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And souls immortal must for ever heave
Man, if not meant, by worlh, to reach the skies At something great; the glitter, or the gold; Had wanted wing to fly so far in guilt. The praise of mortals, or the praise of Heaven. Sour grapes, I grant, ambition, avarice, Nor absolutely vain is human praise,
Yet still their root is immortality : When human is supported by divine.
These its wild growths so bitter, and so base I'll introduce Lorenzo to himself;
(Pain and reproach!) religion can reclaim, Pleasure and pride (bad masters !) share our hearts. Refine, exalt, throw down their poisonous lee, As love of pleasure is ordain'd to guard
And make them sparkle in the bowl of bliss. And feed our bodies, and extend our race;
See, the third witness laughs at bliss remote, The love of praise is planted to protect,
And falsely promises an Eden here: And propagate the glories of the mind.
Truth she shall speak for once, though prone to lie,
To pleasure never was Lorenzo deaf;
Since Nature made us not more fond than proud Want and convenience, under-workers, lay
Of happiness (whence hypocrites in joy! The basis, on which love of glory builds.
Makers of mirth! artificers of smiles!) Nor is thy life, O virtue ! less in debt
Why should the joy most poignant sense affords To praise, thy secret stimulating friend.
Burn us with blushes, and rebuke our pride ? Were men not proud, what merit should we miss! Those heaven-born blushes tell us man descends, Pride made the virtues of the Pagan world. E'en in the zenith of his earthly bliss : Praise is the salt ihat seasons right to man,
Should reason take her infidel repose,
This honest instinct speaks our lineage high;
Our glory covers us with noble shame,
The man that blushes is not quite a brute. And give endanger'd virtue fairer play.
Thus far with thee, Lorenzo ! will I close.
Pleasure is good, and man for pleasure made ;
Pleasure, which neither blushes, nor erpires.
The witnesses are heard ; the cause is o'er; To succor virtue, when our reason fails ;
Let conscience file the sentence in her court, If virtue, kept alive by care and toil,
Dearer than deeds that half a realm convey : And, oft, the mark of injuries on Earth,
Thus seal'd by truth, th' authentic record runs. When labor'd to maturity (its bill
“ Know, all; know, infidels.--unapt to know! of disciplines, and pains, unpaid) must die ? 'Tis immortality your nature solves ; Why freighled rich, to dash against a rock? 'Tis immortality deciphers man, Were man to perish when most fit to live,
And opens all the mysteries of his make. O how misspent were all these stratagems,
Without it, half his instincts are a riddle:
Without it, all his virtues are a dream.
What less than infinite makes un-absurd
measur'd to this scene, To store up treasure, with incessant toil,
Stretch'd out, like eagles' wings, beyond our nest, This is man's province, this his highest praise. Far, far beyond the worth of all below, To this great end keen instinct stings him on. For Earth too large, presage a nobler flight, To guide that instinct, reason! is thy charge; And evidence our title to the skies." "Tis thine to tell us where true treasure lies;
Ye gentle theologues, of calmer kind! But, reason failing to discharge her trust,
Whose constitution dictates to your pen, Or to the deaf discharging it in vain,
Who, cold yourselves, think ardor comes from A blunder follows; and blind industry,
Hell! Galld by the spur, but stranger to the course, Think not our passions from corruption sprung, (The course where stakes of more than gold are won) Though to corruption now they lend their wings; O’er-loading, with the cares of distant age,
That is their mistress, not their mother. All The jaded spirits of the present hour,
(And justly) reason deem divine : I see, Provides for an eternily below.
I feel a grandeur, in the passions too, “Thou shalt not covet," is a wise command; Which speaks their high descent, and glorious end! But bounded to the wealth the Sun surveys : Which speaks them rays of an eternal fire. Look farther, the command stands quite revers'd, In Paradise itself they burnt as strong, And avarice is a virtue most divine.
Ere Adam fell, though wiser in their aim. Is faith a refuge for our happiness ?
Like the proud Eastern, struck by Providence, Most true: and is it not for reason too?
What though our passions are run mad, and stoop Nothing this world unriddles, but the next. With low, terrestrial appetite, to graze Whence inextinguishable thirst of gain?
