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Yet still they breathe destruction, still go on
Inhumanly ingenious to find out
New pains for life, new terrors for the grave,
Artificers of Death! Still Monarchs dream
Of universal empire growing up
From universal ruin. Blast the design
Great God of Hosts, nor let thy creatures fall
Unpitied victims at Ambition's shrine!
Into his Maker's presence, throwing back
With insolent disdain his choicest gift?
Live then, while Heav'n in pity lends thee life,
And think it all too short to wash away,
By penitential tears and deep contrition,
The scarlet of thy crimes. So shalt thou find
Rest to thy soul; so unappall'd shall meet
Death when he comes, not wantonly invite
Yet say, should Tyrants learn at last to feel,His ling ring stroke. Be it thy sole concern
And the loud din of battle cease to bray;
Should dove-eyed Peace o'er all the earth extend
Her olive-branch, and give the world repose,
Would Death be foil'd? Would health, and
strength, and youth
With innocence to live. with patience wait
Th'appointed hour; too soon that hour will come,
Tho' Nature run her course. But Nature's God,
If need require, by thousand various ways,
Without thy aid can shorten that short span,
And quench the lamp of life. O when he comes,
Rous'd by the cry of wickedness extreme,
To heav'n ascending from some guilty land,
Now ripe for vengeance; when he comes array'd
In all the terrors of Almighty wrath,
Forth from his bosom plucks his ling ring arm,
And on the miscreants pours destruction down;
Who can abide his coming? Who can bear
His whole displeasure? In no common form
Death then appears, but starting into size
Enormous, measures with gigantic stride
Defy his pow'r? Has he no arts in store,
No other shafts save those of War? Alas!
Ev nin the simile of Peace, that smile which sheds
A heav'nly sunshine o'er the soul, there basks
That serpent Luxury. War its thousand slays;
Peace its ten thousands. In thi embattled plain,
Tho' Death exults, and claps his raven wings,
Yet reigns he not ev'n there so absolute,
So merciless, as in yon frantic scenes
Of midnight revel and tumultuous mirth,
Where in th' intoxicating draught conceal'd,
Or couch'd beneath the glance of lawless love,Th'astonish'd Earth, and from his looks throws
Hesnaresthesimpleyouth, whonoughtsuspecting, Unutterable horror and dismay.
Means to be blest-but finds himself undone. All Nature lends her aid, each Element
Downthesmoothstreamof lifethestriplingdarts, Arms in his cause. Ope fly the doors of Heav'n;
Gay as the morn; bright glows the vernal sky,The fountains of the deep their barriers break,
Hope swells his sails, and passion steers his course, Above, below, the rival torrents pour,
Safe glides his little bark along the shore
And drown Creation: or in floods of fire
Where virtue takes her stand; but if too far Descends a livid cataract, and consumes [peace,
He launches forth beyond discretion's mark, An impious race. Sometimes, when all seems
Sudden the tempest scowls, the surges roar,
Wakesthe grimwhirlwind, andwithrudeembrace
Blot his fair day, and plunge him in the deep, Sweeps nations to their grave, or in the deep
O sad but sure mischance! O happier far Whelms the proud wooden world; full many a
To lie like gallant Howe 'midst Indian wilds Floats on his wat'ry bier, or lies unwept [youth
A breathless corse, cut off by savage hands On some sad desart shore! At dead of night,
In earliest prime, a generous sacrifice
In sullen silence stalks forth Pestilence :
To freedom's holy cause; than so to fall, Contagion close behind taints all her steps
Torn immature from life's meridian joys, With pois'nous dew; no smiting hand is seen,
A prey to Vice, Intemp'rance, and Disease. No sound is heard, but soon her secret path
Is mark'd with desolation; heaps on heaps
Promiscuous drop. No friend, no refuge, near;
All, all, is false and treacherous around;
All that they touch, or taste, or breathe, is Death.
