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And souls immortal must for ever heave
At something great; the glitter, or the gold;
The praise of mortals, or the praise of Heaven.
Nor absolutely vain is human praise,
When human is supported by divine.
I'll introduce Lorenzo to himself;
Pleasure and pride (bad masters!) share our hearts.
As love of pleasure is ordain'd to guard
And feed our bodies, and extend our race;
The love of praise is planted to protect,
And propagate the glories of the mind.
What is it, but the love of praise, inspires,
Matures, refines, embellishes, exalts,
Earth's happiness? From that, the delicate,
The grand, the marvellous, of civil life,
Want and convenience, under-workers, lay
The basis, on which love of glory builds.
Nor is thy life, O virtue! less in debt
To praise, thy secret stimulating friend.
Were men not proud, what merit should we miss!
Pride made the virtues of the Pagan world.
Praise is the salt that seasons right to man,
And whets his appetite for moral good.
Thirst of applause is virtue's second guard;
Reason, her first; but reason wants an aid;
Our private reason is a flatterer;
Thirst of applause calls public judgment in,
To poise our own, to keep an even scale,
And give endanger'd virtue fairer play.
Here a fifth proof arises, stronger still:
Why this so nice construction of our hearts?
These delicate moralities of sense;
This constitutional reserve, of aid
To succor virtue, when our reason fails;
If virtue, kept alive by care and toil,
And, oft, the mark of injuries on Earth,
When labor'd to maturity (its bill
Of disciplines, and pains, unpaid) must die?
Why freighted rich, to dash against a rock?
Were man to perish when most fit to live,
O how misspent were all these stratagems,
By skill divine inwoven in our frame!
Where are Heaven's holiness and mercy fled?
Laughs Heaven, at once, at virtue, and at man?
If not, why that discourag'd, this destroy'd?
Thus far ambition. What says avarice?
This her chief maxim, which has long been thine:
The wise and wealthy are the same."-I grant it.
To store up treasure, with incessant toil,
This is man's province, this his highest praise.
To this great end keen instinct stings him on.
To guide that instinct, reason! is thy charge;
"Tis thine to tell us where true treasure lies;
But, reason failing to discharge her trust,
Or to the deaf discharging it in vain,
A blunder follows; and blind industry,
Gall'd by the spur, but stranger to the course,
(The course where stakes of more than gold are won,)
O'er-loading, with the cares of distant age,
The jaded spirits of the present hour,
Provides for an eternity below.
Man, if not meant, by worth, to reach the skies
Had wanted wing to fly so far in guilt.
Sour grapes, I grant, ambition, avarice,
Yet still their root is immortality:
These its wild growths so bitter, and so base
(Pain and reproach!) religion can reclaim,
Refine, exalt, throw down their poisonous lee,
And make them sparkle in the bowl of bliss.
See, the third witness laughs at bliss remote,
And falsely promises an Eden here:
Truth she shall speak for once, though prone to lie,
A common cheat, and Pleasure is her name.
To pleasure never was Lorenzo deaf;
Then hear her now, now first thy real friend.
Since Nature made us not more fond than proud
Of happiness (whence hypocrites in joy!
Makers of mirth! artificers of smiles!)
Why should the joy most poignant sense affords
Burn us with blushes, and rebuke our pride?—
Those heaven-born blushes tell us man descends,
E'en in the zenith of his earthly bliss:
Should reason take her infidel repose,
This honest instinct speaks our lineage high;
This instinct calls on darkness to conceal
Our rapturous relation to the stalls.
Our glory covers us with noble shame,
And he that's unconfounded, is unmann'd.
The man that blushes is not quite a brute.
Thus far with thee, Lorenzo! will I close.
Pleasure is good, and man for pleasure made;
But pleasure full of glory as of joy;
Pleasure, which neither blushes, nor expires.
The witnesses are heard; the cause is o'er; Let conscience file the sentence in her court, Dearer than deeds that half a realm convey: Thus seal'd by truth, th' authentic record runs.
Know, all; know, infidels,-unapt to know! "Tis immortality your nature solves;
'Tis immortality deciphers man,
And opens all the mysteries of his make.
