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(As if a slave was not a shred of nature,
Trusts only in the well-invented knife ? Of the same common nature with his lord ;)
With study pale, and midnight vigils spent, Now tame and humble, like a child that's whipp'd, The star-surveying sage, close to his eye Shakes hands with dust, and calls the worm his Applies the sight-invigorating tube ; [space, kinsman;
And travelling through the boundless length of Nor pleads his rank and birthright. Under ground Marks well the courses of the far-seen orbs Precedency's a jest; vassal and lord,
That roll with regular confusion there, Grossly familiar, side by side consume.
In ecstacy of thought. But ah! proud man ! When self-esteem, or others' adulation,
Great heights are hazardous to the weak head; Would cunningly persuade us we were something Soon, very soon, thy firmest footing fails; Above the common level of our kind, (tery, And down thou dropp'st into that darksome place, The grave gainsays the smooth-complexion'd flat- Where nor device nor knowledge ever eame. And with blunt truth acquaints us what we are. Here the tongue-warrior lies! disabled now,
Beauty! thou pretty plaything! dear deceit! Disarm’d, dishonour'd, like a wretch that's gagg'd That steals so softly o'er the stripling's heart, And cannot tell his ails to passers by. And gives it a new pulse, unknown before!
Great man of language! whence this mighty change? The grave discredits thee: thy charms expung'd, This dumb despair, and drooping of the head? Thy roses faded, and thy lilies soil'd,
Though strong persuasion hung upon thy lip, What hast thou more to boast of? Will thy lovers And sly insinuation's softer arts Flock round thee now, to gaze and do thee homage! In ambush lay about thy flowing tongue ; Methinks I see thee with thy head low laid,
Alas! how chop-fall'n now! Thick mists and silence Whilst surfeited upon thy damask cheek
Rest, like a weary cloud, upon thy breast The high-fed worm, in lazy volumes rollid,
Unceasing. Ah! where is the listed arm, Riots unscar.d.- For this, was all thy caution ? The strength of action, and the force of words, For this, thy painful labours at thy glass ?
The well-turn'd period, and the well-tun'd voice, T'improve those charms, and keep them in repair, With all the lesser ornaments of phrase ! For which the spoiler thanks thee not ? Foul feeder! Ah! fled for ever, as they ne'er had been ! Coarse fare and carrion please thee full as well, Raz'd from the book of fame : or, more provoking, And leave as keen a relish on the sense.
Perchance some hackney hunger-bitten scribbler Look how the fair one weeps !-the conscious tears Insults thy memory, and blots thy tomb Stand thick as dew-drops on the bells of flow'rs: With long flat narrative, or duller rhymes, Honest effusion! the swoll'n heart in vain
With heavy halting pace that drawl along; Works hard to put a gloss on its distress,
Enough to rouse a dead man into rage, Strength too! thou surly, and less gentle boast And warm with red resentment the wan cheek. Of those that laugh loud at the village ring!
Here the great masters of the healing art, A fit of common sickness pulls thee down
These mighty mock defrauders of the tomb, With greater ease, than e'er thou didst the stripling Spite of their juleps and catholicons, That raslıly dar'd thee to th’unequal fight.
Resign to fate. Proud Æsculapius' son! What groan was that I heard ?-deep groan indeed! Where are thy boasted implements of art, With anguish heavy laden! let me trace it: And all thy well-cramm'd magazines of health: From yonder bed it comes, where the strong man, Nor hill nor vale, as far as ship could go, By stronger arm belabour'd, gasps for breath Nor margin of the gravel-bottom'd brook, Like a hard-hunted beast. How his great heart Escap'd thy rifling hand ;-- from stubborn shrubs Beats thick! his roomy chest by far too scant Thou wrung’st their shy-retiring virtues out, To give the lungs full play.-What now avail And vex'd them in the fire: nor fly, nor insect, The strong-built sinewy limbs, and well-spread Nor writhy snake, escap'd thy deep research. shoulders?
But why this apparatus ? why this cost? See how he tugs for life, and lays about him, Tell us, thou doughty keeper from the grave ! Mad with his pain !-Eager he catches hold Where are thy recipes and cordials now, Of what comes next to hand, and grasps it hard, With the long list of vouchers for thy cures ? Just like a creature drowning ; hideous sight! Alas! thou speakest not. The bold impostor Oh! how his eyes stand out, and stare full ghastly! Looks not more silly, when the cheat's found out. Whilst the distemper's rank and deadly venom Here the lank-sided miser, worst of felons ! Shoots like a burning arrow cross his bowels, Who meanly stole (discreditable shift!) And drinks his marrow up.-Heard you that groan: From back and belly too, their proper cheer, It was his last.-See how the great Goliah,
Eas'd of a tax it irk'd the wretch to pay Just like a child that brawl'd itself to rest, [boaster, To his own carcass, now lies cheaply lodg'd, Lies still. What mean'st thou then, O mighty By clam'rous appetites no longer teasid, To vaunt of nerves of thine? what means the bull, Nor tedious bills of charges and repairs. Unconscious of his strength, to play the coward, But ah! where are his rents, his comings-in? And flee before a feeble thing like man;
Aye! now you've made the rich man poor indeed: That, knowing well the slackness of his arm, Robb'd of his gods, what has he left behind
Oh cursed iust of gold! when for thy sake,
The shameless hand be foully crimson'd o'er The fool throws up his int'rest in both worlds: With blood of its own lord.—Dreadful attempt ! First starv'd in this, then damn’d in that to come.
Just reeking from self-slaughter, in a rage How shocking must thy summons be, O Death! To rush into the presence of our Judge ; To him that is at ease in his possessions ;
As if we challeng'd him to do his worst, Who, counting on long years of pleasure here,
And matter'd not his wrath Unheard-of tortures Is quite unfurnish'd for that world to come!
Must be reserv'd for such: these herd together; In that dread moment, how the frantic soul
The common damn'd shun their society, Raves round the walls of her clay tenement,
And look upon themselves as fiends less foul. Runs to each avenue, and shrieks for help,
Our time is fix’d, and all our days are number'd; But shrieks in vain! How wishfully she looks How long, how short, we know not :- this we know, On all she's leaving, now no longer her’s!
Duty requires we calmly wait the summons, A little longer, yet a little longer,
Nor dare to stir till Heaven shall give permission : O might she stay, to washı away her stains,
Like sentries that must keep their destin'd stand, And fit her for her passage ! Mournful sight! And wait th' appointed hour, till they're reliev'd. Her very eyes weep blood ; and every groan Those only are the brave who keep their ground, She heaves is big with horror: but the foe,
And keep it to the last. To run away Like a staunch murd'rer, steady to his purpose,
Is but a coward's trick: to run away Pursues her close through every lane of life,
From this world's ills, that at the very worst Nor misses once the track, but presses on ;
Will soon blow o'er, thinking to mend ourselves, Till forc'd at last to the tremendous verge,
By boldly vent'ring on a world unknown, At once she sinks to everlasting ruin.
And plunging headlong in the dark ;—'tis mad: Sure 'tis a serious thing to die, my soul !
No frenzy half so desperate as this. What a strange moment must it be, when near Tell us, ye dead! will none of you, in pity Thy journey's end, thou hast the gulf in view! To those you left behind, disclose the secret? That awful gulf, no mortal e'er repass'd
Oh! that some courteous ghost would blab it out; To tell what's doing on the other side.
What 'tis you are, and we must shortly be. Nature runs back, and shudders at the sight, I've heard, that souls departed, have sometimes And every life-string bleeds at thoughts of parting! Forewarn'd men of their death: 'twas kindly done For part they must: body and soul must part; To knock, and give the alarm.—But what means Fond couple ;, link'd more close than wedded pair. This stinted charity ?_'Tis but lame kindness This wings its way to its Almighty Source, That does its work by halves.—Why might you not The witness of its actions, now its judge;
Tell us what 'tis to die? Do the strict laws That drops into the dark and noisome grave,
of your society forbid your speaking Like a disabled pitcher of no use.
Upon a point so nice ?—I'll ask no more: If death were nothing, and nought after death ; Sullen, like lamps in sepulchres, your shine If when men dy'd, at once they ceas'd to be, Enlightens but yourselves. Well, 'tis no matter; Returning to the barren womb of nothing,
A very little time will clear up all, Whence first they sprung, then might the debauchee And make us learn'd as you are, and as close. • Untrembling mouth the heavens:—then might the Death's shafts fly thick :-Here falls the villagedrunkard
swain, Reel over his full bowl, and, when 'tis drain'd, And there his pamper'd lord.—The cup goes round: Fill up another to the brim, and laugh [wretch
And who so artful as to put it by ?
