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Is truly man's; 'tis fortune's-Time's a god.
On his important embassy to man.
Hours, days, and months, and years, his children play,
When worlds, that count his circles now, unhing'd (Fate the loud signal sounding) headlong rush To timeless night and chaos, whence they rose.
Why spur the speedy? Why with levities New-wing thy short, short day's too rapid flight? Know'st thou, or what thou dost, or what is done? Man flies from Time, and Time from man; too soon In sad divorce this double flight must end; And then, where are we? where, Lorenzo! then Thy sports? thy pomps?-I grant thee, in a state Not unambitious; in the ruffled shroud, Thy Parian tomb's triumphant arch beneath. Has Death his fopperies? Then well may Life Put on her plume, and in her rainbow shine. Ye well-array'd! ye lilies of our land! Ye lilies male! who neither toil, nor spin, (As sister lilies might) if not so wise As Solomon, more sumptuous to the sight! Ye delicate! who nothing can support, Yourselves most insupportable! for whom The winter rose must blow, the Sun put on A brighter beam in Leo; silky-soft Favonius breathe still softer, or be chid; And other worlds send odors, sauce, and song, And robes, and notions, fram'd in foreign looms! O ye Lorenzos of our age! who deem One moment unamus'd, a misery
Not made for feeble man! who call aloud
O treacherous Conscience! while she seems to sleep
And her dread diary with horror fills.
In leaves more durable than leaves of brass
Man sleeps; and man alone; and man, whose fate,
Such is the language of the man awake;
Where shall I find him? Angels! tell me where. You know him he is near you: point him out: Shall I see glories beaming from his brow? Or trace his footsteps by the rising flowers? Your golden wings, now hovering o'er him, shed Protection; now, are waving in applause To that blest son of foresight! lord of fate!
That awful independent on to-morrow!
As man's despotic will, perhaps one hour,
O'er midnight bowls, the proud Assyrian pale,
Ere-while high-flusht with insolence and wine ?
Like that, the dial speaks; and points to thee,
Know, like the Median, fate is in thy walls :
Dost ask, How? Whence? Belshazzar-like, amaz'd?
Life feeds the murderer: Ingrate! he thrives
That solar shadow, as it measures life,
From point to point, though seeming to stand still.
So those, but when more glorious reason shines.
"Tis later with the wise than he's aware :
And all mankind mistake their time of day;
Man must compute that age he cannot feel,
'Tis greatly wise to talk with our past hours; One disappointment sure, to crown the rest ;
Whose mind was moral, as the preacher's tongue,
And cool'd our passions by the breezy stream!
Best found, so sought; to the recluse more coy!
Thoughts disentangle passing o'er the lip;
Art thou so moor'd thou canst not disengage, The fancy, and unhallow'd passion fires;
As bees mixt nectar draw from fragrant flowers,
So men from friendship, wisdom and delight;
And spoil, like bales unopend to the Sun.
Speech, thought’s canal! speech, thought's criterion The wise extract Earth's most Hyblean bliss, too!
Superior wisdom, crown'd with smiling joy. Thought, in the mine, may come forth gold, or dross ; But for whom blossoms this Elysian flower ? When coin'd in word, we know its real worth. Abroad they find, who cherish it at home. If sterling, store it for thy future use :
Lorenzo! pardon what my love extorts, 'Twill buy thee benefit; perhaps renown.
An honest love, and not afraid to frown. Thought, too, deliver'd, is the more possest; Though choice of follies fasten on the great, Teaching, we learn; and, giving, we retain None clings more obstinate than fancy, fond, The births of intellect; when dumb, forgot.
That sacred Friendship is their easy prey; Speech ventilates our intellectual fire ;
Caught by the wafture of a golden lure, Speech burnishes our mental magazine ;
Or fascination of a high-born smile. Brightens, for ornament; and whets, for use. Their smiles, the great, and the coquet, throw out What numbers, sheath'd in erudition, lie,
For others' hearts, tenacious of their own; Plung'd to the hilts in venerable tomes,
And we no less of ours, when such the bait. And rusted in ; who might have borne an edge, Ye fortune's cofferers! Ye powers of wealth! And play'd a sprightly beam, if born to speech; Can gold gain friendship? Impudence of hope! If born blest heirs of half their mother's tongue ! As well mere man an angel might beget. 'Tis thought's exchange, which, like th' alternate Love, and love only, is the loan for love. push
Lorenzo! pride repress; nor hope to find Of waves conflicting, breaks the learned scum, A friend, but what has found a friend in thee. And defecates the student's standing pool.
