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vinced of their immortality, are not far from being But why more woe? More comfort let it be, Christians. For it is hard to conceive, that a man, Nothing is dead, but that which wish'd to die; fully conscious eternal pain or happiness will cer- Nothing is dead, but wretchedness and pain; tainly be his lot, should not earnestly, and impar. Nothing is dead, but what encumber'd, galla, tially, inquire after the surest means of escaping Block'd up the pass, and barr'd from real life. one, and securing the other. And of such an Where dwells that wish most ardent of the wise! earnest and impartial inquiry, I well know the Too dark the Sun to see it; highest stars consequence.
Too low to reach it; Death, great Death alone, Here, therefore, in proof of this most fundamental O'er stars and Sun triumphant, lands us there.
truth, some plain arguments are offered ; argu Nor dreadful our transition ; though the mind, ments derived from principles which infidels admit An artist at creating self-alarms, in common with believers; arguments, which ap- Rich in expedients for inquietude, pear to me altogether irresistible ; and such as, Is prone to paint it dreadful. Who can take I am satisfied, will have great weight with all, Death's portrait true? The tyrant never sat. who give themselves the small trouble of looking Our sketch all random strokes, conjecture all ; seriously into their own bosoms, and of observing, Close shuts the grave, nor tells one single tale. with any tolerable degree of attention, what daily Death, and his image rising in the brain, passes round about them in the world. If some Bear faint resemblance; never are alike; arguments shall, here, occur, which others have Fear shakes the pencil; Fancy loves excess; declined, they are submitted, with all deference, Dark Ignorance is lavish of her shades : to better judgments in this, of all points the most And these the formidable picture draw. important For, as to the being of a God, that is But grant the worst; 'tis past; new prospects rise; no longer disputed; but it is undisputed for this And drop a veil eternal o'er her tomb. reason only; viz. because, where the least pre- Far other views our contemplation claim, tence to reason is admitted, it must for ever be Views that o'erpay the rigors of our life ; indisputable. And of consequence no man can be views that suspend our agonies in death. betrayed into a dispute of that nature by vanity ; Wrapt in the thought of immortality, which has a principal share in animating our mod- Wrapt in the single, the triumphant thought!
ern combatants against other articles of our belief. Long life might lapse, age unperceiv'd come on; SHE* (for I know not yet her name in Heaven)
And find the soul unsated with her theme. Not early, like Narcissa, left the scene;
Its nature, proof, importance, fire my song. Nor sudden, like Philander. What avail ?
O that my song could emulate my soul! This seeming mitigation but inflames;
Like her, immortal. No!-the soul disdains
A mark so mean; far nobler hope inflames;
If endless ages can outweigh an hour,
Let not the laurel, but the palm, inspire. "Tis the grim tyrant's engine, which extorts,
Thy nature, immortality! who knows? By tardy pressure's still increasing weight,
And yet who knows it not? It is but life
In stronger thread of brighter color spun,
And spun for ever; dipt by cruel fate
How short our correspondence with the Sun!
And while it lasts, inglorious! Our best deeds, There, fate my melancholy walk ordain'd,
How wanting in their weight! Our highest joys, Forbid self-love itself to fatter, there.
Small cordials to support us in our pain, How oft I gaz'd, prophetically sad !
And give us strength to suffer. But how great,
To mingle interests, converse amities,
With all the sons of reason, scatter'd wide
Through habitable space, wherever born, Like powerful armies trenching at a town,
Howe'er endow'd! To live free citizens By slow, and silent, but resistless sap,
Of universal Nature! To lay hold In his pale progress gently gaining ground,
By more than feeble faith on the Supreme ! Death urg'd his deadly siege; in spite of art,
To call Heaven's rich unfathomable mines of all the balmy blessings Nature lends
(Mines, which support archangels in their state) To succor frail humanity. Ye stars!
Our own! To rise in science, as in bliss,
Initiate in the secrets of the skies! (Not now first made familiar to my sight) And thou, O Moon! bear witness; many a night
To read creation ; read its mighty plan He tore the pillow from beneath my head,
In the bare bosom of the Deity! Tied down by sore attention to the shock,
The plan, and execution, to collate! By ceaseless depredations on a life
To see, before each glance of piercing thought, Dearer than that he left me. Dreadful post
All cloud, all shadow, blown remote; and leave of observation! darker every hour!