See yonder maker of the dead man's bed,
The sexton, hoary-headed chronicle ! And by what way, whether by hemp or steel ; Of hard unmeaning face, down which ne'er stole Death's thousand doors stand open.-Who could A gentle tear; with mattock in his hand The ill pleas'd guest to sit out his full time, [force Digs thro’ whole rows of kindred and acquaintance, Or blame him if he goes ?-Sure he does well, By far his juniors! Scarce a skull’s cast up, That helps himself as timely as he can,
But well he knew its owner, and can tell When able. But if there's an hereafter;
Some passage of his life. Thus hand in hand And that there is, conscience uninfluenc'd
The sot has walk'd with death twice twenty years ; And suffer'd to speak out, tells ev'ry man;
And yet ne'er younker on the green laughs louder, Then must it be an awful thing to die :
Or clubs a smuttier tale :-when drunkards meet, More horrid yet to die by one's own hand.
None sings a merrier catch, or lends a hand [not, Self-murder!-Dame it not: our island's shame, More willing to his cup.--Poor wretch! he minds That makes her the reproach of neighbouring states. That soon some trusty brother of the trade Shall nature, swerving from her earliest dictate, Shall do for him what he has done for thousands. Self-preservation, fall by her own act ?
On this side, and on that, men see their friends Forbid it, Heaven. Let not, upon disgust,
Drop off, like leaves in autumn; yet launch out
Into fantastic schemes, which the long livers And jovial youth, of lightsome vacant heart,
Whose every day was made of melody, [shrew, Could scarce have leisure for.- Fools that we are ! Hears not the voice of mirth: the shrill-tongu'd Never to think of death and of ourselves
Meek as the turtle-dove, forgets her chiding. At the same time : as if to learn to die
Here are the wise, the generous, and the brave; Were no concern of ours.-0 more than sottish! The just, the good, the worthless, the profane, For creatures of a day in gamesome mood,
The downright clown, and perfectly well-bred; To frolic on eternity's dread brink
The fool, the churl, the scoundrel, and the mean, Unapprehensive; when, for aught we know, The supple statesman, and the patriot stern; The very first swol'n surge shall sweep us in. The wrecks of nations, and the spoils of time, Think we, or think we not, time hurries on
With all the lumber of six thousand years. With a resistless unremitting stream;
Poor man!- how happy once in thy first state! Yet treads more soft than e'er did midnight-thief, When yet but warm from thy great Maker's hand, That slides his hand under the miser's pillow, He stamp'd thee with his image, and, well pleas’d, And carries off his prize.-What is tbis world? Smil'd on his last fair work. Then all was well. What but a spacious burial field unwallid,
Sound was the body, and the soul serene ; Strew'd with death's spoils, the spoils of animals Like two sweet instruments, ne'er out of tune, Savage and tame, and full of dead men's bones ? That play their several parts.-Nor head, nor heart, The very turf on which we tread once liv'd; Offer'd to ache: nor was there cause they should; And we that live must lend our carcasses
For all was pure within: no sell remorse, To cover our own offspring: in their turns
Nor anxious castings-up of what might be, They too must cover theirs.- 'Tis here all meet, Alarm’d his peaceful bosom :--summer seas The shiv'ring Icelander, and sun-burnt Moor; Show not more smooth, when kiss'd by southern Men of all climes, that never met before ;
Just ready to expire.—Scarce importun'd, (winds And of all creeds, the Jew, the Turk, the Christian. The generous soil, with a luxuriant hand, Here the proud prince, and favourite yet prouder, Offer'd the various produce of the year, His sov’reign's keeper, and the people's scourge, And every thing most perfect in its kind. Are huddled out of sight.—Here lie abash'd
Blessed! thrice blessed days !-- But ah! how short! The great negotiators of the earth,
Bless'd as the pleasing dreams of holy men; And celebrated masters of the balance,
But fugitive, like those, and quickly gone. Deep read in stratagems, and wiles of courts. Oh! slippery state of things. What sudden turns! Now vain their treaty-skill.-Death scorns to treat! What strange vicissitudes in the first leaf Ilere the o'erloaded slave fings down his burden Of man's sad history!—To day most happy, From his gall'd shoulders ;-and when the cruel And ere to-morrow's sun has set, most abject ! tyrant,
How scant the space between these vast extremes ! With all his guards and tools of power about him, Thus fạr'd it with our sire:—not long he enjoy'd Is meditating new unheard-of hardships,
His paradise !-Scarce had the happy tenant Mocks his short arm,—and quick as thought escapes Of the fair spot due time to prove its sweets, Where tyrants vex not, and the weary rest.
