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POWER.

BOOK. III.

THE ARGUMENT. Solomon considers man through the several stages and conditi ons

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 VANI. TY. 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 Israel: 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,
Thou busy thing, from whence I know I am;
For knowing that I am, I know thou art,
Since that must needs exist which can impart:
But how thou cam'st to be, or whence thy spring,
For various of thee priests and poets sing?

Hear'st thou submissive; but a lowly birth,
Some secret particles of finer earth,
A plain effect which Nature must beget,
As motion orders, and as atoms mcet,

Companion of the body's good or ill,
From force of instinct more than choice of will,
Conscious of fear or valour, joy or pain,
As the wild courses of the blood ordain;
Who, as degrees of heat and cold prevail,
In youth dost flourish, and with age shalt fail,
Till mingled with thy partner's latest breath,
Thou fly'st dissolv'd in air, and lost in death.

Or if thy great existence would aspire
To causes more sublime, of heavenly fire
Wer't thou a spark struck 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 awhile upon the sad remains
Which now the pile or sepulchre contains,
And thence with liberty unbounded flies,
Impatient to regain her native skies?

Whate'er thou art, where'er ordain'd to go, (Points which we rather may dispute than know) Come on, thou little inmate of this breast, Which, for thy sake, from passions I divest ; 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,
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,
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 see
The man drag'd out to act, and forc'd to be;
Helpless and naked, on a woman's knees
To be expos'd or 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's 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 distortions he reveals his pains;
He by his tears and by his sighs complains,
Till time and use assist the infant wretch,
By broken words and rudiments of speech,
His wants in plainer characters to show,
And paint more perfect figures of his woe.
Condemn'd to sacrifice 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,
To open dangers, and to secret snares;
To malice which the vengeful foe intends,
And the more dangerous love of seeming friends :

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His deeds examin’d by the people's will,
Prone to forget the good, and blame the ill;
Or, sadly 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 scene,
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 some, as the descending floods;
With anxious doubts, with raging passions torn,
No sweet companion near with whom to mourn,
He hears the echoing rock return his sighs,
And from himself the frighted hermit flies,

Thus through what path soe'er of life we rove,
Rage companies our hate and grief our love;
Vex'd with the present moment's heavy gloom,
Why seek we brightness from the years to come?
Disturb’d and broken, like a sick man's sleep,
Our troubled thoughts to distant prospects leap,
Desirous still what Aies us to o’ertake;
For hope is but the dream of those that wake:
But, looking back, we see the dreadful train
Of woes a-new, which, were we to sustain,
We should refuse to tread the path again:'
Still adding grief, still counting from the first,
Judging the latest evil still the worst :
And sadly finding each progressive hour
Heighten their number and augment their pow'r;
Till by one countless sum of woes oppressid,
Hoary with cares and ignorant of rest,

We find the vital springs relax'd and worn,
Compelld our common impotence to mourn:
Thus through the round of age to childhood we

return;
Reflecting find, that naked from the womb
We yesterday came forth; that in the tomb
Naked again we must to-morrow lie,
Born to lament, to labour, and to die.

Pass we the ills which each man feels or dreads,
The weight or fall’n or hanging o'er our heads;
The bear, the lion, terrors of the plain;
The sheepfold scatter'd, and the shepherd slain;
The frequent terrors of the pathless wood,
The giddy precipice, the dangerous flood;
The noisome pestilence, that in open war
Terrible, marches through the mid-day air,
And scatters death; the arrow that, by night,
Cuts the dank mist, and, fatal, wings it flight;
The billowing snow, and violence of the shower,
That from the hills disperse their dreadful store,
And o’er the vales collected ruin pour;
The worm that gnaws the ripening fruit, sad guest,
Canker or locust, hurtful to infest
The blade; while husks elude the tiller's care,
And eminence of want distinguishes the year.

Pass we the slow disease and subtile pain Which our weak frame is destin’d to sustain; The cruel stone, with congregated war Tearing his bloody way; the cold catarrh, With frequent impulse and continued strife Weakening the wasted seats of irksome life; The gout's fierce rack, the burning fever's rage, The sad experience of decay and age,

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