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Climbs some fair eminence, where ether pure
Surrounds him, and Elysian prospects rise,
His heart exults, his spirits cast their load;
As if new-born, he triumphs in the change;
So joys the soul, when, from inglorious aims,
And sordid sweets, from feculence and froth
Of ties terrestrial, set at large, she mounts
To Reason's region, her own element,
Breathes hope immortal, and affects the skies.
THE DANGER TO VIRTUE OF INFECTION FROM THE WORLD.
VIRTUE, for ever frail, as fair, below,
Her tender nature suffers in the crowd,
Nor touches on the world, without a stain:
The world's infectious; few bring back at eve,
Immaculate, the manners of the morn.
Something, we thought, is blotted; we resolv'd,
Is shaken; we renounc'd, returns again.
Each salutation may slide in a sin
Unthought before, or fix a former flaw.
Nor is it strange: light, motion, concourse, noise,
All, scatter us abroad; thought, outward-bound,
Neglectful of our home affairs, flies off
In fume and dissipation, quits her charge,
And leaves the breast unguarded to the foe.
INSUFFICIENCY OF GENIUS WITHOUT VIRTUE.
FROM NIGHT VI.
GENIUS and Art, ambition's boasted wings,
Our boast but ill deserve. A feeble aid!
Dedalian enginery! If these alone
Assist our flight, Fame's flight is Glory's fall.
Heart merit wanting, mount we ne'er so high,
Our height is but the gibbet of our name.
A celebrated wretch, when I behold;
When I behold a genius bright and base,
Of towering talents, and terrestrial aims;
Methinks I see, as thrown from her high sphere,
The glorious fragments of a soul immortal,
With rubbish mix'd, and glittering in the dust.
Struck at the splendid, melancholy sight,
At once compassion soft, and envy rise
But wherefore envy? Talents angel-bright,
If wanting worth, are shining instruments
In false ambition's hand, to finish faults
Illustrious, and give infamy renown.
DESCRIPTION OF THE MAN WHOSE THOUGHTS ARE NOT OF THIS WORLD.
FROM NIGHT VIII.
SOME angel guide my pencil, while I draw
What nothing less than angel can exceed!
A man on earth devoted to the skies;
Like ships in seas, while in, above the world.
With aspect mild, and elevated eye,
Behold him seated on a mount serene,
Above the fogs of sense, and passion's storm;
All the black cares and tumults of this life,
Like harmless thunders breaking at his feet,
Excite his pity, not impair his peace.
Earth's genuine sons, the scepter'd and the slave,
A mingled mob! a wandering herd! he sees
Bewilder'd in the vale; in all unlike!
His full reverse in all! what higher praise?
What stronger demonstration of the right?
The present all their care, the future his.
When public welfare calls, or private want,
They give to fame, his bounty he conceals.
Their virtues varnish nature, his exalt.
Mankind's esteem they court, and he his own.
Theirs, the wild chase of false felicities,
His, the compos'd possession of the true.
Alike throughout is his consistent peace,
All of one colour, and an even thread;
While party-colour'd shreds of happiness,
With hideous gaps between, patch up
A madman's robe; each puff of fortune blows
The tatters by, and shews their nakedness.
He sees with other eyes than theirs: where they Behold a sun, he spies a Deity;
What makes them only smile, makes him adore.
Where they see mountains, he but atoms sees;
An empire in his balance weighs a grain.
They things terrestrial worship as divine;
His hopes immortal blow them by as dust,
That dims his sight, and shortens his survey,
Which longs in infinite to lose all bound.
Titles and honours (if they prove his fate)
He lays aside to find his dignity;
No dignity they find in aught besides.
They triumph in externals, (which conceal
Man's real glory) proud of an eclipse.
Himself too much he prizes to be proud,
And nothing thinks so great in man as man.
Too dear he holds his interest, to neglect
Another's welfare, or his right invade;
Their interest, like a lion, lives on prey.
They kindle at the shadow of a wrong;
Wrong he sustains with temper, looks on heaven,
Nor stoops to think his injurer his foe;
Nought but what wounds his virtue wounds his peace.
A cover'd heart their character defends;
A cover'd heart denies him half his praise.
With nakedness his innocence agrees;
While their broad foliage testifies their fall.
Their no joys end, where his full feast begins:
His joys create, theirs murder, future bliss.
To triumph in existence, his alone;
And his alone, triumphantly to think
His true existence is not yet begun.
His glorious course was, yesterday, complete;
Death, then, was welcome; yet life still is sweet.
THE LOVE OF PRAISE.
FROM SATIRE I.
WHAT will not men attempt for sacred praise?
The love of praise, howe'er conceal'd by art,
Reigns, more or less, and glows, in every heart:
The proud, to gain it, toils on toils endure;
The modest shun it, but to make it sure.
O'er globes, and sceptres, now on thrones it swells;
Now trims the midnight lamp in college cells:
"Tis Tory, Whig; it plots, prays, preaches, pleads,
Harangues in senates, squeaks in masquerades.
Here, to Steele's humour makes a bold pretence;
There, bolder, aims at Pulteney's eloquence.
It aids the dancer's heel, the writer's head,
And heaps the plain with mountains of the dead;
Nor ends with life; but nods in sable plumes,
Adorns our herse, and flatters on our tombs.
PROPENSITY OF MAN TO FALSE AND FANTASTIC JOYS.
MAN's rich with little, were his judgment true;
Nature is frugal, and her wants are few;
Those few wants answer'd, bring sincere delights;
But fools create themselves new appetites:
Fancy and pride seek things at vast expense,
Which relish not to reason, nor to sense.