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And talk of Death, like Garlands o'er a Grave.
As fome bold Plunderers, for bury'd Wealth,
We ransack Tombs for Pajtime; from the Duft,
Call up the fleeping Hero; bid him tread
The Scene for our Amusement : How like Gods
We fit; and, wrapt in Immortality,
Shed gen'rous Tears on Wretches born to die;
Their Fate deploring, to forget our Own !
What, all the Pomps, and Triumphs of our Lives,
But Legacies in Blossom? Our lean Soil,
Luxuriant grown, and rank in Vanities,
From Friends interr'd beneath ; a rich Manure !
Like other Worms, we banquet on the Dead ;
Like other Worms, shall we crawl on, nor know
Our present Frailties, or approaching Fate ?
Lorenzo! such the Glories of the World !
What is the World itself? Thy World ?-a Grave!
Where is the Duft that has not been alive?
The Spade, the Plough, difturb our Ancestors;
From human Mould we reap our daily Bread :
The Globe around Earth's hollow. Surface fhakes,
And is the Ceiling of her sleeping Sonso
O’er Devastation we blind Revels keep ;
Whole bury'd Towns support the Dancer's Heel:
The Moist of human Frame the Sun exhales ;
Winds scatter, thro' the migh:y. Void, the Dry ;
Earth re-possesses Part of what she gave,
And the freed Spirit mounts on Wings of Fire ;
Each Element partakes our scatter'd Spoils ;
As Nature wide, our Ruins fpread : Man's Death
Inhabits all Things, but the Thought of Man.
Nor Man alone ; his breathing Buft expires ; His Tomb is mortal; Empires die: Where, now, The Roman Greek? They stalk an empty Name!, Yet Few regard them in this useful Light; Tho' Half our Learning is their Epitaph.
When down thy Vale, unlock'd by Midnight Thought,
That loves to wander in thy Sunless Realms, ha O Death! I stretch my View; what Visions rise ?
What Triumphs ! Toils imperial! Arts divine!
GK In wither'd Laurels, glide before my Sight?
What Lengths of far-famd Ages, billow'd-high
With haman Agitation, roll along
In unsubftantial Images of Air ?
The melancholy Ghosts of dead Renown,
Whisp'ring faint Echoes of the World's Applause,
With penitential Aspect, as they pass,
All point at Earth, and hiss at human Pride, li The Wisdom of the Wise, and Prancings of the Great,
BUT, O LORENZO ! far the rest above,
Of ghastly Nature, and enormous Size,
One Form afsaults my Sight, and chills my-Blood,
And shakes my Frame : Of One departed World
I see the mighty Shadow ; Oozy Wreath
And dismal Sea.weed crown her; o'er her Urn
Reclin'd, the weeps her desolated Realms,
And bloated Sons; and, weeping, prophesies
Another's Diffolution, foon, in Flames;
But, like CASSANDRA, prophesies in vain;
In vain, to Many ; not, I trust, to Thee.
For, know'st thou not, or art thou loth to know,
The great Decree, the Counsel of the Skies,
Deluge and Conflagration, dreadful Pow'rs!
Prime Ministers of Vengeance! Chain'd in Caves
Distinct, apart the Giant-Furies roar ;
Apart; or, such their horrid Rage for Ruin,
In mutual Conflict would they rise, and wage
Eternal War, till One was quite devour'd:
But not for This, ordain'd their boundless Rage;
When Heav'n's inferior Instruments of Wrath,
War, Famine, Pestilence, are found too weak
To scourge a World for her enormous Crimes :
These are let loose, alternate : Down they rush,
Swift and tempeftuous, from th' eternal Throne,
With irresistible Commission arm'd,
The World, in vain corrected, to destroy,
And ease Creation of the Thocking Scene.
Seest thou, Lorenzo! whạt depends on Man?
The Fate of Nature ; as, for Man, her Birth :
Earth's A&ors change Earth's transitory Scenes,
And make Creation groan with human Guilt :
How muft it groan, in a new Deluge whelm'd;
But not of Waters? At the destin'd Hour,
By the loud Trumpet summond to the Charge,
See, all the formidable Sons of Fire,
Eruptions, Earthquakes, Comets, Lightnings, play
Their various Engines ; All at once disgorge
Their blazing Magazines ; and take, by Storm,
This poor terrestrial Citadel of Man.
