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My soul's ambition, pleasure, wealth my world! This mouldering, old, partition-wall throw down!
Great future! glorious patron of the past,
And present! when shall I thy shrine adore ?
From Nature's continent, immensely wide,
Divides us. Happy day! that breaks our chain; Knew I the name devout archangels use,
That manumits; that calls from exile home;
Who hears our Advocate, and, through his wounds
That touch wbich touch'd not angels; more divine Too big for birih! to favor, and confound!
Than that which touch'd confusion into form, To challenge, and to distance all return!
And darkness into glory : partial touch! of lavish love stupendous heights to soar, Ineffably pre-eminent regard ! And leave praise panting in the distant vale! Sacred io man, and sovereign through the whole Thy right, too great, defrauds thee of thy due; Long golden chain of miracles, which hangs And sacrilegious our sublimest song.
From Heaven through all duration, and supports But since the naked will obtains thy smile, In one illustrious and amazing plan, Beneath this monument of praise unpaid, Thy welfare. Nature ! and thy God's renown; And future life symphonious to my strain,
That touch, with charm celestial, heals the soul (That noblest hymn to Heaven!) for ever lie Diseas'd, drives pain from guilt, lights life in death, Intomb’d my fear of death! and every fear, Turns Earth to Heaven, to heavenly thrones transThe dread of every evil, but thy frown.
forms Whom see I, yonder, so demurely smile ? The ghastly ruins of the mouldering tomb. Laughter a labor, and might break their rest.
Dost ask me when ? When he who died returns; Ye quietists, in homage to the skies!
Returns, how chang'd! Where then the man of Serene! of soft address! who mildly make
woe? An unobtrusive tender of your hearts,
In glory's terrors all the Godhead burns;
And all his courts, exhausted by the tide
Of pomp, and multitude; a radiant band
Nature is Christian ; preaches to mankind;
And bids dead matter aid us in our creed. Oh ye cold-hearted, frozen formalists !
Hast thou ne'er seen the comet's flaming flight ? On such a theme, 'tis impious to be calm; Th' illustrious stranger, passing, terror sheds Passion is reason, transport temper, here.
On gazing nations ; from his fiery train Shall Heaven, which gave us ardor, and has shown Of length enormous, takes his ample round Her own for man so strongly, not disdain
Through depths of ether; coasts unnumber'd worlds, What smooth emollients in theology,
Of more than solar glory; doubles wide Recumbent virtue's downy doctors, preach; Heaven's mighty cape: and then revisits Earth, That prose of piety, a lukewarm praise ?
From the long travel of a thousand years. Rise odors sweet from incense uninflam'd? Thus, at the destin'd period, shall return Devotion, when lukewarm, is undevout;
He, once on Earth, who bids the comet blaze : But when it glows, its heat is struck to Heaven; And, with him, all our triumph o'er the tomb. To human hearts her golden harps are strung;
Nature is dumb on this important point; High Heaven's orchestra chants amen to man. Or hope precarious in low whisper breathes ;
Hear I, or dream I hear, their distant strain, Faith speaks aloud, distinct ; e'en adders hear: Sweet to the soul, and tasting strong of Heaven, But turn, and dart into the dark again. Sofl-wasted on celestial pity's plume,
Faith builds a bridge across the gulf of Death, Through the vast spaces of the universe,
To break the shock blind Nature cannot shun, To cheer me in this melancholy gloom?
And lands thought smoothly on the further shore. Oh when will Death (now stingless,) like a friend, Death's terror is the mountain faith removes ; Admit me of their choir ? O when will Death! That mountain barrior between man and peace.
"Tis failh disarms destruction ; and absolves Know ye how wise your choice, how great your gain ? From every clamorous charge, the guilıless tomb. Behold the picture of Earth's happiest man:
Why disbelieve? Lorenzo " Reason bids, - He calls his wish, it comes; he sends it back, All-sacred Reason."-Hold her sacred still ; And says, he call’d another; that arrives, Nor shalt thou want a rival in thy flame :
Meets the same welcome; yet he still calls on ; All-sacred reason ! source, and soul, of all
Till one calls him, who varies not his call, Demanding praise, on Earth, or Earth above ! But holds him fast, in chains of darkness bound, My heart is thine : deep in its inmost folds, Till Nature dies, and judgment sets bim free; Live thou with life; live dearer of the two. A freedom far less welcome ihan his chain." Wear I the blessed cross, by fortune stamp'd
But grant man happy ; grant him happy long : On passive Nature, before thought was born ? Add to life's highest prize her latest hour; My birth's blind bigot! fir'd with local zeal! That hour, so late, is nimble in approach, No! Reason re-baptiz'd me when adult;
That, like a post, comes on in full career : Weigh'd true and false, in her impartial scale ; How swift the shuttle flies, that weaves thy shroud! My heart became the convert of my head,
Where is the fable of thy former years? And made that choice, which once was but my fate. Thrown down the gulf of time; as far from thee “On argument alone my faith is built;"
As they had ne'er been thine ; the day in hand, Reason pursu'd is faith ; and unpursued
Like a bird struggling to get loose, is going ;
Fond as we are, and justly fond, of faith, Bathing for ever in the font of bliss !
