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Is prone to paint it dreadful. Who can take
Death's Portrait true? the Tyrant never sate:
Our Sketch, all random Strokes, Conjecture all ;
Close shuts the Grave, nor tells one fingle Tale.
Death, and his Image rising in the Brain
Bear faint Refemblance ; never are alike;
Fear shakes the Pencil, Fancy loves Excels,
Dark Ignorance is lavish of her Shades ;
And These the formidable Picture draw..
But grant the Worft ; 'tis paft; new prospects rife,
And drop a Veil eternal o'er her Tomb.
Far other Views our Contemplation claim,
Views that o'erpay the Rigours of our Life ;
Views that suspend our Agonies in Death.
Wrapp'd in the Thought of Immortality,
Wrapp'd in the fingle, the triumphant Thought !
Long Life might lapse, Age unperceiv'd come on;
And find the Soul unsated with her Theme.
Its Nature, Proof, Importance, fire my Song.
that my Song cou'd emulate my Soul !
Like her Immortal. No,-the Soul disdains
A Mark so mean ; far nobler Hope inflames ;
If endless Ages can outweigh an Hour,
Let not the Laurel, but the Palm infpire.
Thy Nature, Immortality! who knows?
And yet who knows it not? It is but Life
In stronger Thread of brighter Colour spun,
And spun for ever ; dipt by cruel Fate
In Stygian Die, how Black, how Brittle here?
How short our Correspondence with the Sun?
And while it lasts, Inglorious! Our best deeds,
How wanting in their Weight ? Our highest Joys,,
Small Cordials to support us in our Pain,
And give us Strength to suffer. But how Great,
To mingle Interests, Converse, Amities,
With all the Sons of Reafon, scatter'd wide
Through habitable Space, wherever born,
Howe'er endow'd ? To live free Citizens
Of universal Nature ! To lay hold
By more than feeble Faith on the Supreme ?
To call Heav'n's rich unfathomable Mines,
(Mines, which support Arch-Angels in their State)
Our own? To rise in Science, as in Bliss,
Initiate in the Secrets of the Skies?
To read Creation ; read its mighty Plan
In the bare Bofom of the Deity:
The Plan and Execution to collate i
To see, before each Glance of piercing Thought,
All Cloud, all Shadow blown remote ; and leave
No Mystery but that of Love Divine,
Which lifts us on the Seraph's flaming Wing,
From Earth's Aceldama, this Field of Blood,
Of inward Anguilh, and of outward Ill,
From Darkness and from Dust, to such a Scene!
Love's Element ! true Joy's illustrious Home!
From Earth's sad Contrast (now deplor'd) more fair.
What exquisite Viciffitude of Fate ?
Bleft Absolution of our blackest Hour !
Lorenzo! these are Thoughts that make man Man
The Wife illumine, aggrandize the Great.
How Great (while yet we tread the kindred Clody
And ev'ry Moment fear to fink beneath
The Clod we tread; foon trodden by our Sons),
How Great, in the wild Whirl of Time's pursuite
To stop, and pause, involv'd in high Presage,
Through the long Vifto of a thousand Years
To stand contemplating our diftant. Selves,
As in a magnifying Mirror seen,
Enlarg’d, Ennobled, Elevate, Divine
To prophesy our own Futurities?
To gaze in Thought on what all Thought transcends
To talk, with Fellow-Candidates, of Joys
As far beyond Conception, as Desert,
Ourselves th' astonish'd Talkers, and the Tale!
Lorenzo, swells thy Bosom at the Thought?
The Swell becomes thee : 'tis an honest Pride.
Revere thyself ; and yet thyself despise.
His Nature no man can o'er-rate ; and none
Can under-rate his Merit. Take good heed,
Nor there be Modest, where thou should'st be Proud:
That, almost universal, Error hun.
How just our Pride, when we behold those Heights !
Not those Ambition paints in Air, but those
Reafon points out, and ardent Virtue gains ;
And Angels emulate ; our Pride how juft!
When mount we? when these Shackles caft? when
This Cell of the Creation ? this small Neft,
Stuck in a Corner of the Universe,
Wrap'd up in fleecy Cloud, and fine-fpun Air ?
