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How little lovely here? How little known? Reason is guiltless; will alone rebels.
The slave of Earth, should own her heir of Heaven? As a mock-diadem, in savage sport,
Canst thou suspect what makes us disbelieve Rank insult of our pompous poverty,
Our immortality, should prove it sure ? Which reaps but pain, from seeming claims so fair ? First, then, ambition summon to the bar. In future age lies no redress? And shuts
Ambition's shame, extravagance, disgust,
And inextinguishable nature, speak.
Thy soul, how passionately fond of fame!
We blush, detected in designs on praise, What the worst perpetrate, or best endure ? Though for best deeds, and from the best of men;
This cannot be. To love, and know, in man And why? Becanse immortal. Art divine Is boundless appetite, and boundless power; Has made the body tutor to the soul; And these demonstrate boundless objects too. Heaven kindly gives our blood a moral flow; Objects, powers, appetites, Heaven suits in all ;. Bids it ascend the glowing cheek, and there Nor, Nature through, e'er violates this sweet, Upbraid that little heart's inglorious aim, Eternal concord, on her tuneful string,
Which stoops to court a character from man; Is man the sole exception from her laws ?
While o'er us, in tremendous judgment, sit Eternity struck off from human hope,
Far more than man, with endless praise, and blame (I speak with truth but veneration too)
Ambition's boundless appetile out-speaks Man is a monster, the reproach of Heaven, The verdict of its shame. When souls take fire A stain, a dark impenetrable cloud
At high presumptions of their own desert, On Nature's beauteous aspect; and deforms, One
is poor applause ; the mighty shout, (Amazing blot!) deforms her with her lord. The thunder by the living few begun, If such is man's allotment, what is Heaven? Late time must echo; worlds unborn, resound. Or own the soul immortal, or blaspheme.
We wish our names eternally to live: (thought, Or own the soul immortal, or invert
Wild dream! which ne'er had haunted human All order. Go, mock-majesty! go, man!
Had not our natures been eternal 100. And bow to thy superiors of the stall;
Instinct points out an interest in hereafter; Through every scene of sense superior far:
But our blind reason sees not where it lies ; They graze the turf untilld; they drink the stream Or, seeing, gives the substance for the shade. Unbrew'd, and ever full, and unimbitter'd
Fame is the shade of immortality, With doubts, fears, fruitless hopes, regrets, despairs : And in itself a shadow. Soon as caught, Mankind's peculiar! reason's precious dower! Contemn'd; it shrinks to nothing in the grasp. No foreign clime they ransack for their robes ; Consult th' ambitious, 'tis ambition's cure. Nor brothers cite to the litigious bar;
“ And is this all ?" cried Cæsar at his height, Their good is good entire, unmix'd, unmarr'd; Disgusted. This third proof ambition brings They find a Paradise in every field,
Of immortality. The first in fame,
The passion and the purchase, he will sigh
And can ambition a fourth proof supply? Account for this prerogative in brutes.
It can, and stronger than the former three ; No day, no glimpse of day, to solve the knot, Yet quite o'erlook'd by some reputed wise. But what beains on it from elernity.
Though disappointments in ambition pain, O sole, and sweet solution! that unties
And though success disgusts; yet still, Lorenzo! The difficult, and softens the severe;
In vain we strive to pluck it from our hearts ; The cloud on Nature's beauteous face dispels; By Nature planted for the noblest ends. Restores bright order; casts the brute beneath Absurd the fam'd advice to Pyrrhus given, And re-enthrones us in supremacy
More prais'd, than ponder'd ; specious, but unsound Of joy, e'en here : admit immortal life,
Sooner that hero's sword the world had quell'd, And virtue is knight-errantry no more ;
Than renson, his ambition. Man must soar.
An insuppressive spring, will toss him up,
No Sultan prouder than his fetter'd slave:
Slaves build their little Babylons of straw, Heaven our reward—for Heaven enjoy'd below. Echo the proud Assyrian in their hearts,
Still unsubdued thy stubborn heart?-For there And cry," Behold the wonders of my might!" The traitor lurks who doubts the truth I sing. And why? Because immortal as their lord ;
And souls immortal must for ever heave
Man, if not meant, by worth, 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 prompises an Eden here : And propagate the glories of the mind.
Truth she shall speak for once, though prone to lie, What is it, but the love of praise, inspires, A common cheat, and Pleasure is her name. Matures, refines, embellishes, exalts,
To pleasure never was Lorenzo deaf;
Since Nature made us not more fond than proud
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 that 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.
Thus far with thee, Lorenzo! will I close.
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 freighted 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: By skill divine inwoven in our frame !
Without it, all his virtues are a dream. Where are Heaven's holiness and mercy fled ? His very crimes attest his dignity; Laughs Heaven, at once, at virtue, and at man ? His sateless thirst of pleasure, gold, and fame, · If not, why that discourag'd, this destroy'd ? Declares him born for blessings infinite : Thus far ambition. What says avarice?
