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As well mere man an angel might beget.
What if (since daring on so nice a theme)
So sung he (angels hear that angel sing. Angels from friendship gather half their joy) 575 So sung Philander, as his friend went rourd In the rich ichor, in the generous blood Of Bacchus, purple god of joyous wit, A brow solute, and ever laughing eye. He drank long health and virtue to his friend ; 580 His friend! who warm'd him more, who more inspired. Friendship’s the wine of life ; but friendship new (Not such was his) is neither strong nor pure. O! for the bright complexion, cordial warmth, And elevating spirit of a friend,
585 For twenty summers ripening by my side ; All feculence of falsehood long thrown down, All social virtues rising in his soul, As crystal clear, and smiling as they riso '
Here nectar flows; it sparkles in our sight : 590
Think'st thou the theme intoxicates my song ?
595 I loved him much, but now I love him more. Like birds, whose beauties languish, half conceald, T'ill, mounted on the wing, their glossy plumes Expanded, shine with azure, green, and gold; How blessings brighten as they take their figt! 600 His flight Philander took, his upward flight, If ever soul ascer.ded. Had he dropp’d, (That eagle genius!) O had he let fall One feather as he flew, I then had wrote What friends might flatter, prudent foes forbear, C05 Rivals scarce damn, and Zoilus reprieve. Yet what I can I nust: it were profane To quench a glory lighted at the skies, And cast in shadows his illustrious close. Strange! the theme most affecting, most sublime: 610 Momentous most to man, should sleep unsung! And yet it sleeps, by genius unawaked, Painim or Christian, to the blush of Wit. Man's highest triumph, man's profoundest fall, The deathbed of the just ! is yet undrawn 615 By mortal hand; it merits a divine : Angels should paint it, angels ever there, There on a post of honour and of joy.
Dare I presume, then? but Philander bids, And glory tempts, and inclination calls.
020 Yet am I struck, as struck the soul beneath Aerial groves' impenetrable gloom, Or in some mighty ruin's solemn shade, Or gazing, by pale lamps, on highborn dust In vaults, thin courts of poor unflatter'd kings, Or at the midnight altar's hallow'd fame. It is religion to proceed. I pause
And enter, awed, the ten pie of my theme.
Whatever farce the boastful huro plays, Virtue alone has majesty in death;
650 And greater still, the more the tyrant frowns. Philander ! he severely frownd on thee. No warning given! unceremonious fate ! A sudden rush from life's meridian joys ! A wrench from all we love! from all we are . 655 A restless bed of pain ! a plunge opaque Beyond conjecture ! feeble Nature's dread! Strong Reason's shudder at the dark unknown! A sun extinguish’d! a just opening grave ! 659 And, oh! the last, the last ; what ? (can words express, Thought reach it ?) the last-silence of a friend !' Where are those horrors, that amazement, where This hideous group of ills which singly shock ? Dernand from man--I thought him man, till now. 664
Through Nature's wreck, through vanquish'd agonies
(Like the stars struggling through this midnight gloom)
How our hearts burn'd within us at the scene ! 675 Whence this brave bound o'er limits fix'd to man? His God sustains him in his final hour ! His final hour brings glory to his God ! Man's glory Heaven vouchsafes to call her own. We gaze, we wecp; mix'd tears of grief and joy ! 680 Amazement strikes : devotion bursts to flame : Christians adore ! and infidels believe !
As some tall tower, or lofty mountain's brow, Detains the Sun, illustrious, from its height, While rising vapours and descending shades, 635 With damps and darkness, drown the spacious vale • Undamp'd by doubt, undarken’d by despair, Philander thus augustly rears his head, At that black hour which general horror sheds On the low level of the’ inglorious throng : 690 Sweet peace, and heavenly hope, and humble joy Divin ly beam on his exalted soul; Destruction gild and crown him for the skies, With incornmunicable lustre bright.
TI) HER GRACE THE DUCHESS OF PORTLAND.
Ignoscenda quidem, scirent si ignoscere manes.
From dreams, where thought in Fancy's mazeruns mad,
5 0! lost to virtue, lost to manly thought, Lost to the noble sallies of the soul; Who think it solitude to be alone. Communion sweet! communion large and high ! Our reason, guardian-angel, and our God !
Take Phoebus to yourselves, ye baskıng bards !