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With pious sacrilege, a grave I stole ;
How was each circumstance with aspics arm’d? With impious piety, that grave I wrong 'd; An aspic, each! and all, an hydra woe : Short in my duty! coward in my grief!
What strong Herculean virtue could suffice ?More like her murderer, than friend, I crept, Or is it virtue to be conquer'd here? With soft-suspended step, and muffled deep This hoary cheek a train of tears bedews; In midnight darkness, whisper'd my last sigh. And each tear mourns its own distinct distress ; I whisper'd what should echo through their realms; And each distress, distinctly mourn'd, demands Nor writ her name, whose tomb should pierce the Of grief still more, as heighten'd by the whole. skies.
A grief like this proprietors excludes: Presumptuous fear! How durst I dread her foes, Not friends alone such obsequies deplore ; While Nature's loudest dictates I obey'd ? They make mankind the mourner; carry sighs Pardon necessity, blest shade! Of grief
Far as the fatal Fame can wing her way; And indignation rival bursts I pour'd;
And turn the gayest thought of gayest age, Half execration mingled with my prayer ;
Down their right channel, through the vale of death Kindled at man, while I his God ador'd;
The vale of death! that hush'd Cimmerian vale, Sore grudg‘d the savage land her sacred dust; Where darkness, brooding o'er unfinish'd fates, Stampt the curst soil; and with humanity
With raven wing incumbent, waits the day (Denied Narcissa) wish'd them all a grave. (Dread day!) that interdicts all future change!
Glows my resentment into guilt? What guilt That subterranean world! that land of ruin! Can equal violations of the dead ?
Fit walk, Lorenzo, for proud human thought! The dead how sacred ! Sacred is the dust
There let my thought expatiate, and explore Of this Heaven-labor'd form, erect, divine! Balsamic truths and healing sentiments, This Heaven-assum'd majestic role of Earth, Of all most wanted, and most welcome, here. He deign’d to wear, who hung the vast expanse For gay Lorenzo's sake, and for thy own, With azure bright, and cloth'd the Sun in gold. My soul! " The fruits of dying friends survey; When every passion sleeps that can offend ; Expose the vain of life; weigh life and death ; When strikes us every motive that can melt; Give death his eulogy; thy fear subdue ; When man can wreak his rancor uncontrollid, And labor that first palm of noble minds, That strongest curb on insult and ill-will;
A manly scorn of terror from the tomb." Then, spleen to dust! the dust of innocence!
This harvest reap from thy Narcissa's grave. An angel's dust —This Lucifer transcends; As poets feign'], from Ajax' streaming blood When he contended for the patriarch's bones, Arose, with grief inscrib'd, a mournful nower; Twas not the strife of malice, but of pride; Let wisdom blossom from my mortal wound. The strife of pontiff pride, not pontiff gall.
And first, of dying friends ; what fruit from these For less than this is shocking in a race
It brings us more than triple aid; an aid Most wretched, but from streams of mutual love ; To chase our thoughtlessness, fear, pride, and guilt. And uncreated, but for love divine,
Our dying friends come o'er us like a cloud, And, but for love divine, this moment lost,
To damp our brainless ardors; and abate By fate resorb'd, and sunk in endless night. That glare of life which often blinds the wise. Man hard of heart to man! of horrid things Our dying friends are pioneers, to smooth Most horrid ! 'Mid stupendous, highly strange! Our rugged pass to death; to break those bars Yet oft his courtesies are smoother wrongs;
Of terror and abhorrence Nature throws Pride brandishes the favors he confers,
Cross our obstructed way; and, thus to make And contumelious his humanity;
Welcome, as safe, our port from every storin. What then his vengeance? Hear it not, ye stars! Each friend by fate snatch'd from us, is a plume And thou, pale Moon! turn paler at the sound; Pluck'd from the wing of human vanity, Man is to man the sorest, surest ill.
Which makes us stoop from our aërial heights, A previous blast foretells the rising storm ; And, dampt with omen of our own decease, O'erwhelming turrets threaten ere they fall; On drooping pinions of ambition lower'd, Volcanoes bellow ere they disembogue ;
Just skim Earth's surface, ere we break it up, Earth trembles ere her yawning jaws devour; O'er putrid earth to scratch a little dust, And smoke betrays the wide-consuming fire: And save the world a nuisance. Smitten friends Ruin from man is most conceal'd when near, Are angels sent on errands full of love; And sends the dreadful tidings in the blow. For us they languish, and for us they die: Is this the flight of fancy? Would it were ! And shall they languish, shall they die, in vain ? Heaven's Sovereign saves all beings, but himself, Ungrateful, shall we grieve their hovering shades, That hideous sight, a naked human heart.
Which wait the revolution in our hearts ! Fird is the Muse? And let the Muse be fir'd : Shall we disdain their silent, soft address; Who not inflam’d, when what he speaks, he feels, Their posthumous advice, and pious prayer? And in the nerve most tender, in his friends? Senseless, as herds that graze their hallow'd graves Shame to mankind! Philander bad his foes : Tread under foot their agonies and groans ; He felt the truths I sing, and I in him.
Frustrate their anguish, and destroy their deaths ? But he, nor I, feel more ; past ills, Narcissa!
Lorenzo! no; the thought of death indulge ; Are sunk in thee, thou recent wound of heart! Give it its wholesome empire! let it reign, Which bleeds with other cares, with other pangs ; That kind chastiser of thy soul in joy! Pangs numerous, as the numerous ills that swarm'd Its reign will spread thy glorious conquests far, O'er thy distinguish'd fate, and, clustering there And still the tumults of thy ruffled breast : Thick as the locusts on the land of Nile,
Auspicious era! golden days, begin! Made death more deadly, and more dark the grave. The thought of death shall, like a god, inspire. Reflect (if not forgot my touching tale)
And why not think on death? Is life the theme
Of every thought? and wish of every hour? Which relish fruits unripen'd by the Sun.
On lighten'd minds, that bask in virtue's beams,
In that, for which they long; for which they live No maiden relishes, unbroach'd delights ;
Their glorious efforts, wing'd with heavenly hope, On cold-serv'd repetitions, he subsists,
Each rising morning sees still higher rise ; And in the tasteless present chew's the past ; Each bounteous dawn its novelty presents Disgusted chews, and scarce can swallow down. To worth maturing, new strength, lustre, fame; Like lavish ancestors, his earlier years
While Nature's circle, like a chariot-wheel
Rolling beneath their elevated aims,
Live ever here, Lorenzo !-shocking thought! Advancing virtue, in a line to bliss ;
Virtue, which Christian motives best inspire! Disown from shame, what they from folly crave. And bliss, which Christian schemes alone insure. Live ever in the womb, nor see the light?
And shall we then, for Virtue's sake, commence
Lov'd life unlovely; hugging her to death.
Life has no value as an end, but means;
An end deplorable! a means divine ! Another vintage ? Sirain a fatter year,
When 'tis our all, 'tis nothing! worse than nought; Through loaded vessels, and a laxer tone ?
A nest of pains: when held as nothing, much: Crazy machines to grind Earth's wasted fruits ! Like some fair hum'rists, life is most enjoy'd Ill-ground, and worse-concocted! Load, not life! When courted least; most worth, when disesteem'd. The rational foul kennels of excess!
Then 'tis the seat of comfort, rich in peace ; Still-streaming thoroughfares of dull debauch! In prospect richer far; important! awful! Trembling each gulp, lest death should snatch the Not to be mention'd, but with shouts of praise ! bowl.
Not to be thought on, but with tides of joy!
Where now the barren rock? the painted shreu ?
Have I not made my triple promise good ? Through want of virtue, that is, want of thought, Vain is the world; but only to the vain. (Though on bright thought they father all their To what compare we then this varying scene, flights.)
Whose worth ambiguous rises, and declines ? • To what are they reduc'd ? To love, and hate Waxes and wanes? (In all propitious, night
The same vain world ; to censure, and espouse, Assists me here) compare it to the Moon;
In borrow'd lustre from a higher sphere.
Of full effulgent glory, whence they flow. Scar'd at the gloomy gulf, that yawns beneath. Nor is that glory distant: Oh Lorenzo! Such are their triumphs! such their pangs of joy! A good man, and an angel! these between
"Tis time, high time, to shift this dismal scene, How thin the barrier! what divides their fate? This hugg'd, this hideous state, what art can cure ? Perhaps a moment, or perhaps a year; One only; but that one, what all may reach ; Or, if an age, it is a moment still; Virtue—she, wonder-working goddess! charms A moment, or eternity 's forgot. That rock to bloom; and tames the painted shrew; Then be, what once they were, who now are gods; And, what will more surprise, Lorenzo! gives Be what Philander was, and claim the skies. To life's sick, nauseous iteration, change;
Starts timid Nature at the gloomy pass ? And straitens Nature's circle to a line.
The soft transition call it; and be cheer'd: Believ'st thou this, Lorenzo ? lend an ear,
Such it is often, and why not to thee? A patient ear, thou 'lt blush to disbelieve.
To hope the best, is pious, brave, and wise ; A languid, leaden, iteration reigns,
And may itself procure, what it presumes. And ever must, o'er those, whose joys are joys Life is much flatter'd, Death is much traduc'd; Of sight, smell, taste: the cuckoo-seasons sing Compare the rivals, and the kinder crown. The same dull note to such as nothing prize,
Strange competition !"— True, Lorenzo! strange! But what those seasons, from the teeming Earth, So little life can cast into the scale. To doting sense indulge. But nobler minds,
Life makes the soul dependent on the dust;
Death gives her wings to mount above the spheres. Rich death, that realizes all my cares, Through chinks, stylid organs, dim life peeps at Toils, virtues, hopes ; without it a chimera! light;
Death, of all pain the period, not of joy; Death bursts th' involving cloud, and all is day ; Joy's source, and subject, still subsists unhurt: All eye, all ear, the disembodied power.
One, in my soul ; and one, in her great Sire; Death has feign'd evils, Nature shall not feel; Though the four winds were warring for my dust. Life, ill substantial, Wisdom cannot shun.
Yes, and from winds, and waves, and central night, Is not the mighty Mind, that son of Heaven? Though prison'd there, my dust too I reclaim, By tyrant Life dethron'd, imprison'd, pain'd ? (To dust when drop proud Nature's proudest By Death enlarg’d, ennobled, deified ?
spheres) Death but entombs the body; life the soul. And live entire. Death is the crown of life :
“ Is Death then guiltless ? How he marks his way Were death denied, poor man would live in vain ; With dreadful waste of what deserves to shine! Were death denied, to live would not be life; Art, genius, fortune, elevated power!
Were death denied, e'en fools would wish to die. With various lustres these light up the world, Death wounds to cure : we fall; we rise, we reign! Which Dealh puts out, and darkens human race." Spring from our fetters; fasten in the skies ; I grant, Lorenzo! this indictment just :
Where blooming Eden withers in our sight: The sage, peer, potentate, king, conqueror!
Death gives us more than was in Eden lost. Death humbles these; more barbarous life, the man. This king of terrors is the prince of peace. Life is the triumph of our mouldering clay ; When shall I die to vanity, pain, death? Death, of the spirit infinite! divine !
When shall I die ? —When shall I live for ever?
NIGHT THE FOURTH.
THE CHRISTIAN TRIUMPH.
Containing our only Cure for the Fear of Death; and Each reptile, justly claims our upper hand.
proper Sentiments of that inestimable Blessing. Luxurious seast! a soul, a soul immortal,
TO THE HONORABLE MR. YORKE.
A MUOH-INDEBTED Muse, 0 Yorke! intrudes.
Thine ear is patient of a serious song:And more than angels share, and raise, and crown, How deep implanted in the breast of man And eternize, the birth, bloom, bursts of bliss. The dread of death! I sing its sovereign cure. What need I more? 0 Death, the palm is thine. Why start at Death? Where is he? Death Then welcome, Death! thy dreaded harbingers,
arriv'd, Age, and disease; disease, though long my guest; Is past ; not come or gone, he's never here. That plucks my nerves, those tender strings of life; Ere hope, sensation fails; black-boding man Which, pluck'd a little more, will toll the bell, Receives, not suffers, Death's tremendous blow. That call my few friends to my funeral ;
The knell, the shroud, the mattock, and the grave; Where feeble Nature drops, perhaps, a tear, The deep damp vault, the darkness, and the worm ; While Reason and Religion, better taught, These are the bugbears of a winter's eve, Congratulate the dead, and crown his tomb The terrors of the living, not the dead. With wreath triumphant. Death is victory; Imagination's fool, and error's wretch, It binds in chains the raging ills of life:
Man makes a death, which Nature never made ; Lust and ambition, wrath and avarice,
Then on the point of his own fancy falls ; Dragg’d at his chariot-wheel, applaud his power. And feels a thousand deaths, in fearing one. That ills corrosive, cares importunate,
But were Death frightful, what has age to fear? Are not immortal too, O Death! is thine.
If prudent, age should meet the friendly foe, Our day of dissolution name it right;
And shelter in his hospitable gloom. 'Tis our great pay-day ; 'uis our harvest, rich I scarce can meet a monument, but holds And ripe. What though the sickle, sometimes My younger; every date cries—Come away." keen,
And what recalls me? Look the world around, Just scars us as we reap the golden grain ?
