Page images
PDF
EPUB

She'll sparkle, puzzle, flutter, raise a dust,
And fly conviction in the dust she raised.

Wit, how delicious to man's dainty taste!
"Tis precious as the vehicle of sense,
But, as its substitute, a dire disease.
Pernicious talent flatter'd by the world,
By the blind world, which thinks the talent rare.
Wisdom is rare, Lorenzo! wit abounds;
Passion can give it sometimes wine inspires
The lucky flash; and madness rarely fails.
Whatever cause the spirit strongly stirs
Confers the bays, and rivals thy renown.
For thy renown 'twere well was this the worst ;
Chance often hits it; and, to pique thee more,
See Dulness, blundering on vivacities,
Shakes her sage head at the calamity
Which has exposed, and let her down to thee.
But Wisdom, awful Wisdom! which inspects,
Discerns, coripares, weighs, separates, infers,
Scizes the right, and holds it to the last,
How rare in senates, synods, sought in vain ;
Or if there found, 'tis sacred to the few;
While a lewd prostitute to multitudes,
Frequent, as fatal, Wit. In civil life
Wit makes an enterpriser, Sense a man.
Wit hates authority, commotion loves,
And thinks herself the lightning of the storm.
In states 'tis dangerous; in religion, death.
Shall Wit turn Christian when the dull believe?
Sense is our helmet, Wit is but the plume,
The plume exposes, 'tis our helmet saves.
Sense is the diamond, weighty, solid, sound;
When cut by Wit it casts a brighter beam;
Yet Wit apart, it is a diamond still.
Wit, widow'd of good sense, is worse than nought;

1230

1235

1240

1245

1250

1255

1260

It hoists more sail to run against a rock.

Thus a half Chesterfield is quite a fool,

Whom dull fools scorn and bless their want of wit

1365

How ruinous the rock I warn thee shun,
Where sirens sit, to sing thee to thy fate!
A joy in which our reason bears no part,
Is but a sorrow, tickling ere it stings.
Let not the cooings of the world allure thee;
Which of her lovers ever found her true?
Happy! of this bad world who little know
And yet, we much must know her, to be safe.
To know the world, not love her, is thy point;
She gives but little, nor that little long.
There is, I grant, a triumph of the pulse,
A dance of spirits, a mere froth of joy,
Our thoughtless agitation's idle child,
That mantles high, that sparkles, and expires,
Leaving the soul more vapid than before;
An animal ovation! such as holds

1270

1275

1280

No commerce with our reason, but subsists

On juices, through the well toned tubes, well strain'd;

1286

A nice machine! scarce ever tuned aright;
And when it jars-thy sirens sing no more:
Thy dance is done; the demi-god is thrown
(Short apotheosis!) beneath the man,
In coward gloom immersed, or fell despair.
Art thou yet dull enough despair to dread,
And startle at destruction? if thou art,
Accept a buckler, take it to the field;
(A field of battle is this mortal life!)
When danger threatens, lay it on thy heart,
A single sentence proof against the world.
'Soul, body, fortune; every good pertains
To one of these; but prize not all alike;
The goods of fortune to thy body's health,
Body to soul, and soul submit to God'
Wouldst thou build lasting happiness? do this:
The' inverted pyramid can never stand.

Is this truth doubtful? it outshines the Sun;
Nay, the Sun shines not but to show us this,
The single lesson of mankind on earth:

1290

1295

1300

1305

[ocr errors]

And yet-yet what? No news! mankind is mad;
Such mighty numbers list against the right,
(And what can't numbers, when bewitch'd, achieve )
They talk themselves to something like belief
That all earth's joys are theirs; as Athens' fool 1310
Grinn'd from the port, on every sail his own.

They grin, but wherefore? and how long the laugh? Half ignorance their mirth, and half a lie.

To cheat the world, and cheat themselves, they smile: Hard either task! the most abandon'd own

1315

That others, if abandon'd, are undone :

Then for themselves, the moment Reason wakes,

(And Providence denies it long repose)

O how laborious is their gaiety!

They scarce can swallow their ebullient spleen, 1320
Scarce muster patience to support the farce,
And pump sad laughter till the curtain falls.
Scarce did I say? some cannot sit it out;
Oft their own daring hands the curtain draw,
And show us what their joy by their despair.

