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Whom nature's works instruct, with God himself
Hold converse ; grow familiar, day by day,
With his conceptions ; act upon his plan;
And form to his, the relish of their souls
Section 1. REFLECTIONS ON THE MISERIES OF
Ah little think the gay licentious proud, . ..' Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround; They who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth, And wanton, often cruel riot waste; Ah little think they, while they dance along, How many feel, this very moment, death, i And all the sad variety of pain. Licini How many sink in the devouring flood, Or more devouring flame. How many bleed, By shameful variance betwixt man and man. 'n How many pine in want and dungeon glooms, Shut from the common air, and common use Of their own limbs. How many drink the cup Of baleful Grief, or eat the bitter bread.. . Of Misery. Sore pierc'd by wintry winds," How many shrink into the sordid hut ... .! Of cheerless Poverty. How many shake With all the fiercer tortures of the mind, Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse. How many, rack'd with honest passions, droop In deep retir'd distress. How many stand
Around the death-bed of their dearest friends,
And point the parting anguish. Thought fond man
Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills,
That one incessant struggle renders life .
One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate,
Vice in his high career would stand appallid,
' And heedless rambling Impulse learn to think;
The conscious heart of Charity would warm,
And her wide wish Benevolence dilate ; , $. The social tear would rise, the social sigh;
And into clear perfection, gradual bliss,
Refining still, the social Passions work.
Here paus'd the patriot. With religious awe Grief heard the voice of virtue. No complaint The solemn silence broke. Tears ceas'd to flow; Ceas'd for a moment; soon again to stream. For now, in arms before the palace rang'd, His brave companions of the war demand Their leader's presence ; then her griefs renew'd, Too great for utt'rance, intercept her sighs, And freeze each accent on her fault'ring tongue. In speechless anguish on the hero's breast'. She sinks. On ev'ry side his children press, Hang on his knees, and kiss his honour'd hand. His soul no longer struggles to confine . Its strong compunction. Down the hero's cheek, Down flows the manly sorrow. Great in woe, Amid his children, who inclose him round, He stands indulging tenderness and love In graceful tears, when thus, with lifted eyes, Address'd to Heaven : “ Thou ever living Pow'r, Look down propitious, sire of gods and men ! And to this faithful woman, whose desert
May claim thy favour, grant the hours of peace,
And thou, my great forefather, son of Jove, ...
0 Hercules, neglect not these thy race!
But since that spirit I from thee derive,
Now bears me from them to resistless fate,...
Do thou support their virtue! Be they taught,
Like thee, with glorious labour life to grace,
And from their father let them learn to die!"
....................................No place inspires
Emotions more accordant with the day,
Than does the field of graves, the land of rest site
Oft at the close of evening pray'r, the toll,
The fun'ral toll, announces solemnly
The service of the tomb ; the homeward crouds
Divide on either hand : the pomp draws near; :
The choir to meet the dead go forth, and sing,
“ I am the resurrection and the life.”
Ah me! these youthful bearers rob’d in white,
They tell a mournful tale ; some blooming friend
Is gone, dead in her prime of years :-'twas she,
The poor man's friend, who, when she could not give,
With angel tongue pleaded to those who could,
With angel tongue and mild beseeching eye, . .
That ne'er besought in vain, save when she pray'd
For longer life, with heart resign'd to die,
Rejoic'd to die ; for happy visions bless'd .
Her voyage's last days, and, hov'ring round,
Alighted on her soul, giving presage
That heav'n was nigh: what a burst
Of rapture from her lips ! what tears of joy
Her heav'nward eyes suffus'd! Those eyes are clos'd :
Yet all her loveliness is not yet flown :
She smil'd in death, and still her cold pale face
Retains that smile ; as when a waveless lake,
In which the wint'ry stars all bright appear,
Is sheeted by a nightly frost with ice, ..
Still it reflects the face of heaven unchang'd,
Unruffled by the breeze or sweeping blast.
Again that knell! The slow procession stops : in
The pall withdrawn, Death's altar, thick emboss'd
With melancholy ornaments;--(the name,
The record of her blossoming age,)-appears
Unveil'd, and on its dust the dust is thrown,
The final rite. Oh! hark that sullen sound !
On the lower'd coffin the shovelld clay
Falls fast, and fills the void.-
Oft in the lone church-yard at night I've seen,
By glimpse of moon-light passing through the trees,
The school-boy with his satchel in his hand,
Whistling aloud to bear his courage up,
And lightly tripping o'er the long flat stories
(With nettles skirted, and with moss o'ergrown)
That tell in hoinely phrase who lies below;
Sudden he starts! and hears, or thinks he hears,
The sound of something purring at his heels;
Full fast he flies, and dare not look behind him,
'Till out of breath he overtakes his fellows;
Who gather round, and wonder, at the tale
Of horrid apparition, tall and ghastly,
That walks at dead of night, or takes his stand .
O'er some new open'd grave; and, strange to tell!
Evanishes at crowing of the cock.
The new made widow too, I've sometimes spied,
Sad sight! slow moving o'er the prostrate dead :
Listless, she crawls along in doleful black,
While bursts of sorrow gush from either eyes
Fast falling down her now untasted cheek.
Prone on the lovely grave of the dear man
She drops : whilst busy, meddling memory,
In barbarous succession, musters up
The past endearments of their softer hours,
Tenacious of its theme. Still, still, she thinks
She sees him, and indulging the fond thought,
Clings yet more closely to the senseless turf,
Nor heeds the passenger who looks that way. s**
Invidious grave ! how dost thou rend in sunder
Whom Love has knit and Sympathy made one !
A tie more stubborn far, than Nature's bond. :
Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul!
Sweet'ner of life and solder of society!
I owe thee much. Thou hast deserved from me,
Far, far beyond what I can ever pay. :
Oft have I prov'd the labors of thy love,
And the warm efforts of the gentle heart
Anxious to please. O! when my friend and I .
In some thick wood have wander'd heedless on,
Hid from the vulgar eye, and sat us down,
Upon the sloping cowslip-cover'd bank, "::.
Where the pure limpid stream has slid along - ....
In grateful errors, through the underwood
Sweet murm'ring: methought the shrilliton'd thrush
Mended his song of love ; the sooty blackbird
Mellow'd his pipe, and soften'd ev'ry note ;
The eglantine smell'd sweeter, and the rose
Assum'd á dye more deep; whilst every flower
Vied with his fellow plant in luxury :
Of dress. Oh! then the longest summer's day in
Seem'd too, too much in haste ; still the full heart"
Had not imparted half : 'twas happiness
Too exquisite to last. Of joys departed,
Not to return, how painful the remembrance !