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Account for this prerogative in brutes :
No day, no glimpfe of day to folve the knot,
But what beams on it from eternity.
O fole and fweet folution! that unites
The difficult, and foftens the fevere;
The cloud on nature's beauteous face difpels;
Reftores bright order; cafts the brute beneath;
And re-inthrones us in fupremacy
Of joy, ev'n here: admit immortal life,
And virtue is knight-crrantry no more:
Each virtue brings in hand a golden dow'r,
Far richer in reverfion: hope exults;
And, tho' much bitter in our cup is thrown,
Predominates, and gives the taste of heav'n.
O wherefore is the Deity fo kind?
Heav'n our reward--for heav'n enjoy'd below.
Still unfubdu'd thy ftubborn heart? For there
The traitor lurks, who doubts the truth I fing:
Reafon is guiltlefs; will alone rebels.
What, in that stubborn heart, if I fhould find
New, unexpected witneffes against thee?
Ambition, and the fatclefs love of gain! [foul
Canft thou fufpect that thefe, which make the
The flave of earth, thould own her heir of
Canft thou fufpect, what makes us difbelieve
Our immortality, fhould prove it fure?
Fame is the fhade of immortality,
And in itself a fhadow: foon as caught,
Contemn'd; it fhrinks to nothing in the grafp.
Confult the ambitious; 'tis ambition's cure.
"And is this all?" cry'd Cæfar at his height,
Difufted. This third proof ambition brings
Of immortality. The firft in fame,
Obferve him near, your envy will abate:
Sham'd at the difproportion vaft between
The paffion, and the purchafe, he will figh
At fuch fuccefs, and bluth at his renown:
And why? becaufe far richer prize invites
His heart; far more illuftrious glory calls.
And can ambition a fourth proof fupply!
It can, and ftronger than the former three.
Tho' difappointments in ambition pain,
And tho' fuccefs difgufts, yet ftill we ftrive
In vain to pluck it from us: man must foar
An obftinate activity within,
An infuppreffive fpring will tofs him up,
In fpite of fortune's load. Not kings alone,
Each villager has his ambition too:
No Sultan prouder than his fetter'd flave:
Slaves build their little Babylons of ftraw,
Echo the proud Affyrian, in their hearts,
And cry, Behold the wonders of my might!"
And why becaute immortal as their lord:
And fouls immortal must for ever heave
At fomething great; the glitter, or the gold;
the praife of mortals, or the praife of heav'n.
$250. Ambition and Fame.
FIRST, then, ambition fummon to the bar :
Ambition's fhame, extravagance, difguft,
And inextinguishable nature, fpeak:
Each much depofes; hear them in their turn.
Thy foul how pattionately fond of fame!
How anxious, that fond paffion to conceal!
We bluth detected in defigns on praife,
Tho' for beft deeds, and from the best of men:
And why? because immortal. Art divine
Has made the body tu or to the foul:
Heav'n kindly gives our blood a moral flow;
Bids it afcend the glowing cheek, and there
Upbraid that little heart's inglorious aim,
Which ftoops to court a character from man;
While o'er us, in tremendous judgment, fit
Far more than man, with endlets praife,
Ambition's boundless appetite out-fpeaks
The verdict of its fhame. When fouls take fire
At high prefumptions of their own defert,
One age is poor applaufe; the mighty fhout,
The thunder by the living few begun,
Late time muft echo! worlds anborn, refound:
We with our names eternally to live: [thought,"
Wild dream! which ne'er had haunted human
Had not our natures been eternal too.
Inftinct points out an int'reft in hereafter;
But our blind reafon fees not where it lies;
Or, feeing, gives the fubftance for the shade.
§ 251. Avarice.
IIUS far ambition. What fays avarice?
This her chief maxim, which has long been
"The wife and wealthy are the fame." I grant it.
To ftore up treafure, with inceffant toil,
This is man's province, this his highest praife.
