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Sprtag up, and lay strong hold on Him who made thee.'
Thy gloom is scatter'd, sprightly spirits flow,
Though wither'd is thy vine, and harp unstrung.
Dost call the bowl, the viol, and tne dance, 745 Loud mirth, and laughter? Wretched comforters'
Physicians! more than half of thy disease!
Laughter, though never censured yet as sin,
(Pardon a thought that only seems severe)
Is half-immortal, is it much indulged. 750
By venting spleen, or dissipating thought,
It shows a scorner, or it makes a fool,
And sins; as hurting others, or ourselves.
'Tis pride, or emptiness, applies the straw
That tickles little minds to mirth effuse; 755
Of grief approaching the portentous sign!
The house of laughter makes a house of woe
A man triumphant is a monstrous sight;
A man dejected is a sight as mean.
What cause for triumph, where such ills abound? 760
What for dejection, where presides a Power
Who call'd us into being—to be bless'd?
So grieve, as conscious grief may rise to joy
So joy, as conscious joy to grief may fall.
Most true, a wise man never will be sad; 765
But neither will sonorous, bubbling mirth,
A shallow stream of happiness betray;
Too happy to be sportive, he's serene.
Yet wouldst thou laugh (but at thy own expense)
This counsel strange should I presume to give— 770
'Retire, and read thy Bible, to be gay'
There truths abound of sovereign aid to peace:
Ah! do not prize them less because inspired,
As thou and thine are apt and proud to do.
If not inspired, that pregnant page had stood, 775
Time's treasure! and the wonder of the wise!
Thou think'st, perhaps, thy soul alone at stake
Alas !—should men mistake thee for a fool,—
Whatman of taste for geuiusj Wisdojoj truth;
Though tender of thy fame, could interpose? 780
Believe me, sense, here, acts a double part,
And the true critic is a Christian too.
But these, thou think'st, are gloomy paths to joy.
True joy in sunshine ne'er was found at first.
They first themselves offend who greatly please, 785
And travel only gives us sound repose.
Heaven sells all pleasure; effort is the price.
The joys of conquest are the joys of man;And Glory the victorious laurel spreads
O'er Pleasure's pure, perpetual, placid stream. 790 There is a time when toil must be preferr'd,
Or joy, by mistimed fondness, is undone.
A man of pleasure is a man of pains.
Thou wilt not take the trouble to be blcss'd.
False joys, indeed, are born from want of thought; 793
From thought's full bent and energy the true;And that demands a mind in equal poise,
Remote from gloomy grief and glaring joy.
Much joy not only speaks small happiness,
But happiness that shortly must expire. 800
Can joy, unbottom'd in reflection, stand?
And, in a tempest, can reflection live?Can joy, like thine, secure itself an hour?Can joy, like thine, meet accident unshock'd?Or ope the door to honest Poverty? 805
Or talk with threatening Death, and not turn pale?In such a world, and such a nature, these
Are needful fundamentals of delight:These fundamentals give delight indeed;
Delight pure, delicate, and durable; 810
Delight unshaken, masculine, divine;A constant and a sound, but serious joy.
Is Joy the daughter of Severity? It is:—yet far my doctrine from severe. 'Rejoice for ever:' it becomes a man; 815
Exalts, and sets him nearer to the gods.
'Rejoiee for ever (Nature cries..) Rejoice'!'
And drinks to man in her nectareous cup,
Mix'd up of delicates for every sense;
To the great Founder of the bounteous feast 820
Drinks glory, gratitude, eternal praise;
And he that will not pledge her is a churl.
Ill firmly to support, good fully taste,
Is the whole science of felicity:
Vet, sparing, pledge; her bowl is not the best 825
Mankind can boast.—' A rational repast,
Exertion, vigilance, a mind in arms,
A military discipline of thought,
To foil temptation in the doubtful field,
And ever-waking ardour for the right.' 83C
'Tis these first give, then guard a cheerful heart.
Nought, that is right, think little; well aware What Reason bids, God bids: by his command How aggrandized the smallest thing we do!
