« PreviousContinue »
Song, beauty, youth, love, virtue, joy! this group
Of bright ideas, flow'rs of paradise,
As yet unforfeit! in one blaze we bind,
Kneel, and prefent it to the skies; as all
We guess of heav'n: and these were all her own.
And he was mine; and I was-was most bleft-
Gay title of the deepest misery !
As bodies grow more pond'rous, robb'd of life;
Good loft weighs more in grief, than gain'd, in joy.
Like bloffom'd trees, o'erturn'd by vernal form,
Lovely in death the beauteous ruin lay;
And if in death ftill lovely, lovelier there;
Far lovelier! pity fwells the tide of love.
And will not the fevere excufe a figh?
Scorn the proud man that is asham'd to weep;
Our tears indulg'd indeed deserve our shame.
Ye that e'er loft an angel! pity me.
Soon as the luftre languifht in her eye,
Dawning a dimmer day on human fight;
And on her cheek, the refidence of fpring,
and fcatter'd fears around
and who would cease to gaze.
Regret beheld her drooping, than the bells
Of lilies, faireft lilies, not fo fair.
Queen lilies! and ye painted populace!
Who dwell in fields, and lead ambrofial lives;
In morn and ev❜ning dew your beauties bathe,
And drink the fun; which gives your cheeks to glow,
And out blush (mine excepted) ev'ry fair;
You gladlier grew, ambitious of her hand,
Which often cropt your odours, incenfe meet
To thought fo pure! her flow'ry state of mind
In joy unfall'n. Ye lovely fugitives!
Coæval race with man! for man you fmile;
Why not smile at him too! you share indeed
His fudden pafs; but not his conftant pain.
So man is made, nought minifters delight,
But what his glowing paffions can engage;
And glowing paffions, bent on aught below,
Muft, foon or late, with anguish turn the scale;
And anguish, after rapture, how severe !
Rapture? bold man! who tempts the wrath divine,
By plucking fruit deny'd to mortal taste,
Whilft here, prefuming on the rights of heav'n.
For tranfport doft thou call on ev'ry hour,
Lorenzo at thy friend's expence be wife;
Lean not on earth; 'twill pierce thee to the heart;
A broken reed, at best; but, oft, a spear;
On its sharp point peace bleeds, and hope expires.
Turn, hopeless thought! turn from her: thought repell'd,
Refenting rallies, and wakes ev'ry woe.
Snatch'd ere thy prime! and in thy bridal hour!
And when kind fortune, with thy lover, fmil'd!
And when high-flavour'd thy fresh-op'ning joys!
And when blind man pronounc'd thy bliss complete!
And on a foreign fhore; where ftrangers wept!
Strangers to thee; and, more furprising still,
Strangers to kindness, wept: their eyes let fall
Inhuman tears; ftrange tears! that trickled down
From marble hearts! obdurate tenderness!
A tenderness that call'd them more fevere;
In spite of nature's foft perfuafion, fteel'd;
While nature melted, superstition rav’d;
That mourn'd the dead; and this deny'd a grave.
Their fighs incenft; fighs foreign to the will!
Their will the Tyger fuck'd, outrag'd the ftorm.
For oh! the curft ungodliness of zeal!
While finful flesh relented, fpirit nurft
In blind infallibility's embrace,
The fainted spirit petrify'd the breast;
Deny'd the charity of duft, to spread
O'er duft! a charity their dogs enjoy.
What could I do? what fuccour ? what resource?
With pious facrilege a grave I ftole;
With impious piety that grave I wrong'd;
Short in my duty; coward in my grief!
More like her murderer, than friend, I crept,
With foft-fufpended step; and, muffled deep
In midnight darkness, whisper'd my laft figh.
I whisper'd what should echo thro' their realms:
Nor writ her name, whofe tomb fhould pierce the skies.
Prefumptuous fear! how durft I dread her foes,
While nature's loudest dictates I obey'd?
Pardon neceffity, bleft fhade! Of grief
And indignation rival bursts I pour'd;
Half-execration mingled with my pray'r;
Kindled at man, while I his God ador'd,
Sore-grudg'd the favage land her facred duft;
Stampt the curft foil; and with humanity
(Depy'd Narciffa) wifh'd them all a grave.
Glows my refentment into guilt? what guilt
Can equal violations of the dead?
The dead how facred! facred is the duft
Of this heav'n-labour'd form, erect, divine!
This heav'n-affum'd majestic robe of earth,
He deign'd to wear, who hung the vast expanse
With azure bright, and cloath'd the fun in gold.
When every paffion fleeps that can offend;
When strikes us ev'ry motive that can melt ;
When man can wreak his rancour uncontroul'd,
That strongest curb on infult and ill-will;
Then, fpleen to duft? the dust of innocence?
An angel's duft!—this Lucifer transcends;
When he contended for the patriarch's bones,
'Twas not the strife of malice, but of pride;
The strife of pontiff pride, not pontiff gall,
Far less than this is fhocking in a race
Moft wretched, but from ftreams of mutual love;
And uncreated, but for love divine;
And, but for love divine, this moment, loft,
By fate reforb'd, and funk in endless night.
Man hard of heart to man! of horrid things
Moft horrid! 'mid ftupendous, highly strange!
Yet oft his courtefies are fmoother wrongs;
Pride brandishes the favours he confers,
And contumelious his humanity:
What then his vengeance? hear it not, ye stars!
And thou, pale moon! turn paler at the found;
Man is to man the foreft, fureft, ill.
A previous blaft foretels the rifing storm;
O'erwhelming turrets threaten ere they fall;
Volcanos bellow ere they difembogue;
Earth trembles ere her yawning jaws devour;...
And smoke betrays the wide-confuming fire:
Ruin from man is moft conceal'd when near,
And fends the dreadful tidings in the blow.
Is this the flight of fancy? would it were!
Heav'n's Sov'reign faves all beings but himself,
That hideous fight, a naked human heart.
Fir'd is the mufe? and let the mufe be fir'd:
Who not inflam'd, when what he fpeaks, he feels,
And in the nerve most tender, in his friends?
Shame to mankind! Philander had his foes;
He felt the truths I fing, and I in him.