Yet die ev'n thus, thus rather perish still,
Ye sons of Pleasure, by th' Almighty strick'n,
Than ever dare (though oft, alas! ye dare)
To lift against yourselves the murd'rous steel,
To wrest from God's own hand the sword of
Butah! what means that ruinous roar? why fail
These tottring feet? Earth to its centre feels
The Godhead's power,and trembling at his touch
Through all its pillars, and in ev'ry pore,
Hurls to the ground, with one convulsive heave,
Precipitating domes, and towns, and tow'rs,
The work of ages. Crush'd beneath the weight
Of general devastation, millions find
One common grave; not ev'n a widow left
To wail her sons: the house, that should protect,
Entombs his master; and the faithless plain,
If there he flies for help, with sudden yawn
Starts from beneath him. Shield me, gracious
And be your own avengers! Hold, rash Man,
Though with anticipating speed thou 'strang'd
Through every region of delight, nor left
One joy to gild the evening of thy days;
Though life scem one uncomfortable void,
Guilt at thy heels, before thy face despair;
Yet gay this scene, and light this load of woe,
Compar'd with thy hereafter. Think, O think,
And, ere thou plunge into the vast abyss,
Pause on the verge a while: look down and see
Thy future mansion. Why that start of horror?
From thy slack hand why drops th'uplifted steel?
Didst thou not think such vengeance must await O snatch me from destruction! If this Globe,
The wretch, that with his crimes all fresh about This solid Globe, which thine own hand hath
Bushes irreverent, unprepar'd, uncall'd, [him So firm and sure, if this my steps betray; [made
Cheerless, unsocial plant! That loves to dwell
'Midst sculls and coffins, epitaphs and worms;
Where light-heel'd ghosts and visionary shades,
Beneath the wan cold moon (as fame reports)
Embodied thick, perform their mystic rounds.
No other merriment, dull tree! is thine.
If my own mother Earth, from whence I sprung, | Athwart the gloom profound! The sickly taper,
Rise up with rage unnatural to devour By glimm'ring thro' thy low-brow'd misty vaults,
Her wretched offspring, whither shall I fly? Furr'd round with mouldy damps, and ropy slime,
Where look for succour? Where, but up to thee, Lets fall a supernumerary horror,
Almighty Father? Save, O save, thy suppliant And only serves to make thy night more irksome.
From horrors such as these! At thy good timeWell do I know thee by thy trusty yew,
Let death approach; Ireck not-let him but come
In genuine foran, not with thy vengeance arm'd,
Too much for man to bear. O rather lend
Thy kindly aid to mitigate his stroke;
And at that hour when all aghast I stand
(A trembling candidate for thy compassion)
On this world's brink, and look into the next;
When my soul, starting from the dark unknown,
Casts back a wishful look, and fondly clings
To her frail prop, unwilling to be wrench'd
From this fair scene, from all her custom'd joys,
And all the lovely relatives of life;
Then shed thy comforts o'er me, then put on
The gentlest of thy looks. Let no dark crimes,
In all their hideous forms then starting up,
Plant themselves round my couch in grim array,
And stab my bleeding heart with two-edg'd
Sense of past guilt, and dread of future woc.
Far be the ghastly crew! And in their stead
Let cheerful Memory from her purest cells
Lead forth a goodly train of Virtues fair,
Cherish'd in earliest youth, now paying back
With tenfold usury the pious care,
And pouring o'er my wounds the heav'nly balm
Of conscious innocence. But chiefly, Thou,
Whom soft-eyed Pity once led down from Heav'n
To bleed for man, to teach him how to live,
And, oh! still harder lesson! how to die;
Disdain not Thou to smooth the restless bed
Of Sickness and of Pain. Forgive the tear
That feeble Nature drops, calm all her fears,
Wake all her hopes, and animate her faith,
Till my rapt soul, anticipating Heav'n,
Bursts from the thraldom of incumb'ring clay,
And on the wing of Ecstasy upborne,
Springs into Liberty, and Light, and Life.
§39. The Grave. Blair.
"The house appointed for all living." JOB.