Thus nothing is insipid to the wise; 835
To thee insipid all but what is mad,
Joys season'd high, and tasting strong of guilt.'Mad! (thou reply'st, with indignation fired)
Of ancient sages proud to tread the steps,
I follow Nature.'—Follow Nature still, 840
But look it be thine own. Is Conscience, then,
No part of Nature? is she not supreme?
Thou regicide! O raise her from the dead!
Then follow Nature, and resemble God.
When, spite of conscience, pleasure is pursued, 845
Man's nature is unnaturally pleased;
And what's unnatural is painful too
At intervals, and must disgust e'en thee!
The fact thou know'st; but not, perhaps, the cause.
Virtue's foundations with the world's were laid: 850
Heaven mix'd her with our make, and twisted close
Her sacred interests with the strings of life:
Who breaks her awful mandate shocks himself,
His better self: and is it greater pain
Our soul should murmur, or our dust repine? 855 And one, in their eternal war, must bleed.
If one must suffer, which should least be spared .' The pains of mind surpass the pains of sense: Ask, then, the Gout, what torment is in guilt ?— The joys of sense to mental joys are mean: 860 Sense on the present only feeds: the soul On past and future forages for joy: 'Tis hors, by retrospect, through time to range, And forward Time's great sequel to survey. Could human courts take vengeance on the mind, 865 Axes might rust, and racks and gibbets fall. Guard then thy mind, and leave the rest to Fate!
Lorenzo! wilt thou never be a man?
The man is dead who for the body lives,
Lured by the beating of his pulse, to list 870
With every lust that wars against his peace,
And sets him quite at variance with himself.
Thyself first know, then love: a self there is,
Of virtue fond, that kindles at her charms:
A self there is, as fond of every vice, 875
While every virtue wounds it to the heart;
Humility degrades it, Justice robs,
Bless'd Bounty beggars it, fair Truth betrays,
And godlike Magnanimity destroys.
This self, when rival to the former, scorn; 880
When not i.i competition, kindly treat,
Defend it, feed it:—but when Virtue bids,
Toss it or to the fowls or to the flames.
And why? 'tis love of pleasure bids thee bleed:
Comply, or own self-love extinct, or Blind. 883
For what is vice ?—Self-love in a mistake:
A poor blind merchant buying joys too dear.
And virtue what? 'tis Self-love in her wits,
Quite skilful in the market of delight.
Self-love's good sense is love of that dread Power 890
From whom herself, and all she can enjoy.
Other self-love is but disguised self-hate,
More mortal than the mahce of our foes; A self-hate now scarce felt, then felt full sore,
When being cursed, extinction loud implored, 895
And every thing preferr'd to what we are.
Yet this self-love Lorenzo makes his choice,
And, in this choice triumphant, boasts of joy,
How is his want of happiness betray'd
By disaffection to the present hour! 900
Imagination wanders far a-field;
The future pleases: why? the present pains.-
'But that's a secret.—Yes, which all men know,
And know from thee, discover'd unawares.
Thy ceaseless agitation restless rolls 905
From cheat to cheat, impatient of a pause.
What is it ?—'Tis the cradle of the soul,
From Instinct sent, to rock her in disease,
Which her physician, Reason, will not cure.
A poor expedient! yet thy best; and while 910
It mitigates thy pain, it owns it too.
Such are Lorenzo's wretched remedies!
The weak have remedies, the wise have joys.
Superior wisdom is superior bliss.
And what sure mark distinguishes the wise? 915
Consistent Wisdom evei wills the same )
Thy fickle wish is ever on the wing.
Sick of herself is Folly's character,
As Wisdom's is a modest self-applause.
A change of evils is thy good supreme, 920
Nor but in motion canst thou find thy rest.
Man's greatest strength is shown in standing stUI.
The first sure symptom of a mind in health
Is rest of heart, and pleasure felt at home.
False Pleasure from abroad her joys imports; 925
Rich from within, and self-sustain'd, the true.
The true is fix'd and solid as a rock;
Slippery the false, and tossing, as the wave.
This a wild wanderer on earth, like Cain )