Page images

How cruel this! more cruel to forbear.
Our nature such, with necessary pains,
We purchase prospects of precarious peace:
Though not a father, this might steal a sigh.
Suppose him disciplin'd aright (if not,
"Twill sink our poor account to poorer still ;)
Ripe from the tutor, proud of liberty,
He leaps inclosure, bounds into the world!
The world is taken, after ten years' toil,
Like ancient Troy; and all its joys his own.
Alas! the world's a tutor more severe;
Its lessons hard, and ill deserve his pains;
Unteaching all his virtuous nature taught,
Or books (fair virtue's advocates!) inspir'd.
For who receives him into public life?
Men of the world, the terræ-filial breed,
Welcome the modest stranger to their sphere,
Which glitter'd long, at distance, in his sight,)
And, in their hospitable arms, inclose:
Men, who think nought so strong of the romance,
So rank knight-errant, as a real friend :
Men, that act up to reason's golden rule,
All weakness of affection quite subdued:
Men, that would blush at being thought sincere,
And feign, for glory, the few faults they want;
That love a lie, where truth would pay as well;
As if, to them, vice shone her own reward.

Lorenzo! canst thou bear a shocking sight?
Such, for Florello's sake, 'twill now appear:
See, the steel'd files of season'd veterans,

His plan had practis'd long before 'twas writ.
The world's all title-page; there's no contents,
The world's all face; the man who shows his heart,
Is hooted for his nudities, and scorn'd.

A man I knew, who liv'd upon a smile,
And well it fed him; he look'd plump and fair;
While rankest venom foam'd through every vein.
Lorenzo! what I tell thee, take not ill!
Living, he fawn'd on every fool alive;

And, dying, curs'd the friend on whom he liv'd.
To such proficients thou art half a saint.
In foreign realms (for thou hast travel'd far)
How curious to contemplate two state-rooks,
Studious their nests to feather in a trice,
With all the necromantics of their art,
Playing the game of faces on each other,
Making court sweet-meats of their latent gall,
In foolish hope to steal each other's trust;
Both cheating, both exulting, both deceiv'd;
And sometimes both (let Earth rejoice) undone!
Their parts we doubt not; but be that their shame,
Shall men of talents, fit to rule mankind,
Stoop to mean wiles, that would disgrace a fool;
And lose the thanks of those few friends they serve?
For who can thank the man he cannot see?

Why so much cover? It defeats itself.
Ye, that know all things! know ye not, men's hearts
Are therefore known, because they are conceal'd?
For why conceal'd?-The cause they need not tell.
I give him joy, that's awkward at a lie;

His incapacity is his renown.

"Tis great, 'tis manly, to disdain disguise ;

Train'd to the world, in burnish'd falsehood bright; Whose feeble nature truth keeps still in awe ;
Deep in the fatal stratagems of peace;
All soft sensation, in the throng, rubb'd off;
All their keen purpose, in politeness sheath'd;
His friends eternal-during interest;

His foes implacable-when worth their while;
At war with every welfare, but their own;
As wise as Lucifer, and half as good;
And by whom none, but Lucifer, can gain-
Naked, through these (so common fate ordains,)
Naked of heart, his cruel course he runs,
Stung out of all, most amiable in life, [feign'd;
Prompt truth, and open thought, and smiles un-
Affection, as his species, wide diffus'd;
Noble presumptions to mankind's renown;
Ingenuous trust, and confidence of love.

These claims to joy (if mortals joy might claim)
Will cost him many a sigh; till time, and pains,
From the slow mistress of this school, experience,
And her assistant, pausing, pale, distrust,
Purchase a dear-bought clew to lead his youth
Through serpentine obliquities of life,
And the dark labyrinth of human hearts.
And happy! if the clew shall come so cheap;
For, while we learn to fence with public guilt,
Full oft we feel its foul contagion too,
If less than heavenly virtue is our guard.
Thus, a strange kind of curst necessity
Brings down the sterling temper of his soul,
By base alloy, to bear the current stamp,
Below call'd wisdom; sinks him into safety,
And brands him into credit with the world;
Where specious titles dignify disgrace,
And Nature's injuries are arts of life;
Where brighter reason prompts to bolder crimes;
And heavenly talents make infernal hearts;
That unsurmountable extreme of guilt!