Lorenzo! who ?-Thy concience shall reply.
O give it leave to speak ; 'twill speak ere long. The fading flower shall die; but reason lives Thy leave unask'd: Lorenzo! hear it now, Immortal, as her father in the skies.
While useful its advice, its accent mild. When faith is virtue, reason makes it so.
By the great edict, the divine decree, Wrong not the Christian ; think not reason yours : Truth is deposited with man's last hour ; "Tis reason our great Master holds so dear; An honest hour, and faithful to her trust . 'Tis reason's injur'd rights his wrath resents ; Truth, eldest daughter of the Deity ; 'Tis reason's voice obey'd his glories crown; Truth, of his council, when he made the worlds ; To give lost rcason life, he pour'd his own : Nor less, when he shall judge the worlds he made Believe, and show the reason of a man;
Though silent long, and sleeping ne'er so sound, Believe, and taste the pleasure of a God ! Smother'd with errors, and opprest with joys, Believe, and look with triumph on the tomb: That Heaven-commission'd hour no sooner calls Through reason's wounds alone thy faith can die; But, from her cavern in the soul's abyss, Which dying, tenfold terror gives to death, Like him they fable under Etna whelm'd, And dips in venom his twice-mortal sting.
The goddess bursts, in thunder, and in fame; Learn bence what honors, what loud pæans, due Loudly convinces, and severely pains. To those, who push our antidote aside;
Dark demons I discharge, and hydra stings ; Those boasted friends to reason and to man, The keen vibration of bright truth—is Hell: Whose fatal love stabs every joy, and leaves Just definition! though by schools untaught. Death's terror heighten'd, gnawing on his heart. Ye deaf to truth! peruse this parson'd page, These pompous sons of reason idoliz'd
And trust, for once, a prophet, and a priest ; And vilified at once; of reason dead,
· Men may live fools, but fools they cannot die.” Then deified, as monarchs were of old; What conduct plants proud laurels on their brow? While love of truth through all their camp resounds, They draw Pride's curtain o'er the noontide ray,
NIGHT THE FIFTH.
TO THE RIGHT HON. THE EARL OF LITCHFIELD. “ Behold the Sun:" and, Indian-like, adore.
Talk they of morals ? O thou bleeding Love ! LORENZO! to recriminate is just. Thou maker of new morals to mankind !
Fondness for fame is avarice of air. The grand morality is love of thee.
