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But not for this ordain'd their boundless rage.
When heaven's inferior instruments of wrath,
War, famine, pestilence, are found too weak
To scourge a world for her enormous crimes,



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NIGHT IX. m

These are let loose alternate : down they rush,
Swift and tempestuous, from th' eternal throne,
With irresistible commission arm'd,
The world in vain corrected, to destroy,
And ease creation of the shocking scene.

Seest thou, Lorenzo I what depends on man f ,

The fate of Nature, as for man her birth.
Earth's actors change earth's transitory scenes,
And make creation groan with human guilt. '
How must it groan, in a new deluge whelm'd.
But not of waters 1 At the destin'd hour,
By the loud trumpet summoned to the charge,
See all the formidable sons of fire,
Eruptions, earthquakes, comets, lightnings, play
Their various engines ; all at once disgorge
Their blazing magazines, and take, by storm*
This poor terrestrial citadel of man.

Amazing period, when each mountain-height
Outburns Vesuvius ; rocks eternal pour
Their melted mass, as rivers once they pour'd ;
Stars rush, and final Ruin fiercely drives
Her ploughshare o'er creation I— while aloft,
More than astonishment ! if more can be I
Far other firmament than e'er was seen,
Than e'er was thought by man 1 far other stars 1
Stars animate, that govern these of fire ;
Far other sun 1-p-a sun, O how unlike



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13* THE CONSOLATION.

The babe at Bethle'm ! how unlike the man

That groan'd on Calvary ! — yet he it is ;

That roan of sorrows I O how chang'd I what pomp I

In grandeur terrible all heaven descends !

And gods ambitious triumph in his train.

A swift archangel, with his golden wing,

As blots and clouds that darken and disgrace

The seene divine, sweeps stars and suns aside.

And now, all dross remov'd, heaven's own pure day?

Full on the confines of our ether flames.

While (dreadful contrast) far, how far beneath I

Hell, bursting, belches forth her biasing seas,

And storms sulphureous, her voracious jaws

Expanding wide, and roaring for her prey.

Lorenzo 1 welcome to this scene, the last

In Nature's course, the first in Wisdom's thought.

This strikes, if ought can strike thee ; this awakes

The most supine \ this snatches man from death.

Rouse, rouse, Lorenzo ! then, and follow me,

Where truth, the most momentous man can hear,

Loud calls my soul, and ardour wings her flight.

I find my inspiration in my theme :

The grandeur of my subject is my muse.

At midnight, when mankind is wrapp'd in peace*
And worldly Fancy feeds on golden dreams,
To give more dread to man's most dreadful hour ;
At midnight, 'tis presum'd, this pomp will burst



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f



NIGHT IX. 129

Prom tenfold darkness, sudden as the spark
From smitten steel ; from nitrous grain the blase.
Man, starting from his couch, shall sleep no more i
The day is broke which never more shall close !
Above, around, beneath, amazement all !
Terror and glory join'd in their extremes t
Our God in grandeur, and our world on fire I
All nature struggling In the pangs of death I
Dost thou not hear her ? dost thou not deplore
Her strong convulsions, and her final groan ?
Where are we now ? Ah me ! the ground is gone
On which we stood. Lorenzo ! while thou may'st
Provide more firm support, or sink for ever I
Where ? how ? from whence ? Vain hope I It is too

late!
Where, where, for shelter, shall the guilty fly,
When consternation turns the good man pale ?

Great day ! for which all other days were made ;
For which earth, rose from chaos, man from earth,
And an eternity, the date of gods,
Descended on poor earth-created man !
Great day of dread, decifiion, and despair!
At thought of thee each sublunary wish
Lets go its eager grasp, and drops the world,
And catches at each reed of hope in heaven.
At thought of thee I —d art thou absent then ?
Lorenzo I no ; Ma here ; it is begun :—



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130 THE CONSOLATION.

Aleady is begun the grand assize,

In thee, in all : deputed Conscience scales

The dread tribunal, and forestals our doom ;

Forestals, and, by forestalling, proves it sure.

Why on himself should man void judgment pass ?