AMAZING Period! when each Mountain-Height
Out-burns Vesuvius; Rocks eternal pour
Their melted Mass, as Rivers once they pour'd ;
Stars rush ; and final Ruin fiercely drives
Her Ploughshare o'er Creation !-While aloft,
More than Astonishment! if more can be !
Far other Firmament than e'er was seen,
Than e'er was thought by Man! Far other Stars!
Stars animate, that govern these of Fire ;
Far other Sun!--A Sun, O how unlike
The Babe at Betble'm ? How unlike the Man
That groan'd on Calvary? --Yet He it is;
That Man of Sorrows ! O how chang'd? What Pomp?
In Grandeur Terrible, All Heav'n descends !
And Gods, ambitious, triumph in His Train.
As Monarchs grand, on Coronation-Days,
Omnipotence affects Omnipotence;
Wears all his Glories ; marshals all his Pow'rs;
Their State imblazes! Deity exalts !
A swift Archangel, with his golden Wing,
As Blots and Clouds, that darken and disgrace
The Scene divine, sweeps Stars and Suns afide :
all Dross remoy'd, Heav'n's own pure Day,
Full on the Confines of our Æther, flames ;
While (dreadful Contrast !) far, how far beneath!
Hell, bursting, belches forth her blazing Seas,
And Storms sulphureous ;. her voracious Jaws
Expanding wide, and roaring for her Prey.
Lorenzo! welcome to this Scene ; the Last
In Nature's Course; the First in Wisdom's Thought;
This ftrikes, if aught can strike thee ; This awakes
The most Supine; This snatches Man from Death.
Rouze, rouze, LORENZO ! then, and follow me,
Where Truth, the most momentous Man can hear,
Loud calls my Soul, and Ardor wings 'her Flight.
I find my Inspiration in my Theme;
The Grandeur of my Subject is my Mufe.
At Midnight, when Mankind is wrapt in Peace,
And worldly Fancy feeds on golden Dreams,
To give more Dread to Man's most dreadful Hour;
At Midnight, 'tis presum'd, this Pomp will burst
From tenfold Da'..afs; sudden as the Spark
From smitten Steen from nitrous Grain, the Blaze.
Man, starting from his Couch, fhall fleep no more!
The Dáy is broke, which never more shall close!
Above, around, beneath, Amazement All!
Terror and Glory join'd in their Extremes !
Our GOD in Grandeur, and our World on Fire !
All Nature struggling in the Pangs of Death!
Dost thoù not hear her. Doft thou not deplore
Her strong Convulsions, and her final Groan?
Where are we now? Ah me! The Ground is
gone On which we stood, LORENZO ! While thou may'st, Provide more firm Support, or fink for Ever!
Where? How? From whence? Vain Hope! It is too,
láte! Where, where, for Shelter, shall the Guilty Ay, When Confternation turns the Good Man pale ?
Great Day! for which all Other Days were made ; For which Earth rose from Chaos ; Man from Earth; And an Eternity, the Date of Gods, Descended on poor Earth-created Man! Great Day of Dread, Decifion, and Despair! At Thought of Thee, each sublunary Wish Lets go its eager Grasp, and drops the World: And catches at each Reed of Hope in Heav’n : At Thougbt of Theel-And art Thou abfent, then ? LORENZO ! No ; 'tis Here ;- it is begun ;-Already is begun the Grand Affize, In Thee, in All: Deputed Conscience scales The dread Tribunal, and forestalls our Doom ; Forestalls ; and, by forestalling, proves it Sure. Why on Himself should Man void Judgment pafs ? Is idle Nature laughing at her Sons ? Who Conscience fent, her Sentence will support, And GOD Above assert That God in Man.
Thrice happy They! that enter now the Court Heav'n opens in their Bosoms: But, how rare, Ah me! that Magnanimity, how rare? What Hero, like the Man who ftands Himself ? Who dares to meet his naked Heart alone ? Who hears, intrepid, the full Charge it brings, Resoly'd to filence future Murmurs There? The Coward flies; and, flying, is undone ; (Art Thou a Coward ? No): The Coward flies Thinks, but thinks slightly; asks, but fears to know; Als, “ What is Truth”? with Pilate ; and retires ; Diffolves the Court, and mingles with the Throng; Asylum sad! from Reason, Hope, and Heav'n.