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The next, with dirges due, in sad array, [borne ; This creature, Man? why wake th' unconscious
Slow thro' the church-yard path we saw him To life and wretchedness? O better far [dust Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay, Still had he slept in uncreated night, Grav'd on the stone beneath yon aged thorn." If this the lot of Being! Was it for this
Thy breath divine kindled within his breast THE EPITAPH.
The vital flame? For this was thy fair image Here rests his head upon the lap of earth, Stampt on his soul in godlike lineaments?
A Youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown, For this dominion giv'n him absolute Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth, O'er all thy works, only that he might reigir
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own. Supreme in woe? From the blest source of Good, Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere, Could Pain and Death proceed? Could such foul
Heav'n did a recompence as largely send ; He gave to Mis’ry all he had, a tear; [a friend. Fall from fair Mercy's hands? Far be the thought,
He gain'd from Heav'u ('twas all he wish'd) The impious thought! God never made a creaNo fartber seck his inerits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode, But what was good. He made a living Soul; (There they alike in trembling hope repose) The wretched Nortal was the work of Man. The bosom of his Father and his Gud. Forth from his Maker's hands he sprung to life,
Fresh with immortal bloom; no pain he knew, $ 25. Death. Dr. Porteus, Bp. of London. No fear of change, no check to his desires, (stood Friend to the wretch whom every friend Save one command. Thatone command, which forsakes,
"Twist him and Death, the test of his obedience, I woo thee, Death! In fancy's fairy paths Urg'd on by wanton curiosity, Let the gay songster rove, and gently trill He broke. "There in one moment was undone The strain of empty joy. Life and its joys The fairest of God's works. The same rash hand, I leave to those that prize them. At this hour, That pluck'd in evil hour the fatal fruit, This solemn hour, when silence rules the world, Unbarr'd the gates of Hell, and let loose Sin And wearied nature makes a gen'ral pause ; And Death, and all the family of Pain, Wrapt in night's sable robe, through cloysters To prey upon Mankind. Young Nature saw And charnels pale, tenanted by a throng (drear The monstrous crew, and shook thro' all her Of meagre phantoms shooting cross my path
frame. With sileni glance, I seek the shadowy vale Then fled her new-born lustre, then began Of Death. Deep in a murky cave's recess, Heav'n's cheerful face to low'r, then vapours Lav'd by oblivion's listless stream, and fenc'd
choak'd By shelving rocks, and intermingled horrors The troubled air, and form’d a veil of clouds Of yew and cypress shade, from all intrusion To hide the willing Sun. The eartb, convuls’d Of busy noontide deam, the Monarch sits With painful throes, threw forth a bristly crop In unsubstantial majesty enthron'd.
Of thorns and briars; and Insect, Bird, and Beast, At his right hand, nearest himself in place That wont before with admiration fond And frightfulness of form, his parent Sin To gaze at Man, and fearless crowd around him, With fatal industry and cruel care
Now Aed before his face, shunning in haste Busies herself in pointing all his stings, Th' infection of his misery. He alone And tipping every shaft with venom drawn Who justly might, th' oftended Lord of Man, From her infernal store : around him rang'd Turn'd not away his face; he, full of pity, In terrible array, and mixture strange
Forsook not in this uttermost distress Of uncouth' shapes, stand his dread Ministers. His best lov'd work. That comfort still remain'd Foremost Old Age, his natural ally
(That best, that greatest comfort in affliction) And firmest friend; next him Diseases thick, The countenance of God, and thro' the gloom A motley train; Fever, with cheek of fire ; Shot forth some kindly gleams, to cheerand warm Consumption wan; Palsy, half warm with life, Th’ offender's sinking soul.' Hope sent from And half a clay-clod lump; joint-tort'ring Gout, Heav'n And ever-gnawing Rheum ; Convulsion wild; Uprais'd his drooping head, and show'd afar Swoln Dropsy; panting Asthma ; Apoplex A happier scene of things; the Promis'd Seed Full-gorg d. There too the Pestilence that walks Trampling upon the Serpent's humbled crest: In darkness, and the Sickness that destroys Death of his sting disarın'd; and the dark grave, At broad woon-day. These, and a thousand more, Made pervious to the realms of endless day, Horrid to tell, attentive wait; and, when No more the limit but the gate of life. [ground By Heaven's command Death waves his ebon Cheer'd with the view, Man went to till the Sudden rush forth to execute his purpose, [wand, From whence he rose; sentenc'd indeed to toil And scatter desolation o'er the Earth.
