« ПретходнаНастави »
How few can rescue opulence from want! Is swallow'd in Elernity's vast round. Who lives to nature, rarely can be poor;
To that stupendous view when souls awake, Who lives to fancy, never can be rich.
So large of late, so mountainous to man, Poor is the man in debt; the man of gold,
Time's toys subside; and equal all below. In debt to Fortune, trembles at her power.
Enthusiastic, this? Then all are weak, The man of reason smiles at her, and death. But rank enthusiasts. To this godlike height O what a patrimony this! A being
Some souls have soar'd; or martyrs ne'er had bled. Of such inherent strength and majesty,
And all may do, what has by man been done. Not worlds possest can raise it; worlds destroy'd Who, beaten by these sublunary storms, Can't injure; which holds on its glorious course, Boundless, interminable joys can weigh, When thine, O Nature! ends; too blest to mourn Unraptur'd, unexalted, uninflam'd ? Creation's obsequies. What treasure, this! What slave unblest, who from to-morrow's dawn The monarch is a beggar to the man.
Expects an empire? He forgets his chain, Immortal ! Ages past, yet nothing gone ! And, thron'd in thought, his absent sceptre waves. Morn without eve! a race without a goal!
And what a sceptre waits us! what a throne ! Unshorten'd by progression infinite!
Her own immense appointments to compute, Futurity for ever future! Life
Or comprehend her high prerogatives, Beginning still where computation ends !
In this her dark minority, how toils, 'Tis the description of a Deily!
How vainly pants, the human soul divine ! "Tis the description of the meanest slave :
Too great the bounty seems for earthly joy ; The meanest slave dares then Lorenzo scorn? What heart but trembles at so strange a bliss ? The meanest slave thy sovereign glory shares. In spite of all the truths the Muse has sung, Proud youth ! fastidious of the lower world! Ne'er to be priz'd enough! enough revolv'd ! Man's lawful pride includes humility:
Are there who wrap the world so close about them, Stoops to the lowest ; is loo great to find
They see no further than the clouds; and dance Interiors; all immortal ! brothers all!
On heedless Vanity's fantastic toe, Proprietors eternal of thy love.
Till, stumbling at a straw, in their career, (song? Immorlal! What can strike the sense so strong, Headlong they plunge, where end both dance and As this the soul? It thunders to the thought ; Are there, Lorenzo ? Is it possible ? Reason amazes ; gratitude o'erwhelms;
Are there on Earth (let me not call them men) No more we slumber on the brink of fate; Who lodge a soul immortal in their breasts ; Rous’d at the sound, th’exulting soul ascends, Unconscious as the mountain of its ore ; And breathes her native air; an air that feeds Or rock, of its inestimable gem? Ambitions high, and fans ethereal fires;
When rocks shall melt, and mountains vanish, these Quick kindles all that is divine within us;
Shall know their treasure; treasure, then, no more. Nor leaves one loitering thought beneath the stars. Are there (still more amazing!) who resist
Has not Lorenzo's bosom caught the flame? The rising thought? who smother, in its birth, Immortal! Were but one immortal, how
The glorious truth? who struggle to be brutes ? Would others envy! How would thrones adore ! Who through this bosom-barrier burst their way, Because 'tis common, is the blessing lost ?
And, with revers'd ambition, strive to sink? How this ties up the bounteous hand of Heaven! Who labor downwards through th' opposing powers O vain, vain, vain, all else! Eternity!
Of instinct, reason, and the world against them, A glorious, and a needful refuge, thal,
To dismal hopes, and shelter in the shock From vile imprisonment, in abject views. Of endless night; night darker than the grave's ? 'Tis immortality, 'tis that alone,
Who fight the proofs of immortality ? Amid life's pains, abasement, emptiness,
With horrid zeal, and execrable arts, The soul can comfort, elevate, and fill.