Is idle Nature laughing at her sons ?

Who Conscience sent her sentence will support,

And God above assert that god in man.

Thrice happy they I that enter now the court
Heav'n opens in their bosoms : but how rare,
Ah me 1 that magnanimity, how rare !
What hero like the man who stands himself,
Who dares to meet his naked heart alone,
Who hears, intrepid, the full charge it brings,
Resolv'd to silence future murmurs there ?
The coward flies, and, flying, is undone. .
(Art thou a coward ? no :) the coward flies ;
Thinks, but thinks slightly ; asks, but fears to know :
Asks « What is truth?" with Pilate, and retires;
Dissolves the court, and mingles with the throng x
Asylum sad ! from reason, hope, and heav'n !

Shall all but man look out with ardent eye
For that great day which was ordain'd for man ?
O day of consummation ! mark supreme
(If men are wise) of human thought ! nor least
Or in the sight of angels or their King !
Angels, whose radiant circles, height o'er height*



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NIGHT IX. 131

Order o'er order, rising, blaze o'er blaze,
As in a theatre, surround this scene,
Intent on man, and anxious for his fate.
Angels look out for thee ; for thee their Lord,
To vindicate hia glory ; and for thee
Creation universal calls aloud
To disinvolve the moral world, and give
To Nature's renovation brighter charms.

Shall man alone, whose fate, whose final fate,
Hangs on that hour, exclude it from his thought ?
I think of nothing else ; I see I I feel it I
All Nature, like an earthquake, trembling round !
All Deities, like summer's swarms, on wing !
All basking in the full meridian blaze !
I see the Judge enthron'd ! the flaming guard t
The volume open'd ! open'd ev'ry heart !
A sunbeam pointing out each secret thought (
No patron ! intercessor none ! now past
The sweet, the clement, mediatorial hour (
For guilt no plea I to pain no pause ! no bound !
Inexorable all 1 and all extreme !

Nor man alone ; the foe of God and man,
From his dark den, blaspheming, drags his chain,
And rears his brazen front, with thunder scarr'd,
Receives his sentence, and begins his hell.
All vengeance past, now, seems abundant grace.
Like meteors in a stormy sky, how roll



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139 THE CONSOLATION.

His baleful eyes! he curses whom he dreads*
And deems it the first moment of his fall,

Tis present to my thought i — and yet where is it I
Angels can't tell me ? angels cannot guess
The period^ from created beings lock'd
In darkness ? but the process and the place
Are less obscure ; for these may man inquire.
Say, thou great close of human hopes and fears !
Great key of hearts ! great finisher of fates I
Great end! and great beginning i say* where art

thou?
Art thou in time, or in eternity ?
Nor in eternity nor time I find thee t
These as two monarchy on their borders mee^
(Monarch* of all elaps'd or unarrjv*d !)
As in debate, how best their pow'rs ally'd
May swell the grandeur, or discharge the wrath
Of him, whom both their monarchies obey.

Time, this fast fabric for him built (and doom'd
With him to fall) now bursting o'er his head,
His lamp, the sun, extinguish'd, from beneath
The frown of hideous darkness calls his sons
From their long sramber, from earth's heaving womb
To second birth ! contemporary throng !
Rous'd at one call ; upstarted. from one bed ;
Press'd in one crowd ; appall'd with one amaze. ;
He turns them o'er* Eternity ! to thee :



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F



NIGHT IX. 103

Then (as a king depos'd disdains to live)
He fells on his own scythe, nor falls alone ;
His greatest foe falls with him : Time, and he
Who murder'd all Time's offspring, Death, expim

Time was ! Eternity now reigns alone I
Awful Eternity ! offended queen !
And her resentment to mankind how just !
With kind intent, soliciting access,
How often has she knock'd at human hearts i
Rich to repay their hospitality,
How often call'd I and with the voice of God !
Yet bore repulse, excluded as a cheat J
A dream ! while foulest foes found welcome there !
A dream ! a cheat ! now all things but her smile.

