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They weaken too, the torrent of their grief.
Take then, O world! thy much indebted tear :
How sad a sight is human happiness,
To those whose thought can pierce beyond an hour ?
O thou ! whate'er thou art, whose heart exults!
Wouldst thou I should congratulate thy fate?
I know thou wouldst; thy pride demands it from me.
Let thy pride pardon, what thy nature needs,
The salutary censure of a friend.
Thou happy wretch! by blindness thou art blest ;
By dotage dandled to perpetual smiles.
Know, smiler! at thy peril art thou pleas'd;
Thy pleasure is the promise of thy pain.
Misfortune, like a creditor severe,
But rises in demand for her delay;
She makes a scourge of past prosperity,
To sting thee more, and double thy distress.
Lorenzo, fortune makes her court to thee,
Thy fond heart dances, while the Syren sings.
Dear is thy welfare ; think me not unkind;
I would not damp, but to secure thy joys.
Think not that fear is sacred to the storm :
Stand on thy guard against the smiles of fate.
Is heaven tremendous in its frowns ? Most sure ;
And in its favours formidable too :
Its favours here are trials, not rewards ;
A call to duty, not discharge from care;
And should alarm us, full as much as woes;
Awake us to their cause and consequence;
And make us tremble, weighd with our desert;
Awe nature's tumult, and chastise her joys,
Lest, while we cla-p, we kill them; nay, invert
To worse than simple niisery, their charms.
Revolted joys, like foes in civil war,
Lik bosom friendships to resentment sourid,
With rage envenom'd rise against our peace.
Beware what earth calls happiness; beware
All joys, but joys that never can expire.
Who builds on less than an immortal base,
Fond as he seems, condemns his joys to death.
Mine dy'd with thee, Philander! thy last sigh
Dissolv'd the charm; the disenchanted earth
Lost all her lustre. Where her glittering towers?
Her golden mountains, where? ali darken'd down
To naked waste; a dreary vale of tears ;
The great magician's dead! thou poor, pale piece
Of out-cast earth, in darkness! what a change
From yesterday! thy darling hope so near,
(Long-labourd prize!: O how ambition flush'd
Thy glowing cheek' Ambition truly great,
Of virtuous praise. Death's subtle seed within
(Sly, treacherous miner!) working in the dark,
Smild at thy well-concerted scheme, and beckon'd
The worm to riot on that rose so red,
Unfadedd ere it fell; one moment's prey !
Mans foresight is conditionally wise ;
Lorenzo! wisdom into folly turns
Oft, the first instant, its idea tair
To labouring thought is born. How dim our eyer
The present moment terminates our sight;
Clouds, thick as those on doomscay, drown the next;
We penetrate, we prophesy in vain.
Time is dealt out by particles; and each
Ere mingd d with the streaming sands of life,
By fate's inviolable oath is swrn
Deep silence, “Where eternity begins."
By nature's law, what may be, may be now;
There's no prerogative in human hours.
In human hearts what bolder thought can rise,
Than man's presumption on to morrows dawn?
Where is to-morrow? In another world.
For numbers this is certain ; the reverse
Is sure to none; and yet on this perhaps,
This peradventure, infamous for lies,
As on a rock of adamant, we build
Our mountain hopes; spin out eternal schemes,.
As we the fatal sisters could out-spin,
And, big with lite's futurities, expire.
Not ev'n Philander had bespoke his shroud:
Nor had he cause ; a warning was deny'd :
How many fall as sudden, not as safe!
As sudden, though for years admonish'd home..
Of human ills the last extreme beware,
Beware, Lorenzo! a slow sudden death.
How dreadful that deliberate surprise!
Be wise to-day; 'tis madness to defer;
Next day the fatal precedent will plead;
Thus on, till wisdom is push d out of life.
Procrastination is the thief of time;
Year after year it steals, till all are fled,
And to the mercies of a moment leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal scene.
If not so frequent, would not this be strange?
That 'tis so frequent, this is stranger still.
