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Resignation Pt 2

Edward Young 1681 (Upham) – 1765 (Welwyn)

But what in either sex, beyond
  All parts, our glory crowns?
  'In ruffling seasons to be calm,
  And smile, when fortune frowns.'

  Heaven's choice is safer than our own;
  Of ages past inquire,
  What the most formidable fate?
  'To have our own desire.'

  If, in your wrath, the worst of foes
  You wish extremely ill;
  Expose him to the thunder's stroke,
  Or that of his own will.

  What numbers, rushing down the steep
  Of inclination strong,
  Have perish'd in their ardent wish!
  Wish ardent, ever wrong!

  'Tis resignation's full reverse,
  Most wrong, as it implies
  Error most fatal in our choice,
  Detachment from the skies.

  By closing with the skies, we make
  Omnipotence our own;
  That done, how formidable ill's
  Whole army is o'erthrown!

  No longer impotent, and frail,
  Ourselves above we rise:
  We scarce believe ourselves below!
  We trespass on the skies!

  The Lord, the soul, and source of all,
  Whilst man enjoys his ease,
  Is executing human will,
  In earth, and air, and seas;

  Beyond us, what can angels boast?
  Archangels what require?
  Whate'er below, above, is done,
  Is done as-we desire.

  What glory this for man so mean,
  Whose life is but a span!
  This is meridian majesty!
  This, the sublime of man!

  Beyond the boast of pagan song
  My sacred subject shines!
  And for a foil the lustre takes
  Of Rome's exalted lines.

  'All, that the sun surveys, subdued,
  But Cato's mighty mind.'
  How grand! most true; yet far beneath
  The soul of the resign'd:

  To more than kingdoms, more than worlds,
  To passion that gives law;
  Its matchless empire could have kept
  Great Cato's pride in awe;

  That fatal pride, whose cruel point
  Transfix'd his noble breast;
  Far nobler! if his fate sustain'd
  And left to heaven the rest;

  Then he the palm had borne away,
  At distance Caesar thrown;
  Put him off cheaply with the world,
  And made the skies his own.

  What cannot resignation do?
  It wonders can perform;
  That powerful charm, 'Thy will be done,'
  Can lay the loudest storm.

  Come, resignation! then, from fields,
  Where, mounted on the wing,
  A wing of flame, blest martyrs' souls
  Ascended to their king.

  Who is it calls thee? one whose need
  Transcends the common size;
  Who stands in front against a foe
  To which no equal rise:

  In front he stands, the brink he treads
  Of an eternal state;
  How dreadful his appointed post!
  How strongly arm'd by fate:

  His threatening foe! what shadows deep
  O'erwhelm his gloomy brow!
  His dart tremendous! -at fourscore
  My sole asylum, thou!

  Haste, then, O resignation! haste,
  'Tis thine to reconcile
  My foe, and me; at thy approach
  My foe begins to smile:

  O! for that summit of my wish,
  Whilst here I draw my breath,
  That promise of eternal life,
  A glorious smile in death:

  What sight, heaven's azure arch beneath,
  Has most of heaven to boast?
  The man resign'd; at once serene,
  And giving up the ghost.

  At death's arrival they shall smile,
  Who, not in life o'er gay,
  Serious and frequent thought send out
  To meet him on his way:

  My gay coevals! (such there are)
  If happiness is dear;
  Approaching death's alarming day
  Discreetly let us fear:

  The fear of death is truly wise,
  Till wisdom can rise higher;
  And, arm'd with pious fortitude,
  Death dreaded once, desire:

  Grand climacteric vanities
  The vainest will despise;
  Shock'd, when beneath the snow of age
  Man immaturely dies:

  But am not I myself the man?
  No need abroad to roam
  In quest of faults to be chastis'd;
  What cause to blush at home?

  In life's decline, when men relapse
  Into the sports of youth,
  The second child out-fools the first,
  And tempts the lash of truth;

  Shall a mere truant from the grave
  With rival boys engage?
  His trembling voice attempt to sing,
  And ape the poet's rage?

  Here, madam! let me visit one,
  My fault who, partly, shares,
  And tell myself, by telling him,
  What more becomes our years;

  And if your breast with prudent ze
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Edward Young

Edward Young, LVO is the current Deputy Private Secretary to Queen Elizabeth II. more…

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    "Resignation Pt 2" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 25 Sep. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/9920/resignation-pt-2>.

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