Work all their engines, level their black fires, That only, and that amply, this performs;
To blot from man ihis attribute divine,
To contradict them, see all Nature rise !
What object, what event, the Moon beneath,
All things proclaim it needful ; some advance
By Nature, as her common habit, worn ; Nothing terrestrial touches his high thought; So pressing Providence a truth to teach, Suns shine unseen, and thunders roll unheard, Which truth untaught, all other truths were vain By minds quite conscious of their high descent, Thou! whose all-providential eye surveys, Their present province, and their future prize; Whose hand directs, whose spirit fills and warms Divinely darting upward every wish,
Creation, and holds empire far beyond!
Doubt you this truth? Why labors your belief? Of iwo eternities amazing Lord !
Thy glorions immortality in man:
Of moment infinite! but relish'd most
Renounce his reason, rather than renounce
Nature, thy daughter, ever-changing birth O what indignity to deathless souls !
What treason to the majesty of man!
Of man immortal! Hear the lofty style : And he who most consults her, is most wise. " If so decreed, th'. Almighty Will be done. Lorenzo, to this heavenly Delphos haste;
Let Earth dissolve, yon ponderous orbs descend, And come back all-immortal; all-divine :
And grind us into dust. The soul is safe ; Look Nature through, tis revolution-all;
The man emerges; mounts above the wreck, All change; no death. Day follows night, and night As towering flame from Nature's funeral pyre ; The dying day; stars rise, and set, and rise ; O'er devastation, as a gainer, smiles; Earth takes th' example See, the Summer gay, His charter, his inviolable rights, With her green chaplet, and ambrosial flowers, Well pleas'd to learn from thunder's impotence, Droops into pallid Autumn: Winter grey, Death's pointless darts, and Hell's defeated storms." Horrid with frost, and turbulent with storm,
But these chimeras touch not thee, Lorenzo! Blows Autumn, and his golden fruits, away: The glories of the world thy sevenfold shield. Then melts into the Spring : soft Spring, with breath Other ambition than of crowns in air, Favonian, from warm chambers of the south, And superlunary felicities, Recalls the first. All, to re-flourish, fades ;. Thy bosom warm. I'll cool it, if I can; As in a wheel, all sinks, to reascend :
And turn those glories that enchant, against thee. Emblems of man, who passes, not expires.
What ties thee to this life, proclaims the next. With this minute distinction, emblems just, If wise, the cause that wounds thee is thy cure. Nature revolves, but man advances; both
Come, my ambitious ! let us mount together, Eternal, that a circle, this a line.
(To mount, Lorenzo never can refuse); That gravitates, this soars. Th' aspiring soul, And from the clouds, where pride delights to dwell, Ardent, and tremulous, like flame, ascends,
Look down on Earth.—What see'st thou? WonZeal and humility her wings, 10 Heaven.
drous things! The world of matter, with its various forms, Terrestrial wonders, that eclipse the skies. All dies into new life. Life born from death What lengths of labor'd lands! what loaded seas ! Rolls the vast mass, and shall for ever roll. Loaded by man for pleasure, wealth, or war! No single atom, once in being, lost,
Seas, winds, and planets, into service brought, With change of counsel charges the Most High, His art acknowledge, and promote his ends. What hence infers Lorenzo ? Can it be?
Nor can th' eternal rocks his will withstand : Matter immortal? And shall spirit die ?
What leveld mountains! and what lifted vales! Above the nobler, shall less noble rise ?
O'er vales and mountains sumptuous cities swell, Shall man alone, for whom all else revives, And gild our landscape with their glittering spires. No resurrection know?, Shall man alone,
Some 'mid the wondering waves majestic rise ; . Imperial man! be sown in barren ground, And Neptune holds a mirror to their charms. Less privileg'd than-grain, on which he feeds? Far greater still! (what cannot mortal might ?) Is man, in whom alone is power to prize
See, wide dominions ravish'd from the deep! The bliss of being, or with previous pain
The narrow'd deep with indignation foams.