Without it, half his instincts are a riddle:
Without it, all his virtues are a dream.
His very crimes attest his dignity;
His sateless thirst of pleasure, gold, and fame,
Declares him born for blessings infinite:
What less than infinite makes un-absurd
Passions, which all on Earth but more inflames?
Fierce passions, so mis-measur'd to this scene,
Stretch'd out, like eagles' wings, beyond our nest,
Far, far beyond the worth of all below,
For Earth too large, presage a nobler flight,
And evidence our title to the skies."
Ye gentle theologues, of calmer kind!
Whose constitution dictates to your pen,
Who, cold yourselves, think ardor comes from
Think not our passions from corruption sprung,
Though to corruption now they lend their wings;
That is their mistress, not their mother. All
|(And justly) reason deem divine: I see,
I feel a grandeur, in the passions too,
Which speaks their high descent, and glorious end!
Which speaks them rays of an eternal fire.
In Paradise itself they burnt as strong,
Ere Adam fell, though wiser in their aim.
Like the proud Eastern, struck by Providence,
What though our passions are run mad, and stoop
With low, terrestrial appetite, to graze
On trash, on toys, dethron'd from high desire?
Yet still through their disgrace, no feeble ray
Of greatness shines, and tells us whence they fell:
But these (like that fall'n monarch when reclaim'd,)
When reason moderates the rein aright,
Shall reascend, remount their former sphere,
Where once they soar'd illustrious; ere seduc'd
By wanton Eve's debauch, to stroll on Earth,
And set the sublunary world on fire.
But grant their frenzy lasts; their frenzy fails
To disappoint one providential end,
For which Heaven blew up ardor in our hearts:
Were reason silent, boundless passion speaks
A future scene of boundless objects too,
And brings glad tidings of eternal day.
Eternal day! "Tis that enlightens all;
And all, by that enlighten'd, proves it sure.
Consider man as an immortal being,
Intelligible all; and all is great;
A crystalline transparency prevails,
Why life, a moment; infinite, desire?
Our wish, eternity? Our home, the grave?
Heaven's promise dormant lies in human hope;
Who wishes life immortal, proves it too.
Why happiness pursued, though never found?
Man's thirst of happiness declares it is
(For Nature never gravitates to nought);
That thirst unquench'd declares it is not here.
My Lucia, thy Clarissa, call to thought;
Why cordial friendship riveted so deep,
As hearts to pierce at first, at parting, rend,
If friend, and friendship, vanish in an hour?
Is not this torment in the mask of joy?
Why by reflection marr'd the joys of sense?
Why past, and future, preying on our hearts,
And putting all our present joys to death?
Why labors reason? instinct were as well;
Instinct far better; what can choose, can err :
And strikes full lustre through the human sphere: O how infallible the thoughtless brute!
Consider man as mortal, all is dark,
And wretched; reason weeps at the survey.
The learn'd Lorenzo cries, " And let her weep, Weak modern reason; ancient times were wise. Authority, that venerable guide,
Stands on my part; the fam'd Athenian porch
(And who for wisdom so renown'd as they?)
Denied this immortality to man."
I grant it; but affirm, they prov'd it too.
A riddle this!-Have patience; I'll explain.
What noble vanities, what moral flights,
Glittering through their romantic wisdom's page,
Make us, at once, despise them, and admire?
Fable is flat to these high-season'd sires;
They leave the extravagance of song below.
Flesh shall not feel; or, feeling, shall enjoy
The dagger or the rack; to them, alike
A bed of roses, or the burning bull."
In men exploding all beyond the grave,
Strange doctrine, this! As doctrine, it was strange;
But not as prophecy; for such it prov'd,
And, to their own amazement, was fulfill'd:
They feign'd a firmness Christians need not feign.
The Christian truly triumph'd in the flame:
The Stoic saw, in double wonder lost,
Wonder at them, and wonder at himself,
To find the bold adventures of his thought,
Not bold, and that he strove to lie in vain.
