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Angels are angels, from indulgence there;
Dost call the bowl, the viol, and the dance, 'Tis unrepenting pleasure makes a god.
Loud mirth, mad laughter? Wretched comforters! Dost think thyself a god from other joys ? Physicians! more than half of thy disease. A victim rather! shortly sure to bleed.
Laughter, though never censur’d yet as sin, The wrong must mourn: can Heaven's appointments (Pardon a thought that only seems severe,) fail?
Is half-immoral ; is it much indulg'd ?
It shows a scorner, or it makes a fool ;
That tickles little minds to mirth effuse! Heaven bade the soul this mortal frame inspire: Of grief approaching, the portentous sign! Bade virtue's ray divine inspire the soul
The house of laughter makes a house of woe. With unprecarious flows of vital joy ;
A man triumphant is a monstrous sight;
What cause for triumph, where such ills abound ? " Is virtue, then, and piety the same ?"
What for dejection, where presides a power, No; piety is more ; 'tis virtue's source ;
Who call'd us into being to be blest? Mother of every worth, as that of joy.
So grieve, as conscious grief may rise to joy ; Men of the world this doctrine ill digest:
So joy, as conscious joy to grief may fall. They smile at piety; yet boast aloud
Most true, a wise man never will be sad; Good-will to men; nor know they strive to part
But neither will sonorous, bubbling mirth, What nature joins; and thus confute themselves. A shallow stream of happiness betray: With piety begins all good on Earth ;
Too happy to be sportive, he's serene. Tis the first-born of rationality.
Yet wouldst thou laugh (but at thy own expense), Conscience, her first law broken, wounded lies; This counsel strange should I presume to giveEnfeebled, lifeless, impotent to good;
Retire, and read thy Bible, to be gay." A feign'd affection bounds her utmost power.
There truths abound of sovereign aid to peace; Some we can't love, but for the Almighty's sake ; Ah! do not prize them less, because inspir'd, A foe to God was ne'er true friend to man; As thou, and thine, are apt and proud to do. Some sinister intent taints all he does ;
If not inspir'd, that pregnant page had stood, And, in his kindest actions, he's unkind.
Time's treasure ; and the wonder of the wise ! On piety, humanity is built;
Thou think'st, perhaps, thy soul alone at stake; And on humanity, much happiness ;
Alas !—Should men mistake thee for a fool ;And yet still more on piety itself.
What man of taste for genius, wisdom, truth,
But these, thou think’st, are gloomy paths to joy. A Deity ador'd, is joy advanc'd ;
True joy in sun-shine ne'er was found at first; A Deity belov’d, is joy matur’d.
They, first, themselves offend, who greatly please; Each branch of piety delight inspires;
And travel only gives us sound repose. Faith builds a bridge from this world to the next, Heaven sells all pleasure ; effort is the price ; O'er death's dark gulf, and all its horror hides; The joys of conquest are the joys of man; Praise, the sweet exhalation of our joy,
And glory the victorious laurel spreads That joy exalts, and makes it sweeter still ; O'er pleasure's pure, perpetual, placid stream. Prayer ardent opens Heaven, lets down a stream There is a time, when toil must be preferr'd, Of glory on the consecrated hour
Or joy, by mistim’d fondness, is undone. of man, in audience with the Deity.
A man of pleasure is a man of pains. Who worships the Great God, that instant joins Thou wilt not take the trouble to be blest. The first in Heaven, and sets his foot on Hell. False joys, indeed, are born from want of thought.
Lorenzo! when wast thou at church before ? From thoughts full bent, and energy, the true ; Thou think'st the service long : but is it just? And that demands a mind in equal poise, Though just, unwelcome; thou hadst rather tread Remote from gloomy grief and glaring joy. Unhallow'd ground; the Muse, to win thine ear, Much joy not only speaks small happiness, Must take an air less solemn. She complies. But happiness that shortly must expire. Good conscience! at the sound the world retires; Can joy, unbottom'd in reflection, stand ? Verse disaffects it, and Lorenzo smiles ;
And, in a tempest, can reflection live? Yet has she her seraglio full of charms;
Can joy, like thine, secure itself an hour ? And such as age shall heighten, not impair. Can joy, like thine, meet accident unshock'd ? Art thou dejected ? Is thy mind o'ercast?