Or southward turn; to delicate and grand,
How the tall temples, as to meet their gods,
Ascend the skies! the proud triumphal arch Look Nature through, 'tis neat gradation all. Shows us half Heaven beneath its ample bend. By what minute degrees her scale ascends! High through mid-air, here, streams are taught to Each middle nature join'd at each extreme,
flow; To that above is join'd, to that beneath.
Whole rivers, there, laid by in basons, sleep. Parts, into parts reciprocally shot,
Here, plains turn oceans; there, vast oceans join Abhor divorce : what love of union reigns ! Through kingdoms channel'd deep from shore to Here, dormant matter waits a call to life;
shore! Half-life, half-death, join'd there; here life and sense; And chang'd creation takes its face from man. There, sense from reason steals a glimmering ray; Beats thy brave breast for formidable scenes, . Reason shines out in man. But how preserv'd Where fame and empire wait upon the sword ? The chain unbroken upward, to the realms See fields in blood; hear naval thunders rise ; Of incorporeal life ? those realms of bliss
Britannia's voice! that awes the world to peace. Where death hath no dominion? Grant a make How yon enormous mole, projecting, breaks Half-mortal, half-immortal ; earthy, part,
The mid-sea, furious waves! Their roar amidst, And part ethereal; grant the soul of man Out-speaks the Deity, and says, "O main! Eternal; or in man the series ends.
Thus far, nor farther; new restraints obey." Wide yawns the gap; connexion is no more ; Earth's disembowel'd! measur'd are the skies! Check'd reason halts; her next step wants support; Stars are detected in their deep recess! Striving to climb, she tumbles from her scheme ; Creation widens! vanquish'd Nature yields ! A scheme, analogy pronounc'd so true;
Her secrets are extorted! art prevails ! Analogy, man's surest guide below.
What monument of genius, spirit, power! Thus far, all Nature calls on thy belief.
And now, Lorenzo! raptured at this scene, And will Lorenzo, careless of the call,
Whose glories render Heaven'superfluous ! say, False attestation on all Nature charge,
Whose footsteps these ?— Immortals have been here. Rather than violate his league with death? Could less than souls immortal this have done ?
Earth's cover'd o'er with proofs of souls immortal : in their favor, and none at all on the other, And proofs of immortality forgot.
they catch at this reed, they lay hold on this To flatfer thy grand foible, I confess,
chimera, to save themselves from the shock and These are ambition's works : and these are great : horror of an immediate and absolute despair. But this, the least immortal souls can do;
On reviewing my subjeci, by the light which this Transcend them all. But what can these transcend? argument, and others of like tendency, threw Dost ask me what ?-One sigh for the distrest.
upon it, I was more inclined than ever to pursue What then for infidels ? A deeper sigh.
it, as it appeared to me to 'strike directly at the "Tis moral grandeur makes the mighty man:
main root of all our infidelity. In the following How little they, who think aught great below! pages, it is, accordingly, pursued at large; and All our ambitions Death defeats, but one;
some arguments for immortality, new at least to And that it crowns. Here cease we: bat, ere long, me, are ventured on in them. There also the More powerful proof shall take the field against thee, writer has made an attempt to set the gross abStronger than death, and smiling at the tomb. surdities and horrors of annihilation in a fuller
and more affecting view, than is (I think) to be
met with elsewhere.