On trash, on toys, dethron'd from high desire ? From inextinguishable life in man:
Yet still through their disgrace, no feeble ray
of greatness shines, and tells us whence they fell : “Why life, a moment; infinite, desire ? But these (like that fall’n monarch when reclaim'd,) Our wish, eternity ? Our home, the grave? When reason moderates the rein aright,
Heaven's promise dormant lies in human hope ; Shall reascend, remount their former sphere, Who wishes life immortal, proves it too. Where once they soar'd illustrious; ere seduc'd Why happiness pursued, though never found ? By wanton Eve's debauch, to stroll on Earth, Man's thirst of happiness declares it is And set the sublunary world on fire.
(For Nature never gravitates to nought);
My Lucia, thy Clarissa, call to thought;
If friend, and friendship, vanish in an hour?
Is not this torment in the mask of joy ? Eternal day! 'Tis that enlightens all;
Why by reflection marr'd the joys of sense ? And all, by that enlighten'd, proves it sure. Why past, and future, preying on our hearts, Consider man as an immortal being,
And putting all our present joys to death? Intelligible all; and all is great ;
Why labors reason ? instinct were as well; A crystalline transparency prevails,
Instinct far better; what can choose, can err : And strikes full lustre through the human sphere : O how infallible the thoughtless brute ! Consider man as mortal, all is dark,
"Twere well his Holiness were half as sure. And wretched ; reason weeps at the survey. Reason with inclination, why at war?
The learn'd Lorenzo cries, “ And let her weep, Why sense of guill? why conscience up in arms?" Weak modern reason ; ancient times were wise. Conscience of guilt, is prophecy of pain, Authority, that venerable guide,
And bosom-counsel to decline the blow. Stands on my part; the fam'd Athenian porch Reason with inclination ne'er had jarr’d, (And who for wisdom so renown'd as they ?) If nothing future paid forbearance here : Denied this immortality to man."
Thus on—These, and a thousand pleas uncall’d, | grant it; but affirm, they prov'd it too.
All promise, some insure, a second scene;
What noble vanities, what moral flights, Than all things else most certain ; were it false, Glittering through their romantic wisdom's page, What truth on Earth so precious as the lie? Make us, at once, despise them, and admire ? This world it gives us, let what will ensue; Fable is flat to these high-season'd sires ;
This world it gives, in that high cordial, hope : They leave the extravagance of song below. The future of the present is the soul : • Flesh shall not feel; or, feeling, shall enjoy How this life groans, when sever'd from the next ! The dagger or the rack; to them, alike
Poor mutilated wretch, that disbelieves ! A bed of roses, or the burning bull.”
By dark distrust his being cut in two,
In both parts perishes; life void of joy,
Couldst thou persuade me, the next life could fail
Abhorr'd annihilation! blasts the soul, Wonder at them, and wonder at himself,
And wide extends the bounds of human woe! To find the bold adventures of his thought, Could I believe Lorenzo's system true, Not bold, and that he strove to lie in vain. In this black channel would my ravings run. Whence, then, those thoughts ? those towering - Grief from the future borrow'd peace, erewhile, thoughts, that few
[pride. The future vanishid! and the present pain'd! Such monstrous heights !--From instinct, and from Strange import of unprecedented ill! The glorious instinct of a deathless soul,
Fall, how profound! Like Lucifer's, the fall! Confus'dly conscious of her dignity,
Unequal fate! His fall, without his guilt! Suggested truths they could not understand. From where fond hope built her pavilion high, In lust's dominion, and in passion's storm, The gods among, hurl'd headlong, hurl'd at once Truth's system broken, scatter'd fragments lay, To night! To nothing, darker still than night! As light in chaos, glimmering through the gloom : If 'twas a dream, why wake me, my worst foe, Smit with the pomp of lofty sentiments,
Lorenzo! boastful of the name of friend! Pleas'd pride proclaim'd, what reason disbeliev'd. O for delusion! O for error still! Pride, like the Delphic priestess, with a swell, Could vengeance strike much stronger than to plant Rav'd nonsense, destin'd to be future sense, A thinking being in a world like this, When life immortal, in full day, should shine ; Not over-rich before, now beggar'd quite; And Death's dark shadows fly the gospel sun. More curst than at the fall !—The Sun goes out! They spoke, what nothing but immortal souls The thorns shoot up! What thorns in every thought' Could speak; and thus the truth they question’d, Why sense of better? It imbitters worse. prov'd.
Why sense ? why life? If but to sigh, then sink Can then absurdities, as well as crimes,
To what I was ! twice nothing! and much woe! Speak man immortal? All things speak him so. Woe, from Heaven's bounties! woe from what was Much has been urg'd : and dost thou call for more ?
wont Call; and with endless questions be distress'd, To flatter most, high intellectual powers. All unresolvable, if Earth is all.
Thought, virtue, knowledge! Blessings, by thy scheme,
All poison’d into pains. First, knowledge, once Theirs that serene, the sages sought in vain :
And bleed, in anguish, none but human hearts? Know my Creator? Climb his blest abode The wide-stretch'd realm of intellectual woe, By painful speculation, pierce the veil,
Surpassing sensual far, is all our own. Dive in his nature, read his attributes,
In life so fatally distinguish'd, why And gaze in admiration-on a foe,
Cast in one loi, confounded, lump'd, in death ? Obtruding life, withholding happiness !
Ere yet in being, was mankind in guilt? From the full rivers that surround his throne, Why thunder'd this peculiar clause against us, Not letting fall one drop of joy on man;
All-mortal an all-wretched ?-Have the skies
Nor humbly reason, when they sorely sigh?
Know his achievements ? Study his renown? “ And why see that? Why thought? To toil, and Contemplate this amazing universe,
eat, Dropt from his hand, with miracles replete! Then make our bed in darkness, needs no thought. For what? 'Mid miracles of nobler name,
What superfluities are reasoning souls ! To find one miracle of misery?
O give eternity! or thought destroy. To find the being, which alone can know
But without thought our curse were half unfelt; And praise his works, a blemish on his praise ? Its blunted edge would spare the throbbing heart; Through Nature's ample range, in thought to And, therefore, 'tis bestow'd, I thank thee, reason! stroll,
For aiding life's too small calamities, And start at man, the single mourner there, And giving being to the dread of death. Breathing high hope! chain'd down to pangs, and Such are thy bounties !—Was it then too much death?
For me, to trespass on the brutal rights?
A longer stay with essences unwrought,
Wretched capacity of frenzy, thought!
Life, thought, worth, wisdom, all (O foul revolt!) A crime to reason, if it costs us pain
Once friends to peace, gone over to the foe. Unpaid : what pain, amidst a thousand more, “Death, then, has chang'd his nature too: 0 Death To think the most abandon'd, after days
Come to my bosom, thou best gift of Heaven! or triumph o'er their bellers, find in death
Best friend of man! since man is man no more. As soft a pillow, nor make fouler clay!
Why in this thorny wilderness so long,
To pay me with its honey for my stings?
Why this illustrious canopy display'd ?
These glorious orbs, that mortals may compute Vain, vain ambitions ! trouble me no more. Their lengih of labors, and of pains; nor lose Why travel far in quest of sure defeat ?
Their misery's full measure ?–Smiles with flowers, As bounded as my being, be my wish.
And fruits, promiscuous, ever-teeming Earth, All is inverted, wisdom is a fool.
That man may languish in luxurious scenes, Sense! take the rein; blind passion! drive us on; And in an Eden mourn his wither'd joys? And ignorance ! befriend us on our way;
Clairn Earth and skies man's admiration, due Ye new, but truesl patrons of our peace!
For such delights! Blest animals ! too wise Yes; give the pulse full empire ; live the brute, To wonder; and too happy to complain! Since, as the brute, we die. The sum of man,
“Our doom decreed demands a mournful scene Of godlike man! to revel, and to rol.
Why not a dungeon dark, for the condemnd ? “But not on equal terms with other brutes : Why not the dragon's subterranean den, Their revels a more poignant relisn yield,
For man to howl in? Why not his abode And safer 100; they never poisons choose.
Of the same dismal color with his fate? Instinct, than reason, makes more wholesome meal, A Thebes, a Babylon, at vast expense And sends all-marring murmur far away,
Of time, toil, treasure, art, for owls and adders, For sensual life they best philosophize ;
As congruous, as, for man, this lofty dome
Which prompts proud thought, and kindles high * Lorenzo
If, from her humble chamber in the dust,
Heaven is all love; all joy in giving joy :
A being blest, or worthy so to be ?
“ Undrawn no more !--Behind The cloud of Death, Is that, all Nature starts at, ihy desire ? Once, I beheld the Sun; a Sun which gilt Art such a clod to wish thyself all clay? That sable cloud, and turn'd it all to gold :
What is that dreadful wish ?- The dying groan How the grave's alter'd! Fathomless, as Hell! of Nature, murder'd by the blackest guilt. A real Hell 10 those who dreamt of Heaven. What deadly poison has thy nature drunk; Annihilation! How it yawns before me!
