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His meagre aspect, and his naked bones;
With recent honors, bloom'd with every bliss, In gratitude for plumping up his prey,
Set up in ostentation, made the gaze, A pamper'd spendthrift; whose fantastic air, The gaudy centre, of the public eye, Well-fashion'd figure, and cockaded brow,
When fortune thus has toss'd her child in air, He took in change, and underneath the pride Snatcht from the covert of an humble state, Of costly linen, tuck'd his filthy shroud.
How often have I seen him dropt at once, His crooked bow he straiten'd to a cane ;
Our morning's envy! and our evening's sigh! And hid his deadly shafts in Myra's eye.
As if her bounties were the signal given, The dreadful masquerader, thus equipt, The flowery wreath to mark the sacrifice, Out-sallies on adventures. Ask you where? And call Death's arrows on the destin'd prey. Where is he not? For his peculiar haunts,
High fortune seems in cruel league with fate. Let this suffice; sure as night follows day, Ask you for what? To give his war on man Death treads in pleasure's footsteps round the world, The deeper dread, and more illustrious spoil; When pleasure treads the paths which reason shuns. Thus to keep daring mortals more in awe. When, against reason, riot shuts the door,
And burns Lorenzo still for the sublime And gaiety supplies the place of sense,
of life? To hang his airy nest on high, Then, foremost at the banquet and the ball, On the slight timber of the topmost bough, Death leads the dance, or stamps the deadly die; Rockt at each breeze, and menacing a fall ? Nor ever fails the midnight bowl to crown. Granting grim Death at equal distance there; Gaily carousing to his gay compeers,
Yet peace begins just where ambition ends. Inly he laughs, to see them laugh at him,
What makes man wretched ? Happiness denied ? As absent far; and when the revel burns,
Lorenzo! no: 'Tis happiness disdain'd. When fear is banish'd, and triumphant thought, She comes too meanly drest to win our smile ; Calling for all the joys beneath the Moon, And calls herself Content, a homely name ! Against him turns the key, and bids him sup Our flame is transport, and content our scorn. With their progenitors-he drops his mask ; Ambilion turns, and shuts the door against her, Frowns out at full; they start, despair, expire. And weds a toil, a tempest, in her stead;
Scarce with more sudden terror and surprise, A tempest to warm transport near of kin. From his black mask of nitre, touch'd by fire, Unknowing what our mortal state admits, He bursts, expands, roars, blazes, and devours. Life's modest joys we ruin, while we raise ; And is not this triumphant treachery,
And all our ecstasies are wounds to peace; And more than simple conquest, in the fiend? Peace, the full portion of mankind below.
And now, Lorenzo, dost thou wrap thy soul And since thy peace is dear, ambitious youth! In soft security, because unknown
Of fortune fond ! as thoughtless of thy fate! Which moment is commission'd to destroy ? As late I drew Death's picture, to stir up In death's uncertainty thy danger lies.
Thy wholesome fears ; now, drawn in contrast, see Is death uncertain? Therefore thou be fit; Gay Fortune's, thy vain hopes to reprimand. Fixt as a sentinel, all eye, all ear,
See, high in air, the sportive goddess hangs, All expectation of the coming foe.
Unlocks her casket, spreads her glittering ware, Rouse, stand in arms, nor lean against thy spear; And calls the giddy winds to puff abroad Lest slumber steal one moment o'er thy soul, Her random bounties o'er the gaping throng. And fate surprise thee nodding. Watch, be strong ; All rush rapacious; friends o'er trodden friends; Thus give each day the merit, and renown, Sons o'er their fathers; subjects o'er their kings ; Of dying well ; though doom'd but once to die. Priests o'er their gods; and lovers o'er the fair, Nor let life's period hidden, (as from most,) (Still more adorn'd) to snatch the golden shower. Hide too from thee the precious use of life.
Gold glitters most, where virtue shines no more ; Early, not sudden, was Narcissa's fate.
As stars from absent suns have leave to shine. Soon, not surprising, Death his visit paid.
O what a precious pack of votaries Her thought went forth to meet him on his way, Unkennel'd from the prisons, and the stews, Nor gaiety forgot it was to die :
Pour in, all opening in their idol's praise ; Though fortune too, (our third and final theme,) All
, ardent, eye each wafture of her hand, As an accomplice, play'd her gaudy plumes, And, wide expanding their voracious jaws, And every glittering gewgaw, on her sight, Morsel on morsel swallow down unchew'd, To dazzle, and debauch it from its mark.
