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Thus I, the object of the world's disdain,
With pilgrim face surround the weary earth ;
Her mirth's my grief, her sullen grief my mirth ;
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.
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,
But seeming pleasant to the fond deceiver ;
Where shall I seek a guide ? where shall I meet
Some lucky hand to lead my trembling paces ?
An unrequested star did gently slide
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:
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
See how the latter trumpet's dreadful blast
Affrights stout Mars his trembling son!
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.
To measure out the life of man;
The posts of time are swift, which, having run
To sleep, to antic plays
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 wretched is
A slave to such a state as this !
The secret springs,
That make our minutes flee
Our life's a clock, and every gasp of death Breathes forth a warning grief, till Time shall strike a death.
Attains to full-aged noon
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,
Advancing more and more his conquering head;
So have I seen a well-built castle stand
Upon the tiptoes of a lofty hill,
And curbs the pride of the beleaguerer's will:
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 ;
Lies now a monument of her own disguise ;
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!