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Nor Virtue, more than Prudence, bids me give
320 To sting thee more, and double thy distress.
LORENZO, fortune makes her court to thee. Thy fond heart dances while the syren sings. Dear is thy welfare; think me not unkind; I would not damp, but to secure thy joys. 325 Think not that Fear is sacred to the storm. Stand on thy guard against the smiles of Fate. Is Heay'n tremendous in its frowns? most sure; And in its favours formidable too: Its favours here are trials, not rewards;
330 A call to duty, not discharge from care; And should alarm us full as much as woes; Awake us to their cause and consequence; And make us tremble, weigh'd with our desert;
Awe Nature's tumults, and chastise her joys, 335
Mine dy'd with thee, PHILANDER! thy last sigh Dissolv’d the charm; the disenchanted earth 346 Lost all her lustre. Where, her glittering tow'rs? Her golden mountains, where? All darken'd down To naked waste; a dreary vale of tears: The great magician's dead! Thou poor pale piece 350 Of out-cast earth, in darkness! what a change From yesterday! thy darling hope so near, (Long-labour'd prize!) O how ambition Alush'd Thy glowing cheek! ambition, truly great, Of virtuous praise. Death's subtle seed within, 355 (Sly, treach’rous miner!) working in the dark, Smild at thy well-concerted scheme, and beckon'd The worm to riot on that rose so red, Unfaded ere it fell; one moment's prey! Man's foresight is conditionally wise;
360 LORENZO! wisdom into folly turns Oft, the first instant; its idea fair To lab’ring thought is born. How dim our eye! The present moment terminates our sight; Clouds, thick as those on doomsday, drown the next; We penetrate, we prophesy in vain.
Time is dealt out by particles; and each,
Not ev'n PHILANDER had bespoke his shroud,
390 Next day the fatal precedent will plead; Thus on, till wisdom is push'd out of life. Procrastination is the thief of time; Year after year it steals, till all are fied, And to the mercies of a moment leaves
395 The vast concerns of an eternal scene. If not so frequent, would not this be strange? That 'tis so frequent, this is stranger still.
Of Man's miraculous mistakes, this bears The palm, “ That all men are about to live,” 400 For ever on the brink of being born. All
pay themselves the compliment to think They one day shall not drivel; and their pride On this reversion takes up ready praise; At least their own; their future selves applauds; 405 How excellent that life they ne'er will lead ! Time lodg’d in their own hands is Folly's vails; That lodg’d in Fate's, to Wisdom they consign; The thing they can't but purpose, they postpone: 'Tis not in folly, not to scorn a fool;
410 And scarce in human wisdom to do more. All promise is poor dilatory Man, And that through ev'ry stage: When In full content, we sometimes, nobly rest, Unanxious for ourselves; and only wish,
415 As duteous sons, our fathers were more wise. At thirty, Man suspects himself a fool; Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan; At fifty chides his infamous delay, Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve;
420 In all the magnanimity of thought Resolves; and re-resolves; then dies the same.
And why? Because he thinks himself immortal. All men think all men mortal, but themselves; Themselves, when some alarming shock of fate 425 Strikes thro' their wounded hearts the sudden dread; But their hearts wounded, like the wounded air, Soon close; where past the shaft, no trace is found. As from the wing no scar the sky retains; The parted wave no furrow from the keel; 430
So dies in human hearts the thought of death.
The sprightly Lark's shrill matin wakes the morn;
440 The sullen gloom, sweet Philomel! like thee, And call the stars to listen: Ev'ry star Is deaf to mine, enamour'd of thy lay. Yet be not vain; there are, who thine excel, And charm thro’ distant ages: Wrapt in shade, 445 Pris'ner of darkness! to the silent hours, How often I repeat their rage divine, To lull my griefs, and steal my heart from woe! I roll their raptures, but not catch their fire. Dark, though not blind, like thee, Mæonides! 450 Or, Milton! thee; ah! could I reach Or his, who made Mæonides our own. Man too he sung: Immortal Man I sing. Oft bursts my song beyond the bounds of life; What now, but immortality can please!
455 O had he press’d his theme, pursu'd the track Which opens out of darkness into day! O had he mounted on his wing of fire, Soar'd, where I sink, and sung immortal Man! How had it blest mankind, and rescu'd me!