« VorigeDoorgaan »
Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield, The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
Theii furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke ; To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame, How jocund did they drive their team afield ! Or heap the shrine of luxury and pride How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy With incense kindled at the muse's flame. stroke !
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife, Let not ambition inock their useful toil,
Their sober wishes never learned to stray; Their homely joys, and destiny obscure; Along the cool sequestered vale of life Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile They kept the noiseless tenor of their way. The short and simple annals of the poor.
Yet even these bones from insult to protect, The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture Awaits alike the inevitable hour.
decked, The paths of glory lead but to the grave. Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
Their name, their years, spelt by th' unlettered If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
muse, Where, through the long-drawn aisle and fretted
The place of fame and elegy supply ; vault,
And many a holy text around she strews, The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
That teach the rustic moralist to die. ('an storied urn or animated bust
For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey, Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
This pleasing anxious being e'er resigned, ('an honor's voice provoke the silent dust, Or flattery soothe the dull, cold ear of death? Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing lingering look bebine ? Perhaps in this neglecied spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire; On some fond breast the parting soul relies, Hands, that the rod of empire might have swayed,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires ; Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre :
E'en from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires. But knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll; For thee, who, mindful of th’ unhonored dead, Chill penury repressed their noble rage,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate, And froze the genial current of the soul. If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate, Full many a gein of purest ray serene
The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear; Haply some hoary-headed swain may say, Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
“Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn And waste its sweetness on the desert air. Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn. Some village Hampden, that, with dauntless breast,
“There at the foot of yonder nodding beech, The little tryant of his fields withstood,
That wreathes its old, fantastic roots so high, Some mute, inglorious Milton here may rest, His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood. And pore upon the brook that babbles by.
Th' applause of listening senates to command, “Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise, Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove; To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
Now drooping, woeful-wan, like one forlorn, And read their history in a nation's eyes,
Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless
love. Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed alone Their growiog virtues, but their crimes con “One morn I missed him on the customed hill, fined ;
Along the heath, and near his favorite tree; Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne, Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind, Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;
- The next, with dirges due in sad array, Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again ; Slow through the church-way path we saw him And, lost each human trace, surrendering up borne,
Thine individual being, shalt thou go Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay To mix forever with the elements; Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.” To be a brother to the insensible rock,
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain TPE EPITAPH.
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould. Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
Yet not to thine eternal resting place A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown;
Shalt thou retire alone, — nor couldst thon wish Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down And Melancholy marked him for her own.
With patriarchs of the infant world, - with
kings, Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere, Heaven did a recompense as largely send ;
The powerful of the earth, — the wise, the good,
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
. The hills,
Rock-ribbed, and ancient as the sun ; the vales
The venerable woods ; rivers that move
In majesty, and the complaining brooks, (There they alike in trembling hope repose)
That make the meadows green ; and, poured The bosom of his Father and his God.
Of the great tomb of man! The golden sun, INSCRIPTION ON MELROSE ABBEY. The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
Are shining on the sad abodes of death, The earth goes on the earth glittering in gold,
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness,
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound
Save his own dashings, - yet the dead are there !
And millions in those solitudes, since first To him who, in the love of Nature, holds The flight of years began, have laid them down Communion with her visible forms, she speaks In their last sleep, — the dead reign there alone! A various language : for his gayer hours So shalt thou rest; and what if thou withdraw She has a voice of gladness, and a smile In silence from the living, and no friend And eloquence of beauty ; and she glides Take note of thy departure? All that breathe Into his darker musings with a mild
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh And healing sympathy, that steals away When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts Plod on, and each one, as before, will chase of the last bitter hour come like a blight His favorite phantom ; yet all these shall leave Over thy spirit, and sad images
Their mirth and their employments, and shall Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, And breathless darkness, and the narrow house, And make their bed with thee. As the long train Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart, Of ages glide away, the sons of men Go forth under the open sky, and list
The youth in life's green spring, and he who goes To Nature's teachings, while from all around - In the full strength of years, matron and maid, Earth and her waters, and the depths of air And the sweet babe, and the gray-headed man Comes a still voice : -- Yet a few days, and thee Shall, one by one, be gathered to thy side The all-beholding sun shall see no more By those who in their turn shall follow them. In all his course ; nor yet in the cold ground, Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears, So live, that when thy summons comes to join Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist The innumerable caravan that moves Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall To the pale realms of shade, where each shall take claim
His chaniber in the silent halls of death,
That joy and grief, and hope and fear,
Alternate triumphed in his breast : His bliss and woe - a smile, a tear !
