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At till-confiding, still-confounded, man,
And tugg'd it into view, 'tis won! 'tis lost! Comiding, though confounded; hoping on, Though strong their oar, still stronger is their fate : Untaught by trial, unconvinc'd by proof,
They strike ; and while they triumph, they expire. And ever looking for the never-seen.
In stress of weather, most ; some sink outright; Life to the last, like harden'd felons, lies; O'er them, and o'er their names, the billows close; Nor owns itself a cheat, till it expires.
To-morrow knows not they were ever born. Its little joy goes out by one and one,
Others a short memorial leave behind, And leaves poor man, at length, in perfect night; Like a flag floating, when the bark 's ingulf'd; Night darker than what, now, involves the Pole. It floats a moment, and is seen no more :
thou, who dost permit these ills to fall [mourn ! One Cæsar lives; a thousand are forgot. For gracious ends, and wouldst that man should How few, beneath auspicious planets born, O thou, whose hands this goodly fabric framd, (Darlings of Providence ! fond Fate's elect!) Who know'st it best, and wouldst that man should With swelling sails make good the promis'd port, know!
With all their wishes freighted; yet e'en these, What is this sublunary world ? A vapor; Freighted with all their wishes, soon complain ; A vapor all it holds ; itself, a vapor;
Free from misfortune, not from nature free, From the damp bed of chaos, by thy beam They still are men; and when is man secure ? Exhal’d, ordaind to swim its destin'd hour As fatal time, as storm! the rush of years In ambient air, then melt, and disappear.
Beats down their strength ; their numberless escapes Earth's days are number'd, nor remote her doom; In ruin end : and, now, their proud success As mortal, though less transient, than her sons ; But plants new terrors on the victor's brow: Yet they dote on her, as the world and they What pain to quit the world, just made their own! Were both eternal, solid; thou, a dream.
Their nest so deeply down'd, and built so high! They dote! on what? Immortal views apart, Too low they build, who build beneath the stars. A region of outsides! a land of shadows !
Woe then apart, (if woe apart can be A fruitful field of flowery promises !
From mortal man,) and fortune at our nod, A wilderness of joy! perpler'd with doubts, The gay! rich! great! triumphant! and august! And sharp with thorns ! à troubled ocean, spread What are they?—The most bappy (strange to say ! With bold adventurers, their all on board ! Convince me most of human misery; No second hope, if here their fortune frowns; What are they? Smiling wretches of to-morrow! Frown soon it must. Of various rates they sail, More wretched, then, than e'er their slave can be ; Of ensigns various; all alike in this,
Their treacherous blessings, at the day of need, All restless, anxious; tost with hopes, and fears, Like other faithless friends, unmask, and sting; In calmest skies; obnoxious all to storm ; Then, what provoking indigence in wealth! And stormy the most general blast of life :
What aggravated impotence in power!
Takes comfort from the foaming billows' rage, Now listed by the tide, and now resorbid, And makes a welcome harbor of the tomb. And further from their wishes than before :
Is this a skelch of what thy soul admires ? All, more or less, against each other dash, “ But here,” thou say’st," the miseries of life To mutual hurt, by gusts of passion driven, Are huddled in a group. A more distinct And suffering more from solly, ihan from fate. Survey, perhaps, might bring thee better news.”
Ocean! thou dreadful and tumultuous home Look on life's stages: they speak plainer still; of dangers, at eternal war with man!
The plainer they, the deeper wilt ihou sigh.
Look on thy lovely boy ; in him behold
Is tender, though the man's is made of stone; The melancholy face of human life!
The truth, through such a medium seen, may mako The strong resemblance tempts me further still: Impression deep, and fondness prove thy friend. And, haply, Britain may be deeper struck
Florello, lately cast on this rude coast By moral truth, in such a mirror seen,
A helpless infant; now, a heedless child ; Which Nature holds for ever at her eye.
