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If, from her humble chamber in the dust,
Heaven is all love; all joy in giving joy :
A being blest, or worthy so to be ?
Undrawn no more!-Behind the cloud of Death, Is that, all Nature starts at, thy desire ? Once, I beheld the Sun; a Sun which gilt Art such a clod to wish thyself all clay? That sable cloud, and turn'd it all to gold :
What is that dreadful wish?—The dying groan How the grave's alter'd! Fathomless, as Heil! of Nature, murder'd by the blackest guilt. A real Hell to those who dreamt of Heaven. What deadly poison has thy nature drunk ; Annihilation! How it yawns before me!
To nature undebauch'd no shock so great. Next moment I may drop from thought, from sense, Nature's first wish is endless happiness ; The privilege of angels, and of worms,
Annihilation is an after-thought, An outcast from existence ! and this spirit,
A monstrous wish, unborn till virtue dies. This all-pervading, this all-conscious soul, And, oh! what depth of horror lies inclos'd! This particle of energy divine,
For non-existence no man ever wish'd, Which travels Nature, flies from star to star, But, first, he wish'd the Deity destroy'd. And visits gods, and emulates their powers,
If so, what words are dark enough to draw For ever is extinguisht. Horror! death!
Thy picture true? The darkest are too fair. Death of that death I fearless once survey'd ! Beneath what baleful planet, in what hour When horror universal shall descend,
Of desperation, by what fury's aid, And Heaven's dark concave urn all human race, In what infernal posture of the soul, On that enormous, unrefunding tomb,
All Hell invited, and all Hell in joy How just this verse! this monumental sigh! At such a birth, a birth so near of kin, · Beneath the lumber of demolish'd worlds,
Did thy foul fancy whelp so black a scheme Deep in the rubbish of the general wreck,
Of hopes abortive, faculties half-blown, Swepl ignominious to the common mass
And deities begun, reduc'd to dust? Of matter, never dignified with life,
There's nought (thou say'st) but one eternal flux
Of feeble essences, tumultuous driven
Through time's rough billows into night's abyss. Beings of yesterday! and not to-morrow !
Say, in this rapid tide of human ruin, Who liv'd in terror, and in pangs expir'd!
Is there no rock, on which man's tossing thought AU
Can rest from terror, dare his fate survey, gone to rot in chaos; or to make Their happy transit into blocks or brutes,
And boldly think it something to be born ? Nor longer sully their Creator's name."
Amid such hourly wrecks of being fair,
Is there no central, all-sustaining base, Lorenzo! hear, pause, ponder, and pronounce. All-realizing, all-connecting power, Just is this history? If such
Which, as it call'd forth all things, can recall, Mankind's historian, though divine, might weep. And force destruction to refund her spoil ? And dares Lorenzo smile ?-I know thee proud; Command the grave restore her taken prey ? For once let pride befriend thee ; pride looks pale Bid death's dark vale its human harvest yield, At such a scene, and sighs for something more. And earth and ocean pay their debt of man, Amid thy boasts, presumptions, and displays, True to the grand deposit trusted there? And art thou then a shadow? Less than shade? Is there no potentate whose outstretch'd arm, A nothing ? Less than nothing? To have been, When ripening time calls forth th' appointed hour And not to be, is lower than unborn.
Pluck'd from foul devastation's famish'd maw, Art thou ambitious ? Why then make the worm Binds present, past, and future, to his throne ? Thine equal ? Runs thy taste of pleasure high? His throne, how glorious, thus divinely grac'd, Why patronize sure death of every joy?
By germinating beings clustering round!
A throne, by Heaven's omnipotence in smiles, Ambition, pleasure, avarice, persuade thee
Built (like a pharos towering in the waves) To make that world of glory, rapture, wealth, Amidst immense effusions of his love! They lately prov'd,* the soul's supreme desire. An ocean of communicated bliss !
What art thou made of ? Rather, how unmade ? An all-prolific, all-preserving god! Great Nature's master-appetite destroy'd,
This were a god indeed.--And such is man, Is endless life, and happiness, despis'd ?