- Oblivion hides the rest. The bounding pulse, the languid limb,
The changing spirit's rise and fall,
For these are felt by all.
Enjoyed, — but his delights are fled ;
And foes, - his foes are dead.
Hath lost in its unconscious womb :
Her beauty from the tomb.
Encountered all that troubles thee;
He is — what thou shalt be.
The rolling seasons, day and night,
Sun, moon, and stars, the earth and main, Erewhile his portion, life and light,
To him exist in vain.
The clouds and sunbeams, o'er his eye
That once their shades and glory threw, Have left in yonder silent sky
No vestige where they few.
Their ruins, since the world began,
Some lie beneath the churchyard stone,
And some before the speaker. School and Schoolfellows.
W. M. PRAED.
One, that was a woman, sir ; but, rest her soul, she's dead. Hamlet, Act v. Sc. I.
How fast has brother followed brother,
WORDSWORTH. The slender debt to nature's quickly paid, Discharged, perchance, with greater ease than
made. Emblems, Book ii. 13.
With mortal crisis doth portend
Hudibras, Part i. Cant iii.
This fell sergeant, death,
We cannot hold mortality's strong hand.
King John, Activ. Sc.2.
Happy they !
Don Juan, Cant. iv. Hark! to the hurried question of despair : “Where is my child ?" an echo answers,
* Where?” Bride of Abydos, Cant. ii.
BYRON. Oh! when a Mother meets on high
The Babe she lost in infancy,
The day of woe, the watchful night,
An over-payment of delight ?
R. SOUTHEY. What, all my pretty chickens, and their dam, At one fell swoop ?
Macbeth, activ. Sc. 3.
A Scene on the Banks of the Hudson. W. C. BRYANT.
An untimely grave.
On the Duke of Buckingham.
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, Unhouseled, disappointed, unaneled ;
It seems to me most strange that men should No reckoning made, but sent to my account
fear ; With all my imperfections on my head.
Seeing that death, a necessary end, Hamlet, Act i. Sc. I.
SHAKESPEARE. | Will come when it will come.
Julius Cæsar, Act ii. Sc. 2.
DEATH – CONVENTIONAL AND NATURAL.
Hark! from the tombs a doleful sound. Night Thoughts, Night ii.
DR. E. YOUNG.
A Funeral Thought, Book ii. Hymn 63.
Whatever crazy sorrow saith,
| Has ever truly longed for death. When words are scarce, they're seldom spent in Two Voices.
vain ; For they breathe truth that breathe their words
I fed, and cried out DEATH!
Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sighed in pain. Richard 11., Ac ii. Sc. 1,
From all her caves, and back resounded DEATH.
Before mine eyes in opposition sits
Grim Death, my son and foe.
Imagination's fool, and error's wretch, Don Juan, Canto xiv.
BYRON. | Man makes a death which nature never made ;
Then on the point of his own fancy falls ; Let no man fear to die ; we love to sleep all, And feels a thousand deaths, in fearing one. And death is but the sounder sleep.
DR. E. YOUNG. Humorous Lieutenant.
So mayst thou live, till like ripe fruit thou drop Sleep is a death ; ( make me try
Into thy mother's lap. 3y sleeping what it is to die,
Paradise Lost, Book xi.
... nothing can we call our own but death, Disturb man's rest, Cato knows neither of them; And that small model of the barren earth Indifferent in his choice, to sleep or die.
Which serves as paste and cover to our bones. Cato.
For heaven's sake, let us sit upon the ground,
The Grave, dread thing! I fear to die ...
| Men shiver when thou 'rt named ; Nature, apFor oh! it goes against the mind of man
palled, To be turned out from its warın wonted home,
Shakes off her wonted firmness. Ere yet one rent admits the winter's chill.
R. BLAIR Rayner.
Cruel as death, and hungry as the grave. The sense of death is most in apprehension ;
The Seasons : Winter.
THOMSON. And the poor beetle, that we tread upon, In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great
Brave Percy, fare thee well! As when a giant dies.
Ill-weaned ambition, how much art thou shrunk: Measure for Measure, Act iii. Sc. 1. SHAKESPEARE. When that this body did contain a spirit,
A kingdom for it was too small a bound;
SHAKESPEARE. I Henry VI., Part I. Act v. Sc. 4.