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Celestial Happiness, whene'er she stoops To visit Earth, one shrine the goddess finds, And one alone, to make her sweet amends For absent Heaven the bosom of a friend; Where heart meets heart, reciprocally soft, Each other's pillow to repose divine. Beware the counterfeit ; in passion's flame Hearts melt, but melt like ice, soon harder froze. True love strikes root in reason; passion's foe : Virtue alone entenders us for life:
I wrong her much - - entenders us for ever:
Of Friendship's fairest fruits, the fruit most fair
Is virtue kindling at a rival fire,
And, emulously, rapid in her race.
O the soft enmity! endearing strife!
This carries friendship to her noon-tide point,
And gives the rivet of eternity.
From Friendship, which outlives my former Glorious survivor of old Time and Death;
From Friendship, thus, that flower of heavenly seed;
The wise extract Earth's most Hyblean bliss,
Superior wisdom, crown'd with smiling joy.
But for whom blossoms this Elysian flower?
Abroad they find, who cherish it at home.
Lorenzo! pardon what my love extorts,
An honest love, and not afraid to frown.
Though choice of follies fasten on the great,
None clings more obstinate than fancy fond,
That sacred Friendship is their easy prey;
Caught by the wafture of a golden lure,
Or fascination of a high-born smile.
Their smiles, the great, and the coquet, throw out
For others' hearts, tenacious of their own;
And we no less of ours, when such the bait.
Ye fortune's cofferers! Ye powers of wealth!
Can gold gain friendship? Impudence of hope!
As well mere man an angel might beget.
Love, and love only, is the loan for love.
Lorenzo! pride repress; nor hope to find
A friend, but what has found a friend in thee.
All like the purchase; few the price will pay;
And this makes friends such miracles below.
What if (since daring on so nice a theme)
I show thee friendship delicate, as dear,
Of tender violations apt to die?
Reserve will wound it; and distrust, destroy.
Deliberate in all things with thy friend.
But since friends grow not thick on every bough,
Nor every friend unrotten at the core;
First, on thy friend, deliberate with thyself;
Pause, ponder, sift; not eager in the choice,
Nor jealous of the chosen; fixing, fix;
Judge before friendship, then confide till death.
Well, for thy friend; but nobler far for thee;
How gallant danger for Earth's highest prize!
A friend is worth all hazards we can run.
"Poor is the friendless master of a world:
A world in purchase for a friend is gain."
So sung he, (angels hear that angels sing
Angels from friendship gather half their joy,)
So sung Philander, as his friend went round
In the rich ichor, in the generous blood
Of Bacchus, purple god of joyous wit,
A brow solute, and ever-laughing eye.
He drank long health, and virtue, to his friend; His friend, who warm'd him more, who more inspir'd.
Friendship's the wine of life; but friendship new
(Not such was his) is neither strong, nor pure.
O! for the bright complexion, cordial warmth,
And elevating spirit, of a friend,
For twenty summers ripening by my side,
All feculence of falsehood long thrown down;
All social virtues rising in his soul;
As crystal clear; and smiling as they rise!
Here nectar flows; it sparkles in our sight;
Rich to the taste, and genuine from the heart:
High-flavour'd bliss for gods! on Earth how rare!
On Earth how lost! Philander is no more.
Think'st thou the theme intoxicates my song? Am I too warm? Too warm I cannot be. I lov'd him much; but now I love him more. Like birds, whose beauties languish, half-conceal'd, Till, mounted on the wing, their glossy plumes Expanded shine with azure, green, and gold; How blessings brighten as they take their flight! His flight Philander took; his upward flight, If ever soul ascended. Had he dropt, (That eagle genius!) O had he let fall One feather as he flew ; I, then, had wrote, What friends might flatter; prudent foes forbear; Rivals scarce damn; and Zoilus reprieve. Yet what I can, I must; it were profane To quench a glory lighted at the skies, And cast in shadows his illustrious close.
Strange! the theme most affecting, most sublime,
Momentous most to man, should sleep unsung!
And yet it sleeps, by genius unawak'd,
Painim or Christian; to the blush of wit.
Man's highest triumph! man's profoundest fall!
The death-bed of the just! is yet undrawn
By mortal hand! it merits a divine :
Angels should paint it, angels ever there :
There, on a post of honour, and of joy.
Dare I presume, then? but Philander bids;
And glory tempts, and inclination calls —
Yet am I struck; as struck the soul, beneath
Aërial groves' impenetrable gloom;
Or, in some mighty ruin's solemn shade;
Or, gazing by pale lamps on high-born dust,
In vaults; thin courts of poor unflatter'd kings;
Or, at the midnight altar's hallow'd flame.
Is it religion to proceed? I pause
And enter, aw'd, the temple of my theme.
Is it his death-bed? No: it is his shrine:
Behold him, there, just rising to a god.
The chamber where the good man meets his fate, Is privileg'd beyond the common walk
Of virtuous life, quite in the verge of Heaven.
Fly, ye profane! If not, draw near with awe,
Receive the blessing, and adore the chance,
That threw in this Bethesda your disease ;
If unrestor❜d by this, despair your cure.
For, here, resistless demonstration dwells;
A death-bed 's a detector of the heart.
Here tir'd dissimulation drops her mask,
Through life's grimace, that mistress of the scene!
Here real, and apparent, are the same.
You see the man; you see his hold on Heaven,
If sound his virtue; as Philander's sound.
Heaven waits not the last moment; owns her friends
On this side death, and points them out to men ;
A lecture, silent, but of sovereign power!
To vice, confusion; and to virtue, peace.
Whatever farce the boastful hero plays,
Virtue alone has majesty in death!
And greater still, the more the tyrant frowns.
Philander! he severely frown'd on thee.
"No warning given! Unceremonious Fate!
A sudden rush from life's meridian joy!
A wrench from all we love! from all we are!
A restless bed of pain! a plunge opaque
Beyond conjecture! feeble Nature's dread!
Strong Reason's shudder at the dark unknown!
A sun extinguisht! a just-opening grave!
And oh! the last, last,-what? (can words express?
Thought reach it?) the last -silence of a friend!"
Where are those horrours, that amazement, where,
This hideous group of ills, which singly shock,
Demand from man? - I thought him man till now.
Through Nature's wreck, through vanquisht
(Like the stars struggling through this midnight
What gleams of joy! what more than human peace!
Where, the frail mortal? the poor abject worm?
No, not in death, the mortal to be found.
His conduct is a legacy for all;
Richer than Mammon's for his single heir.
His comforters he comforts; great in ruin,