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Time, in advance, behind him hides his wings,
We push Time from us, and we wish him back;
If time past,
'Tis greatly wise to talk with our past hours, And ask them what report they bore to Heaven, And how they might have borne more welcome news.
Their answers form what men experience call;
Throw years away? Throw empires, and be blameless; moments seize; Heaven is on their wing; a moment we may wish, When worlds want wealth to buy. Bid Day stand still, Bid him roll back his car, and re-import The period past, re-give the given hour.
Edward Young was born in 1681. His life was one of great activity, worldly anxiety, and literary industry. His works are numerous, but the best is his “Night Thoughts," the foundation of which was family misfor. tune. This great poem abounds in epigram, is full of compressed reflection, and differs essentially, in its plan, from other poems. In these the narration is usually long, and the moral drawn from it, if any there be, is short; but in the case of the “ Night Thoughts,” on the contrary, the narrative is short, and the morality arising from it makes up the bulk of the poem.
The truths of religion are enforced with commanding energy and persuasion, and the reader will find many noble and sublime passages, where the poet speaks as from inspiration. The pictures he draws are frequently dark and gloomy; still, good sense, maxims of the highest practical value, and passages of great force, tenderness, and everlasting truth, are constantly rising, like luminaries, to attract the spirit that wanders in darkness and gropes in error.
His style is impressive; his imagery, though sometimes redundant, is always select, chaste, nervous, and suitable. The more carefully the work is studied, the more extraordinary and magnificent will the entire poem appear. It opens out one vast scene, and the reader who can look into " those sacred recesses of the soul, where true Poetry is born and nourished, and plumes its wings for heaven,” will always find new beauties, and objects of deep and abiding interest, in any part of this poem which he may chance to peruse
45. Labor and Rest : An Allegory.
In the early ages of the world, mankind was happy in the enjoyment of continual pleasure and constant plenty under the protection of Rest, a gentle divinity, who required of her worshippers neither altars nor sacrifices, and whose rites were only performed by prostrations upon turfs.of Aowers in shades of jasmine and myrtle, or by dances on the banks of rivers flowing with milk and nectar.
Under this easy government, the first generations breathed the fragrance of perpetual spring, ate the fruits which without culture fell into their hands, and slept under bowers arched by nature, with the birds singing over their heads, and the beasts sporting about them.
But by degrees each, though there was more than enough for all, was desirous of appropriating part to himself. Then entered Violence, and Fraud, and Theft, and Rapine. Soon after, Pride and Envy broke into the world, and brought with them a new standard of wealth; for men, who till then thought themselves rich when they wanted nothing, now rated their demands, not by the calls of nature, but by the plenty of others, and began to consider themselves as poor when they beheld their own possessions exceeded by those of their neighbors.
Amidst the prevalence of this corruption, the state of the earth was changed; the year was divided into seasons; part of the ground became barren, and the rest yielded only berries, acorns, and herbs. The summer, indeed, furnished a coarse and inelegant sufficiency, but winter was without any relief; Famine, with a thousand diseases, made havoc among the men, and there appeared to be danger lest they should be destroyed before a remedy could be devised.
Rites, the manner of performing divine or solemn service, as established by law, precept, or custom; formal act of religion or other solemn duty, The rites of the Israelites were numerous and expensive; the rites of modern churches are more simple.
To oppose the devastations of Famine, who scattered the ground every where with carcasses, Labor came down upon the earth. Labor was the son of Necessity, the nursling of Hope, and the pupil of Art. He had the strength of his mother, the spirit of his nurse, and the dexterity of his governess. His face was wrinkled with the wind, and swarthy with the sun. He had implements of husbandry in one hand, with which he turned up the earth; in the other, he had the tools of architecture, and raised walls and towers at his pleasure.
He called out with a rough voice, " Mortals ! see here the power to whom you are consigned, and from whom you are to hope for all your pleasures and all your safety. You have long languished under the dominion of Rest, an impotent and deceitful goddess, who can neither protect nor relieve, but resigns you to the first attacks of either Famine or Disease, and suffers her shades to be invaded by every enemy, and destroyed by every accident.
“Wake, therefore, to the call of Labor. I will teach you to remedy the sterility of the earth, and the severity of the sky; I will compel summer to find provisions for the winter ; I will force the waters to give you their fish, the air its fowls, and the forest its beasts; I will teach you to pierce the bowels of the earth, and bring out from the caverns of the mountains, metals which shall give strength to your hands and security to your bodies, by which you may be covered from the assaults of the fiercest beasts, and with which you shall fell the oak, and divide rocks, and subject all nature to your use and pleasure."
Encouraged by this magnificent invitation, the inhabitants of the globe considered Labor as their only friend, and hasted to his command. He led them out to the fields and mountains, and showed them how to open mines, to level hills, to drain marshes, and change the course of rivers. The face
Sparthy, being of a dark hue or dusky complexion, tawny. In warm climates, the complexion of men is universally swarthy or black.
of things was immediately transformed ; the land was covered with towns and villages, encompassed with fields of corn and plantations of fruit-trees; and nothing was seen but heaps of grain and baskets of fruit, full tables and crowded storehouses.
46. The Same, continued.
LABOR and his followers added almost every hour new acquisitions to their conquests, and saw Famine gradually dispossessed of his dominions; till, at last, amidst their jollity and triumphs, they were depressed and amazed by the approach of Lassitude, who was known by her sunken eyes and dejected countenance. She came forward trembling and groaning; at every groan the hearts of all those that beheld her lost their courage, their nerves slackened, their hands shook, and the instruments of labor fell from their grasp.
Rest now took leave of the groves and valleys, which she had hitherto inhabited, and entered into palaces, reposed herself in alcoves, and slumbered away the winter upon beds of down, and the summer in artificial grottos, with cascades playing before her. There was indeed always something wanting to complete her felicity; and she could never lull her returning fugitives to that serenity which they knew before their engagements with Labor : nor was her dominion entirely without control ; for she was obliged to share it with Luxury, though she always looked upon her as a false friend, by whom her influence was in reality destroyed, while it seemed to be promoted.
The two soft associates, however, reigned for some time
Alcove, a recess, or part of a room, separated by a partition of columns, or by other corresponding ornaments, in which is placed a bed of state, and sometimes seats for company; a recess in a library, in a garden, or in a grove.