Or ope the door to honest poverty? Amid her fair-ones, thou the fairest choose, Or talk with threatening death, and not turn pale ? To chase thy gloom.--"Go, fix some weighty truth; In such a world, and such a nature, these Chain down some passion ; do some generous good ; Are needful fundamentals of delight; Teach ignorance to see, or grief to smile; These fundamentals give delight indeed ; Correct thy friend ; befriend thy greatest foe; Delight, pure, delicate, and durable ; Or with warm heart, and confidence divine, [thee.” Delight, unshaken, masculine, divine; Spring up, and lay strong hold on him who made A constant, and a sound, but serious joy. Thy gloom is scatter'd, sprightly spirits flow;
Is joy the daughter of severity ? Though wither'd is thy vine, and harp unstrung, It is ;-yet far my doctrine from severe.
* Rejoice for ever!" it becomes a man:
And why? "Tis love of pleasure bids thee bleed; Exalts, and sets him nearer to the gods.
Comply, or own self-love extinct, or blind. * Rejoice for ever!” Nature cries, “ Rejoice!" For what is vice ? Self-love in a mistake: And drinks to man, in her nectareous cup,
A poor blind merchant buying joys too dear. Mixt up of delicates for every sense ;
And virtue, what? "Tis self-love in her wils, To the great Founder of the bounteous feast, Quite skilful in the market of delight. Drinks glory, gratitude, eternal praise ;
Self-love's good sense is love of that dread power And he that will not pledge her, is a churl. From whom herself, and all she can enjoy. I firmly to support, good fully taste,
Other self-love is but disguis'd self-hate; Is the whole science of felicity :
More mortal than the malice of our foes; Yet sparing pledge: her bowl is not the best A self-hate, now, scarce felt; then selt full-sore, Mankind can boast.—"A rational repast;
When being curst; extinction, loud implor'd; Exertion, vigilance, a mind in arms,
And every thing preferr'd to what we are. A military discipline of thought,
Yet this self-love Lorenzo makes his choice: To foil templation in the doubtful field;
And, in this choice triumphant, boasts of joy. And ever-waking ardor for the right."
How is his want of happiness betray'd, "Tis these first give, then guard, a cheerful heart. By disaffection to the present hour! Nought that is right, think little ; well aware, Imagination wanders far afield : What reason bids, God bids ; by his command The future pleases : why? The present painsHow aggrandiz’d, the smallest thing we do! · But that's a secret." Yes, which all men know; Thus, nothing is insipid to the wise :
And know from thee, discover'd unawares.
Thy ceaseless agitation, restless roll
“ Mad."" (thou reply'st, with indignation fir'd) What is it?—"Tis the cradle of the soul, “Of ancient sages proud to tread the steps,
From instinct sent, to rock her in disease, I follow nature."-Follow nature still,
Which her physician, reason, will not cure. But look it be thine own : is conscience, then, A poor expedient! yet thy best ; and while No part of nature? Is she not supreme?
It mitigates thy pain, it owns it too. Thou regicide! O raise her from the dead!
Such are Lorenzo's wretched remedies! Then follow nature, and resemble God.
The weak have remedies; the wise have joys When, spite of conscience, pleasure is pursued, Superior wisdom is superior bliss. Man's nature is unnaturally pleas'd ;
And what sure mark distinguishes the wise ? And what's unnatural is painful too
Consistent wisdom ever wills the same; At intervals, and must disgust e'en thee ! Thy fickle wish is ever on the wing. The fact thou know'st; but not, perhaps, the cause. Sick of herself, is folly's character; Virtue's foundations with the world's were laid; As wisdom's is, a modest self-applause. Heaven mixt her with our make, and twisted close A change of evils is thy good supreme; Her sacred interests with the strings of life. Nor, but in motion, canst thou find thy rest. Who breaks her awful mandate, shocks himself, Man's greatest strength is shown in standing still His better self; and is it greater pain,
The first sure symptom of a mind in health Our soul should murmur, or our dust repine ? Is rest of heart, and pleasure felt at home. And one, in their eternal war, must bleed.
False pleasure from abroad her joys imports ; If one must suffer, which should least be spar'd? Rich from within, and self-sustain'd, the true; The pains of mind surpass the pains of sense : The true is fixt, and solid as a rock; Ask, then, the gout, what torment is in guilt. Slippery the false, and tossing, as the wave. The joys of sense to mental joys are mean:
This, a wild wanderer on Earth, like Cain; Sense on the present only feeds; the soul
That, like the fabled, self-enamour'd boy, On past, and future, forages for joy.
Home-contemplation her supreme delight; "Tis hers, by retrospect, through time to range ; She dreads an interruption from without, And forward time's great sequel to survey. Smit with her own condition; and the more Could human courts take vengeance on the mind, Intense she gazes, still it charms the more. Axes might rust, and racks and gibbets fall :
No man is happy, till he thinks, on Earth Guard then thy mind, and leave the rest to fate. There breathes not a more happy than himself: Lorenzo! wilt thou never be a man?
Then envy dies, and love o'erflows on all; The man is dead, who for the body lives,
And love o'erflowing makes an angel here. Lur'd, by the beating of his pulse, to list
Such angels, all, entitled to repose With every lust that wars against his peace : On him who governs fate : though tempest frowns. And sets him quite at variance with himself. Though nature shakes, how sofi 10 lean on Heats! Thyself, first, know; then love: a self there is To lean on him, on whom archangels lean! of virtue fond, that kindles at her charms. With inward eyes, and silent as the grave, A self there is, as fond of every vice,
They eland collecting every beam of thought, While every virtue wounds it to the heart :
Till their hearts kindle with divine delight; Humility degrades it, justice robs,
For all their thoughts, like angels, seen of old Blest bounty beggars it, fair truth betrays,
In Israel's dream, come from, and go to, Heaven: And godlike magnanimity destroys.
Hence, are they studious of sequester'd scenes ; This celf, when rival to the former, scorn; While noise, and dissipation, comfort thee. When not in competition, kindly treat;
Were all men happy, revellings would cease, Defend it, feed it :-but when virtue bids, That opiate for inquietude within. Toss it or to the fowls, or to the flames.
Lorenzo! never man was truly blesh,
But it compos'd, and gave him such a cast, True happiness ne'er enter'd at an eye ;
True happiness resides in things unseen.
No smiles of fortune ever blest "the bad, A modest aspect, and a smile at heart.
Nor can her frowns rob innocence of joys; O for a joy from thy Philander's spring!
That jewel wanting, triple crowns are poor: A spring perennial, rising in the breast,
So tell his holiness, and be reveng'd. And permanent, as pure! no turbid stream
Pleasure, we both agree, is man's chief good; of rapturous exultation, swelling high ;
Or only contest, what deserves the name. Which, like land-floods, impetuous pour awhile, Give pleasure's name to nought, but what has pass'd Then sink at once, and leave us in the mire. Th'authentic seal of reason, (which, like Yorke, What does the man, who transient joy prefers ? Demurs on what it passes,) and defies What, but prefer the bubbles to the stream? The tooth of Time ; when past, a pleasure still ; Vain are all sudden sallies of delight;
Dearer on trial, lovelier for its age, Convulsions of a weak, distemper'd joy.
And doubly to be priz'd, as it promotes Joy's a fixt state; a tenure, not a start.
Our future, while it forms our present, joy. Bliss there is none, but unprecarious bliss : Some joys the future overcast; and some That is the gem : sell all, and purchase that. Throw all their beams that way, and gild the tomb Why go a-begging to contingencies,
Some joys endear eternity; some give Not gain'd with ease, nor safely lov’d, if gain'd? Abhorr'd annihilation dreadful charms. At good fortuitous, draw back, and pause ;
Are rival joys contending for thy choice? Suspect it; what thou canst insure, enjoy ; Consult thy whole existence, and be safe ; And nought but what thou giv'st thyself, is sure. That oracle will put all doubt to flight. Reason perpetuates joy that reason gives, Short is the lesson, though my lecture long, And makes it as immortal as herself:
Be good—and let Heaven answer for the rest. To mortals, nought immortal, but their worth. Yet, with a sigh o'er all mankind, I grant
Worth, conscious worth! should absolutely reign; In this our day of proof, our land of hope, And other joys ask leave for their approach ; The good man has his clouds that intervene; Nor, unexamin'd, ever leave obtain.
Clouds, that obscure his sublunary day,
But never conquer : e'en the best must own,
of human peace on Earth. The pillars, these : No bosom-comfort! or unborrow'd bliss !
But those of Seth not more remote from thee, Thy thoughts are vagabonds; all outward-bound, Till this heroic lesson thou hast learnt ; 'Mid sands, and rocks, and storms, to cruise for To frown at pleasure, and to smile in pain pleasure ;
Fir'd at the prospect of unclouded bliss,
It sheds, on souls susceptible of light,
“ This," says Lorenzo, “is a fair harangue : By fond indulgence but inflam'd the more !) But can harangues blow back strong Nature's Fancy still cruises, when poor sense is tird.
stream; Imagination is the Paphian shop,
Or stem the tide Heaven pushes through our veins, Where feeble happiness, like Vulcan, lame, Which sweeps away man's impotent resolves, Bids foul ideas, in their dark recess,
And lays his labor level with the world ?” And hot as Hell (which kindled the black fires) Themselves men make their comment on man. With wanton art, those fatal arrows form, Which murder all thy time, nealth, wealth, and fame. And think nought is, but what they find at home : Wouldst thou receive them, other thoughts there are, Thus weakness to chimera turns the truth. On angel-wing, descending from above,
Nothing romantic has the Muse prescrib'd. Which these, with art divine, would counter-work, Above,* Lorenzo saw the man of Earth, And form celestial armor for thy peace.
The mortal man; and wretched was the sight. In this is seen imagination's guilt ;
To balance that, to comfort, and exalt, But who can count her follies ? She betrays thee, Now see the man immortal: him, I mean, To think in grandeur there is something great. Who lives as such; whose heart, full bent on Heaven For works of curious art, and ancient fame, Leans all that way, his bias to the stars. Thy genius hungers, clegantly pain’d;
The world's dark shades, in contrast set, shall raise And foreign climes must cater for thy taste. His lustre more; though bright, without a soil : Hence, what disaster !—Though the price was paid, Observe his awful portrait, and admire; That persecuting priest, the Turk of Rome, Nor stop at wonder; imitate, and live. Whose foot (ye gods!) though cloven, must be kiss'd, Some angel guide my pencil, while I draw, Detain'd thy dinner on the Latian shore;
What nothing less than angel can exceed! (Such is the fate of honest Protestants!)
A man on Earth devoted to the skies; And poor magnificence is starv'd to death.
Like ships in seas, while in, above the world. Hence just resentment, indignation, ire !
With aspect mild, and elevated eye, Be pacified ; if outward things are great,
Behold him seated on a mount serene, "Tis magnanimity great things to scorn;
Above the fogs of sense, and passion's storm; Pompous expenses, and parades august, And courts, that insalubrious soil to peace.
* In a former Night.
All the black cares, and tumults, of this life,
Backward to credit what he never felt, Like harmless thunders, breaking at his feet, Lorenzo cries,—" Where shines this miracle? Excite his pity, not impair his peace.
From what root rises this immortal man ?" Earth's genuine sons, the sceptred, and the slave, A root that grows not in Lorenzo's ground; A mingled mob! a wandering herd! he sees, The root dissect, nor wonder at the flower. Bewilder'd in the vale; in all unlike!
He follows nature (not like thee*) and shows us His full reverse in all! what higher praise ? An uninverted system of a man. What stronger demonstration of the right? His appetite wears reason's golden chain,
The present all their care ; the future, his. And finds, in due restraint, its luxury. When public welfare calls, or private want, His passion, like an eagle well reclaimd, They give to fame; his bounty he conceals. Is taught to fly at nought, but infinite. Their virtues varnish nature ; his exalt.
Patient his hope, unanxious is his care, Mankind's esteem they court; and he, his own. His caution fearless, and his grief (if grief Theirs, the wild chase of false felicities;
The gods ordain) a stranger to despair. His, the compos'd possession of the true.
And why ?-- Because, affection, more than meet. Alike throughout is his consistent peace,
His wisdom leaves not disengag'd from Heaven. All of one color, and an even thread ;
Those secondary goods that smile on Earth, While party-color'd shreds of happiness,
Ile, loving in proportion, loves in peace. With hideous gaps between, patch up for them They most the world enjoy, who least admire. A madman's robe ; each puff of fortune blows His understanding 'scapes the common cloud The tatters by, and shows their nakedness. or fumes, arising from a boiling breast.
He sees with other eyes than theirs: where they His head is clear, because his heart is cool, Behold a sun, he spies a Deity:
By worldly competitions uninflam'd. What makes them only smile, makes him adore. The moderate movements of his soul admit Where they see mountains, he but aloms sees; Distinct ideas, and matur'd debate, An empire, in his balance, weighs a grain. An eye impartial, and an even scale; They things terrestrial worship, as divine :
Whence judgment sound, and unrepenting choice His hopes immortal blow them by, as dust, Thus, in a double sense, the good are wise ; That dims his sight and shortens his survey, On its own dunghill, wiser than the world. Which longs, in infinite, to lose all bound.
What, then, the world ? It must be doubly weak; Titles and honors (if they prove his fate)
Strange truth! as soon would they believe their He lays aside to find his dignity;
Creed. No dignity they find in aught besides.
Yet thus it is ; nor otherwise can be ; They triumph in externals (which conceal
So far from aught romantic, what I sing. Man's real glory,) proud an eclipse.
Bliss has no being, virtue has no strength, Himself too much he prizes to be proud,
But from the prospect of immortal life. And nothing thinks so great in man, as man. Who think Earth all, or (what weighs just the Too dear he holds his interest, to neglect
same) Another's welfare, or his right invade;
Who care no further, must prize what it yields; Their interest, like a lion, lives on prey.
Fond of its fancies, proud of its parades. They kindle at the shadow of a wrong ;
Who thinks Earth nothing, can't its charms admire ; Wrong he sustains with temper, looks on Heaven, He can't a foe, though most malignant, hate, Nor stoops to think his injurer his foe;
Because that hate would prove his greater foe. Nought, but what wounds his virtue, wounds his "Tis hard for them (yet who so loudly boast peace.
Good-will to men ?) to love their dearest friend; A cover'd heart their character defends ;
For may not he invade their good supreme, A cover'd heart denies him half his praise. Where the least jealousy turns love to gall ? With nakedness his innocence agrees ;
All shines to them, that for a season shines. While their broad foliage testifies their fall. Each act, each thought, he questions, “What its Their no-joys end, where his full feast begins :
weight, His joys create, theirs murder, future bliss. Its color what, a thousand ages hence ?" To triumph in existence, his alone ;
And what it there appears, he deems it now. And his alone, triumphantly to think
Hence, pure are the recesses of his soul.
The godlike man has nothing to conceal.
But nothing charms Lorenzo, like the firm Angels, allied, descend to feed the fire;
Wont to disdain poor bigots caught by Heaven! If there they show it, 'tis for glory shown; Stand by thy scorn, and be reduc'd to nought: Nor will that cordial always man their hearts. For what art thou ?- Thou boaster! while thy A cordial his sustains that cannot fail ;
glare, By pleasure unsubdued, unbroke by pain, Thy gaudy grandeur, and mere worldly worth, He shares in that Omnipotence he trusts.
Like a broad mist, at distance, strikes us most ; All-bearing, all-attempting, till he falls ;
And like a mist, is nothing when at hand;
Swells more, and rises nearer to the skies,
* See p. 538.
By promise now, and by possession soon,
And when it jars-Thy Syrens sing no more, (Too soon, too much, it cannot be) his own. Thy dance is done; the demi-god is thrown From this thy just annihilation rise,
(Short apotheosis !) beneath the man, Lorenzo! rise to something, by reply.
In coward gloom immers'd, or fell despair.
Art thou yet dull enough despair to dread,
When danger threatens, lay it on thy heart;
Soul, body, fortune! every good pertain She'll sparkle, puzzle, flutter, raise a dust,
To one of these ; but prize not all alike; And fly conviction, in the dust she rais'd.
The goods of fortune to the body's health, Wit, how delicious to man's dainty taste ! Body to soul, and soul submit to God.” "T'is precious, as the vehicle of sense ;
Wouldst thou build lasting happiness? Do this ; But, as its substitute, a dire disease.