No mystery—but that of love divine, Less dread the day that drove me to the brink,
Which lifts us on the seraph's flaming wing, And pointed at eternity below;
From Earth's aceldama, this field of blood, When my soul shudder'd at futurity;
of inward anguish, and of outward ill, When, on a moment's point, th' important die
From darkness, and from dust, to such a scene ! Of life and death spun doubtful, ere it fell,
Love's element! true joy’s illustrious home! And turn'd up life; my title to more woe.
From Earth's sad contrast (now deplor'd) more fair'
What exquisite vicissitude of fate! * Referring to Night V.
Blest absolution of our blackest hour
Lorenzo, these are thoughts that make man, man, In endless voyage, without port? The least The wise illumine, aggrandize the great.
of these disseminated orbs, how great! How great, (while yet we tread the kindred clod, Great as they are, what numbers these surpass, And every moment fear to sink beneath
Huge, as leviathan, to that small race, The clod we tread; soon trodden by our sons) Those twinkling multitudes of little life, How great, in the wild whirl of time's pursuits, He swallows unperceiv'd ? Stupendous these! To stop, and pause, involvid in high presage, Yet what are these stupendous to the whole ! Through the long vista of a thousand years, As particles, as atoms ill perceiv'd ; To stand contemplating our distant selves,
As circulating globules in our veins ; As in a magnifying mirror seen,
So vast the plan. Fecundity divine ! Enlarg'd, ennobled, elevate, divine !
Exuberant source! perhaps, I wrong thee still. To prophesy our own futurities ;
If admiration is a source of joy, To gaze in thought on what all thought transcends! What transport hence! yet this the least in Heaven. To talk, with fellow-candidates, of joys
What this to that illustrious robe he wears, As far beyond conception as desert,
Who toss'd this mass of wonders from his hand, Ourselves th' astonish'd talkers, and the tale ! A specimen, an earnest of his power?
Lorenzo, swells thy bosom at the thought ? "Tis to that glory, whence all glory flows, The swell becomes thee : 'tis an honest pride. As the mead's meanest floweret to the Sun, Revere thyself;—and yet thyself despise.
Which gave it birth. But what, this Sun of Heaven?
The bare ideas! solid happiness
And chase we still the phantom through the fire,
Or, spider-like, spin out our precious all,
Our more than vitals spin (if no regard
The momentary buzz of vain renown!
In empire high, or in proud science deep, Drudge, sweat, through every shame, for every gain
Our hope in Heaven, our dignity with man? The gust, the glow of rational delight,
And deify the dirt, maturd to gold? As on this theme, which angels praise and share ? Ambition, avarice; the two demons these, Man's fates and favors are a theme in Heaven. Which goad through every slough our human herd, What wretched repetition cloys us here !
Hard-travel'd from the cradle to the grave. What periodic potions for the sick!
How low the wretches stoop! How steep they climb! Distemper'd bodies ! and distemper'd minds! These demons burn mankind; but most possess In an eternity, what scenes shall strike !
Lorenzo's bosom, and turn out the skies. Adventures thicken! novelties surprise !
Is it in time to hide eternity ? What webs of wonder shall unravel, there! And why not in an atom on the shore What full day pour on all the paths of Heaven, To cover ocean? or a mote, the Sun? And light th’ Almighty's footsteps in the deep! Glory and wealth ! have they this blinding power ? How shall the blessed day of our discharge What if to them I prove Lorenzo blind ? Unwind, at once, the labyrinths of fate,
Would it surprise thee? Be thou then surpris'd ; And straighten its inextricable maze!
Thou neither know'st; their nature learn from me. If inextinguishable thirst in man
Mark well, as foreign as these subjects seem, To know, how rich, how full, our banquet there! What close connexion ties them to my theme. There, not the moral world alone unfolds;
First, what is true ambition? The pursuit The world material, lately seen in shades, Of glory, nothing less than man can share. And, in those shades, by fragments only seen, Were they as vain as gaudy-minded man, And seen those fragments by the laboring eye, As flatulent with fumes of self-applause, Unbroken, then, illustrious and entire,
Their arts and conquests animals might boast, Its ample sphere, its universal frame,
And claim their laurel crowns, as well as we; In full dimensions, swells to the survey ;
But not celestial. Here we stand alone ;
And man should blush, his forehead moets the skies
A slender portion! and a narrow bound ! Behold an infinite of floating worlds
These reason, with an energy divine, Divide the crystal waves of ether pure,
O'erleaps ; and claims the future and unseen ;
The vast unseen! the future fathomless ! Has thy new post betray'd thee into pride ?
