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Rise theň, my Muse, in honest fury rise;
They dread a satire who defy the skies.
Atheists are few: most nymphs a Godhead own;
And nothing but his attributes dethrone.
From atheists far, they steadfastly believe
God is, and is almighty-to forgive.
His other excellence they'll not dispute;
But mercy, sure, is his chief attr te.
Shall pleasures of a short duration chain
A lady's soul in everlasting pain?
Will the great Author us poor worms destroy,
For now and then a sip of transient joy?
No; he's forever in a smiling mood;
He's like themselves; or how could he be good ?
And they blaspheme, who blacker schemes suppose.
Devoutly, thus, Jehovah they depose,
The pure! the just! and set up, in his stead,
A deity that's perfectly well-bred.
'Dear Tillotson! be sure the best of men; Nor thought he more than thought great Origen. Though once upon a time he misbehaved, Poor Satan! doubtless, he'll at length be saved. Let priests do something for their one in ten; It is their trade; so far they're honest men. Let them cant on, since they have got the knack, And dress their notions, like themselves, in black; Fright us, with terrors of a world unknown, From joys of this, to keep them all their own. Of earth's fair fruits, indeed, they claim a fee; But then they leave our untithed virtue free. Virtue's a pretty thing to make a show: Did ever mortal write like Rochefoucauld ? Thus pleads the Devil's fair apologist, And, pleading, safely enters on his list.
MAN'S MARVELLOUS NATURE] How poor, how rich, how abject, how august, How complicate, how wonderful is man! How passing wonder He who made him such, Who centred in our make such strange extremes ! From different natures marvellously mixed, Connection exquisite of distant worlds! Distinguished link in being's endless chain! Midway from nothing to the Deity! A beam ethereal, sullied and absorbed! Though sullied and dishonoured, still divine! Dim miniature of greatness absolute! An heir of glory! A frail child of dust! Helpless immortal! insect infinite! A worm! A god !-I tremble at myself, And in myself am lost. At home a stranger, Thought wanders up and down, surprised, aghast And wondering at her own. How reason reels ! () what a miracle to man is man, Triumphantly distressed; what joy! what dread! Alternately transported and alarmed! What can preserve my life? or what destroy? An angel's arm can't snatch me from the grave; Legions of angels can't confine me there.
SATIETY IN THIS WORLD Live ever here, Lorenzo ? Shocking thought! So shocking, they who wish disown it, too; Disown from shame what they from folly crave. Live ever in the womb nor see the light? For what live ever here? With labouring step To tread our former footsteps? pace the round Eternal ? to climb life's worn, heavy wheel, Which draws up nothing new? to beat, and beat The beaten track? to bid each wretched day The former mock? to surfeit on the same, And yawn our joys? or thank a misery For change, though sad? to see what we have seen;
Hear, till unheard, the same old slabbered tale?
To taste the tasted, and at each return
Less tasteful? o'er our palates to decant
Another vintage ? strain a flatter year,
Through loaded vessels and a laxer tone?
Crazy machines, to grind earth’s wasted fruits !
[GOD JUST AS WELL AS MERCIFUL]
Thou most indulgent, most tremendous Power!
Still more tremendous for thy wondrous love!
That arms, with awe more awful, thy commands;
And foul transgression dips in sevenfold guilt!
How our hearts tremble at thy love immense!
In love immense, inviolably just!
Thou, rather than thy justice should be stained,
Didst stain the cross; and, work of wonders far
The greatest, that thy dearest far might bleed.
Bold thought! shall I dare speak it, or repress?
Should man more execrate, or boast, the guilt
Which roused such vengeance? which such love inflamed?
Our guilt (how mountainous !) with outstretched arms,
Stern justice and soft-smiling love embrace,
Supporting, in full majesty, thy throne,
When seemed its majesty to need support,
Or that, or man, inevitably lost;
What, but the fathomless of thought divine,
Could labour such expedient from despair,
And rescue both? both rescue! both exalt!
O how are both exalted by the deed!
The wondrous deed! or shall I call it more
A wonder in Omnipotence itself!
A mystery no less to gods than men!
Not thus our infidels th' Eternal draw,-
A God all o’er, consummate, absolute,
Full-orbed, in his whole round of rays complete.
They set at odds Heaven's jarring attributes,
And, with one excellence, another wound;
Maim Heaven's perfection, break its equal beams,
Bid mercy triumph over—God himself,
Undeified by their opprobrious praise;
A God all mercy, is a God unjust.
[MAN'S NATURE PROVES Hrs IMMORTALITY]
In man, the more we dive, the more we see
Heaven's signet stamping an immortal make.
Dive to the bottom of the soul, the base
Sustaining all, what find we? Knowledge, love.
As light and heat essential to the sun,
These to the soul. And why, if souls expire?
How little lovely here! How little known!
Small knowledge we dig up with endless toil;
And love unfeigned may purchase perfect hate.
Why starved on earth our angel appetites,
While brutal are indulged their fulsome fill?
Were then capacities divine conferred
As a mock diadem, in savage sport,
Rank insult of our pompous poverty,
Which reaps but pain from seeming claims so fair?
In future age lies no redress? And shuts
Eternity the door on our complaint?
If so, for what strange ends were mortals made!
The worst to wallow, and the best to weep;
The man who merits most, must most complain:
Can we conceive a disregard in Heaven
What the worst perpetrate or best endure?
This cannot be. To love, and know, in man
Is boundless appetite, and boundless power:
And these demonstrate boundless objects, too.
Objects, powers, appetites, Heaven suits in all;
Nor, nature through, e'er violates this sweet
Eternal concord, on her tuneful string.
Is man the sole exception from her laws?
Eternity struck off from human hope,
(I speak with truth, but veneration too)
Man is a monster, the reproach of Heaven,
A stain, a dark impenetrable cloud
On Nature's beauteous aspect; and deforms
(Amazing blot!) deforms her with her lord.
If such is man's allotment, what is Heaven?
Or own the soul immortal, or blaspheme.
Or own the soul immortal, or invert
All order. Go, mock-majesty! go, man!
And bow to thy superiors of the stall;
Through every scene of sense superior far:
They graze the turf untilled; they drink the stream
Unbrewed, and ever full, and unembittered
With doubts, fears, fruitless hopes, regrets, despair.
Mankind's peculiar! reason's precious dower!
No foreign clime they ransack for their robes,
No brother cite to the litigious bar.
Their good is good entire, unmixed, unmarred;
They find a paradise in every field,
On boughs forbidden, where no curses hang:
Their ill no more than strikes the sense, unstretched
By previous dread or murmur in the rear;
When the worst comes, it comes unfeared; one stroke
Begins and ends their woe: they die but once;
Blessed incommunicable privilege! for which
Proud man, who rules the globe and reads the stars,
Philosopher or hero, sighs in vain.
Account for this prerogative in brutes:
No day, no glimpse of day, to solve the knot
But what beams on it from eternity.
() sole and sweet solution! that unties
The difficult, and softens the severe;
The cloud on Nature's beauteous face dispels,
Restores bright order, casts the brute beneath,
And re-enthrones us in supremacy
Of joy, e’en here. Admit immortal life,
And virtue is knight-errantry no more:
Each virtue brings in hand a golden dower
Far richer in reversion: Hope exults,
And, though much bitter in our cup is thrown,
Predominates and gives the taste of Heaven.