For, lo ! her twice ten thousand gates thrown wide,
And thrice from Indus to the frozen pole,
With banners streaming as the comet's blaze,
And clarions louder than the deep in storms,
Sonorous as immortal breath can blow,
Pour forth their myriads, potentates, and pow'rsj
Of light, of darkness, in a middle field,
Wide as creation ! populous as wide S
A neutral region ! there to mark th' event
Of that great drama, whose preceding scenes
Detain'd them close spectators through
Of ages, rip'ning to this grand result ;
Ages as yet unnumber'd but by God,

VOL. II. M



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134 THE CONSOLATION.

Who now, pronouncing sentence, vindicates
The rights of virtue, and his own renown.

Eternity, the various sentence past,
Assigns the sever'd throng distinct abodes,
Sulphureous or ambrosial. What ensues ?
The deed predominant I the deed of deeds !
Which makes a hell of hell, a heav'n of heav'm
The goddess, with determin'd aspect, turns
Her adamantine key's enormous size
Thro' destiny's inextricable wards,
Deep driving ev'ry bolt on both their fates ;
Then from the crystal battlements of heaven
Down, down she hurls it thro' the dark profound,
Ten thousand thousand fathom, there to rust,.
And ne'er unlocks her resolution more.
The deep resounds, and hell, through all her glooms,
Returns, in groans, the melancholy roar.

O how unlike the chorus of the skies !
O how unlike those shouts of joy that shake
The whole ethereal ! how the concave rings I
Nor strange S when deities their voice exalt ;
And louder far than when creation rose,
To see creation's godlike aim and end
So well accomplish'd ! so divinely clos'd !
To see the mighty Dramatist's last act
(As meet) in glory rising o'er the rest.
No fancy'd God ; a God, indeed, descends,
To solve all knots ; to strike the moral home j

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NIGHT IX. 135

To throw full day on darkest scenes of time ;
To clear, commend, exalt, and crowns the whole,
Hence, in one peal of loud eternal praise,
The charm'd spectators thunder their applause,
And the vast void beyond applause resounds.

What then am I ?—

Amidst applauding worlds,
And worlds celestial, is there found on earth
A peevish dissonant rebellious string,
Which jars in the grand chorus, and complains ?
Censure on thee, Lorenzo ! I suspend,
And turn it on myself; how greatly due !
All, all is right, by God ordain'd or done ;
And who but God resum'd the friends he gave ?
And have I been complaining then so long f
Complaining of his favours, pain, and death ?
Who without Pain's advice would e'er be good ?
Who without Death but would be good in vain ?
Pain is to save from pain : all punishment
To make for peace ; and death to save from death ;
And second death, to guard immortal life ;
To rouse the careless, the presumptuous awe,
And turn the tide of souls another way ;
By the same tenderness divine ordainV
That planted Eden, and high-bloom'd
A fairer Eden, endless, in the skies.

Heaven gives us friends to bless the



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136 THE CONSOLATION.

Resumes them to prepare us for the next.

All evils natural are moral goods ;

All discipline indulgence, on the whole.

None are unhappy : all have cause to smile,

But such as to themselves that cause deny.

Our faults are at the bottom of our pains :

Error in acts, or judgment is the source

Of endless sighs, we sin, or we mistake,

And Nature tax, when false opinion stings.

Let impious grief be banish 'd, joy indulged,

But chiefly then when Grief puts in her claim.

Joy from the joyous frequently betrays,

Oft lives in vanity, and dies in woe.

Joy amidst ills corroborates, exalts ;

Tis joy and conquest ; joy and virtue too.

A noble fortitude in ills delights

Heaven, earth, ourselves ; 'tis duty, glory, peace..

Affliction is the good man's shining scene ;

Prosperity conceals his brightest ray.

As night to stars, woe lustre gives to man.

Heroes in battle, pilots in the storm,

And virtue in calamities admire.

The crown of manhood is a winter-joy ;

An evergreen that stands the northern Mast,

And blossoms in the rigour of our fate.

Tis a prime part of happiness to know
How much unhappiness must prove our lot ;



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NIGHT IX. 13?

