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Darkness the curtain drops o'er life's dull scene ; § 224. Little to be expe&ted from Man. 'Tis the kind hand of Providence stretcht out
WHAT are we? how unequal! now we foar, 'Twixt man and vanity ; 'tis Reason's reign,
And now we fink: how dearly pays the And Virtue's too; these tutelary shades For lodging ill ; too dearly rents her clay! [foul Are man's asylum froin the tainted throng. Reason, a baffled counsellor! but adds
The blush of weakness to the bane of woe. $ 221. The Futility of Man's Resolutions.
The noblest spirit fighting her hard fate,
In this damp, dusky region, charg'd with storms, VIRTUE for ever frail, as fair below,
But feebly flutters, yet untaught to fly.
'Tis vain to seek in men for more than man. Nor touches on the world, without a stain:
Tho' proud in promise, big in previous thought, The world's infeEtious; few bring back at eve
Experience damps our triumph. I, who late, Immaculate the manners of the morn. Some:hing we thought, is blotted; we resolv'd, Threw wide the gates of everlasting day,
Emerging from the shadows of the grave, Is thaken; we renounc'd, returns again.
And call'd mankind to glory, dowu I rush, Each falutation may slide in a sin
In forrow drown'd- But not, in forrow, loft. Unthought before, or fix a former flaw.
How wretched is the man, who never mourn'd ! Nor is it strange, light, motion, concourse, noise, I dive for precious pearl
, in sorrow's stream: All, scatter us abroad, thought outward bound, Not fo the thoughtless man that only grieves; Neglectful of our home affairs, flies off
Takes all the torment, and rejects the gain, In fume and diffipation, quits her charge,
(Inestimable gain !) and gives heaven leave And leaves the breast unguarded to the foe. To make him but more wretched, not more wise, § 222. The Power of Exam/le.
§ 225. Wijdom. PRESENT example gets within our guard, IF wisdom is our lesson, (and what else And acts with double force, by few repellid.
Ennobles man? what elle have angels learnt :) Ambition fires ambition; love of gain
Grief, more proficients in thy school are made, Strikes, like a pestilence, from brcalt to breast; Than genius, or proud Icarning, e'er could boast, Riot, pride, perfidy, blue vapours breathe ;
Voracious learning, often over-fed, And inhumanity is caught from man;
Digests nut into senfe her motley meal. From smiling man. A light, a single glance,
This forager on others' wisdoin leaves And thot at random, often has brought hoinc
Her native farm, her reason quite untillid: A sudden fever, to the throbbing heart,
With mixt manure the surfeits the rank foil, Of envy, rancour, or impure delire.
Dung'd, but not dreit; and rich to beggary: We fee, we hear with peril ; safety dwells A pomp untameable of weed prevails : Remote froni multitude; the world 's a school Her servant's wealth cncumber'dwisdom mourns, Of wrong, and what proficients fivarm around ! And what fars Genius: “Let the dull be wife."" We must or initate, or disapprove;
It pleads exemption from the laws of senfe; Muit lift as their accomplices, or foes;
Considers Reason as a leveller, That ttains our innocence; this wounds our peace. And scorns to share a bleiling with the crowd. Froin nature's birth, hence, wildom lias been finit That wilc it could be, thinks an ample claim With sweet recefs, and languith'd for the shade. To glory, and to pleasure gives the rest.
Wisdom less shudders at a fool, than wit.
But Wisdom (miles, when humbled mortals § 223, Midnigbt.
wcep. THIS sacred fhade, and solitude, what is it? When Sorrow wounds the breast, as ploughs the 'Tis the felt prefence of the Deity.
globe, Tew are the faults we flatter uhen alone : And hearts obdurate feel her softening shower ; Vice sinks in her allurements, is ungilt, Her feed cclettial, then, glad Wisdom lows, And looks, like other on Ets, black by night. Her golden harvest triumphs in the foil. By night an atheist half-believes a God. If 10, I'll gain by my calamity,
Night is fair Virtuc's immemorial friend; And reap rich compensation from my pain, Tlie conscious moon, through every distantage, I 'll range the plenteous, intellectual field; His held a lamp to Wisdom, and let fall And gather every thought of lovereign power, On Contemplation's eye her purging ray.