What less than infinite makes un-absurd This her chief maxim, which has long been thine : Passions, which all on Earth but more inflames? “The wise and wealthy are the same.”—I grant it Fierce passions, so mis-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 ! Gall'd 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 eternity 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:
Yot still through their disgrace, no feeble ray
Of greatness shines, and tells us whence they fell : • Why life, a moment; infinite, desire ?
Heaven's promise dormant lies in human hope ;
(For Nature never gravitates to nought); But grant their frenzy lasts; their frenzy fails That thirst unquench'd declares it is not here. To disappoint one providential end,
My Lucia, thy Clarissa, call 10 thought; For which Heaven blew up ardor in our hearts : Why cordial friendship riveted so deep, Were reason silent, boundless passion speaks As hearts to pierce at first, at parting, rend, A future scene of boundless objects too,
If friend, and friendship, vanish in an hour ? And brings glad tidings of eternal day.
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 morlal, 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 guilt? 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 uncallid, I grant it; bút affirm, they prov'd it too.
All promise, some insure, a second scene;
What noble vanities, what moral Alights, 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 flew
(pride. The future vanish'd! 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 immorlul? 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, ihe sages sought in vain :
"Tis man alone expostulates with Heaven,
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 lot, 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 and all-wretched 12Have the skies
morial and all-wretched !--Tis too much :
“ 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 unselt; 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 bigh 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 ? Knowing is suffering: and shall virtue share Too much for Heaven to make one emmet more? The sigh of knowledge ?-Virtue shares the sigh. Too much for chaos lo permit my mass By straining up the steep of excellent,
A longer stay with essences unwrought,
Unfashion'd, untormented into man?
Wretched capacity of frenzy, thought!
Life, thought, worth, wisdom, all (O soul 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 betlers, 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, Duty! religion! These, our duty done, Since there's no promis'd land's ambrosial bower, Imply reward. Religion is mistake.
To pay me with its honey for my stings? Duty!—There's none, but to repel the cheat. If needful to the selfish schemes of Heaven Ye cheats! away: ye daughters of my pride! To sting us sore, why mockt our misery? Who feign yourselves the favorites of the skies : Why this so sumptuous insult o'er our heads ? Ye towering hopes, abortive énergies !
Why this illustrious canopy display'd ? That toss and struggle, in my lying breast, Why so magnificently lodg’d despair ? To scale the skies, and build presumptions there, At stated periods, sure returning, roll As I were heir of an elernity.
These glorious orbs, that mortals may compute Vain, vain ambitions! trouble me no more. Their length 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 lururious scenes, Sense! take the rein; blind possion! drive us on; And in an Eden mourn his wither'd joys? And ignorance! befriend us on our way;
Claim Earth and skies man's admiration, due' Ye new, but truest 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 rot.
Why not a dungeon dark, for the condemn'd ? “ But not on equal terms with other brutes : Why not the dragon's subterranean den, Their revels a more poignant relisa yield,
For man to howl in? Why not his abode And safer too ; 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 dusi,
Heaven is all love; all joy in giving joy : While proud thought swells, and high desire infames, It never had created, but to bless : The poor worm calls us for her inmates there ; And shall it, then, strike off the list of life, And, round us, Deall's inexorable hand
A being blest, or worthy so to be ? Draws the dark curtain close ; undrawn no more. Heaven starts at an annihilating God.
Undrawn no more!-Behind the cloud of Death, Is that, all Nature starts at, thy 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 Hol! of Nature, murder'd by the blackest guilt. A real Hell to 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 aster-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 ever is extinguisht. Horror! death!
| Thy picture true? The darkest are too fair. Death of thal death I fearless once survey'd ! Beneath what baleful planet, in what hour When horror univers 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
Beneath the lumber of demolish'd worlds, Did thy foul fancy whelp so black a scheme
Of hopes abortive, faculties half-blown,
And deities begun, reduc'd to dust? of matter, never dignified with life,
There's nought (thou say’st) but one eternal flux Here lie proud rationals; the sons of Heaven !
Of feeble essences, tumultuous driven The lords of Earth! the property of worms!
Through time's rough billows into night's abyss. Beings of yeslerday! and not to-morrow !
Say, in this rapid tide of human ruin, Who liv'd in terror, and in pangs expir'd!
Is ihere 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,
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 callid 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, pasl, 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 !
A throne, by Heaven's omnipotence in smiles, Ambition, pleasure, avarice, persuade thee
Built (like a pharos towering in the waves)
An all-prolific, all-preserving god!
This were a god indeed.-And such is man, Is endless life, and happiness, despis'd ?
As here presum'd: he rises from his fall. Or both wish'd, here, where neither can be found? Think'st thou Omnipotence a naked root, Such man's perverse, eternal war with Heaven! Each blossom fair of Deity destroy'd ? Darst thou persist? And is there nought on Earth, Nothing is dead ; nay, nothing sleeps ; each soul, But a long train of transitory forms,
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 deily, blown up
Will the swarm settle ?-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 !