The gentlemen, for whose sake this attempt was NIGHT THE SEVENTH.
chiefly made, profess great admiration for the
wisdom of heathen antiquity : what pity it is they THE INFIDEL RECLAIMED.
are not sincere! If they were sincere, how
would it mortify them to consider, with what Part II.
contempt and abhorrence their notions would
have been received by those whom they so much Containing the Nature, Proof, and Importance, of
admire! What degree of contempt and abhorImmorlality.
rence would fall to their share, may be conjectured by the following matter of fact (in my
opinion) extremely memorable. Of all their heaAs we are at war with the power, it were well if we then worthies, Socrates (it is well known) was
were at war with the manners, of France. A the most guarded, dispassionate, and composed : land of levity is a land of guilt. A serious mind yet this great master of temper was angry; and is the native soil of every virtue ; and the single angry at his last hour; and angry with his friend; character that does true honor te mankind. and angry for what deserved acknowledgment; The soul's immortality has been the favorite angry for a right and tender instance of true theme with the serious of all ages. Nor is it friendship towards him. Is not this surprising ? strange; it is a subject by far the most interest- What could be the cause? The cause was for ing, and important, that can enter the mind of his honor; it was a truly noble, though, perhaps,
Of highest moment this subject always a too punctilious regard for immortality : for, his was and always will be. Yet this its highest friend asking him, with such an affectionate conmoment seems to admit of increase, at this day; cern as became a friend, Where he should a sort of occasional importance is superadded to deposit his remains ?" it was resented by Socrates the natural weight of it; if that opinion which is as implying a dishonorable supposition, that he advanced in the preface to the preceding Night, could be so mean, as to have a regard for any be just. It is there supposed, that all our infidels, thing, even in himself, that was not immortal. whatever scheme, for argument's sake, and to This fact, well considered, would make our infidels keep themselves in countenance, they patronize, withdraw their admiration from Socrates; or
are betrayed into their deplorable error, by some make them endeavor, by their imitation of this - doubts of their immortality, at the bottom. And illustrious example, to share his glory: and con
the more I consider this point, the more I am sequently, it would incline them to peruse the persuaded of the truth of that opinion. Though following pages with candor and impartiality; the distrust of a futurity is a strange error; yet
which is all I desire; and that, for their sakes : it is an error into which bad men may naturally for I am persuaded, that an unprejudiced infidel be distressed. For it is impossible to bid de- must, necessarily, receive some advantageous imfiance to final ruin, without some refuge in pressions from them. imagination, some presumption of escape. And
July 7, 1744. what presumption is there? There are but two in nature ; but two, within the compass of human
Contents of the Seventh Night. thought. And these are—That either God will not, or can not punish. Considering the divine In the Sixth Night, arguments were drawn from attributes, the first is too gross to be digested by Nature, in proof of immortality: here, others are our strongest wishes. An
since omnipotence is
drawn from man: from his discontent ; fro his as much a divine attribute as holiness, that God passions and powers ; from the gradual growth of cannot punish, is as absurd a supposition as the reason ; from his fear of death; from the nature former. God certainly can punish as long as of hope, and of virtue ; 'from knowledge and love, wicked men exist. In non-existence, therefore, as being the most essential properties of the soul; is their only refuge ; and, consequently, non- from the order of creation ; from the nature of existence is their strongest wish.
ambition ; avarice; pleasure. A digression on the wishes have a strange influence on our opinions : grandeur of the passions. Immortality alone renthey bias the judgment, in a manner almost ders our present state intelligible. An objection incredible. And since on this member of their from the Stoie's disbelief of immortality answered. alternative, there are some very small appearances Endless questions unresolvable, but on suppo
sition of our immortality. The natural, most The cause how obyious, when his reason wakes ! melancholy, and pathetic complaint of a worthy His grief is but his grandeur in disguise ; man, under the persuasion of no futurity, The And discontent is immortality. gross absurdities and horrors of annihilation urged Shall sons of ether, shall the blood of Heaven, home on Lorenzo. The soul's vast importance ; Set up their hopes on Earth, and stable here from whence it arises. The difficulty of being With brutal acquiescence in the mire ? an infidel. The infamy, the cause, and the char- Lorenzo! no! they shall be nobly pain'd; acter of an infidel state. What true free-think-The glorious foreigners, distress'd, shall sigh ing is. The necessary punishment of the false. On thrones; and thou congratulate the sigh: Man's ruin is from himself. An infidel accuses Man's misery declares him born for bliss ; himself of guilt, and hypocrisy; and that of the His anxious heart asserts the truth I sing, worst sort His obligation to Christians. What And gives the sceptic in his head the lie. danger he incurs by virtue. Vice recommended Our heads, our hearts, our passions, and our powers to him.
