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HUMBLY INSCRIBED TO
Whose lavish hand, whose love stupendous, pours
NIGHT THE NINTH AND LAST.
CONTAINING, AMONG OTHER THINGS,
I. A Moral Survey of the Nocturnal Heavens.
signs May shun the light) at your designs on Heaven:
HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE, ONE OF HIS Sole point! where over-bashful is your blame.
MAJESTY'S PRINCIPAL SECRETARIES OF STATE. Are you not wise ? You know you are: yet hear One truth, amid your numerous schemes, mislaid,
-Fatis contraria fata rependens.-Virg. Or overlook'd, or thrown aside, if seen; “ Our schemes to plan by this world, or the next,
As when a traveller, a long day past Is the sole difference between wise and fool." In painful search of what he cannot find, All worthy men will weigh you in this scale ; At night's approach, content with the next cot, What wonder then, if they pronounce you light?
There ruminates, awhile, his labor lost; Is their esteem alone not worth your care?
Then cheers his heart with what his fate affords, Accept my simple scheme, of common sense ;
And chants his sonnet to deceive the time, Thus, save your fame, and make two worlds your Till the due season calls him to repose :
Thus I, long-travel'd in the ways of men, The world replies not ;—but the world persists; And dancing, with the rest, the giddy maze, And puts the cause off to the longest day,
Where disappointment smiles at hope's career; Planning evasions for the day of doom.
Warn'd by the languor of life's evening ray, So far, at that re-hearing, from redress,
At length have hous'd me in an humble shed; They then turn witnesses against themselves : Where, future wandering banish'd from my thought
, Hear that, Lorenzo! nor be wise to-morrow. And waiting, patient, the sweet hour of rest, Haste, haste! A man, by nature, is in haste;
I chase the moments with a serious song. For who shall answer for another hour ?
Song soothes our pains; and age has pains to soothe. 'Tis highly prudent, to make one sure friend ; When age, care, crime, and friends embrac'd at And that thou canst 'not do, this side the skies.
heart, Ye sons of Earth! (nor willing to be more !) Torn from my bleeding breast, and death's dark shade. Since verse you think from priestcraft somewhat free, Which hovers o'er me, quench th' ethereal fire; Thus in an age so gay, the Muse plain truths Canst thou, O Night! indulge one labor more! (Truths, which, at church, you might have heard in One labor more indulge! then sleep, my strain ! prose)
Till, haply, wak'd by Raphael's golden lyre, Has ventur'd into light; well-pleas'd the verse Where night, death, age, care, crime, and sorrow, Should be forgot, if you the truths retain :
cease ; And crown her with your welfare, not your praise. To bear a part in everlasting lays; But praise she need not fear: I see my fate;
Though far, far higher set, in aim, I trust, And headlong leap, like Curtius, down the gulf, Symphonious to this humble prelude here. Since many an ample volume, mighty tome,
Has not the Muse asserted pleasures pure, Must die ; and die unwept; O thou minute,
Like those above ; exploding other joys ? Devoted page! go forth among thy foes;
Weigh what was urg'd, Lorenzo! fairly weigh; Go nobly proud of martyrdom for truth,
And tell me, hast thou cause to triumph still ? And die a double death : mankind, incens'd, I think, thou wilt forbear a boast so bold. Denies thee long to live: nor shalt thou rest
But if, beneath the favor of mistake, When thou art dead; in Stygian shades arraign'd Thy smile's sincere; not more sincere can be By Lucifer, as traitor to his throne,
Lorenzo's smile, than my compassion for him. And bold blasphemer of his friend—the world; The sick in body call for aid ; the sick The world, whose legions cost him slender pay, In mind are covetous of more disease; And volunteers around his banner swarm; And when at worst, they dream themselves quite Prudent, as Prussia, in her zeal for Gaul!
well. “ Are all, then, fools ?" Lorenzo cries—Yes, all, To know ourselves diseas'd, is half our cure. But such as hold this doctrine (new to thee;)
When nature's blush by custom is wip'd off, “ The mother of true wisdom is the will ;"
And conscience, deaden'd by repeated strokes, The noblest intellect, a fool without it.
Has into manners naturaliz'd our crimes; World-wisdom much has done, and more may do,
The curse of curses is, our curse to love ; In arts and sciences, in wars and peace;
To triumph in the blackness of our guilt, But art and science, like thy wealth, will leave thee, (As Indians glory in the deepest jet.) And make thee twice a beggar at thy death.
