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The Land of Apparitions, empty Shades !
All, all on Earth is Shadow, all beyond
Is Subftance : the Reverse is Folly's Creed:
How solid all, where Change shall be no more!
This is the Bud of Being, the dim Dawn,
The Twilight of our Day, the Vestibule ;
Life's Theatre as yet is shut, and Death,
Strong Death, alone can heave the maffy Bar,
This gross Impediment of Clay remove,
And make us Embryos of Existence free.
From real Life, but little more remote
Is He, not yet a Candidate for Light,
The future Embryo, flumb'ring in his Sire.
Embryos we must be, till we burst the Shell,
Yon ambient azure Shell, and spring to Life,
The Life of Gods, O Transport ! and of Man.
Yet Man, fool Man! bere buries all his Thoughts ;
Interrs celestial Hopes without one Sigh.
Pris'ner of Earth, and pent beneath the Moon,
Here pinions all his Wishes : wing'd by Heav'n
To fly at Infinite; and reach it there,
Where Seraphs gather Immortality,
On Life's fair Tree, fast by the Throne of God.
What golden Joys ambrosial clust'ring glow,
In HIS full Beam, and ripen for the Juft,
Where momentary Ages are no more !
Where Time, and Pain, and Chance, and Death, expire !
And is it in the Flight of threescore Years,
To push Eternity from human Thought,
And smother Souls immortal in the Duft?
A Soul immortal, spending all her Fires,
Wafting her Strength in ftrenuous Idlenefs,
Thrown into Tumult, raptur'd, or alarm'd,
At aught this Scene can threaten, or indulge,
Resembles Ocean into Tempest wrought,
To waft a Feather, or to drown a Fly.
Where falls this Censure ? It o'erwhelms myself;
How was my Heart incrusted by the World !
O how self-fetter'd was my grov'ling Soul !
How, like a Worm, was I wrapt round and round
In filken Thought, which reptile Fancy spun,
Till darken'd Reapon lay quite clouded o'er
With soft Conceit of endless Comfort here,
Nor yet put forth her Wings to reach the Skies !
Night-visions may befriend (as fung above):
Our waking Dreams are fatal. How I dreamt
Of things impossible ? (Could Sleep do more?)
Of Joys perpetual in perpetual Change?
Of stable Pleasures on the tossing Wave?
Eternal Sunshine in the Storms of Life ?
How richly were my noon-tide Trances hung
With gorgeous Tapestries of pictur'd Joys ?
Joy behind Joy, in endless Perspective!
Till at Death's Toll, whose restless iron Tongue
Calls daily for his Millions at a Meal,
Starting I woke, and found myself undone.
Where now my Phrensy's pompous Furniture ?
The cobweb'd Cottage, with its ragged Wall
Of mould'ring Mud, is Royalty to me!
The Spider's most attenuated Thread
Is Cord, is Cable, to Man's tender Tie
On earthly Blifs; it breaks at ev'ry Breeze.
Oye blest Scenes of permanent Delight!
Full, above Measure ! lasting, beyond Bound !
A Perpetuity of Bliss is Bliss.
Could you, so rich in Rapture, fear an End,
That ghaftly Thought would drink up all your Joy,
And quite un paradise the Realms of Light.
Safe are you lodg'd above these rolling Spheres;
The baleful Influence of whose giddy Dance
Sheds fad Viciffitude on all beneath.
Here teems with Revolutions ev'ry Hour;
And rarely for the better ; or the best,
More mortal than the common Births of Fate.
Each Moment has its Sickle, emulous
Of Time's enormous Scythe, whose ample Sweep
Strikes Empires from the Root; each Moment plays
His little Weaport in the narrower Sphere
Of sweet domestic Comfort, and cuts down
The faireft Bloom of sublunary Blis.
Bliss ! sublunary Bliss !--Proud Words, and vain!
Implicit Treason to divine Decree!
A bold Invasion of the Rights of Heav'n!
I clafp'd the Phantoms, and I found them Air.
O had I weigh'd it ere my fond Embrace !
What Darts of Agony had miss’d my Heart !
Death! Great Proprietor of All! 'tis thine
To tread out Empire, and to quench the Stars.
