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Say then, Shall man, his thoughts all sent abroad
(Superior wonders in himself forgot,)
His admiration waste on objects round,
When Heav'n makes him the soul of all he sees?
Absurd ! not rare! so great, so mean, is man.
What wealth in senses such as these! What wealth
In fancy, fir'd to form a fairer scene
Than sense surveys! In memiry's firm record,
Which, should it perish, could this world recal
From the dark shadows of o’erwhelming years !
In colours fresh, originally bright,
Preserve its portrait, and report its fate!
What wealth in intellect, that sov'reign pow'r!
Which sense, and fancy, summons to the bar;
Interrogates, approves, or reprehends ;
And from the mass those underlings import,
From their materials sifted, and refin'd,
And in truth's balance accurately weigh'd,
Forms art and science, government and law;
The solid basis, and the beauteous frame,
The vitals, and the grace of civil life!
And manners (sad exception !) set aside,
Strikes out, with master-hand, a copy fair
Of his idea, whose indulgent thought,
Long, long, ere chaos teem'd, plann'd human bliss.
What wealth in souls that soar, dive, range around, Disdaining limit, or from place, or time; And hear at once, in thought extensive, hear Th’ Almighty fiat, and the trumpet's sound! Bold, on creation's outside walk, and view What was, and is, and more than e'er shall be ; Commanding, with Omnipotence of thought, Creations new in fancy's field to rise !
Souls, that can grasp whate'er th' Almighty made,
And wander wild through things impossible !
What wealth, in faculties of endless growth,
In quenchless passions violent to crave,
In liberty to choose, in pow'r to reach,
And in duration (how thy riches rise!)
Duration to perpetuateboundless bliss.!
Ask you, what pow'r resides in feeble man
That bliss to gain? Is virtue's then, unknown?
Virtue, our present peace, our future prize.
Man's unprecarious, natural estate,
Improveable at will, in virtue lies;
Its tenure sure ; its income is divine.
High-built abundance, heap on heap! for what?
To breed new wants and beggar us the more;
Then, make a richer scramble for the throng.
Soon as this feeble pulse, which leaps so long
Almost by miracle, is tir'd with play,
Like rubbish from disploding engines throwny
Our magazines of hoarded trifles fly;
Fly diverse; fly to foreigners, to foes ;
New masters court, and call the former, fool,
(How justly!) for dependence on their stay.
Wide scatter, first, our play-things; then, our dust.
Dost thou court abundance for the sake of peace? Learn, and lament thy self-defeated scheme: Riches enable to be richer still ; And, richer still, what mortal can resist? Thus wealth (a cruel task master!) enjoins New toils, succeeding toils, an endless train ! And murders peace, which taught it first to shine. The poor are half as wretched as the rich; Whose proud and painful privilege it is,
At once, to bear a double load of woe;
To feel the stings of envy, and of want,
Outrageous want! both Indies cannot cure.
A competence is vital to content.
Much wealth is corpulence, if not disease;
Sick, or encumber'd, is our happiness.
A competence is all we can enjoy.
be content, where heav'n can give no more!
More, like a flash of water from a lock,
Quickens our spirit's movement for an hour;
But soon its force is spent, nor rise our joys
Above our native temper's common stream.
Hence disappointment lurks in ev'ry prize,
As bees in flow'rs; and stings us with success. .
The rich man, who denies it, proudly feigns ;
Nor knows the wise are privy to the lie.
Much learning shews how little mortals know ;
Much wealth, how little worldings can enjoy ;
At best, it babies us with endless toys,
And keeps us children till we drop to dust.
As monkeys at a mirror stand amaz'd,
They fail to find, what they so plainly see ;
Thus men, in shining riches, see the face
Of Happiness, nor know it is a shade ;
But gaze, and touch, and peep, and peep again,
And wish, and wonder it is absent still.
How few can rescue opulence from want!
Who lives to Nature, rarely can be poor ;
Who lives to Fancy, never can be rich.
Poor is the man in debt; the man of gold,
In debt to Fortune, trembles at her pow'r.
The man of Reason smiles at her, and death.
O what a patrimony this! A being
Of such inherent strength and majesty,
Not worlds possess'd can raise it; worlds destroy'd
Can't injure ; which holds on its glorious course,
When thine, 0 Nature ! ends ; too bless'd to mourn
Creation's obsequies. What treasure, this !
The monarch is a beggar to the man.
'Immortal! Ages past, yet nothing gone !
Morn, without eve! a race, without a goal!
Unshorten'd by progression infinite !
Futurity for ever future! Life
Beginning still, where computation ends!
'Tis the description of a Deity!
'Tis the description of the meanest slave ;
The meanest slave dares then LORENZO scorn ?
The meanest slave thy sov’reign glory shares.
Proud Youth ! fastidious of the lower world!
Man's lawful pride includes humility;
Stoops to the lowest; is too great to find
Inferiors; all immortal! Brothers all !
Proprietors eternal of thy love.
IMMORTAL! What can strike the sense so strong,
As this the soul? It thunders to the thought;
Reason amazes; gratitude o'erwhelms;
No more we slumber on the brink of fate;
Rous’d at the sound, th' exulting soul ascends,
And breathes her native air ; an air that feeds
Ambitions high, and fans ethereal fires;
Quick-kindles all that is divine within us;
Nor leaves one loitoring thought beneath the stars:
Has not LORENZO's bosom caught the flame?
Immortal! Were but one immortal, how
Would others envy! How would thrones adore !
Because 'tis common, is the blessing lost?
How this ties up the bounteous hand of Heav'n!
O vain, vain, vain, all else Eternity,
A glorious, and a needful refuge, that,
From vile imprisonment in abject views.
'Tis immortality, 'tis that alone,
Amid life's pains, abasements, emptiness,
The soul can comfort, elevate, and fil.
That only, and that amply, this performs;
Lifts us above life's pains, her joys above;
Their terror those; and these their lustre lose;
Eternity depending, covers all;
Eternity depending, all achieves ;
Sets earth at distance ; casts her into shades;
Blends her distinctions; abrogates her pow'rs:
The low, the lofty, joyous, and severe,
Fortune's dread frowns, und fascinating smiles,
Make one promiscuous and neglected heap,
The man beneath; if I may call him man,
Whom immortality's full force inspires.
Nothing terrestrial touches his high thought ;
Suns shine unseen, and thunders roll unheard,
By minds quite conscious of their high descent,
Their present province, and their future prize ;
Divinely darting upward ev'ry wish,
Warm on the wing, in glorious absence lost.
Doubt you this truth? Why labours your belief?
If earth's whole orb, by some due-distanc'd eye
Were seen at once, her tow'ring alps would sink,
And leveld Atlas leave an even sphere.
Thus earth, and all that earthly minds admire,
Is swallow'd in eternity's vast round.
To that stupendous view, when souls awake,
So large of late, so mountainous to man,