And tell me what: the wisest cannot tell. More than thy balm, 0 Gilead! heals the wound Should any born of woman give his thought Birth's feeble cry, and Death's deep dismal groan, Full range on just dislike's unbounded field; Are slender tributes low-taxd Nature pays Of things, the vanity; of men, the flaws ; For mighty gain: the gain of each, of life! Flaws in the best ; the many, flaw all o'er ; But O! the last the former so transcends,
As leopards, spotted, or, as Ethiops, dark; Life dies, compar'd; life lives beyond the grave. Vivacious ill ; good dying immature;
And feel I, Death! no joy from thought of thee? (How immature, Narcissa's marble tells!) Death, the great counsellor, who man inspires And at his death bequeathing endless pain ; With every nobler thought, and fairer deed! His heart, though bold, would sicken at the sight, Death, the deliverer, who rescues man!
And spend itself in sighs, for future scenes. Death, the rewarder, who the rescued crowns! But grant to life (and just it is to grant Death, that absolves my birth ; a curse without it! To lucky life) soine perquisites of joy i
A time there is, when, like a thrice-told tale, Unbit by rage canine of dying rich ;
O my coëvals! remnants of yourselves !
Shall we, shall aged men, like aged trees,
Still more enamour'd of this wretched soil ?
With me, that time is come; my world is dead; With avarice and convulsions, grasping hard ! A new world rises, and new manners reign: Grasping at air! for what has Earth beside ? Foreign comedians, a spruce band ! arrive, Man wants but little ; nor that little, long : To push me from the scene, or hiss me there. How soon must he resign his very dust, What a pert race starts up! the strangers gaze, Which frugal Nature lent him for an hour! And I at them; my neighbor is unknown; Years unexperienc'd rush on numerous ills; Nor that the worst : Ah me! the dire effect And soon as man, expert from time, has found Of loitering here, of death defrauded long; The key of life, it opes the gates of death. Of old so gracious (and let that suffice,) ·
When in this vale of years I backward look, My very master knows me not.
And miss such numbers, numbers 100 of such Shall I dare say, peculiar is the fate?
Firmer in health, and greener in their age, I've been so long remember'd, I'm forgot. And stricter on their guard, and fitter far An object ever pressing dims the sight,
To play life's subtle game, I scarce believe And bides behind its ardor to be seen.
I still survive; and am I fond of life,
Alive by miracle! or, what is next,
Indulge me, nor conceive I drop my theme : Firmness of nerve, and energy of thought.
Call for my bier, and point me to the dust. Ambition's ill-judged effort to be rich.
O thou great Arbiter of life and death! Alas! ambition makes my little less;
Nature's immortal, immaterial Sun! Embittering the possest. Why wish for more ? Whose all-prolific beam late call’d me forth Wishing, of all employments, is the worst; From darkness, teeming darkness, where I las Philosophy's reverse; and health's decay. The worm's inferior, and, in rank, beneath Were I as plump as stall’d theology,
The dust I tread on, high to bear my brow,
No motive, but my bliss; and hast ordain'd
A rise in blessing! with the patriarch's joy, Caught at a court; purg'd off by purer air, Thy call I follow to the land unknown ; And simpler diet; gifts of rural life!
I trust in thee, and know in whom I trust; Blest be that hand divine, which gently laid Or life, or death, is equal; neither weighs : My heart at rest, beneath this humble shed. All weight in this- let me live to thee! The world's a stately bark, on dangerous seas, Though Nature's terrors, thus, may be represt; With pleasure seen, but boarded at our peril; Still frowns grim Death ; guilt points the tyrant's Here, on a single plank, thrown safe ashore,
spear. I hear the tumult of the distant throng,
And whence all human guilt? From death forgot. As that of seas remote, or dying storms:
Ah me! too long I set at nought the swarm And meditate on scenes, more silent still;
of friendly warnings, which around me flew; Pursue my theme, and fight the fear of death. And smil'd, unsmitten: small my cause to smile! Here, like a shepherd gazing from his hut,
Death's admonitions, like shafts upward shot, Touching his reed, or leaning on his staff, More dreadful by delay, the longer ere Eager ambilion's fiery chase I see;
They strike our hearts, the deeper is their wound; I see the circling hunt, of noisy men,
O think how deep, Lorenzo! here it stings : Burst law's inclosure, leap the mounds of right, Who can appease its anguish? how it burns! Pursuing, and pursued, each other's prey;
What hand the barb'd, envenom'd thought can draw? As wolves, for rapine; as the fox, for wiles ; What healing hand can pour the balm of peace, Till Death, that mighty hunter, earths them all. And turn my sight undaunted on the tomb? Why all this toil for triumphs of an hour?
