« EelmineJätka »
Of moment infinite! but relish'd most
By those who love thee most, who most adore.
Nature, thy daughter, ever-changing birth
Of thee the great Immutable, to man
Speaks wisdom: is his oracle supreme;
And he who most consults her, is most wise.
Lorenzo, to this heavenly Delphos haste;
And come back all-immortal; all-divine:
Look Nature through, tis revolution all;
All change; no death. Day follows night, and night
The dying day; stars rise, and set, and rise;
Earth takes th' example See, the Summer gay,
With her green chaplet, and ambrosial flowers,
Droops into pallid Autumn: Winter grey,
Horrid with frost, and turbulent with storm,
Blows Autumn, and his golden fruits, away:
Then melts into the Spring: soft Spring, with breath
Favonian, from warm chambers of the south,
Recalls the first. All, to re-flourish, fades;
As in a wheel, all sinks, to reascend:
Emblems of man, who passes, not expires.
With this minute distinction, emblems just,
Nature revolves, but man advances; both
Eternal, that a circle, this a line.
That gravitates, this soars. Th' aspiring soul,
Ardent, and tremulous, like flame, ascends,
Zeal and humility her wings, to Heaven.
The world of matter, with its various forms,
All dies into new life. Life born from death
Rolls the vast mass, and shall for ever roll.
No single atom, once in being, lost,
With change of counsel charges the Most High.
What hence infers Lorenzo? Can it be?
Matter immortal? And shall spirit die?
Above the nobler, shall less noble rise?
Shall man alone, for whom all else revives,
No resurrection know? Shall man alone,
Imperial man! be sown in barren ground,
Less privileg'd than grain, on which he feeds?
Is man, in whom alone is power to prize
The bliss of being, or with previous pain
Deplore its period, by the spleen of fate
Severely doom'd death's single unredeem'd?
If Nature's revolution speaks aloud,
In her gradation, hear her louder still.
Look Nature through, 'tis neat gradation all.
By what minute degrees her scale ascends!
Each middle nature join'd at each extreme,
To that above is join'd, to that beneath.
Parts, into parts reciprocally shot,
Abhor divorce: what love of union reigns!
Here, dormant matter waits a call to life;
Half-life, half-death, join'd there; here life and sense;
There, sense from reason steals a glimmering ray;
Reason shines out in man. But how preserv'd
The chain unbroken upward, to the realms
Of incorporeal life? those realms of bliss
Where death hath no dominion? Grant a make
Half-mortal, half-immortal; earthy, part,
And part ethereal; grant the soul of man
Eternal; or in man the series ends.
Wide yawns the gap; connexion is no more;
Check'd reason halts; her next step wants support;
Striving to climb, she tumbles from her scheme;
A scheme, analogy pronoune'd so true;
Analogy, man's surest guide below.
Thus far, all Nature calls on thy belief.
And will Lorenzo, careless of the call,
Falso attestation on all Nature charge,
Rather than violate his league with death?
Renounce his reason, rather than renounce
The dust belov'd, and run the risk of Heaven?
O what indignity to deathless souls!
What treason to the majesty of man!
Of man immortal! Hear the lofty style?
If so decreed, th' Almighty Will be done.
Let Earth dissolve, yon ponderous orbs descend,
And grind us into dust. The soul is safe;
The man emerges; mounts above the wreck,
As towering flame from Nature's funeral pyre;
O'er devastation, as a gainer, smiles;
His charter, his inviolable rights,
Well pleas'd to learn from thunder's impotence,
Death's pointless darts, and Hell's defeated storms."
But these chimeras touch not thee, Lorenzo!
The glories of the world thy sevenfold shield.
Other ambition than of crowns in air,
And superlunary felicities,
Thy bosom warm. I'll cool it, if I can;
And turn those glories that enchant, against thee.
What ties thee to this life, proclaims the next.
If wise, the cause that wounds thee is thy cure.
Come, my ambitious! let us mount together,
(To mount, Lorenzo never can refuse);
And from the clouds, where pride delights to dwell,
Look down on Earth.-What see'st thou? Won-
Terrestrial wonders, that eclipse the skies.
What lengths of labor'd lands! what loaded seas!
Loaded by man for pleasure, wealth, or war!
Seas, winds, and planets, into service brought,
His art acknowledge, and promote his ends.
