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By mortal hand: It merits a divine:
625 Or, gazing by pale lamps on high-born dust, In vaults; thin courts of
unflatter'd kings! Or, at the midnight altar's hallow'd flame. It is religion to proceed: I pauseAnd enter, aw'd, the temple of my theme. 630 Is it his death-bed? No: It is his shrine: Behold him, there, just rising to a god.
The chamber where the good man meets his fate, Is privileg'd beyond the common walk Of virtuous life, quite in the verge of Heav'n. 635 Fly, ye profane! If not, draw near with awe. Receive the blessing, and adore the chance, That threw in this Bethesda your disease; If unrestor'd by this, despair your cure. For, here, resistless demonstration dwells;
640 A death-bed's a detector of the heart. Here tir’d Dissimulation drops her mask, Through life's grimace, that mistress of the scene! Here real, and apparent, are the same. You see the Man; you see his hold on Heav'n; 645 If sound his virtue; as PHILANDER's, sound. Heav'n waits not the last moment; owns her friends On this side death; and points them out to men;
A lecture silent, but of sov’reign pow'r!
650 Whatever farce the boastful hero plays, Virtue alone has majesty in death; And greater still, the more the tyrant frowns. PHILANDER! he severely frown'd on thee. “ No warning giv’n! Unceremonious fate! 655 “ A sudden rush from life's meridian joys! 66 A wrench from all we love! from all we are! “ A restless bed of pain! A plunge opaque
Beyond conjecture! Feeble Nature's dread! “ Strong Reason's shudder at the dark unknown! 660 “ A sun extinguish’d! a just op’ning grave! “ And oh! the last, last; what? (can words express?
Thought reach?) the last, last—silence of a friend!” Where are those horrors,that amazement where, This hideous group of ills (which singly shock) 665 Demands from Man?-I thought him Man till now.
Through Nature's wreck, thro' vanquish'd agonies (Like the stars struggling thro' this midnight gloom), What gleams of joy! what more than human peace! Where, the frail mortal? the poor abject worm? 670 No, not in death, the mortal to be found. His conduct is a legacy for all, Richer than Mammon's for his single heir. His comforters he comforts; great in ruin, With unreluctant grandeur, gives, not yields 675 His soul sublime; and closes with his fate.
How our hearts burnt within us at the scene! Whence, this brave bound o'er limits fix'd to Man? His God sustains him in his final hour!
His final hour brings glory to his God!
680 Man's glory Heav'n vouchsafes to call her own. We gaze; we weep; mixt tears of grief and joy! Amazement strikes! Devotion bursts to flame! Christians adore, and infidels believe.
As some tall tow'r, or lofty mountain's brow, 685 Detains the sun, illustrious from its height; While rising vapours and descending shades, With damps, and darkness, drown the spacious vale; Undamp'd by doubt, undarken’d by despair, Philander thus augustly rears his head, At that black hour, which gen’ral horror sheds On the low level of th' inglorious throng: Sweet Peace, and heav'nly Hope, and humble Joy, Divinely beam on his exalted soul; Destruction gild, and crown him for the skies, 695 With incommunicable lustre bright.
Ignoscenda quidem, scirent si ignoscere manes !
From dreams, where thought in Fancy's maze runs