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Solomon considers man through the several stages and
conditions of life, and concludes in general, that we are all miserable. He reflects more particularly upon the trouble and uncertainty of greatness and power; gives some instances thereof from Adam down to himself; and still concludes that all is Vanity. He reasons again upon life, death, and a future being ; finds human wisdom too imperfect to resolve his doubts; has recourse to religion; is informed by an angel, what shall happen to himself, his family, and his kingdom, till the redemption of Ifrael; and, upon the whole, resolves to submit his inquiries and anxieties to the will of his Creator."
COME then, my Soul; I call thee by that name,
U Thou busy thing, from whence I know I am:
Hear'st thou submissive, but a lowly birth,
Or, if thy great existence would aspire To causes more sublime, of heavenly fire 20 Wert thou a spark ftruck off, a separate ray, Ordain’d to mingle with terrestrial clay; With it condemn’d for certain years to dwell, To grieve its frailties, and its pains to feel ; To teach it good and ill, disgrace or fame, Pale it with rage, or redden it with shame; To guide its actions with informing care, In peace to judge, to conquer in the war; Render it agile, witty, valiant, sage, As fits the various course of human age; Till as the earthly part decays and falls, The captive breaks her prison's mouldering walls; Hovers a while upon the sad remains, Which now the pile or sepulchre contains; And thence uith liberty unbounded flies, Impatient to regain her native skies?
35 Whate'er thou art, where-e'er ordain’d to go, .. (Points which we rather may dispute than know) Come on, thou little inmate of this breast, Which for thy fake from passions I divest, 40 For these, thou say'st, raise all the stormy strife, Which hinder thy repose, and trouble life. Be the fair, level of thy actions laid, As temperance wills, and prudence may persuade : Be thy affections undisturb’d and clear, 45 2. Guided to what may great or good appear, And try if life be worth the liver's care.
Amass’d in man, there justly is beheld What through the whole creation has excell'd: The life and growth of plants, of beasts the sense, 50 The angel's forecast and intelligence : Say from these glorious seeds what harvest flows, Recount our blessings, and compare our woes. In its true light let clearest reason fee , The man dragg’d out to act, and forc'd to be; 55 Helpless and naked, on a woman's knees. To be expos’d and rear'd as she may please, Feel her neglect, and pine from her disease : His tender eye by too direct a ray Wounded, and flying from unpractis'd day; His heart assaulted by invading air, And beating fervent to the vital war ; To his young sense how various forms appear, That strike his wonder, and excite his fear: By his diftortions he reveals his pains ;
05 He by his tears and by his fighs complains ; T 3
Till Till time and use assist the infant wretch, By broken words and rudiments of fpeech, His wants in plainer characters to show, And paint more perfect figures of his woe'; 70 Condemn’d to facrifice his childish years To babbling ignorance, and to empty fears; To pass the riper period of his age, Acting his part upon a crowded stage ; To lasting toils expos'd, and endless cares, 75 To open dangers, and to fecret snares; To malice which the vengeful foe intends, And the more dangerous love of seeming friends. His deeds examin’d by the people's will, Prone to forget the good, and blame the ill; Or fadly censur'd in their curs’d debate, Who, in the scorner's or the judge's seat, Dare to condemn the virtue which they hate. Or, would he rather leave this frantic fcene, And trees and beasts prefer to courts and men, In the remotest wood and lonely grot Certain to meet that worst of evils, Thought ; Different ideas to his memory brought, Some intricate as are the pathless woods, Impetuous fome as the descending floods ; 90 With anxious doubts, with raging passions torn, No sweet companion near, with whom to mourn, He hears the echoing rock return his fighs, And from himself the frighted hermit flies.
Vex'd with the present moment's heavy gloom,
Pass we the ills which each man feels or dreads,