Nor can th' eternal rocks his will withstand:
What level'd mountains! and what lifted vales!
O'er vales and mountains sumptuous cities swell,
And gild our landscape with their glittering spires.
Some 'mid the wondering waves majestic rise;
And Neptune holds a mirror to their charms.
Far greater still! (what cannot mortal might?)
See, wide dominions ravish'd from the deep!
The narrow'd deep with indignation foams.
Or southward turn; to delicate and grand,
The finer arts there ripen in the sun.
How the tall temples, as to meet their gods,
Ascend the skies! the proud triumphal arch
Shows us half Heaven beneath its ample bend.
High through mid-air, here, streams are taught to
Whole rivers, there, laid by in basons, sleep.
Here, plains turn oceans; there, vast oceans join
Through kingdoms channel'd deep from shore to
And chang'd creation takes its face from man.
Beats thy brave breast for formidable scenes,
Where fame and empire wait upon the sword?
See fields in blood; hear naval thunders rise;
Britannia's voice! that awes the world to peace.
How yon enormous mole, projecting, breaks
The mid-sea, furious waves! Their roar amidst,
Out-speaks the Deity, and says, "O main!
Thus far, nor farther; new restraints obey."
Earth's disembowel'd! measur'd are the skies!
Stars are detected in their deep recess !
Creation widens! vanquish'd Nature yields!
Her secrets are extorted! art prevails!
What monument of genius, spirit, power!
And now, Lorenzo! raptured at this scene, Whose glories render Heaven superfluous! say, Whose footsteps these ?-Immortals have been here. Could less than souls immortal this have done?
Earth's cover'd o'er with proofs of souls immortal: And proofs of immortality forgot.
To flatter thy grand foible, I confess, These are ambition's works: and these are great: But this, the least immortal souls can do; Transcend them all.-But what can these transcend? Dost ask me what?-One sigh for the distrest. What then for infidels? A deeper sigh. 'Tis moral grandeur makes the mighty man: How little they, who think aught great below! All our ambitions Death defeats, but one;
And that it crowns. Here cease we: but, ere long, More powerful proof shall take the field against thee, Stronger than death, and smiling at the tomb.
Containing the Nature, Proof, and Importance, of Immortality.
As we are at war with the power, it were well if we were at war with the manners, of France. A land of levity is a land of guilt. A serious mind is the native soil of every virtue; and the single character that does true honor to mankind. The soul's immortality has been the favorite theme with the serious of all ages. Nor is strange; it is a subject by far the most interesting, and important, that can enter the mind of man. Of highest moment this subject always was and always will be. Yet this its highest moment seems to admit of increase, at this day; a sort of occasional importance is superadded to the natural weight of it; if that opinion which is advanced in the preface to the preceding Night, be just. It is there supposed, that all our infidels, whatever scheme, for argument's sake, and to keep themselves in countenance, they patronize, are betrayed into their deplorable error, by some doubts of their immortality, at the bottom. And the more I consider this point, the more I am persuaded of the truth of that opinion. Though the distrust of a futurity is a strange error; yet it is an error into which bad men may naturally be distressed. For it is impossible to bid defiance to final ruin, without some refuge in imagination, some presumption of escape. And what presumption is there? There are but two in nature; but two, within the compass of human thought. And these are-That either God will
in their favor, and none at all on the other, they catch at this reed, they lay hold on this chimera, to save themselves from the shock and horror of an immediate and absolute despair. On reviewing my subject, by the light which this argument, and others of like tendency, threw upon it, I was more inclined than ever to pursue it, as it appeared to me to strike directly at the main root of all our infidelity. In the following pages, it is, accordingly, pursued at large; and some arguments for immortality, new at least to me, are ventured on in them. There also the writer has made an attempt to set the gross absurdities 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 chiefly made, profess great admiration for the wisdom of heathen antiquity: what pity it is they are not sincere! If they were sincere, how would it mortify them to consider, with what contempt and abhorrence their notions would have been received by those whom they so much admire! What degree of contempt and abhorrence would fall to their share, may be conjectured by the following matter of fact (in my opinion) extremely memorable. Of all their heathen worthies, Socrates (it is well known) was the most guarded, dispassionate, and composed: yet this great master of temper was angry; and angry at his last hour; and angry with his friend; and angry for what deserved acknowledgment; angry for a right and tender instance of true friendship towards him. Is not this surprising? What could be the cause? The cause was for his honor; it was a truly noble, though, perhaps, a too punctilious regard for immortality: for, his friend asking him, with such an affectionate concern as became a friend, "Where he should deposit his remains?" it was resented by Socrates as implying a dishonorable supposition, that he could be so mean, as to have a regard for any thing, even in himself, that was not immortal. This fact, well considered, would make our infidels withdraw their admiration from Socrates; or make them endeavor, by their imitation of this illustrious example, to share his glory: and consequently, it would incline them to peruse the following pages with candor and impartiality; which is all I desire; and that, for their sakes: for I am persuaded, that an unprejudiced infidel must, necessarily, receive some advantageous impressions from them.