As to a punishment, (ev’n in wrath, Ill-fated Man, for whom such various forms So merciful is Hea'vn) this toil became Of mis'ry wait, and mark their future prey ; The solace of his woes, the sweet employ Ah! why, all-righteous Father, didst thou make Of many a live-long hour, and surest guard
Against Disease and Death. Death, tho' de- New pains for life, new terrors for the grave,
Defy his pow'r? Has he no arts in store,
Yet reigns he not ev’n there so absolute, At life's meridian point arriv'd, he stood, So merciless, as in yon frantic scenes And, looking round, saw all the valleys fill'd Of midnight revel and tumultuous mirth, With nations from his loins ; full-well content Where in th' intoxicating draught conceal'd, To leave his race thus scatter'd o'er the earth, Or couch'd beneath the glance of lawless love, Along the gentle slope of life's decline
He snares the simple youth, who, nought suHe bent his gradual way, till, full of years,
specting, He dropp'd like mellow fruit into his grave. Means to be blest-but finds himself undone.
Such in the infancy of Time was Man; Down the smooth stream of life the stripling So calm was life, so impotent was Death !
darts, O had he but preserv'd these few remains, Gay as the morn ; bright glows the rernal sky, The shatter'd fragments, of lost happiness, Hope swells his sails, and passion steers his course, Snatch'd by the hand of Heav'n from the sad Safe glides his little bark along the shore wreck
Where virtue takes her stand; but if too far Of innocence primæval; still had he liv'd He launches forth beyond discretion's mark, In ruin great ; tho' fall'n, yet not forlorn; Sudden the tempest scowls, the surges roar,
Though mortal, yet not every-where beset Blot his fair day, and plunge him in the deep.
First Envy, eldest born of hell, embrued A prey to Vice, Intenip'rance, and Disease.
Justice, The execrable deed. 'Twas not enough And be your own avengers ! Hold, rash Man, By subtle fraud to snatch a single life,
Though with anticipating speed thou'st rang'd Puny impiety! whole kingdoms fell
Through every region of delight, nor left To sate the lust of power : more horrid still, One joy to gild the evening of thy days ; The foulest stain and scandal of our nature, Though life seem one uncomfortable void, Became its boast One Murder made a Villain; Guilt at thy heels, before thy face despair : Millions a Hero. Princes were privileg'd Yet gay this scene, and light this load of woe, To kill, and numbers sanctified the crime. Compar'd with thy hereafter. Think, think, Ah! why will Kings forget that they are Men? And, ere thou plunge into the vast abyss, And Men that they are brethren? Why delight Pause on the verge a while : look down and see In human sacrifice? Why burst the ties Thy future mansion. Why that start of horror? Of Nature, that should knit their souls together From thy slack hand why drops th' uplifted steel? In one soft bond of amity and love?