Poor Machiavel! who labor'd hard his plan,
Forgot, that genius need not go to school;
Forgot, that man, without a tutor wise,

[ocr errors]

It shows our spirit, or it proves our strength.
Thou say'st, 'Tis needful:" is it therefore right?
Howe'er, I grant it some small sign of grace,
To strain at an excuse: and wouldst thou then
Escape that cruel need? Thou may'st, with ease;
Think no post needful that demands a knave.
When late our civil helm was shifting hands,
So Poulteney thought: think better, if you can.
But this, how rare! the public path of life
Is dirty-yet, allow that dirt is due,
It makes the noble mind more noble still:
The world's no neuter; it will wound, or save;
Or virtue quench, or indignation fire.

You say, "The world, well known, will make a man:”
The world, well known, will give our hearts to


Or make us demons, long before we die.

To show how fair the world, thy mistress, shines
Take either part, sure ills attend the choice;
Sure, though not equal, detriment ensues.
Not virtue's self is deified on Earth;
Virtue has her relapses, conflicts, foes;

Foes, that ne'er fail to make her feel their hate.
Virtue has her peculiar set of pains.
True friends to virtue, last, and least, complain;
But if they sigh, can others hope to smile?
If wisdom has her miseries to mourn,
How can poor folly lead a happy life?
And if both suffer, what has Earth to boast,
Where he most happy, who the least laments?
Where much, much patience, the most envied state
And some forgiveness, needs the best of friends?
For friend, or happy life, who looks not higher,
Of neither shall he find the shadow here.

The world's sworn advocate, without a fee,
Lorenzo smartly, with a smile, replies;

[ocr errors]

Thus far thy song is right; and all must own

Virtue has her peculiar set of pains.—
And joys peculiar who to vice denies?
If vice it is, with nature to comply:
If pride, and sense, are so predominant,
To check, not overcome them, makes a saint.
Can Nature in a plainer voice proclaim
Pleasure, and glory, the chief good of man?"

Can pride, and sensuality, rejoice?
From purity of thought, all pleasure springs;
And, from an humble spirit, all our peace.
Ambition, pleasure! let us talk of these:
Of these, the Porch, and Academy, talk'd;
Of these, each following age had much to say:
Yet, unexhausted still the needful theme.
Who talks of these, to mankind all at once
He talks; for were the saints from either free?
Are these thy refuge ?-No: these rush upon thee;
Thy vitals seize, and, vulture-like, devour:
I'll try if I can pluck thee from thy rock,
Prometheus! from this barren ball of Earth;
If reason can unchain thee, thou art free.

And, first, thy Caucasus, ambition, calls;
Mountain of torments! eminence of woes!
Of courted woes! and courted through mistake!
"Tis not ambition charms thee; 'tis a cheat
Will make thee start, as Hat his Moor.
Dost grasp at greatness? First, know what it is:
Think'st thou thy greatness in distinction lies?
Not in the feather, wave it e'er so high,
By fortune stuck, to mark us from the throng,
Is glory lodg'd: 'tis lodg'd in the reverse;
In that which joins, in that which equals, all,
The monarch and his slave;-" a deathless soul,
Unbounded prospect, and immortal kin,
A Father-God, and brothers in the skies;"
Elder, indeed, in time; but less remote
In excellence, perhaps, than thought by man;
Why greater what can fall, than what can rise?
If still delirious, now, Lorenzo! go;
And with thy full-blown brothers of the world,
Throw scorn around thee; cast it on thy slaves;
Thy slaves and equals: how scorn cast on them
Rebounds on thee! If man is mean, as man,
Art thou a god? If fortune makes him so,
Beware the consequence: a maxim that,
Which draws a monstrous picture of mankind,
Where, in the drapery, the man is lost;
Externals fluttering, and the soul forgot.
Thy greatest glory, when dispos'd to boast,
Boast that aloud, in which thy servants share.
We wisely strip the steed we mean to buy:
Judge we, in their caparisons, of men?

It nought avails thee, where, but what, thou art;
All the distinctions of this little life
Are quite cutaneous, foreign to the man.

Of real greatness? That man greatly lives,
Whate'er his fate, or fame, who greatly dies;
High-flush'd with hope, where heroes shall despair
If this a true criterion, many courts,

Illustrious, might afford but few grandees.