Contents of the Seventh Night.
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 our strongest wishes. And since omnipotence is as much a divine attribute as holiness, that God cannot punish, is as absurd a supposition as the former. God certainly can punish as long as wicked men exist. In non-existence, therefore, is their only refuge; and, consequently, nonexistence is their strongest wish. And strong
wishes have a strange influence on our opinions: they bias the judgment, in a manner almost incredible. And since on this member of their alternative, there are some very small appearances
Nature, in proof of immortality: here, others are drawn from man: from his discontent; from his passions and powers; from the gradual growth of reason; from his fear of death; from the nature of hope, and of virtue; from knowledge and love, as being the most essential properties of the soul; from the order of creation; from the nature of ambition; avarice; pleasure. A digression on the grandeur of the passions. Immortality alone renders our present state intelligible. An objection from the Stoic's disbelief of immortality answered. Endless questions unresolvable, but on suppo
sition of our immortality. The natural, most The cause how obvious, 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 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;
And for this land of trifles those too strong
Tumultuous rise, and tempest human life:
What prize on Earth can pay us for the storm?
Meet objects for our passions, Heaven ordain'd,
Objects that challenge all their fire, and leave
No fault, but in defect. Blest Heaven! avert
A bounded ardor for unbounded bliss!
O for a bliss unbounded! far beneath
A soul immortal, is a mortal joy.
Nor are our powers to perish immature;
But, after feeble effort here, beneath
A brighter sun, and in a nobler soil,
Transplanted from this sublunary bed,
Shall flourish fair, and put forth all their bloom.
Reason progressive, instinct is complete;
Swift instinct leaps; slow reason feebly climbs.
Brutes soon their zenith reach; their little all
Flows in at once; in ages they no more
Could know, or do, or covet, or enjoy.
Were man to live coëval with the Sun,
The patriarch-pupil would be learning still;
Yet, dying, leave his lesson half unlearnt.
Men perish in advance, as if the Sun
Should set ere noon, in eastern oceans drown'd;
If fit, with dim, illustrious to compare,
The Sun's meridian with the soul of man.
To man, why, stepdame Nature! so severe ?
Why thrown aside thy masterpiece half-wrought.
While meaner efforts thy last hand enjoy?
Or, if abortively poor man must die,
HEAVEN gives the needful, but neglected, call.
What day, what hour, but knocks at human hearts,
To wake the soul to sense of future scenes?
Deaths stand, like Mercuries, in every way,
And kindly point us to our journey's end.
Pope, who couldst make immortals! art thou dead?
I give thee joy: nor will I take my leave;
So soon to follow Man but dives in death;
Dives from the Sun, in fairer day to rise;
The grave, his subterranean road to bliss.
Yes, infinite indulgence plann'd it so;
Through various parts our glorious story runs ;
Time gives the preface, endless age unrolls
The volume (ne'er unroll'd!) of human fate.
This, Earth and skies already* have proclaim'd.
The world's a prophecy of worlds to come;
And who, what God foretells (who speaks in things,
Still louder than in words) shall dare deny ?
If Nature's arguments appear too weak,
Turn a new leaf, and stronger read in man.
If man sleeps on, untaught by what he sees,
Can he prove infidel to what he feels?
He, whose blind thought futurity denies,
Unconscious bears, Bellerophon! like thee,
His own indictment; he condemns himself;
Who reads his bosom, reads immortal life;
Or, Nature, there, imposing on her sons,
Has written fables; man was made a lie.
Why discontent for ever harbor'd there?
Incurable consumption of our peace!
