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Is this the bigot's rant? Away, ye vain,
Your hopes, your fears, in doubt, in dulness steep; Go sooth your souls, in sickness, grief, or pain,
With the sad solace of eternal sleep!
Yet will I praise you, triflers as ye are,
More than those preachers of your fav'rite creed, Who proudly swell the brazen throat of war, Who form the phalanx, bid the battle bleed,
Nor wish for more; who conquer but to die.
The breeze of bliss that fills your silken sail!
On pleasure's glittering stream ye gayly steer
Your little course to cold oblivion's shore;
They dare the storm, and through th' inclement year Stem the rough surge, and brave the torrent's roar.
Is it for glory? That just fate denies;
Long must the warrior moulder in his shroud, Ere from her trump the heaven-breath'd accents rise, That lift the hero from the fighting crowd!
Is it his grasp of empire to extend?
To curb the fury of insulting foes? Ambition, cease! the idle contest end: 'Tis but a kingdom thou canst win or lose.
And why must murder'd myriads lose their all, (If life be all,) why desolation lower
With famish'd frown on this affrighted ball,
Go, wiser ye, that flutter life away,
Crown with the mantling juice the goblet high! Weave the light dance with festive freedom gay, And live your moment, since the next ye die!
Yet know, vain skeptics! know, the Almighty Mind,
Nor shall the pile of hope his mercy rear'd,
Shall be by all or suffer'd or enjoy'd!
NOTE. In a book of French verses, entitled, Œuvres du Philosophe de Sans Souci, and lately re-printed at Berlin by authority, under the title of Poesies Diverses, may be found an Epistle to Marshal Keith, written professedly against the immortality of the soul. By way of specimen of the whole, take the following lines :
De l'avenir, cher Keith, jugeons par le passe;
Par un meme destin il ne pensera plus!
Non, rien n'est plus certain, soyons en convaincu.
It is to this Epistle that the latter part of the Elegy alludes.
FROM PSALM 148.
BEGIN, my soul, the exalted lay!
And praise the Almighty's name.
To swell the inspiring theme.
Ye fields of light, celestial plains,
Your Maker's wondrous power proclaim!
Ye angels, catch the thrilling sound!
His boundless mercy sing:
Let every listening saint above
Wake all the tuneful soul of love,
And touch the sweetest string.
Join, ye loud spheres, the vocal choir;
Soon as gray evening gilds the plain,
Thou heaven of heavens, his vast abode,
Whate'er a blooming world contains,
Ye dragons, sound his awful name
Let every element rejoice:
Ye thunders, burst with awful voice
His praise in softer notes declare,
To him, ye graceful cedars, bow;
Tell, when affrighted nature shook,
Ye flocks, that haunt the humble vale,
Crop the gay rose's vermeil bloom,
Wake, all ye mountain tribes, and sing;
To him who shap'd your finer mould,
Let man, by nobler passions sway'd,
Till heaven's broad arch rings back the sound,
Ye, whom the charms of grandeur please,
Fall prostrate at his throne;
Ye princes, rulers, all adore;
Praise him ye kings, who makes your power
An image of his own.