"Our freedom chain'd; quite wingless our desire; / In sense dark-prison'd all that ought to soar / Prone to the centre; crawling in the dust; / Dismounted every great and glorious aim; / Embruted every faculty divine; / Heart-buried in the rubbish of the world."
— Young, Edward (bap. 1683, d. 1765)
You know him: he is near you: point him out:
Shall I see glories beaming from his brow,
Or trace his footsteps by the rising flowers?
Your golden wings, now hovering o'er him, shed
Protection; now are waving in applause
To that blest Son of Foresight! Lord of Fate!
That awful Independent on To-morrow!
Whose work is done; who triumphs in the past;
Whose yesterdays look backward with a smile;
Nor, like the Parthian, wound him as they fly;
That common, but opprobrious lot! Past hours,
If not by guilt, yet wound us by their flight,
If folly bounds our prospect by the grave,
All feeling of futurity benumb'd;
All god-like passion for eternals quench'd;
All relish of realities expired;
Renounced all correspondence with the skies;
Our freedom chain'd; quite wingless our desire;
In sense dark-prison'd all that ought to soar;
Prone to the centre; crawling in the dust;
Dismounted every great and glorious aim;
Embruted every faculty divine;
Heart-buried in the rubbish of the world:
The world, that gulf of souls, immortal souls,
Souls elevate, angelic, wing'd with fire
To reach the distant skies, and triumph there
On thrones, which shall not mourn their masters changed;
Though we from earth, ethereal they that fell.
Such veneration due, O man, to man.
(ll. 325-354, pp. 59-60 in CUP edition)
Edward Young, Night the Second. On Time, Death, Friendship. Humbly Inscrib'd to the Right Honourable The Earl of Wilmington (London: Printed for R. Dodsley, 1742).
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).