Fine-fpun to Sense ; but gross and feculent
To Souls celestial ; Souls ordain'd to breath
Ambrofial Gales; and drink a purer Sky;
Greatly triumphant on Time's farther Shore,
Where Virtue reigns, enrich'd with full Arrears 5
While Pomp Imperial begs an Alms of Peace.
In Empire high, or in proud Science deep,
Ye born of Earth! on what can you confer,
With half the Dignity, with half the Gain,
The Guft, the Glow of Rational Delight,
As on this Theme, which Angels praise, and share?
Man's Fates, and Favours are a Theme in Heav'n.
What wretched Repetition cloys us here? What periodic Potions for the Sick ? Diftemper’d Bodies! and disteniper'd Minds ! In an Eternity, what Scenes shall strike? Adventures thicken? Novelties surprize! What Webs of Wonder Thall unravel, there?
What full Day pour on all the Paths of Heav'ng.
And light th’ Almighty's Footsteps in the Deep?
How shall the blessed Day of our Discharge
Unwind, at once, the Labyrinths of Fate,
And straiten its inextricable Maze?
If inextinguishable Thirst in Man
To know; how rich, how full Banquet Here?
Here, not the Moral World alone unfolds
The World Material, lately seen in Shades,
And in those Shades, by Fragments, only seen,
And seen those Fragments by the labouring Eye,
Unbroken, now, illustrious, and entire,
Its ample Sphere, its universal Frame,
In full Dimensions, swells to the Survey;
And enters, at one Glance, the ravih'd Sight.
From some fuperior Point (where, who can tell
Suffice it, 'tis a Point where Gods reside)
How shall the stranger, Man's illumind Eye,
In the vast Ocean of unbounded space,
Behold an Infinite of floating Worlds
Divide the Crystal Waves of Ether pure,
In endless Voyage, without Port? The leaf
Of these disseminated Orbs, how Great?
Great as they are, what Numbers These surpass,
Huge, as Leviathan, to that small Race,
Those twinkling Multitudes of little Life,
He swallows unperceiv'd? Stupendous These!
Yet what are these Stupendous to the Whole?
As Particles, as Atoms ill-perceiv'd;
As circulating Globules in our Veins:
So vaft the Plan: Fecundity Divine !
Exub'rant Source ! perhaps, I wrong thee ftill.
If Admiration is a Source of Joy,
What Transport, hence ! Yet this the Leaft in Heav'n..
What This to that illuftrious Robe He wears,
Who tost this Mass of Wonders from his Hand,
A Specimen, an Earnest of his Pow'r?
'Tis, to that Glory, whence all Glory flows,
As the Mead's meanest Flowret to the Sun,
Which gave it Birth. But what, this Sun of Heav'n?
This Bliss supreme of the supremely Bleft?
Death, only Death, the Question can resolve.
By Death, cheap-bought th' Ideas of our Joy ;
The bare Ideas ! Solid Happiness
So distant from its shadow chac'd below.
And chace we still the Phantom thro' the Fire,
O'er Bog, and Brake, and Precipice, till Death?
And toil we still for fublunary Pay?
Defy the Dangers of the Field, and Flood,
Or, fpider-like, spin out our precious All,
Our more than Vitals spin (if no regard
To great Futurity) in curious Webs
Of subtile Thought, and exquisite Design ;
(Fine Net-work of the Brain !) to catch a Flya
The momentary Buz of vain Renown!
A Name, a mortal Immortality.
Or (meaner still !) instead of grasping Air,
For fordid Lucre plunge we in the Mire ?
Drudge, sweat, thro' ev'ry shame, for ev'ry Gaing
For vile contaminating Trash, throw up
Our Hope in Heav'n, our Dignity with Man ?
And deify the Dirt, matur'd to Gold ?
Ambition, Av'rice! the two Demons, these
Which goad thro' ev'ry Slough our Human Herd,
Hard-travel'd from the Cradle to the Grave.
How low the Wretches stoop how steep they climb ?
These Dæmons burn Mankind; but most possess
Lorenzo's Bosom, and turn out the Skies.
Is it in Time to hide Eternity ? And why not in an Atom on the Shore, To cover Ocean? or, a Mote, the Sun? Glory, and Wealth! have They this blinding Pow'r?