To this great cnd keen inftinct ftings him on;
To guide that inftinct, reafon! is thy charges;
'Tis thine to tell us where true treasure li.:
But reafon failing to difcharge her truft,
A blunder follows, and blind industry,
O'er-loading, with the cares of distant age.
The jaded fpirits of the prefeat hour,
Providing for eternity below.
Whence inextinguishable thirst of gain ?
From inextinguishable life in man :
Man, if not meant by worth to reach the skies,
Had wanted wing to fly fo far in guilt.
Sour grapes I grant ambition, avarice;
Yet ftill their root is immortality.
Thefe its wild growths religion can reclaim,
Refine, exalt, throw down their pois'nous lee,
And make them fparkle in the bowl of blifs.
§ 252. Address to Unbelievers.
NOW all; know infidels, unapt to know,
'Tis immortality your nature folves;
'Tis immortality decyphers man,
And opens all the myft'ries of his make.
Without it, half his inftinets are a riddle;
Without it, all his virtues are a dream:
His very crimes atteft his dignity;
His fatelefs appetite of gold, and fame,
Declares him born for bleffings infinite.
What, lefs than infinite, makes unabfurd
Paffions, which all on earth but more inflame
Fierce paffions fo mifmeafur'd to this fcene,
Stretch'd out, like eagles wings, beyond our neft,
Far, far beyond the worth of all below,
For earth too large, prefage a nobler flight,
And evidence our title to the skies."
$253. The Paffions.
E gentle theologues, of calmer kind! Where confitution dictates to your pen, Who. cold yourselves, think ardor comes from hell Think not our paffions from corruption fprung, Tro' to corruption, now, they lend their wings:
That is their mistrefs, not their mother.
(And juttly) reafon deem divine: I fee,
I feel a grandeur in the paltions too,
Which peaks their high defcent, and glorious
Which peaks them rays of an eternal fire.
In paradife incl they burnt as frong,
Ere Adam fell; tho' wifer in their aim.
What tho' our paffions are run mad, and ftoop
With low, terreftrial appetite, to graze
On trash, on toys, dethron'd from high defire;
Yet ftill, thro' their difgrace, no fechle ray
Of greatness fhines, and tells us whence they fell:
But thefe, when reafon moderates the rein,
Shall re-afcend, remount their former sphere.
But grant their phrenfy lafts; their phrenty fails
To difappoint one providential end;
Was reafon filent, boundlefs paffion fpeaks
A future scene of boundlefs objects too,
And brings glad tidings of eternal day.
Eternal day! 'tis that enlightens all;
And all by that enlighten'd, proves it fure.
Confider man as an immortal being,
Intelligible, all; and all is great:
Confider man as mortal, all is dark,
And wretched; reafon weeps at the furvey.
$254. Proofs of Immortality. Man's Happiness confifts in the Hope of it.
MUCH has been urg'd; and doft thou call for
Call; and with endless queftions be diftreft, All unrefolvable, if earth is all.
"Why life, a moment; infinite, defire? Our with eternity; our home, the grave? Heaven's promife dormant lies in human hope, Who withes life immortal, proves it too. Why happiness purfu'd, tho' never found? Man's thirst of happiness declares it is, (For nature never gravitates to nought;) That thirst unquencht declares it is not here. Why cordial friendship riveted fo deep, As, hearts to pierce at fift, at parting, rend, If friend and friendship vanish in an hour? Is not this torment in the mask of joy? Why by reflection marr'd the joys of fenfe? Why paft and future, preying on our hearts, And putting all our prefent joys to death? Why labours reason? instinct were as well; Inftinct far better; what can choose, can err; O how infallible the thoughtless brute! Reason with inclination why at war? Why fenfe of guilt? why confcience up in arms?"
Confcience of guilt, is prophecy of pain,
And bofom-countel to decline the blow.
Reafon with inclination ne'er had jarr'd,
If nothing future paid forbearance here.
Thus on-thefe, and a thoufand pleas uncall'd,
All promife, fome infure, a fecond scene;
Which, was it doubtful, would be dearer far
Than all things else most certain; was it false,
What truth on earth fo precious as the lie?