To poor Clarissa's throes, thy care succeeds ; Self-Aatter'd, unexperienc'd, high in hope, Care full of love, and yet severe as hate! When young, with sanguine cheer and streamers gay, O'er thy soul's joy how oft thy fondness frowns! We cut our cable, launch into the world,
Needful austerities his will restrain ; And fondly dream each wind and star our friend; As thorns fence in the tender plant from harm. All, in some darling enterprise embark'd :
As yet, his reason cannot go alone; But where is he can fathom its extent ?
But asks a sterner nurse to lead it on. Amid a multitude of artless hands,
His little heart is often terrified ; Ruin's sure perquisite! her lawful prize! The blush of morning, in his cheek, turns pale; Some steer aright; but the black blast blows hard, Its pearly dew-drop trembles in his eye ; And puffs them wide of hope: with hearts of proof, His harmless eye! and drowns an angel there. Full against wind and tide, some win their way;
Ah! what avails his innocence? The task And when strong effort has deserv'd the port, Enjoin'd must discipline his early powers ;
He learns to sigh, ere he is known to sin ; * Admiral Balchen, &c.
Guiltless, and sad! a wretch before the fall!
How cruel this! more cruel to forbear.
His plan had practis'd long before 'twas writ. Our nalure such, with necessary pains,
The worlu's all lille-page; there's no contents , We purchase prospects of precarious peace : The world's all face; the man who shows his heart, Though not a father, this might steal a sigh. Is hooted for his nudities, and scorn'd. Suppose him disciplin'd aright (if not,
A man I knew, who liv'd upon a smile, "T will sink our poor account 10 poorer still ;) And well it fed him; he look'd plump and fair ; Ripe from the tutor, proud of liberty,
While rankest venom foam'd through every vein. He leaps inclosure, bounds into the world !
Lorenzo! what I tell thee, take not ill! The world is taken, after ten years' toil,
Living, he fawn'd on every fool alive ; Like ancient Troy; and all its joys his own. And, dying, curs’d the friend on whom he liv'd. Alas! the world's a tutor more severe;
To such proficients thou art half a saint. lis lessons hard, and ill deserve his pains ;
In foreign realms (for thou hast travel'd far)
How curious to contemplate two state-rooks,
With all the necromantics of their art,
Playing the game of faces on each other, Welcome the modest stranger to their sphere, Making court sweet-meats of their latent gall, Which gliler'd long, at distance, in his sight,) In foolish hope to steal each other's trust; And, in their hospitable arms, inclose :
Both cheating, both exulting, both deceiv'd; Men, who think nought so strong of the romance, And sometimes both (let Earth rejoice) undone! So rank knight-errant, as a real friend :
Their parts we doubt not; but be that their shame, Men, th act up to reason's golden rule,
Shall men of talents, fit to rule mankind, All weakness of affection quite subdued :
Stoop to mean wiles, that would disgrace a fool ; Men, that would blush at being thought sincere, And lose the thanks of those few friends they serve? And feign, for glory, the few faults they want; For who can thank the man he cannot see? That love a lie, where truth would pay as well ; Why so much cover ? It defeats itself. As is, to them, vice shone her own reward. Ye, that know all things! know ye not, men's hearts
Lorenzo! canst thou bear a shocking sight? Are therefore known, because they are conceald? Such, for Florello's sake, 't will now appear : For why conceal'd ?- The cause they need not tell. See, the steel'd files of season'd veterans,
I give him joy, that's awkward at a lie ;
His incapacity is his renown.
Thou say’st, “ 'Tis needful :" is it therefore right?
Escape that cruel need? Thou may'st, with ease; And by whom none, but Luciser, can gain
Think no post need ful that demands a knave. Naked, through these (so common fate ordains.) When late our civil helm was shifting hands, Naked of heart, his cruel course he runs,
So Poulteney thought : think better, if you can. Stung out of all, most amiable in life, (feign'd; But this, how rare! the public path of life Prompt truth, and open thought, and smiles un- Is dirty :-yet, allow that dirt is due, Affection, as his species, wide diffus'd;
It makes the noble mind more noble still: Noble presumptions to mankind's renown; The world's no neuter; it will wound, or save; Ingenuous Trust, and confidence of love.
Or virtue quench, or indignation fire. These claims to joy (if mortals joy might claim) You say, “The world, well known, will make a man:" Will cost him many a sigh ; till time, and pains, The world, well known, will give our hearts to From the slow mistress of this school, experience,
Heaven, And her assistant, pausing, pale, distrust,
Or make us demons, long before we die. Purchase a dear-bought clew to lead his youth To show how fair the world, thy mistress, shines Through serpentine obliquities of life,
Take either part, sure ills attend the choice;
Sure, though not equal, detriment ensues.
Foes, that ne'er fail to make her feel their hate. If less than heavenly virtue is our guard.
Virtue has her peculiar set of pains. Thus, a strange kind of curst necessity
True friends to virtue, last, and lcast, complain;
If wisdom has her miseries to mourn,
Where he most happy, who the least laments? And Nature's injuries are arts of life;
Where much, much patience, the most envied state Where brighter reason prompts to bolder crimes; And some forgiveness, needs the best of friends ? And heavenly talents make infernal hearts ; For friend, or happy life, who looks not higher, That unsurmountable extreme of guilt!
Of neither shall he find the shadow here. Poor Machiavel! who labor'd hard his plan, The world's sworn advocate, without a fee, Forgot, that genius need not go to school ;
Lorenzo smartly, with a smile, replies ; Forgot, that man, without a tutor wise,
“ Thus far thy song is right; and all must own
Virtue has her peculiar set of pains.
of real greatness? That man greatly lives, And joys peculiar who to vice denies?
Whate'er his fate, or fame, who greatly dies; If vice it is, with nature to comply:
High-flush'd with hope, where heroes shall despair If pride, and sense, are so predominant,
If this a true criterion, many courts,
Th’ Almighty, from his throne, on Earth surveys
An humble heart, his residence! pronounc'd
The private path, the secret acts of men,
If noble, far the noblest of our lives!
Whose worth unrival'd, and unwitness'd, loves Who talks of these, to mankind all at once
Lise's sacred shades, where gods converse with men; He talks; for were the saints from either free? And peace, beyond the world's conception, smiles ! Are these thy refuge ?-No: these rush upon thee; As thou (now dark,) before we part, shalt see. Thy vitals seize, and, vulture-like, devour:
But thy great soul this skulking glory scorns. I'll try if I can pluck thee from thy rock,
Lorenzo's sick, but when Lorenzo's seen; Prometheus ! from this barren ball of Earth ; And when he shrugs at public business, lies. If reason can unchain thee, thou art free.
Denied the public eye, the public voice, And, first, thy Caucasus, ambition, calls;
As if he liv'd on others' breath, he dies. Mountain of torments ! eminence of woes!
Fain would he make the world his pedestal; Of courted woes! and courted through mistake! Mankind the gazers, the sole figure, he. "Tis not ambition charms thee; 'tis a cheat Knows he, that mankind praise against their will, Will make thee start, as Hat his Moor. And mix as much detraction as they can? Dost grasp at greatness ? First, know what it is : Knows he, that faithless fame her whisper has, Think'st thou thy greatness in distinction lies? As well as trumpet? That his vanity Not in the feather, wave it e'er so high,
Is so much tickled from not hearing all ? By fortune stuck, to mark us from the throng, Knows this all-knower, that from itch of praise, Is glory lodg'd: 'tis lodg'd in the reverse;
Or, from an itch more sordid, when he shines, In that which joins, in that which equals, all, Taking his country by five hundred ears, The monarch and his slave ;—“a deathless soul, Senates at once admire him, and despise, Unbounded prospeci, and immortal kin,
With modest laughter lining loud applause, A Father-God, and brothers in the skies;"
Which makes the smile more mortal to his fame? Elder, indeed, in time ; but less remote
His fame, which (like the mighty Cæsar,) crown'd In excellence, perhaps, than thought by man; With laurels, in full senate, greatly falls, Why greater what can fall, than what can rise ?