Of man's miraculous mistakes, this bears
The palm, “That all men are about to live,"
For ever on the brink of being born.
All pay themselves the compliment to think
They one day shall not drivel. and their pride
On this reversion takes up ready praise ;
At least, their own; their future selves applaud;.
How excellent that life they ne'er will lead!
Time lodg'd in their own hands is folly's vails;
That lodg‘d in fates, to wisdom they consign;
The thing they can't but purpose, they postpone;
'Tis not in folly, not to scorn a fool;
And scarce in human wisdom, to do more.
All promise is poor dilatory man,
And that through every stage: when young, indeed,
In full contert we, sometimes, nobly rest,
Unanxious for ourselves; and only wish,
As duteous sons, our fathers were more wise.
At thirty man suspects himself a fool;
Know's it at forty, and reforms his plan;
At fifly chides bis infamous delay,
Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve ;
In all the magnanimity of thought
Resolies; and re-resolves; then dies the same.
And why? Because he thinks himself immortal. All men think all men inortal, but themselves; Themselves, when some alarming shock of fate Strikes through their wounded hearts the sudden dread; But their hearts wound d, like the wounded air, Soon close; where, past the shaft, no trace is found. As from the wing, no scar the sky retains ; The parted wave no furrow from the keel;
So dies in human hearts the thoughts of death,
Ev’n with the tender tear which nature sheds
O'er those we love, we drop it in their grave.
Can I forget Philander? That were strange!
O my full heart !- But should I give it vent,
The longest night, though longer far, would fail,
And the lark listen to my midnight song.
The sprightly lark's shrill matin wakes the morn;
Grief's sharpest thorn hard pressing on my breast,
I strive, with wakeful melody, to cheer
The sullen gloom, sweet Philomel! like thee,
And call the stars to listen : every star
Is deaf to mine, enamour'd of thy lay.
Yet be not vain ; there are, who thine excel,
And charm through distant ages: wrapt in shade,
Prisoner of darkness! to the silent hours,
How often I repeat their rage
divine, To lull my griefs, and steal my heart from woe! I roll their raptures, but not catch their fire. Dark, though not blind, like thee, Mæonides ! Or, Milton! thee; ah, could I reach your strain ! Or his, who made Mæonides our own. Man too he sung: immortal man I sing ; Oft bursts my song beyond the bounds of life; What, now, but immortality can please? O had he press'd his theme, pursued the track, Which opens out of darkness into day! O had he, mounted on his wing of fire, Soar'd where I sink, and sung immortal man! How had it blest mankind, and rescued me!
ON TIME, DEATH, AND FRIENDSHIP.
“WHEN the cock crew, he wept"-smote by that eye
Which looks on me, on all: That power, who bids
This midnight centinel, with clarion shrill,
Emblem of that which shall awake the dead,
Rouse souls from slumber, into thoughts of heaven.
Shall I too weep? Where then is fortitude ?
And fortitude abandon'd, where is man?
I know the terms on which he sees the light;
He that is born, is listed ; life is war ;
Eternal war with woe. Who bears it best,
Deserves it least.-On other themes I'll dwell.
Lorenzo! let me turn my thoughts on thee,
And thine, on themes may profit there,
Where most they need. Themes too, the genuine
Of dear Philander's dust. He thus, though dead,
May still befriend—what themes? times wondrous price,
Death, friendship, and Philander's final scene.
So could I touch these themes, as might obtain
Thine ear, nor leave thy heart quite disengag'd,
The good deed would delight me; half impress
On my dark cloud an Iris; and from grief
Call glory—dost thou mourn Philander's fate?
I know thou say'st it: Says thy life the same?
He mourns the dead, who lives as they desire.
Where is that thirst, that avarice of time,
(O glorious avarice!) thought of death inspires,
As rumour'd robberies endear our gold ?
O time! than gold more sacred ; more a load
Than lead, to fools; and fools reputed wise.
What moment granted man without account?