To nature undebauch'd no shock so great. Next inoment I may drop from thought, from sense, Nature's first wish is endless happiness ; The privilege of angels, and of worms,
Annihilation is an after-thought, An outcast from existence! and this spirit,
A monstrous wish, unborn till virtue dies. This all-pervading, this all-conscious soul,
And, oh! what depth of horror lies inclos'd! This particle of energy divine,
For non-existence no man ever wish'd, Which travels Nature, flies from star to star, But, first, he wish'd the Deity destroy'd. And visits gods, and emulates their powers,
If so; what words are dark enough to draw For erer is extinguisht. Horror! death!
Thy picture true? The darkest are too fair. Death of that death I fearless once survey'd ! Beneath what baleful planet, in what hour When horror universal shall descend,
of desperation, by what fury's aid, And Heaven's dark concave urn all human race, In what infernal posture of the soul, On that enormous, unrefunding tomb,
All Hell invited, and all Hell in joy How just this verse! this monumental sigh ! At such a birth, a birth so near of kin, “ Beneath the lumber of demolish'd worlds,
Did thy foul fancy whelp so black a scheme Deep in the rubbish of the general ureck,
Of hopes abortive, faculties half-blown,
And deities begun, reduc'd to dust?
There's nought (thou say'st) but one eternal flux
Of feeble essences, tumultuous driven
Through time's rough billows into night's abyss. Beings of yesterday! and not to-morrow!
Say, in this rapid tide of human ruin, Who liv'd in terror, and in pangs expird!
Is there no rock, on which man's tossing thought
Can rest from terror, dare his fate survey,
And boldly think it something to be born ?
Amid such hourly wrecks of being fair, Nor longer sully their Creator's name."
Is there no central, all-sustaining base, Lorenzo! hear, pause, ponder, and pronounce. All-realizing, all-connecting power, Just is this history? If such is man,
Which, as it call'd forth all things, can recall, Mankind's historian, though divine, might weep. And force destruction to refund her spoil? And dares Lorenzo smile ?-I know thee proud ; Command the grave restore her taken prey ? For once let pride befriend thee; pride looks pale Bid death's dark vale its human harvest yield, At such a scene, and sighs for something more. And earth and ocean pay their debt of man, Amid thy boasts, presumptions, and displays, True to the grand deposit trusted there? And art thou then a shadow ? Less than shade? Is there no potentate whose outstretch'd arm, A nothing ? Less than nothing? To have been, When ripening time calls forth th’appointed hour And not to be, is lower than unborn.
Pluck'd from foul devastation's famish'd maw, Art thou ambitious ? Why then make the worm Binds present, past, and future, to his throne ? Thine equal? Runs thy taste of pleasure high? His throne, how glorious, thus divinely grac'd, Why patronize sure death of every joy?
By germinating beings clustering round ! Charm riches ? Why choose beggary in the grave, A garland worthy the divinity! of every hope a bankrupt! and for ever? A throne, by Heaven's omnipotence in smiles, Ambition, pleasure, avarice, persuade thee
Built (like a pharos towering in the waves) To make that world of glory, rapture, wealth, Amidst immense effusions of his love! They lately prov'd,* the soul's supreme desire. An ocean of communicated bliss!
What art thou made of? Rather, how unmade ? An all-prolific, all-preserving god! Great Nature's master-appetite destroy'd,
This were a god indeed.-And such is man, Is endless life, and happiness, despis'd ?
As here presum'd: he rises from his tall. Or both wish'd, here, where neither can be found? Think'st thou Omnipotence a naked root, Such man's perverse, elernal war with Heaven! Each blossom fair of Deity destroy'd ? Dar'st thou persist ? And is there nought on Earth, Nothing is dead; nay, nothing sleeps ; each soul, But a long train of transitory fornis,
That ever animated human clay, Rising, and breaking, millions in an hour ?
Now wakes; is on the wing: and where, O where Bubbles of a fantastic deity, blown up
Will the swarm setile ?-When the trumpet's call, In sport, and then in cruelty destroy'd ?
As sounding brass, collects us, round Heaven's throne Oh! for what crime, unmerciful Lorenzo !
Conglob’d, we bask in everlasting day, Destroys thy scheme the whole of human race? (Paternal splendor!) and adhere for ever. Kind is fell Lucifer, compar'd to thee :
Had not the soul this outlet to the skies, 0! spare this waste of being half-divine ;
In this vast vessel of the universe, And vindicate th’economy of Heaven.
How should we gasp, as in an empty void! • In Night VI.
How in the pangs of famish'd hope expire !
How bright my prospect shines! how gloomy The genuine cause of every deed divine: thine!
