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Lead it through various scenes of life and death;
50 Teach rectitude; and fix my
firm resolve Wisdom to wed, and pay her long arrear: Nor let the phial of thy vengeance pour’d On this devoted head, be pour’d in vain.
The bell strikes one-We take no note of time, 55 But from its loss—To give it then a tongue, Is wise in man-As if an angel spoke, I feel the solemn sound. If heard aright, It is the knell of my departed hours: Where are they? With the years beyond the flood. 60 It is the signal that demands dispatch: How much is to be done! My hopes and fears Start up alarm’d, and o'er life's narrow verge Look down-On what? A fathomless abyss; A dread eternity! how surely mine!
65 And can eternity belong to me, Poor pensioner on the bounties of an hour? How poor,
how rich, how abject, how august, How complicate, how wonderful, is Man! How passing wonder He, who made him such! 70 Who center'd in our make such strange extremes! From diff'rent natures marvellously mix’d, Connection exquisite of distant worlds! Distinguish'd link in being's endless chain! Midway from Nothing to the Deity!
75 A beam ethereal, sully'd and absorpt! Though sully'd and dishonour'd still divine! Dim miniature of greatness absolute!
An heir of glory! a frail child of dust!
grave, Legions of angels can't confine me there.
90 'Tis past conjecture; all things rise in proof: While o'er my limbs Sleep's soft dominion spreads, What though my soul fantastic measures trod O'er fairy fields; or mourn'd along the gloom Of pathless woods; or down the craggy steep
95 Hurl'd headlong, swam with pain the mantled pool; Or scal'd the cliff; or danc'd on hollow winds, With antic shapes—wild natives of the brain! Her ceaseless flight, though devious, speaks her nature Of subtler essence than the trodden clod;
100 Active, aërial, tow'ring, unconfin’d, Unfetter'd with her gross companion's fall. Ev’n silent Night proclaims my soul immortal: Ev'n silent Night proclaims eternal day. For human weal, Heav'n husbands all events: 105 Dull Sleep instructs, nor sport vain dreams in vain.
Why then their loss deplore that are not lost? Why wanders wretched thought their tombs around, In infidel distress? Are angels there? Slumber's rak'd up in dust, ethereal fire?
They live! they greatly live! a life on earth
This is the bud of being, the dim dawn,
Yet Man, fool Man! here buries all his thoughts;