"A soul immortal, spending all her fires, / Wasting her strength in strenuous idleness, / Thrown into tumult, raptured, or alarm'd, / At aught this scene can threaten, or indulge, / Resembles ocean into tempest wrought, / To waft a feather, or to drown a fly."
— Young, Edward (bap. 1683, d. 1765)
Inters celestial hopes without one sigh;
Prisoner of earth, and pent beneath the moon,
Here pinions all his wishes; wing'd by Heaven
To fly at infinite; and reach it there
Where seraphs gather immortality,
On life's fair tree, fast by the throne of God.
What golden joys ambrosial clustering glow
In His full beam, and ripen for the just,
Where momentary ages are no more!
Where Time, and Pain, and Chance, and Death expire!
And is it in the flight of threescore years
To push eternity from human thought,
And smother souls immortal in the dust?
A soul immortal, spending all her fires,
Wasting her strength in strenuous idleness,
Thrown into tumult, raptured, or alarm'd,
At aught this scene can threaten, or indulge,
Resembles ocean into tempest wrought,
To waft a feather, or to drown a fly.
(ll. 135-154, pp. 40-1 in CUP edition)
See Edward Young, The Complaint: Or, Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, and Immortality (London: Printed for R. Dodsley, 1742). <Link to 2nd edition in Google Books>
Text from The Complete Works, Poetry and Prose, of the Rev. Edward Young, LL.D., 2 vols. (London: William Tegg, 1854). <Link to Google Books> Reading Edward Young, Night Thoughts, ed. Stephen Cornford (New York: Cambridge UP, 1989).