By seeming friends, that honor, and destroy.
We rise in glory, as we sink in pride :
An eminence, though fancied, turns the brain : Beware the consequence: a maxim that,
All vice wants hellebore ; but of all vice, Which draws a monstrous picture of mankind, Pride loudest calls, and for the largest bowl; Where, in the drapery, the man is lost;
Because, unlike all other vice, it flies,
In fact, the point in fancy most pursued.
We wisely strip the steed we mean to buy : Superior honor, when assum'd, is lost ;
E'en good men turn banditti, and rejoice,
Though somewhat disconcerted, steady still
To the world's cause, with half a face of joy, When, through death's streights, Earth's subtle Lorenzo cries—“Be, then, ambition cast; serpents creep,
Ambition’s dearer far stands unimpeach'd, Which wriggle into wealth, or climb renown. Gay pleasure ! proud ambition is her slave; As crooked Satan the forbidden tree,
For her, he soars at great, and hazards ill ; They leave their party-color'd robe behind, For her, he fights, and bleeds, or overcomes; All that now glitters, while they rear aloft And paves his way, with crowns, to reach her smile: Their brazen crests, and hiss at us below.
Who can resist her charms ?”-Or, should? LoOf fortune's fucus strip them, yet alive:
renzo! Strip them of body, too; nay, closer still,
What mortal shall resist, where angels yield ? Away with all, but moral, in their minds;
Pleasure's the mistress of ethereal powers; And let what then remains impose their name, For her contend the rival gods above; Pronounce them weak, or worthy; great, or mean. Pleasure's the mistress of the world below; How mean that snuff of glory fortune lights, And well it was for man, that pleasure charms; And death puts out! Dost thou demand a test, How would all stagnate, but for pleasure's ray! A test, at once, infallible, and short,
How would the frozen stream of action cease! 75
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What is the pulse of this so busy world?
And know thyself; and know thyself to be The love of pleasure: that, through every vein, (Strange truth) the most abstemious man alive Throws motion, warmth ; and shuts out death from Tell not Calista; she will laugh thee dead; life.
Or send thee to her hermitage with Though various are the tempers of mankind, Absurd presumption! Thou who never knew'st Pleasure's gay family hold all in chains :
A serious thought! shalt thon dare dream of joy? Some most affect the black; and some, the fair; No man e'er found a happy life by chance ; Some honest pleasure court: and some, obscene. Or yawn'd it into being, with a wish ; Pleasures obscene are various, as the throng Or, with the shout of grovelling appetite, Of passions, that can err in human hearts ; E'er smelt it out, and grubb'd it from the dirt. Mistake their objects, or transgress their bounds. An art it is, and must be learnt; and learnt Think you there's but one whoredom? Whoredom, With unremitting effort, or be lost ; all,
And leaves us perfect blockheads, in our bliss. But when our reason licenses delight:
The clouds may drop down titles and estates; Dost doubt, Lorenzo ? Thou shalt doubt no more. Wealth may seek us; bot wisdom must be sought; Thy father chides thy gallantries, yet hugs Sought before all; but (how unlike all else An ugly common harlot, in the dark ;
We seek on Earth!) 'tis never sought in vain. A rank adulterer with others' gold!
First, pleasure's birth, rise, strength, and grandeur And that bag, vengeance, in a corner, charms.
see. Talred her brothel has, as well as love,
Brought forth by wisdom, nurst by discipline, Where horrid epicures debauch in blood.
