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Where is that thirst, that avarice of Time,
25 (O glorious avarice !) thought of death inspires, As rumour'd robberies endear our gold ? O Time! than gold more sacred; more a load Than lead to fools, and fools reputed wise. What moment granted man without account? What years are squander'd, Wisdom's debt unpaid ? Our wealth in days all due to that discharge. Ilaste, has.e, he lies in wait, he's at the door ; Insidious Death! should his strong hand arrost, No composition sets the prisoner free,
35 Eternity's inexorable chain Fast binds, and vengeance claims the full arrear
How late I shudder'd on the brink ! how lato Life calld for her last refuge in despair ! That time is mine, O Mead! to thee I owe ; 40 Fain would I pay thee with eternity. But ill my genius answers my desire : My sickly song is mortal, fast thy cure. Accept the will :—that dies not with my strain.
For what calls thy disease, Lorenzo ? not 45 For Esculapian, but for moral aid. Thou think’st it folly to be wise too soon. Youth is not rich in time; it
poor: Part with it as with money, sparing ; pay No moment, but in purchase of its worth;
50 And what it's worth, ask deathbeds ; they can tell. Part with it as with life, reluctant; big With holy hope of nobler time to come; Time higher aim'd, still nearer the great mark Of men and angels, virtue more divine.
55 Is this our duty, wisdom, glory, gain? (These Heaven benign in vital union binds) And sport we like the natives of the bough, When vernal suns inspire ? Amusement reigns, Man's great demand : to trifle is to live :
60 And is it then a triflu, too, to die?
Thou say'st I preach, Lorenzo! 'tis confess'd
What if, for once, I preach thce quile awake?
Redeem we time ?--Its loss we dearly buy. 75
If nothing more than purpose in thy power,
90 Who does the best his circumstance allows Does well, acts nobly; angels could no more. Our outward act, indeed, admits restraint: 'Tis not in things o'er thonght to domineer. Guard well thy thought : our thoughts are heard in Heaven!"
95 On all important time, through every ago, Though much, and warm, the wise have urged, tho man Is yet unborn who duly weighs an hour. 'I've lost a day,'--the prince who nubly cried,
[Jad been an emperor without his crown.
100 Of Rome ? say, rather, lord of human race : He spoke as if deputed by mankind. So should all speak : so reason speaks in all From the soft whispers of that God in man, Wly fly to folly, why to frenzy fly,
Ah! how unjust to Nature and himself
120 (For Nature's voice unstilled would recal) Drives headlong towards the precipice of death ; Death most our dread; death thus more dreadful made O what a riddle of absurdity! Leisure is pain ; takes off our chariot wheels : 125 How heavily we drag the load of life! Bless'd leisure is our curse ; like that of Cain, It makes us wander, wander earth around, To fly that tyrant Thought. As Atlas groan'd The world beneath, we groan beneath an hour : 130 We cry for mercy to the next amusement ; The next amusement mortgages our fields ; Slight inconvenience! prisons hardly frown, From hateful time if prisons set us frer. Yet when Death kindly tenders us relief,
135 We call him cruel; years to moments shrink,
Agcs to years. The telescope is turn'd:
J.eave to thy foes these errors and these ills ; 145
150 And bare existence man, to live ordain'd, Wrings and oppresses with enormous weight. And why? since time was given for use, not wasto, Enjoin'd to fly, with tempest, tide, and stars, To keep his speed, nor ever wait for man. 155 Time's use was doom'd a pleasure, waste a pain, That man might feel his error it' unseen, And, feeling, fly to labour, for his cure; Not, blendering, split on idleness for casc. 159 Lite's cares arc comforts; such by Fleaven design'd; He that has none must make them, or be wretched. Cares are employments, and without employ The soul is on a rack, the rack of rest, To souls most adverse, action all their joy.
Here then the riddle, mark'd above, unfolds ; 165 Then Time turns torment, when man turns a fool. Wo rave, we wrestle with great Nature's plan; We thwart the Deity; and 'tis decrccd, Who thwart His will shall contradict their own. llence our unnatural quarrels with ourselves; 170 Our thoughts at enmity ; our bosom-broil : We push Time from us, ar.d we wish him back • Lavish of lustrums, and yet fond of lifo :
Life we think long and short , death seek and shun: Body and soul, like peevish man and wife, 175 United jar, and yet are loath to part.
Oh the dark days of vanity! while here How tasteless! and how terrible when gone ! Gone ? they ne'er go; when pass'd, they haunt us sti:1. The spirit walks of every day deceased,
180 And smiles an angel, or a fury frowns. Nor death nor li e delight us. If time past And time possess'd both pain us, what can please ! That which the Deity to please ordain'd, Time used. The man who consecrates his hours 185 By vigorous effort and an honest aim, At once he draws the sting of life and death ; He walks with Nature, and her paths are peaco.
Our error's cause and cure are seen : seo next Time's nature, origin, importance, spccd,
190 And thy great gain from urging his career, All sensual man, because untouch'd, unseen, He looks on Time as nothing. Nothing else Is truly man's; 'tis Fortune's.—Time's a god! Hast thou ne'er heard of Time's omnipotence ? 195 For, or against, what wonders can lie do! And will: to stand blank neuter he disdains. Not on those terms was Time (Heaven's stranger!) sent On his important embassy to man. Lorenzo ! no: on the long-destined hour,
200 From everlasting agus growing ripe, That memorable hour of wondrous birth, When the Dread Sire, on emanation bent, And big with Nature, rising in his inigit, Calld forth Creation (for then Timo was born) 205 By Godhead streaming through a thousand worlds ; Not on those terms, from the great days of Heaven, From old Eternity's mysterious orb Was Timo cut off, and cast beneath the skies; The skics, which watch him in his new abode,
210 Measuring his motions by revolving spheres,