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Whose pillars swell 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 senseless of the fame they give.
Ha! while I gaze, pale Cynthia fades,
The bursting earth unveils the shades !
All slow, and wan, and wrapp'd 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 fun’ral yew,
That bathes the charnel-bouse with dew,
Methinks I hear a voice begin ;
(Ye ravens, cease your croaking din,
Ye tolling clocks, no time resound
O’er the long lake and midnight ground ;)
It sends a peal of hollow groans,
Thus speaking from among the bones.
“ When men my sithe and darts supply,
How great a king of fears am I !
They view me like the last of things :
They make, and then they dread, my stings..
Fools ! if you less provoke your fears,
No more iny spectre-form appears.
Death's but a path that must be trod,
If man would ever pass to God :
A port of calms, a state of ease
From the rough rage of swelling seas."
“ Why then thy flowing sable stoles,
Deep pendent cypress, mourning poles,
Loose scarfs to fall athwart thy weeds,
Long palls, drawn herses, cover'd steeds,
And plumes of black, that as they tread,
Nod o'er the scutcheons of the dead ?"
“ Nor can the parted body know,
Nor wants the soul, these forms of wo :
As men who long in prison dwell,
With lamps that glimmer round the cell,
Whene'er their suff’ring years are run,
Spring forth to greet the glitt’ring sun ;
Such joy, tho' far transcending sense,
Have pious souls at parting hence
On earth, and in the body plac'd,
A few and evil years they waste ;
But when their chains are cast aside,
See the glad scene unfolding wide,
Clap the glad wing, and tow'r away,
And mingle with the blaze of day."
In every condition of life, praise is due to the Creator.
Praise to God, immortal praise,
For the love that crowns our days ;
Bounteous source of ev'ry 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 gen'rous olive's use.
Flocks that whiten all the plain ;
Yellow sheaves of ripen'd grain ;
Clouds that drop their fatt'ning dews;
Suns that temp'rate warmth diffuse;.
All that spring, with bounteous hand,
Scatters o'er the smiling land;
All that lib'ral autumn pours,
From her rich o'erflowing stores :
These to thee, my God, we owe,
Source from whence all blessings flow;
And for these my soul shall raise
Grateful vows, and solemn praise.
Yet, should rising whirlwinds tear
From its stem the rip'ning ear;
Should the fig-tree's blasted shoot
Drop her green, untimely fruit ;
Should the vine put forth no more,
Nor the olive yield her store ;
Though the sick’ning flocks should fall,
And the herds desert the stall;
Should thine alter'd hand restrain
The early and the latter rain ;
Blast each op'ning bud of joy,
And the rising year destroy ;
Yet, to thee my soul shall raise
Grateful vows and solemn praise ;
And, when ev'ry blessing's flown,
Love thee--for thyself alone... BARBAULD.
Folly of human pursuits. Blest be that hand divine, which gently laid My heart at rest beneath this humble shed ! The world's a stately bark, on dang'rous seas, With pleasure seen, but boarded at our peril. Here, on a single plank, thrown safe ashore, I hear the tumult of the distant throng, As that of seas remote, or dying storms; And meditate on scenes more silent still ; Pursue my theme, and fight the fear of death. : Here, like a shepherd, gazing from bis hut, Touching his reed, or leaning on his staff, Eager ambition's fiery chase I see. I see the circling hunt of noisy men Burst law's enclosure, leap the mounds of right,, Pursuing and pursu'd, each other's prey ; As wolves, for rapine ; as the fox, for wiles ; Till death, that mighty hunter, earths them all.
Why all this toil for triumphs of an hour ? What tho' we wade in wealth, or soar in fame, Earth's highest station ends in, “ here he lies:' . . And dust to dust” concludes her noblest soda. If this song lives, posterity shall knowOne, tho' in Britain born, with courtiers bred, Who thought e'en ġold might come a day too late ; Nor on his subtle death-bed plann's 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 closer oling, Still more enamour'd of this wretched soil ? Shall our pale, wither'd hands be still stretch'd out,
Trembling, at once, with eagerness and age ?
With av’rice, and convulsions grasping hard ?
Grasping at air! for what has earth beside ?
Man wants but little ; nor that little long :
How soon must he resign his very dust,
Which frugal nature lent him for an hour!
Years unexperienc'd rush on num'rous 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 such numbers, numbers too of such,
Firmer in health, and greener in their age,
And stricter on their guard, and fitter far
To play life's subtle game, I scarce believe
I still survive; and am I fond of life,
Who scarce can think it possible I live ?
Alive by miracle ! if still alive, I
Who long have bury'd what gives life to live,
Firmness of nerve, and energy of thought.
Life's lee is not more shallow, thar 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!
Whose all-prolific beam late call’d me forth
From darkness, teening darkness, where I lay
The worm's inferior, and, in rank, beneath
The dust I tread on, high to bear my brow,
To drink the spirit of the golden day,
And triumph in existence, 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 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 trembling 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 stillness through my soul
As by a charm, the waves of grief subside;
Impetuous passion stops her headlong tide.
At thy felt presence all emotions cease,
And my hush'd spirit finds a sudden peace;
Till ev'ry worldly thought within me dies,
And earth's gay pageants vanish from my eyes
Till all my sense is lost in infinite,
And one vast object fills my aching sight.
But soon, alas! this holy calm is broke ;
My soul submits to wear her wonted yoke;
With shackled pinions strives to soar in vain,
And mingles with the dross of earth again.
But ne, our gracious Master, kind as just,
Knowing our frame, remembers man is dust.
His spirit, ever brooding o’er our mind,
Sees the first wish to better hopes inclin'd;
Marks the young dawn of ev'ry virtuous aim,
And fans the smoking flax into a flame.
His ears are open to the softest cry,
His grace descends to meet the lifted eye;
He reads th= language of a silent tear,
And sighs are incense from a heart sincere.
Such are the vows, the sacrifice give;
Accept the vow, and bid the suppliant live :
From each terrestrial bondage set me free;
Still ev'ry wish that centres not in thee;
Bid my fond hopes, my vain disquiets cease,
And point my path to everlasting peace.
If the soft hand of winning pleasure leads
By living waters, and thro' How'ry meads,
When all is smiling, tranquil and serene,
And vernal beauty paints the fatt'ring scene,
Oh! teach me to elude each latent snare,
And whisper to my sliding heart-Beware!
With caution let me hear the Syren's voice,
And doubtful, with a trembling heart, rejoice.