With joy—with grief, that healing hand I see ; What though we wade in wealth, or soar in fame? Ah! too conspicuous ! it is fix'd on high. Earth's highest station ends in, “ Here he lies,” On high ?-What means my frenzy? I blaspheme ; And “ Dust to dust” concludes her noblest song. Alas! how low ! how far beneath the skies! If this song lives, posterity shall know
The skies it formd ; and now it bleeds for me One, though in Britain born, with courtiers bred, But bleeds the balm I wani-Yet still it bleeds; Who thought e'en gold might come a day too late; Draw the dire steel-ah no! the dreadful blessing Nor on his subtle death-bed plann'd his scheme What heart or can sustain, or dares forego! For future vacancies in church or state;
There hangs all human hope ; that nail supports Some avocation deeming it—to die,
| The falling universo : that gone, we drop;
Horror receives us, and the dismal wish
The Sun beheld it—no, the shocking scene Creation had been smother'd in her birth
Drove back his chariot: midnight veil'd his face; Darkness his curtain, and his bed the dust; Not such as this; not such as Nature makes ; When stars and Sun are dust beneath his throne! A midnight Nature shudder'd to behold; In Heaven itself can such indulgence dwell ? A midnight new! a dread eclipse (without O what a groan was there! a groan not his. Opposing spberes) from her Creator's frown! He seiz'd our dreadful right; the load sustain'd; Sun! didst thou fly thy Maker's pain? Or start And heav'd the mountain from a guilty world. At that enormous load of human guilt, A thousand worlds, so bought, were bought too dear; Which bow'd his blessed head; o'erwhelm'd his cross; Sensations new in angels' bosoms rise ;
Made groan the centre; burst Earth's marble womb, Suspend their song! and make a pause in bliss. With pangs, strange pangs ! deliver'd of her dead ?
O for their song; to reach my lofty theme! Hell howlid; and Heaven that hour let fall a tear; Inspire me, Night! with all thy tuneful spheres; Heaven wept, that men might smile! Heaven bled, Whilst I with seraphs share seraphic themes !
that man And show to men the dignity of man;
Might never die
What heart of stone but glows at thoughts like these? And Christian languish? on our hearts, not heads, Such contemplations mount us; and should mount Falls the foul infamy: my heart ! awake.
The mind still higher; nor ever glance on man What can awake thee, unawak'd by this, Unraptur’d, uninflam'd.-Where roll my thoughts “ Expended deity on human weal ?"
To rest from wonders ? other wonders rise ; Feel the great truths, which burst the tenfold night And strike where'er they roll: my soul is caught : or heathen error, with a golden flood
Heaven's sovereign blessings, clustering from the of endless day : to feel, is to be fir'd;
eross, And to believe, Lorenzo! is to feel.
Rush on her, in a throng, and ciose her round,
He rose! he rose! he burst the bars of death.
Bold thought! shall I dare speak it, or repress ? His throne of glory, for the pang of death!
Who is the King of glory? he who slew
Heaven with amazement at his love to man;
Powers most illumin'd, wilder'd in the theme.
The theme, the joy, how then shall man sustain ? Could labor such expedient from despair,
Oh the burst gates! crush'd sting! demolish'd throne! And rescue both ? both rescue! bo‘h exalt! Last gasp! of vanquish'd Death. Shout Earth and O how are both exalted by the deed!
Heaven! The wondrous deed! or shall I call it more? This sum of good to man. Whose nature, then, A wonder in Omnipotence itself!
Took wing, and mounted with him from the tomb ! A mystery no less to gods than men!
Then, then, I rose; then first humanity
(Stupendous guest!) and seiz'd eternal youth,
Was, then, transferr'd to death ; and Heaven's du. Maim Heaven's perfection, break its equal beams, Unalienably seal'd to this frail frame, Bid mercy triumph over-God himself,
This child of dust-Man, all immortal! hail; Undeified by their opprobrious praise :
Hail, Heaven! all lavish of strange gists to man! A God all mercy, is a God unjust.
Thine all the glory; man's the boundless bliss. Ye brainless wits ! ye baptiz'd infidels !
Where am I rapt by this triumphant theme,
What if to pain immortal ? if extent
And was the ransom paid ? it was: and paid Nor that, unless his death can justify