To chate the moral maladies of inan; (lkies, Hail, precious moments ! ftol'n from the black Thoughts, which may bcar transplanting to the waste
Tho' natives of this coarse penurious foil, of murder'd time : auspicious midnight, hail ! Nor wholly wither therc, where seraphs sing; The world excluded, every pallion hush d, Refin'd, exalted, not annull'd in heaven. And open U a calm intercourle with heav'n; Here the foul fits in council, ponders past,
§ 226. Reflections in a Churcb-yard. Predcitines farure action ; lees, not feels,
ISAY, on what themes fhall puzzled choice Tumultuous life; and reafons with the form ;
descend? All her lies antivers, and thinks down her charms. f“ Th' importance of contemplating the tomb;
“ Why men decline it; Suicide's foul birth; Behold th' inexorable hour forgot!
And first, th' importance of our end survey'd.
Death, that ever threat’ning, ne'er remote, And banith peace, till nobler guests arrive,
That all-important, and that only sure, And bring it back, a true, and endless peace ?
(Come when he will) an unexpected guest? Calamities are friends : as glaring day
Nay, tho' invited by the loudeit calls Of these unnumber'd lustres robes our fight;
Of blind imprudence, unexpected still? Profperity puts out unnuiaber'd thoughts
Tho' num'rous messengers are sent before Of import high, and light divine to man.
To warn his great arrival. What the cause, The man how blest, who, sick of gaudy scenes, The wondrous cause. of this mysterious ill? (Scenes apt to thrust between us and ouríelves !) All heaven looks down aftonith'd at the fight. Is led by choice to take his favourite walk, Beneath Death's gloomy, filent, cypress shades, § 228. Life compared to a Stream. Unpierc'd by Vanity's fantastic ray; To read his monuments, to weigh his dust,
it, that Life has sown her joys so thick, IS
We can 't thrust in a single care between? Visit his faults, and dwell among the tombs !
Is it, that life has such a fivarm of cares, Lorenzo, read with me Narcissa's stone;
The thought of death can 't enter for the throng? Few orators fo tenderly can touch
Is it, that time steals on with downy feet, The fecling heart. What pathos in the date !
Nor wakes indulgence from her golden dreun? Apt words can strike, and yet in them we fee
To-day is to like yesterday, it cheats ;
We take the lying hiter for the fame.
Life glides away, Lorenzo, like a brook ; And ill-foreboded is our strongest guard.
For ever changing, unperceiv'd the charge. See from her tomb, Truth sallies on my soul, To the fame life none ever twice awoke.
In the same brook none ever bath'd him twice : Ard puts Delusion's dulky train to fight;
We call the brook the fame; the same we think Dipels the mists our fultry paifions raile, And shews the real estimate of things,
Our life, though still more rapid in its flow;
Nor mark the inuch irrevocably laps 'd,
And mingled with the sea. Or thill we say Detects Temptation in a thousand lies.
(Retaining still the brook to bear us on) Truth oids me look on men, as autumn's leaves, In life embark'd, we Imoothly down the tide
That life is like a veitel on the stream?
Of time defcend, but not on time intent;
Till on a sudden we perceive a shock;
We start, awake, look out; our bark is burst. Am present with futurities; think nought
Is this the cause death fies all human thought! To man so foreign, as the joys poflest, Nought so much his as those beyond the grave. That domineering mistress of the foul!
Or is it judgment by the will struck blind, No folly keeps its colour in her light:
Or is it fear turns startied reason back, Pale worldly wisdom loses all her charms.
From looking down a precipice so ftecp? How differ worldly wisdom, and divine ?
| 'Tis dreadful; and the dread is wisely placid, Just as the waning and the waxing moon.
By nature conscious of the make of man.
A dreadful friend it is, a terror kind,
A flaming sword to guard the tree of life.
By that unaw'd, man on each pique of pride, Or real wisdom wafts us to the skies.
Or gloom of humour, would give rage the rein,
Bound o'er the barrier, ruth into the dark, What grave prescribes the best?-_a friend's; And mar the schemes of Providence below. From a friend's grave how soon we disengage, Even to the dearest, as his marble, cold !