And throw aside our senses with our peace. This is the most indulgence can afford ;
But grant no guilt, no shame, no least alloy ; Thy wisdom all can do, but—make thee wise." Grant joy and glory quite unsullied shone ; Nor think this censure is severe on thee :
Yet, still, it ill deserves Lorenzo's heart.
No joy, no glory, glitters in thy sight,
And thut in sorrow buried ; this, in shame ; All point at Earth, and hiss at human pride,
Of ghasily nature, and enormous size,
Another's dissolution, soon, in flames. Or spread of feeble life a thinner fall.
But, like Cassandra, prophesies in vain; But needless monuments 10 wake the thought; In vain, to many; not, I trust, to thee. Life's gayest scenes speak man's mortality,
For, know'st thou not, or art thou loth to know, Though in a style more florid, full as plain, The great decree, the counsel of the skies? As mausoleums, pyramids, and tombs.
Deluge and conflagration, dreadful powers! What are our noblest ornaments, but deaths Prime ministers of vengeance ! chain'd in caves Turnd flatterers of life, in paint or marble, Distinct, apart the giant furies roar ; The well-stain'd canvas, or the featur'd stone ? A part; or, such their horrid rage for ruin, Our fathers grace, or rather haunt, the scene. In mutual conflict would they rise, and wage Joy peoples her pavilion from the dead.
Eternal war, till one was quite devour'd. " Profesl diversions !—cannot these escape ?" But not for this ordain'd their boundless rage ; Far from it: these present is with a shroud; When Heaven's inferior instruments of wrath, And talk of death, like garlands o'er a grave. War, famine, pestilence, are found too weak As some bold plunderers, for buried wealth, To scourge a world for her enormous crimes, We ransack tombs for pastime ; from the dust These are let loose, alternate : down they rush, Call up the sleeping hero ; bid him tread Swift and tempestuous, from th' eternal ihrone, The scene for our amusement: how like gods With irresistible commission arm’d, We sit; and, wrapt in immortality,
The world, in vain corrected, to destroy, Shed generous tears on wretches born to die; And ease creation of the shocking scene. Their fate deploring, to forget our own!
See'st thou, Lorenzo! what depends on man? What all the pomps and triumphs of our lives, The fale of Nature; as for man, her birth. But legacies in blossom? Our lean soil,
Earth's actors change Earth's transitory scenes, Luxuriant grown, and rank in vanities,
And make creation groan with human guilt. From friends interr'd beneath, a rich manure! How must it groan, in a new deluge whelin'd, Like other worms, we banquet on the dead; But not of waters! at the destin'd hour, Like other worms, shall we crawl on, nor know By the loud trumpet summond to the charge, Our present frailties, or approaching fate?
See, all the formidable sons of fire, Lorenzo ! such the glories of the world!
Eruptions, earthquakes, comets, lightnings, play What is the world itself? Thy world-a grave. Their various engines; all at once disgorge Where is the dust that has not been alive? Their blazing magazines; and take, by storm, The spade, the plow, disturb our ancestors;
This poor terrestrial citadel of man. From human mould we reap our daily bread. Amazing period! when each mountain-height The globe around Earth's hollow surface shakes, Out-burns Vesuvius; rocks eternal pour And is the ceiling of her sleeping sons.
Their melted mass, as rivers once they pour'd; O’er devastation we blind revels keep;
Stars rush ; and final ruin fiercely drives Whole buried towns support the dancer's heel. Her plowshare o'er creation while aloft, The moist of human frame the Sun exhales; More than astonishment! if more can be! Winds scatter through the mighty void the dry; Far other firmament than e'er was seen, Earth repossesses part of what she gave,
Than e'er was thought by man! far other stars !
Far other Sun!-A Sun, O how unlike
Nor man alone; his breathing bust expires, That Man of Sorrows! O how chang'd! what pomp:
A swift archangel, with his golden wing, Though half our learning is their epitaph.
As blots and clouds, that darken and disgrace When down thy vale, unlock'd by midnight thought, The scene divine, sweeps stars and suns aside. That loves to wander in thy sunless realms, And now, all dross remov'd, Heaven's own pure day O Death! I stretch my view; what visions rise ! Full on the confines of our ether, flames. What triumphs! toils imperial! arts divine ! While (dreadful contrast !) far, how far beneath! In wither'd laurels glide before my sight! Hell, bursting, belches forth her blazing seas, What lengths of far-fam'd ages, billow'd high And storms sulphureous; her voracious jaws With human agitation, roll along
Expanding wide, and roaring for her prey. In unsubstantial images of air!