Resolve me, why the cottager and king,
He whom sea-sever'd realms obey, and he
Who steals his whole dominion from the waste,
Repelling winter blasts with mud and straw,
Disquieted alike, draw sigh for sigh,
In fate so distant, in complaint so near?
Is it, that things terrestrial can't content?
Deep in rich pasture, will thy flocks complain?
Not so; but to their master is denied
To share their sweet serene.
Man, ill at ease,
In this, not his own place, this foreign field,
Where Nature fodders him with other food
Than was ordain'd his cravings to suffice,
Poor in abundance, famish'd at a feast,
Sighs on for something more, when most enjoy'd.
Is Heaven then kinder to thy flocks than thee?
Not so; thy pasture richer, but remote;
In part, remote; for that remoter part
Man bleats from instinct, tho' perhaps, debauch'd
By sense, his reason sleeps, not dreams the cause.
Nor reach, what reach he might, why die in dread?
Why curst with foresight? Wise to misery?
Why of his proud prerogative the prey?
Why less pre-eminent in rank, than pain?
His immortality alone can tell;
Full ample fund to balance all amiss,
And turn the scale in favor of the just!
His immortality alone can solve
The darkest of enigmas, human hope;
Of all the darkest, if at death we die.
Hope, eager hope, th' assassin of our joy,
All present blessings treading under foot,
Is scarce a milder tyrant than despair.
With no past toils content, still planning new,
Hope turns us o'er to death alone for ease.
Possession, why more tasteless than pursuit?
Why is a wish far dearer than a crown?
That wish accomplish'd, why, the grave of bliss ?
Because, in the great future buried deep,
Beyond our plans of empire, and renown,
Lies all that man with ardor should pursue,
And he who made him, bent him to the right.
Man's heart th' Almighty to the future sets,
By secret and inviolable springs;
And makes his hope his sublunary joy. Man's heart eats all things, and is hungry still; "More, more!" the glutton cries, for something
So rages appetite, if man can't mount,
He will descend. He'starves on the possest.
Hence, the world's master, from ambition's spire,
In Caprea plung'd; and div'd beneath the brute.
In that rank sty, why wallow'd empire's son
Supreme? Because he could no higher fly;
His riot was ambition in despair.
Old Rome consulted birds; Lorenzo! thou,
With more success, the flight of hope survey;
Of restless hope, for ever on the wing.
High-perch'd o'er every thought that falcon sits,
To fly at all that rises in her sight;
And, never stooping, but to mount again
Next moment, she betrays her aim's mistake,
And owns her quarry lodg'd beyond the grave.
There should it fail us, (it must fail us there,
If being fails,) more mournful riddles rise,
And virtue vies with hope in mystery.
Why virtue? Where its praise, its being, fled?
Virtue is true self-interest pursued:
What true self-interest of quite-mortal man?
To close with all that makes him happy here.
If vice (as sometimes) is our friend on Earth,
Then vice is virtue; 'tis our sovereign good.
In self-applause is virtue's golden prize;
No self-applause attends it on thy scheme :
Whence self-applause? From conscience of the right.
And what is right, but means of happiness?
No means of happiness when virtue yields;
That basis failing, falls the building too,
And lays in ruin every virtuous joy.
The rigid guardian of a blameless heart,
So long rever'd, so long reputed wise,
Is weak; with rank knight-errantries o'errun,
Why beats thy bosom with illustrious dreams
Of self-exposure, laudable, and great?
Of gallant enterprise, and glorious death?
Die for thy country!-Thou romantic fool!
Seize, seize the plank thyself, and let her sink:
Thy country! what to thee?—The Godhead, what?
(I speak with awe!) though he should bid thee
If, with thy blood, thy final hope is spilt?
Nor can Omnipotence reward the blow,
Be deaf; preserve thy being; disobey.
Nor is it disobedience: know, Lorenzo!
Whate'er th' Almighty's subsequent command,
His first command is this" Man, love thyself."
In this alone, free agents are not free.
Existence is the basis, bliss the prize;
If virtue costs existence, 'tis a crime;
Bold violation of our law supreme,
Black suicide; though nations, which consult
Their gain, at thy expense, resound applause.
Since virtue's recompense is doubtful, here,
If man dies wholly, well may we demand,
Why is man suffer'd to be good in vain ?
Why to be good in vain, is man enjoin'd?
Why to be good in vain, is man betray'd?
Betray'd by traitors lodg'd in his own breast,
By sweet complacencies from virtue felt?
