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What most surprises in the sacred page,
To faith and virtue why so backward, man?
For what?' (thou say'st) to damp the joys of life ? No; to give heart and substance to thy joys. That tyrant, Hope, mark how she domineers; 1445 She bids us quit realities for dreams, Safety and peace for hazard and alarm. That tyrant o'er the tyrants of the soul, She lids Ambition quit its taken prize, Spurn the luxuriant branch on which it sits, 1450 Though bearing crowns, to spring at distant game, And plunge in toils and dangers—for repose. If hope precarious, and of things, when gain’d, Of little moment and as little stay, Can sweeten toils and dangers into joys; 1455 What then that hope which nothing can defeat, Our leave unask'd ? rich hope of boundless bliss ! Bliss past man's power to paint it, Time's to close
This hope is earth's most estimable prize ; This is man's portion, while no more than man : 1460 Hope, of all passions, most befriends us here ; Passions of prouder name befriends us less. Joy has her tears, and transport has her death :
Hope, like a cordial, innocent though strong,
A bless'd hereafter, then, or hoped or gain'd,
* The poetic parts of it.
IN WHICH ARE CONSIDERED,
THE LOVE OF THIS LIFE; THE AMBITION AND
OF THE WORLD.
And has all Nature, then, espoused my part ?
15 A purer spirit, and a nobler name.
Thy fond attachments, fatal and inflamed,
Common the theme ; not so the song, if she
My sung invokes, Urania' deigns to smile. 25
Lorenzo ! since Eternal is at hand, To swallow Time's ambitions; as the vast 35 Leviathan the bubbles vain that ride High on the foaming billow ; what avail High titles, high descent, attainments high, If unattain'd our highest ? O Lorenzo ! What lofty thoughts, these elements above, -40 What towering hopes, what sallies from the Sun, What grand surveys of destiny Jivine, And pompous presage of unfathom'd fate, Should roll in bosoms where a spirit burns, Bound for Eternity! in bosoms read By Him, who foibles in archangels sees ! On human hearts he bends a jealous eye, And marks, and in Heaven's register enrols, The rise and progress of each option there ; Sacred to Doomsday! that the page unfolds, And spreads us to the gaze of gods and men.
And what an option, O Lorenzo! thine ! This world! and this, unrival'd by the skies ! A world where lust of pleasure, grandeur, gold, Three demons that divide its realms between them, 55 With strokes alternate buffet to and fro Man's restless heart, their sport, their flying ball ; Till, with the giddy circle sick and tired, It pants for peace, and drops into despair. Such is the world Lorenzo sets above
60 That glorious promise angels were osteemid
Tco incan to bring ; a promise their Adored
How frail men, things ! how momentary, both!
85 What wondrous prize has kindled this careor, Stuns with the din, and chokes us with the dust, On Life's gay stage, one inch above the grave ? The proud run up and down in quest of eyes ; The sensual, in pursuit of something worse ; 00 The grave, of gold; the politic, of power; And all, of other butterflies as vain! As eddies draw things frivolous and light, How is man's heart by vanity drawn in! On the swift circle of returning toys
95 Whirl'd, strawlike, round and round, and then ingulfd, Where gay delusion darkens to despair !
• This is a beaten track.'-Is this a track Should not be beaten never boat enoughi,