As here presum'd: he rises from his fall. Or both wish'd, here, where neither can be found? Think'st thou Omnipotence a naked root, Such man's perverse, eternal war with Heaven! Each blossom fair of Deity destroy'd ? Dar'st thou persist ? And is there nought on Earth, Nothing is dead; nay, nothing sleeps ; each soul, But a long train of transitory forms,
That ever animated human clay, Rising, and breaking, millions in an hour ?
Now wakes; is on the wing: and where, O where, Bubbles of a fantastic deity, blown up
Will the swarm seille ?-When the trumpet's call, In sport, and then in cruelty destroy'd ?
As sounding brass, collects us, round Heaven's throne Oh! for what crime, unmerciful Lorenzo ! Conglob’d, we bask in everlasting day, Destroys thy scheme the whole of human race ? (Paternal splendor!) and adhere for ever. Kind is fell Lucifer, compar'd to thee:
Had not the soul this outlel to the skies, O! spare this waste of being half-divine ;
In this vasi vessel of the universe, And vindicate th’economy of Heaven.
How-should we gasp, as in an empty void ! * In Night VI.
How in the pangs of famish'd hope expire !
How bright my prospect shines ! how gloomy The genuine cause of every deed divine :
That is the chain of ages, which maintains
The natural, civil, or religious, world ,
To lift us from this abject, to sublime;
Laws from the skies were publish'd; were repeald; From non-existence struck by wrath divine, On Earth kings, kingdoms, rose; kings, kingdoms, Glittering a moment, nor that moment sure,
Prophets from Sion darted a keen glance
And, oh! for this, descended lower still :
Guilt was Hell's gloom; astonish'd at his guest, Retract, blasphemer!' and unriddle this,
For one short moment Lucifer ador'd : Of endless arguments above, below,
Lorenzo! and wilt thou do less ?-For this, Without us, and within, the short result!
That hallow'd page, fools scoff at, was inspir'd, “ If man's immortal, there's a God in Heaven." Of all these truths—thrice-venerable code!
But wherefore such redundancy ? such waste Deists! perform your quarantine; and then
Fall prostrate, ere you touch it, lest you die.
All else the name of great. Two warring worlds!
Of more than mortal! mounted on the wing!
On ardent wings of energy and zeal,
In their own cause conflicting? No; in thine,
Tumultuous swarms of deities in arms!
Such opposites eternal, stedfast, stern,
Such foes implacable, are good and ill; (thern Of unintelligent creation poor.
Yet man, vain man, would mediate peace between
And shot his indignation at the deep:
He sleeps.—And art thou shock'd at mysleries?
How happily this wondrous view supports
Immortal life's full demonstration, here!
Why this exertion? Why this strange regard There's nothing to support him in the right.
And strong temptation ripens it to birth.
Why not his country sold, his father slain ? What would he be? A trifle of no weight; 'Tis virtue to pursue our good supreme; Or stand, or fall; no matter which; he's gone. And his supreme, his only good is here. Because immortal, therefore is indulg'd
Ambition, avarice, by the wise disdain'd, This strange regard of deities to dust.
Is perfect wisdom, while mankind are fools, Hence, Heaven looks down on Earth with all her eyes: And think a turf, or tomb-stone, covers all : Hence, the soul's mighty moment in her sight: These find employment, and provide for sense Hence, every soul has partisans above,
A richer pasture, and a larger range ; And every thought a critic in the skies :
And sense by right divine ascends the throne, Hence, clay, vile clay! has angels for its guard, When virtue's prize and prospect are no more ; And every guard a passion for his charge : Virtue no more we think the will of Heaven. Hence, from all age, the cabinet divine
Would Heaven quite beggar virtue, if belov'd ? Has held high counsel o'er the fate of man.
