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To reason proves, or weds it to desire?
All things proclaim it needful; some advance
One precious step beyond, and prove it sure.
A thousand arguments swarm round my pen,
From heav'n, and earth, and man. Indulge a few,
By nature, as her common habit, worn;
So pressing Providence a truth to teach,
Which truth untaught, all other truths were vain.
THOU! whose all-providential Eye surveys,
Whose Hand directs, whose Spirit fills and warms
Creation, and holds empire far beyond!
Eternity's Inhabitant august!
Of two Eternities amazing Lord!
One past, ere man's, or angel's, had begun;
Aid! while I rescue from the foe's assault
Thy glorious Immortality in man :
A theme for ever, and for all, of weight.
Of moment infinite! but relish'd most
By those who love Thee most, most adore.
Nature, thy daughter, ever changing birth
Of Thee the Great Immutable, to man
Speaks wisdom; is his oracle supreme;
And he who most consults her, is most wise,
LORENZO, to this heav'nly Delphos haste;
And come back all-immortal; all-divine:
Look nature through, 'tis revolution all;
All change; no death. Day follows night; and night The dying day; stars rise, and set, and rise;
With her green chaplet, and ambrosial flowers,
Droop into pallid Autumn: Winter grey,
Horrid with frost, and turbulent with storm,
Blows Autumn, and his golden fruits, away:
Then melts into the Spring: Soft Spring, with breath
Favonian, from warm chambers of the south,
Recalls the first. All, to re-flourish, fades;
As in a wheel, all sinks, to re-ascend.
Emblems of man, who passes, not expires.
With this minute distinction, emblems just,
Nature revolves, but man advances; both
Eternal, that a circle, this a line.
That gravitates, this soars. Th' aspiring soul,
Ardent, and tremulous, like flame, ascends,
Zeal and humility her wings, to heav'n.
The world of matter, with its various forms,
All dies into new life. Life born from death
Rolls the vast mass, and shall for ever roll.
No single atom, once in being, lost,
With change of counsel charges the Most High.
What hence infers LORENZO? Can it be?
Matter immortal? And shall Spirit die?
Above the nobler, shall less nobler rise?
Shall man alone, for whom all else revives,
No resurrection know? Shali man alone,
Imperial Man! be sown in barren ground,
Less privileg'd than grain, on which he feeds?
Is Man, in whom alone is pow'r to prize
The bliss of being, or with previous pain
Deplore its period, by the spleen of fate,
Severely doom'd death's single unredeem'd ?
If nature's revolution speaks aloud,
In her gradation, hear her louder still.
Look nature thro', 'tis neat gradation all.
By what minute degrees her scale ascends!
Each middle nature join'd at each extreme,
To that above it join'd to that beneath.
Parts, into parts reciprocally shot,
Abhor divorce: What love of union reigns!
Here, dormant matter waits a call to life;
Half-life, half-death, join there: here, life and sense;
There, sense from reason steals a glimm'ring ray;
Reason shines out in man. But how preserv'd
The chain unbroken upward, to the realms
Of incorporeal life? those realms of bliss,
Where death has no dominion? Grant a make
Half-mortal, half-immortal; earthy, part,
And part ethereal; grant the soul of man
Eternal; or in man the series ends.
Wide yawns the gap; connexion is no more;
Check'd reason halts; her next step wants support;
Striving to climb, she tumbles from her scheme;
A scheme, analogy pronounc'd so true;
Analogy, man's surest guide below.
Thus far, all nature calls on thy belief.
And will LORENZO, careless of the call,
False attestation on all nature charge,
Rather than violate his league with death?
Renounce his reason, rather than renounce
The dust belov'd, and run the risque of heav'n?
O what indignity to deathless souls!
What treason to the majesty of man!
Of man immortal! Hear the lofty style :
"If so decreed, th' Almighty Will be done.
"Let earth dissolve, yon pond'rous orbs descend,
And grind us into dust. The soul is safe
"The man emerges; mounts above the wreck,
"As tow'ring flame from nature's fun'ral pyre;
"O'er devastation, as a gainer, smiles;
"His charter, his inviolable rights,
"Well-pleas'd to learn from thunder's impotence,
"Death's pointless darts, and hell's defeated storms.”
But these chimeras touch not thee, LORENZO !
The glories of the world thy sev'nfold shield.
Other ambition than of crowns in air,
And superlunary felicities,
Thy bosom warm. I'll cool it, if I can ;
And turn those glories that inchant, against thee.
What ties thee to this life, proclaims the next.
If wise, the cause that wounds thee is thy cure.
Come, my ambitious! let us mount together
(To mount, LORENZO never can refuse);
And from the clouds, where pride delights to dwell, Look down on earth.-What seest thou? Wond'rous
Terrestrial wonders, that eclipse the skies.
What lengths of labour'd lands! what loaded seas!
Loaded by man, for pleasure, wealth, or war!
Seas, winds, and planets, into service brought,
His art acknowledge, and promote his ends.
Nor can th' eternal rocks his will withstand;
What levell'd mountains! and what lifted vales!
O'er vales and mountains sumptuous cities swell,
And gild our landscape with their glitt'ring spires.
Some mid the wond'ring waves majestic rise;
And Neptune holds a mirror to their charms.
Far greater still! (what cannot mortal might ?)
See, wide dominions ravish'd from the deep!
The narrow'd deep with indignation foams.
Or southward turn; to delicate and grand,
The finer arts there ripen in the sun.
How the tall temples, as to meet their gods,
Ascend the skies! the proud triumphal arch
Shews us half heav'n beneath its ample bend.
High thro' mid-air, here, streams are taught to flow
Whole rivers, there, laid by in basons, sleep.
Here, plains turn oceans; there, vast oceans join
Thro' kingdoms channel'd deep from shore to shore;
And chang'd creation takes its face from man.
Beats thy brave breast for formidable scenes,
Where fame and empire wait upon the sword?
See fields in blood; hear naval thunders rise;
BRITANNIA'S voice! that awes the world to peace.
How yon enormous mole projecting breaks
The mid-sea, furious waves! Their roar amidst,
Out-speaks the Deity, and says, "O main!
“Thus far, nor farther; new restraints obey."
Earth's disembowel'd! measur'd are the skies!
Stars are detected in their deep recess !
Creation widens! vanquish'd nature yields!