This world it gives us, let what will enfue;
The future of the prefent is the foul:
This world it gives, in that high cordial, hope;
How this life groans, when fever'd from the next!
Poor, mutilated wretch, that disbelieves!
in both part perithes; le void of joy,
By dark diftruft his being cut in two,
Sad prelude of eternity in pain!
$255. Mifery of Unbelief. COULDST thou perfuade me, the next life My bleeding heart in anguish, new, as deep! Our ardent withes; how fhould I pour out Oh! with what thoughts, thy hope, and my deAbhorr'd Annihilation blafts the foul, And wide extends the bounds of human woe! [pair, In this black channel would my ravings run: "Grief from the future borrow'd peace, ere while.
The future vanish'd! and the prefent pain'd! Fall, how profound! Huri'd headlong, hurl'd at
To night! to nothing! darker fill than night.
If 'twas a dream, why wake me, my worst for?
O for delufion! O for error still!
Could vengeance ftrike much stronger than te
A thinking being in a world like this,
Not over rich before, now beggar'd quite;
More curft than at the Fall! The fun goes out!
the thorns fhoot up! what thorns in ev'ry
Why fenfe of better? it imbitters worfe :
Why fenfe? why life? if but to figh, then fink
To what I was? twice nothing! and much woc !
Woe, from heav'n's bounties! woc, from what
To flatter moft, high intellectual pow'rs.
"Thought, virtue, knowledge! blethings, by
All poifon'd into pains. Firft, knowledge, once
My foul's ambition, now her greatest dread.
To know myfelf, true wifdom-no, to fhun
That fhocking fcience, parent of defpair!
Avert thy mirror; if I fee, I die.
"Know my Creator? Climb his best abode By painful fpeculation, pierce the veil, Dive in his nature, read his attributes, And gaze in admiration-on a foe, Obtruding life, with-holding happiness? From the full rivers that furround his throne, Not letting fall one drop of joy on man; Man gafping for one drop, that he might cease To curfe his birth, nor cavy reptiles more!
Ye fable clouds! ye darkest fhades of night!
Hide him, for ever hide him, from my thought,
Once all my comfort; fource and foul of joy!
"Kuow his achievements! ftudy his renown!
Contemplate this amazing univerfe,
Diopt from his hand, with miracles replete !-
For what? 'Mid miracles of nobler name,
To find one miracle of mifery!
To find the being, which alone can know,
And praite his works, a blemish on his praife?
Thro' nature's ample range, in thought to ftray
And ftart at man, the fingle mourner there,
Breathing high hope! chain'd down to pangs, and
Knowing is fuff'ring and fhall virtue fhare The figh of knowledge virtue fhares the figh. By ftraining up the fleep of excellent,
By battles fought, and from temptation won,
What gains fie, but the pang of feeing worth,
Angelic worth, feon, fhuffled in the dark
With ev'ry vice, and fwept to brutal duft ?
Duty; religion! thefe, our duty done,
Imply reward. Religion is mistake:
Duty? there's none, but to repel the cheat.
Ye cheats! away; ye daughters of my pride!
Who feign yourselves the fav'rites of the fkies:
Ye tow'ring hopes! abortive energies!
That tofs and ftruggle in my lying breast,
To fcale the fkies, and build prefumption there,
As I were heir of eternity;
For me, to trefpafs on the brutal rights?
Too much for heav'n to make one emmet more!
Too much for chaos to permit my mais
A longer ftay with offences unwrought,
Unfashion'd, untermented into man?
Wretched preferment to this round of pains!
Wretched capacity of phreafy, thought!
Wretched capacity of dying, life!
Life, thought, worth, wildom, all (oh fou! revolt!)
Once friends to peace, gone over to the foe.
"Death then has chang'd its nature too, O
Come to my bofom, theu best gift of heav'n !
Beft friend of man! fince man is man no more.
Why in this thorny wildernefs fo long,
Since there's no promis'd land's ambrofral bow'r?
