« PreviousContinue »
Full range, on juft dislike's unbounded field;
Of things, the vanity; of men, the flaws;
Flaws in the beft; the many, flaw all o'er,
As leopards fpotted, or as Ethiops, dark;
Vivacious ill; good dying immature;
And at its death bequeathing endless pain;
His heart, tho' bold, would ficken at the fight,
And spend itself in sighs, for future scenes.
But grant to life fome perquifites of joy;
A time there is, when, like a thrice-told tale,
Long rifled life of fweet can yield no more,
But from our comment on the comedy,
Pleafing reflections on parts well-fustain'd,
Or purpos'd emendations where we fail'd,
Or hopes of plaudits from our candid judge,
When, on their exit, fouls are bid unrobe,
And drop this mask of flesh behind the scene.
With me, that time is come; my world is dead: A new world rifes, and new manners reign: What a pert race ftarts up! the ftrangers gaze, And I at them; my neighbour is unknown.
Grafping at air! for what has earth befide?
Man wants but little; nor that little, long:
How foon must he refign his very duft,
Which frugal nature lent him for an hour?
Years unexperienc'd rush on numerous ills;
And foon as man, expert from time, has found
The key of life, it opes the gates of death.
When in this vale of years I backward look,
And mifs fuch numbers, numbers too of fuch,
Firmer in health, and greener in their age,
And ftricter on their guard, and fitter far
To play life's fubtle game, I fcarce believe
I ftill furvive; and am I fond of life,
Who scarce can think it poffible I live?
Alive by miracle! if still alive,
Who long have bury'd what gives life to live,
Firmness of nerve, and energy of thought.
Life's lee is not more fhallow, than impure,
And vapid; fenfe and reafon fhew the door,
Call for my bier, and point me to the dust.
$204. Folly of Human Purfuits.
LEST be that hand divine, which gently laid My heart at reft beneath this humble thed! The world's a stately bark, on dangerous feas, With pleasure feen, but boarded at our peril; Here, on a fingle plank, thrown fafe afhore, I hear the tumult of the diftant throng, As that of feas remote, or dying storms; And meditate on fcenes, more filent ftill; Purfue my theme, and fight the fear of death. Here, like a thepherd, gazing from his hut, Touching his reed, or leaning on his staff, Eager ambition's fiery chace I fee; I fee the circling hunt of noify men Burft law's enclofure, leap the mounds of right, Purfuing and purfued, each other's prey; As wolves, for rapine; as the fox, for wiles; Till death, that mighty hunter, earths them all.
Why all this toil for triumphs of an hour? What, tho' we wade in wealth, or foar in fame? Earth's higheft ftation ends in "here he lies," And "duft to duft" concludes her nobleft fong. If this fong lives, pofterity shall know One, tho' in Britain born, with courtiers bred, Who thought even gold might come a day too
Nor on his fubtle death-bed plann'd his fcheme
For future vacancies in church, or state;
Some avocation deeming it-to die;
Unbit by rage canine of dying rich;
Guilt's blunder! and the loudest laugh of hell.
205. Folly of the Love of Life in the Aged. MY coevals! remnant of yourselves! Poor human ruins, tott'ring o'er the grave! Shall we, fhall aged men, like aged trees, Strike deeper their vile root, and clofer cling, Still more enamour'd of this wretched foil? Shall our pale, wither'd hands be still stretch'd out, Trembling, at once, with eagernefs and age? With avarice, and convulfions grafping hard?
§ 206. Addrefs to the Deity. arbiter of life and death! THOU great Nature's immortal, immaterial fun! Whofe all-prolific beam late call'd me forth From darknefs, teeming darknefs, where I lay The worm's inferior, and, in rank, beneath The duft I tread on, high to bear my brow, To drink the fpirit of the golden day, And triumph in exiftence; and couldft know No motive, but my blifs; with Abraham's joy, Thy call I follow to the land unknown; I trust in thee, and know in whom I trust; Or life, or death, is equal; neither weighs, All weight in this-O let me live to thee!
§ 207. Fears of Death extinguished by Man's Redemption.