All like the purchase ; few the price will pay; In contemplation is his proud resource ?
And this makes friends such miracles below. 'Tis poor, as proud, by converse unsustain'd.
What if (since daring on so nice a theme) Rude thought runs wild in contemplation's field; I show thee friendship delicate, as dear, Converse, the menage, breaks it to the bit
of tender violations apt to die? Of due restraint; and emulation's spur
Reserve will wound it; and distrust, destroy. Gives graceful energy, by rivals aw'd.
Deliberate in all things with thy friend. 'Tis converse qualifies for solitude ;
But since friends grow not thick on every bough, As exercise, for salutary rest.
Nor every friend unrotten at the core ; By that untutor'd, Contemplation raves ;
First, on thy friend, deliberate with thyself; And Nature's fool, by Wisdom is undone.
Pause, ponder, sist; not eager in the choice, Wisdom, though richer than Peruvian mines, Nor jealous of the chosen ; fixing, fix; And sweeter than the sweet ambrosial hive, Judge before friendship, then confide till death. What is she, but the means of happiness?
Well, for thy friend ; but nobler far for thee; That unobtain'd, than folly more a fool ;
How gallant danger for Earth's highest prize! A melancholy fool, without her bells.
A friend is worth all hazards we can run. Friend ship, the means of wisdom, richly gives “ Poor is the friendless master of a world : The precious end, which makes our wisdom wise. A world in purchase for a friend is gain." Nature, in zeal for human amity,
So sung he, (angels hear that angels sing ! Denies, or damps, an undivided joy.
Angels from friendship gather half their joy,) Joy is an import; joy is an exchange;
So sung Philander, as his friend went round Joy flies monopolists: it calls for two ;
In the rich ichor, in the generous blood Rich fruit! Heaven-planted! never pluckt by one. Of Bacchus, purple god of joyous wit, Needful auxiliars are our friends, to give
A brow solute, and ever-laughing eye. To social man true relish of himself.
He drank long health, and virtue, to his friend ; Full on ourselves, descending in a line,
His friend, who warm'd him more, who more in Pleasure's bright beam is feeble in delight:
spir'd. Delight intense is taken by rebound ;
Friendship's the wine of life; but friendship new Reverberated pleasures fire the breast.
(Not such was his) is neither strong, nor pure. Celestial Happiness, whene'er she stoops 0! for the bright complexion, cordial warmth, To visit Earth, one shrine the goddess finds, And elevating spirit, of a friend, And one alone, to make her sweet amends For twenty summers ripening by my side, For absent Heaven—the bosom of a friend; All feculence of falsehood long thrown down; Where heart meets heart, reciprocally soft, All social virtues rising in his soul; Each other's pillow to repose divine.
As crystal clear; and smiling as they rise! Beware the counterfeit; in passion's flame Here nectar flows; it sparkles in our sight; Hearts melt, but melt like ice, soon harder froze. Rich to the taste, and genuine from the heart: True love strikes root in reason ; passion's foe : High-flavor'd bliss for gods! on Earth how rare ! Virtue alone entenders us for life:
On Earth how lost!--Philander is no more. I wrong her much-entenders us for ever :
Think’st thou the theme intoxicates my song ? Of Friendship's fairest fruits, the fruit most fair Am I too warm ? Too warm I cannot be. Is virtue kindling at a rival fire,
I lov'd him much; but now I love him more. And, emulously, rapid in her race.
Like birds, whose beauties languish, half-conceald, the soft enmity! endearing strife!
Till, mounted on the wing, their glossy plumes This carries friendship to her noontide point, Expanded shine with azure, green, and gold; And gives the rivet of eternity.
How blessings brighten as they take their flight' From Friendship, which outlives my former themes, His flight Philander took; his upward flight, Glorious survivor of old Time and Death ; If ever soul ascended. Had he dropt, From Friendship, thus, that flower of heavenly seed ;'(That eagle genius !) O had he let fall
One feather as he few: I, then, had wrote, With unreluctant grandeur, gives, not yields
How our hearts burnt within us at the scene! Yet what I can, I must; it were profane
Whence this brave bound o'er limits fixt to man? To quench a glory lighted at the skies,
His God sustains him in his final hour! And cast in shadows his illustrious close.
