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“Far happiest," answered the desponding Man, “ If, such as now he is, he might remain ! Ah! what avails imagination high Or question deep ? what profits all that earth, Or heaven's blue vault, is suffered to put forth Of impulse or allurement, for the Soul To quit the beaten track of life, and soar Far as she finds a yielding element In past or future; far as she can go Through time or space—if neither in the one, Nor in the other region, nor in aught That Fancy, dreaming o'er the map of things, Hath placed beyond these penetrable bounds, Words of assurance can be heard ; if nowhere A habitation, for consummate good, Or for progressive virtue, by the search Can be attained,-a better sanctuary From doubt and sorrow, than the senseless grave ?

“Is this,” the grey-haired Wanderer mildly said, “ The voice, which we so lately overheard, To that same child, addressing tenderly The consolations of a hopeful mind ? · His body is at rest, his soul in heaven.' These were your words; and, verily, methinks Wisdom is oft-times nearer when we stoop Than when we soar.”—

The Other, not displeased, Promptly replied—“My notion is the same. And I, without reluctance, could decline All act of inquisition whence we rise, And what, when breath hath ceased, we may become. Here are we, in a bright and breathing world. Our origin, what matters it? In lack Of worthier explanation, say at once With the American (a thought which suits The place where now we stand) that certain men Leapt out together from a rocky cave ;

And these were the first parents of mankind :
Or, if a different image be recalled
By the warm sunshine, and the jocund voice
Of insects chirping out their careless lives
On these soft beds of thyme-besprinkled turf,
Choose, with the gay Athenian, a conceit
Assound-blithe race! whose mantles were bedecked
With golden grasshoppers, in sign that they
Had sprung, like those bright creatures, from the soil
Whereon their endless generations dwelt.
But stop !—these theoretic fancies jar
On serious minds: then, as the Hindoos draw
Their holy Ganges from a skiey fount,
Even so deduce the stream of human life
From seats of power divine ; and hope, or trust,
That our existence winds her stately course
Beneath the sun, like Ganges, to make part
Of a living ocean; or, to sink engulfed,
Like Niger, in impenetrable sands
And utter darkness: thought which may be faced,
Though comfortless !-

Not of myself I speak;
Such acquiescence neither doth imply,
In me, a meekly-bending spirit soothed
By natural piety ; nor a lofty mind,
By philosophic discipline prepared
For calm subjection to acknowledged law;
Pleased to have been, contented not to be.
Such palms I boast not ;-no! to me, who find,
Reviewing my past way, much to condemn,
Little to praise, and nothing to regret,
(Save some remembrances of dream-like joys
That.scarcely seem to have belonged to me)
If I must take my choice between the pair
That rule alternately the weary hours,
Night is than day more acceptable ; sleep
Doth, in my estimate of good, appear
A better state than waking ; death than sleep:

Feelingly sweet is stillness after storm,
Though under covert of the wormy ground !

Yet be it said, in justice to myself, That in more genial times, when I was free To explore the destiny of human kind (Not as an intellectual game pursued With curious subtilty, from wish to cheat Irksome sensations; but by love of truth Urged on, or haply by intense delight In feeding thought, wherever thought could feed) I did not rank with those (too dull or nice, For to my judgment such they then appeared, Or too aspiring, thankless at the best) Who, in this frame of human life, perceive An object whereunto their souls are tied In discontented wedlock; nor did e'er, From me, those dark impervious shades, that hang Upon the region whither we are bound, Exclude a power to enjoy the vital beams Of present sunshine.- Deities that float On wings, angelic Spirits ! I could muse O’er what from eldest time we have been told Of your bright forms and glorious faculties, And with the imagination rest content, Not wishing more ; repining not to tread The little sinuous path of earthly care, By flowers embellished, and by springs refreshed.

Blow winds of autumn!-let your chilling breath "Take the live herbage from the mead, and strip

The shady forest of its green attire, “And let the bursting clouds to fury rouse “The gentle brooks !-Your desolating sway,

Sheds, I exclaimed, 'no sadness upon nie, “And no disorder in your rage I find. “What dignity, what beauty, in this change

From mild to angry, and from sad to gay, • Alternate and revolving ! How benign,

“How rich in animation and delight,
How bountiful these elements--compared
With aught, as more desirable and fair,
Devised by fancy for the golden age ;
Or the perpetual warbling that prevails
'In Arcady, beneath unaltered skies,

Through the long year in constant quiet bound, ‘Night hushed as night, and day serene as day ! -But why this tedious record ?--Age, we know, Is garrulous; and solitude is apt To anticipate the privilege of Age. Frore, far ye come; and surely with a hope Of better entertainment :-let us hence !"

Loth to forsake the spot, and still more loth To be diverted from our present theme, I said, “ My thoughts, agreeing, Sir, with yours, Would push this censure farther ;—for, if smiles Of scornful pity be the just reward Of Poesy thus courteously employed In framing models to improve the scheme Of Man's existence, and recast the world, Why should not grave Philosophy be styled, Herself, a dreamer of a kindred stock, A dreamer yet more spiritless and dull ? Yes, shall the fine immunities she boasts Establish sounder titles of esteem For her, who (all too timid and reserved For onset, for resistance too inert, Too weak for suffering, and for hope too tame) Placed, among flowery gardens curtained round With world-excluding groves, the brotherhood Of soft Epicureans, taught-if they The ends of being would secure, and win The crown of wisdom-to yield up their souls To a voluptuous unconcern, preferring Tranquillity to all things. Or is she," I cried, “more worthy of regard, the Power,

Who, for the sake of sterner quiet, closed
The Stoic's heart against the vain approach
Of admiration, and all sense of joy ?"

His countenance gave notice that my zeal
Accorded little with his present mind;
I ceased, and he resumed.—“Ah! gentle Sir,
Slight, if you will, the means ; but spare to slight
The end of those, who did, by system, rank,
As the prime object of a wise man's aim,
Security from shock of accident,
Release from fear; and cherished peaceful days
For their own sakes, as mortal life's chief good,
And only reasonable felicity.
What motive drew, what impulse, I would ask,
Through a long course of later ages, drove,
The hermit to his cell in forest wide;
Or what detained him, till his closing eyes
Took their last farewell of the sun and stars,
Fast anchored in the desert ?-Not alone
Dread of the persecuting sword, remorse,
Wrongs unredressed, or insults unavenged
And unavengeable, defeated pride,
Prosperity subverted, maddening want,
Friendship betrayed, affection unreturned,
Love with despair, or grief in agony ;-
Not always from intolerable pangs
He fled; but, compassed round by pleasure, sighed
For independent happiness; craving peace,
The central feeling of all happiness,
Not as a refuge from distress or pain,
A breathing-time, vacation, or a truce,
But for its absolute self; a life of peace,
Stability without regret or fear;
That hath been, is, and shall be evermore !-
Such the reward he sought; and wore out life,
There, where on few external things his heart
Was set, and those his own ; or, if not his,
Subsisting under nature's stedfast law.

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