That pride defames humanity, and calls
From blindness bold, and towering to the skies. This is ambition : this is human fire.
"Tis born of ignorance, which knows not man; Can parts or place (two bold pretenders!) make An angel's second ; nor his second, long. Lorenzo great, and pluck him from the throng? A Nero quitting his imperial throne,
Genius and art, ambition's boasted wings, And courting glory from the tinkling string, Our boast but ill deserve. A feeble aid !
But faintly shadows an immortal soul,
With empire's self, to pride, or rapture, fir'd.
High worth is elevated place : 'tis more;
It makes the post stand candidate for thee; When I behold a genius bright, and base, Makes more than monarchs, makes an honest man; of towering talents, and terrestrial aims; Though no exchequer it commands, 'tis wealth ; Methinks I see, as thrown from her high sphere, And though it wears no riband, 'tis renown; The glorious fragments of a soul immortal, Renown, that would not quit thee, though disgrac'd With rubbish mix'd, and glittering in the dust. Nor leave thee pendent on a master's smile. Struck at the splendid, melancholy sight,
Other ambition Nature interdicts;
Nature proclaims it most absurd in man,
Milk, and a swathe, at first, his whole demand ; In false ambition's hand, to finish faults
His whole domain, at last, a turf, or stone; Illustrious, and give infamy renown.
To whom, between, a world may seem too small Great ill is an achievement of great powers. Souls truly great dart forward on the wing Plain sense but rarely leads us far astray.
or just ambition, to the grand result: Reason the means, affections choose our end ; The curtains fall: there, see the buskin's chief Means have no merit, if our end amiss.
Unshod behind this momentary scene;
And laugh at this fantastic mummery,
Where dwarfs are often sulted, and betray Let genius then despair to make thee great ; A littleness of soul by worlds o'er-run, Nor flatter station. What is station high? And nations laid in blood. Dread sacrifice "Tis a proud mendicant; it boasts, and begs; To Christian pride! which had with horror shock'd It begs an alms of homage from the throng, The darkest Pagans offer'd to their gods. And oft the throng denies its charity.
O thou most Christian enemy to peace; Monarchs and ministers are awful names !
Again in arms? Again provoking fate? Whoever wear them, challenge our devoir. That prince, and that alone, is truly great, Religion, public order, both exact
Who draws the sword reluctant, gladly sheathes; External homage, and a supple knee,
On empire builds what empire far outweighs, To beings pompously set up, to serve
And makes his throne a scaffold to the skies. The meanest slave; all more is merit's due,
Why this so rare? Because forgot of all Her sacred and inviolable right,
The day of death; that venerable day, Nor ever paid the monarch, but the man.
Which sits as judge; that day, which shall pronounce
Lorenzo, never shut thy thought against it;
And give it audience in the cabinet.
That friend consulted, flatteries apart, His royal robe unborrow'd, and unbought, Will tell thee fair, if thou art great, or mean. alis own, descending fairly from his sires.
To dote on aught may leave us, or be left, Shall man be proud to wear his livery,
Is that ambition? Then let flames descend,
And learn humiliation from a soul,
Yet these are they the world pronounces wise ; Each man makes his own stature, builds himself: The world which cancels Nature's right and wrong, Virtue alone outbuilds the pyramids:
And casts new wisdom: e'en the grave man lends
This stamps the paradox, and gives us leave
To put forth all his ardor, all his art,
Of his idea, whose indulgent thought And give his soul her full unbounded flight, Long, long, ere chaos teem'd, plann'd human bliss. But reaching him, who gave her wings to fly.
What wealth in souls that soar, dive, range When blind ambition quite mistakes her road,
around, And downward pores, for that which shines above, Disdaining limit, or from place or time; Substantial happiness, and true renown;
And hear at once, in thought extensive, hear Then, like an idiot gazing on the brook,
Th' Almighty fiat, and the trumpet's sound ! We leap at stars, and fasten in the mud;
Bold, on creation's outside walk, and view At glory grasp, and sink in infamy.
What was, and and more than e'er shall be ; Ambition! powerful source of good and ill! Commanding, with omni potence of thought, Thy strength in man, like length of wing in birds, Creations new in fancy's field to rise ! When disengag'd from Earth, with greater ease, Souls, that can grasp whate'er th' Almighty made, And swifier tight, transports us to the skies ; And wander wild through things impossible! By toys entangled, or in gilt bemir'd,
What wealth, in faculties of endless growth, It turns a curse ; it is our chain, and scourge, In quenchless passions violent to crave, In this dark dungeon, where confin'd we lie, In liberty to choose, in power to reach, Close grated by the sordid bars of sense ;
And in duration (how thy riches rise!) All prospect of eternity shut out;
Duration 10 perpetuate-boundless bliss ! And, but for execution, ne'er set free.