grant the man is vain who writes for praise, As wise as Socrates, if such they were,
Praise no man e'er deserv'd, who sought no more. (Nor will they 'bate of that sublime renown)
As just thy second charge. I grant the Muse As wise as Socrates, might justly stand
Has often blush'd at her degenerate sons,
Retain'd by sense to plead her filthy cause ;
As if to magic numbers' powerful charm
'Twas given, to make a civet of their song The wretch they quit, desponding of their charge, Obscene, and sweeten ordure to perfume. More struck with grief or wonder, who can tell ? Wit, a true pagan, deifies the brute,
Ye sold to sense! ye citizens of Earth! And lifts our swine-enjoyments from the mire. (For such alone the Christian banner ay)
The fact notorious, nor obscure the cause,
We wear the chains of pleasure and of pride. And, feeling, give assent; and their assent These share the man ; and these distract him too; Is ample recompense ; is more than praise. Draw different ways, and clash in their commands. But chiefly thine, O Litchfield ! por mistake; Pride, like an eagle, builds among the stars,
Think not unintroduc'd I force my way; But pleasure, lark-like, nests upon the ground. Narcissa, not unknown, not unallied, Joys shar'd by brute-creation, pride resents; By virtue, or by blood, illustrious youth ! Pleasure embraces; man would both enjoy, To thee, from blooming amaranthine bowers, And both at once: a point how hard to gain! Where all the language harmony, descends But, what can't wit, when stung by strong desire ? Uncall’d, and asks admittance for the Muse :
Wit dares attempt this arduous enterprise. A Muse that will not pain thee with thy praise ; Since joy of sense can't rise to reason's taste; Thy praise she drops, by nobler still inspir'd. In subtle sophistry's laborious forge,
O thou! Blest Spirit! whether the supreme, Wit hammers out a reason new, that stoops
Great antemundane Father! in whose breast To sordid scenes, and meets them with applause. Embryo creation, unborn being, dwelt, Wit calls the graces the chaste zone to loose ; And all its various revolutions rollid Nor less than a plump god to fill the bowl: Present, though future; prior to themselves; A thousand phantoms, and a thousand spells, Whose breath can blow it into nought again; A thousand opiates scatters, to delude,
Or, from his throne some delegated power, To fascinate, inebriate, lay asleep,
Who, studious of our peace, dost turn the thought And the fool'd mind delightfully confound. [more; From vain and vile, to solid and sublime ! Thus that which shock'd the judgment, shocks no Unseen thou lead'st me to delicious draughts That which gave pride offence, no more offends. Of inspiration, from a purer stream, Pleasure and pride, by nature mortal foes,
And fuller of the god, than that which burst At war eternal, which in man shall reign,
From fam'd Castalia: nor is yet allay'd By wit's address, patch up a fatal peace,
My sacred thirst; though long my soul has rangd And hand in hand lead on the rank debauch, Through pleasing paths of moral and divine, From rank, refin'd to delicate and gay.
By thee sustain'd, and lighted by the stars. Art, cursed art! wipes off th' indebted blush By them best lighted are the paths of thought ; From Nature's cheek, and bronzes every shame. Nights are their days, their most illumin'd hours. Man siniles in ruin, glories in his guilt,
By day, the soul, o'erborne by life's career, And infamy stands candidate for praise.
Stunn'd by the din, and giddy with the glare, All writ by man in favor of the soul,
Reels far from reason, jostled by the throng. The sensual ethics far, in bulk, transcend.
By day the soul is passive, all her thoughts The flowers of eloquence, profusely pour'd Impos'd, precarious, broken ere mature. O'er spotted vice, fill half the letter'd world. By night, from objects free, from passion cool, Can powers of genius exorcise their page, Thoughts uncontrolld, and unimpress'd, the births And consecrate enormities with song ?
of pure election, arbitrary range, But let not these inexpiable strains
Not to the limits of one world confin'd;
Let Indians, and the gay, like Indians, fond
Darkness has more divinity for me ; To visit being universal there,
It strikes thought inward; it drives back the soul And being's Source, that utmost flight of mind! To settle on herself our point supreme ! Yet, spite of this so vast circumference,
There lies our theatre! there sits our judge. Well knows, but what is moral, nought is great. Darkness the curtain drops o'er life's dull scene ; Sing syrens only? Do not angels sing?
'Tis the kind hand of Providence stretch'd out There is in poesy a decent pride,
'Twixt man and vanity; 'tis reason's reign, Which well becomes her when she speaks to prose, And virtue's too; these tutelary shades Her younger sister; haply, not more wise.
Are man's asylum from the tainted throng. Think'st thou, Lorenzo! to find pastimes here? Night is the good man's friend, and guardian too; No guilty passion blown into a flame,
It no less rescues virtue, than inspires. No foible flatter'd, dignity disgrac'd,
Virtue, for ever frail, as fair, below, No fairy field of fiction, all on flower,
Her tender nature suffers in the crowd, No rainbow colors, here, or silken tale:
Nor touches on the world, without a stain : But solemn counsels, images of awe,
The world 's infectious; few bring back at eve, Truths, which eternity lets fall on man
Immaculate, the manners of the morn. With double weight, through these revolving spheres, Something we thought, is blotted! we resolo'd, This death-deep silence, and incumbent shade : Is shaken; we renounc'd, returns again. Thoughts, such as shall revisit your last hour; Each salutation may slide in a sin Visit uncall’d, and live when life expires;
Unthought before, or fix a former flaw. And thy dark pencil, midnight! darker still Nor is it strange: light, motion, concourse, noise, In melancholy dipt, embrowns the whole.