Whence, then, those thoughts? those towering
thoughts, that flew
"Twere well his Holiness were half as sure.
Reason with inclination, why at war?
Why sense of guilt? why conscience up in arms?"
Conscience of guilt, is prophecy of pain,
And bosom-counsel to decline the blow.
Reason with inclination ne'er had jarr'd,
If nothing future paid forbearance here:
Thus on-These, and a thousand pleas uncall'd,
| All promise, some insure, a second scene;
Which, were it doubtful, would be dearer far
Than all things else most certain; were it false,
What truth on Earth so precious as the lie?
This world it gives us, let what will ensue ;
This world it gives, in that high cordial, hope:
The future of the present is the soul:
How this life groans, when sever'd from the next!
Poor mutilated wretch, that disbelieves!
By dark distrust his being cut in two,
In both parts perishes; life void of joy,
Sad prelude of eternity in pain!
Couldst thou persuade me, the next life could fail
Our ardent wishes; how should I pour out
My bleeding heart in anguish, new, as deep!
Oh! with what thoughts, thy hope, and my despair,
Abhorr'd annihilation! blasts the soul,
And wide extends the bounds of human woe!
Could I believe Lorenzo's system true,
In this black channel would my ravings run. "Grief from the future borrow'd peace, erewhile, [pride. The future vanish'd! and the present pain'd! Such monstrous heights?-From instinct, and from Strange import of unprecedented ill!
The glorious instinct of a deathless soul,
Confus'dly conscious of her dignity,
Suggested truths they could not understand.
In lust's dominion, and in passion's storm,
Truth's system broken, scatter'd fragments lay,
As light in chaos, glimmering through the gloom:
Smit with the pomp of lofty sentiments,
Pleas'd pride proclaim'd, what reason disbeliev'd.
Pride, like the Delphic priestess, with a swell,
Rav'd nonsense, destin'd to be future sense,
When life immortal, in full day, should shine;
And Death's dark shadows fly the gospel sun.
They spoke, what nothing but immortal souls
Could speak; and thus the truth they question'd,
Can then absurdities, as well as crimes,
Speak man immortal? All things speak him so.
Much has been urg'd: and dost thou call for more?
Call; and with endless questions be distress'd,
All unresolvable, if Earth is all.
Fall, how profound! Like Lucifer's, the fall!
Unequal fate! His fall, without his guilt!
From where fond hope built her pavilion high,
The gods among, hurl'd headlong, hurl'd at once
To night! To nothing, darker still than night!
If 'twas a dream, why wake me, my worst foe,
Lorenzo! boastful of the name of friend!
O for delusion! O for error still!
Could vengeance strike much stronger than to plant
A thinking being in a world like this,
Not over-rich before, now beggar'd quite;
More curst than at the fall?-The Sun goes out!
The thorns shoot up! What thorns in every thought'
Why sense of better? It imbitters worse.
Why sense? why life? If but to sigh, then sink
To what I was! twice nothing! and much woe!
Woe, from Heaven's bounties! woe from what was
To flatter most, high intellectual powers.
Thought, virtue, knowledge! Blessings, by thy scheme,
All poison'd into pains. First, knowledge, once
My soul's ambition, now her greatest dread.
To know myself, true wisdom?-No, to shun
That shocking science, parent of despair!
Avert thy mirror; if I see, I die.
"Know my Creator? Climb his blest abode
By painful speculation, pierce the veil,
Dive in his nature, read his attributes,
And gaze in admiration-on a foe,
Obtruding life, withholding happiness!
From the full rivers that surround his throne,
Not letting fall one drop of joy on man;
Man gasping for one drop, that he might cease
To curse his birth, nor envy reptiles more!
Ye sable clouds! ye darkest shades of night!
Hide him, for ever hide him, from my thought,
Once all my comfort; source, and soul of joy!
Now leagu'd with furies, and with thee,* against me.
Know his achievements? Study his renown?
Contemplate this amazing universe,
Dropt from his hand, with miracles replete!
For what? 'Mid miracles of nobler name,
To find one miracle of misery?
To find the being, which alone can know
And praise his works, a blemish on his praise?