Ask you, what power resides in feeble man With error in ambition justly charged,
That bliss to gain? Is virtue's, then, unknown? Find we Lorenzo wiser in his wealth ?
Virtue, our present peace, our future prize. What if thy rental I reform ? and draw
Man's unprecarious, natural estate, An inventory new to set thee right?
Improvable al will, in virtue lies; Where thy true treasure? Gold says, “Not in me:" Its tenure sure; its income is divine. And. “ Not in me," the diamond. Gold is poor ; High-built abundance, heap on heap! for what! India's insolvent; seek it in thyself,
To breed new wants, and beggar us the more ; Seek in thy naked sell, and find it there;
Then make a richer scramble for the throng? In being so descended, form’d, endow'd ;
Soon as this feeble pulse, which leaps so long Sky-born, sky-guided, sky-returning race!
Almost by miracle, is tir'd with play, Erect, immortal, rational, divine !
Like rubbish from disploding engines thrown, In senses which inherit Earth, and Heavens ; Our magazines of hoarded trifies fly ; Enjoy the various riches Nature yields ;
Fly diverse ; fly to foreigners, to foes; Far nobler! give the riches they enjoy ;
New masters court, and call the former fool Give taste to fruits; and harmony to groves ; (How justly!) for dependence on their stay. Their radiant beams to gold, and gold's bright fire; Wide scatter, first, our playthings; then, our dust. Take in, at once, the landscape of the world, Dost court abundance for the sake of peace ? At a small inlet, which a grain might close, Learn, and lament thy self-defeated scheme : And half-create the wondrous world they see. Riches enable to be richer still; Our senses, as our reason, are divine.
And, richer still, what mortal can resist ? But for the magic organ's powerful charm, Thus wealth (a cruel task-maker !) enjoins Earth were a rude, oncolor'd chaos, still.
New loils, succeeding toils, an endless train Objects are but th' occasion ; ours th' exploit ; And murders peace, which taught it first to shine Ours is the cloth, the pencil, and the paint, The poor are half as wretched as the rich; Which Nature's admirable picture draws; Whose proud and painful privilege it is, And beautifies creation's ample dome.
At once, to bear a double load of woe; Like Milton's Eve, when gazing on the lake, To feel the stings of endy, and of want, Man makes the matchless image, man admires. Outrageous want! both Indies cannot cure. Say, then, shall man, his thoughts all sent abroad, A competence is vital to content. Superior wonders in himself forgot,
Much wealth is corpulence, if not disease ; His admiration waste on objects round,
Sick, or encumber'd, is our happiness. When Heaven makes him the soul of all he sees? A competence is all we can enjoy. Absurd ! not rare! so great, so mean, is man. O be content, where Heaven can give no more! What wealth in senses such as these! What wealth More, like a flash of water from a lock, In fancy, fir'd to form a fairer scene
Quickens our spirits' movement for an hour; Than sense surveys! In memory's firm record, But soon its force is spent, nor rise our joys Which, should it perish, could this world recall Above our native temper's common stream. From the dark shadows of o'erwhelming years ! Hence disappointment lurks in every prize, In colors fresh, originally bright,
As bees in flowers; and stings us with success. Preserve its portrait, and report its fate!
The rich man, who denies it, proudly feigns ; What wealth in intellect, that sovereign power, Nor knows the wise are privy to the lie. Which sense and fancy summons to the bar; Much learning shows how little mortals know ; Interrogates, approves, or reprehends ;
Much wealth, how little worldlings can enjoy ; And from the mass those underlings import, At best, it babies us with endless toys, From their materials sifted, and refind,
And keeps us children till we drop to dust. And in truth's balance accurately weigh'd, As monkeys at a mirror stand amaz'd, Forms art, and science, government, and law ; They fail to find what they so plainly see ; The solid basis, and the beauteous frame,
Thus men, in shining riches, see the face The vitals, and the grace of civil life!
Of happiness, nor know it is a shade; And manners (sad exception !) set aside,
But gaze, and touch, and peep, and peep again Suikes out, with master-band, a copy fair And wish, and wonder it is absent still.