All, scatter us abroad; though outward bound, Yet this, even this, my laughter-loving friends! Neglectful of our home affairs, flies off Lorenzo! and thy brothers of the smile!
In fume and dissipation, quits her charge,
Strikes, like a pestilence, from breast to breast ; The blush of weakness to the bane of woe.
The noblest spirit, fighting her hard fate,
In this damp, dusty region, charg'd with storms, From smiling man. A slight, a single glance, But feebly flutters, yet untaught to fly; And shot at random, often has brought home Or, flying, short her flight, and sure her fall. A sudden fever to the throbbing heart,
Our utmost strength, when down, to rise again; Of envy, rancor, or impure desire.
And not to yield, though beaten, all our praise. We see, we hear, with peril; safety dwells
'Tis vain to seek in men for more than man. Remote from multitude; the world's a school Though proud in promise, big in previous thought, of wrong. and what proficients swarm around ! Experience damps our triumph. I who late, We must or imitate ; or disapprove;
Emerging from the shadows of the grave, Must list as their accomplices, or foes ;
Where grief detain'd me prisoner, mounting high, Thal stains our innocence; this wounds our peace. Threw wide the gates of everlasting day, From Nature's birth, hence, wisdom has been smit And call'd mankind to glory, shook off pain, With sweet recess, and languish'd for the shade. Mortality shook off, in eiher pure,
This sacred shade, and solitude, what is it? And struck the stars ; now feel my spirits fail ; 'Tis the fell presence of the Deity.
They drop me from the zenith ; down I rush, Few are the faults we flatter when alone,
Like him whom fable fledg'd with waxen wings, Vice sinks in her allurements, is ungilt:
In sorrow drown'd--but not in sorrow lost. And looks, like other objects, black by night. How wretched is the man who never mourn'd! By night an atheist half-believes a God.
I dive for precious pearl in sorrow's stream: Night is fair virtue's immemorial friend; Not so the thoughtless man that only grieves; The conscious Moon, through every distant age, Takes all the torment, and rejects the gain, Has held a lamp to wisdom, and let fall,
(Inestimable gain !) and gives Heaven leave On contemplation's eye, her purging ray.
To make him but more wretched, not more wise. The fam'd Athenian, he who woo'd from Heaven If wisdom is our lesson (and what else Philosophy the fair, to dwell with men,
Ennobles man? what else have angels learnt ?) And form their manners, not inflame their pride, Grief! more proficients in thy school are made, While o'er his head, as fearful to molest
Than genius, or proud learning, e'er could boast. His laboring mind, the stars in silence slide, Voracious learning, often over-fed, And seem all gazing on their future guest, Digests not into sense her motley meal. See him soliciting his ardent suit
This book-case, with dark booty almost burst, In private audience : all the livelong night, This forager on others' wisdom, leaves Rigid in thought, and motionless, he stands; Her native farm, her reason, quite untillid. Nor quits his theme, or posture, till the Sun With mixt manure she surseits the rank soil, (Rude drunkard rising rosy from the main !) Dung'd, but not dress'd ; and rich to beggary. Disturbs his nobler intellectual beam,
A pomp untamable of weeds prevails. And gives him to the tumult of the world. Her servant's wealth, encumber'd wisdom mourns. Hail, precious moments! stol'n from the black waste And what says genius? “ Let the dull be wise." Of murder'd time! Auspicious midnight! hail! Genius, too hard for right, can prove it wrong; The world excluded, every passion husht,
And loves to boast, where blush men less inspir'd. And open'd a calm intercourse with Heaven, It pleads exemption from the laws of sense ; Here the soul sits in council; ponders past, Considers reason as a leveller; Predestines future action ; sees, not feels,
And scorns to share a blessing with the crowd. Tumultuous life, and reasons with the storm : That wise it could be, thinks an ample claim All her lies answers, and thinks down her charms. To glory, and to pleasure gives the rest. What awful joy! what mental liberty !
Crassus but sleeps, Ardelio is undone. I am not pent in darkness ; rather say,
Wisdom less shudders at a fool, than wit. (If not loo bold,) in darkness I'm embower'd.
But wisdom smiles, when humbled mortals weep. Delightful gloom! the clustering thoughts around When sorrow wounds the breast, as plows the Spontaneous rise, and blossom in the shade ;
glebe, But droop by day, and sicken in the sun.