Or sum them up, when straight he must be gone, Here the warm lover, leaving the cool shade, Ne'er to return again.—And must he go? The tell-tale echo, and the babbling stream,
Can nought compound for the first dire offence (Time out of mind the fav'rite seats of love,)
Of erring man?-Like one that is condemn'd, Fast by his gentle mistress lays him down,
Fain would he trifle time with idle talk,
Not all the lavish odours of the place,
Or mitigate his doom.-A mighty angel,
With flaming sword, forbids his longer stay, That some rude interposing rock has split.
And drives the loiterer forth; nor must he take Here is the large-limb'd peasant; here the child One last and farewell round. At once he lost Of a span long, that never saw the sun,
His glory and bis God.-If mortal now, Nor press’d the nipple, strangled in life's porch: And sorely maim'd, no wonder. Man has sinn'd. Here is the mother, with her sons and daughters; Sick of his bliss, and bent on new adventures, The barren wife; the long-demurring maid, Evil he would needs try: nor try'd in vain. Whose lonely unappropriated sweets
(Dreadful experiment! destructive measure! Smil'd like yon knot of cowslips on the cliff, Where the worst thing could happen, is success.) Not to be come at by the willing hand.
Alas! too well he sped:—the good he scorn'd Here are the prude severe, and gay coquette, Stalk'd off reluctant, like an ill-us'd ghost, The sober widow, and the young green virgin, Not to return ;-or if it did, its visits, Cropp'd like a rose before 'uis fully blown,
Like those of angels, short and far between: Or half its worth disclos'd. Strange medley here ! Whilst the black dæmon, with his hell-'scap'd train, Here garrulous old age winds up his tale;
Admitted once into its better room,
Grew loud and mutinous, nor would be gone;
But know that thou must render up the dead, Lording it o'er the man, who now too late
And with high int’rest too !—They are not thine, Saw the rash error, which he could not mend: But only in thy keeping for a season, An error fatal not to him alone,
Till the great promis'd day of restitution ; But to his future sons, his fortune's heirs,
When loud diffusive sound from brazen trump Inglorious bondage!--Human nature groans Of strong-lung'd cherub, shall alarm thy captives, Beneath a vassalage so vile and cruel,
And rouse the long, long sleepers into life, And its vast body bleeds through ev'ry vein. Day-light, and liberty.
What havoc hast thou made, foul monster, Sin! Then must thy gates fly open, and reveal Greatest and first of ills! the fruitful parent
The mines that lay long forming under ground, Of woes of all dimensions!— But for thee
In their dark cells immur'd; but now full ripe,
That twice has stood the torture of the fire
The Son of God, thee foil'd.-Him in thy power Involv'd in pitchy clouds of smoke and stench,
Thou could'st not hold: self-vigorous he rose, Mars the adjacent fields for some leagues round, And, shaking off thy fetters, soon retook And there it stops.—The big-swoln inundation, Those spoils his voluntary yielding lent: Of mischief more diffusive, raving loud,
(Sure pledge of our releasement from thy thrall !) Buries whole tracks of country, threat'ning more; Twice twenty days he sojourn'd here on earth, But that too has jis shore it cannot pass.
And show'd himself alive to chosen witnesses, More dreadful far than these, sin has laid waste, By proofs so strong, that the most slow-assenting Not here and there a country, but a world:
Had not a scruple left. This having done, Dispatching at a wide-extended blow
He mounted up to Heav’n. Methinks I see him Entire mankind; and for their sakes defacing Climb the aerial heights, and glide along A whole creation's beanty with rude hands; Athwart the severing clouds: but the faint eye, Blasting the foodful grain, the loaded branches, Flung backward in the chase, soon drops its hold; And marking all along its way with ruin.
