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NIGHT THE EIGHTH.
THE MAN OF THE WORLD ANSWERED.
The Love of this life; the Ambition and Pleasure,
With strokes alternate buffet to and fro
How frail, men, things! how momentary, both!
What wondrous prize has kindled this career,
AND has all Nature, then, espous'd my part?
And is thy soul immortal?-What remains?
Thy fond attachments fatal, and inflam'd,
Common the theme; not so the song; if she
Unnumber'd suns, (for all things, as they are,
Lorenzo since eternal is at hand,
To swallow time's ambitions; as the vast
Where gay delusion darkens to despair?
This is a beaten track."—Is this a track
Time's daughters, true as those of men, deceive us,
At still-confiding, still-confounded, man,
O thou, who dost permit these ills to fall [mourn!
What is this sublunary world? A vapor;
From the damp bed of chaos, by thy beam
They dote! on what? Immortal views apart,
A wilderness of joy! perplex'd with doubts,
And tugg'd it into view, 'tis won! 'tis lost!
All restless, anxious; tost with hopes, and fears,
Self-flatter'd, unexperienc'd, high in hope,
* Admiral Balchen, &c.
What are they? Smiling wretches of to-morrow!
Is this a sketch of what thy soul admires?
Florello, lately cast on this rude coast
A helpless infant; now, a heedless child;
As thorns fence-in the tender plant from harm.
But asks a sterner nurse to lead it on.
His little heart is often terrified;
The blush of morning, in his cheek, turns pale;
How cruel this! more cruel to forbear.
His plan had practis'd long before 'twas writ. Our nature such, with necessary pains,
The world's all tille-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, 'Twill sink our poor account to 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 lir'd. Alas! the world 's a tutor more severe ;
To such proficients thou art half a saint. Its lessons hard, and ill deserve his pains ;
In foreign realms (for thou hast travel'd far) Unteaching all his virtuous nature taught, How curious to contemplate two state-rooks, Or books (fair virtue's advocates !) inspir'd. Studious their nests to feather in a trice, For who receives him into public life?
With all the necromantics of their art, Men of the world, the terræ-filial breed,
Playing the game of faces on each other, Welcome the modest stranger to their sphere, Making court sweet-meats of their latent gall, (Which glitter'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 deceivd; 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, that 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 serre? 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 if, to thein, 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 conceal'd? Such, for Florello's sake, 'twill now appear : For why conceald ?- 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 ; Train’d to the world, in burnish'd falsehood bright; Whose feeble nature truth keeps still in awe ; Deep in the fatal stratagems of peace ;
His incapacity is his renown. All soft sensation, in the throng, rubb'd off; "Tis great, 'tis manly, to disdain disguise ; All their keen purpose, in politeness sheath'd ; It shows our spirit, or it proves our strength. His friends eternal_during interest;
Thou say'st, " "Tis needful:" is it therefore right? His foes implacable—when worth their while ; Howe'er, I grant it some small sign of grace, At war with every welfare, but their own;
To strain at an excuse : and wouldst thou then As wise as Lucifer, and half as good ;
Escape that cruel need? Thou mayʻst, with ease ; And by whom none, but Lucifer, can gain- Think no post needful 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; And the dark labyrinth of human hearts.
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; Brings down the sterling temper of his soul, But if they sigh, can others hope to smile? By base alloy, to bear the current stamp,
If wisdom has her miseries to mourn, Below callid wisdom; sinks him into safety, How can poor folly lead a happy life? And brands him into credit with the world; And if both suffer, what has Earth to boast, Where specious titles dignify disgrace,
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 bope, 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
Life'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 H- at 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 prospect, 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
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, It nought avails thee, where, but what, thou art; Like Kouli-Khan, in plunder of the proud. All the distinctions of this little life
Though somewhat disconcerted, steady still Are quite cutaneous, foreign to the man.
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 ? Lo. Of 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 werthy; 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
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; lise.
Or send thee to her hermitage with L 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 thou 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; but 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 hag, vengeance, in a corner, charms. Hatred 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!
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 charm. 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'erstrain'd 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, 10 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 sweet ; but, owning, add this sting ; And to serve more, is past the sphere of man. “When mixt with poison, it is deadly too." 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 happy 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 ber 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 uncoift 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, athers, and ourselves! uninjur'd these, Attend my song, and thou shalt know them all; Drink deep; the deeper, then, the more divine :