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As I can number in my punctual page,

And item down the victims of the past; How each would trembling wait the mournful sheet,

On which the press might stamp him next to die; And, reading here his sentence, how replete

With anxious meaning, heavenward turn his eye! Time then would seem more precious than the joys

In which he sports away the treasure now; And prayer more seasonable than the noise

Of drunkards, or the music-drawing bow. Then doubtless many a trifler, on the brink

Of this world's hazardous and headlong shore, Forced to a pause, would feel it good to think,

Told that his setting sun must rise no more. Ah self-deceived ! Could I prophetic say

Who next is fated, and who next to fall, The rest might then seem privileged to play ;

But, naming none, the Voice now speaks to all. Observe the dappled foresters, how light

They bound and airy o’er the sunny glade;
One falls—the rest, wide scatter'd with affright,

Vanish at once into the darkest shade.
Had we their wisdom, should we, often warn’d,

Still need repeated warnings, and at last,
A thousand awful admonitions scorn’d,

Die self-accused of life run all to waste ? Sad waste ! for which no after-thrift atones !

The grave admits no cure for guilt or sin ; Dewdrops may deck the turf that hides the bones,

But tears of godly grief ne'er flow within. Learn then, ye living ! by the mouths be taught

Of all those sepulchres, instructors true, That, soon or late, death also is your lot,

And the next opening grave may yawn for you.

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ON A SIMILAR OCCASION,

FOR THE YEAR 1789.

-"Placidâque ibi demum morte quievit.”

VIRG. There calm at length he breathed his soul away.

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O most delightful hour

Experienced here below,
The hour that terminates his span,

His folly and his woe!
“ Worlds should not bribe me back to tread

Again life's dreary waste,
To see again my day o'erspread

With all the gloomy past.
My home henceforth is in the skies,

Earth, seas, and sun, adieu !
All heaven unfolded to my eyes,

I have no sight for you.”
So spake Aspasio, firm possess'd

Of faith's supporting rod,
Then breathed his soul into its rest,

The bosom of his God.
He was a man among the few

Sincere on virtue's side;
And all his strength from Scripture drew,

To hourly use applied.
That rule he prized, by that he fear’d,

He hated, hoped, and loved ;
Nor ever frown'd, or sad appear’d,

But when his heart had roved.
For he was frail as thou or I,

And evil felt within :
But when he felt it, heaved a sigh,

And loathed the thought of sin.
Such lived Aspasio; and at last

Call’d up from earth to heaven,

The gulf of death triumphant pass'd,

By gales of blessing driven.
His joys be mine, each reader cries,

When my last hour arrives :
They shall be yours, my verse replies,

Such only be your lives.

ON A SIMILAR OCCASION,

FOR THE YEAR 1790.

BUCHANAN.

“Ne commonentem recta sperne.'
Despise not my good counsel.

He who sits from day to day

Where the prison'd lark is hung, Heedless of his loudest lay,

Hardly knows that he has sung. Where the watchman in his round

Nightly lifts his voice on high, None, accustom’d to the sound,

Wakes the sooner for his cry.
So your verse-man I, and Clerk,

Yearly in my song proclaim
Death at hand-yourselves his mark-

And the foe's unerring aim.
Duly at my time I come,

Publishing to all aloud,
Soon the grave must be your home,

And your only suit a shroud.
But the monitory strain,

Oft repeated in your ears, Seems to sound too much in vain,

Wins no notice, wakes no fears. Can a truth, by all confess'd

Of such magnitude and weight, Grow, by being oft impress’d,

Trivial as a parrot's prate ?

Pleasure's call attention wins,

Hear it often as we may ;
New as ever seem our sins,

Though committed every day.
Death and judgment, heaven and hell-

These alone, so often heard,
No more move us than the bell

When some stranger is interr’d.
O then, ere the turf or tomb

Cover us from every eye,
Spirit of instruction ! come,
Make us learn that we must die.

ON A SIMILAR OCCASION,

FOR THE YEAR 1792.

VIRG.

" Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas,
Atque metus omnes et inexorabile fatum
Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari!”
Happy the mortal who has traced effects
To their first cause, cast fear beneath his feet,
And death and roaring hell's voracious fires !

THANKLESS for favours from on high,

Man thinks he fades too soon; Though 'tis his privilege to die,

Would he improve the boon.
But he, not wise enough to scan

His blest concerns aright,
Would gladly stretch life's little span

To ages, if he might;
To
ages in a world of pain,

To ages, where he goes
Gall’d by affliction's heavy chain,

And hopeless of repose.
Strange fondness of the human heart,

Enamour'd of its harm !
Strange world, that costs it so much smart,

And still has power to charm!

Whence has the world her magic power ?

Why deem we death a foe?
Recoil from weary life's best hour,

And covet longer woe ?
The cause is Conscience :-Conscience oft

Her tale of guilt renews;
Her voice is terrible though soft,

And dread of death ensues.
Then anxious to be longer spared

Man mourns his fleeting breath · All evils then seem light compared

With the approach of death. 'Tis judgment shakes him ; there's the fear

That prompts the wish to stay :
He has incurr'd a long arrear,

And must despair to pay.
Pay ?—follow Christ, and all is paid ;

His death your peace insures ;
Think on the grave where he was laid,

And calm descend to yours.

ON A SIMILAR OCCASION,

FOR THE YEAR 1793.

" De sacris autem hæc sit una sententia, ut conserventur." Cic. DE LEG.

But let us all concur in this one sentiment, that things sacred be inviolate.

He lives who lives to God alone,

And all are dead beside ;
For other source than God is none

Whence life can be supplied.
To live to God is to requite

His love as best we may;
To make his precepts our delight

His promises our stay.

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