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Thus busy to no end, till, out of breath,
Tired we lie down, and close up all in death. Then bless'd the man whom gracious Heaven has led
Through life's blind mazes to the' immortal dead!
Who, safely landed on the blissful shore,
Nor human folly feels, nor frailty more!
O Death! thou cure of all our idle strife;
End of the gay or serious farce of life:
Wish of the just, and refuge of the' oppress'd;
Where poverty, and where e'en kings find rest!
Safe from the frowns of power,calm thoughtful hate,
And the rude insults of the scornful great.
The grave is sacred! wrath and malice dread
To violate its peace, and wrong the dead;
But Life, thy name is Woe! to Death we fly
To grow immortal-into life we die!
Then wisely Heaven in silence has confined
The happier dead, lest none should stay behind.
What though the path be dark that must be trod,
Though man be blotted from the works of God,
Though the four winds his scatter'd atoms bear
To earth's extremes through all the' expanse of air;
Yet, bursting glorious from the silent clay,
He mounts triumphant to eternal day.
So when the sun rolls down the' etherial plain,
Extinct his splendours in the whelming main,
A transient night earth, air, and heaven invades,
Eclipsed in horrors of surrounding shades,
But soon emerging with a fresher ray,
He starts exultant, and renews the day.
IT seemed as Nature's flame were dead!-No beam
From sun or moon diffused its cheering gleam
O'er that dark sky, at morn which seem'd so fair,
It thence seem'd darker now. The murky air,
Close, thick, and lowering, with its burthen press'd
The spirits down, and clogg'd the labouring breast.
The birds were silent on the leafless spray;
And wild and waste the soul's Elysium lay,
Spoil'd of its floral treasure. Cankerous Want
And Sorrow's worm had kill'd Health's blooming
Hope, the fond sunflower, turned no more its eye
Where orient lustre fired the eastern sky:
The primrose, Youth, was dead, untimely dead;
The lilly, Virtue, lived, but droop'd its head;
And Bliss (that empress-rose, whose odorous power
And blushing cups at morn's delicious hour
Pour'd on my senses from its emerald seats
A blaze of beauties and a cloud of sweets),
Now, lost its glowing gems and green attire,
Met my sad eyes a rude unsightly briar,
Menaced my hand with thorns, as near I drew,
And wept its ravish'd flowers in tears of dew.
Oh! I was sad at soul!-No aid was nigh,
No present joy, no future hope!--Mine eye
Where'er in suppliant anxious search I turn'd,
'Twas anguish, 'twas despair!-My bosom burn'd,
My heart was broken! Now in sullen mood
And dull dark apathy I silent stood,
Like one to marble changed: and now again
Wild Memory flashed her torch athwart my brain,
And fired it into madness. Then the ground
I struck with throbbing front, and scatter'd round
Locks of torn hair; and still in frantic tone
Of mingled rage and pain, half shriek, half groan,
I raved of honest hearts with treachery paid,
Of perjured love, false friends, and trust betray'd,
And cursed in bitter grief and fury vain
Man's flinty heart and woman's fickle brain.
When lo! as thus in maniac state I lay,
A Matron towards me won her easy way.
With solemn steps she moved: her robes of white
Of vestal make, though not so dazzling bright,
Were pure as Virtue's own: and o'er her head
A cypress veil in decent guise was spread,
Fix'd on her forehead by a sacred wreath,
And pass'd in graceful folds her chin beneath.
Inspiring awe, but awe unmix'd with fear,
Calm was her cloudless eye: Her brow, so clear
From wrinkles, spoke (though pale) a heart which
Had known the withering touch of guilt or care.
A bowl, around whose brim the poppy reign'd,
In her right hand she bore: Her left sustain'd
A mirror, on whose polish'd breast were shown
A thousand mingled shapes of things unknown,
Where Fancy bade the enraptured thought unite
All that was pure and precious, fair and bright.
Yet what those objects were, in vain mine eyes
I strain'd to know; for still would mists arise,
Which o'er the crystal surface as they play'd
Confounded light with light, and shade with shade.
Yet oh! so beauteous show'd those clouded views,
So bright those doubtful forms and blended hues,
I thought, while gazing on their lines obscure,
All witness'd pomp seem'd mean, all dreams of
wealth seem'd poor!
She waved her hand; the clouds dispersed!
The gaudy sun no dazzling lustre threw
Athwart heaven's vault; but that clear tranquil
Whose sober hue attends on closing day, [gray,
Stole o'er the skies, eye-soothing!-On the dame
With lofty head and port majestic came;
And, as she pass'd, oft cropt some drooping flower,
Whose beauties bloom'd unmark'd in sunless bower,
Till pluck'd by her, then first perceived the eye,
Its form how graceful, and how rich its dye.
As on she moved, Want, Sorrow, Pain, and Care
Fled from her glance, and sought less sacred air.
Soothed by her voice, inveterate Malice pour'd
His arrows at her feet, and broke his sword.
Deep Slumber bound the Passions' stormy train;
No more did Slander hiss, or hiss'd in vain:
And where that Matron's hallow'd step once trod
Envy herself with flowers oft dress'd the sod.
With awful hope I gazed, while near she drew,
And from her bowl on my parch'd forehead threw
Some opiate drops.-Oh! then how swift my soul
Cast off her burthen! Grateful languor stole
O'er all my frame, and soon my temples round
Sleep with soft hand her wreath of poppies bound.
Yet ere I sank to rest- Oh! thou,' I said,
'Pain's readiest balm, and Sorrow's surest aid,
Whose power can every pang and care repel,
Oh! Friend of Misery, deign thy name to tell!'—
I paused. The gracious smile consent reveal'd;
With holiest kiss my wearied eyes she seal'd;
And while her lips inhaled my sighing breath,
Softly she whisper'd-Friend, my name is Death.'
THERE is a calm for those that weep,
A rest for weary pilgrims found,
They softly lie and sweetly sleep
Low in the ground.
The storm that wrecks the wintry sky
No more disturbs their deep repose
Than summer evening's latest sigh
That shuts the rose.
I long to lay this painful head
And aching heart beneath the soil,
To slumber in that dreamless bed
For misery stole me at my birth,
And cast me helpless on the wild;
I perish;-O my Mother Earth!
Take home thy child!
On thy dear lap these limbs reclined,
Shall gently moulder into thee; Nor leave one wretched trace behind
Hark! a strange sound affrights mine ear;
My pulse, my brain runs wild,—I rave ;— Ah! who art thou whose voice I hear?
'The Grave, that never spake before, Hath found at length a tongue to chide: O listen!-I will speak no more :—