Through Nature's ample range, in thought to
And start at man, the single mourner there,
Theirs that serene, the sages sought in vain :
'Tis man alone expostulates with Heaven.
His, all the power, and all the cause, to mourn.
Shall human eyes alone dissolve in tears?
And bleed, in anguish, none but human hearts?
The wide-stretch'd realm of intellectual woe,
Surpassing sensual far, is all our own.
In life so fatally distinguish'd, why
Cast in one lot, confounded, lump'd, in death?
Ere yet in being, was mankind in guilt?
Why thunder'd this peculiar clause against us,
All-mortal and all-wretched?-Have the skies
Reasons of state, their subjects may not scan,
Nor humbly reason, when they sorely sigh?
All-mortal and all-wretched!-'Tis too much:
Unparallel'd in Nature: 'tis too much
On being unrequested at thy hands,
Omnipotent! for I see nought but power.
And why see that? Why thought? To toil, and
Then make our bed in darkness, needs no thought.
What superfluities are reasoning souls!
O give eternity! or thought destroy.
But without thought our curse were half unfelt;
Its blunted edge would spare the throbbing heart;
And, therefore, 'tis bestow'd, I thank thee, reason!
For aiding life's too small calamities,
And giving being to the dread of death.
Breathing high hope! chain'd down to pangs, and Such are thy bounties!-Was it then too much
"Knowing is suffering: and shall virtue share
The sigh of knowledge?-Virtue shares the sigh.
By straining up the steep of excellent,
By battles fought, and, from temptation, won,
What gains she, but the pang of seeing worth,
Angelic worth, soon shuffled in the dark
With every vice, and swept to brutal dust?
Merit is madness; virtue is a crime;
A crime to reason, if it costs us pain
Unpaid what pain, amidst a thousand more,
To think the most abandon'd, after days
Of triumph o'er their betters, find in death
As soft a pillow, nor make fouler clay!
"Duty! religion! These, our duty done,
Imply reward. Religion is mistake.
Duty! There's none, but to repel the cheat.
Ye cheats! away: ye daughters of my pride!
Who feign yourselves the favorites of the skies:
Ye towering hopes, abortive energies!
That toss and struggle, in my lying breast,
To scale the skies, and build presumptions there,
As I were heir of an eternity.
Vain, vain ambitions! trouble me no more.
Why travel far in quest of sure defeat?
As bounded as my being, be my wish.
All is inverted, wisdom is a fool.
Sense! take the rein; blind passion! drive us on;
And ignorance! befriend us on our way;
Ye new, but truest patrons of our peace!
Yes; give the pulse full empire; live the brute,
Since, as the brute, we die. The sum of man,
Of godlike man! to revel, and to rot.
But not on equal terms with other brutes:
Their revels a more poignant relisn yield,
And safer too; they never poisons choose.
For me, to trespass on the brutal rights?
Too much for Heaven to make one emmet more?
Too much for chaos to permit my mass
A longer stay with essences unwrought,
Unfashion'd, untormented into man?
Wretched preferment to this round of pains!
Wretched capacity of frenzy, thought!
Wretched capacity of dying, life!
Life, thought, worth, wisdom, all (O foul revolt!)
Once friends to peace, gone over to the foe.
"Death, then, has chang'd his nature too: O Death
Come to my bosom, thou best gift of Heaven!
Best friend of man! since man is man no more.
Why in this thorny wilderness so long,
Since there's no promis'd land's ambrosial bower,
To pay me with its honey for my stings?
If needful to the selfish schemes of Heaven
To sting us sore, why mockt our misery?
Why this so sumptuous insult o'er our heads?
Why this illustrious canopy display'd?
Why so magnificently lodg'd despair?
At stated periods, sure returning, roll
These glorious orbs, that mortals may compute
Their length of labors, and of pains; nor lose
Their misery's full measure?-Smiles with flowers,
And fruits, promiscuous, ever-teeming Earth,
That man may languish in luxurious scenes,
And in an Eden mourn his wither'd joys?
Claim Earth and skies man's admiration, due
For such delights! Blest animals! too wise
To wonder; and too happy to complain!