“ Has virtue charms ?"-I grant her heavenly Nor have the clouds those gracious counsels hid:
The virtues grow on immortality;
A deity believ'd, will nought avail;
As in the dying parent dies the child, Breaking the chain that fasten'd it in air,
Virtue, with immortality, expires. Swept Egypt, and her menaces, to Hell:
Who tells me he denies his soul immortal, Witness, ye flames ! th' Assyrian tyrant blew Whate'er his boast, has told me, he's a knave. 'To sevenfold rage, as impotent, as strong : His duty 'tis, to love himself alone ; And thou, Earth! witness, whose expanding jaws Nor care though mankind perish, if he smiles. Clos'd o'er presumption's sacrilegious sons:* Who thinks ere long the man shall wholly die, Has not each element, in turn, subscrib'd
Is dead already; nought but brute survives. The soul's high price, and sworn it to the wise ? And are there such ?-Such candidates there are Has not flame, ocean, etler, earthquake, strove For more than death; for utter loss of being, To strike this truth through adamantine man? Being, the basis of the Deity! If not all adamant, Lorenzo! hear;
Ask you the cause ?—The cause they will not teli. All is delusion; Nature is wrapt up
Nor need they : 0 the sorceries of sense! In tenfold night, from reason's keenest eye ; They work this transformation on the soul, There's no consistence, meaning, plan, or end, Dismount her, like the serpent at the fall, In all beneath the Sun, in all above
Dismount her from her native wing, (which soar'd (As far as man can penetrate,) or Heaven
Erewhile ethereal heights.) and throw her down, Is an immense, inestimable prize ;
To lick the dust, and crawl in such a thought. Or all is nothing, or that prize is all.
Is it in words to paint you ? O ye fall’n! And shall each toy be still a match for Heaven, Fall'n from the wings of reason, and of hope ! And full equivalent for groans below?
Erect in stature, prone in appetite! Who would not give a trifle to prevent
Patrons of pleasure, posting into pain! What he would give a thousand worlds to cure? Lovers of argument, averse to sense!
Lorenzo! thou hast seen (if thine to see) Boasters of liberty, fast bound in chains ! All Nature, and her God (by Nature's course, Lords of the wide creation, and the shame! And Nature's course controlld) declare for me : More senseless than th' irrationals you scorn! The skies above proclaim, “ immortal man!" More base than those you rule! Than those you piiy And,“ man immortal!" all below resounds. Far more undone! O ye most infamous The world s a system of theology,
Of beings, from superior dignity! Read by the greatest strangers to the schools; Deepest in woe from means of boundless bliss ! If honest, learn'd; and sages o'er a plow.
Ye curst by blessings infinite ! because Is not, Lorenzo! then, impos'd on thee
Most highly favor'd, most profoundly lost ! This hard alternative; or, to renounce
Ye motley mass of contradiction strong! Thy reason, or thy sense ; or, to believe ?
And are you, too, convinc'd, your souls fly off What then is unbelief ? 'Tis an exploit ;
In exhalation soft, and die in air, A strenuous enterprise : to gain it, man
From the full flood of evidence against you ? Must burst through every bar of common sense ;
In the coarse drudgeries and sinks of sense, Of common shame, magnanimously wrong ; Your souls have quite worn out the make of Heaven And what rewards the sturdy combatant ? By vice new-cast, and creatures of your own : His prize, repentance ; infamy, his crown. But though you can deform, you can't destroy ;
But wherefore, infamy ?-For want of faith, To curse, not uncreate, is all your power. Down the steep precipice of wrong he slides ;
Lorenzo! this black brotherhood renounce;
Renounce St. Evremont, and read St. Paul. * Korah, &c.