Didst thou not think such vengeance must await Yet still they breathe destruction, still go on The wretch, that with his crimes all fresh about Inbumanly ingenious to find out
Rushes irreverent, unprepard, uncallid, [him
Into his Maker's presence, throwing back This solid Globe, which thine own hand liath With insolent disdain bis choicest gift? So firm and sure, if this my steps betray; (made
Live then, while Heav'n in pity lends thee life, If my own mother Earth, from whence I sprung, And think it all too short to wash away, Rise up with rage unnatural to de our By penitential tears and deep contrition, Her wretched offspring, whither shall I Aly? The scarlet of thy crimes. So shalt thou find Where look for succour? Where, but up to thee, Rest to thy soul ; so unappall'd shalt meet Almighty Father? Save, O save, thy suppliant Death when he comes, not wantonly invite From horrors such as these! At thy good time His ling'ring stroke. Be it thy sole concern Let death approach; I reck not let him bur With innocence to live; with patience wait Th’appointed hour; too soon that hour willcome, In genuine form, not with thy vengeance armd, Tho Nature run her course. But Nawre's God, Too much for man to bear. O rather lend If need require, by thousand various ways, Thy kindly aid to mitigate his stroke ; Without thy aid can shorten that short span, And at that hour when all aghast I stand And quench the lamp of life. O when he coines, (A trembling candidate for thy compassion) Rousd by the cry of wickedness extreme, On this world's brink, and look into the next; To heav'n ascending from some guilty land, When my soul, starting from the dark unknowil, Now ripe for vengeance; when he comes array'd Casts back a wishful look, and fondly clings In all the terrors of Alınighty wrath,
To her frail prop, unwilling to be wrench'd Forth from his bosom plucks his ling'ring arm, From this fair scene, from all her custom'd joys And on the miscreants pours destruction down; And all the lovely relatives of life; Who can abide his coming? Who can bear Then shed thy comforts o'er me, then put on His whole displeasure? In no common form The gentlest of thy looks. Let no dark crimes, Death then appears, but starting into size In all their hideous forms then starting up, Enormous, measures with gigantic stride Plant themselves round my couch in grim array, Th' astonish'd Earth, and from his looks throws and stab my bleeding heart with two-edg'd Unutterable horror and dismay. [round torture, All Nature lends her aid, each Element Sense of past guilt, and dread of future woe. Arms in his cause. Ope fly the doors of Heav'n ; Far be the ghastly crew! And in their stead The fountains of the deep their barriers break, Let cheerful Memory from her purest cells Above, below, the rival iorrents pour,
Lead forth a goodly irain of Virtues fair, And drown Creation; or in floods of fire Cherish'd in earliest youth, now paying back Descends a livid cataract, and consumes [peace, With tenfold usury the pious care, An impious race. Sometimes, when all seems And pouring o'er my wounds the heav'nly balm Wakes the grim whirlwind, and with rude em- Of conscious innocence But chiefly, Thou, brace
Whom soft-eyed Pity once led down from Heav'n Sweeps nations to their grave, or in the deep To bleed for man, to teach him how to live, Whelms the proud wooden world ; full many a And oh! still harder lesson ! how to die; Floats on his wat'ry bier, or lies unwept (youth Disdain not Thou to sinooth the restlesz bed On some sad deseri shorel At dead ot'night, Of Sickness and of Pain. Forgive the tear In sullen silence stalks forth Pestilence : That feeble Nature drops, calm all her fears, Contagion close behind taints all her steps Wake all her hopes, and animate her faith, With pois'rous dew; no smiting hand is seen, Till my rapt soul, anticipating Heav'n, No sound is heard, but soon her secret path Bursts from the thraldom of incumb’ring clay, Is mark'd with desolation; heaps on heaps And on the wing of ecstasy upborne, Promiscuous drop. No friend, no refuge, near; Springs into Liberty, and Light, and Lise. All, all, is false and treacherous around; All that they touch, or taste, or breathe, is Death.
