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From hardest hearts, confession of distress.

O the long, dark approach, through years of pain, Death's gallery! (might I dare to call it so,) With dismal doubt, and sable terror, hung; Sick hope's pale lamp, its only glimm’ring ray: There, fate my melancholy walk ordain'd, Forbid self-love itself to flatter, there. How oft I gaz'd, prophetically sad ! How oft I saw her dead, while yet in smiles ! In smiles she sunk her grief, to lessen mine. She spoke me comfort, and increas'd my pain. Like pow'rful armies trenching at a town, By slow, and silent, but resistless sap, In his pale progress gently gaining ground, Death urg'd his deadly siege in spite of art, Of all the balmy blessings Nature lends To succour frail humanity. Ye stars ! (Not now first made familiar to my sight,) And thou, O Moon! bear witness ; many a night He tore the pillow from beneath my head, Ty'd down my sore attention to the shock, By ceaseless depredations on a life Dearer than that he left me. Dreadful post Of observation ! darker ev'ry hour! Less dread the day that drove me to the brink, And pointed at eternity below; When my soul shudder'd at futurity ; When, on a moment's point, th' important dye Of life and death spun doubtful, ere it fell, And turn'd up life; my title to more woe.

But why more woe? More comfort let it be. Nothing is dead, but that which wish'd to die; Nothing is dead, but wretchedness and pain ;

Nothing is dead, but what incumber'd, galla,
Block'd up the pass, and barr'd from real life.
Where dwells that wish most ardent of the wise !
Too dark the sun to see it; highest stars,
Too low to reach it; death, great death alone,
O'er stars and sun, triumphant, lands us there.
Nor dreadful our transition ; though the mind,
An artist at creating self-alarms,
Rich in expedients for inquietude,
Is prone to paint it dreadful. Who can take
Death's portrait true? The tyrant never sat.
Our sketch all random strokes, conjecture all ;
Close shuts the grave, nor tells one single tale.
Death, and his image rising in the brain,
Bear faint resemblance ; never are alike ;
Fear shakes the pencil; fancy loves excess ;
Dark ignorance, is lavish of her shades :
And these the formidable picture draw.

But grant the worst ; 'tis past; new prospects

rise ;

And drop a veil eternal o'er her tomb.
Far other views our contemplation claim ;
Views that o'erpay the rigours of our life;
Views that suspend our agonies in death.
Wrap'd in the thought of immortality,
Wrap'd in the single, the triumphant thought !
Long life might lapse, age unperceiv'd come on ;
And find the soul unsated with her theme.
Its nature, proof, importance, fire my song.
O that my song could emulate my soul!
Like her, immortal. No the soul disdains
A mark so mean; far nobler hope inflames;
If endless ages can outweigh an hour,

From hardest hearts, confession of distress.

O the long, dark approach, through years of pain, Death's gallery! (might I dare to call it so,) With dismal doubt, and sable terror, hung; Sick hope's pale lamp, its only glimm'ring ray: There, fate my melancholy walk ordain'd, Forbid self-love itself to flatter, there. How oft I gaz’d, prophetically sad! How oft I saw her dead, while yet in smiles ! In smiles she sunk her grief, to lessen mine. She spoke me comfort, and increas'd my pain Like pow'rful armies trenching at a town, By slow, and silent, but resistless sap, In his pale progress gently gaining ground, Death urg'd his deadly siege in spite of art, Of all the balmy blessings Nature lends To succour frail humanity. Ye stars! (Not now first made familiar to my sight,) And thou, O Moon ! bear witness ; many a night He tore the pillow from beneath my head, Ty'd down my sore attention to the shock, By ceaseless depredations on a life Dearer than that he left me. Dreadful post Of observation ! darker ev'ry hour! Less dread the day that drove me to the brink, And pointed at eternity below; When my soul shudder'd at futurity ; When, on a moment's point, th' important dye Of life and death spun doubtful, ere it fell, And turn'd up life ; my title to more woe.

But why more woe? More comfort let it be. Nothing is dead, but that which wish’d to die; Nothing is dead, but wretchedness and pain ;

Nothing is dead, but what incumber'd, galld,
Block'd up the pass, and barr'd from real life.
Where dwells that wish most ardent of the wise !
Too dark the sun to see it; highest stars,
Too low to reach it; death, great death alone,
O'er stars and sun, triumphant, lands us there.
Nor dreadful our transition ; though the mind,
An artist at creating self-alarms,
Rich in expedients for inquietude,
Is prone to paint it dreadful. Who can take
Death's portrait true? The tyrant never sat.
Oar sketch all random strokes, conjecture all ;
Close shuts the grave, nor tells one single tale.
Death, and his image rising in the brain,
Bear faint resemblance; never are alike;
Fear shakes the pencil; fancy loves excess ;
Dark ignorance, is lavish of her shades :
And these the formidable picture draw.

But grant the worst ; 'tis past; new prospects

rise ;

And drop a veil eternal o'er her tomb.
Far other views our contemplation claim ;
Views that o'erpay the rigours of our life ;
Views that suspend our agonies in death.
Wrap'd in the thought of immortality,
Wrap'd in the single, the triumphant thought!
Long life might lapse, age unperceiv'd come on ;
And find the soul unsated with her theme.
Its nature, proof, importance, fire my song.
O that my song could emulate my soul!
Like her, immortal. No the soul disdains
A mark so mean ; far nobler hope inflames;
If endless ages can outweigh an hour,

Let not the laurel, but the palm, inspire.

Thy Nature, immortality! who knows? And yet who knows it not ! It is but life In stronger thread of brighter colour spun, And spun for ever; dip'd by cruel fate In Stygian dye, how black, how brittle here! How short our correspondence with the sun ! And while it lasts, inglorious ! Our best deeds, How wanting in their weight! Our highest joys, Small cordials to support us in our pain, And give us strength to suffer. But how great To mingle intrests, converse, amities, With all the sons of reason, scatter'd wide Through habitable space, wherever born, Howe'er endow'd! To live free citizens Of universal Nature ; to lay hold By more than feeble faith, on the Supreme ! To call Heav'n's rich unfathomable mines (Mines, which support archangels in their state.) Our own! to rise in science, as in bliss, Initiate in the secrets of the skies ! To read creation ; read its mighty plan In the bare bosom of the Deity! The plan, and execution, to coHate ! To see, before each glance of piercing thought, All cloud, all shadow, blown remote ; and leave No mystery—but that of love divine, Which lifts us on the seraph's flaming wing, From earth's aceldama, this field of blood, Of inward anguish, and of outward ill, From darkness, and from dust, to such a scene! Love's element! true joy's illustrious home! From earth's sad contrast (now deplor'd,) more fair!

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