
Those numerous worlds that throng the firmament,
And ask more space in Heaven, can roll at large
In man's capacious thought, and still leave room
For ampler orbs, for new creations, there.
Can such a soul contract itself, to gripe
A point of no dimension, of no weight?
It can; it does: the world is such a point:
And, of that point, how small a part enslaves!
How small a part-of nothing, shall I say?
Why not?-Friends, our chief treasure! how they
Not man alone, all rationals, Heaven arms With an illustrious, but tremendous, power To counteract its own most gracious ends; And this, of strict necessity, not choice; That power denied, men, angels, were no more But passive engines, void of praise or blame. A nature rational implies the power
Lucia, Narcissa fair, Philander, gone!
The grave, like fabled Cerberus, has op'd
A triple mouth; and, in an awful voice,
Loud calls my soul, and utters all I sing.
How the world falls to pieces round about us,
And leaves us in a ruin of our joy!
What says this transportation of my friends?
It bids me love the place where now they dwell,
And scorn this wretched spot they leave so poor.
Eternity's vast ocean lies before thee;
There; there, Lorenzo! thy Clarissa sails.
Give thy mind sea-room; keep it wide of Earth,
That rock of souls immortal; cut thy cord;
Weigh anchor; spread thy sails; call every wind;
Eye thy Great Pole-star; make the land of life.
Two kinds of life has double-natur'd man, And two of death; the last far more severe. Life animal is nurtur'd by the Sun; Thrives on his bounties, triumphs in his beams. Life rational subsists on higher food, Triumphant in his beams, who made the day. When we leave that Sun, and are left by this, (The fate of all who die in stubborn guilt,) "Tis utter darkness; strictly double death. We sink by no judicial stroke of Heaven, But Nature's course; as sure as plummets fall Since God, or man, must alter, ere they meet, (Since light and darkness blend not in one sphere,) "Tis manifest, Lorenzo! who must change.
If, then, that double death should prove thy lot, Blame not the bowels of the Deity; Man shall be blest, as far as man permits.
Of being blest, or wretched, as we please;
Else idle reason would have nought to do;
And he that would be barr'd capacity
Of pain, courts incapacity of bliss.
Heaven wills our happiness, allows our doom;
Invites us ardently, but not compels;
Heaven but persuades, almighty man decrees;
Man is the maker of immortal fates.
Man falls by man, if finally he falls;
And fall he must, who learns from death alone
The dreadful secret-That he lives for ever.
Why this to thee?—Thee yet, perhaps, in doubt Of second life? But wherefore doubtful still? Eternal life is nature's ardent wish: What ardently we wish, we soon believe: Thy tardy faith declares that wish destroy'd: What has destroy'd it ?-Shall I tell thee what? When fear'd the future, 'tis no longer wish'd; And, when unwish'd, we strive to disbelieve.
Thus infidelity our guilt betrays." Nor that the sole detection! Blush, Lorenzo! Blush for hypocrisy, if not for guilt. The future fear'd?—An infidel, and fear? Fear what? A dream? A fable ?-How thy dress Unwilling evidence, and therefore strong, Affords my cause an undesign'd support! How disbelief affirms what it denies!
It, unawares, asserts immortal life."
Surprising infidelity turns out
A creed, and a confession of our sins:
Apostates, thus, are orthodox divines.
Lorenzo! with Lorenzo clash no more; Nor longer a transparent vizor wear. Think'st thou, religion only has her mask? Our infidels are Satan's hypocrites, Pretend the worst, and, at the bottom, fail. When visited by thought (thought will intrude,) Like him they serve, they tremble and believe. Is their hypocrisy so foul as this; So fatal to the welfare of the world? What detestation, what contempt, their due! | And, if unpaid, be thank'd for their escape That Christian candor they strive hard to scorn: If not for that asylum, they might find A Hell on Earth; nor 'scape a worse below.
With insolence, and impotence of thought, Instead of racking fancy, to refute, Reform thy manners, and the truth enjoy.But shall I dare confess the dire result? Can thy proud reason brook so black a brand? From purer manners, to sublimer faith, Is Nature's unavoidable ascent; An honest Deist, where the Gospel shines, Matur'd to nobler, in the Christian ends. When that blest change arrives, e'en cast aside This song superfluous; life immortal strikes Conviction, in a flood of light divine. A Christian dwells, like Uriel,* in the Sun; Meridian evidence puts doubt to flight; And ardent hope anticipates the skies. Of that bright Sun, Lorenzo! scale the sphere;
'Tis easy! it invites thee; it descends
Millions of mysteries! each darker far,
From Heaven to woo, and waft thee whence it came : Than that thy wisdom would, unwisely, shun.
Read and revere the sacred page; a page
If weak thy faith, why choose the harder side?
