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With heaviness, and sunk upon her couch,
Dreams of her bridals. Even the hectic, lulld
On Death's lean arm to rest, in visions wrapt,
Crowning with hope's bland wreath his shuddering nurse,
Poor victim! smiles.- Silence and deep repose
Reign o'er the nations; and the warning voice
Of nature utters audibly within
The general moral:- tells us that repose,
Deathlike as this, but of far longer span,
Is coming on us--that the veary crouds,
Who no: enjoy a temporary calm,
Shall soon taste lasting quiet, wrapt around
With grave-clothes; and their aching, restless heads
Mouldering in holes and corners unobserv'd,
”Till the last trump shall break their sullen sleep.
Who needs a teacher to admonish him
That flesh is grass ?—That earthly things are mist?
Wbat are our joys but dreams? and what our hopes
But goodly shadows in the summer cloud ?
There's not a wind that blows but bears with it
Some rainbow promise: Not a moment flies
But puts its sickle in the fields of life,
And mows its thousands, with their joys and cares.
'Tis but as yesterday since on yon stars,
Which now I view, the Chaldee shepherd * gaz'd,
In his mid-watch observant, and dispos'd
Alluding to the first astronomical observations, made by the Chaldean shepherds.
The twinkling hosts as fancy gave them shape.
Yet in the interim what mighty shocks
Have buffetted mankind,-whole nations raz’d, -
Cities made desolate,-the polish'd sunk
To barbarism, and once barbaric states
Swaying the wand of science and of arts;
Illustrious deeds and memorable names
Blotted from record, and upon the tongue
Of grey tradition voluble no more.
Where are the heroes of the ages past?
Where the brave chieftains, where the mighty ones
Who flourish'd in the infancy of days?
Ail to the grave gone down. On their fallen fame
Exultant, mocking at the pride of man,
Sits grim Forgetfulness.- The warrior's arm
Lies nerveless on the pillow of its shame;
Hush'd is his stormy voice, and quench'd the blaze
Of his red eye-ball.-- Yesterday his name
Was mighty on the earth - To day-'tis what?
The meteor of the night of distant years,
That flash'd unnoticed, save by wrinkled eld,
Musing at midnight upon prophecies,
Who at her lonely. lattice saw the gleam
Point to the mist-pois'd shroud, then quietly
Clos'd her pale lips, and lock'd the secret up
Safe in the charnel's treasures.
O how weak
Is mortal man! how trifling-how confiu'd
His scope of vision. Puftd with confidence,
His phrase grows big with immortality,
And he, poor insect of a summer's day,
Dreams of eternal honours to his name;
Of endless glory and perennial bays.
He idly reasons of eternity,
As of the train of ages,—when, alas!
Ten thousand thousand of his centuries
Are, in comparison, a little point,
Too trivial for accompt.-
-O it is strange,
'Tis passing strange, to mark his fallacies;
Behold him proudly view some pompous pile,
Whose high dome swells to emulate the skies,
And smile and say my name shall live with this
'Till Time shall be no more; while at his feet,
Yea, at his very feet, the crumbling dust
Of the fallen fabric of the other day,
Preaches the solemn lesson.--He should know,
That Time must conquer.
That the loudest blast
That ever fillid Renown's obstreperous trump,
Fades in the lapse of ages, and expires.
Who lies inhum'el in the terrific gloom
Of the gigantic pyramid? or who
Rear'd its huge walls? Oblivion laughs and says,
The prey is mine.—They sleep, and never more
Their names shall strike upon the ear of man,
Their memory burst its fetters.
Where is Rome?
She lives but in the tale of other times;
Her proud pavillions are the hermit's home,
And her long colonnades, her public walks,
Now faintly echo to the pilgrim's feet
Who comes to muse in solitude, and trace,
Through the rank moss reveald, her honour'd dust.
But not to Rome alone has Fate confiu'd
The doom of ruin; cities numberless,
Tyre, Sidon, Carthage, Babylon, and Troy,
And rich Phænicia--they are blotted out,
Half-razed from memory, and their very name
And being in dispute.-Has Athens fallen?
Is polish'd Greece become the savage seat
Of ignorance and sloth ? and shall we dare
And empire seeks another hemisphere.
Where now is Britain?~Where her laurellid names,
Her palaces and halls? Dash'd in the dust.
Some second Vandal hath reduced her pride,
And with one big recoil hath thrown her back
To primitive barbarity.--Again,
Through her depopulated vales, the scream
Of bloody superstition hollow rings,
And the scarr’d native to the tempest bowls
The yell of deprecation.-O'er her marts,
Her crouded ports, broods Silence; and the cry
Of the low curlew, and the pensive dash
Of distant billows, breaks alone the void.
Even as the
From the dismaying solitude.--Her bards
Sing in a language that hath perished;
And their wild harps, suspended o'er their graves,
Sigh to the desart winds a dying strain.
Meanwhile the arts, in second infancy,
Rise in some distant clime; and then perchance
Some bold adventurer, fill’d with golden dreams,
Steering his bark through trackless solitudes,
Where, to bis wandering thoughts, no daring prow
Hath ever plough'd before,-espies the cliffs
Of fallen Albion.-To the land unknown
He journeys joyful; and perhaps descries
Some vestige of her ancient stateliness;
Then he, with vain conjecture, fills his mind
Of the unheard-of race, which had arriv'd
At science in that solitary nook,
Far from the civil world; and sagely sighs
And moralizes on the state of man.
Still on its march, unnoticed and unfelt,
Moves on our being. We do live and breathe,
And we are gone. The spoiler heeds us not.
We have our spring-time and our rottenness;
And as we fall, another race succeeds
To perish likewise.—Meanwhile nature smiles
The seasons run their round-the sun fulfils
His annual course and heaven and earth remain
Still changing, yet unchanged--still doom'd to feel