His high pretences to virtue and benevo- Speak the same language; call us to the skies ; lence exploded. The conclusion, on the nature Unripen'd these in this inclement clime, of faith, reason, and hope, with an apology for this Scarce rise above conjecture and mistake ; attempt
And for this land of trifles those too strong
Tumultuous rise, and tempest human life: HEAVEN gives the needful, but neglected, call. What prize on Earth can pay us for the storm ? What day, what hour, but knocks at human hearts, Meet objects for our passions, Heaven ordain'd, To wake the soul to sense of future scenes?
Objects that challenge all their fire, and leave Deaths stand, like Mercuries, in every way, No fault, but in defect. Blest Heaven! avert And kindly point us to our journey's end,
A bounded ardor for unbounded bliss !
But, after feeble effort here, beneath
A brighter sun, and in a nobler soil, Yes, infinite indulgence plann'd it so;
Transplanted from this sublunary bed, Through various parts our glorious story runs; Shall flourish fair, and put forth all their bloom. Time gives the preface, endless age unrolls
Reason progressive, instinct is complete;
The patriarch-pupil would be learning still ;
Should set ere noon, in eastern oceans drown'd; He, whose blind thought futurity denies,
If fit, with dim, illustrious to compare, Unconscious bears, Bellerophon! like thee, The Sun's meridian with the soul of man. His own indictment; he condemns himself; To man, why, stepdame Nature ! so severe ? Who reads his bosom, reads immortal life;
Why thrown aside thy masterpiece half-wrought. Or, Nature, there, imposing on her sons,
While meaner efforts thy last hand enjoy ? Has written fables; man was made a lie.
Or, if abortively poor man must die, Why discontent for ever harbor'd there? Nor reach, what reach he might, why die in dread ? Incurable consumption of our peace!
Why curst with foresight? Wise to misery?
Why of his proud prerogative the prey ?
And turn the scale in favor of the just !
His immortality alone can solve
Hope, eager hope, th' assassin of our joy,
Is scarce a milder tyrapt than despair. Where Nature fodders him with other food
With no past toils content, still planning new, Than was ordain'd his cravings to suffice,
Hope turns us o'er to death alone for ease. Poor in abundance, famish'd at a feast,"
Possession, why more tasteless than pursuit ? Sighs on for something more, when most enjoy'd. Why is a wish far dearer than a crown?
Is Heaven then kinder to thy flocks than thee? That wish accomplish'd, why, the grave of bliss ? Not so; thy pasture richer, but remote ;
Because, in the great future buried deep, In part, remote ; for that remoter part
Beyond our plans of empire, and renown, Man bleats from instinct, tho' perhaps, debauch'd Lies all that man with ardor should pursue, By sense, his reason sleeps, not dreams the cause. And he who made him, bent him to the right.
Man's heart th’ Almighty to the future sets, • Night the Sixth.
By secret and inviolable springs ;
And makes his hope his sublunary joy.
Can man by reason's beam be led astray ? Man's heart eats all things, and is hungry still ; Or, at his peril, imitate his God ? • More, more!" the glutton cries, for something Since virtue sometimes ruins us on Earth, new;
Or both are true; or man survives the grave. So rages appetite, if man can't mount,
Or man survives the grave; or own, Lorenzo, He will descend. He starves on the possest. Thy boast supreme, a wild absurdity. Hence, the world's master, from ambition's spire, Dauntless thy spirits cowards are thy scorn. In Caprea plung'd; and div'd beneath the brute. Grant man immortal, and thy scorn is just. In that rank sty, why walow'd empire's son The man immortal, rationally brave, Supreme ? Because he could no higher fly; Dares rush on death because he cannot die. His riot was ambition in despair.