A part which few possess ! Ill pay life's tax,
Without one rebel murmur, from this hour,
Nor think it misery to be a man ;
Who thinks it is shall never be a God. ,

Some ills we wish for when we wish to live.
What spoke proud passion ?— " Wish my being
lost?*"
Presumptuous! blasphemous! absurd! and false!
The triumph of my soul is — that I am :
And therefore that I may be — what f Lorenzo !
Look*inward, and look deep : and deeper still j
UnfathomabJy deep onr treasure runs,
In golden veins, thro' all eternity !
Ages, and ages, and succeeding still
New ages, where the phantom of an hour,
Which courts, each night, dull slumbers for repair,
Shall wake, and wonder, and exult, and praise,
And fly thro* infinite, and all unlock,
And (if deserved) by'heaven's redundant love,
Made half adorable, itself adore,
And find, in adoration, endless joy !
Where thou, not master of a moment here,
Frail as the flow'r, and fleeting as the gale,
May'st boast a whole eternity, enrich'd

* Referring to the First Night.

m 2



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138 THE CONSOLATION.

With all a kind Omnipotence can pour.
Since Adam fell, no mortal, uninspir'd,
Has ever yet conceiv'd, or ever shall, t

How kind is God, how great (if good) is man. «

No man too largely from heaven's love can hope,
If what is hop'd he labours to secure.
Ills ! — there are none : all-gracious ! none from
thee,
From man full many ! Num'rous is the race
Of blackest ills, and those immortal too,
Begot by Madness on fair Liberty,
Heaven's daughter, hell debaueh'd ! her hand alone
Unlocks destruction to the sons of men.
First barr'd by thine : high-wall'd with adamant,
Guarded with terrors reaching to this world,
• An<} cover'd with the thunders of thy law,
Whose threats are mercies, whose injunction guides,
Assisting, not restraining, Reason's choice ;
Whose sanctions, unavoidable results
From Nature's course, indulgently reveal'd,
If unreveal'd more dang'rous, nor less sure.
Thus an indulgent father warns his sons,
" Do this ; fly that ;" — nor always tells the cause ;
Pleas'd to reward, as duty to his will,
A conduct needful to their own repose.

Great God of wonders 1 (if, thy love survey'd,
Aught else the name of wonderful retains)



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NIGHT IX. 139

What rocks are those on which to build our trust I
Thy ways admit no blemish ; none I find ;
Or this alone,—" That none is to be found :"
Not one to soften Censure's hardy crime j
Not one to palliate peevish Grief's complaint,
Who, like a demon, murm'ring from the dust,
Dares into judgment call htr judge.— Supreme !
For all I bless thee ; most for the severe ; *

Her death* — my own at hand— the fiery gulf,
That flaming bound of wrath omnipotent ;
It thunders ; but it thunders to preserve ;
It strengthens what it strikes ; its wholesome dread
Averts the dreaded pain : its hideous groans
Join heaven's sweet hallelujahs in thy praise,
Great source of good alone ! how kind in all !
In vengeance kind ! Pain, death, gehenna, save.

Thus, in thy world material, mighty Mind !
Not that alone which solaces and shines,
The rough and gloomy, challenges our praise.
The winter is as needful as the spring ;
The thunder as the sun. A stagnate mass
Of vapours breeds a pestilential air :
Nor more propitious the Favonian breeze
To Nature's health, than purifying storms.
The dread volcano ministers to good ;
Its smother'd flames might undermine the world.

* Lucia;



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140 THE CONSOLATION.

Loud JEtnas fulminate in love to man :
Comets good omens are when duly scann'd ;
And, in their use, eclipses learn to shine.

Man is responsible for ills receiv'd ;
Those we call wretched are a chosen band,
Compell'd to refuge in the right, for peace.
Amid my list of blessings infinite
Stand this the foremost, " That my heart has bled.**
'Tis heaven's last effort of good-will to man.
When pain can't bless, heav'n quits us in despair.
Who fails to grieve, when just occasion calls,
Or grieves too much,' deserves not to be bless'd,
Inhuman or inffeminate, his heart.
Reason absolves the grief which reason ends.
May Heav'n ne'er trust my friend with happiness,
Till it has taught him how to bear it well
By previous pain, and made it safe to smile 1
Such smiles are mine, and such may they remain,
Nor hazard their extinction from excess.
My change of heart a change of style demands ;
The Consolation cancels the Complaint,
And makes a convert of my guilty song.

