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Where is that thirst, that avarice of Time,
(0 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.
Haste, has.e, he lies in wait, he's at the door;
Insidious Death! should his strong hand arrest,
No composition sets the prisoner free,
Eternity's inexorable chain
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:
And is it then a trifle, too, to die?
Thou say'st I preach, Lorenzo! 'tis confess'd
Fast binds, and vengeance claims the full arrear
How late I shudder'd on the brink! how late
Life call'd for her last refuge in despair!
That time is mine, O Mead! to thee I owe ;
Fain would I pay thee with eternity.
But ill my genius answers my desire:
My sickly song is mortal, past thy cure.
Accept the will:-that dies not with my strain.
For what calls thy disease, Lorenzo? not
For Esculapian, but for moral aid.
Thou think'st it folly to he wise too soon.
Youth is not rich in time; it may be poor:
Part with it as with money, sparing; pay
No moment, but in purchase of its worth;
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.
What if, for once, I preach thee quite awake?
Who wants amusement in the flanie of battle?
Is it not treason to the soul immortal,
Her foes in arms, eternity the prize?
Will toys amuse when medicines cannot cure?
When spirits ebb, when life's enchanting scenes
Their lustre lose, and lessen in our sight,
As lands and cities with their glittering spires,
To the poor shatter'd bark, by sudden storm
Thrown off to sea, and soon to perish there;
Will toys amuse? No; thrones will then be toys,
And carth and skies seem dust upon the scalė.
Redeem we time?-Its loss we dearly buy.
What pleads Lorenzo for his high prized sports?
He pleads Time's numerous blanks; he loudly pleads
The strawlike trifles on Life's common stream.
From whom those blanks and trifles but from thee?
No blank, no trifle Nature made or meant.
Virtue, or purposed virtue, still be thine;
This cancels thy complaint at once; this leaves
In act no trifle, and no blank in time.
This greatens, fills, immortalizes all;
This the bless'd art of turning all to gold;
This the good heart's prerogative to raise
A royal tribute from the poorest hours:
Immense revenue! every moment pays.
If nothing more than purpose in thy power,
Thy purpose firm is equal to the deed.
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 thought to domineer.
Guard well thy thought: our thoughts are heard in
On all important time, through every age,
Though much, and warm, the wise have urged, the man
Is yet unborn who duly weighs an hour.
'I've lost a day,'-the prince who nobly cried,
flad been an emperor without his crown.
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,
Why fly to folly, why to frenzy fly,
For rescue from the blessings we possess?
Time, the supreme!-Time is Eternity;
Pregnant with all cternity can give ;
Pregnant with all that makes archangels smile.
Who murders Time, he crushes in the birth
A power ethereal, only not adored.
Ah! how unjust to Nature and himself
Is thoughtless, thankless, inconsistent man!
Like children babbling nonsense in their sports
We censure Nature for a span too short;
That span too short we tax as tedious too;
Torture invention, all expedients tire,
To lash the lingering moments into speed,
And whirl us (happy riddance!) from ourselves.
Art, brainless Art! our furious charioteer,
(For Nature's voice unstifled 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:
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:
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,
We call him cruel; years to moments shrink,
Ages to years. The telescope is turn'd:
To man's false optics (from his folly false)
Time, in advance, behind him hides his wings,
And seems to creep, decrepit with his age,
Behold him when pass'd by; what then is scen
But his broad pinions swifter than the winds?
And all mankind, in contradiction strong,
Rueful, aghast, cry out on his career.
Leave to thy foes these errors and these ills;
To Nature just, their cause and cure explore.
Not short Heaven's bounty, boundless our expense;
No niggard Nature, men are prodigals.
We waste, not use our time; we breathe, not live.
Time wasted is existence; used, is life:
And bare existence man, to live ordain'd,
Wrings and oppresses with enormous weight.
And why? since time was given for use, not waste,
Enjoin'd to fly, with tempest, tide, and stars,
To keep his speed, nor ever wait for man.
Time's use was doom'd a pleasure, waste a pain,
That man might feel his error if unseen,
And, feeling, fly to labour. for his cure;
Not, blundering, split on idleness for casc.
Life's cares are comforts; such by Heaven 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;
Then Time turns torment, when man turns a fool.
We rave, we wrestle with great Nature's plan;
We thwart the Deity; and 'tis decreed,
Who thwart His will shall contradict their own.
Hence our unnatural quarrels with ourselves;
Our thoughts at enmity; our bosɔm-broil :
We push Time from us, and we wish him back.
Lavish of lustrums, and yet fond of life:
Life we think long and short, death seek and shun:
Body and soul, like peevish man and wife,
United jar, and yet are loath to part.
Oh the dark days of vanity! while here How tasteless! and how terrible when
Gone? they ne'er go; when pass'd, they haunt us still. The spirit walks of every day deceased, 180
And smiles an angel, or a fury frowns.
Nor death nor life 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 peace.
Our error's cause and cure are seen: see next
Time's nature, origin, importance, speed,
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?
For, or against, what wonders can he 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,
From everlasting ages growing ripe,
That memorable hour of wondrous birth,
When the Dread Sire, în emanation bent,
And big with Nature, rising in his might,
Call'd forth Creation (for then Time was born)
By Godhead streaming through a thousand worlds;
Not on those terms, from the great days of Heaven,
From old Eternity's mysterious orb
Was Time cut off, and cast beneath the skies;
The skies, which watch him in his new abode,
Measuring his motions by revolving spheres,