THO' nature's terrors, thus, may be represt ;
Still frowns grim death; guilt points the tyrant's fpear.
Who can appeafe its anguish how it burns! What hand the barb'd, envenom'd, thought can
What healing hand can pour the balm of peace, And turn my fight undaunted on the tomb?
With joy,with grief, that healing hand I fee; Ah! too confpicuous! it is fix'd on high! On high? What means my phrenfy? I blafpheme; Alas! how low how far beneath the fkies! The fkies it form'd; and now it bleeds for meBut bleeds the balm I want-yet ftill it bleeds: Draw the dire steel-ah no!-the dreadful blef
What heart or can fuftain? or dares forego?
There hangs all human hope: that nail fupports
Our falling univerfe: that gone, we drop;
Horror receives us, and the diimal with
Creation had been fmother'd in her birth.
Darkness his curtain, and his bed the duft,
When ftars and fun are duft bencath his throne!
In heaven itself can fuch indulgence dwell?
O what a groan was there! A groan not his,
He feiz'd our dreadful right, the load fuftain'd,
And heav'd the mountain from a guilty world.
A thousand worlds fo bought, were bought too
Senfations new in angels' bofoms rife !
Sufpend their fong; and filence is in heaven.
O for their fong to reach my lofty theme!
Infpire me, Night, with all thy tuneful fpheres!
Much rather, Thou! who doft thofe fpheres
Left I blafpheme my fubject with my fong.
Thou moft indulgent, molt tremendous, power!
Still more tremendous, for thy wondrous love!
That arms, with awe more awful, thy commands;
And foul tranfgreffion dips in fevenfold night,
How our hearts tremble at thy love immenfe!
In love immenfe, inviolably juit! [ftretch'd arms,
O'er guilt, (how mountainous!) with out-
Stern juftice, and foft-finiling love, embrace,
Supporting, in full majefty, thy throne,
When feem'd its majefty to need support,
Or that, or man inevitably loft.
What, but the fathomlefs of thought divine
Could labour fuch expedient from defpair,
And rescue both Both refcue! both exalt!
O how are both exalted by the deed!
A wonder in omnipotence itself!
A mystery, no lefs to Gods than men!
Heav'n's fovereign bleffings cluft'ring from the
Rufh on her, in a throng, and close her round,
The prifoner of amaze-In his bleft life,
I fee the path, and, in his death, the price,
And in his great ascent the proof fupreme
Of immortality. And did he rife?
Hear, O ye nations! hear it, O ye dead!
He rofe! he rofe! he burft the bars of death.
Lift up your heads, ye everlasting gates,
And give the king of glory to come in!
Who is the king of glory he who left
His throne of glory, for the pang of death:
Lift up your heads, ye everlafting gates,
And give the king of glory to come in!
Who is the king of glory he who flew
The ravenous foe, that gorg'd all human race !
The king of glory, he, whofe glory fill'd
Heaven with amazement at his love to man;
And with divine complacency beheld
Powers moft illumin'd wilder'd in the theme.
The theme, the joy, how then fhall man fustain ?
Oh the burft gates! crush'd fting! demolish'
Laft gafp! of vanquish'd death. Shout earth and
This fum of good to man: whose nature, then,
Took wing, and mounted with him from the
Then, then, I rofe; then firft humanity [tomb!
Triumphant pafs'd the crystal ports of light,
And feiz'd eternal youth. Mortality
Was then transferr'd to death; and heaven's du-
Unalienably feal'd to this frail frame, [ration
This child of duft.-Man, all-immortal! hail;
Hail, heaven all lavish of strange gifts to man!
Thine all the glory; man's the boundless blis.
Where am I rapt by this triumphant theme,
On chriftian joy's exulting wing, above
Th' Aonian mount-Alas fmall caufe for joy!
What if to pain, immortal? if extent
Of being, to preclude a clofe of woe?
Where, then, my boaft of immortality?
I boat it still, tho' cover'd o'er with guilt;
For guilt, not innocence, his life he pour d.
'Tis guilt alone can justify his death;
Nor that, unlefs his death can juftify
Relenting guilt in heaven's indulgent fight.