Where triumphs immortality; a page
We nothing know, but what is marvellous;
Which not the whole creation could produce; Yet what is marvellous, we can't believe.
Which not the conflagration shall destroy:
So weak our reason, and so great our God,
"Tis printed in the mind of gods for ever,
What most surprises, in the sacred page,
In Nature's ruins not one letter lost.
Or full as strange, or stranger, must be true.
Faith is not reason's labor, but repose.
In proud disdain of what e'en gods adore, Dost smile?-Poor wretch! thy guardian angel
Angels, and men, assent to what I sing;
Wits smile, and thank me for my midnight dream. How vicious hearts fume frenzy to the brain! Parts push us on to pride, and pride to shame; Pert infidelity is wit's cockade,
To grace the brazen brow that braves the skies,
By loss of being, dreadfully secure.
Lorenzo! if thy doctrine wins the day,
And drives my dreams, defeated, from the field;
If this is all, if Earth a final scene,
Take heed; stand fast; be sure to be a knave,
A knave in grain! ne'er deviate to the right:
Shouldst thou be good-how infinite thy loss!
Guilt only makes annihilation gain.
Blest scheme! which life deprives of comfort, death
Of hope; and which vice only recommends.
If so, where, infidels! your bait, thrown out
To catch weak converts? where your lofty boast
Of zeal for virtue, and of love to man?
Annihilation! I confess, in these.
What can reclaim you? Dare I hope profound Philosophers the converts of a song? Yet know, its title* flatters you, not me; Yours be the praise to make my title good; Mine, to bless Heaven, and triumph in your praise. But since so pestilential your disease, Though sovereign is the medicine I prescribe, As yet, I'll neither triumph, nor despair: But hope, ere long, my midnight dream will wake Your hearts, and teach your wisdom-to be wise: For why should souls immortal, made for bliss, E'er wish, (and wish in vain!) that souls could die? What ne'er can die, oh! grant to live; and crown The wish, and aim, and labor of the skies; Increase, and enter on the joys of Heaven: Thus shall my title pass a sacred seal, Receive an imprimatur from above, While angels shout-An infidel reclaim'd!
To close, Lorenzo! spite of all my pains, Still seems it strange, that thou shouldst live for ever? Is it less strange, that thou shouldst live at all? This is a miracle; and that no more. Who gave beginning, can exclude an end. Deny thou art: then, doubt if thou shalt be. A miracle with miracles inclos'd,
Is man and starts his faith at what is strange?
What less than wonders, from the wonderful;
What less than miracles, from God, can flow?
Admit a God-that mystery supreme!
That cause uncaus'd! all other wonders cease;
Nothing is marvellous for him to do:
Deny him—all is mystery besides :
To faith, and virtue, why so backward, man? From hence :-The present strongly strikes us all, The future, faintly; can we, then, be men? If men, Lorenzo! the reverse is right. Reason is man's peculiar: sense, the brute's. The present is the scanty realm of sense; The future, reason's empire unconfin'd: On that expending all her godlike power, She plans, provides, expatiates, triumphs, there; There builds her blessings! there expects her praise, And nothing asks of fortune, or of men. And what is reason? Be she, thus, defin'd; Reason is upright stature in the soul.
Oh! be a man; and strive to be a god.
For what? (thou say'st) To damp the joys of life?" No; to give heart and substance to thy joys. That tyrant, Hope; mark how she domineers; She bids us quit realities, for dreams; Safety and peace, for hazard and alarm; That tyrant o'er the tyrants of the soul, She bids ambition quit its taken prize, Spurn the luxuriant branch on which it sits, Though bearing crowns, to spring at distant game; And plunge in toils and dangers-for repose. If hope precarious, and if things, when gain'd, Of little moment, and as little stay, Can sweeten toils and dangers into joys; What then, that hope, which nothing can defeat, Our leave unask'd? Rich hope of boundless bliss! Bliss, past man's power to paint it; time's to close!
This hope is Earth's most estimable prize : This is man's portion, while no more than man : Hope, of all passions, most befriends us here; Passions of prouder name befriend us less. Joy has her tears; and transport has her death; Hope, like a cordial, innocent, though strong, Man's heart, at once, inspirits, and serenes; Nor makes him pay his wisdom for his joys; "Tis all our present state can safely bear, Health to the frame! and vigor to the mind! A joy attemper'd! a chastis'd delight! Like the fair summer evening, mild and sweet! "Tis man's full cup; his Paradise below!
A blest hereafter, then, or hop'd, or gain'd, Is all; our whole of happiness; full proof, I chose no trivial or inglorious theme. And know, ye foes to song! (well-meaning men, Though quite forgotten half your Bible's praise! *) Important truths, in spite of verse, may please : Grave minds you praise; nor can you praise too much;
If there is weight in an eternity,
Let the grave listen ;—and be graver still.
*The poetical parts of it.