§ 26. The Grave. Blair. But ah! what means that ruinous roar? why fail
“ The house appointed for all living." Job. These tott'ring feet? Earth to its centre feels Whilst some affect the sun, and some the The Godhead's pow'r, and trembling at his touch shade, Through all its pillars, and in ev'ry pore, Some flee the city, some the hermitage, Hurls to the ground, with one convulsive heave, Their aims as various as the roads they take Precipitating domes, and towns, and tow'rs, In journeying through life; the task be mine The work of ages. Crush'd bencath the weight To paint ihe gloomy horrors of the tomb; Of general devastation, millions find
Th’appointed place of rendezvous, where all One common grave; pot ev'n a widow left These travellers meet. Thy succours I implore, To wail her sons: the house, that should proteci, Eternal King, whose potent arm sustains Entombs his master ; and the faithless plain, The keys of hell and death. The Grave, dread If there he fies for help, with sudden yawn
thing! Starts from beneath him. Shield me, gracious Men shiver when thou'rt nam’d: Nature appall'd Heav'n,
Shakes off her wonted firmness. Ah! how dark Osnatch me from destruction ! If this Globe, Thy long-extended realms, and rueful wastes ;
Where nought but silence reigns, and night, dark O'er some new-open'd grave; and, strange to tell I
While bursts of sorrow gush from either eye,
See yonder hallow'd fane! the pious work Nor heeds the passenger who looks that way. Of names once fam’d, now dubious or forgot, Invidious Grave ! how dost thou rendin sunder And buried 'midst the wreck of things which Whom love has knit, and sympathy made one! were :
A tie more stubborn far than nature's band. There lie interr'd the more illustrious dead. Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul ! The wind is up: hark! how it howls! Me Sweet'ner of life, and solder of society! thinks
I owe thee much. Thou hast deservd from me, Till now, I never heard a sound so dreary: [bird Far, far beyond what I can ever pay; Doors creak, and windows clap, and night's foul Oft hare I prov'd the labours of thị love, Rook'd in the spire screams loud; the gloomy And the warm efforts of the genule heart aisles
Anxious to please. O! when my friend and I Black plaster'd, and hung round with shreds of In some thick wood have wander'd heedless on, scutcheons,
Hid from the vulgar eye, and set us down And taiter'd coats of arms, send back the sound Upon the sloping cowslip-covered bank, Laden with heavier airs, from the low vaults, Where the pure limpid stream has slid along The mansions of the dead. Rous'd from their In grateful errors thro' the underwood, (thrush In grim array the grisly spectres rise, [slumbers, Sweet murm’ring; methought, the shrill-tongued Grin horrible, and obstinately sullen
Mended his song of love; the sooty blackbird Pass and repass, hush'd as the foot of night. Mellow'd his pipe, and soften'd ev'ry note ; Again! the screech-owl shrieks: ungracious The eglantine snell’d sweeter, and the rose sound!
Assum'd a dye more deep; whilst ev'ry fow's I'll hear no more; it makes one's blood run chill! Vied with his fellow-plant in luxury
Quite round the pile, a row of rev'rend elms, Of dress. Oh! then the longest summer's day Coæval near with that, all ragged show, [down Seem'd too, too much in haste; still the full heart Long-lash'd by the rude winds : some rilt half Had not imparted half: 'twas happiness Their branchless trunks; others so thin a-top, Too exquisite to last. Of joys departed, That scarce two crows could lodge in the same Not to return, how painful the remembrance ! tree.
[pen'd here : Dull Grave! thou spoil'st the dance of youthStrange things, the neighbours say, have hap- ful blood, Wild shrieks have issu'd from the hollow tombs; Strik'st out the dimple from the cheek of mirth, Dead men have come again, and walk'd about; | And ev'ry smirking feature from the face ; And the great bell has tolléd, unrung, untouch'd. Branding our laughter with the name of madness. Such tales their cheer, at wake or gossiping, Where are the jesters now the man of health When it draws near to witching time of night. Complexionally pleasant? where the droll?
Oft in the lone church-yard at night I've seen, Whose ev'ry look and gesture was a joke By glimpse of moon-shine, cheq'ring through the To clapping theatres and shouting crowds trees,
And made ev'n thick-lipp'd musing Melancholy The school-boy, with his satchel in his hand, To gather up her face into a smile Whistling aloud to keep his courage up, Before she was aware ? Ah! sullen now, And lightly tripping o'er the long flat stones And dumb as the green turf that covers them! (With netiles skirted, and with moss o'ergrown) Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war? That tell in homely phrase who lie below; The Roman Cæsars and the Grecian chiefs, Sudden he starts ! and hears, or thinks he hears, The boast of story? Where the hot-brain'd youth, The sound of something purring at his heels; Who the tiara at his pleasure tore Full fast he flies, and dares not look behind him, From kings of all the then discover'd-globe, Till out of breath he overtakes his fellows; And cried, forsooth, because his arm was hamWho gather round, and wonder at the tale And had not room enough to do its work? [perd, Or horrid apparition, tall and ghastly, Alas! how slim, dishonorably slim! That walks at dead of night, or takes his stand And cramm'd into a space we blush to name!