"Our doom decreed demands a mournful scene
Why not a dungeon dark, for the condemn'd?
Why not the dragon's subterranean den,
For man to howl in? Why not his abode
Of the same dismal color with his fate?
Instinct, than reason, makes more wholesome meal, A Thebes, a Babylon, at vast expense
And sends all-marring murmur far away.
For sensual life they best philosophize;
Of time, toil, treasure, art, for owls and adders,
As congruous, as, for man, this lofty dome
Which prompts proud thought, and kindles high
If, from her humble chamber in the dust,
While proud thought swells, and high desire inflames,
The poor worm calls us for her inmates there;
And, round us, Death's inexorable hand
Draws the dark curtain close; undrawn no more.
"Undrawn no more!-Behind the cloud of Death,
Once, I beheld the Sun; a Sun which gilt
That sable cloud, and turn'd it all to gold:
How the grave's alter'd! Fathomless, as Hell!
A real Hell to those who dreamt of Heaven.
Annihilation! How it yawns before me!
Next moment I may drop from thought, from sense,
The privilege of angels, and of worms,
An outcast from existence! and this spirit,
This all-pervading, this all-conscious soul,
This particle of energy divine,
Which travels Nature, flies from star to star,
And visits gods, and emulates their powers,
For ever is extinguisht. Horror! death!
Death of that death I fearless once survey'd!
When horror universal shall descend,
And Heaven's dark concave urn all human race,
On that enormous, unrefunding tomb,
How just this verse! this monumental sigh!
Beneath the lumber of demolish'd worlds,
Deep in the rubbish of the general wreck,
Swept ignominious to the common mass
Of matter, never dignified with life,
Here lie proud rationals; the sons of Heaven!
The lords of Earth! the property of worms!
Beings of yesterday! and not to-morrow!
Who liv'd in terror, and in pangs expir'd!
All gone to rot in chaos; or to make
Their happy transit into blocks or brutes,
Nor longer sully their Creator's name."
Lorenzo! hear, pause, ponder, and pronounce.
Just is this history? If such is man,
Mankind's historian, though divine, might weep.-
And dares Lorenzo smile?-I know thee proud;
For once let pride befriend thee; pride looks pale
At such a scene, and sighs for something more.
Amid thy boasts, presumptions, and displays,
And art thou then a shadow? Less than shade?
A nothing? Less than nothing? To have been,
And not to be, is lower than unborn.
Art thou ambitious? Why then make the worm
Thine equal? Runs thy taste of pleasure high?
Why patronize sure death of every joy?
Charm riches? Why choose beggary in the grave,
Of every hope a bankrupt! and for ever?
Ambition, pleasure, avarice, persuade thee
To make that world of glory, rapture, wealth,
They lately prov'd, the soul's supreme desire.
What art thou made of? Rather, how unmade?
Great Nature's master-appetite destroy'd,
Is endless life, and happiness, despis'd?
Or both wish'd, here, where neither can be found?
Such man's perverse, eternal war with Heaven!
Dar'st thou persist? And is there nought on Earth,
But a long train of transitory forms,
Rising, and breaking, millions in an hour?
Bubbles of a fantastic deity, blown up
In sport, and then in cruelty destroy'd?
Oh! for what crime, unmerciful Lorenzo!
Destroys thy scheme the whole of human race?
Kind is fell Lucifer, compar'd to thee:
O spare this waste of being half-divine;
And vindicate th' economy of Heaven.
* In Night VI.
Heaven is all love; all joy in giving joy:
It never had created, but to bless:
And shall it, then, strike off the list of life,
A being blest, or worthy so to be?
Heaven starts at an annihilating God.
Is that, all Nature starts at, thy desire ?-
Art such a clod to wish thyself all clay?
What is that dreadful wish?-The dying groan
Of Nature, murder'd by the blackest guilt.
What deadly poison has thy nature drunk;
To nature undebauch'd no shock so great.
Nature's first wish is endless happiness;
Annihilation is an after-thought,
A monstrous wish, unborn till virtue dies.
