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That memorable hour of wondrous birth,
When the Dread Sire, on emanation bent,
And big with Nature, rising in his might,
Call'd forth creation (for then Time was born),
By Godhead streaming through a thousand worlds;
Not on those terms, from the great days of Heaven,
From old Eternity's mysterious orb,
Was Time cut off, and cast beneath the skies;
The skies, which watch him in his new abode,
Measuring his motions by revolving spheres;
That horologe machinery divine.
Hours, days, and months, and years, his children
Like numerous wings around him, as he flies:
Or, rather, as unequal plumes, they shape
His ample pinions, swift as darted flame,
To gain his goal, to reach his ancient rest,
And join anew Eternity, his sire;
In his immutability to nest,
When worlds, that count his circles now, unhing'd
(Fate the loud signal sounding) headlong rush
To timeless night and chaos, whence they rose.
Why spur the speedy? Why with levities
New-wing thy short, short day's too rapid flight?
Know'st thou, or what thou dost, or what is done?
Man flies from Time, and Time from man; too soon
In sad divorce this double flight must end;
And then, where are we? where, Lorenzo! then
Thy sports? thy pomps?—I grant thee, in a state
Not unambitious; in the ruffled shroud,
Thy Parian tomb's triumphant arch beneath.
Has Death his fopperies? Then well may Life
Put on her plume, and in her rainbow shine.
Ye well-array'd! ye lilies of our land!
Ye lilies male! who neither toil, nor spin,
(As sister lilies might) if not so wise
As Solomon, more sumptuous to the sight!
Ye delicate! who nothing can support,
Yourselves most insupportable! for whom
The winter rose must blow, the Sun put on
A brighter beam in Leo; silky-soft
Favonius breathe still softer, or be chid;
And other worlds send odours, sauce, and song,
And robes, and notions, fram'd in foreign looms!
O ye Lorenzos of our age! who deem
One moment unamus'd, a misery
Not made for feeble man! who call aloud
For every bawble drivell'd o'er by sense;
For rattles, and conceits of every cast,
For change of follies, and relays of joy,
To drag your patient through the tedious length
Of a short winter's day—say, sages! say,
Wit's oracles! say, dreamers of gay dreams!
How will you weather an eternal night,
Where such expedients fail?
O treacherous Conscience! while she seems to On rose and myrtle, lull'd with syren song; While she seems, nodding o'er her charge, to drop On headlong appetite the slacken'd rein, And give us up to licence unrecall'd, Unmark'd; see, from behind her secret stand, The sly informer minutes every fault, And her dread diary with horrour fills. Not the gross act alone employs her pen; She reconnoitres Fancy's airy band;
A watchful foe! the formidable spy,
Listening, o'erhears the whispers of our camp:
Our dawning purposes of heart explores,
And steals our embryos of iniquity.
As all-rapacious usurers conceal
Their doomsday-book from all-consuming heirs,
Thus, with indulgence most severe, she treats
Us spendthrifts of inestimable time;
Unnoted, notes each moment misapplied;
In leaves more durable than leaves of brass
Writes our whole history: which Death shall read
In every pale delinquent's private ear;
And Judgment publish; publish to more worlds
Than this; and endless age in groans resound.
Lorenzo, such that sleeper in thy breast!
Such is her slumber; and her vengeance such
For slighted counsel; such thy future peace!
And think'st thou still thou canst be wise too soon?
But why on time so lavish is my song ?
On this great theme kind Nature keeps a school,
Each night we die,
To teach her sons herself.
Each morn are born anew: each day, a life!
And shall we kill each day? If Trifling kills;
Sure Vice must butcher. O what heaps of slain
Cry out for vengeance on us! Time destroy'd
Is suicide, where more than blood is spilt.
Time flies, Death urges, knells call, Heaven invites,
Hell threatens: All exerts; in effort, all;
More than creation labours! -labours more?
And is there in creation what, amidst
This tumult universal, wing'd dispatch,
And ardent energy, supinely yawns?
Man sleeps; and man alone; and man, whose fate,
Fate irreversible, entire, extreme,
Endless, hair-hung, breeze-shaken, o'er the gulf
A moment trembles; drops! and man, for whom
All else is in alarm! man, the sole cause
Of this surrounding storm! and yet he sleeps,
As the storm rock'd to rest. - Throw years away?
Throw empires, and be blameless. Moments seize;
Heaven's on their wing: a moment we may wish,
When worlds want wealth to buy. Bid Day stand
Bid him drive back his car, and reimport
The period past, re-give the given hour.
Lorenzo, more than miracles we want;
Lorenzo O for yesterdays to come!
Such is the language of the man awake;
His ardour such, for what oppresses thee.
And is his ardour vain, Lorenzo? No;
That more than miracle the gods indulge;
To-day is yesterday return'd; return'd
Full-power'd to cancel, expiate, raise, adorn,
• And reinstate us on the rock of peace.
Let it not share its predecessor's fate;
Nor, like its elder sisters, die a fool.
Shall it evaporate in fume? fly off
Fuliginous, and stain us deeper still?
Shall we be poorer for the plenty pour'd?
More wretched for the clemencies of Heaven?
Where shall I find him? Angels! tell me where.
You know him: he is near you: point him out:
Shall I see glories beaming from his brow?
Or trace his footsteps by the rising flowers?
Your golden wings, now hovering o'er him, shed
Frotection; now, are waving in applause
To that blest son of foresight! lord of fate!
That aweful independent on to-morrow!
Whose work is done; who triumphs in the past;
Whose yesterdays look backwards with a smile;
Nor, like the Parthian, wound him as they fly;
That common, but opprobrious lot! past hours,
If not by guilt, yet wound us by their flight,
If folly bounds our prospect by the grave,
All feeling of futurity benumb'd;
All god-like passion for eternals quencht;
All relish of realities expir'd;
Renounc'd all correspondence with the skies;
Our freedom chain'd; quite wingless our desire;
In sense dark-prison'd all that ought to soar;
Prone to the centre; crawling in the dust;
Dismounted every great and glorious aim;
Embruted every faculty divine;
Heart-bury'd in the rubbish of the world.
The world, that gulf of souls, immortal souls,
Souls elevate, angelic, wing'd with fire
To reach the distant skies, and triumph there
On thrones, which shall not mourn their masters
Though we from Earth; ethereal, they that fell.
Such veneration due, O man, to man.
Who venerate themselves, the world despise.
For what, gay friend! is this escutcheon'd world,
Which hangs out Death in one eternal night;
A night, that glooms us in the noon-tide ray,
And wraps our thought, at banquets, in the shroud?