Ere rapt by miracle, by reason wing'd,
His mounting mind made long abode in Heaven. Not man alone, all rationals, Heaven arms
With an illustrious, but tremendous, power
To counteract its own most gracious ends; Through all the provinces of human thought; And this, of strict necessity, not choice; To darı her flight through the whole sphere of man; That power denied, men, angels, were no more Of this vast universe to make the tour;
But passive engines, void of praise or blame. In each recess of space, and time, at home;
A nature rational implies the power Familiar with their wonders; diving deep; Of being blest, or wretched, as we please ; And, like a prince of boundless interests there, Else idle reason would have nought to do; Still most ambitious of the most remote;
And he that would be barr'd capacity To look on truth unbroken, and entire;
Of pain, courts incapacity of bliss. Truth in the system, the full orb; where truths Heaven wills our happiness, allows our doom ; By truths enlighten'd, and sustain'd, afford Invites us ardently, but not compels; An arch-like, strong foundation, to support
Heaven but persuades, almighty man decrees ; Th' incumbent weight of absolute, complete Man is the maker of immortal fates, Conviction ; here, the more we press, we stand Man falls by man, if finally he falls ; More firm : who most examine, most believe. And fall he must, who learns from death alone Parts, like half-sentences, confound; the whole The dreadful secret_That he lives for ever. Conveys the sense, and God is understood ;
Why this to thee ?—Thee yet, perhaps, in doubt Who not in fragments writes to human race : Of second life? But wherefore doubtful still? Read his whole volume, sceptic! then reply. Eternal life is nature's ardent wish:
This, this, is thinking free, a thought that grasps What ardently we wish, we soon believe: Beyond a grain, and looks beyond an hour. Thy tardy faith declares that wish destroyd : Turn up thine eyes, survey this midnight scene; What has destroy'd it ?-Shall I tell thee what? What are Earth's kingdoms, to yon boundless orbs, When fear'd the future, 'tis no longer wish'd ; Of human souls, one day, the destin'd range ? And, when unwish'd, we strive to disbelieve. And what yon boundless orbs, to godlike man? “ Thus infidelity our guilt betrays." Those numerous worlds that throng the firmament, Nor that the sole detection! Blush, Lorenzo! And ask more space in Heaven, can roll at large Blush for hypocrisy, if not for guilt. In man's capacious thought, and still leave room The future fear'd?--An infidel, and sear? For ampler orbs, for new creations, there.
Fear what? A dream? A fable ?—How thy dread Can such a soul contract itself, to gripe
Unwilling evidence, and therefore strong, A point of no dimension, of no weight?
Affords my cause an undesign'd support! It can; it does: the world is such a point : How disbelief affirms what it denies ! And, of that point, how small a part enslaves ! “ It, unawares, asserts immortal life.”
How small a part-of nothing, shall I say? Surprising! infidelity turns out Why not ?—Friends, our chief treasure! how they A creed, and a confession of our sins : drop!
Apostates, thus, are orthodox divines. Lucia, Narcissa fair, Philander, gone!
Lorenzo! with Lorenzo clash no more; The grave, like fabled Cerberus, has op'd
Nor longer a transparent vizor wear. A triple mouth; and, in an awful voice,
Think'st thou, religion only has her mask?
Our infidels are Satan's hypocrites,
. And leaves us in a ruin of our joy!
When visited by thought (thought will intrude.) What says this transportation of my friends ? Like him they serve, they tremble and believe. It bids me love the place where now they dwell, Is their hypocrisy so foul as this ; And scorn this wretched spot they leave so poor. So fatal to the welfare of the world ? Eternity's vast ocean lies before thee;
What detestation, what contempt, their due ! There; there, Lorenzo! thy Clarissa sails.
And, if unpaid, be thank'd for their escape
Two kinds of life has double-nalur'd man, Instead of racking fancy, to refute,
But shall I dare confess the dire result ? Thrives on his bounties, triumphs in his beams. Can thy proud reason brook so black a brand ? Lise rational subsists on higher food,
From purer manners, to sublimer faith,
Matur'd to nobler, in the Christian ends. "Tis utter darkness ; strictly double death.
When that blest change arrives, e'en cast aside We sink by no judicial stroke of Heaven, This song superfluous; life immortal strikes But Nature's course ; as sure as plummets fall Conviction, in a flood of light divine. Since God, or man, must alter, ere they meet, A Christian dwells, like Uriel,* in the Sun; (Since light and darkness blend not in one sphere,) Meridian evidence puts doubt to flight; "Tis manifest, Lorenzo! who must change.
And ardent hope anticipates the skies. If, then, that double death should prove thy lot, Of that bright Sun, Lorenzo! scale the sphere ; Blame not the bowels of the Deity ; Man shall be blest, as far as man permits.