Untasted, through mad appetite for more; Death's dreadful advent is the mark of man ; Gorg'd to the throat, yet lean and ravenous still. And every thought that misses it, is blind. Sagacious all, to trace the smallest game, Fortune, with youth and gaiety, conspir'd
And bold to seize the greatest. If (blest chance !) To weave a triple wreath of happiness
Court-zephyrs sweetly breathe, they lanch, they fly, (If happiness on Earth) to crown her brow. O'er just, o'er sacred, all-forbidden ground, And could Death charge through such a shining Drunk with the burning scent of place or power, shield?
Staunch to the foot of lucre, till they die. That shining shield invites the tyrant's spear, Or, if for men you take them, as I mark As if to damp our elevated aims,
Their manners, thou their various fates survey. And strongly preach humility to man.
With aim mis-measur'd, and impetuous speed, O how portentous is prosperity!
Some darting, strike their ardent wish far off, How, comet-like, it threatens, while it shines ! Through fury to possess it: some succeed, Few years but yield us proof of Death's ambition, But stumble, and let fall the taken prize. To cull his victims from the fairest fold,
From some, by sudden blasts, 'tis whirl'd away, And sheath his shafts in all the pride of life. And ludg'd in bosoms that ne'er dreamt of gain. When flooded with abundance, purpled o'er To some it sticks so close, that, when tom off,
Torn is the man, and mortal is the wound. Survive myself ?- That cures all other woe.
Close-twisted with the fibres of the heart !
Which, broken, break them; and drain off the soul
"Tis the survivor dies—My heart, no more.
NIGHT THE SIXTH.
THE INFIDEL RECLAIMED.
IN TWO PARTS.
Where, among other Things, Glory and Riches are As when some stately growth of oak, or pine,
particularly considered. Which nods aloft, and proudly spreads her shade,
TO THE RIGHT HON. HENRY PELHAM, FIRST LORD The Sun's defiance, and the flock's defence; By the strong strokes of laboring hinds subdued,
COMMISSIONER OF THE TREASURY, AND CHANCELLoud groans her last, and, rushing from her height
LOR OF THE EXCHEQUER.
These high-aim'd darts of Death, and these alone, gion than this. The dispute about religion, and Should I collect, my quiver would be full.
the practice of it, seldom go together. The shorter, A quiver, which, suspended in mid air,
therefore, the dispute, the better. I think it may Or near Heaven's Archer, in the zodiac, hung, be reduced to this single question, Is man immor(So could it be,) should draw the public eye,
tal, or is he not? If he is not, all our disputes are The gaze and contemplation of mankind!
mere amusements, or trials of skill. In this case, A constellation awful, yet benign,
truth, reason, religion, which give our discourses To guide the gay through life's tempestuous wave; such pomp and solemnity, are (as will be shown) Nor suffer them to strike the common rock,
mere empty sound, without any meaning in them. “ From greater danger, to grow more secure,
But if man is immortal, it will behove him to be And, wrapt in happiness, forget their fate."
very serious about eternal consequences ; or, in Lysander, happy past the common lot,
other words, to be truly religious. And this great Was warn'd of danger, but too gay to fear.
fundamental truth, unestablished, or unawakened He wood the fair Aspasia: she was kind :
in the minds of men, is, I conceive, the real In youth, form, fortune, fame, they both were blest; source and support of all our infidelity; how reAll who knew, envied ; yet in envy lov'd :
mote soever the particular objections advanced Can fancy form more finisht happiness?
may seem to be from it. Fixt was the nuptial hour. Her stately dome Sensible appearances affect most men much more Rose on the sounding beach. The glittering spires than abstract reasonings; and we daily see bodies Float in the wave, and break against the shore : drop around us, but the soul is invisible. The So break those glittering shadows, human joys. power which inclination has over the judgment, is The faithless morning smild: he takes his leave, greater than can be well conceived by those that To re-embrace, in ecstasies, at eve.
have not had an experience of it; and of what The rising storm forbids. The news'arrives : numbers is it she sad interest that souls should not Untold, she saw it in her servant's eye.
