« EelmineJätka »
No fancied God; a God, indeed, descends,
To solve all knots; to strike the moral home;
To throw full day on darkest scenes of time;
To clear, commend, exalt, and crown the whole.
Hence, in one peal of loud, eternal praise,
The charm'd spectators thunder their applause,
And the vast void beyond applause resounds.
What then am I?-
Amidst applauding worlds,
And worlás celestial, is there found on earth
A peevish, dissonant, rebellious string,
Which jars in the grand chorus, and complains? 370
Censure on thee, Lorenzo! I suspend,
And turn it on myself; how greatly due!
All, all is right, by God ordain'd or done;
And who, but God, resumed the friends He gave ?
And have I been complaining, then, so long?
Complaining of his favours, pain and death?
Who, without Pain's advice, would e'er be good?
Who, without Death, but would be good in vain ?
Pain is to save from pain; all punishment
To make for peace; and death to save from death;
And second death to guard immortal life;
To rouse the careless, the presumptuous awe,
And turn the tide of souls another way;
By the same tenderness divine ordain'd
That planted Eden, and high-bloom'd for man
A fairer Eden, endless, in the skies.
Heaven gives us friends to bless the present scene;
Resumes them, to prepare us for the next.
All evils natural are moral goods;
All discipline indulgence, on the whole.
None are unhappy; all have cause to smile,
But such as to themselves that cause deny.
Our faults are at the bottom of our pains:
Error in act, or judgment, is the scurce
Of endless sighs. We sin, or we mistake;
And Nature tax, when false opinion stings.
Let impious grief be Danish'd, joy indulged;
But chiefly then, when Grief puts in her claim.
Joy from the joyous frequently betrays,
Oft lives in vanity, and dies in woe.
Joy amidst ills, corroborates, exalts;
'Tis joy and conquest; joy and virtue too.
A noble fortitude in ills delights
Heaven, earth, ourselves; 'tis duty, glory, peace!
Affliction is the good man's shining scene,
Prosperity conceals his brightest ray.
As night to stars, woe lustre gives to man.
Heroes in battle, pilots in the storm,
And virtue in calamities, admire.
The crown of manhood is a winter joy ;
An evergreen that stands the northern blast,
And blossoms in the rigour of our fate.
'Tis a prime part of happiness, to know
How much unhappiness must prove our lot;
A part which few possess! I'll pay life's tax,
Without one rebel murmur, from this hour,
Nor think it misery to be a man ;
Who thinks it is, shall never be a god.
Some ills we wish for, when we wish to live.
What spoke proud Passion?—'Wish my being lost?'* Presumptuous! blasphemous! absurd! and false ! 421 The triumph of my soul is,—that I am;
And therefore that I may be-what? Lorenzo !
Look inward, and look deep; and deeper still;
Unfathomably deep our treasure runs,
In golden veins, through all eternity
Ages, and ages, and succeeding still
New ages, where this phantom of an hour,
Which courts, each night, dull slumber for repair,
Shall wake, and wonder, and exult, and praise,
And fly through infinite, and all unlock;
And (if deserved) by Heaven's redundant love,
Made half-adorable itself, adore;
* Referring to the First Night
And find, in adoration, endless joy!
Where thou, not master of a moment here,
Frail as the flower, and fleeting as the gale,
Mayat boast a whole eternity, enrich'd
With all a kind Omnipotence can pour.
Since Adam fell, no mortal uninspired
Has ever yet conceived, or ever shall,
How kind is God, how great (if good) is man.
No man too largely from Heaven's love can hope,
If what is hoped he labours to secure.
Ills there are none: All gracious! none from From man full many! Numerous is the race Of blackest ills, and those immortal too,
Begot by Madness on fair Liberty,
Heaven's daughter, hell-debauch'd! her hand alone Unlocks destruction to the sons of men,
Fast barr'd by thine; high-wall'd with adamant, 450
Guarded with terrors reaching to this world,
And cover'd with the thunders of thy law,
Whose threats are mercies, whose injunctions guides,
Assisting, not restraining Reason's choice;
Whose sanctions, unavoidable results
From Nature's course, indulgently reveal'd;
If unreveal'd, more dangerous, nor less sure.
