Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

'Tis greatly wise to talk with our past hours; And ask them, what report they bore to Heaven; And how they might have borne more welcome news. Their answers form what men Experience call; If Wisdom's friend, her beft ; if not, worst foe. O reconcile them ! kind Experience cries, “ There's nothing here, but what as nothing weighs; • The more our joy, the more we know it vain ; “ And by Success are tutor'd to Despair.” Nor is it only thus, but must be fo. Who knows not this, tho' grey, is still a child, Loose, then, from Earth, the grasp of fond Defire, Weigh anchor, and some happier clime explore.

Art thou so moor'd thou can'ît not disengage, Nor give thy thoughts a ply to future scenes ? Since, by Life's passing breath, blown up from Earth, Light, as the Summer's duft, we take in air A moment's giddy flight, and fall again ; Join the dull mass, increase the trodden soil, And sleep, till Earth herself shall be no more ; Since then (as emmets, their small world o'erthrown) We, sore amaz'd, from out Earth's ruins crawl, And rise to fate extreme of foul or fair, As man's own choice (controuler of the skies !) 'As man's despotic will, perhaps one hour, (O how omnipotent is Time!) decrees; Should not each warning give a strong alarm? Warning, far less than that of bofom torn From bosom, bleeding o'er the sacred dead! Should not each dial strike us as we pass,

Portentous,

Portentous, as the written wall, which struck,
O'er midnight bowls, the proud Affyrian pale,
Ere-while high-flush'd with infolence and wine ?
•Like that, the dial fpeaks; and points to thee,
Lorenzo ! loth to break thy banquet up:
“O man, thy kingdom is departing from thee;
And, while it lasts, is emptier than my shade."
Its filent language fuch: nor need it thou call
Thy magi, to decypher what it means.
Know, like the Median, Fate is in thy walls:
Doft ask, How? Whence ? Belshazzar-like, amaz'd
Man's make incloses the sure feeds of Death;
Life feeds the murderet : ingrate! he thrives
On her own meal, and then his nursé devours.

But here, Lorenzo, the delusion lies;
That folar-thadow, 'as it measures life,
It Life resembles too: Life fpeeds away
From point to point, tho' seeming to stand still.
The cunning fugitive is swift by stealth :
Too subtle is the movement to be seen ;
Yet foon man's hour is up, and we are gone.
Warnings point out our danger; gnomons, Time;
As these are useless when the sun is set;
So those, but when more glorious Reason shines.
Reason should judge in all; in Reason's eye,
'That sedentary shadow travels hard.
But such our gravitation to the wrong,
So prone our hearts to whisper what we will,
'Tis later with the wise, than he's aware ;
A Wilmington goes flower than the fun :

And all mankind mistake their time of day ;
Ev'n Age itself. Fresh hopes are hourly fown
In furrow'd brows. So gentle Life's descent,
We fhut our eyes, and think it is a plain.
We take fair days in Winter, for the Spring;
And turn our blessings into bane. Since oft
Man must compute that age he cannot feel,
He scarce believes he's older for his years.
Thus, at Life's latest eve, we keep in store
One disappointment sure, to crown the reft;
The disappointment of a promis'd hour.

On this, or similar, Philander! thou,
Whose mind was moral as the preacher's tongue;
And strong, to wield all science, worth the name;
How often we talk'd down the Summer's Sun,
And cool'd our passions by the breezy stream!
How often thaw'd and shorten'd Winter's eve,
By conflict kind, that struck out latent truth,
Best found, so fought; to the recluse more coy!
Thoughts disentangle, passing o'er the lip;
Clean runs the thread ; if not, 'tis thrown away,
Or kept to tie up nonsense for a song;
Song, fashionably fruitless : such as stains
The Fancy, and unhallow'd Passion fires;
Chiming her saints to Cytherea's fane.
Know'lt thou, Lorenzo ! what a Friend contains ?
As bees mix'd Nectar draw from fragrant flow'rs,
So men from Friendship, Wisdom and Delight;
Twins tyd by Nature ; if they part, they die.
Halt thou no Friend to set thy mind abroach ?

Good

Good Sense will stagnate. Thoughts shut up, want air,
And spoil, like bales unopen'd to the Sun.
Had Thought been all, sweet Speech had been denyd;
Speech, Thought's canal! Speech, Thought's cri-

terion too!
Thought in the mine, may come forth gold, or dross;
When coin'd in word, we know its real worth.
If sterling, store it for thy future use;
'T'will buy thee benefit, perhaps renown.
Thought, too, deliver'd, is the more poffeft:
Teaching, we learn; and, giving, we retain
The births of Intellect; when dumb, forgot.
Speech ventilates our intellectual fire ;
Speech burnishes our mental magazine ;
Brightens, for ornament; and whets, for use.
What numbers, feath'd in Erudition, lie,
Plung'd to the hilts in venerable tomes,
And rufted in, who might have borne an edge,
And play'd a sprightly beam, if born to Specch;
If born bleft heirs of half their mother's tongue !
'Tis Thought's exchange, which, like th' alternate

push Of waves confiating, breaks the learned scum, And defecates the student's standing pool.

In Contemplation is his proud resource? 'Tis poor, as proud, by Converse unsustain'd. Rude Thought runs wild in Contemplation's field; Converse, the menage, breaks it to the bit Of due restraint; and Emulation's spur Gives graceful energy, by rivals aw'd.

'Tis

G4

'Tis converse qualifies for solitude ;
As exercise, for falutary rest.
By that untutor'd, Contemplation raves;
And Nature's fool by Wisdom's is outdone.

Wisdom, tho' richer than Peruvian mines,
And sweeter than the sweet ambrosial hive,
What is she, but the means of Happiness ?
That unobtain'd, than Folly more a fool;
A melancholy fool, without her bells.
Friendship, the means of wisdom, richly gives
The precious end which makes our wisdom wife.
Nature, in zeal for human amity,
Denies, or damps, an undivided joy.
Joy is an import; joy is an exchange ;
Joy fies monopoliits; it calls for two;
Rich fruit ! heav'n-planted ! never pluck'd by one !
Needful auxiliars are our friends, to give
To social man true relish of himself.
Full on ourselves descending in a line
Pleasure's bright beam, is feeble in delight:
Delight intense is taken by rebound;
Reverberated pleasures fire the breast.
Celestial happiness, whene'er she stoops
To visit earth, one fhrine the goddess finds,
And one alone, to make her sweet amends
For absent Heay’n---the bosom of a Friend ;
Where heart meets heart, reciprocally soft,
Each other's pillow to repose divine.
Beware the counterfeit : in Pallion's flame
Hearts melt ; but melt like ice, soon harder froze,

True

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« ПредишнаНапред »