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That oracle will put all doubt to flight.
Yet, with a sigh o'er all mankind, I grant, 1045
1050 Of human peace on earth: the pillars these, But those of Seth not more remote from thee, Till this heroic lesson thou hast learn'd, To frown at pleasure, and to smile in pain. Fired at the prospect of unclouded bliss, 1055 Heaven in reversion, like the Sun, as yet Beneath the horizon, cheers us in this world ; It sheds, on souls susceptible of light, The glorious dawn of our eternal day.
* This (says Lorenzo) is the fair harangue ! 1060 But can harangues blow back strong Nature's stream, Or stem the tide Heaven pushes through our veins, Which sweeps away man'e impotent resolves, And lays his labour level with the world ?'
Themselves men iuake their Curtment on mankind, And think nought is, but what they find at home : 1066 Thus weakness to chimera turns the truth. Nothing romantic has the Muse prescribed. Above,* Lorenzo saw the man of earth, The mortal man, and wretched was the sight. 1070 To balance that, to comfort and exalt, Now see the man immortal : him, I mean, Who lives as such; whose heart, full bent on Heaven, Leans all that way, his bias to the stars. The world's dark shades, in contrast set, shall raise His lustre more; though bright, without a foil: 1076 Observe his awful portrait, and admire ; Nor stop at wonder; imitate, and live.
* In a former Night.
Some angel guide my pencil, while I draw, What nothing less than angel can exceed, 1080 A man on earth devoted to the skies; Like ships in seas, while in, above the world
With aspect mild, and elevated eye, Behold him seated on a mount serene, Above the fogs of Sense, and Passion's storm; 1085 All the black cares and tumults of this life, Like harmless thunders, breaking at his feet, Excite his pity, not impair his peace. Earth's genuine sons, the sceptred and the slave A mingled mob! a wandering herd! he sees, 1090 Bewilderd in the vale ; in all unlike ! His full reverse in all! what higher praise ? What stronger demonstration of the right?
The present all their care, the future his. When public welfare calls, or private want, 1095 They give to Fame ; his bounty he conceals. Their virtues varnish Nature, his exalt. Mankind's esteem they court, and he his own. Theirs the wild chase of false felicities; His, the composed possession of the true. 1100 Alike throughout is his consistent peace, All of one colour, and an even thread; While party-colour'd shreds of happiness, With hideous gaps between, patch up for them A madman's robe; each puff of Fortune blows 1105 The tatters by, and shows their nakedness.
He sees with other eyes than theirs : where they Behold a sun, ho spies a Deity. What makes them only smile, makes him adore. Where they see mountains, he but atoms sees. 1110 An empire, in his balance, weighs a grain. They things terrestrial worship as divine; Ilis hopes, immortal, blow them by as dust That dims his sight, and shortens his survey, Which longs, in infinité, to lose all bound. 1115 Titles and honours (if they prove his fate)
He lays aside to find his dignity;
1125 They kindle at the shadow of a wrong ; Wrong he sustains with temper, looks on lleiven, Nor stoops to think his injurer his foe : Nought but what wounde his virtue wounds his peace A cover'd heart their character defends ;
1130 A cover'd heart denies him half his praia, With nakedness his innocence agrees, While their broad foliage testifix their fall. Their no joys end where his full feast begins ; His joys create, theirs murder, future bliss. 1135 To triumph in existence his alone; And his alone triumphantly to think His true existence is not yet begun. His glorious course was, yesterday, complete ; Death then was welcome; yet life still is sweet. 1140
But nothing charms Lorenzo like the firm Undaunted breast.-And whose is that high praise ? They yield to pleasure, though they danger brave, And show no fortitude but in the field; If there they show it, 'tis for glory shown; 1145 Nor will that cordial always man their hearts. A cordial his sustains, that cannot fail : By pleasure unsubdued, unbroke by pain, He shares in that Omnipotence he trusts ; All bearing, ail attempting, till he fall;
1150 And when he falis, writes l'ici on his shield. From magnanimity all fear above ; From nobler recompense above applause, Which owes to man's short outlook all its charms.
Backward to credit what he never felt, 1155 Lorenzo cries,—Where shines this miracle ? From what root rises this immortal man ?A root that grows not in Lorenzo's ground: The root dissect, nor wonder at the flower.
He follows Nature (not like thee)* and shows us An uninverted system of a man.
1161 His appeute wears Reason's golden chain, And finds, in due restraint, its luxury. His passion, like an eagle well reclaim'd, Is taught to fly at nought but infinite.
1165 Patient his hope, unanxious is his care, His caution fearless, and his grief (if grief The gods ordain) à stranger to despair. And why? because affection, more than meet, His wisdom leaves not disengaged from Heaven. 1170 Those secondary goods that smile on earth, Hle, loving in proportion, loves in peace. They most the world enjoy who least admire. His understanding scapes the common cloud Of fumes arising from the boiling breast. 1175 His head is clear, because his heart is cool, By worldly competitions uninflamed. The moderate movements of his soul admit Distinct ideas, and matured aebate, An eye impartial, and an even scale ;
1180 Whence judgment sound and unrepenting choice. Thus, in a double sense, the good are wise ; On its own dunghill wiser than the world. What, then, the world ? it must be doubly weak. Strange truth! as soon would they believe their creed. Yet thus it is, nor otherwise can be,
1186 So far from aught romantic what I sing ; Bliss has no being, Virtue has no strength, But from the prospect of immortal life. Who think earth all, or (what weighs just the same) Who care no farther, must prize what it yields, 1191
* See page 193, line 21.
Fond of its fancies, proud of its parades.
And now, Lorenzo ! bigot of this world! 1210
From this thy just annihilation rise, Lorenzo! rise to something, by reply. The world, thy client, listens and expects, And longs to crown thco with immortal praise.--Canst thou be silent? no; for wit is thine, 1220 And Wit talks most when least she has to say, 'And Reason interrupts not her career. She 'll say.-- that mists above the mountains rise, And with a thousand pleasantrics amuse;