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Is this the bigot's rant? Away, ye vain,
Your hopes, your fears, in doubt, in dulness steep; Go sooth your souls, in sickness, grief, or pain,
With the sad solace of eternal sleep!
Yet.will I praise you, triflers as ye are,
More than those preachers of your fav’rite creed, Who proudly swell the brazen throat of war, · Who form the phalanx; bid the battle bleed,
Nor wish for more ; who conquer but to die.
Hear, Folly, hear, and triumph in the tale ! Like you they reason, not like you enjoy
The breeze of bliss that fills your silken sail!
On pleasure's glittering stream ye gayly steer
Your little course to cold oblivion's shore ; They dare the storm, and through th' inclement year
Stem the rough surge, and brave the torrent's roar.
Is it for glory? That just fate denies;
Long must the warrior moulder in his shroud, Ere from her trump the heaven-breath'd accents rise,
That lift the hero from the fighting crowd!
Is it his grasp of empire to extend ?
To curb the fury of insulting foes? Ambition, cease! the idle contest end :
'Tis but a kingdom thou canst win or lose.
And why must murder'd myriads lose their all,
(If life be all,) why desolation lower
With famish'd frown on this affrighted ball,
That thou may'st flame the meteor of an hour ?
Go, wiser ye, that flutter life away,
Crown with the mantling juice the goblet high! Weave the light dance with festive freedom gay,
And live your moment, since the next ye die !
Yet know, vain skeptics! know, the Almighty Mind,
Who breath'd on man a portion of his fire, Bade his free soul, by earth nor time confin'd,
To heaven, to immortality aspire.
Nor shall the pile of hope his mercy rear'd,
By vain philosophy be e'er destroy'd: Eternity, by all or wish'd'or feard,
Shall be by all or suffer'd or enjoy'd!
NOTE. In a book of French verses, entitled, Euvres du Philosophe de Sans Souci, and lately re-printed at Berlin by authority, under the title of Poesies Diverses, may be found an Epistle to Marshal Keith, written professedly against the immortality of the soul. By way of specimen of the whole, take the following lines :
De l'avenir, cher Keith, jugeons par le passe ;
Non, rien n'est plus certain, soyons en convaincu.
BEGIN, my soul, the exalted lay!
And praise the Almighty's name.
To swell the inspiring theme.
Ye fields of light, celestial plains,
Ye scenes divinely fair !
And breath'd the fluid air.
Ye angels, catch the thrilling sound !
His boundless mercy sing :
And touch the sweetest string.
Join, ye loud spheres, the vocal choir;
The mighty chorus aid :
And praise him in the shade.
Thou heaven of heavens, his vast abode, Ye clouds, proclaim your forming God,
Who call'd yon worlds from night : 66 Ye shades, dispel !”-th' Eternal said ; At once th' involving darkness fled,
And nature sprung to light.
Whate'er a blooming world contains,
United praise bestow :
Ye swelling deeps below.
Let every element rejoice:
To him who bids you roll;
And breathe it to the soul.
To him, yo graceful cedars, bow;
Your great Creator own;
Tell, when affrighted nature shook,
And trembled at his frown.
Ye flocks, that haunt the humble vale,
In mutual concourse rise :
In incense to the skies.
Wake, all ye mountain tribes, and sing ;
Harmonious anthems raise
And tun'd your voice to praise.
Let man, by nobler passions sway'd,
In heavenly praise employ ;
The general burst of joy.
Ye, whom the charms of grandeur please,
Fall prostrate at his throne ;
An image of his own.