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But ah! what means that ruinous roar? why fail These tottering feet ? Earth to its centre feels The Godhead's power, and trembling at his touch Thro' all its pillars, and in every pore, Hurls to the ground, with one convulsive heave, Precipitating domes, and towns, and towers, The work of ages. Crush'd beneath the weight Of general devastation, millions find Oue common grave; not even a widow left To wail her sons: the house, that should protect, Entombs its master; and the faithless plain, If there he flies for help, with sudden yawn Starts from beneath him. Shield me, gracious Heaven, O snatch me from destruction! If this Globe, This solid Globe, which thine own hand hath made So firm and sure, if this my steps betray ; If my own mother Earth, from whence I sprung, Rise up with rage unnatural to devour Her wretched offspring, whither shall I jy? Where look for succour? Where, but up to thee, Almighty Father? Save, O save thy suppliant From horrors such as these! At thy good time Let Death approach ; I reck not-let him but come In genuine form, not with thy vengeance arm’d, Too much for man to bear. O rather lend Thy kindly aid to mitigate his stroke; And at that hour when all aghast I stand (A trembling candidate for thy compassion) On this world's brink, and look into the next; When my soul, starting from the dark unknown, Casts back a wishful look, and fondly clings To her frail prop, unwilling to be wrench'd From this fair scene, from all her custom'd joys, And all the lovely relatives of life, Then shed thy comforts o'er me, then put on The gentlest of thy looks. Let no dark crimes, In all their hideous forms then starting up, Plant themselves round my couch in grim array, And stab my bleeding heart with two edg'd torture,
Sense of past guilt, and dread of future woe.
Far be the ghastly crew! And in their stead
By ROBERT NOYE S. *
Is there a Muse will her assistance lend
To him who wants a patron and a friend ? Is there among the gay and sprightly Nine, Who on Distress will condescend to shine With ray indulgent? Then I'd soar and sing, Tho' Penury's hard hand hath clipt my wing. Humbly I've urg'd my suit to every Muse; All turn disdainful and my suit refuse : How shall I tune, forlorn, the mournful reed, While my heart sickens, and my sorrows bleed ?
Some gentle Spirit whispers in my ear, “ Produce the song”—“ Suppress it,” says DespairThe gentle Spirit's whisper I obey, And to his care commit my feeble lay.
Far from the seats of Affluence and of Ease, Where Plenty riots, and soft sonnets please; Where Mirth's associates in the banquet join, And quaff the richness of Burgundia's vine, Distress, recluse, a batter'd cottage finds, That yields no shelter from tempestuous winds; Whose crevic'd walls admit the driven snow; And mark the tenant for a child of woe ; Their flimsy texture spiders here extend, And crickets here their notes with screech-owls blend; Here hunger ravens ; hence sweet rest retires; Hence comforts vanish, and here hope expires;
• The Author of this Poem died in November 1798, at Cranbrook in Kent. He was worn out by infirmities, and quietly resigned his soul into the hands of his Maker,
This dire abode no traveller ventures near ;
Hunger and Thirst on cold Distress await,
'' appease the tumult of her irksome guests; She schemes, she wishes their demands to grant,
“ To-morrow shall supply their want :"
Contempt, foul fiend, the base-born child of Pride,
Can this foul fiend, the base-born child of Pride,
Who pleads the orphan's and the widow's cause,
Shame, such as ne'er the splendid villain grac’d,
What anxious cares the poor man's bosom vex, In dreams torment him, and by day perplex ! The poor, I mean, whose prosperous noon is past; Whose adverse night draws on with winged haste: What various schemes his busy thoughts devise To ward off Want, and silence Nature's cries ! How small the pittance yesterday supply'd ! To-day a smaller pittance is deny'd ; He hopes to-morrow will more liberal be, But proves the greatest niggard of the three.. Lest anxious thoughts, his mind, would discompose, Were none the partners of his daily woes; Had he been doom'd to bear the load alone, This mournful verse the world had never known;