'Tis easy! it invites thee; it descends
Millions of mysteries ! each darker far, From Heaven to woo, and waft thee whence it came : Than that thy wisdom would, unwisely, shun. Read and revere the sacred page ; a page
If weak ihy faith, why choose the harder side? Where triumphs immortality ; a page
We nothing know, but what is marvellous; Which not the whole creation could produce; Yet what is marvellous, we can't believe. Which not the conflagration shall destroy : So weak our reason, and so great our God, "Tis printed in the mind of gods for ever,
What most surprises, in the sacred page, In Nature's ruins not one letter lost.
Or full as strange, or stranger, must be true. In proud disdain of what e'en gods adore, Faith is not reason's labor, but repose. Dost smile ?—Poor wretch! thy guardian angel To faith, and virtue, why so backward, man? weeps.
From hence :- The present strongly strikes us all, Angels, and men, assent to what I sing;
The future, faintly ; can we, then, be men?
The future, reason's empire unconfin'd:
She plans, provides, expatiates, triumphs, there; Lorenzo! if thy doctrine wins the day,
There builds her blessings! there expects her praisa , And drives my dreams, defeated, from the field ; And nothing asks of fortune, or of men, If this is all, if Earth a final scene,
And what is reason ? Be she, thus, defin'd; Take heed ; stand fast; be sure to be a knave, Reason is upright stature in the soul. Aknave in grain! ne'er deviate to the right: Oh! be a man; and strive to be a god. Shouldst thou be good-how infinite thy loss ! "For what? (thou say’st) To damp the joys of life ?" Guilt only makes annihilation gain.
No; to give heart and substance to thy joys. Blest scheme! which life deprives of comfort, death That tyrant, Hope ; mark how she domineers; of hope; and which vice only recommends. She bids us quit realities, for dreams; If so, where, infidels ! your bait, thrown out Safety and peace, for hazard and alarm ; To catch weak converts ? where your lofty boast That tyrant o'er the tyrants of the soul, Of zeal for virtue, and of love to man?
She bids ambition quit its taken prize, Annihilation! I confess, in these.
Spurn the luxuriant branch on which it sits, What can reclaim you? Dare I hope profound Though bearing crowns, to spring at distant game ; Philosophers the converts of a' song ?
And plunge in toils and dangers--for repose. Yet know, its tille* flatters you, not me;
If hope precarious, and if things, when gain'd, Yours be the praise to make my title good ;
Of little moment, and as little stay, Mine, to bless Heaven, and triumph in your praise. Can sweeten toils and dangers into joys ; But since so pestilential your disease,
What then, that hope, which nothing can defeat, Though sovereign is the medicine I prescribe, Our leave unask'd ? Rich hope of boundless bliss ! As yet, I'll neither triumph, nor despair :
Bliss, past man's power to paint it; time's to close ! But hope, ere long, my midnight dream will wake This hope is Earth's most estimable prize : Your hearts, and teach your wisdom—10 be wise : This is man's portion, while no more than man : For why should souls immortal, made for bliss, Hope, of all passions, most befriends us here; E’er wish, (and wish in vain !) that souls could die ? Passions of prouder name befriend us less. What ne'er can die, oh! grant to live ; and crown Joy has her tears; and transport has her death ; The wish, and aim, and labor of the skies; Hope, like a cordial, innocent, though strong, Increase, and enter on the joys of Heaven: Man's heart, at once, inspirits, and serenes ; Thus shall my title pass a sacred seal,
Nor makes him pay his wisdom for his joys; Receive an imprimatur from above,
| "Tis all our present state can safely bear, While angels shout-An infidel reclaim'd! Health to the frame! and vigor to the mind!
To close, Lorenzo! spite of all my pains, A joy attemper'd! a chastis'd delight!
A blest hereafter, then, or hop'd, or gain'd,
And know, ye foes to song! (well-meaning men,
much ; That cause uncaus'd! all other wonders cease; If there is weight in an eternity, Nothing is marvellous for him to do :
Let the grave listen ;-and be graver still. Deny him—all is mystery besides :
* The poetical parts of it.
* The Infidel Reclaimed.