Lorenzo! welcome to this scene; the last The melancholy ghosts of dead renown,
In Nature's course ; the first in wisdom's thought. Whispering faint echoes of the world's applause, This strikes, if aught can strike thee! this awakes With penitential aspect, as they pass,
The most supine; this snatches man from death.
Rouse, rouse, Lorenzo, then, and follow me,
Shall man alone, whose faie, whose final fate, Where truth, the most momentous man can hear, Hangs on that hour, exclude it from his thougti? Loud calls my soul, and ardor wings her flight. I think of nothing else ; I see! I feel it! I find my inspiration in my theme;
All Nature, like an earthquake, trenbling round 'The grandeur of my subject is my Muse.
All deities, like summer's swarms, on wing! At nidnight, when mankind is wrapt
peace, All basking in the full meridian blaze! And worldly fancy feeds on golden dreams; I see the Judge enthron'd! the flaming guard ! To give more dread to man's most dreadful hour, The volume open'd! open'd every heart! Ai midnight, ’lis presum'd this pomp will burst A sunbeam pointing out each secret thought; From tentold darkness ; sudden as the spark No patron! intercessor none! now past From smitten steel; from nitrous grain, the blaze. The sweet, the clement, mediatorial hour! Man, starting from his couch, shall sleep no more! For guilt no plea! to pain, no pause! no bound' The day is broke, which never more shall close ! Inexorable, all! and all, extreme! Above, around, beneath, amazement all!
Nor man alone; the foe of God and man, Terror and glory join'd in their extremes !
From his dark den, blaspheming, drags his chain, Our God in grandeur, and our world on fire! And rears his brazen front, with thunder scarrd. All Nature struggling in the pangs of death! Receives his sentence, and begins his hell. Dost thou not hear her? Dost thou not deplore All vengeance pasl, now, seems abundant grace. Her strong convulsions, and her final groan? Like meteors in a stormy sky, how roll Where are we now? Ah me! the ground is gone His baleful eyes; he curses whom he dreads ; On which we stood : Lorenzo! while thou may’st, And deems it the first moment of his fall. Provide more firm support, or sink for ever!
'Tis present to my thought and yet where is it Where? how? from whence? Vain hope ! it is too late! Angels can't tell me; angels cannot guess Where, where, for shelter, shall the guilty fly, The period ; from created beings lock'd When consternation turns the good man pale ? In darkness. But the process, and the place,
Great day! for which all other days were made ; Are less obscure ; for these may man inquire. For which Earth rose from chaos, man from Earth; Say, thou great close of human hopes and fears! And an eternity, the date of Gods,
Great key of hearts! great finisher of fales! Descended on poor earth-created man!
Great end! and great beginning! say, Where art Great day of dread, decision, and despair!
thou? At thought of thee, each sublunary wish
Art thou in time, or in eternity ? Lets go its eager grasp, and drops the world ; Nor in eternity, nor time, I find thee. And catches at each reed of hope in Heaven. These, as two monarchs, on their borders meet, At thought of thee!-and art thou absent then? (Monarchs of all elaps'd, or unarriv'd!) Lorenzo! no ; 'tis here ; it is begun ;
As in debate, how best their powers allied Already is begun the grand assize,
May swell the grandeur, or discharge the wrath, In thee, in all: deputed conscience scales
Of him, whom both their monarchies obey. The dread tribunal, and forestalls our doom ;
Time, this vast fabric, for him built (and doom? Forestalls; and, by forestalling, proves it sure. With him to fall) now bursting o'er his head; Why on himself should man void judgment pass ? His lamp, the Sun, extinguish'd ; from beneath Is idle Nature laughing at her sons ?
The frown of hideous darkness, calls his sons
Prest in one crowd, appallid with one amaze,
His greatest foe falls with him; Time, and he The coward flies; and, flying, is undone.
Who murder'd ail Time's offspring, Death, expire (Irt ihou a coward? No:) the coward flies ;
Time was! Eternity now reigns alone! Thinks, but thinks slightly; asks, but fears to know ; Awful eternity! offended queen! Asks, " What is truth?” with Pilate; and retires ; And her resentment to mankind, how just ! Dissolves the court, and mingles with the throng; With kind intent, soliciting access, Asylum sad! from reason, hope, and Heaven! How often has she knock'd at human hearts !