WHILST Some affect the sun, and some the
Some flee the city, some the hermitage,
Their aims as various as the roads they take
In journeying through life; the task be mine
To paint the gloomy horrors of the tomb;
Th'appointed place of rendezvous, where all
These travellers meet. Thy succours I implore,
Eternal King, whose potent arm sustains
The keys of hell and death. The Grave, dread
Men shiver when thou'rt nam'd: Nature appall'd
Shakes off her wonted firmness. Ah! how dark
Thy long-extended realms, and rueful wastes;
Where nought but silence reigns, and night, dark
Dark as was Chaos ere the infant Sun [night,
Was roll'd together, or had tried its beams
See yonder hallow'd fane! the pious work
Of names once fam'd, now dubious or forgot,
And buried midst thewreck of things which were:
There lie interr'd the more illustrious dead.
The wind is up: hark! how it howls! Methinks
Till now, I never heard a sound so dreary: [bird
Doors creak, and windows clap, and night's foul
Rook'd in the spire screams loud; the gloomy aisles
Black plaster'd, and hung round with shreds of
And tatter'd coats of arms, send back the sound
Laden with heavier airs, from the low vaults,
The mansions of the dead. Rous'd from their
In grim array the grisly spectres rise, [slumbers,
Grin horrible, and obstinately sullen
Pass and repass, hush'd as the foot of night.
Again! thescreech-owlshrieks: ungracioussound!
I'll hear no more; it makes one's blood run chill!
Quite round the pile, a row of rev'rend elms,
Coaval near with that, all ragged shew, [down
Long-lash'd by the rude winds: some rift half
Their branchless trunks; others so thin a-top,
That scarce two crows could lodge in the same
Strange things, the neighbour's say, have hap-
Wild shrieks have issued from the hollow tombs;
Dead men have come again, and walk'd about;
And the great bell has toll'd, unrung, untouch'd.
Such tales their cheer, at wake or gossipping.
When it draws near to witching time of night.
Oft in the lone church-yard at night I've seen,
By glimpse of moon-shine, cheq'ring thro' the
The school-boy, with his satchel in his hand,
Whistling aloud to bear his courage up,
And lightly tripping o'er the long flat stones
(With nettles skirted, and with moss o'ergrown)
That tell in homely phrase who lie below;
Sudden he starts! and hears, or thinks he hears,
The sound of something purring at his heels,
Full fast he flies, and dares not look behind him,
Till out of breath he overtakes his fellows;
Who gather round, and wonder at the tale
Of horrid apparition, tall and ghastly,
That walks at dead of night, or takes his stand
O'er some new-open'd grave; and, strange to tell!
Evanishes at crowing of the cock,
The new-made widow tool 'vesometimes spied,
Sad sight! slow moving o'er the prostrate dead:
Listless, she cawls along in doleful black,
While bursts of sorrow gush from either eye,
Fast-falling down her now untasted cheek.
Prone on the lonely grave of the dear man
She drops, whilst busy meddling Memory,
In barbarous succession, musters up
The past endearments of their softer hours,
Tenacious of its theme. Still, still she thinks
She sees him, and, indulging the fond thought,
Clings yet more closely to the senseless turf,
Nor heeds the passenger who looks that way.
Invidious Grave! how dost thou rend in sunder
Whom love has knit, and sympathy made one!
A tie more stubborn far than nature's band.
Friendship! mysterions cement of the soul!
Sweet'ner of life, and solder of society!
I owe thee much. Thou hast deserv'd from me,
Far, far beyond what I can ever pay.
Oft have I prov'd the labours of thy love,
And the warm efforts of the gentle heart
Anxious to please. O! when my friend and I
In some thick wood have wander'd heedless on,
Hid from the vulgar eye, and set us down
Upon the sloping cowslip-cover'd bank,
Where the pure limpid stream has slid along.