But why this fumptuous infult o'er our heads?
Why this illuftrious canopy difplay'd?
Why fo magnificently lodg'd defpair?
At ftated periods, fure-returning, roll
Thefe glorious orbs, that mortals may compute
Their length of labours, and of pains; nor lote
Their mitery's full meafure?-fmiles with flow`rs,
And fruits promifcuous, ever-teeming earth,
That man may languifh in luxurious scenes,
And in an Eden mourn his with'ring joys?
Claim earth and fkies man's admiration, due
For fuch delights! bleft animals! too wife
To wonder; and too happy to complain!
"Our doom decreed demands a mournful fcene;
Why not a dungeon dark for the condemn'd ?
Why not the dragon's fubterranean den,
For man to howl in? why not his abode
Of the fame difmal colour with his fate?
A Thebes, a Babylon, at vaft expence
Of time, toil, treasure, art, for owls and adders,
As congruous, as, for man, this lofty dome,
Which prompts proud thought, and kindles high
Vain, vain ambitions! trouble me no more.
As bounded as my being, be my wish.
All is inverted, wifdom is a fool :
Senfe! take the rein; blind paffion! drive us on;
And, ignorance! befriend us on our way;
Yes; give the pulfe full empire; live the brute,
Since, as the brute, we die: the fum of man,
Of godlike man! to revel, and to rot.
But not on equal terms with other brutes:
Their revels a more poignant relish yield,
And fafer too; they never poifons choufe. [meas,
Instinct, than reafon, makes more wholefome
And fends ail-marring murmur far away.
For fenfual life they beft philofophize;
Theirs, that ferenc, the fages fought in vain :
'Tis man alone expoftulates with heav'n,
His, all the pow'r, and all the caule, to mourn.
Shall human eyes alone diffolve in tears?
And bleed, in anguifh, none but human hearts?
The wide-ftretcht realm of intellectual woc,
Surpalling fenfual far, is all our own.
In life fo fatally diftinguifh'd, why
Caft in one lot, confounded, lumpt, in death?
"And why then have we thought? to toil and
Then make our bed in darkness, needs no thought.
What fuperfluities are reas'ning fouls!
Oh give cternity! or thought destroy.-
But without thought our curfe were half unfelt!
Its blunted edge would fpare the throbbing heart;
And therefore 'tis beftow'd. I thank thee, reafon,
For aiding life's too fmall calamities,
And giving being to the dread of death.
Such are thy bounties!-Was it then too much
If from her humble chamber in the duft, [flames,
While proud thought fwells, and high defire in-
The poor worm calls us for her inmates there;
And round us death's inexorable hand
Draws the dark curtain clofe; undrawn no more.
"Undrawn no more? behind the cloud of death,
Once I beheld a fun; a fun which gilt
That fable cloud, and turn'd it all to gold:
How the grave's alter'd! fathomlefs as hell!
Annihilation! how it yawns before me!
Next moment I may drop from thought, from
The privilege of angels, and of worns, [fenfe,
An outcast from exiftence! and this fpirit,
This all-pervading, this all-confcious foul,
This particle of energy divine,
Which travels nature, flies from ftar to star,
And vifits gods, and emulates their pow'rs,
For ever is extinguifh'd. Horror ! death!
Death of that death I fearlefs once furvey'd,
When horror univerfal fhall descend,
And heav'n's dark concave urn all human race,
On that enormous, unrefunding tomb,
How juft this verfe! this monumental fight
Beneath the lumber of demolish'd worlds,
Of matter, never dignify'd with life,
Here lie proud rationals; the fons of heav'n! The lords of earth! the property of worms! Beings of yesterday, and no to-morrow! Who liv'd in terror, and in pangs expir'd.” And art thou then a fhadow lefs than fhadow A nothing, lefs than nothing? To have been, And not to be, is lower than unborn. Art thou ambitious why then make the worm Thine equal? runs thy taste of pleasure high ? Why patronize fure death of every joy? Charm riches why choofe begg ry in the grave, Of ev'ry hope a bankrupt! and for ever? Dar't thou perfift And is there nought on earth, But a long train of tranfitory farms, Rifing, and breaking, millions in an hour? Bubbles of a fantastic lord, blown up In fport, and then in cruelty deftroy'd? Oh for what crime, unmerciful Lorenzo, Destroys thy fcheme the whole of human race? Kind is fell Lucifer compar'd to thee: Oh! fpare this waste of being half divine; And vindicate th' aconomy of heav'n.