The Sun himself by thy Permission shines ;
And, one Day, thou shalt pluck him from his Sphere.
Amid such mighty Plunder, why exhaust
Thy partial Quiver on a Mark so mean?
Why thy peculiar Rancour wreak’d on me?
Insatiate Archer! could not One suffice ?
Thy Shaft flew thrice ; and thrice my Peace was slain;
And thrice, ere thrice yon Moon had fill'd her Horn.
O Cynthia! why fo pale ? Dost thou lament
Thy wretched Neighbour ? Grieve to see thy Wheel
Of ceaseless Change out-whirl'd in human Life?
How wanes my borrow'd Bliss ! from Fortune's Smile,
Precarious Courtesy! Not Virtue's sure,
Self-given, solar, Ray of sound Delight.
In ev'ry vary'd Posture, Place, and Hour,
How widow'd ev'ry Thought of ev'ry Joy !
Thought, busy Thought! too busy for my Peace !
Thro' the dark Poftern of Time long elaps'd,
Led softly, by the Stillness of the Night,
Led, like a Murderer, (and such it proves!
Strays, (wretched Rover !) o'er the pleasing Paft;
In quest of Wretchedness perversely strays ;
And finds all desart now; and meets the Ghosts
Of my departed Joys; a num'rous Train!
I rue the Riches of former Fate;
Sweet Comfort's blasted Clusters I lament;
I tremble at the Blessings once so dear ;
And ev'ry Pleasure pains me to the Heart.
Yet why complain? or why complain for One:
Hangs out the Sun his Lustre but for me,
The single Man ? Are Angels all beside ?
I mourn for Millions :. 'Tis the common Lot ;
In this Shape, or in that, has Fate entail'd
The Mother's Throes on all of Woman born,
Not more the Children, than sure Heirs of Pain.
War, Famine, Pest, Volcano, Storm, and Fire,
Intestine Broils, Oppression, with her Heart
Wrapt up in triple Brass, besiege Mankind.
God's Image difinherited of Day,
Here, plung'd in Mines, forgets a Sun was made.
There, Beings deathless as their haughty Lord,
Are hammer'd to the galling Oar for Life ;
And plow the Winter's Wave, and reap Despair.
Some, for hard Masters, broken under Arms,
In Battle lopt away, with half their Limbs,
Beg bitter Bread thro’ Realms their Valour sav'd,
If so the Tyrant, or his Minion, doom.
Want, and incurable Disease, (fell Pair!)
On hopeless Multitudes remorseless feize
At once ; and make a Refuge of the Grave.
How groaning Hospitals eject their Dead !
What Numbers groan for fad Admission there!
What Numbers, once in Fortune's Lap high-fed,
Solicit the cold Hand of Charity!.
To shock us more, solicit it in vain !'.
Ye filken fons of Pleasure ! since in Pains'
You rue more modifh Visits, visit here,
And breathe from your Debauch: Give, and reduce
Surfeit's Dominion o'er you : But fo great
Your Impudence, you blush at what is Right.
Happy ! did Sorrow seize on such alone.
Not Prudence can defend, or Virtue fave;
Disease invades the chaftest Temperance ;
And Punishment the Guiltless; and Alarm,
Thro' thickest Shades, pursues the fond of Peace,
Man's Caution often into Danger turns,
And his Guárd falling, crushes him to Death..
Not Happiness itself makes good her Name;
Our very Wishes give us not our Wish.
How diftant oft the Thing we doat on most,
From that for which we doat, Felicity?
The smootheft Course of Nature has its Pains ;
And truest Friends, thro' Error, wound-our Reffor
Without Misfortune, what Calamities?!
And what Hostilities, without a Foe?
Nor are Foes wanting to the best on Earth.
But endless is the List of human Ills,
And Sighs might sooner fail, than Cause to figh..
A Part how small of the terraqueous Globe
Is tenanted by Man! the reft a Wafte,
Rocks, Desarts, frozen Seas, and burning Sands !''
Wild Haunts of Monsters, Poisons, Stings, and Death...
Such is Earth's melancholy Map! But, far.
More fad! this Earth is a true Map of Man..
So bounded are its haughty Lord's Delights:
To Woe's wide Empire ; 'where deep Troubles tofs,