תמונות בעמוד
PDF

Cure of the mifer's wifh, and coward*s fear, T)eath only fhews us, what we knew was near. With courage therefore view : ie poimted hour ; Dread not death's anger; but expe&t his power; INor nature's law with fruitlefs forrow mourn ; But die, O mortal man! for thou waft born.

Cautious through doubt ; by want of courage, wife,

To fuch advice the reafoner ftill replies.

Yet meafuring all the long continued fpace, Every fucceffive day's repeated race, Sin^e Time firft ftarted from his priftine goal, *Till he had reach'd that hour, wherein my foul join'd to my body fweil'd the womb; I was, (At leaft I think fo) nothing; muft I pafs Again to nothing, when this vital breath Ceafing, configns me o'er, to reft, and death ? Muft the whole man, amazing thought!- return To the cold marble, or contra&ted urn ? And never fhall thofe particles agree, That were in life this individual He ? But fever'd, muft they join the general mafj Through other forms, and fhapes ordain'd to paf§; ? Nor thought nor image kept of what he was? Does the great word that gave him fenfe, ordain, That life fhali never wake that fenfe again ? And will no power his finking fpirits fave From the dark caves of death and chambers of the

grave ? Each

Each evening I behold the fetting fun With down-ward fpeed into the ocean run: Yet the fame light (pafs but fome fleeting hours) Exerts his vigor, and renews his powers ; Starts the bright race again: his conftant flame Rifes and fets, returning [lill the famie. I mark the various fury of the winds ; Thefe neither fea fons guide, nor order bimds: They now dilate, and now contra&t their force: Various their fpeed, but emdlefs is their courfe. From his firft fountain and beginning ouze, Down to the fea each brook and torrent flows: Tho' fundry drops or leave, or fwell the ftream; The whole ftill runs, with equal pace, the fame. Still other waves fupply the rifing urns; And the eternal flood no want of water mourns.

Why then muft man obey the fad decree, Which fubje&ts neither fun, nor wind, nor fea ?

A flower, that does with opening morn arife, And flourifhing the day, at evening dies; A winged eaftern blaft, juft fkimming o'er The ocean's brow, and finking on the fhore; A fire, whofe flames through crackling ftubble fy; A meteor fhooting from the fummer fky ; A bowl a-down the bending mountain roll'd; A bubble breaking, and a fable told; A noon-tide fhadow, and a midni ght dream; Are emblems, which with femblance apt proclaim *Our earthly courfe: but, O my fou1! fo faft MuftLife run off: and Death for ever laft? $. G 4 This

This dark opinion, fure, is too confin'd, Elfe whence this hope, and terror of the mind ? Does fomething ftili, and fomewhere yet remain, Reward or punifhment, delight or pain ? Say: fhall our relicks fecond birth receive ? Sleep we to wake, and only die to live ? When the fad wife has clofed her hufband's eyes, And pierc' d the echoing vault with doleful cries; - Lies the pale corps not yet entirely dead ? The fpirit only from the body fed, The groffer part of heat and motion void, To be by fire, or worm, or time deftroy'd : 'The foul, immortal fubftance, to remain, Confcious of joy, and capab!e of pain ? And if her a&ìs have been dire&ted well, While with her friendly clay fhe deign'd to dwell ; Shall fhe with fafety reach her priftine feat ? Find her reft endlefs, and her blifs compleat ? And while the buried man we idly mourn; Do angels joy to fee his better half return ? But if fhe has deform'd this earthly life With murderous rapine, and feditious ftrife: Amazed, repulfed, and by thofe angels driven From the æthereal feat, and blifsful Heaven, In everlafting darknefs muft fhe lie, Sti11 more unhappy, that fhe cannot die ?

Amid two feas on one fmall point of land Weary'd, uncertain, and amaz'd we ftand: On either fide our thoughts inceffant turn :

Forward we dread ; and looking back we mourn. - Lofing

1Lofing the prefent in this dubious hafte;
And loft ourfelves betwixt the future, and the paft.

Thefe cruei doubts contending in my breaft,
My reafon ftaggering, and my hopes oppref$'d,
Once more I faid: or.ce more I will enquire,
What is this little, agile, pervious fire,
This fiuttering motion, which we call the mind?
How does fhe a&t ? and where is fhe confin'd ?
Have we the power to guide her, as we pleafe?
Whence then thofe eviis, that obftru&t our eafe ?
We happinefs purfue ; we fy from pain;
Yet the purfuit, and yet the flight is vain :
And, while poor nature labours to be bleft,
By day with pleafure, and by night with reft;
Some ftronger power eludes our fickly will;
Dafhes our rifing hope with certain ill;
Anû makes us with refle&tive trouble fee,
That all is deftin'd, which we fancy free,

That power fuperior then, which rules our mind,
Is his decree by human prayer inclin'd?
Will he for facrifice our forrows eafe?
And can our tears reverfe his firm decrees?
Then let religion aid, where reafom fai!s:
Throw loads ofincenfe in, to turn the fcales ;
And let the filent fan&tuary fhow,
What from the babbling fchools we may;not know, ?
How man may fhun, or bear his deftin'd part of woe.

What fhall amend, or what abfolve our fate * Anxious we hovcr in a mediate ftate,

Betwixt '

Betwixt infinity and nothing ; bounds,
0r boumdlefs terms, whofe doubtful fenfe confounds-
Unequal thought! whilft all we apprehend,
Is, that our hopes muft rife, our fcrrows end ; $
As our Creator deigns to be our friend.
I faid ; — and inftant bad the prieits prepare
The ritual facrifice, and folemn prayer.
Sele&t from vulgar herds, with garlands gay,
A hundred buiis afcend the facred way.
The artful youth proceed to form the choir:
They breathe the flute, or ftrike the vocal wire.
The maids in comely order next advance ;
They beat the timbrel, and inftru& the dance.
Foiiows the chofen tribe from Levi fprung,
Chanting by juft return the holy fong.
Along the chcir in folemn ftate they paft,
The anxious king came laft.
The facred hymn perform'd, my promis'd vow
I paid : and bowing at the altar low,
Father of Heaven! I faid, and Judge of earth!
Whofe word call* d out this univerfe to birth;
By whofe kind power and influencing care
The various creatures move, and live, and are ;
But, ceafing once that care, withdrawn that power,

They move (alas!) and live, and are no more:
Omnifcient Mafter, omni-prefent King,
To thee, to thee, my laft diftrefs I bring.
Thou, that can'ft ftill the raging of the feas,
chain up the winds, and bid the tempefts ceafe;
Redeenm

« הקודםהמשך »