Page images
PDF
EPUB

As well mere man an angel might beget.
Love, and love only, is the loar. for love.
Lorenzo! pride repress, nor hope to find
A friend, but what has found a friend in thee : 555
All like the purchase, few the price will pay ;
And this makes friends such miracles below.

What if (since daring on so nice a theme)
I show thee friendship delicate as dear,
Of tender violations apt to die?

560
Reserve will wound it, and distrust destroy.
Deliberate on all things with thy friend :
But since friends grow not thick on every bough
Nor every friend unrotten at the core,
First on thy friend deliberate with thyself; 565
Pause, ponder, sift; not eager in the choice,
Nor jealous of the chosen: fixing, fix;
Judge before friendship, then confide till death.
Well for thy friend, but nobler far for thee.
How gallant danger for earth's highest prize! 570
A friend is worth all hazards we can run.
• Poor is the friendless master of a world ;
A world in purchase for a friend is gain.'

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
Rich to the tas:e, and genuine from the heart.
High-flavour'd bliss for gods! on earth how rare !
On earth how lost :--Philander is no more.

Think'st thou the theme intoxicates my song ?
Am I too warm? --Too warm I cannot be.

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.
Is it his deathbed ? No; it is his shrine ·
Behold him there just rising to a god.

630
The chamber where the good inan meets his fate
Is privileged beyond the common walk
Of virtuous life, quite in the verge of Heaven.
Fly, ye profane ! if not, draw near with awe,
Receive the blessing, and adore the chance 635
That threw in this Bethesda your disease :
If unrestored by this, despair your cure ;
For here resistless Demonstration dwells.
A deathbed 's a detector of the heart !
Here tired Dissimulation drops her mask, 640
Through Life’s grimace that mistress of the scene !
Here real and apparent are the same.
You see the man, you see his hold on Heaven,
If sound his virtue, as Philander's sound.
Heaven waits not the last moment; owns her friends
On this side death, and points them out to men; 646
A lecture silent, but of sovereign power !
To Vice confusion, and to Virtue peace.

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)
What gleams of joy ! what more than human peace !
Where the frail mortal, the poor abject worm ?
No, not in death the nortal to be found.
His conduct is a legacy for all,

670
Richer than Mammon's for his single heir.
His comforters he comforts; great in ruin,
With unreluctant grandeur gives, not yields
His soul sublime, and closes 'vith his fate.

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.

NIGHT III.

Narcissa.

TI) HER GRACE THE DUCHESS OF PORTLAND.

Ignoscenda quidem, scirent si ignoscere manes.

VIRG.

From dreams, where thought in Fancy's mazeruns mad,
To Reason, that heaven-lighted lamp in man,
Once more I wake; and at the destined hour,
Punctual as lovers to the moment sworn,
I keep my assignation with my woe.

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 !

10
Then nearest these, when others most remote ;
And all, ere long, shall be remote but these :
How dreadful, then, to meet them all alone,
A stranger! unacknowledged! unapproved !
Now woo them, wed them, bind them to thy breast : 15
To win thy wish creation has no more :
Or if we wish a fourth, it is a friend.-
But friends how mortal! dangerous the desire.

Take Phoebus to yourselves, ye baskıng bards !
Inebriate at fair Fortune's fountain head,
And reeling through the wilderness of 205,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »