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What sight, heaven's azure arch beneath, The wise, as flowers, which spread at noon, Hast most of Heaven to boast?
And all their charms expose, The man resigned, at once serene,
When evening damps and shades descend, And giving up the ghost.
Their evolutions close. At death's arrival they shall smile
What though your Muse has nobly soared, Who, not in life o'er-gay,
Is that our true sublime ? Serious and frequent thought send out
Ours, hoary friend! is to prefer To meet him in his way.
Eternity to time. My gay coevals ! (such there are)
Why close a lífe so justly famed
With such bold trash as this ?*
This for renown? yes, such as makes
Obscurity a bliss.
Your trash, with mine at open war The fear of death is truly wise,
Is obstinately bent, Till wisdom can rise higher;
Like wits below, to sow your tares And, armed with pious fortitude,
Of gloom and discontent. Death, dreaded once, desire.
With so much sunshine at command, Grand climacteric vanities
Why light with darkness mix ? The vainest will despise;
Why dash with pain our pleasure? why Shocked when, beneath the snow of age, Your Helicon with Styx ? Man immaturely dies.
Your works in our divided minds But am not I myself the man?
Repugnant passions raise, No need abroad to roam
Confound us with a double stroke; In quest of faults to be chastised;
We shudder, whilst we praise: What cause to blush at home!
A curious web, as finely wrought In life's decline, when men relapse
As genius can inspire,
From a black bag of poison spun,
With horror we admire.
Mean as it is, if this is read
With a disdainful air, Shall a mere truant from the grave
I can't forgive so great a foe
To my dear friend Voltaire.
Early I knew him, early praised,
And long to praise him late; Here, Madam! let me visit one,
His genius greatly I admire,
Nor would deplore his fate :
A fate how much to be deplored,
At which our nature starts ! And if your breast with prudent zeal
Forbear to fall on your own sword,
To perish by your parts.
“But great your name”—To feed on air
Were then immortals born? In youth, Voltaire ! our foibles plead
Nothing is great, of which more great,
More glorious is the scorn.
Can fame your carcass from the worm,
Which gnaws us in the grave, How are you cheated by your wit!
Or soul from that which never dies,
Applauding Europe save ?
But fame you lose; good sense alone
Your idol, praise can claim; A mighty change is wrought by years,
When wild wit murders happiness, Reversing human lot;
It puts to death our fame. In age 'tis honour to be hid, 'Tis praise to be forgot ;
1 Second Part.
Nor boast our genius; talents bright
| Than to correct one erring thought
Our contemplation dwell;
When backward with attentive mind
Through all the crooked paths I trod
How many foes in ambush laid Beneath my soul's desire ! The deepest penitents are made By what we most admire.
Nay, such philanthropy divine,
Have I not sometimes, (real good
He led me to the right.
* Eph. vi. 17.
1 Which his romance ridicules,
Pained Sense from Fancy's tyranny
In grief why deep ingulfed ? you see
Of self-perusal, science rare ! Few know the mighty gain; Learned prelates, self-unread, may read Their Bibles o'er in vain. Self-knowledge, which from heaven itself (So sages tell us) came, What is it but a daughter fair Of my maternal theme? Unlettered and untraveled men An oracle might find, Would they consult their own contents, The Delphos of the mind. Enter your bosom; there you'll find A revolution new, A revolution personal, Which none can read but you.
There will you clearly read revealed In your enlightened thought,
By mercies manifold, through life, To fresh remembrance brought, A mighty Being! and in him A complicated friend, A father, brother, spouse; no dread Of death, divorce, or end. Who such a matchless friend embrace, And lodge him in their heart, Full well, from agonies exempt, With other friends may part. As when o'erloaded branches bear Large clusters big with wine, We scarce regret one falling leaf From the luxuriant vine. My short advice to you may sound Obscure, or somewhat odd, Though 'tis the best that man can give, “E'en be content with God." Through love he gave you the deceased; Through greater took him hence: This reason fully could evince, Though murmured at by Sense. This friend far past the kindest kind, Is past the greatest great ; His greatness let me touch in points Not foreign to your state. His eye, this instant, reads your heart, A truth less obvious hear, This instant its most secret thoughts Are sounding in his ear. Dispute you this? O stand in awe, And cease your surrow; know, That tear, now trickling down, he saw Ten thousand years ago;
When streams flow backward to their source,
But hurnan prudence, too, must cease
And twice ten thousand hence, if you Your temper reconcile To Reason's bound, will he behold Your prudence with a smile; A smile which through eternity Diffuses so bright rays, The dimmest deifies e'en guilt, If guilt at last obeys. Your guilt (for guilt it is to mourn, When such a Sovereign reigns) Your guilt diminish, peace pursue; How glorious peace in pains ! Here, then, your sorrows cease, if not, Think how unhappy they Who guilt increase by streaming tears, Which guilt should wash away. Of tears that gush profuse restrain; Whence burst the dismal sighs ? They from the throbbing breast of one (Strange truth !) most happy rise. Not angels (hear it, and exult !) Enjoy a larger share Than is indulged to you, and yours, Of God's impartial care. Anxious for each, as if on each His care for all was thrown; For all his care as absolute As all had been but one. And is he then so near ? so kind ? How little then, and great, That riddle, man! O let me gaze At wonders in his fate!
For what's the sun's meridian blaze
What most imbitters time, tha most
Its banquet for the wise; Ambrosial banquet! rich in wines Nectareous to the soul! What transports sparkle from the stream, As angels fill the howl! Fountain profuse of every bliss ! Good-will immense prevails : Man's line can't fathom its profound; An angel's plummet fails. Thy love and might, by what they know Who judge, nor dream of more; They ask a drop, how deep the sea ? One sand, how wide the shore ? Of thy exuberant good-will, Offended Deity! The thousandth part who comprehends, A deity is He.
How yonder ample azure field With radiant worlds is sown! How tubes astonish us with those More deep in ether thrown!
His fate, who yesterday did crawl
And those beyond of brighter worlds Why not a million more? In lieu of answer, let us all Fall prostrate and adore. Since thou art infinite in power, Nor thy indulgence less; Since man, quite impotent and blind, Oft drops into distress; Say, what is Resignation ? 'Tis Man's weakness understood; And Wisdom grasping, with a hand Far stronger, every good. Let rash repiners stand appalled, In thee who dare not trust; Whose abject souls, like demons dark, Are murm’ring in the dust. For man to murmur or repine At what by thee is done, No less absurd than to complain, Of darkness in the sun.
Who would not, with a heart at ease,
Resigned through duty, interest, shame;
And pain for me! for me was drained
If pardoned this, what cause, what crime,
Sure audience of its King.