Th' Almighty, from his throne, on Earth surveys
Nought greater, than an honest, humble heart;
An humble heart, his residence! pronounc'd
His second seat; and rival to the skies.
The private path, the secret acts of men,
If noble, far the noblest of our lives!
How far above Lorenzo's glory sits

Th' illustrious master of a name unknown;
Whose worth unrival'd, and unwitness'd, loves
Life's sacred shades, where gods converse with men;
And peace, beyond the world's conception, smiles!
As thou (now dark,) before we part, shalt see.

But thy great soul this skulking glory scorns.
Lorenzo's sick, but when Lorenzo's seen;
And when he shrugs at public business, lies.
Denied the public eye, the public voice,
As if he liv'd on others' breath, he dies.
Fain would he make the world his pedestal;
Mankind the gazers, the sole figure, he.
Knows he, that mankind praise against their will,
And mix as much detraction as they can?
Knows he, that faithless fame her whisper has,
As well as trumpet? That his vanity

Is so much tickled from not hearing all?
Knows this all-knower, that from itch of praise,
Or, from an itch more sordid, when he shines,
Taking his country by five hundred ears,
Senates at once admire him, and despise,
With modest laughter lining loud applause,
Which makes the smile more mortal to his fame?
His fame, which (like the mighty Cæsar,) crown'd
With laurels, in full senate, greatly falls,
By seeming friends, that honor, and destroy.
We rise in glory, as we sink in pride:
Where boasting ends, there dignity begins;
And yet, mistaken beyond all mistake,
The blind Lorenzo's proud-of being proud;
And dreams himself ascending in his fall.

An eminence, though fancied, turns the brain :
All vice wants hellebore; but of all vice,
Pride loudest calls, and for the largest bowl;
Because, unlike all other vice, it flies,
In fact, the point in fancy most pursued.
Who court applause, oblige the world in this;
They gratify man's passion to refuse.
Superior honor, when assum'd, is lost;
E'en good men turn banditti, and rejoice,
Like Kouli-Khan, in plunder of the proud.
Though somewhat disconcerted, steady still
To the world's cause, with half a face of joy,

When, through death's streights, Earth's subtle Lorenzo cries-" Be, then, ambition cast;

serpents creep,

Which wriggle into wealth, or climb renown.
As crooked Satan the forbidden tree,
They leave their party-color'd robe behind,
All that now glitters, while they rear aloft
Their brazen crests, and hiss at us below.
Of fortune's fucus strip them, yet alive:
Strip them of body, too; nay, closer still,
Away with all, but moral, in their minds;
And let what then remains impose their name,
Pronounce them weak, or worthy; great, or mean.
How mean that snuff of glory fortune lights,
And death puts out! Dost thou demand a test,
A test, at once, infallible, and short,

Ambition's dearer far stands unimpeach'd,
Gay pleasure! proud ambition is her slave;
For her, he soars at great, and hazards ill;
For her, he fights, and bleeds, or overcomes;
And paves his way, with crowns, to reach her smile:
Who can resist her charms ?"-Or, should? Lo-


What mortal shall resist, where angels yield?
Pleasure's the mistress of ethereal powers;
For her contend the rival gods above;
Pleasure's the mistress of the world below;
And well it was for man, that pleasure charms;
How would all stagnate, but for pleasure's ray!
How would the frozen stream of action cease!

What is the pulse of this so busy world?
The love of pleasure: that, through every vein,
Throws motion, warmth; and shuts out death from

Though various are the tempers of mankind,
Pleasure's gay family hold all in chains:
Some most affect the black; and some, the fair;
Some honest pleasure court: and some, obscene.
Pleasures obscene are various, as the throng
Of passions, that can err in human hearts;
Mistake their objects, or transgress their bounds.
Think you there's but one whoredom? Whoredom,

But when our reason licenses delight:

Dost doubt, Lorenzo? Thou shalt doubt no more.
Thy father chides thy gallantries, yet hugs
An ugly common harlot, in the dark;
A rank adulterer with others' gold!

And that hag, vengeance, in a corner, charms.
Hatred her brothel has, as well as love,
Where horrid epicures debauch in blood.
Whate'er the motive, pleasure is the mark:
for her, the black assassin draws his sword;
For her, dark statesmen trim their midnight lamp,
To which no single sacrifice may fall;
For her, the saint abstains; the miser starves;
The Stoic proud, for pleasure, pleasure scorn'd;
For her, affliction's daughters grief indulge,
And find, or hope, a luxury in tears;

For her, guilt, shame, toil, danger, we defy;
And, with an aim voluptuous, rush on death.
Thus universal her despotic power!

And as her empire wide, her praise is just.
Patron of pleasure! doter on delight!
I am thy rival! pleasure I profess;
Pleasure the purpose of my gloomy song.
Pleasure is nought but virtue's gayer name:
I wrong her still, I rate her worth too low;
Virtue the root, and pleasure is the flower;
And honest Epicurus' foes were fools.

But this sounds harsh, and gives the wise offence!
If o'erstrain'd wisdom still retains the name,
How knits austerity her cloudy brow,
And blames, as bold, and hazardous, the praise
Of pleasure, to mankind, unprais'd, too dear!
Ye modern Stoics! hear my soft reply;
Their senses men will trust: we can't impose;
Or, if we could, is imposition right?

Own honey sweet; but, owning, add this sting;
When mixt with poison, it is deadly too."
Truth never was indebted to a lie.
Is nought but virtue to be prais'd, as good?
Why then is health preferr'd before disease?
What nature loves is good without our leave;
And where no future drawback cries, "Beware,"
Pleasure, though not from virtue, should prevail.
"Tis balm to life, and gratitude to Heaven;
How cold our thanks for bounties unenjoy'd!
The love of pleasure is man's eldest-born,
Born in his cradle, living to his tomb:
Wisdom, her younger sister, though more grave,
Was meant to minister, and not to mar,
Imperial pleasure, queen of human hearts.

Lorenzo! thou, her majesty's renown'd,
Though uncoift counsel, learned in the world!
Who think'st thyself a Murray, with disdain
May'st look on me. Yet, my Demosthenes!
Canst thou plead pleasure's cause as well as I?
Know'st thou her nature, purpose, parentage?
Attend my song, and thou shalt know them all;

And know thyself; and know thyself to be
(Strange truth) the most abstemious man alive
Tell not Calista; she will laugh thee dead;
Or send thee to her hermitage with L———.
Absurd presumption! Thou who never knew'st
A serious thought! shalt thou dare dream of joy?
No man e'er found a happy life by chance;
Or yawn'd it into being, with a wish;
Or, with the shout of grovelling appetite,
E'er smelt it out, and grubb'd it from the dirt.
An art it is, and must be learnt; and learnt
With unremitting effort, or be lost;

And leaves us perfect blockheads, in our bliss.
The clouds may drop down titles and estates;
Wealth may seek us; but wisdom must be sought;
Sought before all; but (how unlike all else

We seek on Earth!) 'tis never sought in vain.
First, pleasure's birth, rise, strength, and grandeur


Brought forth by wisdom, nurst by discipline,
By patience taught, by perseverance crown'd,
She rears her head majestic; round her throne,
Erected in the bosom of the just,

Each virtue, listed, forms her manly guard.
For what are virtues? (formidable name!
What, but the fountain, or defence, of joy?
Why, then, commanded? Need mankind commands.
At once to merit, and to make, their bliss ?
Great Legislator! scarce so great, as kind!
If men are rational, and love delight,
Thy gracious law but flatters human choice;
In the transgression lies the penalty;
And they the most indulge, who most obey.
Of pleasure, next, the final cause explore;
Its mighty purpose, its important end.
Not to turn human brutal, but to build
Divine on human, pleasure came from Heaven.
In aid to reason was the goddess sent;
To call up all its strength by such a charm.
Pleasure, first, succors virtue; in return,
Virtue gives pleasure an eternal reign.
What, but the pleasure of food, friendship, faith,
Supports life natural, civil, and divine?
'Tis from the pleasure of repast, we live;
"Tis from the pleasure of applause, we please;
'Tis from the pleasure of belief, we pray;
(All prayer would cease, if unbeliev'd the prize ;)
It serves ourselves, our species, and our God;
And to serve more, is past the sphere of man.
Glide, then, for ever, pleasure's sacred stream!
Through Eden, as Euphrates ran, it runs,
And fosters every growth of happy life;
Makes a new Eden where it flows;-but such
As must be lost, Lorenzo! by thy fall.

[ocr errors]

What mean I by thy fall?”—Thou 'lt shortly see,
While pleasure's nature is at large display'd;
Already sung her origin, and ends.
Those glorious ends, by kind, or by degree,
When pleasure violates, 'tis then a vice,
And vengeance too; it hastens into pain.
From due refreshment, life, health, reason, joy;
From wild excess, pain, grief, distraction, death;
Heaven's justice, this proclaims, and that her love
What greater evil can I wish my foe,
Than his full draught of pleasure, from a cask
Unbroach'd by just authority, ungaug'd
By temperance, by reason unrefin'd?

A thousand demons lurk within the lee.
Heaven, others, and ourselves! uninjur'd these,
Drink deep; the deeper, then, the more divine:

Angels are angels, from indulgence there;
Tis unrepenting pleasure makes a god.

Dost think thyself a god from other joys?
A victim rather! shortly sure to bleed.

The wrong must mourn: can Heaven's appointments fail?

Can man outwit Omnipotence? Strike out
A self-wrought happiness unmeant by him
Who made us, and the world we would enjoy?
Who forms an instrument, ordains from whence
Its dissonance, or harmony, shall rise.

Heaven bade the soul this mortal frame inspire:
Bade virtue's ray divine inspire the soul
With unprecarious flows of vital joy;
And, without breathing, man as well might hope
For life, as without piety, for peace.

"Is virtue, then, and piety the same?"
No; piety is more; 'tis virtue's source;
Mother of every worth, as that of joy.
Men of the world this doctrine ill digest:
They smile at piety; yet boast aloud
Good-will to men; nor know they strive to part
What nature joins; and thus confute themselves.
With piety begins all good on Earth;

Tis the first-born of rationality.
Conscience, her first law broken, wounded lies;
Enfeebled, lifeless, impotent to good;

A feign'd affection bounds her utmost power.
Some we can't love, but for the Almighty's sake;
A foe to God was ne'er true friend to man;
Some sinister intent taints all he does;
And, in his kindest actions, he's unkind.
On piety, humanity is built;
And on humanity, much happiness;
And yet still more on piety itself.

A soul in commerce with her God is Heaven;
Feels not the tumults and the shocks of life;
The whirls of passions, and the strokes of heart.
A Deity believ'd, is joy begun;

A Deity ador'd, is joy advanc'd;

A Deity belov'd, is joy matur'd.
Each branch of piety delight inspires;

Faith builds a bridge from this world to the next,
O'er death's dark guif, and all its horror hides;
Praise, the sweet exhalation of our joy,
That joy exalts, and makes it sweeter still;
Prayer ardent opens Heaven, lets down a stream
Of glory on the consecrated hour
Of man, in audience with the Deity.
Who worships the Great God, that instant joins
The first in Heaven, and sets his foot on Hell.

Lorenzo! when wast thou at church before?
Thou think'st the service long but is it just?
Though just, unwelcome; thou hadst rather tread
Unhallow'd ground; the Muse, to win thine ear,
Must take an air less solemn. She complies.
Good conscience! at the sound the world retires;
Verse disaffects it, and Lorenzo smiles;
Yet has she her seraglio full of charms;
And such as age shall heighten, not impair.
Art thou dejected? Is thy mind o'ercast?
Amid her fair-ones, thou the fairest choose,

To chase thy gloom.-"Go, fix some weighty truth;
Chain down some passion; do some generous good;
Teach ignorance to see, or grief to smile;
Correct thy friend; befriend thy greatest foe;
Or with warm heart, and confidence divine, [thee."
Spring up, and lay strong hold on him who made
Thy gloom is scatter'd, sprightly spirits flow;
Though wither'd is thy vine, and harp unstrung.

