« AnteriorContinuar »
Part with it as with money, sparing ; pay
No moment, but in purchase of its worth;
And what its worth, ask death-beds; they can tell.
Part with it as with life, reluctant; big
With holy hope of nobler time to come;
Time higher aim'd, still nearer the great mark
Of men and angels ; virtue more divine.
Is this our duty, wisdom, glory, gain?
(These Heaven benign in vital union binds)
And sport we like the natives of the bough,
When vernal suns inspire ? Amusement reigns
Man's great demand : to trifle, is to live :
And is it then a trifle, too, to die?
Thou say'st I preach, Lorenzo! 't is confest.
What if, for once, I preach thee quite awake ?
Who wants amusement in the flame of battle?
Is it not treason to the soul immortal,
Her foes in arms, eternity the prize ?
Will toys amuse, when medicines cannot cure?
When spirits ebb, when life's enchanting scenes
Their lustre lose, and lessen in our sight,
As lands, and cities with their glittering spires,
To the poor shatter'd bark, by sudden storm
Thrown off to sea, and soon to perish there?
Will toys amuse? No: thrones will then be toys,
And earth and skies seem dust upon the scale.
Redeem we time ? - Its loss we dearly buy. What pleads Lorenzo for his high-priz'd sports ? He pleads time's numerous blanks; he loudly
pleads The straw-like trifles on life's common stream. From whom those blanks and trifles, but from thee?
No blank, no trifle, Nature made, or meant.
Virtue, or purpos'd virtue, still be thine ;
This cancels thy complaint at once. This leaves
In act no trifle, and no blank in time.
This greatens, fills, immortalizes all ;
This, the blest art of turning all to gold;
This the good heart's prerogative to raise
A royal tribute from the poorest hours;
Immense revenue ! every moment pays,
If nothing more than purpose in thy power ;
Thy purpose firm, is equal to the deed :
Who does the best his circumstance allows,
Does well, acts nobly; angels could no more.
Our outward act indeed admits restraint;
'T is not in things o'er thought to domineer;
Guard well thy thought; our thoughts are heard in
On all important time, through every age,
Though much, and warm, the wise have urg'd; the
Is yet unborn, who duly weighs an hour.
“ I've lost a day" — the prince who nobly cried
Had been an emperor without his crown;
Of Rome? Say, rather, lord of human race:
He spoke, as if deputed by mankind.
So should all speak : so Reason speaks in all :
From the soft whispers of that God in man,
Why fly to folly, way to phrenzy fly,
For rescue from the blessing we possess ?
Time, the supreme! --Time is Eternity;
Pregnant with all eternity can give;
Pregnant with all that makes archangels smile.
Who murders time, he crushes in the birth
A power ethereal, only not ador'd.
Ah! how unjust to Nature and himself,
Is thoughtless, thankless, inconsistent man!
Like children babbling nonsense in their sports,
We censure Nature for a span too short;
That span too short, we tax as tedious too;
Torture invention, all expedients tire,
To lash the lingering moments into speed,
And whirl us (happy riddance !) from ourselves,
Art, brainless Art ! our furious charioteer
(For Nature's voice unstifled would recall)
Drives headlong towards the precipice of death;
Death, most our dread ; death thus more dreadful
O what a riddle of absurdity!
Leisure is pain ; takes off our chariot-wheels;
How heavily we drag the load of life!
Blest leisure is our curse ; like that of Cain,
It makes us wander; wander Earth around
To fly that tyrant, Thought. As Atlas groan'd
The world beneath, we groan beneath an hour.
We cry for mercy to the next amusement;
The next amusement mortgages our fields;
Slight inconvenience! Prisons hardly frown,
From hateful Time if prisons set us free.
Yet when Death kindly tenders us relief,
We call him cruel; years to moments shrink,
Ages to years. The telescope is turn'd.
To man's false optics (from his folly false)
Time, in advance, behind him hides his wings,
And seems to creep, decrepit with his age;
Behold him, when past by; what then is seen,
But his broad pinions swifter than the winds ?
And all mankind, in contradiction strong,
Rueful, aghast! cry out on his career.
Leave to thy foes these errours, and these ills;
To Nature just, their cause and cure explore.
Not short Heaven's bounty, boundless our expense;
No niggard, Nature; men are prodigals,
We waste, not use our time ; we breathe, not live.
Time wasted is existence, us'd is life,
And bare existence, man, to live ordain'd,
Wrings, and oppresses with enormous weight,
And why? since Time was given for use, not waste,
Injoin'd to fly; with tempest, tide, and stars,
To keep his speed, nor ever wait for man;
Time's use was doom'd a pleasure ; waste, a pain;
That man might feel his errour, if unseen :
And, feeling, fly to labour for his cure;
Not, blundering, split on idleness for ease.
Life's cares are comforts ; such by Heaven design'd;
He that has none, must make them, or be wretched.
Cares are employments, and without employ
The soul is on a rack; the rack of rest,
To souls most adverse; action all their joy.
Here then, the riddle, mark'd above, unfolds ; Then time turns torment, when man turns a fool. We rave, we wrestle, with great Nature's plan; We thwart the Deity; and 't is decreed, Who thwart his will, shall contradict their own. Hence our unnatural quarrels with ourselves ; Our thoughts at enmity ; our bosom-broil ; We push Time from us, and we wish him back :
Lavish of lustrums, and yet fond of life;
Life we think long, and shcrt; Death seek, and
Body and soul, like peevish man and wife,
United jar, and yet are loth to part.
Oh the dark days of vanity! while here, How tasteless ! and how terrible, when gone! Gone! they ne'er go; when past, they haunt us
The spirit walks of ev'ry day deceased;
And smiles an angel, or a fury frowns.
Nor death, nor life delight us. If time past,
And time possest, both pain us, what can please ?
That which the Deity to please ordain’d,
Time us'd. The man who consecrates his hours
By vigorous effort, and an honest aim,
At once he draws the sting of life and death;
He walks with Nature; and her paths are peace.
Our errour's cause and cure are seen: see next
Time's nature, origin, importance, speed ;
And thy great gain from urging his career.-
All-sensual man, because untouch'd, unseen,
He looks on Time as nothing. Nothing else
Is truly man's; 't is fortune's — Time 's a god.
Hast thou ne'er heard of Time's omnipotence;
For, or against, what wonders he can do !
And will : to stand blank neuter he disdains.
Not on those terms was Time (Heaven's stranger!)
On his important embassy to man.
Lorenzo ! no: On the long-destin'd hour,
From everlasting ages growing ripe,