If fick of folly, I relent; he writes
My name in heaven, with that inverted fpear
(A fpear deep dipt in blood!) which pierc'd his
And open'd there a font for all mankind [fide,
Who ftrive, who combat crimes, to drink, and
This, only this fubdues the fear of death. [live:
Not, thus, our infidels th' Eternal draw,
A God all o'er, confummate, abfolute,
Full-orb'd, in his whole round of rays complete:
They fet at odds heaven's jarring attributes;
And with one excellence another wound;
Maim heaven's perfeétion, break its equal beams,
Bid mercy triumph over-God himself,
Undeify'd by their opprobrious praife,
A God all mercy, is a God unjust.
Ye brainless wits, ye baptiz'd infidels,
The random was paid down; the fund of heaven,
Amazing, and amaz'd, pour'd forth the price,
All price beyond: tho' curious to compute,
Archangels fail'd to caft the mighty fum:
Its value vaft, ungrafp'd by minds create,
For ever hides, and glows in the fupreme.
And was the random paid? It was: and paid
(What can exalt the bounty more) for you.
The fun beheld it--no, the fhocking fcene
Drove back his chariot; midnight veil'd his face;
Not fuch as this; not fuch as nature makes;
A midnight, nature fhudder'd to behold;
A midnight new! from her creator's frown!
Sun! didst thou fly thy maker's pain? or start
At that enormous load of human goilt, [crofs;
Which bow'd his bletfed head; o'erwhelm'd his
Made groan the centre; burft earth's marble womb,
With pangs, ftrange pangs! deliver'd of her dead
hour, let fall a tear,
Heav'n wept, that man might fimile! heaven bled,
Might never die !-
What heart of stone but glows at thoughts like" Thro' means that fpeak its value infinite!
"A pardon bought with blood! with blood di-
And, at each step, let higher wonder rife!
"Pardon for infinite offence! and pardon
Such contemplations mount us; and should mount
The mind ftill higher; nor ever glance on man,
Unraptur'd, uninflam'd-where roll my thoughts
To reft from wonders? How my foul is caught
208. Greatness of the Redemption. AND what is this?-Survey the wondrous
$209. Praife, beflowed on Men, due to Heaven.
courts and thrones return, apoftate
Thou proftitute to thy first love return,
Thy first, thy greateft, once, unrivall'd theme.
Back to thy fountain; to that parent power,
Who gives the tongue to found, the thought to
The foul to be. Men homage pay to men,
Thoughtless beneath whofe dreadful eye they bow,
In mutual awe profound of clay to clay,
Of guilt to guilt, and turn their backs on thee,
Great fire! whom thrones celeftial ceafclefs fing.
Oh the prefumption, of man's awe for man!
Man's author! end! reftorer! law! and judge!
Thine, all; day thine, and thine this gloon of night;
With all her wealth, with all her radiant worlds: What night eternal, but a frown from thee? What heaven's meridian glory, but thy simile? And fhall not praise be thine? not human praife, While heaven's high hoft on Hallelujahs live?
gorgeous arch, with golden worlds inlay'd,
Built with divine ambition! nought to thee:
For others this profufion: thou apart,
Above, beyond! oh tell me, mighty mind,
Where art thou? fhall I dive into the deep?
Call to the fun, or afk the roaring winds,
For their creator? fhall I queftion loud
The thunder, if in that th' almighty dwells?
Or holds he furious ftorms in ftreigthen'd reins,
And bids fierce whirlwinds wheel his rapid car?
What mean these questions ?-trembling I
My voice (if tun'd); the nerve, that writes, fuftains;
Wrapp'd in his being, I refound his praise :
But tho' paft all diffus'd, without a fhore,
His effence; local is his throne (as meet),
To gather the difperft, to fix a point,
A central point, collective of his fons,
Since finite every nature, but his own.
My proftrate foul adores the prefent Gol: Praife I a diftant deity? He tunes
The nameless He, whofe nod is nature's birth; And nature's fhield, the fhadow of his hand; Her diffolution, his fufpended fmile; The great first laft! pavilion'd high he fits In dark nefs, from exceffive fplendour born. His glory, to created glory, bright As that, to central horrors; he looks down On all that foars; and spans immensity.