As when o'er-labour'd, and inclin'd to breathe,
A panting traveller some rising ground,
Some small ascent, has gain'd, he turns him round,

And measures with his eye the various vales,
The fields, woods, meads, and rivers, he has past,



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NIGHT IX. 141

And, satiate of his journey, thinks of home.
Endear'd by distance, nor affects more toil ;
Thus I, tho' small, indeed, is that ascent
The Muse has gatnM, review the paths she trod,
Various, extensive, beaten but by few ;
And, conscious of her prudence in repose,
Pause, and with pleasure meditate an end,
Tho' still remote ; so fruitful is my theme.
Thro' many a field of moral and divine
The Muse has stray'd, and much of sorrow seen
In human ways, and much of false and vain,
Which none who travel this bad road can miss:
O'er friends deceas'd full heartily she wept ;
Of love divine the wonders she display'd ;
Prov'd man immortal ; shew'd the source of joy ^
The grand tribunal rais'd ; assign'd the bounds
Of human grief. In few, to close the whole,
The moral Muse has shadow'd out a sketch,
Tho' not in form, nor with a Raphael stroke,
Of most our weakness needs believe or do,
In this our land of travail and of hope,
For peace on earth, or prospect of the skies.

What then remains ? Much ! much ! a mighty debt
To be dischargM. These thoughts, O Night I are
From thee they come, like lovers' secret sighs,[thine ;
While others slept. So ICynthia, (poets feign)
In shadows veil'd, soft sliding from her sphere,



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142 THE CONSOLATION.

Her shepherd cheerM, of her enamourM less
Than I of thee.— And art thou still unsung,
Beneath whose brow, and by whose aid, I sing I
Immortal Silence ! where shall I begin ?
Where end ? or how steal music from the spheres
To sooth their goddess ?

O majestic Night I
Nature's great ancestor ! Day's elder born I
And fated to survive the transient sun !
By mortals and immortals seen with awe !
A starry crown thy raven brow adorns,
An azure zone thy waist ; clouds, in heav'n's loom
Wrought thro' varieties of shape and shade,
In ample folds of drapery divine,
Thy flowing mantle form, and, heav'n throughout,
Voluminously pour thy pompous train :
Thy gloomy grandeurs (Nature's most august,
Inspiring aspect !) claim a grateful verse,
And, like a sable curtain, starrM with gold,
Drawn o'er my labours past, shall close the scene.

And what, O Man ! so worthy to be sung ?
What more prepares us for the songs of heav'n?
Creation of archangels is the theme !
What to be sung so needful, what so well
Celestial joys prepare us to sustain ?
The soul of man, his face design'd to see
Who gave these wonders to be seen by man,



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NIGHT IX. 143

Has here a previous scene of objects great
On which to dwell, to stretch to that expanse
Of thought, to rise to that exalted height
Of admiration, to contract that awe,
And give her whole capacities that strength
Which best may qualify for final joy.
The more our spirits are enlarged on earth,
The deeper draught shall they receive of heav'n.
Heaven's King ! whose face unveiTd consummates
bliss,
Redundant bliss ! which fills that mighty void
The whole creation leaves in human hearts i
Thou I who didst touch the lip of Jesse's son.
Rapt in sweet contemplation of these fires,
And set his harp in concert with the spheres,
While of thy works material the Supreme
I dare attempt, assist my daring song :
Loose me from earth's enclosure ; from the sun's
Contracted circle set my heart at large j
Eliminate my spirit, give it range
Thro' provinces of thought yet unexplor'd ;
Teach me, by this stupendous scaffolding,
Creation's golden steps, to climb to thee :
Teach me with art great nature to control,
And spread a lustre o'er the shades of night v
Feel I thy kind assent ? and shall the, sun
Be seen at midnight rising in my songj ?



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144 THE CONSOLATION.

