Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

And lastly, turning inwardly her eyes,
Perceives how all her own ideas rise,
Contemplates what she is, and whence she came,
And almost comprehends her own amazing frame.
Can mere machines be with fuch pow'rs endued,
Or conscious of those pow'ss, suppose they cou'd ?
For body is but a machine alone
Moy'd by external force, and impulse not its own.

Rate not the extension of the human mind
By the plebeian standard of mankind,
But by the size of those gigantic few,
Whom Greece and Rome ftill offer to our view;
Or Britain well-deserving equal praise,
Parent of heroes too in better days.
Why should I try her num'rous sons to name
By verse, law, eloquence consign'd to fame?
Or who have forc'd fair Science into fight
Long loft in darkness, and afraid of light.
O'er all superior, like the solar ray
First Bacon usher'd in the dawning day,
And drove the mists of fophiftry away ;
Perva led nature with amazing force,
Following experience still throughout his course,
And finishing at length his destin'd way,
To Newton lie bequeathed the radiant lamp of day,
Illustrious souls! if

any.

tender cares Affect angelic breasts for man's affairs,

}

[ocr errors]

VOL. VI.

E

If

If in your present happy heav'nly state,
You're not regardless quite of Britain's fate,
Let this degen'rate land again be blest
With that true vigour, which she once poffeft;
Compel' us to unfold our slumb'ring eyes,
And to our ancient dignity to rise.
Such wond'rous pow'rs as these muft fure be given
For most important purposes by heav'n;
Who bids these ftars as bright examples thine
Befprinkled thinly by the hand divine,
To form to virtue each degenerate time,
And point out to the foul its origin sublime.
That there's a self which after death Thall live,
All are concern'd about, and all believe;
That something's ours, when we from life depart,
This all conceive, all feel it at the heart ;
The wife of learn'd antiquity proclaim
This truth, the public voice declares the fame;
No land fo rude but looks beyond the tomb
For future prospects in a world to come.
Hence, without hopes to be in life repaid,
We plant flow oaks pofterity to shade ;
And hence vaft pyramids aspiring high
Lift their proud heads aloft, and time defy.
Hence is our love of fame, a love fo Itrong,
We think no dangers great, or labors long,
By which we hope our beings to extend,
And to remotest times in glory to descend.

For

For fame the wretch beneath the gallows lyes,
Disowning every crime for which he dies;
Of life profuse, tenacious of a name,
Fearless of death, and yet afraid of shame.
Nature has wove into the human mind
This anxious care for names we leave behind,
T' extend our narrow views beyond the tomb,
And give an earnest of a life, to come :
For, if- when dead, we are but duft or clay,
Why think of what pofterity shall say ?
Her praise, or censure cannot us concern,
Nor ever penetrate the filent urn.

What mean the nodding plames, the fun'ral train,
And marble monument that speaks in vain,
With all thofe cares, which ev'ry nation pays
To their unfeeling dead in diff'rent ways !
Some in the flow'r-strewn grave the corpse have lay'd,
And annual obfequies around it pay'd,
As if to please the poor departed hade;
Others on blazing piles the body burn,
And store their alhes in the faithfül urn;
But all in one great principle agree
To give a fancy'd immortality.
Why should I mention those, whose ouzy foil
Is render'd fertile by th' o'erflowing Nile,
Their dead they bury not, nor burn with fires,
No graves they dig, erect no fun'ral pires,

}

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

But, washing first th' embowel'd body clean,
Gums, spice, and melted pitch they pour within ;
Then with strong fillets bind it round and round,
To make each flaccid part compact, and found ;
And lastly paint the varnish'd surface o'er
With the same features, which in life it wore:
So strong their presage of a future ftate,
And that cur nobler part survives the body's fate.

Nations behold remote from reason's beams,
Where Indian Ganges rolls his fandy streams,
Of life impatient rush into the fire,
And willing victims to their Gods expire !
Persuaded the loose foul to regions flies
Blest with eternal spring, and cloudless skies.

Nor is less fam'd the oriental wife
For stedfast virtue, and contempt of life :
These heroines mourn not with loud female cries
Their husbands loft, or with o'erflowing eyes,
But, ftrange to tell ! their funeral piles ascend,
And in the same sad fames their forrows end

; In hopes with them beneath the Mades to rove, And there renew their interrupted love.

In climes where Boreas breathes eternal cold,
See numerous nations, warlike, fierce, and bold,
To battle all unanimously run,
Nor fire, nor sword, nor instant death they shun:

Whence

[ocr errors]

Whence this disdain of life in ev'ry breast,
But from a notion on their minds impreft,
That all, who for their country die, are blest.
Add too to these the once prevailing dreams,
Of sweet Elysian groves, and Stygian streams :
All thew with what confent mankind agree
In the firm hope of Immortality.
Grant these th' inventions of the crafty priest,
Yet such inventions never could fubfift.
Unless fome glimmerings of a future ftate
Were with the mind coæval, and innate :
For every fiction, which can long persuade,
In truth must have its first foundations laid.

Because we are unable to conceive,
How unembody'd fouls can act, and live,
The vulgar give them forms, and limbs, and faces,
And habitations in peculiar places ;
Hence reasoners more refin'd, but not more wise,
Struck with the glare of such absurdities,
Their whole existence fabulous suspect,
And truth and falfhood in a lump reject ;
Too indolent to learn what may be known.,
Or else too proud that ignorance to own.;
For hard's the talk the daubing to pervade
Folly and fraud on Truth's fair form have laid ; :
Yet let that task be ours; for great the prize ;
Nor let us Truth's celestial charms despise,
Because that priests, or poets may disguise,

E 3

[ocr errors][merged small]
« ZurückWeiter »