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What most surprises in the sacred page,
Or full as strange, or stranger, must be true.
Faith is not reason's labour, but repose.
To faith and virtue why so backward, man? From hence; the present strongly strikes us all; 1430 The future, faintly can we, then, be men? If men, Lorenzo! the reverse is right. Reason is man's peculiar; sense the brute's. The present is the scanty realm of Sense; The future, Reason's empire unconfined : On that expending all her godlike power, She plans, provides, expatiates, triumphs, there: There builds her blessings! there expects her praise; And nothing asks of Fortune or of men. And what is Reason? be she thus defined; Reason is upright stature in the soul.
Oh! be a man,—and strive to be a god.
'For what?' (thou say'st) to damp the joys of life? No; to give heart and substance to thy joys. That tyrant, Hope, mark how she domineers; She bids us quit realities for dreams, Safety and peace for hazard and alarm. That tyrant o'er the tyrants of the soul, She Lids Ambition quit its taken prize, Spurn the luxuriant branch on which it sits, Though bearing crowns, to spring at distant game, And plunge in toils and dangers-for repose. If hope precarious, and of things, when gain'd, Of little moment and as little stay,
Can sweeten toils and dangers into joys;
What then that hope which nothing can defeat,
Our leave unask'd? rich hope of boundless bliss!
Bliss past man's power to paint it, Time's to close '
This hope is earth's most estimable prize;
This is man's portion, while no more than man: 1460
Hope, of all passions, most befriends us here;
Passions of prouder name befriends us less.
Joy has her tears, and transport has her death:
Hope, like a cordial, innocent though strong,
Man's heart, at once, inspirits and serenes,
Nor makes him pay his wisdom for his joys:
'Tis all our present state can safely bear,
Health to the frame! and vigour to the mind!
A joy attemper'd! a chastised delight!
Like the fair summer evening, mild and sweet! 1470
'Tis man's full cup, his paradise below!
A bless'd hereafter, then, or hoped or gain'd,
Is all, our whole of happiness! full proof
I chose no trivial or inglorious theme.
And know, ye foes to song! (well meaning men, 1475
Though quite forgotten* half your Bible's praise!)
Important truths, in spite of verse, may please :
Grave minds you praise, nor can you praise too much
If there is weight in an eternity,
Let the grave listen,—and be graver still
The poetic parts of it.
THE MAN OF THE WORLD ANSWERED.
IN WHICH ARE CONSIDERED,
THE LOVE OF THIS LIFE; THE AMBITION AND
PLEASURE, WITH THE WIT AND WISDOM,
OF THE WORLD.
AND has all Nature, then, espoused my part?
Have I bribed Heaven and Earth to plead against thee?
And is thy soul immortal ?---What remains?
All, all, Lorenzo !—make immortal bless'd.
Unbless'd immortals!--what can shock us more?
And yet Lorenzo still affects the world;
There stows his treasure; thence his title draws,
Man of the world! (for such wouldst thou be call'd
And art thou proud of that ingiorious style?
Proud of reproach? for a reproach it was,
In ancient days, and Christian,--in an age
When men were men, and not ashamed of Heaven,-
Fired their ainbition, as it crown'd their joy!
Sprinkled with dews from the Castalian font,
Fain would I rebaptize thee, and confer
A purer spirit, and a nobler name.
Thy fond attachments, fatal and inflamed,
Point out my path, and dictate to my song.
To thee the world how fair! how strongly strikes
Ambitior. and gay Pleasure stronger still!
Thy triple bane! the triple bolt, that lays
Thy virtue dead; be these my triple theme;
Nor shall thy wit or wisdom be forgot.
Common the theme; not so the song, if she
My song invokes, Urania' deigns to smile.
The cherm that chains us to the world, her foe,
If she dissolves, the man of earth, at once,
Starts from his trance, and sighs for other scenes;
Scenes, where these sparks of night, these stars, shall
Unnumber'd guns (for all things, as they are,
The bless'd behold,) and, in one glory, pour
Their blended blaze on man's astonish'd sight;
A blaze-the least illustrious object there.
Lorenzo since Eternal is at hand,
To swallow Time's ambitions; as the vast
Leviathan the bubbles vain that ride
High on the foaming billow; what avail
High titles, high descent, attainments high,
If unattain'd our highest? O Lorenzo !
What lofty thoughts, these elements above,
What towering hopes, what sallies from the Sun,
What grand surveys of destiny divine,
And pompous presage of unfathom'd fate,
Should roll in bosoms where a spirit burns,
Bound for Eternity! in bosoms read
By Him, who foibles in archangels sees!
On human hearts he bends a jealous eye,
And marks, and in Heaven's register enrols,
The rise and progress of each option there;
Sacred to Doomsday! that the page unfolds,
And spreads us to the gaze of gods and men.
And what an option, O Lorenzo! thine!
This world! and this, unrival'd by the skies!
A world where lust of pleasure, grandeur, gold,
Three demons that divide its realms between them, 55
With strokes alternate buffet to and fro
Man's restless heart, their sport, their flying ball;
Till, with the giddy circle sick and tired,
It pants for peace, and drops into despair.
Such is the world Lorenzo sets above
That glorious promise angels were esteem'd
Tco inean to bring; a promise their Adored
Descended to communicate, and press,
By counsel, miracle, life, death, on man.
Such is the world Lorenzo's wisdom woos,
And on its thorny pillow seeks repose;
A pillow which, like opiates ill prepared,
Intoxicates, but not composes; fills
The visionary mind with gay chimeras,
All the wild trash of sleep, without the rest:
What unfeign'd travel, and what dreams of joy!
How frail men, things! how momentary, both!
Fantastic chase, of shadows hunting shades!
The gay, the busy, equal, though unlike;
Equal in wisdom, differently wise!
Through flowery meadows, and through dreary wastes, One bustling, and one dancing, into death.
There's not a day but, to the man of thought,
Betrays some secret that throws new reproach
On life, and makes him sick of seeing more.
The scenes of business tell us What are men ;'
The scenes of pleasure- What is all beside :'
There others we despise; and here ourselves.
Amid disgust eternal dwells delight ?—
"Tis approbation strikes the string of joy.
What wondrous prize has kindled this career,
Stuns with the din, and chokes us with the dust,
On Life's gay stage, one iuch above the grave?
The proud run up and down in quest of eyes;
The sensual, in pursuit of something worse;
The grave, of gold; the politic, of power;
And all, of other butterflies as vain!
As eddies draw things frivolous and light,
How is man's heart by vanity drawn in!
On the swift circle of returning toys
Whirl'd, strawlike, round and round, and then ingulf'd,
Where gay delusion darkens to despair!
This is a beaten track.'--Is this a track
never beat enough,
Should not be beaten