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INSCRIBED BENEATH THE PICTURE
OF AN ASS.
MEEK animal, whose simple mien
Provokes the’ insulting brow of spleen
To mock the melancholy trait
Of patience in thy front display'd,
But thy Great Author fitly so portray'd,
To character the sorrows of thy fate;
Say, heir of misery, what to thee
Is life ? a long, long gloomy stage
Through the sad vale of labour and of pain!
No pleasure hath thy youth, no rest thine age,
Nor in the vasty round of this terrene
Hast thou a friend to set thee free,
Till Death, perhaps too late,
In the dark evening of thy cheerless day,
Shall take thee, fainting on thy way,
From the rude storm of unresisted hate.
Yet dares the erroneous crowd to mark
With folly thy despised race,
The' ungovernable pack, who bark
With impious howlings in Heaven's awful face,
If e'er on their impatient head
Affliction's bitter shower is shed.
But 'tis the weakness of thy kind
Meekly to bear the inevitable sway ;
The wisdom of the human mind
Is to murmur and obey.
What is the existence of man's life,
But open war or slumber'd strife;
Where sickness to his sense presents
The combat of the elements;
And never feels a perfect peace
Till Death's cold hand signs his release :
It is a storm, where the hot blood
Outvies in rage the boiling flood;
And each loose passion of the mind
Is like a furious gust of wind,
Which beats his bark with many a wave
Till he casts anchor in the grave.
It is a flower, which buds, and grows,
And withers as the leaves disclose;
Whose spring and fall faint seasons keep,
Like fits of waking before sleep;
Then shrinks into that fatal mould
Where its first being was enroll’d.
It is a dream, whose seeming truth
Is moralized in age and youth;
Where all the comforts he can share
As wandering as his fancies are ;
Till in a mist of dark decay
The dreamer vanish quite away.
It is a dial, which points out
The sunset, as it moves about;
And shadows out in lines of night
The subtle stages of time's flight;
Till all obscuring earth hath laid
The body in perpetual shade.
It is a weary interlude,
Which doth short joys, long woes include;
The world the stage, the prologue tears,
The acts vain hopes and varied fears;
The scene shuts up with loss of breath,
And leaves no epitaph but death.
FROM A CHORUS IN THE UNFINISHED TRAGEDY OF
What Power, beyond all powers elate,
Sustains this universal frame ?
'Tis not nature, 'tis not fate,
'Tis not the dance of atoms blind,
Ethereal space, or subtile flame;
No; 'tis one vast eternal mind,
Too sacred for an earthly name!
He forms, pervades, directs the whole;
Not like the macrocosm's imaged soul,
But provident of endless good,
By ways nor seen nor understood,
Which e'en His angels vainly might explore.
High their highest thoughts above,
Truth, wisdom, justice, mercy, love,
Wrought in His heavenly essence, blaze and soar.
Mortals who His glory seek,
Rapt in contemplation meek,
Him fear, Him trust, Him venerate, Him adore !
SIR W. JONES.
Solum mibi saperest sepulchrum. Job.
WELCOME, thou safe retreat! Where the injured man doth fortify
'Gainst the invasions of the great: Where the lean slave, who the’ oar doth ply, Soft as his admiral may lie!
Great statist! 'tis your doom,
Though your designs swell high and wide,
To be contracted in a tomb !
And all your happy cares provide
But for your heir authorized pride.
Nor shall your shade delight
In the' pomp of your proud obsequies.
And should the present flattery write
A glorious epitaph, the wise
Will say the poet's wit here lies.
How reconciled to fate
Will grow the aged villager,
When he shall see your funeral state!
Since death will him as warm inter
As you in your gay sepulchre.
The great decree of God
Makes every path of mortals lead
To this dark common period *.
For what by-ways soe'er we tread,
We end our journey 'mong the deada
* The paths of glory lead but to the grave. Gray.
E’en I, while humble zeal
Makes fancy a sad truth indite,
Insensible away do steal:
And when I'm lost in death's cold night,
Who will remember now I write?
TIMES GO BY TURNS. The lopped tree in time may grow again,
Most naked plants renew both fruit and flower; The sorriest wight may find release of pain,
The driest soil suck in some moistening shower: Time goes by turns, and chances change by course, From foul to fair, from better hap to worse. The sea of Fortune doth not ever flow;
She draws her favours to the lowest ebb: Her tides have equal times to come and go;
Her loom doth weave the fine and coarsest web: No joy so great but runneth to an end, No hap so hard but may in fine amend. Not always fall of leaf, nor ever spring,
Not endless night, yet not eternal day: The saddest birds a season find to sing,
The roughest storm a calm may soon allay: Thus, with succeeding turns, God tempereth all, That man may hope to rise, yet fear to fall. A chance may win that by mischance was lost;
The net that holds no great takes little fish ; In some things all, in all things none are cross’d;
Few all they need, but none have all they wish. Unmingled joys here toʻno man befall ; Who least, hath some; who most, hath never all.