survive! The heathen world confessed, that they She felt it seen (her heart was apt to feel);
rather hoped, than firmly believed, immortality! And, drown'd, without the furious ocean's aid, And how many heathens have we still amongst In suffocating sorrows, shares his tomb.
us! The sacred page assures us, that life and imNow, round the sumptuous, bridal monument, mortality is brought to light by the Gospel : but by The guilty billows innocently roar;
how many is the Gospel rejected, or overlooked ! And the rough sailor, passing, drops a tear;
From these considerations, and from my being A tear?-Can tears suffice ?-But not for me. accidentally privy to the sentiments of some parHow vain our efforts! and our arts how vain! ticular persons, I have been long persuaded that The distant train of thought I took to shun,
most, if not all, our infidels (whatever name they Has thrown me on my fate These died together; take, and whatever scheme, for argument's sake, Happy in ruin! undivorc'd by death!
and to keep themselves in countenance, they paOr ne'er to meet, or ne'er to part, is peace
tronize) are supported in their deplorable error, Narcissa! Pity bleeds at thought of thee.
by some doubt of their immortality, at the bottom. Yet thou wast only near me; not myself.
And I am satisfied, that men once thoroughly con: vinced of their immortality, are not far from being But why more woe? More comfort let it be, Christians. For it is hard to conceive, that a man, Nothing is dead, but that which wish'd to die; fully conscious eternal pain or happiness will cer. Nothing is dead, but wretchedness and pain; tainly be his lot, should not earnestly, and impar- Nothing is dead, but what encumber'd, galld, tially, inquire after the surest means of escaping Block'd up the pass, and barr'd from real life. one, and securing the other. And of such an Where dwells that wish most ardent of the wise! earnest and impartial inquiry, I well know the Too dark the Sun to see it; highest stars consequence.
Too low to reach it; Death, great Death alone, Here, therefore, in proof of this most fundamental O'er stars and Sun triumphant, lands us there.
truth, some plain arguments are offered ; argu- Nor dreadful our transition ; though the mind,
And find the soul unsated with her theme.
Its nature, proof, importance, fire my song.
O that my song could emulate my soul! This seeming mitigation but inflames;
Like her, immortal. No!-the soul disdains This fancied medicine heightens the disease.
A mark so mean; far nobler hope inflames; The longer known, the closer still she grew;
If endless ages can outweigh an hour, And gradual parting is a gradual death,
Let not the laurel, but the palm, inspire. 'Tis the grim tyrant's engine, which extorts,
Thy nature, immortality! who knows? By tardy pressure's still increasing weight,
And yet who knows it not? It is but life
In stronger thread of brighter color spun,
And spun for ever; dipt by cruel fate
How short our correspondence with the Sun!
And while it lasts, inglorious! Our best deeds, There, fate my melancholy walk ordain'd,
How wanting in their weight! Our highest joys, Forbid self-love itself to flatter, there.
Small cordials to support us in our pain, How oft I gaz'd, prophetically sad !
And give us strength to suffer. But how great, How oft I saw her dead, while yet in smiles !
To mingle interests, converse amities, In smiles she sunk her grief to lessen mine.
With all the sons of reason, scatter'd wide She spoke me comfort, and increas'd my pain.
Through habitable space, wherever born, Like powerful armies trenching at a town,
Howe'er endow'd! To live free citizens By slow, and silent, but resistless sap,
Of universal Nature! To lay hold In his pale progress gently gaining ground,
By more than feeble faith on the Supreme ! Death urg'd his deadly siege; in spite of art,
To call Heaven's rich unfathomable mines Of all the balmy blessings Nature lends
(Mines, which support archangels in their state) To succor frail humanity. Ye stars!
Our own! To rise in science, as in bliss, (Not now first made familiar to my sight)
Initiate in the secrets of the skies! And thou, O Moon! bear witness; many a night
To read creation ; read its mighty plan He tore the pillow from beneath my head,
In the bare bosom of the Deity! Tied down by sore attention to the shock,
The plan, and execution, to collate! By ceaseless depredations on a life
before each glance of piercing thought, Dearer than that he left me.
All cloud, all shadow, blown remote; and learo Of observation! darker every hour!