Proud royalty! how alter'd in thy looks! Shatter'd with age, and furrow'd o'er with years,
With calm deliberate malice wasteth them :
Here all the mighty troublers of the earth, Araby's gums, and otloriferous drugs,
Who swam to sov'reign rule thro' seas of blood; And honors by the heralds duly paid
Th' oppressive, sturdy, man-destroying villains, In mode and form, ev'n to a very scruple; Who ravag'd kingdoms, and laid empires waste, O cruel irony! these come too late ;
And in a cruel wantonness of pow'r And only mock whom they were meant to honor. Thinnod states of half their people, and gave up Surely, there's not a dungeon-slave that's buried To want the rest ; now, like a storm that's spent, In the highway, unshrouded and uncoffin'd, Lie hush’d, and meanly sneak behind thy covert. But lies as soft, and sleeps as sound as he. Vain thought! to hide them from the gen'ral Sorry pre-eminence of high descent Above the vulgar born, to rot in state! That haunts and dogs them like an injur'd ghost
But see! the well-plum'd hearse comes nodding Implacable. Here, too, the petty tyrant, Stately and slow; and properly attended [on, Whose scant domains geographer ne'er notic'd, By the whole sable tribe, that painful watch And, well for neighb'ring grounds, of arm as The sick man's door, and live upon the dead, Who fix'd his iron talons on the poor, (short, By letting out their persons by the hour And grip'd them like some lordly beast of prey, To mimic sorrow when the heart's not sad ! Deaf to the forceful cries of gnawing hunger, How rich the trappings, now they're all unfurld And piteous plaintive voice of misery And glitt'ring in the sun ! Triumphant entries (As if a slave was not a shred of nature, Of conquerors, and coronation pomps, Of the same common nature as his lord); In glory scarce exceed. Great gluts of people Now tame and humble, like a child that's Retard the unwieldy show; whilst from the whipp'd, casements,
Shakes hands with dust, and calls the worm his And housetops, ranks behind ranks close wedg’d
kinsman; Hang bellying o'er. But tell us, why this waste? Nor pleads his rank and birthright. Underground Why this ado in earthing up a carcase Precedency's a jest ; vassal and lord, That's fallen into disgrace, and in the nostril Grossly familiar, side by side consume. Smells horrible! Ye undertakers! tell us, When self-esteem, or others' adulation, 'Midst all the gorgeous figures you exhibit, Would cunningly persuade us we were someWhy is the principal conceald, for which
thing You make this mighty stir ? 'Tis wisely done : Above the common level of our kind; [flatt'ry, What would offend the eye in a good picture, The Grave gainsays the smooth complexion'd The painter casts discreetly into shades. And with blunt truth acquaints us what we are.
Proud lineage, now how little thou appear’st! Beauty! thou pretty plaything! dear deceit! Below the envy of the private man!
That steals so softly o'er the stripling's heart, Honor, that meddlesome officious ill,
And gives it a new pulse unknown before ! Pursues thee e'en to death, nor there stops short. The grave discredits thee: thy charms expung'd, Strange persecution ! when the grave itself Thy roses faded, and thy lilies soil'd, Is no protection from rude sufferance.
What hast thou more to boast of? Will thy lovers Abiurd! to think 10 over-reach the grave ! Flock round thee now, to gaze and do thee And from the wreck of names to rescue ours !
homage? The best-concerted schemes men ly for fame Vethinks I see thee with thy head low-laid; Die fast arvay · only themselves die fa ter Thilst surfeited upon thy damask cheek, The far-fam'd sculptor, and the laurel bard, The high-fed worm in lazy volumes rolld, Those bold insurers of eternal fame,
Riots unscar'd. For this was all thy caution! Supply their little feeble aids in vain,
!'or this thy painful labours at thy glass, The tóp'ring pyramid, th' Egyptian's pride, I"improve those charms and keep them in repair, And wonder of the world! whose spiky top ror which the spoiler thanks thee not ? Foul Has wounded the chick cloud, and long ouiliv'd feeder! The angry shaking of the winter's storm; Coarse fare and carrion please thee full as well, Yet spent at last by th' injuries of heav'n, And leave as keen a relish on the sense.