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A night-piece on death.
By the blue taper's trembling light,
No more I walte the wakeful night,
Intent with endless view to pore
The schoolmen and the fages o'er :
Their books from wisdom widely stray,
Or point at best the longest way.
l’li seek a readier path, and go
Where wisdom's surely taught below.
How deep yon azure dyes the sky !
Where orbs of gold unnumber'd lie,
While thro' their ranks in silver pride
The nether crescent seems to glide.
The flumbering breeze forgets to breathe,
The lake is smooth and clear beneath,
Where once again the spangled show
Descends to meet our eyes below.
The grounds which on the right afpire,
In dimness from the view retire :
The left prefents a place of graves,
Whole wall the filent water laves.
That steeple guides thy doubtful light
Among the livid gleams of night;
There pass with melancholy state
By all the folemn heaps of fate,
And think, as foftly-fad you tread
Abuve the venerable dead,
“ Time was, like thee, they life poffeft,
And time shall be, that thou shalt rest."
Those graves with bending olier bound, That nameless heave the crumbled ground, Quick to the glancing thought disclose Where toil and poverty repose. The flat smooth tones that bear a name, The chiffel's slender help to fame ; (Which, ere our set of friends decay, T'heir frequent steps may wear away ;) A middle race of mortals own, Men, half ambitious, all unknown. The marble tombs that rise on high, Whose dead in vaulted arches lie, Whole pillars (well with sculptur'd stones, Arms, angels, epitaphs, and bones,
These (all the poor remains of state)
Adorn the rich or praise the great ;
Who while on earth in fame they live,
Are fenfeless of the fame they give.
Ha! while I gaze, pale Cynthia fades,
The bursting earth unveils the shades !
All now, and wan, and wrapt with shrouds,
They rise in visionary crowds,
And all with sober accent cry,
“ Think, mortal, what it is to die."
Now from yon black and funeral yew,
That bathes the charnel-house with dew,
Methinks I hear a voice begin ;
(Ye ravens, cease your croaking din,
Ye tolling clocks, no time refound
O'er the long lake and midnight ground;}
It sends a peal of hollow groans,
Thus speaking from among the bones.
“ When men my scythe and darts fupply, How great a king of fears am 1! They view me like the last of things : They make, and then they dread my fings. Fools ! if you lels provoke your fears, No more my fpectre-form appears. Death's but a path that must be trod, If man would ever pass to God :
of calms, a state of case From the rough rage of swelling feas.
“ Why then thy flowing fable stoles,
Deep pendent cypress, mourning poles,
Loole scarfs to fall athwart thy weeds,
Long palls, drawn herles, cover'd steeds,
And plumes of black, that as they tread,
Nod o'er the fcutcheons of the dead?
“ Nor can the parted body know,
Nor wants the foul, these forms of wo:
As men, who long in prison dwell,
With lamps that glimmer round the cell,
Whene'er their suffering years are run,
Spring forth to greet the glitt'ring lun;
Such joy, though far transcending sense,
Have pious souls at parting hence,
On earth and in the body plac'd,
A few, and evil years they watte;
But when their chains are cast afide,
See the glad scene unfolding wide,
Clap the glad wing, and tower away,
And mingle with the blaze of day,"
In every condition of life, praise is due to the Creator,
PRAISE to God, immortal praile,
For the love that crowns our days ;
Bounteous Source of every joy,
Let thy praise our tongues employ :
For the blessings of the field,
For the stores the gardens yield,
For the vine's exalted juice,
For the generous olive's use.
Flocks that whiten all the plain ;
Yellow fheaves of ripen'd grain ;
Clouds that drop their faltning dews ;
Suns that temperatę warmth diffufe ;
All that spring, with bounteous hand,
Scatters o'er the smiling land;
All that liberal autumn pours,
From her rich o’erflowing stores :
These to thee, my God, we owe,
Source from whence all blellings flow :
And for there my foul shall raise
Grateful vows, and folemn praise.