His final hour brings glory to his God! Strange! the theme most affecting, most sublime, Man's glory Heaven vouchsafes to call her own Momentous most to man, should sleep unsung! We gaze, we weep; mixt tears of grief, of joy ! And yet it sleeps, by genius unawak'd,
Amazement strikes! devotion bursts to flame! Painim or Christian ; to the blush of wit. Christians adore! and Infidels believe ! Man's highest triumph! man's profoundest fall! As some tall tower, or lofty mountain's brow The death-bed of the just! is yet undrawn Detains the Sun, illustrious, from its height; By mortal hand! it merits a divine :
While rising vapors, and descending shades, Angels should paint it, angels ever there :
With damps and darkness, drown the spacious vale: There, on a post of honor, and of joy.
Undampt by doubt, undarken'd by despair, Dare I presume, then? but Philander bids ; Philander, thus, augustly rears his head, And glory tempts, and inclination calls
At that black hour, which general horror sheds Yet am I struck; as struck the soul, beneath On the low level of th' inglorious throng : Aërial groves' impenetrable gloom ;
Sweet Peace, and heavenly Hope, and humble Joy, Or, in some mighty ruin's solemn shade ;
Divinely beam on his exalted soul; Or, gazing by pale lamps on high-born dust, Destruction gild, and crown him for the skies, In vaults; thin courts of poor unflatter'd kings; With incommunicable lustre bright. Or, at the midnight altar's hallow'd Name. Is it religion to proceed? I pauseAnd enter, aw'd, the temple of my theme. Is it his death-bed ? No: it is his shrine :
NIGHT THE THIRD.
TO HER GRACE THE DUCHESS OF PORTLAND.
Ignoscenda quidem, scirent si ignoscere manes. Receive the blessing, and adore the chance,
Virg. That threw in this Bethesda your disease;
From dreams, where thought in fancy's maze runs If unrestor'd by this, despair your cure.
mad, For, here, resistless demonstration dwells; To reason, that heaven-lighted lamp in man, A death-bed's a detector of the heart.
Once more I wake; and at the destin'd hour,
Punctual as lovers to the moment sworn,
0! lost to virtue, lost to manly thought,
Who think it solitude to be alone. Heaven waits not the last moment; owns her friends Communion sweet! communion large and high! On this side death, and points them out to men;
Our reason, guardian angel, and our God! A lecture, silent, but of sovereign power!
Then nearest these, when others most remote; To vice, confusion; and to virtue, peace.
And all, ere long, shall be remote, but these. Whatever farce the boastful hero plays,
How dreadful, then, to meet them all alone, Virtue alone has majesty in death!
A stranger! unacknowledg’d! unapprov'd!
To win thy wish, creation has no more.
But friends, how' mortal! dangerous the desire ! A wrench from all we love! from all we are ! Take Phæbus to yourselves, ye basking bards A restless bed of pain! a plunge opaque
Inebriate at fair Fortune's fountain-head; Beyond conjecture! feeble Nature's dread! And reeling through the wilderness of joy; Strong Reason's shudder at the dark unknown! Where Sense runs savage, broke from Reason's chain! A sun extinguisht! a just-opening grave!
And sings false peace, till smother'd by the pall. And oh! the last, last,—what? (can words express? My fortune is unlike; unlike my song; Thought reach it?) the last-silence of a friend !" Unlike the deity my song invokes. Where are those horrors, that amazement, where I to Day's soft-ey'd sister pay my court, "This hideous group of ills, which singly shock, (Endymion's rival !) and her aid implore ; Demand from man ?-I thought him man till now. Now first implor'd in succor to the Muse. Through Nature's wreck, through vanquisht Thou, who didst lately borrow Cynthia's form, * agonies,
[gloom,) And modestly forego thine own! O'thou, (Like the stars struggling through this midnight Who didst thyself, at midnight hours, inspire ! What gleams of joy! what more than human peace! Say, why not Cynthia patroness of song? Where, the frail mortal ? the poor abject worm? As thou her crescent, she thy character No, not in death, the mortal to be found.
Assumes ; still more a goddess by the change. His conduct is a legacy for all;
Are there demurring wits, who dare dispute Richer than Mammon's for his single heir. His comforters he comforts; great in ruin,
* At the Duke of Norfolk's masquerade.
This revolution in the world inspir'd?
And if in death still lovely, lovelier there, Ye train Pierian ! to the lunar sphere,
Far lovelier! pity swells the side of love. In silent hour, address your ardent call
And will not the severe excuse a sigh? For aid immortal ; less her brother's right. Scorn the proud man that is asham'd to weep; She, with the spheres harmonious, nightly leads Our tears indulg'd indeed deserve our shame. The mazy dance, and hears their maichless strain, Ye that e'er lost an angel! pity me. A strain for gods, denied to mortal ear.