Disabled quite, and jaded with pursuing. Accursed thing!-Oh! where shall fancy find Heaven's portals wide expand to let him in ; A proper naine to call thee by, expressive
Nor are his friends shut out: as some great prince Of all thy horrors ? — Pregnant womb of ills! Not for himself alone procures admission, Of temper so transcendently malign,
But for his train; it was his royal will, That toads and serpents of most deadly kind, That where he is, there should his followers be. Compar'd to thee, are harmless.-Sicknesses Death only lies between !-A gloomy path! Of every size and symptom, racking pains,
Made yet more gloomy by our coward fear: And bluest plagues, are thine !—See how the fiend But nor untrod, nor tedious: the fatigue Profusely scatters the contagion round ! (heels, Will soon go off.—Besides, there's no bye-road Whilst deep-mouth'd slaughter, bellowing at her To bliss.—Then why, like ill-conditiou'd children, Wades deep in blood new-spilt! yet for to-morrow
Start we at transient hardships in the way Slapes out new work of great uncommon daring, That leads to purer air, and softer skies, And inly pines till the dread blow is struck. And a ne'er-setting sun ?- Fools that we are !
But hold! I've gone too far; too much discover'd We wish to be where sweets unwith'ring bloom; My father's nakedness, and nature's shame.
But straight our wish revoke, and will not go. Here let me pause, and drop an honest tear, So have I seen, upon a summer's even, One burst of filial duty and condolence,
Fast by the riv'let's brink, a youngster play: O'er all those ample deserts Death hath spread, How wishfully he looks to stem the tide! This chaos of mankind.-O great man-eater! This moment resolute, next unresolv'd: Whose ev'ry day is carnival, not sated yet!
At last he dips his foot; but as he dips Unheard-of epicure! without a fellow!
His fears redouble, and he runs away The veriest gluttons do not always cram;
From th' inoffensive stream, unmindful now Some intervals of abstinence are sought
Of all the flow'rs that paint the further bank, To edge the appetite: thou seekest none.
And smil'd so sweet of late.—Thrice welcome Death! Methinks the countless swarms thou hast devour'd, That after many a painful bleeding step And thousands that each hour thou gobblest up, Conducts us to our home, and lands us safe This, less than this, might gorge thee to the full. On the long-wish’d-for shore.- Prodigious change! But ah! rapacious still, thou gap'st for more: Our bane turn'd to a blessing !-Death, disarm’d, Like one, whole days defrauded of his meals, Loses his fellness quite: all thanks to him On whom lank hunger lays his skinny hand, Who scourg'd the venom out!-Sure the last end And whets to keenest eagerness his cravings. Of the good man is peace !-How calm his exit! (As if diseases, massacre and poison,
Night-dews fall not more gently to the ground, Famine, and war, were not thy caterers !)
Nor weary worn-out winds expire so soft.
Behold him in the evening-tide of life,
And each shall have his own. Hence, ye profane! A life well-spent, whose early care it was
Ask not how this can be ?-Sure the same pow'r His riper years should not upbraid his green: That rear'd the piece at first, and took it down, By unperceiv'd degrees he wears away;
Can re-assemble the loose scatter'd parts,
Through length of days: and what he can, he will
Not unattentive to the call, shall wake: Of the fast-coming harvest.-Then, oh then! And ev'ry joint possess its proper place, Each earth-born joy grows vile, or disappears, With a new elegance of form, unknown Shrunk to a thing of nought.-Oh! how he longs To its first state.-Nor shall the conscious soul To have his passport sign'd, and be dismiss'd! Mistake its partner, but amidst the crowd 'Tis done! and now he's happy!—The glad soul Singling its other half, into its arms Has not a wish uncrown'd.-Ev'n the lag flesh Shall rush with all th' impatience of a man (sent, Rests too in hope of meeting once again
That's new come home, who having long been abIts better half, never to sunder more.
With haste runs over ev'ry different room, Nor shall it. hope in vain :-the time draws on In pain to see the whole. Thrice happy meeting! When not a single spot of burial earth,
Nor time, nor death, shall ever part them more. Whether on land, or in the spacious sea,
'Tis but a night, a long and moonless night; But must give back its long-committed dust We make the grave our bed, and then are gone. Inviolate: and faithfully shall these
Thus, at the shut of even, the weary bird Make up the full account; not the least atom Leaves the wide air, and in some lonely brake Embezzled, or mislaid, of the whole tale.
Cowers down, and dozes till the dawn of day; Each soul shall have a body ready-furnish'd; Then claps his well-fedg'd wings, and bears away.