And, oh! what depth of horror lies inclos'd!
For non-existence no man ever wish'd,
But, first, he wish'd the Deity destroy'd.
If so; what words are dark enough to draw
Thy picture true? The darkest are too fair.
Beneath what baleful planet, in what hour
Of desperation, by what fury's aid,
In what infernal posture of the soul,
All Hell invited, and all Hell in joy
At such a birth, a birth so near of kin,
Did thy foul fancy whelp so black a scheme
Of hopes abortive, faculties half-blown,
And deities begun, reduc'd to dust?
There's nought (thou say'st) but one eternal flux
Of feeble essences, tumultuous driven
Through time's rough billows into night's abyss.
Say, in this rapid tide of human ruin,
Is there no rock, on which man's tossing thought
Can rest from terror, dare his fate survey,
And boldly think it something to be born?
Amid such hourly wrecks of being fair,
Is there no central, all-sustaining base,
All-realizing, all-connecting power,
Which, as it call'd forth all things, can recall,
And force destruction to refund her spoil?
Command the grave restore her taken prey?
Bid death's dark vale its human harvest yield,
And earth and ocean pay their debt of man,
True to the grand deposit trusted there?
Is there no potentate whose outstretch'd arm,
When ripening time calls forth th' appointed hour
Pluck'd from foul devastation's famish'd maw,
Binds present, past, and future, to his throne?
His throne, how glorious, thus divinely grac'd,
By germinating beings clustering round!
A garland worthy the divinity!
A throne, by Heaven's omnipotence in smiles,
Built (like a pharos towering in the waves)
Amidst immense effusions of his love!
An ocean of communicated bliss!
An all-prolific, all-preserving god!
This were a god indeed.-And such is man,
As here presum'd: he rises from his fall.
Think'st thou Omnipotence a naked root,
Each blossom fair of Deity destroy'd?
Nothing is dead; nay, nothing sleeps; each soul,
That ever animated human clay,
Now wakes; is on the wing: and where, O where
Will the swarm settle?-When the trumpet's call,
As sounding brass, collects us, round Heaven's throne
Conglob'd, we bask in everlasting day,
(Paternal splendor!) and adhere for ever.
Had not the soul this outlet to the skies,
In this vast vessel of the universe,
How should we gasp, as in an empty void!
How in the pangs of famish'd hope expire!
How bright my prospect shines! how gloomy The genuine cause of every deed divine:
A trembling world! and a devouring God!
Earth, but the shambles of Omnipotence!
Heaven's face all stain'd with causeless massacres
Of countless millions, born to feel the pang
Of being lost. Lorenzo! can it be?
This bids us shudder at the thoughts of life.
Who would be born to such a phantom world,
Where nought substantial but our misery?
Where joy (if joy) but heightens our distress,
So soon to perish, and revive no more?
The greater such a joy, the more it pains.
A world, so far from great, (and yet how great
It shines to thee!) there's nothing real in it;
Being, a shadow; consciousness, a dream;
A dream, how dreadful! Universal blank
Before it, and behind! Poor man, a spark
From non-existence struck by wrath divine,
Glittering a moment, nor that moment sure,
'Midst upper, nether, and surrounding night,
His sad, sure, sudden, and eternal tomb!
Lorenzo! dost thou feel these arguments?
Or is there nought but vengeance can be felt?
How hast thou dar'd the Deity dethrone?
How dar'd indict him of a world like this?
If such the world, creation was a crime;
For what is crime but cause of misery?
Retract, blasphemer! and unriddle this,
Of endless arguments above, below,
Without us, and within, the short result!
"If man's immortal, there's a God in Heaven."
But wherefore such redundancy? such waste
Of argument? One sets my soul at rest!
One obvious, and at hand, and, oh!-at heart.
So just the skies, Philander's life so pain'd,
His heart so pure; that, or succeeding scenes
Have palms to give, or ne'er had he been born.
"What an old tale is this!" Lorenzo cries.-
I grant this argument is old; but truth
No years impair; and had not this been true,
Thou never hadst despis'd it for its age.