Shall all, but man, look out with arlent eye, Rich to repay their hospitality, For that great day, which was ordain'd for man? How often call'd! and with the voice of God! O day of consummation! mark supreme
Yet bore repulse, excluded as a cheat ! (If men are wise) of human thought! nor least, A dream! while foulest foes found welcome there! Or in the sight of angels, or their King!
A dream, a cheat, now, all things, but her smile. Angels, whose radiant circles, height o'er height, For, lo! her twice ten thousand gates thrown wide Order o'er order, rising, blaze o'er blaze,
As thrice from Indus to the frozen Pole, As in a theatre, surround this scene,
With banners streaming as the comet's blaze,
And clarions, louder than the deep in storms,
Pour forth their myriads, potentates, and powers, Creation universal calls aloud,
or light, of darkness; in a middle field, To dis-involve the moral world, and give
Wide, as creation! populous, as wide! 'To Nature's renovation brighter charms.
A neutral region! there to mark th' event
Or that great drama, whose preceding scenes But chiefly then, when grief puis in her claim,
Oft lives in vanity, and dies in woe.
Joy, amidst ills, corroborates, exalts ;
Heaven, Earth, ourselves; 'tis duty, glory, peace.
And virtue in calanities, admire ;
The crown of manhood is a winter-joy ;
An evergreen, that stands the northern blast,
Without one rebel murmur, from this hour,
Who thinks it is, shall never be a God.
Some ills we wish for, when we wish to live.
What spoke proud passion?“ Wish my being O how unlike those shouts of joy, that shake
losi?"* The whole ethereal ? How the concave rings! Presumptuous! blasphemous! absurd! and fulse! Nor strange! when deities their voice exalt; The triumph of my soul is—That I am ; And louder far, than when creation rose.
And therefore that I may be-what? Lorenzo ! To see creation's godlike aim, and end,
Look inward, and look deep; and deeper still; So well accomplish'd! so divinely clos'd ! Unfathomably deep our treasure runs To see the mighty dramatist's last act
In golden veins, through all eternity! (As meet) in glory rising o'er the rest.
Ages, and ages, and succeeding still No fancied god, a god indeed, descends,
New ages, where the phantom of an hour,
Where thou, not master of a moment here,
With all a kind Omnipolence can pour.
Has ever yet conceiv'd, or ever shall, And turn it on myself ; how greatly due!
How kind is God, how great (if good) is man. All, all is right, by God ordain'd or done; No man too largely from Heaven's love can hope, And who, but God, resum'd the friends he gave ? If what is hop'd he labors to secure. And have I been complaining, then, so long? Ills?—there are none :-Al-gracious! none from Complaining of his favors, pain, and death ?
thee; Who, without pain's advice, would e'er be good ? From man full many! numerous is the race Who, without death, but would be good in vain ? Of blackest ills, and those immortal 100, Pain is to save from pain; all punishment, Begot by madness on fair liberty ; To make for peace; and death to save from death; Heaven's daughter, Hell-debauch'd! her hand alone And second death, to guard immortal life;
Unlocks destruction to the sons of men, To rouse the careless, the presumptuous awe, First barr'd by thine: high-wall'd with adamant, And turn the tide of souls another way;
Guarded with terrors reaching to this world, By the same tenderness divine ordain'd,
And cover'd with the thunders of thy law; That planted Eden, and high-bloom'd for man Whose threats are mercies, whose injunctions, guides, A fairer Eden, endless, in the skies.
Assisting, not restraining, reason's choice; Heaven gives us friends to bless the present scene; Whose sanctions, unavoidable results Resumes them, to prepare us for the next. From Nature's course, indulgently reveal'd; All evils natural are moral goods ;
If unreveal'd, more dangerous, nor less sure. AH discipline, indulgence, on the whole.
Thus, an indulgent father warns his sons, Vone are unhappy: all have cause to smile, Do this ; fly that”-nor always tells the cause ; But such as to themselves that cause deny. Pleas'd to reward, as duty to his will, Our faults are at the bottom of our pains ; A conduct needful to their own repose. Error, in acts, or judgment, is the source
Great God of wonders ! (if, thy love survey'd,
Aught else the name of wonderful retains)
* Referring to the First Night.
