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And shot his indignation at the deep :
Re-thunder'd Hell, and darted all her fires.
And seems the stake of little moment still ?
And slumbers man, who singly caus'd the storm ?
He sleeps. — And art thou shock'd at mysteries ?
The greatest, thou. How dreadful to reflect,
What ardour, care, and counsel mortals cause
In breasts divine ! how little in their own!
Where'er I turn, how new proofs pour upon me!
How happily this wondrous view supports
My former argument! How strongly strikes
Immortal life's full demonstration, here!
Why this exertion? Why this strange regard
From Heaven's Omnipotent indulg'd to man ? -
Because, in man, the glorious dreadful power,
Extremely to be pain’d, or blest, for ever.
Duration gives importance; swells the price.
An angel, if a creature of a day,
What would he be? A trifle of no weight;
Or stand, or fall; no matter which; he's gone.
Because immortal, therefore is indulg'd
This strange regard of deities to dust.
Hence, Heaven looks down on Earth with all her eyes:
Hence, the soul's mighty moment in her sight :
Hence, every soul has partisans above,
And every thought a critic in the skies :
Hence, clay, vile clay ! has angels for its guard,
And every guard a passion for his charge :
Hence, from all age, the cabinet divine
Has held high counsel o'er the fate of man.
Nor have the clouds those gracious counsels hid : Angels undrew the curtain of the throne,
And Providence came forth to meet mankind : In various modes of emphasis and awe, He spoke his will, and trembling Nature heard ; He spoke it loud, in thunder and in storm. Witness, thou Sinai ! whose cloud-cover'd height And shaken basis, own'd the present God; Witness, ye billows ! whose returning tide, Breaking the chain that fasten'd it in air, Swept Egypt, and her menaces, to Hell : Witness, ye flames ! th' Assyrian tyrant blew To sevenfold rage, as impotent, as strong. And thou, Earth! witness, whose expanding jaws Clos'd o'er presumption's sacrilegious sons * : Has not each element, in turn, subscribed The souls high price, and sworn it to the wise ? Has not flame, ocean, ether, earthquake, strove To strike this truth through adamantine man? If not all adamant, Lorenzo ! hear; All is delusion; Nature is wrapt up In tenfold night, from reason's keenest eye; There 's no consistence, meaning, plan, or end, In all beneath the Sun, in all above (As far as man can penetrate), or Heaven Is an immense, inestimable prize ; Or all is nothing, or that prize is all. And shall each toy be still a match for Heaven, And full equivalent for groans below? Who would not give a trifle to prevent What he would give a thousand worlds to cure ?
Lorenzo! thou hast seen (if thine to see)
All Nature, and her God (by Nature's course,
And Nature's ccurse controlld) declare for me:
The skies above proclaim, “ immortal man!'
And,“ man immortal !" all below resounds. .
The world 's a system of theology,
Read by the greatest strangers to the schools;
If honest, learn'd; and sages o'er a plough.
Is not, Lorenzo ! then, impos'd on thee
This hard alternative; or, to renounce
Thy reason, or thy sense ; or, to believe?
What then is unbelief ? 'T is an exploit;
A strenuous enterprise : to gain it, man
Must burst through every bar of common sense ;
Of common shame, magnanimously wrong;
And what rewards the sturdy combatant ?
His prize, repentance; infamy, his crown.
But wherefore, infamy ? - For want of faith,
Down the steep precipice of wrong he slides;
There 's nothing to support him in the right.
Faith in the future wanting is, at least
In embryo, every weakness, every guilt;
And strong temptation ripens it to birth.
If this life's gain invites him to the deed,
Why not his country sold, his father slain ?
'T is virtue to pursue our good supreme;
And his supreme, his only good is here.
Ambition, avarice, by the wise disdain'd,
Is perfect wisdom, while mankind are fools,
And think a turf, or tomb-stone, covers all :
These find employment, and provide for sense
A richer pasture, and a larger range,
And sense by right divine ascends the throne,
When urrtue's prize and prospect are no more;
Virtue no more we think the will of Heaven.
Would Heaven quite beggar virtue, if belov'd?
“ Has virtue charms ?" -I grant her heavenly
But if unportion'd, all will interest wed;
Though that our admiration, this our choice.
The virtues grow on immortality i
That root destroy'd, they wither and expire.
A deity believ'd, will nought avail ;
Rewards and punishments make God ador'd ;
And hopes and fears give conscience all her power.
As in the dying parent dies the child,
Virtue, with immortality, expires.
Who tells me he denies his soul immortal,
Whate'er his boast, has told me, he's a knave.
His duty 't is, to love himself alone ;
Nor care though mankind perish, if he siniles.
Who thinks ere long the man shall wholly die,
Is dead already ; nought but brute survives.
And are there such ?-Suah candidates there re
For more than death ; for utter loss of being,
Being, the basis of the Deity!
Ask you the cause ? — The cause they will not tell:
Nor need they : O the sorceries of sense!
They work this transformation on the soul,
Dismount her, like the serpent at the fall,
Dismount her from her native wing, (which sos
Ere-while ethereal heights,) and throw her dowl,
To lick the dust, and crawl in such a thought.
Is it in words to paint you? O ye fall’n ! Fall’n from the wings of reason, and of hope.
Erect in stature, prone in appetite !
Patrons of pleasure, posting into pain !
Lovers of argument, averse to sense!
Boasters of liberty, fast bound in chains!
Lords of the wide creation, and the shame!
More senseless than th' irrationals you scorn! [pity,
More base than those you rule! Than those you
Far more undone ! O ye most infamous
Of beings, from superior dignity!
Deepest in woe from means of boundless bliss!
Ye curst by blessings infinite ! because
Most highly favour'd, most profoundly lost!
Ye motley mass of contradiction strong !
And are you, too, convinc'd, your souls fly off
In exhalation soft, and die in air,
From the full flood of evidence against you ?
In the coarse drudgeries and sinks of sense,
Your souls have quite worn out the make of Heaven,
By vice new-cast, and creatures of your own:
But though you can deform, you can't destroy:
To curse, not uncreate, is all your power.
Lorenzo ! this black brotherhood renounce;
Renounce St. Evremont, and read St. Paul.
Ere rapt by miracle, hy reason wing'd,
His mounting mind made long abode in Heaven,
This is freethinking, unconfin’d to parts, .
To send the soul, on curious travel bent,
Through all the provinces of human thought;
To dart her flight through the whole sphere of man
Of this vast universe to make the tour;
In each recess of space, and time, at home;
Familiar with their wonders; diving deep;