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Inmortal never-failing friend of Man,
His guide to happiness on high.—And see!
Tis come, the glorious morn! the second birth
Of heaven, and earth! awakening Nature hears
The new-creating word, and starts to life,
In every heighten'd form, from pain and death
For ever free. The great eternal scheme
Involving all, and in a perfect whole
Uniting as the prospect wider spreads
To reason's eye refin'd clears up apace.
Ye vainly wise! je blind presumptuous ! now,
Confounded in the dust, adore that Power,
And Wisdom oft arraign'd: see now the cause,
Why unassuming worth in secret livd,
And dy'd, neglected : why the good Man's share
In life was gall and bitterness of soul:
Why the lone widow, and her orphans, pind
In starving solitude; while luxury,
In palaces, lay straining her low thought,
To form unreal wants : why heaven-born truth,
And moderation fair, wore the red marks
Of superstition's scourge : why licens'd pain,
That cruel spoiler, that embosom'd foe,
Imbitter'd all our bliss. Ye good distrest!
Ye noble few! who here un bending stand
Beneath life's pressure, yet bear up awhile ,
bounded view, which only saw A little part, deem'd Evil, is no more. The storms of Wintry Time will quickly pass, And one unbounded Spring encircle all.
Be wise to-day ; 'tis madness to defer :
Next day the fatal precedent will plead :
Thus on , till wisdom is push'd out of life.
Procrastination is the thief of time;
Year after year it steals , till all are fled,
And to the mercies of a moment leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal scene.
Of man's miraculous mistakes this bears
The palm, « That all men are about to live ,
For ever on the brink of being born.
All pay themselves the compliment to think
They, one day, shall not drivel; and their pride
On this reversion takes up ready praise;
At least, their own; their future selves applauds;
How excellent that life they ne'er will lead !
Time lodg'd in their own hands is Folly's vails;
That lodg'd in Fate's, to Wisdom they consign;
The thing they can't but purpose, they postpone.
'Tis not in Folly, not to scorn a fool;
And scarce in human Wisdom to do more.
All promise is poor dilatory man,
And that thru every stage. When young, indeed,
In full content, we sometimes nobiy rest
Un-anxious for ourselves; and only wish,
As duteous sons, our fathers were more wise.
At thirty, man suspects himself a fool;
Knows it at forty , and reforms his plan;
At filiy, chides his infamous delay,
Pushes his prudent purpose to Resolve;
In all the magnanimity of thought,
Resolves, and re-resolves, then dies the same.
And why? Because he thinks himself immortal. All nien think all men nortal, but themselves; Themselves, when some alarming shock of fate Strikes thro'their wounded hearts the sudden dread; But their hearts wounded, like the wounded air, Soon close; where past the shaft, no trace is found. As from the wing no scar the sky retains; The parted wave no furrow from the keel; So dies in human hearts the thought of death. Evin with the tender tear which nature sheds O'er those we love, we drop it in their grave.
CHA P. X X I V. The Pain arising from virtuous emo
tions attended with Pleasure.
Of Heav'n's eternal destiny to man,
For ever just, benevolent and wise :
That Virtue's awful steps, howe'er pursued
By vexing Fortune and intrusive Pain,
Should never be divided from her chaste,
Her fair attendant, Pleasure. Need I urge
Thy tardy thought through all the various round
of this existence, that thy softning soul
At length may learn what energy the hand
Of Virtue mingles in the bitter tide
Of passion swelling with distress and pain
To mitigate the sharp with gracious drops
Of cordial Pleasure ?-Ask the faithful youth,
Why the cold urn of her whom long he lov'd,
So often fills his arms; so often draws
His lonely footsteps, at the silent hour,
pay the mournful tribute of his tears ?
O! he will tell thee that the wealth of worlds
Should ne'er seduce his bosom to forego
That sacred hour, when stealing from the noise
Of care and envy, sweet remembrance sooths
With virtue's kindest looks his aching breast,
And turns his tears to rapture.-Ask the crowd
Which flies impatient from the village-walk
To climb the neighb'ring cliffs, when far below
The cruel winds have hurl'd upon the coast
Some hapless bark; while sacred pity melts
The gen'ral eye, or terror's icy hand
Sniites their distorted limbs and horrent hair;
every mother closer to her breast Catches her child, and pointing where the waves Foam thro' the shatter'd vessel, shrieks aloud, As one poor wretch , that spreads his pitious arms For succour, swallow'd by the roaring surge ;
As now another, dash'd against the rock,
Drops lifeless down. O deemest thou indeed.
No kind endearment here by nature giv'n
To mutual terror and compassion's tears?
No sweetly-melting softness which attracts,
O'er all that edge of pain, the social pow'rs
To this their
action and their end? Ask thy own heart; when at the midnight hour , Slow thro' that studious gloom thy pausing eye Led by the glimm'ring taper moves around The sacred volumes of the dead, Of Grecian bards, and records writ by fame For Grecian Heroes, where the present pow'r Of hear'n and earth surveys th' immortal
page, E'en as a father blessing, while he reads The praises of his son ; is then thy soul, Spurning the yoke of these inglorious days, Mix in their deeds and kindle with their flame: Say, when the prospect blackens on thy view, When rooted from the base, heroic States Mourn in the dust, and tremble at the frown. Of curst ambition ;-when the pious band Of youths that fought for freedom and their sires Lie side by side in gore;-when ruffian-pride Usurps the throne of justice ,. turns the pomp Of public pow'r, the majesty of rule, The sword, the laurel, and the purple robe, To slavish empty pageants, to adorn A tyrant's walk, and glitter in the eyes Ot such as bow the knee;, when honour'd urns: Of patriots, and of chiefs, the awful bust And storied arch, to glut the coward rage Of regal envy, strew the public way With hallow'd ruins !-when the muse's haunt, The marble porch, where wisdom wont to talk With Socrates or Tully, hears no more, Save the hoarse jargon of contentious monks, Or female superstition's midnight pray'r ; When ruthless rapine from the land of time. Tears the destroying scythe, with surer blow. To.sweep the works of glory from their base;
Till desolation o'er the grass-grown'street
Expands his raven-wings, and up the wall,
Where senates once the pride of monarchs doom'd,
Hisses the gliding snake thro' hoary weeds,
That clasp the mould'ring column:thus defacid,
Tius widely mournful when the prospect thrills
Thy beating bosom, when the patriot's tear
Starts from thine
eye, and thy extended arm
In-fancy hurls the thunderbolt of Jove
To fire the impidus wreath on Philip's brow,
Or dash Octavius from the trophied car;-
Say, does thy secret soul repive to taste
The big distress? Or wouldst thou then exchange
Those heart-ennobling sorrows, for the lot
Of himn who sits amid the gaudy herd
Uf mute barbarians bending to his nod,
And bears aloft his gold-invested front,
says within himself, « I am a king, » And wherefore should the clanı'rous voice of woe » Intrude upon mine ear?n The baleful dregs Of these late ages, this inglorious draught Of servitude and folly,
have not yet, (Blest be th’Eternal Ruler of the world !) Defild to such a depth of sordid shame The native honours of the human soul, Nor so esfac'd the image of its sire: AKENSIDE.
CH A P. X X V.
On Taste. Sxx, what is taste , but the internal powers Active, and strong, and feelingly alive To each fine impulse ? a discerning sense Of decent and sublime, with quick disgust Froni things deform’d, or disarrang’d, or gross In species? This nor gems, nor stores of gold, Nor purple state', nor culture can bestow; But God alone, when first his active liand Imprints the sacred bias of the soul. He, mighty Parent! wise and just in all, Free as the vital breeze, or light of heav'ı,