Thus an indulgent father warns his sons,
'Do this, fly that ;'-nor always tells the cause;
Pleased to reward, as duty to his will,
A conduct needful to their own repose.
Great God of wonders! (if, thy love survey'd,
Aught else the name of wonderful retains)
What rocks are these on which to build our trust!
Thy ways admit no blemish; none I find;
Or this alone,-That none is to be found :
Not one, to soften Censure's hardy crime;
Not one, to palliate peevish Grief's complaint,
Who, like a demon, murmuring from the dust,
Dares into judgment call her judge.-Supreme! 470
For all I bless Thee; most for the severe;
Her death*-my own at hand-the fiery gulf,
That flaming bound of wrath omnipotent!
It thunders;-but it thunders to preserve;
It strengthens what it strikes; its wholesome dread
Averts the dreaded pain its hideous groans
Join heaven's sweet hallelujahs in thy praise,
Great Source of good alone! how kind in all !
In vengeance kind! pain, death, Gehena, save!
Thus, in thy world material, mighty Mind!
Not that alone which solaces and shines,
The rough and gloomy, challenges our praise.
The winter is as needful as the spring;
The thunder as the sun. A stagnate mass
Of vapours breeds a pestilential air.
Nor more propitious the Favonian breeze
To Nature's health, than purifying storms.
The dread volcano ministers to good;
Its smother'd flames might undermine the world.
Loud Etnas fulminate in love to man:
Comets good omens are, when duly scann'd ;
And, in their use, eclipses learr to shine.
Man is responsible for ills received;
These we call wretched are a chosen band,
Compell'd to refuge in the right, for peace.
Amid my list of blessings infinite
Stand this the foremost, 'That my heart has bled.'
'Tis Heaven's last effort of good will to man.
When pain can't bless, Heaven quits us in despair!
Who fails to grieve, when just occasion calls,
Or grieves too much, deserves not to be bless'd;
Inhuman, or effeminate, his heart.
Reason absolves the grief which reason ends.
May Heaven ne'er trust my friend with happiness,
Till it has taught him how to bear it well
By previous pain, and made it safe to smile!
Such smiles are mine, and such may they remain,
Nor hazard their extinction from excess.
My change of heart a change of style demands;
The Consolation cancels the Complaint,
And makes a convert of my guilty song.
As when o'erlabour'd, and inclined to breathe, A panting traveller some rising ground, Some small ascent, has gain'd, he turns him round, And measures with his eye the various vale, The fields, woods, meads, and rivers, he has pass'd, And, satiate of his journey, thinks of home, Endear'd by distance, nor affects more toil; Thus I, though small, indeed, is that ascent 'The Muse has gain'd, review the paths she trod, 520 Various, extensive, beaten but by few; And, conscious of her prudence in repose, Pause, and with pleasure meditate an end, Though still remote; so fruitful is my theme. Through many a field of moral and divine The Muse has stray'd, and much of sorrow seen In human ways, and much of false and vain, Which none who travel this bad road can miss. O'er friends deceased full heartily she wept ; Of love divine the wonders she display'd; Proved man immortal; show'd the source of joy ; The grand tribunal raised; assign'd the bounds Of human grief. In few, to close the whole, The moral Muse has shadow'd out a sketch, Though not in form, nor with a Raphael stroke, 535 Of most our weakness needs believe or do,
In this our land of travail and of hope,
For peace on earth, or prospect of the skies.
What then remains? much! much! a mighty debt To be discharged. These thoughts, O Night! are thine; From thee they came, like lovers' secret sighs, While others siept. So Cynthia (poets feign,) In shadows veil'd, soft-sliding from her sphere, Her shepherd cheer'd; of her enamour'd less Than I of thee.-And art thou still unsung, Beneath whose brow. and by whose aid, I sing