§ 211. Inability of fufficiently praising God. DOWN to the centre fhould I fend my thought, Thro' beds of glittering ore, and glowing gems,
Their beggar'd blaze wants luftre for my lay;
Goes out in darkness: if, on tow'ring wing,
I fend it thro' the boundlefs vault of stars;
The ftars, tho' rich, what drofs their gold to thee,
Great! good! wife! wonderful! eternal King?
If of thofe confcious ftars thy throne around,
Praife ever-pouring, and imbibing blifs,
I ask their train; they want it, more they want;
Languid their energy, their ardour cold,
Indebted still, their higheft rapture burns;
Short of its mark, defective, tho' divine.
Still more-This theme is man's, and man's
On earth a bounty, not indulg'd on high;
Their vaft appointments reach it not; they fee
And downward look for heaven's fuperior praife.
Firft-born of æther! high in fields of light!
View man, to fee the glory of your God!
You fung creation (for in that you shar'd),
How role in melody, the child of love!
Creation's great fuperior, man! is thine;
Thine is redemption; eternize the fong!
Redemption! 'twas creation more fublime;
Redemption 'twas the labour of the skies;
Far more than labour-It was death in heaven...
Here pause, and ponder: was there death in
What then on earth? on earth which ftruck the
Who ftruck it? Who-O how is man enlarg'd,
Seen thro' this medium! How the pigmy tow'rs!
How counterpois'd his origin from duft!
How counterpois'd, to duft his fad return!
How voided his vaft diftance from the fkies!
How near he preffes on the feraph's wing!
How this demonftrates, thro' the thickeft cloud
Of guilt, and clay condens'd, the fon of heaven!
The double fon; the made, and the re-made!
And shall heaven's double property be loft?
Man's double madness only can destroy him,
To man the bleeding crofs has promis'd all;
The bleeding crofs has fworn eternal grace:
Who gave his life, what grace shall he deny ?
O ye, who from this Rock of ages leap
His wrath inflam'd? his tenderness on fire ?
Can prayer, can praife avert it-Thou, my all!
My theme! my inspiration! and my crown!
My ftrength in age! my rife in low cftate!
Cling there, and in wreck'd nature's ruins fimile; My foul's ambition, pleafure, wealth!—my world!
While vile apoftates tremble in a calm.
My light in darknefs! and my life in death!
My boaft thro' time! blifs thro' eternity!
Eternity too fhort to speak thy praife,
Or fathom thy profound of love to man!
Difdainful, plunging headlong in the abyss!
What cordial joy, what confolation ftrong,
Whatever winds arife, or billows roll,
Our intereft in the mafter of the ftorm!
§ 212. Man.
MAN! know thyfelf; all wisdom centres there.
To none man feems ignoble, but to man;
Angels that grandeur, men o'erlook, admire:
How long fhall human nature be their book,
Degenerate mortal! and unread by thee?
The beam dim reafon fheds fhews wonders there;
What high contents! illuftrious faculties!
But the grand comment which displays at full
Our human height, scarce fever'd from divine,
By Heaven compos'd, was publish'd on the cross!
Who looks on that, and fees not in himself
An awful ftranger, a terreftrial God?
A glorious partner with the Deity
In that high attribute, immortal life!
I gaze, and as I gaze, my mounting foul
Catches ftrange fire, eternity! at thee.
He, the great father! kindled at one flame
The world of rationals; one fpirit pour'd
From fpirit's awful fountain; pour'd himself
Thro' all their fouls; but not in equal stream:
Profufe, or frugal of th' infpiring God,
As his wife plan demanded; and when paft
Their various trials, in their various spheres,
If they continue rational, as made,
Reforbs them all into himfelf again;
§ 315. Lukewarm Devotion.
His throne their centre, and his fimile their crown.on fuch a theme 'tis impious to be calm;
Why doubt we, then, the glorious truth to fing?