No mystery—but that of love divine, Less dread the day that drove me to the brink,
Which lists us on the seraph's flaming wing, And pointed at eternity below;
From Earth's aceldama, this field of blood, When my soul shudder'd at futurity;
Of inward anguish, and of outward ill, When, on a moment's point, th' important die
From darkness, and from dust, to such a scene! Of life and death spun doubtful, ere it fell,
Love's element! true joy's illustrious home! And turn'd up life; my title to more woe.
From Earth's sad contrast (now deplor'd, more fair'
What exquisite vicissitude of fate! * Referring to Night V.
Blest absolution of our blackest hour'
Lorenzo, these are thoughts that make man, man, In endless voyage, without port ? The least The wise illumine, aggrandize the great.
Of these disseminated orbs, how great! How great, (while yet we tread the kindred clod, Great as they are, what numbers these surpass, And every moment fear to sink beneath
Huge, as leviathan, to that small race, The clod we tread ; soon trodden by our sons) Those twinkling multitudes of little life, How great, in the wild whirl of time's pursuits, He swallows unperceiv'd ? Stupendous these ! To stop, and pause, involv'd in high presage, Yet what are these stupendous to the whole! Through the long vista of a thousand years, As particles, as atoms ill perceiv'd ; To stand contemplating our distant selves,
As circulating globules in our veins ; As in a magnifying mirror seen,
So vast the plan. Fecundity divine! Enlarg'd, ennobled, elevate, divine !
Exuberant source! perhaps, I wrong thee still. To prophesy our own futurities ;
If admiration is a source of joy, To gaze in thought on what all thought transcends! What transport hence ! yet this the least in Heaven. To talk, with fellow-candidates, of joys
What this to that illustrious robe he wears, As far beyond conception as desert,
Who toss'd this mass of wonders from his hand, Ourselves th' astonish'd talkers, and the tale! A specimen, an earnest of his power?
Lorenzo, swells thy bosom at the thought? "Tis to that glory, whence all glory flows, The swell becomes thee : 'tis an honest pride. As the mead's meanest floweret to the Sun, Revere thyself;—and yet thyself despise.
Which gave it birth. But what, this Sun of Heaven?
The bare ideas! solid happiness
And chase we still the phantom through the fire,
Or, spider-like, spin out our precious all,
Our more than vitals spin (if no regard
The momentary buzz of vain renown!
In empire high, or in proud science deep, Drudge, sweat, through every shame, for every gain,
Our hope in Heaven, our dignity with man? The gust, the glow of rational delight,
And deify the dirt, matur'd to gold ? As on this theme, which angels praise and share ? Ambition, avarice; the two demons these, Man's fates and favors are a theme in Heaven. Which goad through every slough our human herd, What wretched repetition cloys us here !
Hard-travel'd from the cradle to the grave. What periodic potions for the sick!
How low the wretches stoop! How steep they climb! Distemper'd bodies ! and distemper'd minds! These demons burn mankind; but most possess In an eternity, what scenes shall strike!
Lorenzo's bosom, and turn out the skies. Adventures thicken! novelties surprise !
Is it in time to hide eternity ? What webs of wonder shall unravel, there! And why not in an atom on ihe shore What full day pour on all the paths of Heaven, To cover ocean? or a mote, the Sun? And light th' Almighty's footsteps in the deep! Glory and wealth! have they this blinding power ? How shall the blessed day of our discharge What if to them I prove Lorenzo blind ? Unwind, at once, the labyrinths of fate,
Would it surprise thee? Be thou then surpris'd ; And straighten its inextricable maze!
Thou neither know'st; their nature learn from me. If inextinguishable thirst in man
Mark well, as foreign as these subjects seem, To know, how rich, how full, our banquet there! What close connexion ties them to my theme. There, not the moral world alone unfolds ;
First, what is true ambition? The pursuit The world material, lately seen in shades, Of glory, nothing less than man can share. And, in those shades, by fragments only seen, Were they as vain as gaudy-minded man, And seen those fragments by the laboring eye, As flatulent with fumes of self-applause, Unbroken, then, illustrious and entire,
Their arts and conquests animals might boast, Its ample sphere, its universal frame,
And claim their laurel crowns, as well as we; In full dimensions, swells to the survey ;
But not celestial. Here we stand alone;
And man should blush, his forehead meets the skies
A slender portion! and a narrow bound ! Behold an infinite of floating worlds
These reason, with an energy divine, Divide the crystal waves of ether pure,
O'erleaps ; and claims the future and unseen ;
The vast unseen! the future fathomless!
