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What though the dome be wanting, whose proud gate,
Each morning, vomits out the sneaking crowd
Of flatterers false, and in their turn abus'd?
Vile intercourse! What though the glittering robe,
Of every hue reflected light can give,

Or floating loose, or stiff with mazy gold

The pride and gaze of fools; oppress him not?
What though, from utmost land and sea purvey'd
For him each rarer tributary life

Bleeds not, and his insatiate table heaps
With luxury and death? What though his bowl
Flames not with costly juice; nor sunk in beds,
Oft of gay care, he tosses out the night,

Or melts the thoughtless hours in idle state?
What though he knows not those fantastic joys,
That still amuse the wanton, still deceive;
A face of pleasure, but a heart of pain;
Their hollow moments undelighted all ?
Sure peace is his; a solid life, estrang'd
To disappointment, and fallacious hope :
Rich in content, in Nature's bounty rich,
In herbs and fruits; whatever greens the Spring,
When heaven descends in showers; or bends the bough
When Summer reddens, and when Autumn beams;
Or in the wint'ry glebe whatever lies

Conceal'd, and fattens with the richest sap:
These are not wanting; nor the milky drove,
Luxuriant, spread o'er all the lowing vale;.
Nor bleating mountains, nor the chide of streams,
And hum of bees, inviting sleep sincere
Into the guiltless breast, beneath the shade,
Or thrown at large amid the fragrant hay;
Nor aught besides of prospect, grove, or song,
Dim grottos, gleaming lakes, and fountain clear.
Here too dwells simple truth; plain innocence;

Unsullied beauty; sound unbroken youth,
Patient of labour, with a little pleased;
Health ever blooming; unambitious toil;
Calm contemplation, and poetic ease.

LESSON X.

The Variety of Constitution in the Minds of Men.

BUT not alike to every mortal eye

Is this great scene unveiled. For while the claims
Of social life to different labours urge

The active powers of man, with wisest care
Hath nature on the multitude of minds
Impressed a various bias; and to each
Decreed its province in the common toil.
To some she taught the fabric of the sphere,
The changeful moon, the circuit of the stars,
The golden zones of heaven. To some she gave
To search the story of eternal thought;

Of space, and time; of fate's unbroken chain,
And will's quick movement. Others by the hand
She led o'er vales and mountains, to explore
What healing virtue dwells in every vein
Of herbs or trees. But some to nobler hopes
Were destined: some within a finer mould
She wrought, and tempered with a purer flame.
To these the Sire Omnipotent unfolds,

.

In fuller aspects and with fairer lights,
This picture of the world. Through every part
They trace the lofty sketches of his hand :
In earth or air, the meadow's flow'ry store,
The moon's mild radiance, or the virgin's mien

Dressed in attractive smiles, they see pourtrayed
(As far as mortal eyes the portrait scan)
Those lineaments of beauty which delight
The mind supreme. They also feel their force,
Enamoured they partake the eternal joy.

LESSON XI.

General Character of a Fine Imagination.

SAY, why was man so eminently raised
Amid the vast creation; why empowered
Through life and death to dart his watchful eye,
With thoughts beyond the limit of his frame ;
But that the Omnipotent might send him forth,
In sight of angels and immortal minds,

As on an ample theatre to join

In contest with his equals, who shall best
The task achieve, the course of noble toils,
By wisdom and by mercy pre-ordained?
Might send him forth the sovereign good to learn
To chase each meaner purpose from his breast;
And through the mists of passion and of sense,
And through the pelting storms of chance and pain,
To hold straight on with constant heart and eye
Still fixed upon his everlasting palm,

The approving smile of heaven? Else wherefore burns
In mortal bosoms this unquenched hope,

That seeks from day to day sublimer ends;
Happy, though restless? Why departs the soul
Wide from the track and journey of her times,
To grasp the good she knows not? In the field
Of things which may be, in the spacious field

Of science, potent arts, or dreadful arms,
To raise up scenes in which her own desires
Contented may repose; when things, which are,
Pall on her temper, like a twice-told tale :
Her temper, still demanding to be free;
Spurning the rude control of wilful might ;
Proud of her dangers braved, her grief endured,
Her strength severely proved ; to these high aims,
Which reason and affection prompt in man,

Not adverse nor unapt hath nature framed
His bold imagination. For, amid
The various forms which this full world presents
Like rivals to his choice, what human breast
E'er doubts, before the transient and minute,
To prize the vast, the stable, the sublime?
Who, that from heights aërial sends his eye
Around a wild horizon, and surveys

Indus or Ganges rolling his broad wave

Through mountains, plains, through spacious cities old, And regions dark with woods; will turn away

To mark the path of some penurious rill

Which murmureth at his feet? Where does the soul Consent her soaring fancy to restrain

Which bears her up, as on an eagle's wings,

To

Destined for highest heaven; or which of fate's
Tremendous barriers shall confine her flight
any humbler quarry? The rich earth
Cannot detain her; nor the ambient air
With all its changes. For a while with joy
She hovers o'er the sun, and views the small
Attendant orbs, beneath his sacred beam,
Emerging from the deep like cluster'd isles
Whose rocky shores to the glad sailor's eye
Reflect the gleams of morning: for a while
With pride she sees his firm, paternal sway

Bend the reluctant planets to move each
Round its perpetual year. But soon she quits
That prospect: meditating loftier views,
She darts adventurous up the long career
Of comets; through the constellations holds
Her course, and now looks back on all the stars
Whose blended flames as with a milky stream
Part the blue region. Empyrean tracts,
Where happy souls beyond their concave heaven
Abide, she then explores, whence purer light
For countless ages travels through the abyss
Nor hath in sight of mortals yet arrived.
Upon the wide creation's utmost shore
At length she stands, and the dread space beyond
Contemplates, half recoiling: nathless down.
The gloomy void, astonished, yet unquelled,
She plungeth; down the unfathomable gulf
Where God alone hath being. There her hopes
Rest at the fatal goal. For, from the birth
Of human kind, the Sovereign Maker said
That not in humble, nor in brief delight,
Not in the fleeting echoes of renown,
Power's purple robes, nor pleasure's flowery lap,
The soul should find contentment; but, from these
Turning disdainful to an equal good,

Through nature's opening walks enlarge her aim,
Till every bound at length should disappear,
And infinite perfection fill the scene.

31*

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