The inverted pyramid can never stand. Pernicious talent! flatter'd by the world,
Is this truth doubtful ? It outshines the Sun; By the blind world, which thinks the talent rare. Nay the Sun shines not, but to show us this, Wisdom is rare, Lorenzo! wit abounds;
The single lesson of mankind on Earth. Passion can give it; sometimes wine inspires And yet—yet what ?- No news! mankind is mad, The lucky flash; and madness rarely fails. Such mighty numbers list against the right, Whatever cause the spirit strongly stirs,
(And what can't numbers, when bewitch'd, achieve?) Confers the bays, and rivals thy renown.
They talk themselves to something like belief, For thy renown, 'twere well, was this the worst; That all Earth's joys are theirs : as Athens' fool Chance often hits it; and, to pique the more, Grinn'd from the port, on every sail his own. See dullness, blundering on vivacities,
They grin; but wherefore ? and how long the Shakes her sage head at the calamity,
laugh? Which has expos'd, and let her down to thee. Half ignorance, their mirth ; and half, a lie; But wisdom, awful wisdom! which inspects, To cheat the world, and cheat themselves, they Discerns, compares, weighs, separates, insers,
smile. Seizes the right, and holds it to the last ;
Hard either task! The most abandon'd own,
Then for themselves, the moment reason wakes, While a lewd prostitute to multitudes,
(And Providence denies it long repose,) Frequent, as fatal, wit : in civil life,
O how laborious is their gaiety! Wit makes an enterpriser; sense, a man.
They scarce can swallow their ebullient spleen, Wit hates authority; commotion loves,
Scarce muster patience to support the farce, And thinks herself the lightning of the storm. And pump sad laughter till the curtain falls. In states, 'tis dangerous; in religion, death : Scarce, did I say? Some cannot sit it out; Shall wit turn Christian, when the dull believe? of their own daring hands the curtain draw, Sense is our helmet, wit is but the plume;
And show us what their joy, by their despair. The plume exposes, 'tis our helmet saves.
The clotted hair! gor'd breast! blaspheming eye! Sense is the diamond, weighty, solid, sound; Its impious fury still alive in death! When cut by wit, it casts a brighter beam; Shut, shut the shocking scene.—But Heaven denies Yet, wit apart, it is a diamond still.
A cover to such guilt; and so should man. Wit, widow'd of good sense, is worse than nought; Look round, Lorenzo! see the reeking blade, It hoists more sail to run against a rock.
'Th' envenom'd phial, and the fatal ball ; Thus, a half-Chesterfield is quite a fool;
The strangling cord, and suffocating stream; Whom dull fools scorn, and bless their want of wit. The lothesome rottenness, and foul decays
How ruinous the rock I warn thee, shun, From raging riot (slower suicides !) Where Syrens sit, to sing thee to thy fate! And pride in these, more execrable still ! A joy, in which our reason bears no part,
How horrid all to thought!—But horrors, these, Is but a sorrow tickling, ere it stings.
That vouch the truth; and aid my feeble song. Let not the cooings of the world allure thee; From vice, sense, fancy, no man can be blest : Which of her lovers ever found her true? Bliss is too great, to lodge within an hour : Happy! of this bad world who liule know :- When an immortal being aims at bliss, And yet, we much must know her, to be safe. Duration is essential to the name. To know the world, not love her, is thy point; O for a joy from reason! joy from that, She gives but little, nor that little, long.
Which makes man man; and, exercis'd aright, There is, I grant, a triumph of the pulse ;
Will make him more: a bounteous joy! that gives, A dance of spirits, a mere froth of joy ;
And promises; that weaves, with art divine, Our thoughtless agitation's idle child,
The richest prospect into present peace That maniles high, that sparkles and expires, A joy ambitious ! Joy in common held Leaving the soul more vapid than before.
With thrones ethereal, and their greater far; An animal ovation such as holds
A joy high-privileg'd from chance, time, death! No commerce with our reason, but subsists A joy which death shall double, judgment crown! On juices, through the well-ton'd tubes, well Crown'd higher, and still higher, at each stage, strain'd;
Through blest eternity's long day: yet still,