« PreviousContinue »
Then thou before was something less than man. Has thy new post betray'd thee into pride? That treach'rous pride betrays thy dignity; That pride defames humanity, and calls 5 The being mean, which staffs or strings can raise. High worth is elevated place: 'Tis mòre; It makes the post stand candidate for thee; Makes more than monarchs, makes an honest màn; Though no exchequer it commands, 'tis wèalth; 10 And though it wears no ríbband, 'tis renòwn; Renown, that would not quit thee, though disgràc'd, Nor leave thee pendant on a master's smile. Other ambition nature interdicts;
Nature proclaims it most absurd in man, 15 By pointing at his origin, and end;
Milk, and a swathe, at first his whole demand;
Ambition! pow'rful source of good and ill!
It turns a curse; it is our chàin, and scourge,
In spite of all the truths the muse has sung, 30 Ne'er to be priz'd enough! enough revolv'd!
Are there who wrap the world so close about them,
Till, stumbling at a straw, in their career,
35 Headlong they plunge, where end both dance and song. Are there on earth,—(let me not call them men,)
Who lodge a soul immortal in their breasts;
40 When rocks shall melt, and mountains vanish, these
Shall know their treasure; treasure, then, no more. Are there, (still more amazing!) who resist The rising thought? Who smother, in its birth, The glorious truth? Who struggle to be brutes? 5 Who through this bosom-barrier burst their way, And, with revers'd ambition, strive to sink? Who labour downwards, through th' opposing pow'r Of instinct, reason, and the world against them, To dismal hopes, and shelter in the shock 10 Of endless night? night darker than the grave's! Who fight the proofs of immortality? With horrid zeal, and execrable arts,
Work all their energies, level their black fires,
He ceas'd; and next him Moloch, scepter'd king Stood up; the strongest and fiercest Spirit That fought in Heav'n, now fiercer by despair: 20 His trust was with th' Eternal to be deem'd Equal in strength, and rather than be less, Car'd not to be at all; with that care lost Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse, He reck'd not, and these words thereafter spake My sentence is for open war; of wiles, More unexpert, I boast not; them let those Contrive who need, or when they need, not now; For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest, Millions that stand in arms, and, longing wait 30 The signal to ascend, sit ling'ring here
Heav'n's fugitives, and for their dwelling place
O'er heav'n's high tow'rs to force resistless way,
40 Infernal thunder, and for lightning, see
Black fire and horror, shot with equal rage
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
Fear to be worse destroy'd. What can be worse 20 Than to dwell hère, driv'n out from bliss condemn'd In this abhorred deep to utter woe: Where pain of unextinguishable fire Must exercise us without hope of end The vassals of his anger, when the scourge 25 Inexorable, and the torturing hour,
Calls us to penance? More destroy'd than thus,
I should be much for open war, O peers!
As not behind in hate, if what was urg'd,
Encamp their legions, or, with obscure wing,
And that must end us, that must be our cure,
In the wide womb of uncreated night,
-Aside the Devil turn'd
For envy, yet with jealous leer malign Ey'd them askance, and to himself thus plain'd. "Sight hateful, sight tormenting! thus these two 40 Imparadis'd in one another's arms,
The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill
Of bliss on bliss; while I to Hèll am thrust,
From their own mouths: all is not theirs it seems;
Their ruin! Hence I will excite their minds
They taste and die; what likelier can ensue?
Or in thick shade retir'd, from him to draw
Short pleasures for LONG WOES.. are to succeed." 30 () So saying, his proud step he scornful turn'd, But with sly circumspection, and began,
Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale his
Page 27. bottom. Difference between the common and the intensive inflection.
I place this here, rather than under Inflections, because, intensive slide so often stands connected with emphasis. The difficulty to be avoided may be seen sufficiently in an example or two. There is a general tendency to make the slide of the voice as great in degree, when there is little stress, as when there is much; whereas, in the former case, the slide should be gentle, and sometimes hardly perceptible.