Page images
PDF
EPUB

In weakness safe, the fex I fee

With idle luftre shine ;
For what are all their joys to me,

Which cannot now be mine?
But hold—I feel my gout decrease,

My troubles laid to rest, And truths which would disturb my peace.

Are painful truths at best.
Vainly the time I have to roll

In fad reflection flies;
Ye fondling passions of my soul!

Ye sweet deceits! arife.
I wisely change the scene within,

To things that us'd to please ;
In pain, philosophy is spleen,

In health, 'tis only ease.

A NIGHT-PIECE ON DEATH.

BY

the blue taper's trembling light,

No more I waste the wakeful night,
Intent with endless view to pore
The schoolmen and the sages o'er :
Their books from wisdom widely stray,
Or point at best the longest way.
I'll seek a readier path, and go
Where wisdom's furely taught below.

How deep yon azure dyes the sky! Where orbs of gold unnumber'd lie, While through their ranks in silver pride The nether crescent seems to glide. The flumbering breeze forgets to breathe, The lake is smooth and clear beneath, Where once again the spangled show Descends to meet our eyes below. The grounds, which on the right aspire, In dimness from the view retire : The left presents a place of graves, Whose wall the filent water laves. That steeple guides thy doubtful fight Among the livid gleams of night. There pass with melancholy state By all the folemn heaps of fate, And think, as softly-fad you tread Above the venerable dead, Time was, like thee, they life poffeft, And time shall be, that thou shalt reft.

Those with bending osier bound, That nameless heave the crumbled ground, Quick to the glancing thought disclose, Where toil and poverty repose.

The flat smooth stones that bear a name, The chiffel's slender help to fame (Which ere our set of friends decay Their frequent steps may wear away); A middle race of mortals own, Men, half ambitious, all unknown.

The marble tombs that rise on high,
Whose dead in vaulted arches lie,
Whose pillars swell with sculptur'd stones,
Arms, angels, epitaphs, and bones,
These, all the poor remains of state,
Adorn the rich, or praise the great;
Who, while on earth in fame they live,
Are senseless of the fame they give.

Ha! while I gaze, pale Cynthia fades,
The bursting earth unveils the shades !
All flow, and wan, and wrap'd with shrouds,
They rise in visionary crowds,
And all with sober accent cry,
Think, mortal, what it is to die.
Now from

yon

black and funeral yew,
That bathes the charnel-house with dew,
Methinks, I hear a voice begin ;
(Ye ravens, cease your croaking din,
Ye tolling clocks, no time resound
O'er the long lake and midnight ground!)
It sends a peal of hollow groans,
Thus speaking from among the bones.

When men my scythe and darts supply,
How great a King of Fears am I!
They view me like the last of things;
They make, and then they draw, my strings.
Fools! if you lefs provok'd your fears,
No more my spectre-form appears.
Death's but a path that must be trod,
If

would ever pass to God :

man

A port of calms, a state to ease
From the rough rage of swelling feas.

Why then thy flowing fable stoles,
Deep pendant cypress, mourning poles,
Loose scarfs to fall athwart thy weeds,
Long palls, drawn hearses, cover'd feeds,
And plumes of black, that, as they tread,
Nod o'er the 'fcutcheons of the dead?

Nor can the parted body know,
Nor wants the foul, these forms of woe;
As men who long in prison dwell,
With lamps that glimmer round the cell,
Whene'er their suffering years are run,
Spring forth to greet the glittering sun:
Such joy, though far transcending sense,
Have pious souls at parting hence.
On earth, and in the body plac'd,
A few, and evil years, they waste :
But when their chains are cast aside,
See the glad scene unfolding wide,
Clap the glad wing, and tower away,
And mingle with the blaze of day.

HYMN TO CONTENTMENT.

LOVELY, lasting peace of mind!

Sweet delight of human kind ! Heavenly born, and bred on high, To crown the fayorites of the sky

With more of happiness below,
Than victors in a triumph know !
Whither, O whither art thou fled,
To lay thy meek contented head;
What happy region doft thou please
To make the seat of calms and ease !

Ambition searches all its sphere
Of

pomp and state, to meet thee there. Encreasing avarice would find Thy presence in its gold inshrin'd. The bold adventurer ploughs his way, Through rocks amidst the foaming sea, To gain thy love; and then perceives Thou wert not in the rocks and waves. The silent heart, which grief assails, Treads soft and lonesome p'er the vales, Sees daisies open, rivers run, And seeks (as I have vainly done) Amusing thought; but learns to know That Solitude's the nurse of woe. No real happiness is found In trailing purple o'er the ground: Or in a soul exalted high, To range

the circuit of the sky,
Converse with stars above, and know
All Nature in its forms below;
The rest it seeks, in seeking dies,
And doubts at last for knowledge rise.

Lovely, lasting peace, appear!
This world itself, if thou art here,

« PreviousContinue »