What rocks are these, on which to build our trust! The grand tribunal rais'd; assign'd the bounds Thy ways admit no blemish ; none I find;
Of human grief : in few, to close the whole, Or this alone—“ That none is to be found." The moral Muse has shadow'd out a sketch, Not one, to soften censure's hardy crime;
Though not in form, nor with a Raphael-stroke, Not one, to palliate peevish grief's complaint, Of most our weakness needs believe, or do, Who like a demon, murmuring from the dust, In this our land of travel and of hope, Dares into judgment call her Judge.-Supreme! For peace on Earth, or prospect of the skies. For all I bless thee; most, for the severe ;
What then remains ? Much! much! a mighty debt Her* death—my own at hand—the fiery gulf, To be discharg'd: these thoughts, O Night! are That flaming bound of wrath omnipotent!
thine : It thunders;—but it thunders to preserve;
From thee they came, like lovers' secret sighs, It strengthens what it strikes; its wholesome dread While others slept. So Cynthia (poets feign) Averts the dreaded pain ; its hideous groans In shadows veil’d, soft sliding from her sphere, Join Heaven's sweet hallelujahs in thy praise, Her shepherd cheer'd ; of her enamour'd less, Great source of good alone ! Ilow kind in all! Than I of thee-And art thou still unsung, In vengeance kind! pain, death, gehenna save. Beneath whose brow, and by whose aid, I sing ?
Thus, in thy world material, Mighty Mind! Immortal silence! where shall I begin? Not that alone which solaces, and shines,
Where end? Or how steal music from the spheres, The rough and gloomy, challenges our praise. To soothe their goddess ? The winter is as needful as the spring ;
O majestic Night? The thunder, as the Sun; a stagnant mass
Nature's great ancestor? day's elder-born! Of vapors breeds a pestilential air;
And fated to survive the transient Sun! Nor more propitious the Favonian breeze
By mortals, and immortals, seen with awe! To Nature's health, than purifying storms ;
A starry crown thy raven brow adorns, The dread valcano ministers to good.
An azure zone, thy waist; clouds, in Heaven's loom Its smother'd fames might undermine the world. Wrought through varieties of shape and shade, Loud Etnas fulminate in love to man;
In ample folds of drapery divine, Comets good omens are when duly scann'd; Thy flowing mantle form; and Heaven throughout, And, in their use, eclipses learn to shine.
Voluminously pour thy pompous train. Man is responsible for ills receivid;
Thy gloomy grandeurs (Nature's most august, Those we call wretched are a chosen band, Inspiring aspect !) claim a grateful verse ; Compellid io refuge in the right, for peace. And, like a sable curtain starr'd with gold, Am my list of blessings infinite,
Drawn o'er my labors past, shall close
The soul of man, his face design'd to see
And give her whole capacities that strength,
The more our spirits are enlarg d on Earth,
The deeper draught shall they receive of Heaven. And when o'erlabor'd, and inclin'd to breathe, Heaven's King! whose face unveil'd consun A panting traveller some rising ground,
mates bliss ; Some small ascent, has gain’d, he turns him round, Redundant bliss! which fills that mighty void, And measures with his eye the various vales, The whole creation leaves in human hearts ! The fields, woods, meads, and rivers, he has past; Thou, who didst touch the lip of Jesse's son, And, satiate of his journey, thinks of home, Rapt in sweet contemplation of these fires, Endear'd by distance, nor affects more toil; And set his harp in concert with the spheres; Thus I, though small, indeed, is that ascent While of thy works material the supreme The Muse has gain'd, review the paths she trod;
I dare attempt, assist my daring song; Various, extensive, beaten but by few;
Loose me from Earth's inclosure, from the Sun's And, conscious of her prudence in repose,
Contracted circle set my heart at large; Pause ; and with pleasure meditaie an end,
Eliminate my spirit, give it range Though still remote; so fruitful is my theme. Through provinces of thought yet unexplor'd ; Through many a field of moral, and divine, Teach me by this stupendous scaffolding, The muse has stray'd ; and much of sorrow seen Creation's golden steps, to climb to thee. In human ways; and much of false and vain ; Teach me with art great Nature to control, Which none, who travel this bad road, can miss. And spread a lustre o'er the shades of night. O'er friends deceas'd full heartily she wept;
Feel I thy kind assent? and shall the Sun Of love divine the wonders she display'd;
Be seen at midnight, rising in my song ? Prov'd man immortal ; show'd the source of joy ;
Lorenzo! come, and warm thee: thou, whose heart.
Whose little heart, is moor'd within a nook * Lucia.
of this obscure terrestrial, anchor weigh.