صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
[blocks in formation]

Thus I, the object of the world's disdain,

With pilgrim face surround the weary earth ;
I only relish what the world counts vain ;

Her mirth's my grief, her sullen grief my mirth ;
Her light my darkness, and her truth my error ;
Her freedom is my jail, and her delight my terror.

Fond earth! proportion not my seeming love

To my long stay ; let not thy thoughts deceive thee; Thou art my prison, and my home's above;

My life's a preparation but to leave thee.
Like one that seeks a door, I walk about thee :
With thee I cannot live; I cannot live without thee.

The world's a labyrinth, whose anfractuous ways

Are all composed of rubs and crooked meanders; No resting here; he's hurried back, that stays

Athought; and he that goes unguided, wanders: Her

way is dark, her path untrod, uneven, So hard's the way from earth, so hard's the way to heaven.

This gyring labyrinth is betrenched about,

On either hand, with streams of sulphurous fire,
Streams closely sliding, erring in and out,

But seeming pleasant to the fond deceiver ;
Where, if his footsteps trust their own invention,
He falls without redress, and sinks without dimension.

Where shall I seek a guide ? where shall I meet

Some lucky hand to lead my trembling paces ?
What trusty lantern will direct my

To 'scape the danger of these dangerous places ?
What hopes have I to pass without a guide ?
Where one gets safely through, a thousand fall beside.

An unrequested star did gently slide
Before the wise men to a greater light;

Backsliding Israel found a double guide,

A pillar and a cloud-by day, by night ; Yet in my desperate dangers, which be far More great than theirs, I have no pillar, cloud, nor star. Oh! that the pinions of a clipping dove

Would cut my passage through the empty air ; Mine eyes being sealed, how would I mount above

The reach of danger and forgotten care ! My backward


should ne'er commit that fault, Whose lasting guilt should build a monument of salt.

Great God! Thou art the flowing spring of light

Enrich mine eyes with thy refulgent ray:
Thou art my path ; direct my steps aright,
I have no other light, no other

way ; I'll trust my God, and Him alone pursue ; His law shall be my path, his heavenly light my clue.




Even as a nurse, whose child's imperfect pace
Can hardly lead his foot from place to place,
Leaves her fond kissing, sets him down to go,
Nor does uphold him for a step or two:
But when she finds that he begins to fall,
She holds him up, and kisses him withal ;-
So God from man sometimes withdraws his hand
Awhile, to teach his infant faith to stand,
But when he sees his feeble strength begin
To fail, he gently takes him up again.

[blocks in formation]

See how the latter trumpet's dreadful blast

Affrights stout Mars his trembling son!
See how he startles, how he stands aghast,

And scrambles from his melting throne !

Hark how the direful hand of vengeance tears

The sweltering clouds, whilst heaven appears A circle filled with flame, and centered with his fears.

[blocks in formation]

How short a span
Was long enough of old,

To measure out the life of man;
In those well-tempered days, his time was then
Surveyed, cast up, and found but threescore years and ten.

And what is that !
They come, and slide, and

Before my pen can tell thee what;

The posts of time are swift, which, having run
Their seven short stages o'er, their shortlived task is done.

Our days
Begun, we lend

To sleep, to antic plays
And toys, until the first stage end :
Twelve waning moons, twice five times told, we give
To unrecovered loss, we rather breathe than live.

We spend

A ten years' breath

Before we apprehend What 'tis to live, or fear a death : Our childish dreams are filled with painted joys, Which please our sense awhile, and waking prove but toys.

How vain,

How wretched is
Poor man, that doth remain

A slave to such a state as this !
His days are short at longest, few at most:
They are but bad at best; yet lavished out, or lost.

They be

The secret springs,

That make our minutes flee
On wheels more swift than eagles' wings:

Our life's a clock, and every gasp of death Breathes forth a warning grief, till Time shall strike a death.

How soon
Our new-born light

Attains to full-aged noon
And this, how soon, to gray-haired night!
We spring, we bud, we blossom, and we blast,
Ere we can count our days, our days they flee so fast.

They end
When scarce begun;
And ere

we apprehend
That we begin to live, our life is done :

Man, count thy days, and if they fly too fast For thy dull thoughts to count, count every day thy last.


So have I seen the illustrious prince of light

Rising in glory from his crocean bed,
And trampling down the horrid shades of night,

Advancing more and more his conquering head;
Pause first, decline, at length begin to shroud
His fainting brows within a coal-black cloud.

So have I seen a well-built castle stand

Upon the tiptoes of a lofty hill,
Whose active power commands both sea and land,

And curbs the pride of the beleaguerer's will:
At length her aged foundation fails her trust,
And lays her tottering ruins in the dust.

So have I seen the blazing taper shoot

Her golden head into the feeble air;

Whose shadow-gilding ray, spread round about,

Makes the foul face of black-browed darkness fair; Till at the length her wasting glory fades, And leave the night to her inveterate shades.

E'en so this little world of living clay,

The pride of nature glorified by art; Whom earth adores, and all her hosts obey,

Allied to heaven by his diviner part ; Triumphs awhile, then droops, and then decays, And worn by age, death cancels all his days.

That glorious sun, that whilome shone so bright,

Is now e'en ravished from our darkened eyes ;
That sturdy castle, manned with so much might,

Lies now a monument of her own disguise ;
That blazing taper, that disdained the puff
Of troubled air, scarce owns the name of snuff.

Poor bedrid man! where is that glory now,

Thy youth so vaunted ? where that majesty, Which sat enthroned upon thy manly brow?

Where, where that braving arm ? that daring eye ? Those buxom tunes ? those bacchanalian tones ? Those swelling veins ? those marrow-flaming bones ?

Thy drooping glory's blurred, and prostrate lies,

Grovelling in dust; and frightful horror now Sharpens the glances of thy gashful eyes,

Whilst fear perplexes thy distracted brow; Thy panting breast vents all her breath by groans, And death enerves thy marrow-wasted bones.

Thus man that's born of woman can remain

But a short time! his days are full of sorrowHis life's a penance, and his death's a pain !

Springs like a flower to-day, and fades to-morrow! His breath's a bubble, and his day's a span: 'Tis glorious misery to be born a man!

« السابقةمتابعة »