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There pass with melancholy state
By all the solemn heaps of fate,
And think, as softly sad you tread
Above the venerable dead,
“ Time was, like thee, they life possessed,
And time shall be that thou shalt rest!"
Those graves 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 chisel'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 sculptured stones,
Urns, angels, epithets, 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 slow, and wan, and wrapped with shrouds,
They rise in visionary clouds,
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 dread my stings
Fools ! if you less provoked your fears,
No more my spectre form appears.
Death's but a path that must be trod,
If man would ever pass to God;
A port of calms, a state of ease,
From the rough rage of swelling seas."
Why then thy flowing sable stoles,
Deep pendent cypress, mourning poles,
Loose scarfs to fall athwart thy weeds,
Long palls, drawn hearses, covered steeds,
And plumes of black, that, as they tread,
Nod o'er the scutcheons of the dead ?
Nor can the parted body know,
Nor wants the soul, these forms of wo.
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 placed,
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 !
Heaven-born and bred on high,
To crown the favorites of the sky,
With more of happiness below
Than victors in a triumph know;
Whither, oh! whither art thou fled,
To lay thy meek contented head ?
What happy region dost thou please
To make the seat of calms and ease ?
Ambition searches all its sphere
pomp and state, to meet thee there;
Increasing avarice would find
Thy presence in its gold enshrined;
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 o'er the vales,
And seeks (as I have vainly done)
Amusing thought; but learns to know,
That solitude's the nurse of wo.
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,
Is once again with Eden blessed,
And man contains it in his breast.
'Twas thus, as under shade I stood,
wishes to the wood, And, lost in thought, no more perceived The branches whisper as they waved : It seemed as all the quiet place Confessed the presence of the Grace: When thus she spoke :—"Go, rule thy will, Bid thy wild passions all be still ;
Know God, -and bring thy heart to know
The joys which from religion flow :
Then every grace shall prove its guest,
And I'll be there to crown the rest !"
Oh ! by yonder mossy seat,
In my hours of sweet retreat,
Might I thus my soul employ,
With sense of gratitude and joy,
Raised, as ancient prophets were,
In heavenly vision, praise, and prayer,
Pleasing all men, hurting none,
Pleased and blessed with God alone
Then while the gardens take my sight,
With all the colors of delight,
While silver waters glide along,
To please my ear, and court my song,
I'll lift my voice, and tune my string,
And Thee, Great Source of Nature, sing.
The sun that walks his airy way,
To light the world, and give the day;
The moon, that shines with borrowed light;
The stars, that gild the gloomy night;
The seas, that roll unnumbered waves;
The wood, that spreads its shady leaves ;
The field, whose ears conceal the grain,
The yellow treasure of the plain ;--
All of these, and all I see,
Should be sung, and sung by me:
They speak their Maker as they can,
But want and ask the tongue of man.
Go, search among your idle dreams,
Your busy, or your vain extremes,
And find a life of equal bliss,
Or own the next begun in this.
Dr. Young was born at Upham, near Winchester, in 1681. He was educated at Winchester School, and removed thence to New College, Oxford. He took orders in 1727, and was appointed Chaplain to
After this he engaged in politics, and at the age of eighty, soliciting further preferment from Archbishop Secker, he was appointed Clerk of the Closet to the Princess dowager of Wales. He died in April, 1765.
The principal work of Dr. Young is his “ Night Thoughts,” of which Dr. Johnson gives the following character: " The author has exhibited a very wide display of original poetry, variegated with deep reflections and striking allusions ; a wildness of thought, in which the fertility of fancy scatters flowers of every hue and order. The excellence of this work is not exactness, but copiousness ; particular lines are not to be regarded, the power is in the whole ; and in the whole there is a magnificence, like that ascribed to a Chinese plantation—the magnificence of vast extent and endless di
THE POET COMPARES HIMSELF TO A TRAVELLER.
As when a traveller, a long day passed
In painful search of what he cannot find,
At night's approach, content with the next cot,
There ruminates awhile, his labor lost;
Then cheers his heart with what his fate affords,
And chants his sonnet to deceive the time,
Till the due season calls him to repose :
Thus I, long travelled in the ways
And dancing, with the rest, the giddy maze,
Where Disappointment smiles at Hope's career ;
Warned by the languor of life's evening ray,
At length have housed me in an humble shed:
Where, future wand’ring banished from my thought,
And waiting, patient, the sweet hour of rest,
I chase the moments with a serious song.