« PreviousContinue »
If human kindness meets return,
And owns the grateful tie;
If tender thoughts within us burn,
To feel a friend is nigh :
Oh! shall not warmer accents tell
TI gratitude we owe
To him who died, our fears to quell,
Our more than orphan's woe!
While yet his anguish'd soul survey'd
Those pangs he would not flee; What love his latest words display'd,
“ Meet and remember me ! Remember Thee! thy death, thy shame,
Our sinful hearts to share !
O memory, leave no other name
But His, recorded there!
VITAL spark of heavenly flame!
Quit, o quit this mortal frame !
Trembling, hoping, lingering, flying;
Oh the pain, the bliss, of dying !
Cease, fond nature ! cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life!
Hark! they whisper-angels say,
“ Sister spirit, come away!”
What is this absorbs me quite,
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Drowns my spirit, draws my breath ?-
Tell me, my soul! can this be death?
The world recedes !-it disappears !-
Heaven opens on my eyes !-my ears
With sounds seraphic ring :-
Lend, lend your wings ! I mount ! I fly!
O grave! where is thy victory?
O death! where is thy sting?
WhoE'ER, like me, with trembling anguish brings
His dearest earthly treasure to these springs,
Whoe'er, like me, to soothe distress and pain,
Shall court these salutary springs in vain :
Condemn’d, like me, to hear the faint reply,
To mark the fading cheek, the sinking eye,
From the chill brow to wipe the damps of death,
And watch, in dumb despair, the shortening breath:-
If chance should bring him to this humble line,
Let the sad mourner know his pangs were mine.
Ordain'd to lose the partner of my breast,
Whose virtue warmed me, and whose beauty bless'd,
Formed every tie that binds the heart to prove,
Her duty friendship, and her friendship love :
But yet, remembering that the parting sigh
Appoints the just to slumber, not to die,
The starting tear I check’d—I kissed the rod,
And not to earth resigned her, but to God!
CHARITY, decent, modest, easy, kind,
Softens the high, and rears the abject mind;
Knows, with just reins and gentle hand to guide
Betwixt vile shame, and arbitrary pride.
Not soon provok’d, she easily forgives,
And much she suffers, as she much believes:
Soft peace she brings wherever she arrives,
She builds our quiet, as she forms our lives;
Lays the rough paths of peevish nature even,
And opens in each breast a little heaven.
When constant Faith and holy Hope shall die,
One lost in certainty, and one in joy,
Then, thou more happy power, fair Charity!
Triumphant sister ! greatest of the three !
Thy office and thy nature still the same,
Lasting thy lamp, and unconsum'd thy flame,
Shalt stand, before the host of heaven confess’d,
For ever blessing, and for ever bless'd,
Wages of sin is death : the day is come,
Wherein the equal hand of death must sum
The several items of man's fading glory
Into the easy total of one story.
The brows that sweat for kingdoms and renown,
To glorify their temples with a crown;
At length grow cold, and leave their honoured name
To flourish in the uncertain blast of fame.
This is the height that glorious mortals can
Attain ; this is the highest pitch of man.
The mighty conqueror of the earth's great ball,
Whose unconfined limits were too small
For his extreme ambition to deserve,---
Six feet of length and three of breadth must serve,
This is the highest pitch that man can fly;
And, after all his triumph, he must die.
Lives he in wealth? Does well-deserved store
Limit his wish, that he can wish no more?
And does the fairest bounty of increase
Crown him with plenty, and his days with peace ?
It is a right-hand blessing: but supply
Of wealth cannot secure him; he must die.
Lives he in pleasure ? Does perpetual mirth
Lend him a little heaven upon this earth ?
Meets he no sullen care, no sudden loss
To cool his joys ? Breathes he without a cross ?
Wants he no pleasure that his wanton eye
Can crave or hope from fortune? He must die.
Lives he in honour ? hath his fair desert
Obtain'd the freedom of his prince's heart?
Or may his more familiar hands disburse
His liberal favors from the royal purse?
Alas! his honour cannot soar too high
For pale-fac'd Death to follow; he must die.
Lives he a conqueror ? and doth heaven bless
His heart with spirit, that spirit with success ;
Success with glory; glory with a name,
To live with the eternity of fame?
The progress of his lasting fame may vie
With time: but yet the conqueror must die.
Great and good God ! thou Lord of life and death,
In whom the creature hath its being, breath ;
Teach me to under-prize this life, and I
Shall find my loss the easier when I die.
So raise my feeble thoughts and dull desire,
That, when these vain and weary days expire,
my flesh with joy, and quit
My better part of this false earth, and it
Of some more sin; and for this transitory
And tedious life enjoy a life of glory.