And hearts obdurate feel her softening shower; Thought borrows light elsewhere; from that first fire, Her seed celestial, then, glad wisdom sows; Fountain of animation! whence descends
Her golden harvest triumphs in the soil. Urania, my celestial guest! who deigns
If so, Narcissa! welcome my Relapse ; Nightly to visit me, so mean; and now,
I'll raise a tax on my calamity, Conscious how needful discipline to man,
And reap rich compensation from my pain. From pleasing dalliance with the charms of night I'll range the plenteous intellectual field; My wandering thought recalls, to what excites And gather every thought of sovereign power Far other beat of heart! Narcissa's tomb!
To chase the moral maladies of man; Or is it feeble Nature calls me back,
Thoughts, which may bear transplanting to the skies, And breaks my spirit into grief again?
Though natives of this coarse penurious soil: Is it a Stygian vapor in my blood ?
Nor wholly wither there, where seraphs sing, A cold, slow puddle, creeping through my veins ? Refin'd, exalted, not annullid, in Heaven. Or is it thus with all men ?-Thus with all. Reason, the sun that gives them birth, the same What are we? How unequal! Now we soar, In either clime, though more illustrious there. And now we sink: to be the same, transcends These choicely cull’d, and elegantly rangd, Our present prowess. Dearly pays the soul Shall form a garland for Narcissa's tomb; For lodging ill; too dearly rents her clay.
And, peradventure, of no fading flowers. Reason, a baffled counsellor! but adds
Say on what themes shall puzzled choice descand ?
For that who thrones can offer, offer thrones; Insolvent worlds the purchase cannot pay. “ Oh let me die his death!" all Nature cries. " Then live his life."-All Nature falters there. Our great physician daily to consult, To commune with the grave, our only cure.
What grave prescribes the best ?-A friend's;
• Th’importance of contemplating the tomb;
And, first, th’importance of our end survey d.
The man how blest, who, sick of gaudy scenes, (Scenes apt to thrust between us and ourselves !) Is led by choice to take his favorite walk, Beneath death's gloomy, silent, cypress shades, Unpierc'd hy vanity's fantastic ray ; To read his monuments, lo weigh his dust, Visit his vaults, and dwell among the tombs! Lorenzo ! read with me Narcissa's stone; (Narcissa was thy favorite ! let us read Her moral stone! few doctors preach so well; Few orators so tenderly can touch The feeling heart. What pathos in the date ! Apt words can strike: and yet in them we see Faint images of what we, here, enjoy. What cause have we to build on length of life? Templations seize, when fear is laid asleep; And ill foreboded is our strongest guard.
See from her tomb, as from an humbler shrine, Truth, radiant goddess ! sallies on my soul, And puts Delusion's dusky train to flight; Dispels the mists our sultry passions raise, From objects low, terrestrial, and obscene : And shows the real estimate of things; Which no man, unafflicted, ever saw; Pulls off the veil from Virtue's rising charms; Detects Temptation in a thousand lies. Truth bids me look on men, as autumn leaves, And all they bleed for, as the summer's dust, Driven by the whirlwind : lighted by her beams, I widen my horizon, gain new powers, See things invisible, feel things remote, Am present with futurities; think nought To man so foreign, as the joys possest; Nought so much his, as those beyond the grave.
No folly keeps its color in her sight; Pale worldly wisdom loses all her charms; In pompous promise, from her schemes profound, If future fale she plans, 'tis all in leaves, Like Sibyl, unsubstantial, fleeting bliss ! At the first blast it vanishes in air. Not so, celestial : wouldst thou know, Lorenzo! How differ worldly wisdom, and divine ? Just as the waning, and the waxing Moon. More empty worldly wisdom every day; And every day more fair her rival shines. When later, there's less time to play the fool. Soon our whole term for wisdom is expird : (Thou know'st she calls no council in the grave:) And everlasting fool is writ in fire, Or real wisdom wafts us to the skies.
As worldly schemes resemble Sibyls' leaves, The good man's days 10 Sibyls' books compare, (In ancient story read, thou know'st the tale,) In price still rising, as in number less, Inestimable quite his final hour.
From a friend's grave how soon we disengage!
Is Death, that ever-threatening, ne'er remote,
Is it, that life has sown her joys so thick,
In the same brook none ever bath'd him twice:
We call the brook the same; the same we think
Is this the cause death fies all human thought?
Like him so strong, by Dalilah the fair ?
A dreadful friend it is, a terror kind,