Angels are men of a fuperior kind;
Angels are men in lighter habit clad,
High o'er celestial mountains wing'd in flight :
And men are angels, loaded for an hour,
Who wade this miry vale, and climb with pain,
And flippery step, the bottom of the steep:
Yet fummon'd to the glorious standard foon,
Which flames eternal crimion thro' the fkies.
Shall Heaven, which gave us ardour, and has
Its own for man fo ftrongly, not difdain [thewn
What smooth emollients in theology,
Recumbent virtue's downy doctors preach,
That profe of piety, a lukewarm praife?
Rife odours fweet from incenfe uninflam'd?
Devotion, when lukewarm, is undevout.
§ 214. God's Love to Man.
HOW omnipotence is loft in love!
Father of angels! but the friend of man!
Thou, who didft fave him, fnatch the smoking
From out the flames, and quench it in thy blood!
How art thou pleas'd, by bounty to distress !
To make us groan beneath our gratitude,
To challenge, and to diftance, all return!
Of lavish love ftupendous heights to foar,
And leave praife panting in the diftant vale!
But fince the naked will obtains thy fmile,
Beneath this monument of praife unpaid,
For ever lic intomb'd my fear of death,
And dread of ev'ry evil, but thy frown.
Oh for an humbler heart, and loftier fong!
Thou, my much-injur'd theme! with that foft eye
Which melted o'er doom'd Salem, deign to look,
Compaflion to the coldnefs of my breast;
And pardon to the winter in my ftrain.
§ 213. Religion.
ELIGION's all. Defcending from its fire
To wretched man, the Goddefs in her left
Holds out this world, and in her right, the next:
Religion! the fole voucher man is man;
Supporter fole of man above himself.
Religion! providence; an after-ftate!
Here is firm footing; here is folid rock ;
This can fupport us; all is fea befides;
Sinks under us; beftorms, and then devours.
His hand the good man faftens on the skies,
And bids earth roll, nor feels her idle whirl.
Religion! thou the foul of happiness;
And groaning Calvary of thee! There fhine
The nobleft truths; there ftrongeft motives fting!
Can love allure us? or can terror awe?
He weeps the falling drop puts out the fun;
He fighs!-the figh, earth's deep foundation
If, in his love, fo terrible, what then
§ 216. Death, where is thy Sting? OH when will death (now ftinglefs), like a
Admit me of that choir? Oh when will death,
This mould'ring, old, partition-wall thrown down,
Give beings, one in nature, one abode ?
Oh death divine! that gives us to the skies,
Great future! glorious patron of the past,
And prefent, when fhall I thy fhrine adore?
From Nature's continent, immenfely wide,
Immenfely bleft, this little ifle of life
Divides us. Happy day, that breaks our chain;
That re-admits us, thro' the guardian hand
Of elder brothers, to our Father's throne;
Who hears our Advocate, and thro' his wounds
Beholding man, allows that tender name.
'Tis this makes Chriftian triumph, a command;
'Tis this makes joy a duty to the wife,
Haft thou ne'er feen the comet's flaming flight?
Th' illuftrious stranger paffing, terror sheds
On gazing nations, from his fiery train
Of length enormous, takes his ample round
Thro' depths of ether; coafts unnumber'd worlds
Of more than folar glory; doubles wide
Heaven's mighty cape, and then revifits earth,
From the long travel of a thousand years.
Thus, at the deftin'd period, thall return
He, once on earth, who bids the comet blaze;
And with him all our triumph o'er the tomb.
bids, "All facred Reafon."-Hold her facred still; Nor fhalt thou want a rival in thy flame. Reafon my heart is thine: Deep in its folds, Live thou with life; live dearer of the two. My reafon rebaptis'd me, when adult; Weigh'd true and falfe in her impartial scale; And made that choice, which once was but my fate.