Yet, should rifing whirlwinds tear
From its stem the ripening ear ;
Should the hig-tree's blasted shoot
Drop her green, untimely fruit :
Should the vine put forth no more,
Nor the olive yield her fore ;
Though the fickering flocks should fall,
And the herds defert the all ;
Should thine alter'd hand restrain
The early and the latter rain ;
Blast each opening bud of joy,
And the rising year destroy ;
Yet, to thee my soul shall raise
Grateful vows and folemn praise ;
And, when every blefling's flown,
Love thee--for thyself alone.
Folly of human pursuits.
Blest be that hand divine, which gently laid
My heart at rest beneath this humble shed !
The world's a lately barque, on dangerous feas,
With pleasure feen, but boarded at our peril.
Here on a single plank, thrown safe afhore,
I hear the tumult of the distant chrong,
As that of feas remote, or dying forms ;
And meditate on scenes more filent still ;
Pursue my theme, and fight the fear of death."
Here, like a shepherd, gazing from his hut,
Touching his reed, or leaning on his staff,
Eager ambition's fiery chale I see.
I fee the circling hunt of noisy men
Burst law's enclofure, leap the mounds of right,
Pursuing and purfu'd, each other's prey;
As wolves, for rapine ; as the fox, for wiles ;
Tili death, that mighty hunter, earths them all.
Why all this toil for triumphs of an hour ?
What though we wade in wealth, or foar in fame,
Earth's highest station ends in, “ here he lies :''
And “ dutt to dust” concludes her noblest fung.
If this fong lives, pofterity fhall know
One, though in Britain born, with courtiers bred,
Who thought e'en gold might come a day too late ;
Nor on his subtle death-bed plann'd his scheme
For future vacancies in church or state ;
Some avocation deeming it to die ;
Unbit by rage canine of dying rich;
Guilt's blunder ! and the loudest laugh of hell.
O my coevals ! remnant of yourselves !
Poor human ruins, tott'ring o'er the grave !
Shall we, shall aged men, like aged trees,
Strike deeper their vile root, and clofer cling,
Still more enamour'd of this wretched soil ?
Shall our pale wither'd hands be itill stretch'd out,
Trembling at once with eagerness and age ?
With av'rice, and convulsions grasping hard ?
Grasping at air ! for what has earth befide?
Man wants but little, nor that little long
How foon must he resign his very duft,
Which frugal nature lent him for an hour !
Years unexperienc'd rush on numerous ills
And soon as man, expert from time, has found
The key of life, it opes the gates of death
When in this vale of years I backward look,
And miss fuch numbers, numbers too of such,
Firmer in health and greener in their age,
And stricter on theii guard, and fitter far
To play life's fubtle game. I scarce beliere
I fill survive : and am I fund of life,
Who scarce can think it pullible I live?
Alive by miracle ! if ftill alive,
Who long have buried what gives life to live,
Firminets of nerve and energy of thought.
Lite's lee is not more shallow, than impure,
And vapid : sense and reason show the door,
Call for my bier, and point me to the dust.
O thou great Arbiter of life and death!
Nature's immortal, immaterial Sun !
Whole all-prolific beam late call’d me forth
From darkness, teen ing darkness, where I lay
The worm's inferior, and, in rank, beneath
The doit I tread on, high to bear niy brow,
To drink the spirit of the golden day,
And triumph in exiltence ; and couldst know
No motive, but my bliss ; with Abraham's joy,
Thy call I follow to the land unknown;
I trust in thee, and know in whom I trust :
Or life, or death, is equal; neither weighs ;
All weight in this-0 let me live to thee ! YOUNG-
An address to the Deity.
God of my life, and Author of my days !
Permit my feeble voice to lisp thy praise ;
And !rembling take upon a mortal tongue
That hallow'd name to harps of seraphs sung ;
Yet here the brightest seraphs could no more
Than hide their faces, tremble, and adore.
Worms, angels, men, in every different sphere,
Are equal all, for all are nothing here.
All nature faints beneath the mighty name,
Which nature's works, thro' all her parts, proclaim.
I feel that name my inmost thoughts control,
And breathe an awful (tillness through my soul :
As by a charm, the waves of grief subside ;
Impetuous paflion stops her headlong tide.