صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

THE CONSOLATION.

NIGHT IX.

CONTAINING, AMONG OTHER THINGS, I. A MORAL SURVEY OF THE NOCTURNAL HEAVENS.

II. A NIGHT ADDRESS TO THE DEITY.

HUMBLY INSCRIBED

TO HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE.

Fatis contraria fata rependens.

Virg.

!

[ocr errors]

As when a traveller, a long day pass'd
In painful search of what he cannot find,
At night's approach, content with the next cot,
There ruminates a while his labour lost;
Then, cheers his heart with what his fate affords, 8
And chants his sonnot to deceive the time,
Till the due season calls him to repose;
Thus I, long travel'd in the ways of men,
And dancing, with the rest, the giddy maze,
Where Disappointment smiles at Hope's career,

10 Warn'd by the languor of life's evening ray, At length have housed me in an humble shed, Whero, future wandering banish'd from my thought, And waiting, patient, the sweet hour of rest, I chase the moments with a serious song.

15 Song sooths our pains, and age has pains to sooth.. · When age, care,crime, and friends embraced at heart,

[ocr errors]

Torn from my bleeding breast, and death's dark shade,
Which hovers o'er me, quench the' etherial fire,
Canst thou, O Night! indulge one labour more ? 20
One labour more indulge! then sleep, my strain!
Till, haply, waked by Raphael's golden lyre,
Where night, death, age, care, crime, and sorrow cease,
To bear a part in everlasting lays;
Though far, far higher set; in aim, I trust, 25
Symphonious to this humble prelude here.

Has not the Muse asserted pleasures pure,
Like those above, exploding other joys ?
Weigh what was urged, Lorenzo ; fairly weigh,
And tell me, hast thou eause to triumph still ? 30
I think thou wilt forbear a boast so bold :
But if, beneath the favour of mistake,
Thy smile's sincere ; not more sincere can be
Lorenzo's smile, than my compassion for bim..
The sick in body call for aid; the sick

35 in mind are covetous of more disease ; And, when at worst, they dream themselves quite well. To know ourselves diseased is half our cure. When Nature's blush by custom is wiped off, And Conscience, deadend by repeated strokes, 40 Has into manners naturalized our crimes, The curse of curses is our curse to love; To tạiumph in the blackness of our guilt (As Indians glory in the deepest jet) And throw aside our senses with our peace.

But, grant no guilt, no shame, no least alloy;
Grant joy and glory quite unsnlied shone ;
Yet, still, it ili deserves Lorenzo's heart.
No joy, no glory glitters in thy sight,
But, through the thin partition of an hour,

50
I see its sables move by Destiny ;
And that in sorrow buried, this in shame;
While howling furies ring the.doleful knell,
And Conscience, now so soft thou scarce canst hear
Her whisper, echoes her eternal peal.

Where the prime actors of the last year's scene ; Thoir port so proud, their buskin, and their plume ? How many sleep, who kept the world awake With lustre and with noise ! Has Death proclaim'd A truce, and hung his sated lance on high? 'Tis brandish'd still, nor shall the present year Be more tenacious of lier human leaf, Or spread, of feeble life, a thinner fall.

But needless monuments to wake the thought;
Life's gayest scenes speak man's mortality, 65
Though in a style more forid, full as plain
As mausoleums, pyramids, and tombg.
What are our noblest ornaments, but Deaths
Turn'd flatterers of Life, in paint or marble,
The well staind canvass, or the featured stone ? 70
Our fathers grace, or rather haunt, the scene :
Joy peoples her pavilion from the dead.

Profess'd diversions! cannot these escape.
Far from it: these present us with a shroud,
And talk of death, like garlands o'er a grave.
As some bold plunderers for buried wealth,
We ransack tombs for pastime; from the dust
Call up the sleeping horo; bid him tread
The scene for our amusement. How like gods
We sit; and, wrapp'd in immortality,
Shed generous tears on wretches born to die;
Their fate deploring, to forget our own!

What all the pomps and triumphs of our lives
But legacies, in blossom. Our lean soil,
Luxuriant grown, and rank in wanities,

85 from friends interr'd beneath, & rich manure? Like other worms, we banquet on the dead ; Like other worms, shall we crawl on, nor know Our present frailties, or approaching fate?

Lorenzo! sucha the glories of the world!
What is the world itself? thy world ?--a grave,
Where is the dust that has not been alive?
The spade, the plough disturb our ancestors.

Froin numan mould we reap our daily bread.
The globe around earth's hollow surface shakos,
And is the ceiling of her sloeping sons.
O'er devastation we blind revels keep:
Whole buriod towns support the dancor's hool.
The moist of human frame the Sun exhales;
Winds scattor, through the inighty void, the dry:
Earth repossesses part of what she gave,

101
And the freed spirit mounts on wings of fire :
Each element partakes our scatter'd spoils,
As Nature wide our ruins spread. Man's death
Inhabits all things, but the thought of man.
Nor man alono ; his breathing bust expires ;
His tomli is mortal; empires die: whoro, now,
The Roman Greek ? they stalk, an empty namo !
Yet few regard them in this useful light,
Though half our loarning is their epitaph. 110
When down thy vale, unlock'd by midnight thought,
That loves to wander in thy sunless realms,
O Death! I stretch my view, what visions rise !
What triumphs! toils imperial! arts divine !
In wither'd laurels glide before my sight! 115
What lengths of far famed ages, billowed high
With human agitacion, roll along
In unsubstantial images of air !
The melancholy ghosts of dead Renown,
Whispering faint echoes of the world's applause, 120
With penitential aspect, as they pass,
All point at earth, and hiss at human pride ;-
The wisdom of the wise, and prancings of the great.

But, O Lorenzo !-far the rest above, Of ghastly nature, and enormous size,

125 One form assaults my sight, and chills my blood, And shakes my frame. Of one departed World I see the mighty shadow: oozy wreath And dismal sea-weed crown her: o'er her urn Reclined, she weeps her desolated realms, 130 And bloated sons; and, weeping; prophosies

Another's dissolution, soon, in flames :
But, like Cassandra, prophesies in vain :
In vain to many; not, I trust, to thee.

For, know'st thou not, or art thou loath to know,
The great decree, the counsel of the skies? 136
Deluge and Confiagration, dreadful powers !
Prime ministers of vengeance ! chain'd in caves
Distinct, apart, the giant furies roar;
Apart, or such their horrid rage for ruin,

140 In mutual conflict would they rise, and wage Eternal war, till one was quite devour'd. But not for this ordain'd their boundless raga When Heaven's inferior instruments of w72.., War, famine, pestilence, are und too weak 145 To scourge a world for her e inmous crimes, These are let loose alternate : down they rush, Swift and tempestuous, from the eternal throne, With irresistible commission arna'd, The world, in vain corrected, to destroy i

150 And ease Creation of the shocking scene.

Seest thou, Lorenzo! what depends on man? The fate of Nature, as for man her birth. Earth's actors change Earth’s transitory scenes, And make Creation groan with human guilt. 155 How must it groan, in a new deluge whelm'd, But not of waters! At the destined hour, By the loud trumpet summond to the charge, See all the forinidable sons of fire, Eruptions, earthquakes, comets, lightnings, play 160 Their various engines : all at once disgorge Their blezing magazines ; and take, by storm, This poor terrestrial citadel of

Amazing period ! when each mountain height Oatburns Vesuvius; rocks eternal pour

165 Their melted mass, as rivers once they pour'd; Stars rush, and final Ruin fiercely drives Her ploughshare o'er Creation !--while aloft, More than astonishment : if inore can be!

man.

« السابقةمتابعة »