$217. Faith enforced by our Reafon. NATURE is dumb on this important point: Or hope precarious in low whisper breathes: Faith fpeaks aloud, diftinét; even adders hear, But turn, and dart into the dark again. Faith builds a bridge across the gulph of death, To break the fhock blind nature cannot fhun, And lands thought smoothly on the farther fhore. Death's terror is the mountain Faith removes; That mountain-barrier between man and peace: 'Tis Faith difarms deftruction; and abfolves From ev'ry clamorous charge the guiltlefs tomb. Why shouldst thou difbelieve 'tis Reafon"
They draw Pride's curtain o'er the noon-tide ray,
Spike up their inch of reafon, on the point
Of philofophic wit, call'd argument,
And then exulting in their taper, cry,
"Behold the fun:" and, Indian-like, adore.
Reafon purfued is faith: and unpurfu'd
Where proof invites, 'tis reafon then no more;
And fuch our proof, that, or our faith is right,
Or Reafon lies, and Heaven defign'd it wrong:
Abfolve we this? What then is blafphemy?
Fond as we are, and juftly fond of faith,
Reason, we grant, demands our first regard,
The mother honour'd, as the daughter dear;
Reafon the root, fair Faith is but the flow'r :
The fading flower fhall die; but Reafon lives
Immortal, as her Father in the fkies.
Wrong not the Christian, think not reafon yours:
'Tis Reafon our great Master holds fo dear;
'Tis Reafon's injur'd rights his wrath resents.
Believe, and fhew the reafon of a man ;
Believe, and taste the pleasure of a God;
Believe, and look with triumph on the tomb :
Thro' Reafon's wounds alone, thy faith can die;
Which dying, tenfold terror gives to Death,
And dips in venom his twice-mortal sting.
§ 218. Falfe Philofophy.
LEARN hence what honours due to those who
Our antidote afide; those friends to reafon,
Whofe fatal love stabs every joy, and leaves
Death's terror heighten'd gnawing on his heart.
Thofe pompous fons of reafon idoliz'd,
And vilify'd at once; of reafon dead,
Then deified, as monarchs were of old.
While love of truth thro' all their camp refounds,
Talk they of morals? O thou bleeding Love! Thou maker of new morals to mankind! The grand morality is love of thee. A Chriftian is the higheft ftyle of man. And is there, who the bleffed cross wipes off As a foul blot from his difhonour'd brow? If angels tremble, 'tis at fuch a fight:
The wretch they quit, defponding of their charge, More ftruck with grief or wonder, who can tell?
§ 219. The mere Man of the World. YE fold to fenfe, ye citizens of earth,
(For fuch alone the Chriftian banner fly) Know ye how wife your choice, how great your gain?
Behold the picture of earth's happiest man : "He calls his wifh, it comes; he fends it back, And fays, he call'd another; that arrives, "Meets the fame welcome; yet he ftill calls on, "Till one calls him, who varies not his call, "But holds him faft, in chains of darkness bound, "Till nature dies, and judgment fets him free: "A freedom, far lefs welcome than his chain."
But grant man happy; grant him happy long; Add to life's highest prize her latest hour; That hour fo late, comes on in full career: How fwift the fhuttle flies, that weaves thy shroud! Where is the fable of thy former years? Thrown down the gulph of time; as far from thee As they had ne'er been thine; the day in hand, Like a bird ftruggling to get loofe, is going; Scarce now poffeft, fo fuddenly 'tis gone; And each fwift moment fled, is death advanc'd By ftrides as fwift: Eternity is all; And whofe eternity? Who triumphs there? Bathing for ever in the font of blifs? For ever basking in the deity!
Confcience reply, O give it leave to speak; For it will fpeak ere long. O hear it now, While ufeful its advice, its accent mild. Truth is depofited with man's laft hour; An honeft hour, and faithful to her trust. Truth, eldest daughter of the Deity; Truth, of his council when he made the worlds, Nor lefs when he fhall judge the worlds he made, Tho' filent long, and flecping ne'er fo found, Than from her cavern in the foul's abyfs, The Goddefs burfts in thunder and in flame. "Men may live fools, but fools they cannot die."
$ 220. NIGHT v. Darkness.
LET Indians, and the gay, like Indians, fond Of feather'd fopperies, the fun adore : Darkness has more divinity for me:
It strikes thought inward, it drives back the foul
To fettle on herself, our point fupreme!
There lies our theatre; there fits our judge.