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THE VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES:

An Elegr, occasioned by the untimely DEATH of a Scots

POET.

BY MR JOHN TAIT.

Quis desiderio sit pudor, aut modus,
Tam cari capitis præcipe lugubres
Cantos, Melpomene: cui liquidam pater

Vocem cum cithara dedit.

Hor.

Dark was the night-and silence reign'd o'er all;

No mirthful sounds urg'd on the ling’ring hour: The sheeted ghost stalk'd ghastly thro' the hall,

And ev'ry breast confess'd chill horror's pow'r: Slumb’ring I lay: I mus’d on human hopes:

“ Vain, vain, I cry'd, are all the hopes we form; “ When winter comes, the sweetest flow'ret drops,

« And oaks themselves must bend before the storm." While thus I spake, a voice assail'd my ear,

'Twas sad—'twas slow-it fill'd my mind with dread! “ Forbear, it cry’d—thy moral lays forbear,

Or change the strain, for FERGUSSON is dead! “ Have we not seen him sporting on these plains?

“ Have we not heard him strike the Muse's lyre? “ Have we not felt the magic of his strains,

“ Which often glow d with fancy's warmest fire? “ Have we not hop'd these strains would long be heard?

“ Have we not told how oft they touch'd the soul? “ And has not Scotia said, her youthful BARD

“ Might spread her fame ev'n to the distant pole? “ But vain, alas! are all the hopes we rais'd; [ooer;

“ Death strikes the blow—they sink-their reign is 6 And these sweet songs, which we so oft have prais'd

“ These mirthful strains shall now be heard no more. « This, this proclaims how vain are all the joys

« Which we so ardently wish to attain; « Since ruthless fate so oft, so soon destroys

« The high-born hopes ev'n of the Muses' train.” I heard no more--The cock, with clarion shrill,

Loudly proclaim'd th' approach of morning ncarThe voice was gone-but yet I heard it stillFor

every note was echo'd back by fear. « Perhaps, I cried, ere yonder rising sun

* Shall sink his glories in the western wave; 6. Perhaps ere then my race too may

be

run, " And I myself laid in the silent grave. 66 Oft then, O mortals ! oft this dreadful truth

“ Should be proclaim'd-for fate is in the sound, * That genius, learning, health and vigorous youth,

“ May, in one day, in death's cold chains be bound

FINIS

Printed by CHAPMAN & LANG, Trongate, Glasgow,

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