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THE VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES:
An Elegr, occasioned by the untimely DEATH of a Scots
BY MR JOHN TAIT.
Quis desiderio sit pudor, aut modus,
Vocem cum cithara dedit.
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
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
Printed by CHAPMAN & LANG, Trongate, Glasgow,