Dost call the bowl, the viol, and the dance,
Loud mirth, mad laughter? Wretched comforters!
Physicians! more than half of thy disease.
Laughter, though never censur'd yet as sin,
(Pardon a thought that only seems severe,)
Is half-immoral; is it much indulg'd?
By venting spleen, or dissipating thought,
It shows a scorner, or it makes a fool;
And sins, as hurting others, or ourselves.
"Tis pride, or emptiness, applies the straw,
That tickles little minds to mirth effuse!
Of grief approaching, the portentous sign!
The house of laughter makes a house of woe.
A man triumphant is a monstrous sight;
A man dejected is a sight as mean.

What cause for triumph, where such ills abound?
What for dejection, where presides a power,
Who call'd us into being to be blest?
So grieve, as conscious grief may rise to joy;
So joy, as conscious joy to grief may fall.
Most true, a wise man never will be sad;
But neither will sonorous, bubbling mirth,
A shallow stream of happiness betray:
Too happy to be sportive, he's serene.

Yet wouldst thou laugh (but at thy own expense), This counsel strange should I presume to giveRetire, and read thy Bible, to be gay."

[ocr errors]

There truths abound of sovereign aid to peace;
Ah! do not prize them less, because inspir'd,
As thou, and thine, are apt and proud to do.
If not inspir'd, that pregnant page had stood,
Time's treasure; and the wonder of the wise!
Thou think'st, perhaps, thy soul alone at stake;
Alas! Should men mistake thee for a fool;—
What man of taste for genius, wisdom, truth,
Though tender of thy fame, could interpose?
Believe me, sense, here, acts a double part,
And the true critic is a Christian too.

But these, thou think'st, are gloomy paths to joy.
True joy in sun-shine ne'er was found at first;
They, first, themselves offend, who greatly please;
And travel only gives us sound repose.
Heaven sells all pleasure; effort is the price;
The joys of conquest are the joys of man;
And glory the victorious laurel spreads
O'er pleasure's pure, perpetual, placid stream.
There is a time, when toil must be preferr'd,
Or joy, by mistim'd fondness, is undone.
A man of pleasure is a man of pains.
Thou wilt not take the trouble to be blest.
False joys, indeed, are born from want of thought.
From thoughts full bent, and energy, the true;
And that demands a mind in equal poise,
Remote from gloomy grief and glaring joy.
Much joy not only speaks small happiness,
But happiness that shortly must expire.
Can joy, unbottom'd in reflection, stand?
And, in a tempest, can reflection live?
Can joy, like thine, secure itself an hour?
Can joy, like thine, meet accident unshock'd?
Or ope the door to honest poverty?

Or talk with threatening death, and not turn pale?
In such a world, and such a nature, these
Are needful fundamentals of delight;
These fundamentals give delight indeed;
Delight, pure, delicate, and durable;
Delight, unshaken, masculine, divine ;
A constant, and a sound, but serious jcy.
Is joy the daughter of severity ?
It is yet far my doctrine from severe.

Rejoice for ever!" it becomes a man: Exalts, and sets him nearer to the gods.

[ocr errors]

'Rejoice for ever!" Nature cries, "Rejoice!" And drinks to man, in her nectareous cup, Mixt up of delicates for every sense;

To the great Founder of the bounteous feast,
Drinks glory, gratitude, eternal praise;
And he that will not pledge her, is a churl.
Ill firmly to support, good fully taste,
Is the whole science of felicity:

Yet sparing pledge: her bowl is not the best
Mankind can boast.-"A rational repast;
Exertion, vigilance, a mind in arms,
A military discipline of thought,

To foil temptation in the doubtful field;
And ever-waking ardor for the right."

"Tis these first give, then guard, a cheerful heart.
Nought that is right, think little; well aware,
What reason bids, God bids; by his command
How aggrandiz'd, the smallest thing we do!
Thus, nothing is insipid to the wise:
To thee, insipid all, but what is mad;
Joys season'd high, and tasting strong of guilt.
Mad!" (thou reply'st, with indignation fir'd)
"Of ancient sages proud to tread the steps,
I follow nature."-Follow nature still,
But look it be thine own is conscience, then,
No part of nature? Is she not supreme?
Thou regicide! O raise her from the dead!
Then follow nature, and resemble God.

[ocr errors]

When, spite of conscience, pleasure is pursued, Man's nature is unnaturally pleas'd; And what's unnatural is painful too

At intervals, and must disgust e'en thee!