Why whispers Nature lies on virtue's part?
Or if blind instinct (which assumes the name
Of sacred conscience) plays the fool in man,
Why reason made accomplice in the cheat?
Why are the wisest loudest in her praise ?
Can man by reason's beam be led astray?
Or, at his peril, imitate his God?
Since virtue sometimes ruins us on Earth,
Or both are true; or man survives the grave.
Or man survives the grave; or own, Lorenzo,
Thy boast supreme, a wild absurdity.
Dauntless thy spirit; cowards are thy scorn.
Grant man immortal, and thy scorn is just.
The man immortal, rationally brave,
Dares rush on death-because he cannot die.
But if man loses all, when life is lost,
He lives a coward, or a fool expires.
A daring infidel, (and such there are,
From pride, example, lucre, rage, revenge,
Or pure heroical defect of thought,)
Of all Earth's madmen, most deserves a chain.
When to the grave we follow the renown'd
For valor, virtue, science, all we love,
And all we praise; for worth, whose noontide beam
Enabling us to think in higher style,
Mends our ideas of ethereal powers;
Dream we, that lustre of the moral world
Goes out in stench, and rottenness the close?
Why was he wise to know, and warm to praise,
And strenuous to transcribe, in human life,
The Mind Almighty? Could it be, that Fate,
Just when the lineaments began to shine,
And dawn the Deity, should snatch the draught
With night eternal blot it out, and give
The skies alarm, lest angels too might die?
If human souls, why not angelic too
Extinguish'd? and a solitary God,
O'er ghastly ruin, frowning from his throne?
Shall we this moment gaze on God in man:
The next, lose man for ever in the dust?
From dust we disengage, or man` mistakes ;
And there, where least his judgment fears a flaw.
Wisdom and worth how boldly he commends!
Wisdom and worth are sacred names; rever'd,
Where not embrac'd; applauded! deified!
Why not compassion'd too? If spirits die,
Both are calamities, inflicted both,
To make us but more wretched. Wisdom's eye
Acute, for what? To spy more miseries;
And worth, so recompens'd, new-points their stings.
Or man surmounts the grave, or gain is loss,
And worth exalted humbles us the more.
Thou wilt not patronize a scheme that makes
Weakness and vice, the refuge of mankind.
"Has virtue, then, no joys ?"—Yes, joys dear-bought
Talk ne'er so long, in this imperfect state,
Virtue and vice are at eternal war.
Virtue's a combat; and who fights for nought?
Or for precarious, or for small reward?
Who virtue's self-reward so loud resound,
Would take degrees angelic here below,
And virtue, while they compliment, betray,
By feeble motives, and unfaithful guards.
The crown, th' unfading crown, her soul inspires.
"Tis that, and that alone, can countervail
The body's treacheries, and the world's assaults:
On Earth's poor pay our famish'd virtue dies.
Truth incontestable! in spite of all
A Bayle has preach'd, or a Voltaire believ'd.
In man the more we dive, the more we see
Heaven's signet stamping an immortal make.
Dive to the bottom of his soul, the base
Sustaining all; what find we? Knowledge, love
As light and heat, essential to the Sun,
These to the soul. And why, if souls expire?
How little lovely here? How little known?
Small knowledge we dig up with endless toil;
And love unfeign'd may purchase perfect hate.
Why stary'd, on Earth, our angel appetites;
While brutal are indulg'd their fulsome fill?
Were then capacities divine conferr'd,
As a mock-diadem, in savage sport,
Rank insult of our pompous poverty,
Which reaps but pain, from seeming claims so fair?
In future age lies no redress? And shuts
Eternity the door on our complaint?
If so, for what strange ends were mortals made!
The worst to wallow, and the best to weep;
The man who merits most, must most complain:
Can we conceive a disregard in Heaven,
What the worst perpetrate, or best endure?
This cannot be. To love, and know, in man
Is boundless appetite, and boundless power;
And these demonstrate boundless objects too.
Objects, powers, appetites, Heaven suits in all;
Nor, Nature through, e'er violates this sweet,
Eternal concord, on her tuneful string.
Is man the sole exception from her laws?
Eternity struck off from human hope,
(I speak with truth but veneration too.)
Man is a monster, the reproach of Heaven,
A stain, a dark impenetrable cloud
On Nature's beauteous aspect; and deforms,
(Amazing blot!) deforms her with her lord.