Has thy new post betray'd thee into pride ? When the great soul buoys up to this high point, That treacherous pride betrays the dignity; Leaving gross Nature's sediments below,
That pride defames humanity, and calls Then, and then only, Adam's offspring quits The being mean, which staffs or strings can raise. The sage and hero of the fields and woods, That pride, like hooded hawks, in darkness soars, Asserts his rank, and rises into man.
From blindness bold, and towering to the skies. This ambition : this is human fire.
"Tis born of ignorance, which knows not man; Can parts or place (two bold pretenders!) make An angel's second ; nor his second, long. Lorenzo great, and pluck him from the throng? A Nero quitting his imperial throne,
Genius and art, ambition's boasted wings, And courting glory from the tinkling string, Our boast but ill deserve. A feeble aid !
But faintly shadows an immortal soul, Dedalian enginery! If these alone
With empire's self, to pride, or rapture, fir'd. Assist our flight, fame's flight is glory's fall.
If nobler motives minister no cure, Heart
merit wanting, mount we ne'er so high, E'en vanity forbids thee to be vain. Our height is but the gibbet of our name.
High worth is elevated place : 'tis more; A celebrated wretch, when I behold;
It makes the post stand candidate for thee; When I behold a genius bright, and base,
Makes more than monarchs, makes an honest man; Of towering talents, and terrestrial aims; Though no exchequer it commands, 'tis wealth ; Methinks I see, as thrown from her high sphere, And though it wears no ribund, 'tis renown; The glorious fragments of a soul immortal, Renown, that would not quit thee, though disgrac'd With rubbish mix’d, and glittering in the dust. Nor leave thee pendent on a master's smile. Struck at the splendid, melancholy sight,
Other ambition Nature interdicts;
Nature proclaims it most absurd in man,
Milk, and a swathe, at first, his whole demand ; In false ambition's hand, to finish faults
His whole domain, at last, a turf, or stone; Illustrious, and give infamy renown.
To whom, between, a world may seem too small. Great ill is an achievement of great powers. Souls truly great dart forward on the wing Plain sense but rarely leads us far astray.
Of just ambition, to the grand result:
Unshod behind this momentary scene;
And laugh at this fantastic mummery,
Where dwarfs are often stilted, and betray Let genius then despair to make thee great; A littleness of soul by worlds o'er-run, Nor flatter station. What is station high?
And nations laid in blood. Dread sacrifice "Tis a proud mendicant; it boasts, and begs ; To Christian pride! which had with horror shock'd It begs an alms of homage from the throng, The darkest Pagans offer'd to their gods. And oft the throng denies its charity.
O thou most Christian enemy to peace; Monarchs and ministers are awful names !
Again in arms? Again provoking fate! Whoever wear them, challenge our devoir. That prince, and that alone, is truly great, Religion, public order, both exact
Who draws the sword reluctant, gladly sheathes ; External homage, and a supple knee,
On empire builds what empire far outweighs, To beings pompously set up, to serve
And makes his throne a scaffold to the skies. The meanest slave; all more is merit's due,
Why this so rare ? Because forgot of all Her sacred and inviolable right,
The day of death; that venerable day, Nor ever paid the monarch, but the man.
Which sits as judge; that day, which shall pronounce
Lorenzo, never shut thy thought against it;
And give it audience in the cabinet.
That friend consulted, flatteries apart, His royal robe unborrow'd, and unbought,
Will tell thee fair, if thou art great, or mean. His own, descending fairly from his sires.
To dote on aught may leave us, or be left, Shall man be proud to wear his livery,
Is that ambition? Then let flames descend, And souls in ermine scorn a soul without ?
Point to the centre their inverted spires,
And learn humiliation from a soul,
Yet these are they the world pronounces wise ; Each man makes his own stature, builds himself: The world which cancels Nature's right and wrong, Virtue alone outbuilds the pyramids :
And casts new wisdom: e'en the grave man lends
This stamps the paradox, and gives us leave