Truth is immortal as thy soul; and fable
As fleeting as thy joys: be wise, nor make
Heaven's highest blessing, vengeance; O be wise!
Nor make a curse of immortality.
Say, know'st thou what it is, or what thou art? Know'st thou the importance of a soul immortal? Behold this midnight glory: worlds on worlds! Amazing pomp! redouble this amaze;
Ten thousand add; add twice ten thousand more; Then weigh the whole; one soul outweighs them all;
And calls th' astonishing magnificence
Of unintelligent creation poor.
For this, believe not me; no man believe;
Trust not in words, but deeds; and deeds no less
Than those of the Supreme; nor his, a few :
Consult them all; consulted, all proclaim
Thy soul's importance: tremble at thyself;
For whom Omnipotence has wak'd so long:
Has wak'd, and work'd, for ages; from the birth
Of Nature to this unbelieving hour.
In this small province of his vast domain, (All Nature bow, while I pronounce his name!) What has God done, and not for this sole end, To rescue souls from death? The soul's high price Is writ in all the conduct of the skies. The soul's high price is the Creation's key, Unlocks its mysteries, and naked lays
That is the chain of ages, which maintains
Their obvious correspondence, and unites
Most distant periods in one blest design:
That is the mighty hinge, on which have turn'd
All revolutions, whether we regard
The natural, civil, or religious, world,
The former two but servants to the third :
To that their duty done, they both expire,
Their mass new-cast, forgot their deeds renown'd:
And angels ask, Where once they shone so fair?"
To lift us from this abject, to sublime;
This flux, to permanent; this dark, to-day;
This foul, to pure; this turbid, to serene;
This mean, to mighty!—for this glorious end
Th' Almighty, rising, his long sabbath broke!
The world was made; was ruin'd; was restor'd;
Laws from the skies were publish'd; were repeal'd;
On Earth kings, kingdoms, rose; kings, kingdoms,
Fam'd sages lighted up the Pagan world;
Prophets from Sion darted a keen glance
Through distant age; saints travel'd; martyrs bled;
By wonders sacred Nature stood controll'd;
The living were translated; dead were rais'd;
Angels, and more than angels, came from Heaven
And, oh! for this, descended lower still:
Guilt was Hell's gloom; astonish'd at his guest,
For one short moment Lucifer ador'd:
Lorenzo! and wilt thou do less?-For this,
That hallow'd page, fools scoff at, was inspir'd,
Of all these truths-thrice-venerable code!
Deists! perform your quarantine; and then
Fall prostrate, ere you touch it, lest you die.
Nor less intensely bent infernal powers
To mar, than those of light, this end to gain.
O what a scene is here!-Lorenzo! wake!
Rise to the thought; exert, expand thy soul,
To take the vast idea: it denies
All else the name of great. Two warring worlds'
Not Europe against Afric; warring worlds!
Of more than mortal! mounted on the wing!
On ardent wings of energy and zeal,
High-hovering o'er this little brand of strife!
This sublunary ball-But strife, for what?
In their own cause conflicting? No; in thine,
In man's. His single interest blows the flame;
His the sole stake; his fate the trumpet sounds,
Which kindles war immortal. How it burns!
Tumultuous swarms of deities in arms!
Force, force opposing, till the waves run high,
And tempest Nature's universal sphere.
Such opposites eternal, stedfast, stern,
Such foes implacable, are good and ill;
Yet man, vain man, would mediate peace between
Think not this fiction, “There was war in Heaven."
From Heaven's high crystal mountain, where it hung,
Th' Almighty's out-stretch'd arm took down his bow,
And shot his indignation at the deep:
Re-thunder'd Hell, and darted all her fires.
And seems the stake of little moment still?
And slumbers man, who singly caus'd the storm?
He sleeps. And art thou shock'd at mysteries?
The greatest, thou. How dreadful to reflect,
What ardor, care, and counsel, mortals cause
In breasts divine! how little in their own!
Where'er I turn, how new proofs pour upon me!
How happily this wondrous view supports
My former argument! How strongly strikes
Immortal life's full demonstration, here!