1325

The clotted hair! gored breast! blaspheming eye! Its impious fury still alive in death!

Shut, shut the shocking scene.-But Heaven denies
A cover to such guilt, and so should man.
Look round, Lorenzo! see the reeking blade
The' envenom'd phial, and the fatal ball;
The strangling cord, and suffocating stream;
The loathsome rottenness, and foul decays,
From raging riot, (slower suicides!)

And pride in these, more execrable still!
How horrid all to thought!-but horrors, these,
That vouch the truth, and aid my feeble song.

From vice, sense, fancy, no man can be bless'd .
Bliss is too great to lodge within an hour:
When an immortal being aims at bliss,
Duration is essential to the name.

O for a joy from reason! joy from that
Which makes man man, and, exercised aright,

1330

1335

1340

1345

Will make him more: a bounteous joy! that gives
And promises; that weaves, with art divine,
The richest prospect into present peace :
A joy ambitious! joy in common held
With thrones ethereal, and their greater far.
A joy high-privileged from chance, time, death!
A joy which death shall double, judgment crown
Crown'd higher, and still higher, at each stage,
Through bless'd Eternity's long day, yet still
Not more remote from sorrow than from him,
Whose lavish hand, whose love stupendous, pours
So much of Deity on guilty dust.

There, O my Lucia! may I meet thee there,
Where not thy presence can improve my bliss!
Affects not this the sages of the world?
Can nought affect them, but what fools them too?
Eternity, depending on an hour,
1360
Makes serious thought man's wisdom, joy, and praise.
Nor need you blush (though sometimes your designs
May shun the light) at your designs on Heaven;
Sole point! where overbashful is your blame.
Are

you not wise?-you know you are: yet hear 1365
One truth, amid your numerous schemes mislaid,
Or overlook'd, or thrown aside, if seen;
'Our schemes to plan by this world, or the next,
Is the sole difference between wise and fool.'
All worthy men will weigh you in this scale.
What wonder then, if they pronounce you light?
Is their esteem alone not worth your care?
Accept my simple scheme of common sense,
Thus save your fame, and make two worlds your own.
The world replies not ;-but the world persists, 1375
And puts the cause off to the longest day,
Planning evasions for the day of doom:
So far, at that rehearing, from redress,
They then turn witnesses against themselves.
Hear that, Lorenzo! nor be wise to-morrow.
Haste, haste'
a man, by nature, is in haste;

351

1355

1370

1380

For who shall answer for another hour?
Tis highly prudent to make one sure friend,
And that thou canst not do, this side the skies.

Ye sons of Earth! (nor willing to be more!) 1385
Since verse you think from priestcraft somewhat free,
Thus, in an age so gay, the Muse plain truths
(Truths which, at church, you might have heard in prose)
Has ventured into light, well pleased the verse
Should be forgot, if you the truths retain,
1390
And crown her with your welfare, not your praise.
But praise she need not fear: I see my fate,
And headlong leap, like Curtius, down the gulf.
Since many an ample volume, mighty tome,
Must die, and die unwept; O thou minute
Devoted page! go forth among thy foes;
Go, nobly proud of martyrdom for truth,
And die a double death: mankind, incensed,
Denies thee long to live; nor shalt thou rest
When thou art dead; in Stygian shades arraign'd
By Lucifer, as traitor to his throne,
And bold blasphemer of his friend,—the World!
The world, whose legions cost him slender pay,
And volunteers around his banner swarm;
Prudent, as Prussia in her zeal for Gaul.

1405

'Are all, then, fools?' Lorenzo cries.-Yes, all But such as hold this doctrine (new to thee,) 'The mother of true wisdom is the will:' The noblest intellect, a fool without it. World-wisdom much has done, and more may do, 1410 In arts and sciences, in wars and peace;

But art and science, like thy wealth, will leave thee,
And make thee twice a beggar at thy death.
This is the most indulgence can afford,—
'Thy wisdom all can do but-make thee wise.'
Kor think this censure is severe on thee:
Satan, thy master, I dare call a dunce.

1395

1401

1415

« EelmineJätka »