§ 229. Suicide. Why are friends ravilh'd from us ! 'tis to bind, WHAT groan was that? There took his By foft Affection's tics, on human hearts,
gloomy flight, The thought of death, which Reason, too supine, on wing impetuous, a black sullen soul, Or misemploy'd, so rarely fastens there.
Blafted from hell, with horri lurt of death. Nor Reason, nor Affection, no, no both
Thy friend, the brave, the gallant Altamont, Combin'd, can break the witchcrafts of the world. So call'd, so thought-and then he fled the field. Behold th' inexorable hour at hand!
Lets base the fear of death, than fear of life.
O Britain !
O Britain ! infamous for suicide;
Indelible, death's image on his heart;
But thou be shock'd, while I detect the cause As the tide rushing rates what is writ
§ 230. Tears. The cause I sing in Eden might prevail, LORENZO! haft thou ever weigh'd a figh? And proves it is thy folly, not thy fate.
Or studied the philosophy of tears ? The foul of man (let man in homage bow Haft thou descended deep into the breast, Who names his soul) a native of the skies ! And seen their fource: If not, defcend with me, High-born, and free, her freedom thould maintain. And trace these briny riv'lers to their springs. Unfold, unmortgag’d for earth's little bribes. Our funeral tears from different caules rife : Th’illustrious stranger, in this foreign land, Of various kinds they flow. From tevder hcarts, Like strangers, jealous of her dignity,
By soft contagion call'd, fome burst at once, Studious of home, and ardent to return, And stream obfequious to the leading eve. Of earth suspicious, earth's enchanted cup Some ask more time, by curious art distillid. With cool reserve light-touching, should indulge Some hearts, in secret hard, unapt to melt, On immortality her godlike talte ;
Struck by the public eye, guth out amain. There take large draughts; make her chief ban. Some weep to thare the fame of the deceas'],
So high in merit, and to them so dear: But some reject this sustenance divine ; They dwell on praises, which they think they thare. To beggarly vile appetites descend;
Some mourn in proof that something they could Ask alms of earth for gifts that came from heaven; love. Sink into Naves; and fell, for present hire, They weep not to relieve their grief, but show, Their rich reversion, and (what thares its fate) Some weep in perfect justice to the dead, Their native freedom, to the prince who lways As conscious all thcir love is in arrear. This nether world. And when his payments fail, Some mischievously weep, not unappriz'd, When his full basket gorges them no more; Tears, sometimes, aid the conquest of an eye. Or their pali'd palates loath the basket full, As teen through crystal, how their roses glow, Are, inftantly, with wild demoniac rage, While liquid pearl runs trickling down their For breaking all the chains of providence,
Such, Britons! is the cause, to you unknown, Or gazes, like an idiot, umconcern'd;
Far as the deep-resounding knell, they spread
No grain of wisdom pays them for their woe. Heaven's law supreme, and desperately rush When the fick soul, her wonted stay withdrawa, Thro' facred nature's murder, on their own, Reclines on earth, and sorrows in the cust; Because they never think of death, they dic. Instead of learning there her true support, When by the bed of languishment we lit, She crawls to the next thrub, or braible vile, Or, o'crour dying friends, in anguith hang, The stranger weds, and blossoms as before, Wipe the cold dew, or stay the finking head, in all the fruitless fopperics of lifc. Nuinber their moments, and in ev'ry clock, Start at the voice of an eternity ; Sec the dim lamp of life just feebly lift
§ 131. Iraitintion to the Voice of Diab. An agonizing bcam, at us to gaze,
WHAT t'us infatuates ? what enchantment Then link again, and quiver into death.