That is the chain of ages, which maintains A trembling world! and a devouring God! Their obvious correspondence, and unites Earth, but the shambles of Omnipotence!
Most distant periods in one blest design: Heaven's face all stain'd with causeless massacres That is the mighty hinge, on which have turn'd of countless millions, born to feel the pang All revolutions, whether we regard Of being lost. Lorenzo! can it be ?
The natural, civil, or religious, world, This bids us shudder at the thoughts of life. The former two but servants to the third : Who would be born to such a phantom world, To that their duty done, they both expire, Where nought substantial but our misery ? Their mass new-cast, forgot their deeds renown'd: Where joy (if joy) but heightens our distress, And angels ask, “ Where once they shone so fair?" So soon to perish, and revive no more?
To lift us from this abject, to sublime; The greater such a joy, the more it pains. This flux, to perioanent; this dark, 10-day; A world, so far from great, (and yet how great This foul, to pure ; this turbid, to serene; It shines to thee!) there's nothing real in it ; This mean, to mighty for this glorious end Being, a shadow; consciousness, a dream ; Th' Almighty, rising, his long sabbath broke! A dream, how dreadful ! Universal blank The world was made; was ruin'd ; was restor'd ; Before it, and behind ! Poor man, a spark
Laws from the skies were publish'd; were repeal'd; From non-existence struck by wrath divine, On Earth kings, kingdoms, rose; kings, kingdoms, Glittering a moment, nor that moment sure, 'Midst upper, nether, and surrounding night, Fam'd sages lighted up the Pagan world; His sad, sure, sudden, and eternal tomb!
Prophets from Sion darted a keen glance Lorenzo! dost thou feel these arguments ? Through distant age; saints traveld; martyrs bled ; Or is there nought but vengeance can be felt? By wonders sacred Nature stood controllid; How hast thou dar'd the Deity dethrone ? 'The living were translated ; dead were rais'd ; How dar'd indict him of a world like this?
Angels, and more than angels, came from Heaven 4 If such the world, creation was a crime ;
And, oh! for this, descended lower still: For what is crime but cause of misery?
Guilt was Hell's gloom; astonish'd at his guest, Retract, blasphemer! and unriddle this,
For one short moment Luciser ador'd : of endless arguments above, below,
Lorenzo! and wilt thou do less ?-For this, Without us, and within, the short result!
That hallow'd page, fools scoff at, was inspird, * If man's immortal, there's a God in Heaven." Of all these truths-thrice-venerable code!
But wherefore such redundancy ? such waste Deists! perform your quarantine; and then
Fall prostrate, ere you touch it, lest you die.
All else the name of great. Two warring worlds!
Of more than mortal! mounted on the wing!
On ardent wings of energy and zeal,
In their own cause conflicting ? No; in thine, Say, know'st thou what it is, or what thou art? In man's. His single interest blows the flame; Know'st thou the imporlance of a soul immortal ? His the sole stake; his fate the trumpet sounds, Behold this midnight glory : worlds on worlds! Which kindles war immortal. How it burns! Amazing pomp! redouble this amaze ;
Tumultuous swarms of deities in arms!
Such opposites eternal, stedfast, stern,
Such foes implacable, are good and ill ; [them Of unintelligent creation poor.
Yet man, vain man, would mediate peace between For this, believe not me; no man believe;
Think not this fiction, “ There was war in Heaven." Trust not in words, but deeds; and deeds no less From Heaven's high crystal mountain, where it hung, Than those of the Supreme; nor his, a few : Th' Almighty's out-stretch'd arm took down his bow, Consult them all ; consulted, all proclaim
And shot his indignation at the deep: Thy soul's importance : tremble at thyself;
Re-thunder'd Hell, and darted all her fires. For whom Omnipolence has wak'd so long :
And seems the stake of little moment still? Has wak’d, and work’d, for ages; from the birth And slumbers man, who singly caus'd the storm? Of Nature to this unbelieving hour.
He sleeps.—And art thou shock'd at mysteries? In this small province of his vast domain, The greatest, thou. How dreadful to reflect, (All Nature bow, while I pronounce his name !) What ardor, care, and counsel, mortals cause What has God done, and not for this sole end, In breasts divine! how little in their own! To rescue souls from death? The soul's high price Where'er I turn, how new proofs pour upon me! Is writ in all the conduct of the skies.
How happily this wondrous view supports The soul's high price is the Creation's key, My former argument! How strongly strikes Unlocks its mysteries, and naked lays
Immortal life's full demonstration, here !