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النشر الإلكتروني

And what that knowledge, which impairs your sense.
Our needful knowledge, like our needful food,
Unhedg'd, lies open in life's common field;
And bids all welcome to the vital feast.
You scorn what lies before you in the page
Of Nature and experience, moral truth!
Of indispensable, eternal fruit!

Fruit, on which mortals feeding, turn to gods;
And dive in science for distinguish'd names,
Dishonest fomentation of your pride;
Sinking in virtue, as you rise in fame.
Your learning, like the lunar beam, affords
Light, but not heat; it leaves you undevout,
Frozen at heart, while speculation shines.
Awake, ye curious indagators! fond

Of knowing all, but what avails you, known;
If you would learn death's character, attend.
All casts of conduct, all degrees of health,
All dies of fortune, and all dates of age,
Together shook in his impartial urn,
Come forth at random: Or if choice is made,
The choice is quite sarcastic, and insults
All bold conjecture, and fond hopes of mani.
What countless multitudes, not only leave,
But deeply disappoint us, by their deaths!
Though great our sorrow, greater our surprise.

Like other tyrants, death delights to smite,
What smitten, most proclaims the pride of pow'r,
And arbitrary nod. His joy supreme,

To bid the wretch survive the fortunate;
The feeble wrap th' athletic in his shroud;
And weeping fathers build their children's tomb;
Me, thine, NARCISSA!-What tho' short thy date?

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Virtue, not rolling suns, the mind matures.
That life is long, which answers life's great end.
The time that bears no fruit, deserves no name;
The man of wisdom is the man of years.
In hoary youth METHUSALEMS may die ;
O how misdated on their flatt'ring tombs!

NARCISSA'S youth has lectur'd me thus far.
And can her gaiety give counsel too?
That, like the Jews' fam'd oracle of gems,
Sparkles instruction; such as throws new light,
And opens more the character of death,
Ill known to thee, LORENZO! this thy vaunt:
"Give death his due, the wretched, and the old;
Ev'n let him sweep his rubbish to the grave;
Let him not violate kind Nature's laws,
But own man born to live, as well as die."
Wretched and old thou giv'st him; young and gay
He takes; and plunder is a tyrant's joy.
What if I prove, "The farthest from the fear,
Are often nearest to the stroke of fate?"

All, more than common, menaces an end.
A blaze betokens brevity of life:

As if bright embers should emit a flame ;
Glad spirits sparkled from NARCISSA's eye,

And made youth younger, and taught life to live. As Nature's opposites wage endless war,

For this offence, as treason to the deep

Inviolable stupor of his reign.

Where lust, and turbulent ambition sleep,

Death took swift vengeance. As he life detests,
More life is still more odious; and, reduc'd
By conquest, aggrandizes more his pow'r.
But wherefore aggrandiz'd? By Heav'n's decree,

To plant the soul on her eternal guard,
In awful expectation of our end.

Thus runs death's dread commission: "Strike, but so,
As most alarms the living by the dead."
Hence stratagem delights him, and surprise,
And cruel sport with man's securities.
Not simple conquest, triumph is his aim ;
And, where least fear'd, there conquest triumphs


This proves my bold assertion not too bold.
What are his arts to lay our fears asleep?
Tiberian arts his purposes wrap up
In deep dissimulation's darkest night.

Like princes unconfest in foreign courts,
Who travel under cover, death assumes
The name and look of life, and dwells among us.
He takes all shapes that serve his black designs:
Though master of a wider empire far

Than that, o'er which the Roman eagle flew;
Like Nero, he's a fiddler, charioteer,
Or drives his phaton, in female guise;
Quite unsuspected, till, the wheel beneath,
His disarray'd oblation he devours.

He most affects the forms least like himself,
His slender self. Hence burly corpulence
Is his familiar wear, and sleek disguise.
Behind the rosy bloom he loves to lurk,
Or ambush in a smile: or wanton dive
In dimples deep; love's eddies, which draw in
Unwary hearts, and sink them in despair.
Such, on NARCISSA's couch he loiter'd long
Unknown; and, when detected, still was seen
To smile; such peace has innocence in death!

Most happy they, whom least his arts deceive. One eye on death, and one full fix'd on Heav'n, Becomes a mortal, and immortal man. Long on his wiles a piqu'd and jealous spy, I've seen, or dream'd I saw, the tyrant dress; Lay by his horrors, and put on his smiles. Say, muse, for thou remember'st, call it back, And shew LORENZO the surprising scene; If 'twas a dream, his genius can explain. 'Twas in a circle of the gay I stood: Death would have enter'd; Nature push'd him back;

Supported by a doctor of renown,

His point he gain'd. Then artfully dismiss'd
The sage; for death design'd to be conceal'd.
He gave an old vivacious usurer

His meagre aspect, and his naked bones;
In gratitude for plumping up his prey,
A pamper'd spendthrift; whose fantastic air,
Well-fashion'd figure, and cockaded brow,
He took change, and underneath the pride
Of costly linen, tuck'd his filthy shroud.
His crooked bow he straightened to a cane;
And hid his deadly shafts in MYRA's eye.

The dreadful masquerader, thus equip❜d
Out sallies on adventures. Ask you where?
Where is he not? For his peculiar haunts,
Let this suffice; sure as night follows day,
Death treads in pleasure's footsteps round the world,
When pleasure treads the paths, which reason shuns.
When, against reason, riot shuts the door,
And gaiety supplies the place of sense,
Then, foremost at the banquet, and the ball,

Death leads the dance, or stamps the deadly die;
Nor ever fails the midnight bowl to crown.
Gaily carousing to his gay compeers,
Inly he laughs, to see them laugh at him,
As absent far: And when the revel burns,
When fear is banish'd, and triumphant thought,
Calling for all the joys beneath the moon,
Against him turns the key, and bids him sup
With their progenitors-He drops his mask;
Frowns out at full; they start, despair, expire.

Scarce with more sudden terror and surprise,
From his black masque of Nitre, touch'd by fire,
He bursts, expands, roars, blazes, and devours.
And is not this triumphant treachery,
And, more than simple conquest, in the fiend?
And now, LORENZO, dost thou wrap thy soul
In soft security, because unknown
Which moment is commission'd to destroy?
In death's uncertainty thy danger lies.
Is death uncertain? Therefore thou be fix'd;
Fix'd as a centinel, all eye, all ear,

All expectation of the coming foe.
Rouse, stand in arms, nor lean against thy spear;
Lest slumber steal one moment o'er thy soul,
And fate surprise thee nodding. Watch, be strong;
Thus give each day the merit, and renown,
Of dying well; though doom'd but once to die.
Nor let life's period hidden (as from most)
Hide too from thee the precious use of life.

Early, not sudden, was NARCISSA's fate.
Soon, not surprising, death his visit paid.
Her thought went forth to meet him on his way,
Nor gaiety forgot it was to die:

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