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A languid, leaden, iteration reigns,
And ever must, o'er those, whose joys are joys
Of sight, smell, taste : The cuckow-seasons sing
The same dull note to such as nothing prize,
But what those seasons, from the teeming earth,
To doating sense indulge. But nobler minds,
Which relish fruits unripen'd by the sun,
Make their days various; various as the dyes
On the dove's neck, which wanton in his rays.
On minds of dove-like innocence possest,
On lighten'd minds, that bask in virtue's beams,
Nothing hangs tedious, nothing old revolves
In that, for which they long; for which they live.
Their glorious efforts, wing'd with heav'nly hope,
Each rising morning sees still higher rise ;
Each bounteous dawn its novelty presents
To worth maturing, new strength, lustre, fame;
While nature's circle, like a chariot-wheel
Rolling beneath their elevated aims,
Makes their fair prospect fairer ev'ry hour;
Advancing virtue, in a Line to bliss;
Virtue, which Christian motives best inspire !
And bliss, which Christian schemes alone ensure !
And shall we then, for virtue's sake, commence,
Apostates? And turn infidels for joy?
A truth it is, few doubt, but fewer trust,
“ He sins against this life, who slights the next."
What is this life? How few their fav'rite know !
Fond in the dark, and blind in our embrace,
By passionately loving life, we make
Lov'd life unlovely; hugging her to death.
We give to Time Eternity's regard ;
And, dreaming, take our passage for our port.
Life has no value as an end, but means;
An end deplorable! a means divine !
When 'tis our all, 'tis nothing; worse than nought;
A nest of pains: when held as nothing, much:
Like some fair hum’rists, life is most enjoy’d,
When courted least; most worth, when disesteem'd;
Then 'tis the seat of comfort, rich in peace;
In prospect richer far; important! awful !
Not to be mention'd, but with shouts of praise !
Not to be thought on, but with tides of joy!
The mighty basis of eternal bliss !
Where now the barren rock ? the painted shrew ?
LORENZO ! life's eternal round?
Have I not made my triple promise good?
Vain is the world; but only to the vain.
To what compare we then this varying scene,
Whose worth ambiguous rises, and declines?
Waxes, and wanes? (In all propitious, Night
Assists me here) compare it to the moon ;
Dark in herself, and indigent; but rich
In borrow'd lustre from a higher sphere.
When gross guilt interposes, lab'ring earth,
O'ershadow'd, mourns a deep eclipse of joy;
Her joys, at brightest, pallid, to that font
Of full effulgent glory, whence they flow.
Nor is that glory distant: Oh Lorenzo!
A good man, and an angel! these between
How thin the barrier! What divides their fate?
Perhaps a moment, or perhaps a year;
Or, if an age, it is a moment still ;
A moment, or eternity's forgot.
Then be, what once they were, who now are gods;
Be what PHILANDER was, and claim the skies.
Starts timid nature at the gloomy pass ?
The soft transition call it ; and be chear'd:
Such it is often, and why not to Thee?
To hope the best, is pious, brave, and wise ;
procure, what it presumes.
Life is much flatter'd, death is much traduc'd;
Compare the rivals, and the kinder crown.
Strange Competition !"— True, Lorenzo! strange!
So little Life can cast into the scale.
Life makes the soul dependent on the dust ;
Deuth gives her wings to mount above the spheres.
Thro' chinks, styl'd organs, dim life peeps at light;
Death bursts th' involving cloud, and all is day;
All eye, all ear, the disembody'd power.
Death has feign'd evils, nature shall not feel;
Life ills, substantial, wisdom cannot shun.
Is not the mighty mind, that son of heav'n!
By tyrant life dethron’d, imprison'd, pain'd?
By death enlarg'd, ennobled, deify'd?
Deuth but intombs the body; life the soul.
“ Is death then guiltless ? How he marks his way
“ With dreadful waste of what deserves to shine!
“ Art, genius, fortune, elevated power !
“ With various lustres these light up the world,
“ Which death puts out, and darkens human race.”
I grant LORENZO ! this indictment just:
The sage, peer, potentate, king, conqueror !
Death humbles these ; more barb'rous life, the man.
Life is the triumph of our mould'ring clay ;
Death, of the spirit infinite ! divine !
Death has no dread, but what frail life imparts;
Nor life true joy, but what kind death improves.
No bliss has life to boast, till death can give
Far greater; life's a debtor to the grave,
Dark lattice ! letting in eternal day.
LORENZO ! blush at fondness for a life,
Which sends celestial souls on errands vile,
To cater for the sense ; and serve at boards,
Where ev'ry ranger of the wilds, perhaps
Each reptile justly claims our upper hand.
Luxurious feast ! a soul, a soul immortal,
In all the dainties of a brute bemir'd!
LORENZO ! blush at terror for a death,
Which gives thee to repose in festive bowers,
Where nectars sparkle, angels minister,
And more than angels share, and raise, and crown,
And eternize, the birth, bloom, bursts of bliss.
What need I more? O death, the palm is thine.
Then welcome, death! thy dreaded harbingers, Age and disease ; disease, tho' long my guest; That plucks my nerves, those tender strings of life : Which, pluckt a little more, will toll the bell, That calls my few friends to my funeral; Where feeble nature drops, perhaps, a tear, While reason and religion, better taught,
Congratulate the dead, and crown his tomb
With wreath triumphant. Death is victory;
It binds in chains the raging ills of life:
Lust and ambition, wrath and avarice,
Dragg'd at his chariot-wheel, applaud his power.
That ills corrosive, cares importunate,
Are not immortal too, O death! is thine.
Our day of dissolution !-name it right;
'Tis our great pay-day; 'tis our harvest, rich
And ripe: What tho' the sickle, sometimes keen,
Just scars us as we reap the golden grain?
More than thy balm, 0 Gilead ! heals the wound.
Birth's feeble cry, and death's deep dismal groan,
Are slender tributes low-taxt nature pays
For mighty gain: The gain of each, a life !
But O! the last the former so transcends,
Life dies, compar'd; Life lives beyond the grave.
And feel I, death ! no joy from thought of thee?
Death, the great counsellor, who man inspires
With ev'ry nobler thought, and fairer deed !
Death, the deliverer, who rescues man !
Death, the rewarder, who the rescu'd crowns !
Death, that absolves my birth ; a curse without it!
Rich death, that realizes all my cares,
Toils, virtues, hopes; without it a chimera !
Death, of all pain the period, not of joy ;
Joy's scource, and subject, still subsist unhurt;
One, in my soul; and one, in her great Sire;
Tho' the four winds were warring for my
dust. Yes, and from winds, and waves, and central night,