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Yes,” said I, “ shall the immunities to which
She doth lay claim, the precepts she bestows,
Establish sounder titles of esteem
For Her, who (all too timid and reserved
For onset, for resistance too inert,
Too weak for suffering, and for hope too tame)
Did place, in flowery Gardens curtained round
With world-excluding groves, the Brotherhood
Of soft Epicureans, taught—if they
The ends of being would secure, and win
The crown of wisdom--to yield up their souls
To a voluptuous unconcern, preferring
Tranquillity to all things. Or is She,”
I cried, “ more worthy of regard, the Power,
Who, for the sake of sterner quiet, closed
The Stoic's heart against the vain approach
Of admiration, and all sense of joy?"

His Countenance gave notice that my zeal Accorded little with his present mind; I ceased, and he resumed.—“ Ah! gentle Sir, Slight, if you will, the means ; but spare to slight The end of those, who did, by system, rank,

As the prime object of a wise Man's aim,
Security from shock of accident,
Release from fear; and cherished peaceful days
For their own sakes, as mortal life's chief good,
And only reasonable felicity.
What motive drew, what impulse, I would ask,
Through a long course of later

The Hermit to his Cell in forest wide;
Or what detained him, till his closing eyes
Took their last farewell of the sun and stars,
Fast anchored in the desart?-Not alone
Dread of the persecuting sword—remorse,
Wrongs unredressed, or insults unavenged
And unavengable, defeated pride,
Prosperity subverted, maddening want,
Friendship betrayed, affection unreturned,
Love with despair, or grief in agony :
Not always from intolerable pangs
He fled; but, compassed round by pleasure, sighed
For independent happiness ; craving peace,
The central feeling of all happiness,
Not as a refuge from distress or pain,
A breathing-time, vacation, or a truce,



But for its absolute self; a life of
Stability without regret or fear;
That hath been, is, and shall be evermore!
Such the reward he sought; and wore out Life,
There, where on few external things his heart
Was set, and those his own; or, if not his,
Subsisting under Nature's steadfast law.

What other yearning was the master tie Of the monastic Brotherhood; upon Rock Aerial, or in green secluded Vale, One after one, collected from afar, An undissolving Fellowship?—What but this, The universal instinct of repose, The longing for confirmed tranquillity, Inward and outward ; humble, yet sublime:The life where hope and memory are as one; Earth quiet and unchanged; the human Soul Consistent in self-rule; and heaven revealed To meditation, in that quietness! Such was their scheme:-thrice happy he who gained The end proposed! And,—though the same were missed By multitudes, perhaps obtained by none,

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They, for the attempt, and for the pains employed,
Do, in my present censure, stand redeemed
From the unqualified disdain, that once
Would have been cast upon them, by my Voice
Delivering its decisions from the seat
Of forward Youth :—that scruples not to solve
Doubts, and determine questions, by the rules
Of inexperienced judgment, ever prone
To overweening faith ; and is inflamed,
By courage, to demand from real life
The test of act and suffering—to provoke
Hostility, how dreadful when it comes,
Whether affliction be the foe, or guilt !

A Child of earth, I rested, in that stage Of my past course to which these thoughts advert, Upon earth's native energies; forgetting That mine was a condition which required Nor energy, nor fortitude-a calm Without vicissitude; which, if the like Had been presented to my view elsewhere, I might have even been tempted to despise. But that which was serene was also bright;

Enlivened happiness with joy o'erflowing,
With joy, and—oh! that memory should survive
To speak the word—with rapture! Nature's boon,
Life's genuine inspiration, happiness
Above what rules can teach, or fancy feign;
Abused, as all possessions are abused
That are not prized according to their worth.
And yet, what worth? what good is given to Men,
More solid than the gilded clouds of heaven,
What joy more lasting than a vernal flower?
None! 'tis the general plaint of human kind
In solitude, and mutually addressed
From each to all, for wisdom's sake :—This truth
The Priest announces from his holy seat;
And, crowned with garlands in the summer grove,
The Poet fits it to his pensive Lyre.
Yet, ere that final resting-place be gained,
Sharp contradictions hourly shall arise
To cross the way; and we, perchance, by doom
Of this same life, shall be compelled to grieve
That the prosperities of love and joy
Should be permitted, oft-times, to endure
So long, and be at once cast down for ever.

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