How few can rescue opulence from want! Is swallow'd in Eternity's vast round. Who lives to nature, rarely can be poor;
To that stupendous view when souls awake, Who lives to fancy, never can be rich.
So large of late, so mountainous to man, Poor is the man in debt; the man of gold,
Time's toys subside ; and equal all below. In debt to Forlune, trembles at her power.
Enthusiastic, this? Then all are weak, The man of reason smiles at her, and death. But rank enthusiasts. To this godlike height O what a patrimony this! A being
Some souls have soar'd; or martyrs ne'er had bled. Of such inherent strength and majesty,
And all may do, what has by man been done. Not worlds possest can raise it; worlds destroy'd Who, beaten by these sublunary storms, Can't injure ; which holds on its glorious course, Boundless, interminable joys can weigh, When thine, O Nature! ends; too blest to mourn Unraptur'd, unexalted, uninflam'd ? Creation's obsequies. What treasure, this! What slave unblest, who from tomorrow's dawn The monarch is a beggar to the man.
Expects an empire? He forgets his chain, Immortal ! Ages past, yet nothing gone! And, thron'd in thought, his absent scepire waves. Morn without eve! a race without a goal!
And what a sceptre waits us! what a throne! Unshorten'd by progression infinite !
Her own immense appointments to compute, Futurity for ever future! Life
Or comprehend her high prerogatives, Beginning still where computation ends !
In this her dark minority, how toils, "Tis the description of a Deity!
How vainly pants, the human soul divine! "Tis the description of the meanest slave :
Too great the bounty seems for earthly joy ; The meanest slave dares then Lorenzo scorn ? What heart but trembles at so strange a bliss ? The meanest slave thy sovereign glory shares. In spite of all the truths the Muse has sung, Proud youth ! fastidious of the lower world! Ne'er to be priz'd enough! enough revolv'd ! Man's lawful pride includes humility :
Are there who wrap the world so close about them, Stoops to the lowest ; is too great to find
They see no further than the clouds; and dance Inferiors; all immortal ! brothers all!
On heedless Vanity's fantastic toe, Proprietors eternal of thy love.
Till, stumbling at a straw, in their career, (song? Immortal! What can strike the sense so strong, Headlong they plunge, where end both dance and As this the soul? It thunders to the thought; Are there, Lorenzo ? Is it possible ? Reason amazes ; gratitude o'erwhelms;
Are there on Earth (let me not call them men) No more we slumber on the brink of fate; Who lodge a soul immortal in their breasts; Rous'd at the sound, th' exulting soul ascends, Unconscious as the mountain of its ore ; And breathes her native air; an air that feeds Or rock, of its inestimable gem? Ambitions high, and fans ethereal fires ;
When rocks shall melt, and mountains vanish, these Quick kindles all that is divine within us; Shall know their treasure; treasure, then, no more. Nor leaves one loitering thought beneath the stars. Are there (still more amazing!) who resist
Has not Lorenzo's bosom caught the flame? The rising thought? who smother, in its birth, Immortal! Were but one immortal, how
The glorious truth? who struggle to be brutes ? Would others envy! How would thrones adore ! Who through this bosom-barrier burst their way, Because 'tis common, is the blessing lost?
And, with revers'd ambition, strive to sink? How this ties up the bounteous hand of Heaven! Who labor downwards through th' opposing powers O vain, vain, vain, all else! Eternity!
of instinct, reason, and the world against them, A glorious, and a needful refuge, that,
To dismal hopes, and shelter in the shock From vile imprisonment, in abject views.
Of endless night; night darker than the grave's ? "Tis immortality, 'tis that alone,
Who fight the proofs of immortality ? Amid life's pains, abasement, emptiness,
With horrid zeal, and execrable arts, The soul can comfort, elevate, and fill.
Work all their engines, level their black fires, That only, and that amply, this performs;
To blot from man this attribute divine,
To contradict them, see all Nature rise !
What object, what event, the Moon beneath,
All things proclaim it needful ; some advance
By Nature, as her common habit, worn ; Nothing terrestrial touches his high thought; So pressing Providence a truth to teach, Suns shine unseen, and thunders roll unheard, Which truth untaught, all other truths were van By minds quite conscious of their high descent, Thou! whose all-providential eye surveys, Their present province, and their future prize ; Whose hand directs, whose spirit fills and warms Divinely darting upward every wish,
Creation, and holds empire far beyond !
Doubt you this truth? Why labors your belief? Of two eternities amazing Lord !
Thy glorious immortality in man :