plants (That most pathetic herald of our own ;) The phantom of an age, 'twixt us and death, How read we luch fad icines as fent to man Already at the door ? He knocks, we hear him, In perfect vengeance? no; in pity funt, And yet we will not hear. What mail defends Tonelt him down, dile wax, and thien imprefs Qur untouch'd hcarts : what miracle turns off
The pointed thought, which from a thousands s 233. The Caprice and universal Power of Is daily darted, and is daily Thunn'd? (quivers
Death. We stand as in a battle, throngs on throngs LIKE other tyrants, Death delights to smite, Around us falling ; wounded oft ourselves; What smitten most proclaims the pride of Tho' bleeding with our wounds, imınortal ftill! And arbitrary nod. His joy fupreme, (power, We see time's furrows on another's brow, To bid the wretch survive the fortunate; And death entrench'd, preparing his assault; The feeble wrap th' athletic in his shroud; How few themselves, in that just mirror, fee ! And weeping fathers build their children's tomb;
Absurd Longevity! More, more, it cries : Me thinc, Narcissa !--what tho' short thy date? More life, more wealth, more trash of every kind! Virtue, not rolling suns, the mind matures. And wherefore mad for more, when relish fails? That life is long, which answers life's great end. Shall folly labour hard to mend the bow, The time that bears no fruit, deserves no name; While nature is relaxing ev'ry string ?
Thc man of wisdom is the man of years.
All more than coinmon menaces an end :
To plant the soul on her eternal guard,
(but so Of age, the glory is to wish to die.
Thus runs Death's dread commission; “ Strike, That wilh is praise and promise ; it applauds “ As most alarms the living by the dead.” Past life, and promises our future bliss. Hence stratagem delights him, and surprise, What weakness fee not children in their fires ? And cruel sport with inan's securities. Grand-climacterical absurdities !
Not simple conquest, triumph is his aim, [most. Grey-hair'd authority to faults of youth, And where least fear'd, there conquest triumphs How shocking! it makes folly thrice a fool ; What are his arts to lay our fears afleep! And our first childhood might our last despise. Tiberian arts his purposes wrap up
What folly can be ranker? like our shadows, In deep dissimulation's darkest night. Our wiles lengthen, as our sun declines. Like princes unconfest in foreign courts, No with should loiter, then, this side the grave. Who travel under cover, Death assumes Our hearts should leave the world, before the knell The name and look of life, and dwells among us. Calls for our carcases to mend the soil.
Behind the rosy bloom he loves to lurk, Enough to live in tempeft; die in port.
Or ambush in a smile; or wanton dive Age should fly concourse, cover in retreat In dimples deep; love's eddies, which draw in DcfeEts of judgment, and the will's subdue ; Unwary hearts, and fink them in despair. Walk thoughtful on the silent, folemn shore Most happy they whom least his arts deceive. Of tha: vast ocean it must fail so soon ;
One eye on Death, and one full fix'd on heaven, And put good works on board; and wait the wind Becomes a mortal, and immortal man. That shortly blows us into worlds unknown; Where is not Death ? sure as night follows day, If unconfider'd, too, a dreadful scene !
Death treads in Pleasure's footsteps round the world,
When Pleasure treads the paths which Reason $ 232. Little Learning required, to be Good.
When, against reason riot shuts the door, BUT you are learn’d; in volumes deep you fit; And gaiety supplies the place of fenfe.
In wisdom fhallow : pompous ignorance ! Then foremost at the banquet and the ball, Learn well to know how much need not be known; Death leads the dance, or Itamps the deadly die; And what that knowledge, which impairs your Nor ever fails the midnight bowl to crown. sense.
Gaily carousing to his gay compeers, Our necdful knowledge, like our needful food, Inly lie laughs, to see them laugh at him, Unhedg'd, lics open in life's cominon field; As absent far : and when the revel burns, And bids all welcome to the vital feast. When fear is banish'd, and triumphant thought You scorn what lies before you in the page Calling for all the joys bencath the moon, Of nature and experience, moral truth; Againit him turns the key; and bids him sup And dive in science for distinguish'd names, With their progenitors-He drops his maik, Sinking in virtue, as you rise in fame.
Frowns out at full; they start, despair, expire !
And now, gay trifler, dost thou wrap thy soul
Is death uncertain ? therefore thou be fix d ; When, on a moment's point, th' important die Fix'd as a sentinel, all eye, all ear,
Of life and death, spun doubrful, ere it fell, All expectation of the coming foe.