Where nought fubftantial, but our mifery ?
A world, where dark, myfterious vanity
Of good and ill the diftant colours blends,
Confounds all reafon, and all hope deftroys;
A world to far from great (and yet how great
It fhines to thee!) there's nothing real in it;
Being, a fhadow! confcioufnefs, a dream!
A dream how dreadfui! univerfal blank
Before it, and behind! poor man a fpark
From non-existence ftruck by wrath divine,
Glitt'ring a moment, nor that moment fure,
Midft upper, nether, and furrounding night,
His fad, fure, fudden, and eternal tomb.
§ 259. The World & Siflem of Theology. TH HE fkies above proclaim immortal man, And man immortal all below refounds. The world's a fyftem of theology, Read by the greateft ftrangers to the fchools, If honeft, learn'd; and fages o'er a plough. What then is unbelief? 'tis an exploit: A ftrenuous enterprife: to gain it, manof common fhame, magnanimoufly wrong; Muft burst thro' ev'ry bar of common fenfe,
And what rewards the ftudy combatant? His prize, repentance; infamy, his crown,
§ 260. Virtue the Fruit of Immortality. HE virtues grow on immortality: THE
That root deftroy'd, they wither and expire A Deity believ'd will nought avail; Rewards and punishments make God ador'd; And hopes and fears give confcience all her As in the dying parent dies the child, [pow'r, Virtue with immortality expires. Who tells me he denies his foul immortal, Whate'er his boaft, has told me, he 's a knave, His duty 'tis, to love himfelf alone, Nor care, tho' mankind perith, if he fimiles.
And are there fuch-Such candidates there are For more than death; for utter lofs of being; Is it in words to paint you? O ye fall'n! Fall'n from the wings of reafon, and of hope! Erect in ftature, prone in appetite! Patrons of pleafure, pofting into pain! Boafters of liberty, faft-bound in chains! More fenfelefs than th' irrationals you fcorn! Far more undone! O ye most infamous Of beings, from fuperior dignity! And are you, too, convinc'd, your fouls fly off In exhalation foft, and die in air, from the full flood of evidence against you? In the coarfe drudgeries, and finks of fenfe, Your fouls have quite worn out the make of
By vice new-caft, and creatures of your own.
261. Free-thinking. THIS is free-thinking, unconfin'd to parts, To fend the foul, on curious travel bent, Thro' all the provinces of human thought, To dart her flight, thro' the whole fphere of man;
To look on truth unbroken, and entire;
Truth in the fyftem, the full orb; where truths
By truths enlighten'd, and fuftain `d, afford
An arch-like, ftrong foundation, to fupport
Th' incumbent weight of abfolute, complete
Conviction; here, the more we prefs, we ftand
More firm; who moft examine, most believe.
Parts, like half fentences, confound; the whole
Conveys the fenfe, and God is understood;
Who not in fragments writes to human race;
Read his whole volume, fccptic then, reply.
This, this is thinking free, a thought that
Beyond a grain, and looks beyond an hour.
Turn up thine eyes, furvey this midnight fcene;
What are earth's kingdoms to yon boundless orbs,
Of human fouls, one day, the deftin'd range?
And what yon boundlefs orbs to godlike man?
Thofe numerous worlds that throng the firmament,
And afk more space in heaven, can roll at large
In man's capacious thought, and ftill leave room
For ampler orbs; for new creations, there.
Can fuch a foul contract itself, to gripe
A point of no dimenfion, of no weight?
