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Something we thought is blotted; we resolv'd,
Is shaken; we renounc'd, returns again.
Each salutation may slide in a sin
Unthought before, or fix a former flaw.
Nor is it strange; light, motion, concourse, noise,
All scatter us abroad. Thought, outward-bound,
Neglectful of our home-affairs, flies off
In fume and dissipation, quits her charge,
And leaves the breast unguarded to the foe.
Present example gets within our guard,
And acts with double force, by few repellid.
Ambition fires ambition ; love of gain
Strikes, like a pestilence, from breast to breast:
Riot, pride, perfidy, blue vapours breathe,
And inhumanity is caught from man,
From smiling man! A slight, a single glance,
And shot at random, often has brought home
A sudden fever to the throbbing heart
Of envy, rancour, or impure desire.
We see, we hear, with peril; Safety dwells
Remote from multitude. The world's a school
Of wrong, and what proficients swarm around!
We must or imitate or disapprove;
Must list as their accomplices or foes :
That stains our innocence, this wounds our peace.
From Nature's birth, hence Wisdom has been smit
With sweet recess, and languish'd for the shade.
This sacred shade and solitude, what is it? 'Tis the felt presence of the Deity. Few are the faults we flatter when alone; Vice sinks in her allurements, is ungilt, And looks, like other objects, black by night. By night an atheist half believes a God. 'Night is fair Virtue's immemorial friend.
The conscious Moon, through every distant age, -
Has held a lamp to Wisdom, and let fall,
On Contemplation's eye, her purging ray.
The fam'd Athenian, he who woo'd from Heav'n
Philosophy the fair, to dwell with men,
And form their manners, not inflame their prider
While o'er his head, as fearful to molest
His labouring mind, the stars in silence slide,
And seem all gazing on theirfuture guest,
See him soliciting his ardent suit
In private audience : all the live-long night,
Rigid in thought, and motionless he stands,
Nor quits his theme or posture till the sun
(Rude drunkard! rising rosy from the main)
Disturbs his nobler intellectual beam,
And gives him to the tumult of the world.
Hail precious moments! stolen from the black waste
Of murder'd time! auspicious Midnight! hail !
The world excluded, every passion hush'd,
And open'd a calm intercourse with Heav'n,
Here the soul sits in council, ponders past,
Predestines future action; sees, not feels,
Tumultuous life, and reasons with the storm,
All her lies answers, and thinks down her charms,
INSTRUCTIVE COMPARISONS OF HUMAN LIFE:
Lire glides away, Lorenzo! like a brook, For ever changing, unperceiv'd the change. In the same brook none ever bath'd him twice; To the same life nove ever twice awoke. We call the brook the same; the same we think Our life, though still more rapid in its flow,
Nor mark the much irrevocably laps'd,
And mingled with the sea. Or shall we say
(Retaining still the brook to bear us on)
That life is like a vessel on the stream
In life embark'd, we smoothly down the tide
Of time descend, but not on time intent;
Amus’d, unconscious of the gliding wave,
Till on a sudden we perceive a shock;
We start, awake, look out: what see we there?
Our brittle bark is burst on Charon's shore.
OCEAN! thou dreadful and tumultuous home
Of dangers, at eternal war with man!
Death's capital, where most he domineers,
With all his chosen terrors frowning round,
(Though lately feasted high at Albion's cost),
Wide-opening, and loud-roaring still for more!
Too faithful mirror! how dost thou reflect
The melancholy face of human life!
The strong resemblance tempts me further still;
And, haply, Britain may be deeper struck
By moral truth, in such a mirror seen,
Which Nature holds for ever at her eye.
Self-flatter'd, unexperienc'd, high in hope,
When young, with sanguine cheer and streamers
We cut our cable, launch into the world, [gay,
And fondly dream each wind and star our friend :
All in some darling enterprise embark'd;
But where is he can fathom its event?
Amid a multitude of artless hands,
Ruin's sure perquisite! her lawful prize!
Some steer aright, but the black blast blows hard.
And puffs them wide of hope: with hearts of proof,
Eull against wind and tide, some win their way,
And when strong Effort has deserv'd the port,
And tugg'd it into view, 'tis won! 'tis lost!
Though strong their oar, still stronger is their fate :
They strike! and, while they triumph, they expire.
In stress of weather most, some sink outright;
O'er them, and o'er their names, the billows close;
To-morrow knows not they were ever born.
Others a short memorial leave behind,
Like a flag floating, when the bark's ingulf'd;
It floats a moment, and is seen no more.
One Cæsar lives; a thousand are forgot.
How few, beneath auspicious planets born,
(Darlings of Providence! fond Fate's elect!)
With swelling sails make good the promis'd port,
With all their wishes freighted! yet ev'n these,
Freighted with all their wishes, soon complain;
Free from misfortune, not from Nature free,
They still are men; and when is man secure?
As fatal time as storm! the rush of years
Beats down their strength; their numberless escapes
In ruin end. And now their proud success
But plants new terrors on the victor's brow:.
What pain to quit the world, just made their own,
Their nest so deeply down’d, and built so high!
Too low they build who build beneath the stars.
This is the bud of being, the dim dawn,
The twilight of our day, the vestibule.
Life's theatre as yet is shut, and Death,
Strong Death, alone can heave the massy bar,
This gross impediment of clay remove,
And make us, embryos of existence, free.
From real life, but little more remote
Is he, not yet a candidate for light,
The future embyro, slumbering in his sire.
Embyros we must be till we burst the shell,
Yon ambient azure shell, and spring to life,
The life of gods, O transport ! and of man.
Yet man, fool man! here buries all his thoughts,
Inters celestial hopes without one sigh;
Prisoner of Earth and pent beneath the Moon,
Here pinions all his wishes ; wing'd by Heav'n
To fly at infinite, and reach it there,
Where seraphs gather immortality
On Life's fair tree, fast by the throne of God.
What golden joys ambrosial clustering glow
In his full beam, and ripen for the just,
Where momentary ages are no more!
Where Time, and Pain, and Chance, and Death
expire! And is it in the flight of threescore years To push eternity from human thought, And smother souls immortal in the dust? A soul immortal, spending all her fires, Wasting her strength in strenuous idleness, Thrown into tumult, raptur'd, or alarm'd At aught this scene can threaten or indulge, Resembles ocean into tempest wrought, To waft a feather, or to drown a fly. Young.
LESSONS TAUGHT BY THE DEATH OF FRIENDS. When by the bed of languishment we sit, (The seat of Wisdom! if our choice, not fate) Or o'er our dying friends in anguish hang, Wipe the cold dew, or stay the sinking head, Number their moments, and in every clock,