And turn'd up life; my title to more woe. Roule, ftand in arms, nor lean against thy spear, But why more woc? more comfort let it be. Lcít flumber ftcal one moment o'er thy foul, Nothing is dead, but that which wislı'd to die; And fate surprise thee nodding. Watch, be tirong; Nothing is dead, but wretchedness and pain : Thus give each day the merit, and renown, Nothing is dcad, but what encumber'd, gall'd, Of dying well; tho' dorin'd but once to die. Block'd up the pafs, and barr'd from real life. Nor let life's period hidden (as from most), Where dwells that wish most ardent of the wise? Hide ioo from thee, the precious ule of life. Too dark the fun to see it; highest stars
Does wealth with youth and gaicty conspire Tou low to reach it; death, great death alone, To weave a triple wreath of happinels ? O'er stars and sun triumphant, lands us there. That shining mark invites the tyrant's spear, Nor dreadful our tranlition; tho' the mind, As if to damp our elevated airs,
An artist at creating felf-alarms, And strongly proach humility to man, Rich in expedients for inquietude, O how portentous is prosperity !
Is prone to paint it dreadful. Who can take Ho!v, comet-like, it threatens while it shines ! Death's portrait true ? the tyrant never fat. Few years but yieid us proof of Death's ambition Cur sketch, all random strokes, conjecture all; To cull his victims from the faireft fold, Cluse thuts the grave, nor tells one fingle tale. And the.ith his thafts in all the pride of life. Death, and his image rising in the brain, When Rooded with abundance, purpled o'er Bear faint refemblance; never are alike; With recent honours, bloom'd with ev'ry bliss; Fear thakes the pencil, Fancy loves excels, Set up in ostentation, made the gaze,
Dark Ignorance is lavish of her thades; The gaudy centre of the public eve;
And thele tlie formidable picture draw.
And find the fouluntated with her theme.
Its nature, proof, importance, fire my long.
$ 235. Reflections on Man and Inmortalily. Nor sudden, like Philander. What avail?
THY nature, immortality, who knows ? This feeming mitigation but in tamcs ;
And yet who knows it not? It is but life This fancy'd medicine heightens the disease. In stronger thread of brighter colour fpun, The longer known, the closer till the grew; And spun for ever; black and brittle here! And gradual parring is a gradual death. How short our correspondence with the fun!
O the long dark approach thro'ycars of pain, And while it lasts, inglorious ! our best deeds, Death's gailery with table terror hung; How wanting in their weight! our highest joys, S'ek hope's pale lamp its only slimmering ray! Small cordials to support us in our pain, There fate my melancholy walk ordain'd. And give us strength to fuffer. But how great How oft I gaz'd. prophetically fad!
To mingle interests, converse, amities, Ilow oft Law her dead while vet ir smiles ! With all the sons of Reason, scatter'd wide In smiles shie funk her grief to leflen mine : Through habirablc space, wherever born, She spoke me confort, and inci cas`d my pain. llowe'er endow'd' to live free citizens Like powerful armies trenching at a town, uf universal Nature ! to lay hold By flow and filent, but refiftlets fap,
}}y more than fechle faith on the Supreme ! In his pale progress gently gaining ground, llo call heaven's rich unfathomable mines Death urg'd his cleadily lege : in iple of art, Our own! to rise in science as in bliss, Of all thic balıny bleilings nature linds
Initiate in the secrets of the skies! To fuccvur frail lumanity. Ye ftars ! To read crcation; read its mighty plan And thou, O moon! bear witness; many a night in the bare bofom of the Deity! He tore the piliow from beneath iny heid, The plan and execution to collate ! Tied down my fore altention to the shock, To fec, before each glance of piercing thought, By ceaseless depredations on a life,
All cloud, all shadow blown remote; and leare Dearer than that he left me. Dreadful post
No mystery--but that of love divine, Ok. observation ! darker every hour!
Which lifís us on the seraph's flaming wing, Less drcad tlie day that drove me to the brink, From earth's Accldama, this field of blood, And pointc: at eternity below.
Of inward anguish, and of outward ill, when my foul huder d at futurity,
From darkncis, and froin dust, to such a scene!