The fact thou know'st; but not, perhaps, the cause.
Virtue's foundations with the world's were laid;
Heaven mixt her with our make, and twisted close
Her sacred interests with the strings of life.
Who breaks her awful mandate, shocks himself,
Iis better self; and is it greater pain,
Our soul should murmur, or our dust repine?
And one, in their eternal war, must bleed.

If one must suffer, which should least be spar'd?
The pains of mind surpass the pains of sense:
Ask, then, the gout, what torment is in guilt.
The joys of sense to mental joys are mean:
Sense on the present only feeds; the soul
On past, and future, forages for joy.
"Tis hers, by retrospect, through time to range;
And forward time's great sequel to survey.
Could human courts take vengeance on the mind,
Axes might rust, and racks and gibbets fall:
Guard then thy mind, and leave the rest to fate.
Lorenzo! wilt thou never be a man?
The man is dead, who for the body lives,
Lur'd, by the beating of his pulse, to list
With every lust that wars against his peace:
And sets him quite at variance with himself.
Thyself, first, know; then love: a self there is
Of virtue fond, that kindles at her charms.
A self there is, as fond of every vice,
While every virtue wounds it to the heart:
Humility degrades it, justice robs,
Blest bounty beggars it, fair truth betrays,
And godlike magnanimity destroys.
This self, when rival to the former, scorn;
When not in competition, kindly treat;
Defend it, feed it :-but when virtue bids,
Toss it or to the fowls, or to the flames.

And why? Tis love of pleasure bids thee bleed; Comply, or own self-love extinct, or blind.

For what is vice? Self-love in a mistake:
A poor blind merchant buying joys too dear.
And virtue, what? "Tis self-love in her wits,
Quite skilful in the market of delight.
Self-love's good sense is love of that dread power
From whom herself, and all she can enjoy.
Other self-love is but disguis'd self-hate;
More mortal than the malice of our foes;
A self-hate, now, scarce felt; then felt full-sore,
When being curst; extinction, loud implor'd;
And every thing preferr'd to what we are.

Yet this self-love Lorenzo makes his choice:
And, in this choice triumphant, boasts of joy.
How is his want of happiness betray'd,
By disaffection to the present hour!
Imagination wanders far afield:

The future pleases: why? The present pains-
"But that's a secret." Yes, which all men know;
And know from thee, discover'd unawares.
Thy ceaseless agitation, restless roll
From cheat to cheat, impatient of a pause;
What is it?'Tis the cradle of the soul,
From instinct sent, to rock her in disease,
Which her physician, reason, will not cure.
A poor expedient! yet thy best; and while
It mitigates thy pain, it owns it too.

Such are Lorenzo's wretched remedies!
The weak have remedies; the wise have joys.
Superior wisdom is superior bliss.

And what sure mark distinguishes the wise?
Consistent wisdom ever wills the same;
Thy fickle wish is ever on the wing.
Sick of herself, is folly's character;
As wisdom's is, a modest self-applause.
A change of evils is thy good supreme;
Nor, but in motion, canst thou find thy rest.
Man's greatest strength is shown in standing still
The first sure symptom of a mind in health
Is rest of heart, and pleasure felt at home.
False pleasure from abroad her joys imports;
Rich from within, and self-sustain'd, the true;
The true is fixt, and solid as a rock;
Slippery the false, and tossing, as the wave.
This, a wild wanderer on Earth, like Cain;
That, like the fabled, self-enamour'd boy,
Home-contemplation her supreme delight;
She dreads an interruption from without,
Smit with her own condition; and the more
Intense she gazes, still it charms the more.

No man is happy, till he thinks, on Earth
There breathes not a more happy than himself:
Then envy dies, and love o'erflows on all;
And love o'erflowing makes an angel here.
Such angels, all, entitled to repose

On him who governs fate: though tempest frowns,
Though nature shakes, how soft to lean on Heave!
To lean on him, on whom archangels lean!
With inward eyes, and silent as the grave,
They stand collecting every beam of thought,
Till their hearts kindle with divine delight;
For all their thoughts, like angels, seen of old
In Israel's dream, come from, and go to, Heaven
Hence, are they studious of sequester'd scenes.
While noise, and dissipation, comfort thee.
Were all men happy, revellings would cease,
That opiate for inquietude within.
Lorenzo! never man was truly blest,

[ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »