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But when Old Age has on your temples shed
Then cold, and winter, and your aged snow,
The chase of pleasures is not worth the pains,
We are a little kingdom; but the man That chains his rebel Will to Reason's throne, Forms it a large one, while his royal mind Makes Heaven its council, from the rolls above Draws its own statutes, and with joy obeys.
'Tis not a troop of well-appointed guards Create a monarch, not a purple robe Dy'd in the people's blood, not all the crowns Or dazzling tiars that bend about the head, Though gilt with sun-beams and set round with stars. A monarch he that conquers all his fears, And treads upon them; when he stands alone, Makes his own camp; four guardian virtues wait His nightly slumbers, and secure his dreams. Now dawns the light; he ranges all his thoughts In square battalions, bold to meet th' attacks Of Time and Chance, himself a numerous host, All eye, all car, all wakeful as the day, Firm as a rock, and moveless as the centre.
In vain the harlot Pleasure spreads her charms, To lull his thoughts in Luxury's fair lap, To sensual ease (the bane of little kings, Monarchs whose waxen images of souls Are moulded into softness); still his mind Wears its own shape, nor can the heavenly form Stoop to be modell'd by the wild decrees Of the mad vulgar, that unthinking herd.
He lives above the crowd, nor hears the noise Of wars and triumphs, nor regards the shouts Of popular applause, that empty sound; Nor feels the flying arrows of Reproach, Or Spite or Envy. In himself secure, Wisdom his tower, and conscience is his shield, His peace all inward, and his joys his own.
He, though th' Atlantic and the Midland seas With adverse surges meet, and rise on high Suspended 'twixt the winds, then rush amain, Mingled with flames, upon his single head, And clouds, and stars, and thunder, firm he stands, Secure of his best life; unhurt, unmov'd; And drops his lower nature, born for death: Then from the lofty castle of his mind Sublime looks down, exulting, and surveys The ruins of creation (souls alone Are heirs of dying worlds); a piercing glance Shoots upwards from between his closing lids, To reach his birth-place, and without a sigh He bids his batter'd flesh lie gently down Amongst his native rubbish; whilst the spirit Breathes and flies upward, an undoubted guest Of the third Heaven, th' unruinable sky.
Oft has thy genius rous'd us hence With elevated song,
A puff of honour fills the mind,
How they disclaim their heavenly birth,
Eid us renounce this world of sense,
And music of thy tongue.
Then let the worms of grovelling mind
In restless windings roam;
The name of an angel in Milton's Paradise Lost.
Thus base-boni minds: but as for me,
Like a strong mountain, or some stately tree,
It keeps my body so;
No, I can never part with my creation-right.
I cannot make this iron knee
Bend to a meaner power than that which form'd it
Thus my bold harp profusely play'd
The dust flies up and climbs the skies,
And as the tempest fell th' obedient vapours sunk :
The meaner plants that grew around, [ground:
Of an old oak, and all the storm defied;
In vain the winds their forces tried,
In vain they roar'd; the iron oak
MR. LOCKE'S ANNOTATIONS UPON SEVE-
LEFT BEHIND HIM AT HIS DEATH.
Taus Reason learns by slow degrees
What Faith reveals; but still complains
And darkness from the too exuberant light,
Reason could scarce sustain to see
Sister of Faith, fair Charity,
Show me the wondrous man on high,
His noblest powers in deep prostration lie
At the mysterious throne.
Faith, thou bright cherub, speak, and say,
Cost thee more toil, or larger grace,
There are endless beauties more,
To melt and bend it to obey?
"Twas hard to make so rich a soul submit,
And lay her shining honours at thy sovereign feet. 'Tis a region half unknown,
That has treasures of its own,
I've a mighty part within
Harts, or horses, strong and fleet,
Yet the silly wandering mind, Loth to be too much confin'd, Roves and takes her daily tours, Coasting round the narrow shores, Narrow shores of flesh and sense, Picking shells and pebbles thence: Or she sits at Fancy's door, Calling shapes and shadows to her, Foreign visits still receiving, And t' herself a stranger living. Never, never would she buy Indian dust, or Tyrian dye, Never trade abroad for more, If she saw her native store; If her inward worth were known, She might ever live alone.
THE ADVENTUROUS MUSE.
URANIA takes her morning flight
Through rising deluges of dawning light
She tunes immortal anthems to the growing day;
Nor Rapin gives her rules to fly, nor Purcell 2
notes to sing.
She nor inquires, nor knows, nor fears [sand;
Nor asks them where their country lies,
She springs, unerring, upward to eternal day,
With humble toil in order creep,
Nor venture through the boundless deep, Such low pretending souls are they Who dwell enclos'd in solid orbs of skull;
Plodding along their sober way,
The snail o'ertakes them in their wildest play, While the poor labourers sweat to be correctly dull.
Give me the chariot whose diviner wheels
Mark their own route, and unconfin'd
And lose the clouds below, and leave the stars beGive me the Muse whose generous force, Impatient of the reins,
Pursues an unattempted course,
Breaks all the critic's iron chains,
There Milton dwells. The mortal sung Themes not presum'd by mortal tongue; New terrours, or new glories, shine In every page, and flying scenes divine Surprise the wondering sense, and draw our souls
1 A French critic.
2 An English master of music.
Behold his Muse sent out t' explore The unapparent deep where waves of chaos roar, And realms of night unknown before. She trac'd a glorious path unknown, [thrown, Through fields of heavenly war, and seraphs overWhere his adventurous genius led:
Sovereign, she fram'd a model of her own,
Nor thank'd the living nor the dead. The noble hater of degenerate rhyme Shook off the chains, and built his verse sublime, A monument too high for coupled sounds to climb. He mourn'd the garden lost below;
(Earth is the scene for tuneful woe) Now bliss beats high in all his veins, Now the lost Eden he regains, [strains. Keeps his own air, and triumphs in unrival'd Immortal bard! Thus thy own Raphael sings,
And knows no rule but native fire:
All Heaven sits silent, while to his sovereign strings
With graces infinite his untaught fingers rove
From every note Devotion springs.
TO MR. NICHOLAS CLARK.
'Twas in a vale where osiers grow,
The vigorous monarch of the day,
In dark eclipse his chariot roll'd, The queen of night obscur'd his gold Behind her sable wheels;
Nature grew sad to lose the day, The flowery vales in mourning lay, In mourning stood the bills.
"Such are our sorrows, Clark," I cried, "Clouds of the brain grow black, and hide Our darken'd souls behind; In the young morning of our years Distempering fogs have climb'd the spheres, And choke the labouring mind.
"Lo, the gay planet ears his head, And overlooks the lofty shade,
New-brightening all the skies: Bu say, dear partner of my moan, When will our long eclipse be gone, Or when our suns arise?
"In vain are potent herbs applied, Harmonious sounds in vain have tried To make the darkness fly: