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NIGHT THE NINTH AND LAST.
CONTAINING, AMONG OTHER THINGS, I. A Moral Survey of the Nocturnal Heavens, II. A Night Address to the Deity,
HUMBLY INSCRIBED TC
HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE, ONE OF HIS
MAJESTY'S PRINCIPAL SECRETARIES OF STATE.
Fatis contraria fata rependens. VIRG.
And chants his sonnet to deceive the time,
To bear a part in everlasting lays;
Though far, far higher set, in aim, I trust,
Has not the Muse asserted pleasures pure,
Weigh what was urg'd, Lorenzo! fairly weigh;
I think, thou wilt forbear a boast so bold.
Thy smile 's sincere; not more sincere can be
In mind are covetous of more disease ;
But grant no guilt, no shame, no least alloy;
Where, the prime actors of the last year's scene; Their port so proud, their buskin, and their plume ? How many sleep, who kept the world awake With lustre, and with noise! Has Death proclaim'd A truce, and hung his sated lance on high ? 'Tis brandish'd still; nor shall the present year Be more tenacious of her human leaf, Or spread of feeble life a thinner fall.
But needless monuments to wake the thought; Life's gayest scenes speak man's mortality, 'Though in a style more florid, full as plain, As mausoleums, pyramids, and tombs.
What are our noblest ornaments, but deaths Turn'd flatterers of life, in paint or marble, The well-stain'd canvass, or the featur'd stone? Our fathers grace, or rather haunt, the scene. Joy peoples her pavilion from the dead.
"Profest diversions! - cannot these escape?"Far from it these present us with a shroud; And talk of death, like garlands o'er a grave. As some bold plunderers, for bury'd wealth, We ransack tombs for pastime; from the dust Call up the sleeping hero; bid him tread The scene for our amusement: how like gods We sit; and, wrapt in immortality, Shed generous tears on wretches born to die; Their fate deploring, to forget our own! What all the pomps and triumphs of our lives, But legacies in blossom? Our lean soil, Luxuriant grown, and rank in vanities, From friends interr'd beneath, a rich manure! Like other worms, we banquet on the dead; Like other worms, shall we crawl on, nor know Our present frailties, or approaching fate?
Lorenzo! such the glories of the world! What is the world itself? Thy world -a grave. Where is the dust that has not been alive? The spade, the plough, disturb our ancestors; From human mould we reap our daily bread. The globe around Earth's hollow surface shakes, And is the ceiling of her sleeping sons. O'er devastation we blind revels keep; Whole bury'd towns support the dancer's heel. The moist of human frame the Sun exhales;