It can; it does: the world is fuch a point,
And of that point how fmall a part enflaves!
How fmall a part-of nothing, fhall I say? Why not-friends, our chief treafure? how they drop!
How the world falls to pieces round about us,
And leaves us in a ruin of our joy!
What fays this transportation of friends?
It bids me love the place where now they dwell,
And fcorn this wretched fpot, they leave fo poor.
Eternity's vaft ocean lies before thee;
Give thy mind fea-room; keep it wide of earth,
That rock of fouls immortal; cut thy cord,
Weigh anchor; fpread thy fails; call ev'ry wind;
Eye thy great Polc-ftar: make the land of life.
$262. Rational and Animal Life.
TWO kinds of life has double-natur'd man,
And two of death; the laft far more fevere.
Life animal is nurtur'd by the fun;
Thrives on its bounties, triumphs in its beams.
Life rational fubfifts on higher food,
Triumphant in his beams who made the day.
When we leave that fun, and are left by this,
(The fate of all who die in ftubborn guilt)
'Tis utter dark nefs; ftrictly, double death.
We fink by no judicial ftroke of heav'n,
But nature's courie; as fure as plummets fall.
If then that double-death fhould prove thy lot,
Blame not the bowels of the Deity:
Man fhall be bleft, as far as man permits.
Not man alone, all rationals heav'n arms
With an illuftrious, but tremendous, pow'r,
To counteract its own moft gracious ends:
And this, of ftrict neceffity, not choice.
That pow'r deny'd, men, angels, were no more
But paffive engines, void of praife, or blame.
A nature rational implies the pow`r
Of being bleft, or wretched, as we please;
Elfe idle reaton would have nought to do;
And he that would be barr'd capacity
Of pain, courts incapacity of blifs.
Heav'n wills our happinefs, allows our doom;
Invites us ardently, but not compels;
Man falls by man, if finally be falis;
And fall he muft, who learns from death alone
The dreadful fecret,-that he lives for ever.
Why this to thee? thee yet perhaps in doubt
Of fecond life: but wherefore doubtful ftill?
Eternal life is nature's ardent with:
What ardently we wish, we foon believe:
Thy tardy faith declares that with deftroy'd:
What has deftroy'd it -Shall I tell thee, what?
When fear'd the future, 'tis no longer wish'd,
And when unwifh'd, we strive to disbelieve.
§ 263. The Gospel.
INSTEAD of racking fancy, to refute,
From purer nianners, to fublimer faith,
Reform thy manners, and the truth enjoy.-
Is nature's unavoidable afcent;
An honeft deift, where the gospel shines,
Matur'd to nobler, in the Chriftian ends.
When that bleft change arrives, e'en caft afide
This fong fuperfluous; life immortal strikes
Conviction, in a flood of light divine.
A Chriftian dwells, like Uricl in the fun:
Meridian evidence puts doubt to flight;
Aud ardent hope anticipates the fkies.
Read, and revere the facred page; a page
Where triumphs immortality; a page
Which not the whole creation could produce;
In nature's ruins not one letter loft:
Which not the conflagration thall destroy;
Tis printed in the minds of gods for ever.
Is it lefs ftrange, that thou fhouldft live at all?
This is a miracle; and that no more.
Who gave beginning, can exclude an end;
Deny thou art, then, doubt if thou fhalt be.
A miracle, with miracles inclos'd,
Is man! and starts his faith at what is ftrange?
What lefs than wonders from the wonderful?
What lefs than miracles from God can flow?
Admit a God,—that myftery fupreme !
That caufe uncaus'd! all other wonders ceafe,
Nothing is marvellous for him to do :
Deny him-all is mystery befides.
We nothing know, but what is marvellous :
Yet what is marvellous, we can't believe.
So weak our reason, and fo great our God,
What most furprifes in the facred page,
Or full as ftrange, or ftranger, must be true.
Faith is not reafon's labour, but repose.
§ 265. Hope.
HOPE, of all paffions, moft befriends us here; Joy has her tears; and tranfport has her death;