By patience taught, by perseverance crown'd, Whate'er the motive, pleasure is the mark: She rears her head majestic; round her throne, for her, the black assassin draws his sword; Erected in the bosom of the just, For her, dark statesmen trim their midnight lamp, Each virtue, listed, forms her manly guard. To which no single sacrifice may fall;
For what are virtues ? (formidable name! For her, the saint abstains; the miser starves; What, but the fountain, or defence, of joy? The Stoic proud, for pleasure, pleasure scorn'd; Why, then, commanded ? Need mankind commands, For her, affliction's daughters grief indulge,
At once to meril, and to make, their bliss ?
Great Legislator! scarce so great, as kind !
In the transgression lies the penalty;
Of pleasure, next, the final cause explore;
Its mighty purpose, its important end. Pleasure the purpose of my gloomy song.
Not to turn human brutal, but to build Pleasure is nought but virtue's gayer name : Divine on human, pleasure came from Heaven. I wrong her still, I rate her worth too low; In aid to reason was the goddess sent; Virtue the root, and pleasure is the flower; To call up all its strength by such a charr. And honest Epicurus' foes were fools.
Pleasure, first, succors virtue ; in return, But this sounds harsh, and gives the wise offence! Virtue gives pleasure an eternal reign. If o'erstraind wisdom still retains the name, What, but the pleasure of food, friendship, faith, How knits austerity her cloudy brow,
Supports life natural, civil, and divine ? And blames, as bold, and hazardous, the praise "Tis from the pleasure of repast, we live; of pleasure, lo mankind, unprais'd, too dear! "Tis from the pleasure of applause, we please ; Ye modern Stoics! hear my soft reply ;
"Tis from the pleasure of belief, we pray; Their senses men will trust: we can't impose ; (All prayer would cease, if unbeliev'd the prize ;) Or, if we could, is imposition right?
It serves ourselves, our species, and our God; Own honey sweel ; but, owning, add this sting ; And to serve more, is past the sphere of man. “When mixt with poison, it is deadly 100." Glide, then, for ever, pleasure's sacred stream! Truth never was indebted to a lie.
Through Eden, as Euphrates ran, it runs, Is nought but virtue to be prais'd, as good ? And fosters every growth of bappy life; Why then is health preferr'd before disease ? Makes a new Eden where it flows ;-but such What nature loves is good without our leave; As must be lost, Lorenzo! by thy fall. And where no future drawback cries, “ Beware,” " What mean I by thy fall?”—Thou'lt shortly see, Pleasure, though not from virtue, should prevail. While pleasure's nature is at large display'd ; "Tis balm to life, and gratitude to Heaven; Already sung her origin, and ends. How cold our thanks for bounties unenjoy'd! Those glorious ends, by kind, or by degree, The love of pleasure is man's eldest-born,
When pleasure violates, 'tis then a vice, Born in his cradle, living to his tomb:
And vengeance too; it hastens into pain. Wisdom, her younger sister, though more grave, From due refreshment, life, health, reason, joy ; Was meant to minister, and not to mar,
From wild excess, pain, grief, distraction, death ; Imperial pleasure, queen of human hearts. Heaven's justice, this proclaims, and that her love Lorenzo! thou, her majesty's renown'd,
What greater evil can I wish my foe, Though uncoist counsel, learned in the world! Than his full draught of pleasure, from a cask Who think'st thyself a Murray, with disdain Unbroach'd by just authority, ungaug'd May'st look on me. Yet, my Demosthenes ! By temperance, by reason unrefind? Canst thou plead pleasure's cause as well as I ? A thousand demons lurk within the lee. Know'st thou her nature, purpose, parentage ? Heaven, others, and ourselves! uninjur'd these, Altend my song, and thou shalt know them all; Drink deep; the deeper, then, the more divine :
Angels are angels, from indulgence there;
Dost call the bowl, the viol, and the dance, "Tis unrepenting pleasure makes a god.
Loud mirth, mad laughter? Wretched comforters! Dost think thyself a god from other joys ? Physicians! more than half of thy disease. A victim rather! shortly sure to bleed.