If such is man's allotment, what is Heaven?
Or own the soul immortal, or blaspheme.
Or own the soul immortal, or invert
All order. Go, mock-majesty! go, man!
And bow to thy superiors of the stall;
Through every scene of sense superior far:
They graze the turf untill'd; they drink the stream
Unbrew'd, and ever full, and unimbitter'd
With doubts, fears, fruitless hopes, regrets, despairs:
Mankind's peculiar! reason's precious dower!
No foreign clime they ransack for their robes;
Nor brothers cite to the litigious bar;
Their good is good entire, unmix'd, unmarr'd;
They find a Paradise in every field,
On boughs forbidden where no curses hang:
Their ill no more than strikes the sense; unstretch'd
By previous dread, or murmur in the rear:
When the worst comes, it comes unfear'd; one stroke
Begins, and ends, their woe: they die but once;
Blest, incommunicable privilege! for which
Reason is guiltless; will alone rebels.
What, in that stubborn heart, if I should find
New, unexpected witnesses against thee?
Ambition, pleasure, and the love of gain!
Canst thou suspect, that these, which make the soul
The slave of Earth, should own her heir of Heaven?
Canst thou suspect what makes us disbelieve
Our immortality, should prove it sure?
First, then, ambition summon to the bar.
Ambition's shame, extravagance, disgust,
And inextinguishable nature, speak.
Each much deposes; hear them in their turn.
Thy soul, how passionately fond of fame!
How anxious, that fond passion to conceal ;
We blush, detected in designs on praise,
Though for best deeds, and from the best of men;
And why? Because immortal. Art divine
Has made the body tutor to the soul;
Heaven kindly gives our blood a moral flow;
Bids it ascend the glowing cheek, and there
Upbraid that little heart's inglorious aim,
Which stoops to court a character from man;
While o'er us, in tremendous judgment, sit
Far more than man, with endless praise, and blame
Ambition's boundless appetite out-speaks
The verdict of its shame. When souls take fire
At high presumptions of their own desert,
One age is poor applause; the mighty shout,
The thunder by the living few begun,
Late time must echo; worlds unborn, resound.
We wish our names eternally to live:
Wild dream! which ne'er had haunted human
Had not our natures been eternal too.
Instinct points out an interest in hereafter;
But our blind reason sees not where it lies;
Or, secing, gives the substance for the shade.
Fame is the shade of immortality,
And in itself a shadow. Soon as caught,
Contemn'd; it shrinks to nothing in the grasp.
Consult th' ambitious, 'tis ambition's cure.
Proud man, who rules the globe, and reads the stars, It calls in whispers, yet the deafest hear. Philosopher, or hero, sighs in vain.
Account for this prerogative in brutes.
No day, no glimpse of day, to solve the knot,
But what beams on it from eternity.
O sole, and sweet solution! that unties
The difficult, and softens the severe;
The cloud on Nature's beauteous face dispels;
Restores bright order; casts the brute beneath
And re-enthrones us in supremacy
Of joy, e'en here: admit immortal life,
And virtue is knight-errantry no more;
Each virtue brings in hand a golden dower,
Far richer in reversion: Hope exults;
And though much bitter in our cup is thrown,
Predominates, and gives the taste of Heaven.
O wherefore is the Deity so kind!
Astonishing beyond astonishment!
Heaven our reward-for Heaven enjoy'd below.
Still unsubdued thy stubborn heart?-For there The traitor lurks who doubts the truth I sing.
And can ambition a fourth proof supply? It can, and stronger than the former three; Yet quite o'erlook'd by some reputed wise. Though disappointments in ambition pain, And though success disgusts; yet still, Lorenzo! In vain we strive to pluck it from our hearts; By Nature planted for the noblest ends. Absurd the fam'd advice to Pyrrhus given, More prais'd, than ponder'd; specious, but unsound Sooner that hero's sword the world had quell'd, Than reason, his ambition. Man must soar.
An obstinate activity within,
An insuppressive spring, will toss him up,
In spite of fortune's load. Not kings alone,
Each villager has his ambition too;
No Sultan prouder than his fetter'd slave:
Slaves build their little Babylons of straw,
Echo the proud Assyrian in their hearts,
And cry," Behold the wonders of my might!"
And why? Because immortal as their lord;