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Important truths, in spite of verse, may please: Grave minds you praise; nor can you praise too
If there is weight in an eternity,
Let the grave listen ; — and be graver still.
NIGHT THE EIGHTH.
THE MAN OF THE WORLD ANswered.
IN WHICH ARE CONSIDERED,
ove of this Life; the An ion and Pleasure, with the Wit and Wisdom of the World.
AND has all Nature, then, espous'd my part?
Have I brib'd Heaven and Earth to plead against thee?
And is thy soul immortal? What remains?
All, all, Lorenzo!-- Make immortal, blest.
Unblest immortals!· What can shock us more?
And yet Lorenzo still affects the world;
There, stows his treasure; thence, his title draws,
Man of the world (for such wouldst thou be call'd)..
And art thou proud of that inglorious style?
Proud of reproach? for a reproach it was,
In ancient days; and CHRISTIAN-in an age
When men were men, and not asham'd of Heaven-
Fir'd their ambition, as it crown'd their joy.
Sprinkled with dews from the Castalian font,
Fain would I re-baptize thee, and confer
A purer spirit, and a nobler name.
Thy fond attachments fatal, and inflam'd,
Point out my path, and dictate to my song:
To thee, the world how fair! How strongly strikes
Ambition! and gay pleasure stronger still!
Thy triple bane! the triple bolt that lays
Thy virtue dead! Be these my triple theme;
Nor shall thy wit, or wisdom, be forgot.
Common the theme; not so the song; if she
My song invokes, Urania deigns to smile.
The charm that chains us to the world, her foe,
If she dissolves, the man of earth, at once,
Starts from his trance, and sighs for other scenes;
Scenes, where these sparks of night, these stars,
Unnumber'd suns (for all things, as they are,
The blest behold); and, in one glory, pour
Their blended blaze on man's astonish'd sight;
A blaze-the least illustrious object there.
Lorenzo! since eternal is at hand,
To swallow time's ambitions; as the vast
Leviathan, the bubbles vain, that ride
High on the foaming billow; what avail
High titles, high descent, attainments high,
If unattain'd our highest? O Lorenzo!
What lofty thoughts, these elements above,
What towering hopes, what sallies from the Sun,
What grand surveys of destiny divine,
And pompous presage of unfathom'd fate,
Should roll in bosoms, where a spirit burns,
Bound for eternity! In bosoms read
By him, who foibles in archangels sees!
On human hearts he bends a jealous eye,
And marks, and in Heaven's register enrolls
The rise and progress of each option there;
Sacred to doomsday! That the page unfolds,
And spreads us to the gaze of gods and men.
And what an option, O Lorenzo! thine?
This world! and this, unrivall'd by the skies!
A world, where lust of pleasure, grandeur, gold,
Three demons that divide its realms between them,
With strokes alternate buffet to and fro
Man's restless heart, their sport, their flying ball;
Till, with the giddy circle sick and tir'd,
It pants for peace, and drops into despair.
Such is the world Lorenzo sets above
That glorious promise angels were esteem'd
Too mean to bring; a promise, their Ador'd
Descended to communicate, and press,
By counsel, miracle, life, death, on man.
Such is the world Lorenzo's wisdom wooes,
And on its thorny pillow seeks repose;
A pillow, which, like opiates ill-prepar'd,
Intoxicates, but not composes; fills
The visionary mind with gay chimeras,
All the wild trash of sleep, without the rest;
What unfeign'd travel, and what dreams of joy!
How frail, men, things! how momentary, both! Fantastic chase of shadows hunting shades! The gay, the busy, equal, though unlike; Equal in wisdom, differently wise! [wastes, Through flowery meadows, and through dreary One bustling, and one dancing, into death.
There's not a day, but, to the man of thought,
Betrays some secret, that throws new reproach
On life, and makes him sick of seeing more.
The scenes of business tell us - "What are men;"
The scenes of pleasure· "What is all beside;"
There, others we despise; and here, ourselves.
Amid disgust eternal, dwells delight?
'Tis approbation strikes the string of joy.
What wondrous prize has kindled this career,
Stuns with the din, and chokes us with the dust,
On life's gay stage, one inch above the giave?
The proud run up and down in quest of eyes;
The sensual, in pursuit of something worse;
The grave, of gold; the politic, of power;
And all, of other butterflies, as vain!
As eddies draw things frivolous and light,
How is man's heart by vanity drawn in;
On the swift circle of returning toys, [gulf'd;
Whirl'd, straw-like, round and round, and then, in-
Where gay delusion darkens to despair!
"This is a beaten track.”—Is this a track
Should not be beaten? never beat enough,
Till enough learn'd the truths it would inspire.
Shall truth be silent, because folly frowns?
Turn the world's history; what find we there,
But fortune's sports, or nature's cruel claims,
Or woman's artifice, or man's revenge,
And endless inhumanities on man?
Fame's trumpet seldom sounds, but, like the knell,
It brings bad tidings: how it hourly blows
Man's misadventures round the listening world!
Man is the tale of narrative old time;
Sad tale; which high as Paradise begins;
As if, the toil of travel to delude,
From stage to stage, in his eternal round,
The days, his daughters, as they spin our hours
On fortune's wheel, where accident unthought,
Oft, in a moment, snaps life's strongest thread,
Each, in her turn, some tragic story tells,
With, now-and-then, a wretched farce between,
And fills his chronicle with human woes.
Time's daughters, true as those of men, deceive us; Not one, but puts some cheat on all mankind : While in their father's bosom, not yet ours, They flatter our fond hopes; and promise much Of amiable; but hold him not o'erwise, Who dares to trust them; and laugh round the year, At still-confiding, still-confounded, man, Confiding, though confounded; hoping on, Untaught by trial, unconvinc'd by proof, And ever-looking for the never-seen. Life to the last, like harden'd felons, lies Nor owns itself a cheat, till it expires. Its little joy goes out by one and one, And leaves poor man, at length, in perfect night; Night darker than what, now, involves the Pole.
O thou, who dost permit these ills to fall [mourn! For gracious ends, and wouldst that man should O thou, whose hands this goodly fabric fram'd, Who know'st it best, and wouldst that man should know!
What is this sublunary world? A vapour;
A vapour all it holds; itself, a vapour;
From the damp bed of chaos, by thy beam