Laughter, though never censur'd yet as sin, The wrong must mourn: can Heaven's appointments (Pardon a thought that only seems severe,) fail?
Is half-immoral; is it much indulg'd ? Can man outwit Omnipotence? Strike out By venting spleen, or dissipating thought, A self-wrought happiness unmeant by him
It shows a scorner, or it makes a fool; Who made us, and the world we would enjoy ? And sins, as hurting others, or ourselves. Who forms an instrument, ordains from whence "Tis pride, or emptiness, applies the straw, Its dissonance, or harmony, shall rise.
That tickles little minds to mirth effuse ! Heaven bade the soul this mortal frame inspire : Of grief approaching, the portentous sign! Bade virtue's ray divine inspire the soul
The house of laughter makes a house of woe. With unprecarious flows of vital joy ;
A man triumphant is a monstrous sight;
What cause for triumph, where such ills abound ? “Is virtue, then, and piety the same ?"
What for dejection, where presides a power, No; piety is more ; 'tis virtue's source ;
Who callid us into being to be blest ? Mother of every worth, as that of joy.
So grieve, as conscious grief may rise to joy ; Men of the world this doctrine ill digest:
So joy, as conscious joy to grief may fall. They smile at piety; yet boast aloud
Most true, a wise man never will be sad; Good-will to men; nor know they strive to part But neither will sonorous, bubbling mirth, What nature joins, and thus confute themselves. A shallow stream of happiness betray : With piety begins all good on Earth ;
Too happy to be sportive, he's serene. "T'is the first-born of rationality.
Yet wouldst thou laugh (but at thy own expense), Conscience, her first law broken, wounded lies; This counsel strange should I presume to giveEnfeebled, lifeless, impotent to good;
· Retire, and read thy Bible, to be gay." A feign'd affection bounds her utmost power.
There truths abound of sovereign aid to peace; Some we can't love, but for the Almighty's sake; Ah! do not prize them less, because inspir'd, A foe to God was ne'er true friend to man; As thou, and thine, are apt and proud to do. Some sinister intent taints all he does;
If not inspir'd, that pregnant page had stood, And, in his kindest actions, he's unkind.
Time's treasure ; and the wonder of the wise ! On piety, humanity is built ;
Thou think'st, perhaps, thy soul alone at stake; And on humanity, much happiness ;
Alas -Should men mistake thee for a fool ;-
What man of taste for genius, wisdom, truth,
But these, thou think'st, are gloomy paths to joy. A Deity ador'd, is joy advanc'd;
True joy in sun-shine ne'er was found at first; A Deity belor'd, is joy matur’d.
They, first, themselves offend, who greatly please ; Each branch of piely delight inspires;
And travel only gives us sound repose.
And glory the victorious laurel spreads
Or joy, by mistim'd fondness, is undone. Of man, in audience with the Deity.
A man of pleasure is a man of pains. Who worships the Great God, that instant joins Thou wilt not take the trouble to be blest. The first in Heaven, and sets his foot on Hell. False joys, indeed, are born from want of thought.
Lorenzo! when wast thou at church before ? From thoughts full bent, and energy, the true ; Thou think'st the service long : but is it just ? And that demands a mind in equal poise, Though just, unwelcome; thou hadst rather tread Remote from gloomy grief and glaring joy. Unhallow'd ground; the Muse, to win thine ear, Much joy not only speaks small happiness, Must take an air less solemn. She complies. But happiness that shortly must expire. Good conscience ! at the sound the world retires ; Can joy, unbottom'd in reflection, stand ? Verse disaffects it, and Lorenzo smiles ;
And, in a tempest, can reflection live? Yet has she her seraglio full of charms;
Can joy, like thine, secure itself an hour ? And such as age shall heighten, not impair. Can joy, like thine, meet accident unshock'd ? Art thou dejected ? Is thy mind o'ercast ?
Or ope the door to honest poverty ?
These fundamentals give delight indeed ;
Is joy the daughter of severity ?