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A RICH MAN SURPRISED BY DEATH.
In that dread moment, how the frantic soul
Raves round the walls of her clay tenement,
Runs to each avenue, and shrieks for help,
But shrieks in vain ! how wistfully she looks
On all she's leaving, now no longer hers !
A little longer, yet a little longer,
0! might she stay to wash away her stains,
And fit her for her passage. Mournful sight;
Her very eyes weep blood ; and every groan
She heaves is big with horror. But the foe,
Like a stanch murderer, steady to his purpose,
Pursues her close through every lane of life,
Nor misses once the track, but presses on;
Till forced at last to the tremendous verge,
At once she sinks to everlasting ruin!
This eminent poet was born at Ednam, in Roxburghshire, in 1700. He was educated at Jedburgh and Edinburgh, and was intended for the ministry. Poetry, however, led him aside from this path, and in 1725 he went to London, where he soon attracted notice by the publication of his “ Winter," and was patronised by the Lord Chancellor Talbot, with whose son he travelled afterwards on the Continent. After this nobleman's death, he enjoyed the friendship of Frederic, Prince of Wales, and Mr. Lyttleton. He died in 1748. Thomson is described by Hazlitt as the best and most original of the British descriptive poets. “He had nature, but through indolence or affectation, too often embellished it with the gaudy ornaments of art. He sometimes rises into sublimity; he has occasional pathos, and wit, and humor too, of a most voluptuous kind." Perhaps the best recent criticism. of Thomson may be found in Professor Wilson's writings.
These as they change, Almighty Father, these
Are but the varied God. The rolling year
Is full of Thee. Forth in the pleasing Spring
Thy beauty walks, thy tenderness and love.
Wide flush the fields: the softening air is balm,
every sense and
heart is joy.
Then comes thy glory in the Summer months,
With light and heat refulgent. Then thy sun
Shoots full perfection through the swelling year;
And oft thy voice in dreadful thunder speaks,
And oft at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve,
By brooks and groves, and hollow whispering gales.
Thy bounty shines in Autumn unconfined,
And spreads a common feast for all that lives.
In Winter, awful Thou! with clouds and storms
Around Thee thrown, tempest o'er tempest rolled,
Majestic darkness ! on the whirlwind's wing
Riding sublime, Thou bidd'st the world adore,
And humblest nature with thy northern blast.
Mysterious round! what skill, what force divine,
Deep felt, in these appear! a simple train,
Yet so delightful mixed with such kind arı,
Such beauty and beneficence combined !
Shade unperceived so soft'ning into shade,
And all so forming an harmonious whole,
That as they still succeed they ravish still.
But wand'ring oft with brute unconscious gaze,
Man marks not Thee, marks not the mighty hand
That ever busy wheels the silent spheres ;
Works in the secret deep; shoots teeming thence
The fair profusion that o'erspreads the Spring ;
Flings from the sun direct the flaming day;
Feeds every creature; hurls the tempest forth;
And, as on earth this grateful change revolves,
With transport touches all the springs of life.
Nature, attend ! join every living soul
Beneath the spacious temple of the sky,
In adoration join : and ardent raise
One general song! To Him, ye vocal gales,
Breathe soft, whose spirit in your freshness breathes.
Oh! talk of Him in solitary glooms,
Where o'er the rock the scarcely waving pine
Fills the brown shade with a religious awe.
whose bolder note is heard afar,
Who shake th' astonished world, lift high to heaven
Th' impetuous song, and say from whom you rage.
His praise, ye brooks, attune, ye trembling rills,
And let me catch it as I muse along.
Ye headlong torrents, rapid and profound;
Ye softer floods, that lead the humid maze
Along the vale; and thou, majestic main,
A secret world of wonders in thyself,
Sound his stupendous praise, whose greater voice
Or bids you roar, or bids your roarings fall.
Soft roll your incense, herbs, and fruits, and flowers,
In mingled clouds to Him, whose sun exalts,
Whose breath perfumes you, and whose pencil paints.
Ye forests, bend, ye harvests, wave to Him!
Breathe your still song into the reaper's heart,
As home he goes beneath the joyous moon.
Ye that keep watch in heaven, as earth asleep
Unconscious lies, effuse your mildest beams,
Ye constellations, while your angels strike,
Amid the spangled sky, the silver lyre.
Great source of day! best image here below
Of thy Creator; ever pouring wide,
From world to world, the vital ocean round,
On nature write with every beam his praise.
The thunder rolls ! be húshed the prostrate world,
While cloud to cloud returns the solemn hymn.
Bleat out afresh, ye hills ; ye mossy rocks,
Retain the sound: the broad responsive low,
Ye valleys, raise : for the Great Shepherd reigns;
And his unsuffering kingdom yet will come.
Ye woodlands, all awake! A boundless song
Bursts from the groves! and when the restless day,
Expiring, lays the warbling world asleep,
Sweetest of birds ! sweet Philomela, .charm
The listening shades, and teach the night his praise.
Ye chief, for whom the whole creation smiles,
At once the head, the heart, and tongue of all,
Crown the great hy min ! in swarming cities vast
Assembled men to the deep organ join
The long resounding voice, oft breaking clear
At solemn pauses through the swelling base;
And, as each mingling flame increases, each
In one united ardor rise to heaven.
Or if you rather choose the rural shade,
And find a fane in every sacred grove,
There let the shepherd's flute, the virgin's lay
The prompting seraph, and the poet's lyre,
Still sing the God of Seasons as they ro!
For me—when I forget the darling theme,
Whether the blossom blows, the summer ray
Russets the plain, inspiring autumn gleams,
Or winter rises in the blackening east,
Be my tongue mute, my fancy paint, no more,
And, dead to joy, forget my heart to beat!,
Should fate command me to the farthest verge
Of the green earth, to distant barbarous climes,
Rivers unknown to song, where first the sun
Gilds Indian mountains, or his setting beam
Flames on the Atlantic isles ;-'tis naught to me,
Since God is ever present, ever felt
In the void waste as in the city full :
And where He vital breathes there must be joy.
When even at last the solemn hour shall come,
And wing my mystic flight to future worlds,
I cheerful will obey ; there, with new powers,
Will rising wonders sing : I cannot go
Where Universal Love not smiles around,
Sustaining all yon orbs and all their suns-
From seeming evil still educing good,
And better thence again, and better still,
In infinite progression. But I lose
Myself in Him, in Light Ineffable.
Come then, expressive Silence, muse his praise.