Soon as the lustre languish'd in her eye, Transmit it heard, thou silver queen of Heaven ! Dawning a dimmer day on human right; What title, or what name, endears the most! And on her cheek, the residence of Spring, Cynthia! Cyllené! Phæbe! or dost hear
Pale omen sat; and scatter'd fears around With higher gust, fair Portland of the skies? On all that saw, (and who would cease to gaze, Is that the soft enchantment calls thee down, That once had seen ?) with haste, parental haste, More powerful than of old Circean charm? I flew, I snatch'd her from the rigid North, Come; but from heavenly banquets with thee bring Her native bed, on which bleak Boreas blew, The soul of song, and whisper in my ear
And bore her nearer to the Sun; the Sun The theft divine; or in propitious dreams
(As if the Sun could envy) check'd his beam, (For dreams are thine) transfuse it through the breast Denied his wonted succor; nor with more Of thy first votary.—But not thy last;
Regret beheld her drooping, than the bells If, like thy namesake, thou art ever kind.
Of lilies ; fairest lilies, not so fair! And kind thou wilt be; kind on such a theme; Queen lilies! and ye painted populace! A theme so like thee, a quite lunar theme, Who dwell in fields, and lead ambrosial lives! Soft, modest, melancholy, female, fair!
In morn and evening dew, your beauties bathe, A theme that rose all-pale, and told my
soul And drink the Sun; which gives your cheeks to "Twas night; on her fond hopes perpetual night;
Which ofien cropt your odors, incense meet
To thought so pure! Ye lovely fugitives ! They love a train, they tread each other's heel; Coëval race with man! for man you smile! Her death invades his mournful right, and claims Why not smile at him too ? You share indeed The grief that started from my lids for him: His sudden pass; but not his constant pain. Seizes the faithless, alienated tear,
So man is made ; nought ministers delight, Or shares it, ere it falls. So frequent death, But what his glowing passions can engage; Sorrow he more than causes, he confounds; And glowing passions, bent on aught below, For human sighs his rival strokes contend,
Must, soon or late, with anguish turn the scale ; And make distress, distraction. Oh Philander! And anguish, after rapture, how severe ! What was thy fate? A double fate to me; Rapture? Bold man! who tempo'st the wrath Portent, and pain! a menace, and a blow!
divine, Like the black raven hovering o'er my peace, By plucking fruit denied to mortal taste, Not less a bird of omen, than of prey.
While here, presuming on the rights of Heaven. It callid Narcissa long before her hour;
For transport dost thou call on every hour, It call'd her tender soul, by break of bliss, Lorenzo ? At thy friend's expense, be wise; From the first blossom, from the buds of joy ; Lean not on Earth ; 'twill pierce thee to the heart; Those few our noxious fate unblasted leaves A broken reed, at best; but oft, a spear; In this inclement clime of human life.
On its sharp point peace bleeds, and hope expires. Sweet harmonist! and beautiful as sweet!
Tur, hopeless thought! turn from her:- Thought And young as beautiful! and soft as young!
repellid And gay as soft! and innocent as gay!
Resenting rallies, and wakes every woe. And happy (if aught happy here) as good!
Snatch'd ere thy prime! and in thy bridal hour! For fortune fond had built her nest on high. And when kind fortune, with thy lover, smild! Like birds quite exquisite of note and plume, And when high-llavor'd thy fresh-opening joys! Transfixt by fale (who loves a lofty mark,) And when blind man pronounc'd thy bliss complete! How from the summit of the grove she fell, And on a foreign shore; where strangers wept! And left it unharmonious! all its charms
Strangers 10 thee; and more surprising still, Extinguisht in the wonders of her song!
Strangers to kindness, wept : their eyes let fall Her song still vibrates in my ravishd ear,
Inhuman tears! strange tears! that trickled down Still melting there, and with voluptuous pain From marble hearts ! obdurate tenderness! (O to forget her!) thrilling through my heart! A tenderness that called them more severe ;
Song, beauty, youth, love, virtue, joy; this group in spite of Nature's soft persuasion, steeld! Of bright ideas, flowers of Paradise,
While Nature melted, Superstilion ravid; As yet unforfeit! in one blaze we bind,
That mourn'd the dead; and this denied a grave. Kneel and present it to the skies; as all
Their sighs incens'd; sighs foreign to the will ! We guess of Heaven: and these were all her own, Their will the tiger suck’d, outrag'd the storm. And she was mine; and I was-was! -most For, oh! the curst ungodliness of zeal' blest
While sinful flesh relented, spirit nuret
In blind Infallibility's embrace,
What could I do? What succor? What resource ?