But if man loses all, when life is lost,
From pride, example, lucre, rage, revenge,
Of all Earth's madmen, most deserves a chain. And, never stooping, but to mount again
When to the grave we follow the renown'd Next moment, she betrays her aim's mistake, For valor, virtue, science, all we love, And owns her quarry lodg'd beyond the grave. And all we praise ; for worth, whose noontide bean
There should it fail us, (it must sail us there, Enabling us to think in higher style, If being fails,) more mournful riddles rise,
Mends our ideas of ethereal powers; And virtue vies with hope in mystery.
Dream we, that lustre of the moral world Why virtue ? Where its praise, its being, fled? Goes out in stench, and rottenness the close ? Virtue is true self-interest pursued :
Why was he wise to know, and warm to praise,
With night eternal blot it out, and give
Shall we this moment gaze on God in man:
The next, lose man for ever in the dust? The rigid guardian of a blameless heart, From dust we disengage, or man mistakes ; So long rever'd, so long reputed wise,
And there, where least his judgment fears a flaw. Is weak; with rank knight-errantries o’errun, Wisdom and worth how boldly he commends ! Why beats thy bosom with illustrious dreams Wisdom and worth are sacred names ; reverd, Of self-exposure. laudable, and great ?
Where not embrac'd ; applauded! deified ! Of gallant enterprise, and glorious death?
Why not compassion'd too? If spirits die, Die for thy country!—Thou romantic fool ! Both are calamities, inflicted both, Seize, seize the plank thyself, and let her sink: To make us but more wretched. Wisdom's eye Thy country! what to thee?—The Godhead, what? Acute, for what? To spy more miseries ; (I speak with awe!) though he should bid thee And worth, so recompens'd, new-points their stings. blecd!
Or man surmounts the grave, or gain is loss, If, with thy blood, thy final hope is spilt ?
And worth exalted humbles us the more. Nor can Omnipotence reward the blow,
Thou wilt not patronize a scheme that makes Be deaf; preserve thy being; disobey.
Weakness and vice, the refuge of mankind. Nor is it disobedience: know, Lorenzo! “ Has virtue, then, no joys ?"—Yes, joys dear-bought Whate'er th' Almighty's subsequent command, Talk ne'er so long, in this imperfect state, His first command is this—" Man, love thyself." Virtue and vice are at eternal war. In this alone, free agents are not free.
Virtue's a combat; and who fights for nought? Existence is the basis, bliss the prize ;
Or for precarious, or for small reward ? If virtue costs existence, 'tis a crime;
Who virtue's self-reward so loud resound, Bold violation of our law supreme,
Would take degrees angelic here below, Black-suicide ; though nations, which consult And vitlue, while they compliment, betray, Their gain, at thy expense, resound applause. By feeble motives, and unfaithful guards.
Since virtue's recompense is doubtful, here, The crown, th' unfading crown, her soul inspires. If man dies wholly, well may we demand, "Tis that, and that alone, can countervail Why is man suffer'd to be good in vain ? : The body's treacheries, and the world's assaults: Why to be good in vain, is man enjoin'd ? On Earth's poor pay our famish'd virtue dies. Why to be good in vain, is man betray'd ? Truth incontestable! in spite of all Betray'd by traitors lodgid in his own breast, A Bayle has preach'd, or a Voltaire believ'd. By sweet complacencies from virtue felt?
In man the more we dive, the more we see Why whispers Nature lies on virtue's part? Heaven's signet stamping an immortal make. Or if blind instinct (which assumes the name Dive to the bottom of his soul, the base Of sacred conscience) plays the fool in man, Sustaining all; what find we? Knowledge, love Why reason made accomplice in the cheat? As light and heat, essential to the Sun, Why are the wisest loudest in her praise ?
These to the soul. And why, if souls expire ?