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When yet but warm from thy great Maker's hand,
He stamp'd thee with his image, and, well pleased,
Smiled on his last fair work.-Then all was well.
Sound was the body, and the soul serene;
Like two sweet instruments, ne'er out of tune,
That play their several parts. Nor head nor heart
Offer'd to ache: nor was there cause they should;
For all was pure within : no fell remorse,
Nor anxious castings-up of what might be,
Alarm’d his peaceful bosom.–Summer seas
Show not more smooth, when kiss'd by southern
Just ready to expire ; scarce importuned, [winds
The generous soil, with a luxurious hand,
Offer'd the various produce of the year,
And everything most perfect in its kind.
Blessed! thrice blessed days! But ah! how short!
Bless'd as the pleasing dreams of holy men;
But fugitive like those, and quickly gone.
Oh! slipp’ry state of things. What sudden turns !
What strange vicissitudes in the first leaf
Of man's sad history !-To-day most happy,
And, ere to-morrow's sun has set, most abject.
How scant the space between these vast extremes !
Thus fared it with our sire: Not long h' enjoy'd
His paradise.-Scarce had the happy tenant
Of the fair spot due time to prove its sweets,
Or sum them up, when straight he must be gone,
Ne'er to return again. And must he go?
Can naught compound for the first dire offence
Of erring man ?-Like one that is condemn'd,
Fain would he trifle time with idle talk,
And parley with his fate.—But 'tis in vain.
Not all the lavish odours of the place,
Offer'd in incense, can procure his pardon,
Or mitigate his doom.-A mighty angel,
With flaming sword, forbids his longer stay,
And drives the loiterer forth ; nor must he take
One last and farewell round.
Sure the last end Of the good man is peace! How calm his exit! Night-dews fall not more gently to the ground, Nor weary, worn-out winds expire so soft. Behold him in the evening-tide of life, A life well-spent, whose early care it was His riper years should not upbraid his green: By unperceived degrees he wears away; Yet, like the sun, seems larger at his setting. (High in his faith and hopes), look how he reaches After the prize in view! and, like a bird That's hamper'd, struggles hard to get away : Whilst the glad gates of sight are wide expanded To let new glories in, the first fair fruits Of the fast-coming harvest.-Then, oh then! Each earth-born joy grows vile, or disappears, Shrunk to a thing of naught.-Oh! how he longs To have his passport sign'd, and be dismiss'd! 'Tis done! and now he's happy !--The glad soul Has not a wish uncrown'd.-Ev'n the lag flesh Rests too in hope of meeting once again Its better half, never to sunder more. Nor shall it hope in vain.-The time draws on When not a single spot of burial earth, Whether on land or in the spacious sea, But must give back its long-committed dust Inviolate : and faithfully shall these Make up the full account; not the least atom Embezzled or mislaid of the whole tale. -Each soul shall have a body ready furnish’d; And each shall have his own.--Hence, ye profane ! Ask not how this can be.--Sure the same pow'r That rear'd the piece at first, and took it down, Can reassemble the loose scatter'd parts, And put them as they were. Almighty God Has done much more ; nor is his arm impaired Through length of days : and what he can, he will: His faithfulness stands bound to see it done. When the dread trumpet sounds, the slumb'ring dust
(Not unattentive to the call) shall wake:
And ev'ry joint possess its proper place,
With a new elegance of form unknown
To its first state.-Nor shall the conscious soul
Mistake its partner; but amidst the crowd
Singling its other half, into its arms
Shall rush with all th’ impatience of a man
That's new come home, and, having long been absent,
With haste runs over ev'ry different room,
In pain to see the whole. Thrice happy meeting!
Nor time nor death shall ever part them more.
Tis but a night, a long and moonless night;
We make the grave our bed, and then are gone.
Thus, at the shut of ev'n, the weary bird
Leaves the wide air, and in some lonely brake
Cow'rs down and dozes till the dawn of day,
Then claps his well-fledged wings and bears away.
JAMES THOMSON. 1700–1748.
Oh mortal man, who livest here by toil,
Do not complain of this thy hard estate;
That like an emmet thou must ever moil,
Is a sad sentence of an ancient date;
And, certes, there is for it reason great ; [wail,
For, though sometimes it makes thee weep and
And curse thy star, and early drudge and late,
Withouten that would come an heavier bale,
Loose life, unruly passion, and diseases pale.
In lowly dale, fast by a river's side,
With woody hill o'er hill encompass'd round,
A most enchanting wizard did abide,
Than whom a fiend more fell is nowhere found.
It was, I ween, a lovely spot of ground :
And there a season atween June and May,
Half prankt with spring, with summer half im-
brown'd, A listless climate made, where, sooth to say, No living wight could work, ne cared ev'n for play:
Was naught around but images of rest;
Sleep-soothing groves, and quiet lawns between;
And flowery beds that slumberous influence kest,
From poppies breath’d; and beds of pleasant green,
Where never yet was creeping creature seen.
Meantime unnumber'd glittering streamlets play'd,
And hurled everywhere their waters sheen;
That, as they bicker'd through the sunny glade, Though restless still themselves, a lulling murmur
Join'd to the prattle of the purling rills
Were heard the lowing herds along the vale,
And flocks loud bleating from the distant hills,
And vacant shepherds piping in the dale :
And now and then sweet Philomel would wail,
Or stock-doves plain amid the forest deep,
That drowsy rustled to the sighing gale;
And still a coil the grasshopper did keep:
Yet all these sounds yblent inclined all to sleep,
Full in the passage of the vale above,
A sable, silent, solemn forest stood;
Where naught but shadowy forms were seen to
As Idlesse fancied in her dreaming mood :
And up the hills, on either side, a wood
Of blackening pines, aye waving to and fro,
Sent forth a sleepy horror through the blood;
And where this vailey winded out below,
The murmuring main was heard, and scarcely heard,
A pleasing land of drowsy-head it was,
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
For ever flushing round a summer sky:
There eke the soft delights, that. witchingly
Instil a wanton sweetness through the breast,
And the calm pleasures always hover'd nigh;
But whate'er smack'd of noyance or unrest,
Was far, far off expell’d from this delicious nest.
The landskip such, inspiring perfect ease, Where Indolence (for so the wizard hight) Close hid his castle mid imbowering trees, That half shut out the beams of Phæbus bright, And made a kind of checker'd day and night ; Meanwhile, unceasing at the massy gate, Beneath a spacious palm, the wicked wight
Was placed ; and to his lute, of cruel fate, And labour harsh, complain'd, lamenting man's es
tate. Thither continual pilgrims crowded still, From all the roads of earth that pass thereby; For, as they chaunced to breathe on neighbouring
hill, The freshness of this valley smote their eye, And drew them ever and anon more nigh; Till, clustering round th'enchanter false they hung, Ymolten with his syren melody;
While o'er th' enfeebling lute his hand he flung, And to the trembling chords these tempting verses
sung : “ Behold! ye pilgrims of this earth, behold! See all but man with unearn’d pleasure gay: See her bright robes the butterfly unfold, Broke from her wintry tomb in time of May! What youthful bride can equal her array ? Who can with her for easy pleasure vie ? From mead to mead with gentle wing to stray,