Lorenzo ! come, and warm thee ; thou whose heart,
Whose little heart, is moor'd within a nook
Of this obscure terrestrial, anchor weigh ;
Another ocean calls, a nobler port ;
I am thy pilot, I thy prosperous gale :
Gainful thy voyage thro' yon azure main,
Main without tempest, pirate, rock, or shore,
And whence thou may'st import eternal wealth,
And leave to beggar'd minds the pearl and gold.
Thy travels dost thou boast o'er foreign realms ?
Thou stranger to the world ! thy tout begin ;
Thy tour thro' Nature's universal orb.
Nature delineates her whole chart at large
On soaring souls that sail among the spheres ;
And man how purblind, if unknown the whole !
Who circles spacious earth, then travels here,
Shall own he never was from home before !
Comej my Prometheus * 1 from thy pointed rock
Of false ambition, if unchain'd, we'll mount ;
Well innocently steal celestial fire,
And kindle our devotion at the stars,
A theft that shall not chain, but set thee free.

Above our atmosphere's intestine wars,
Rain's fountain-head, the magazine of hail ;
Above the northern nests of feather 'd snows,

* Night the Eighth.



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NIGHT IX. 145

The brew of thunders, and the flaming forge
That forms the crooked lightning ; T)ove the owes
Where infant tempests wait their growing wings.
And tune their tender voices to that roar,
Which soon perhaps shall shake a guilty world ;
Above misconstru'd omens of the iky,
Far-travell'd comets' calculated blase,
Elance thy thought, and think of more than man.
Thy soul, till now contracted, wkherM, shrunk,
Blighted by blasts of earth's unwholsome air,
Will blossom here ; spread all her faculties
To these bright ardours ; ev'ry power unsold,
And rise into sublimities of thought.
Stars teach as well as shine. At Nature's birth
Thus their commission raiy— « Be kind to man."
Where art thou poor benighted traveller 1
The stars will light the*, tho' the moon should fail.
Where art thou, more benighted ! more astray t
In ways immortal ? the stars will call thee hack,
And, if obey'd their counsel, -set thee right.

This prospect vast, what is it ?— Weigh'd aright '
Tis Nature's system of divinity, %

And ev'ry student of the night inspires.
'Tis elder Scripture, writ by God's own hand ;
Scripture authentic I uncorrupt by man.
Lorenzo ! with my radius (the rich gift-

VOL. II. N



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146 THE CONSOLATION.

Of thought nocturnal !) I'll point out to thee
Its various lessons ; some that may surprise
An unadept in mysteries of Night ;
Little, perhaps, expected in her school,
Nor thought to grow on planet or on star.
Bulls, lions, scorpions, monsters, here we feign,
Ourselves more monstrous, not to see what here
Exists indeed,— a lecture to mankind.

What read we here ? — th* existence of a God ?
Yes ; and of other beings man above ;
Natives of ether ! sons of higher climes !
And, what may move Lorenzo's wonder more,
Eternity is written in the skies.
And whose eternity ? Lorenzo ! thine }
Mankind's eternity. Nor faith alone,
Virtue grows here ; here springs the sov'reign cure
Of 'almost ev'ry vice, but chiefly thine,
Wrath, pride, ambition, and impure desire,

Lorenzo ! thou canst wake at midnight too,
Thb' not on morals bent. Ambition, Pleasure !
Those tyrants I for thee so lately foug^rt*,
.Afford their harassed slaves but slender rest.
Thou, to whom midnight is immoral noon, *

And the sun's noontide blaze prime dawn of day :
Not by thy climate, but capricious crime,

• Nights tfje Eighth.



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NIGHT I& U7

Commencing one of our antipodes \,
In thy nocturnal rove one moment halt,
Twixt stage and stage of riot and cabal.
And lift thine eye, (if bold an eye to lift,
If bold to meet the face of injur'd heaven)
To yonder stars : for other ends they shine
Than to light revellers from shame to shame,


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Online LibraryEdward YoungPoetical works of the Rev. Dr. Edward Young [microform] : with the life of the author → online text (page 7 of 11)