In grateful errors tho' the underwood [thrush
Sweet murin'ring; methought, the shrill-tongued
Mended his song of love; the sooty blackbird
Mellow'd his pipe, and soften'd ev'ry note;
The eglantine smell'd sweeter, and the rose
Assum'd a dye more deep; whilst ev'ry flow'r
Vied with his fellow-plant in luxury
Of dress. Oh! then the longest summer's
Seem'd too, too much in haste; still the full heart
Had not imparted half: 'twas happiness
Too exquisite to last. Of joys departed,
Not to return, how painful the remembrance!
Dull Grave! thou spoil'st the dance of youth-Why is the principal conceal'd, for which
That throbs beneath the sacrificer's knife:
Mute must thou bear the strife of little tongues,
And coward insults of the base-born crowd,
That grudge a privilege thou never hadst,
But only hop'd for in the peaceful grave,
Of being unmolested and alone.
Araby's gums, and odoriferous drugs,
And honors by the heralds duly paid
In mode and form, ev'n to a very scruple;
O cruel irony! these come too late;
And only mock whom they were meant to honor.
Surely, there's not a dungeon-slave that's buried
In the high-way unshrouded and uncoffin'd,
But lies as soft, and sleeps as sound as he.
Sorry pre-eminence of high descent
Above the vulgar born, to rot in state!
But see! the well-plum'd hearse comes nodding
Stately and slow; and properly attended
By the whole sable tribe, that painful watch
The sick man's door, and live upon the dead,
By letting out their persons by the hour
To minic sorrow when the heart's not sad!
How rich the trappings, now they're all unfurl'd
And glitt'ring in the sun! triumphant entries
Of conquerors, and coronation pomps,
In glory scarce exceed. Great gluts of people
Retard the unwieldy show; whilst from the
And housetops, ranks behind ranks close wedg'd
dayHang bellying o'er. But tell us, why this waste?
Why this ado in earthing up a carcase
That's fallen into disgrace, and in the nostril
Smells horrible? Ye undertakers! tell us,
Midst all the gorgeous figures you exhibit,
Strik'st out the dimple from the cheek of mirth,
And ev'ry smirking feature from the face;
Branding our laughter with the name of madness.
Where are the jesters now? the man of health
Complexionally pleasant? where the droll?
Whose ev'ry look aud jesture was a joke
To clapping theatres and shouting crowds,
And made ev'n thick-lipp'd musing Melancholy
To gather up her face into a smile
Before she was aware?(Ah! sullen now,
And dumb as the green turf that covers them!
Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war?
The Roman Caesars and the Grecian chiefs,
The boast of story? Where the hot-brain'd youth?
Who the tiara at his pleasure tore
From kings of all the then discover'd globe;
And cried, forsooth, because his arm was ham-
And had not room enough to do it's work? [per'd,
Alas! how slim, dishonorably slim!
And cramm'd into a space we blush to name.
Proud royalty! how alter'd in thy looks!
How blank thy features, and how wan thy hue!
Son of the morning! whither art thou gone?
You make this mighty stir? Tis wisely done:
What would offend the eye in a good picture,
The Painter casts discrecily into shades.
Proud lineage, now how little thou appear'st!
Below the envy of the private man!
Honor, that meddlesome officious ill,
Pursues thee c'en to death, nor there stops short.
Strange persecution! when the grave itself
Is no protection from rude sufferance.
Absurd! to think to over-reach the grave!
And from the wreck of names to rescue ours!
The best concerted schemes men lay for fame
Die fast away: only themselves die faster.
The far-fam'd sculptor, and the laurel bard,
Those bold insurers of cternal fame,
Supply their little feeble aids in vain,
The tap'ring pyramid, th' Egyptian's pride,
And wonder of the world! whose spiky top
Has wounded the thick cloud, and long outliv'à
The angry shaking of the winter's storm;
Yet spent at last by th' injuries of heav'n,
Shatter'd with age, and furrow'd o'er with years,
The mystic cone with hieroglyphics crusted,
Gives way. O lamentable sight! at once
Where hast thou hid thy many-spangled head,The labour of whole ages lumbers down;
And the majestic menace of thine eyes
Felt from afar? Pliant and powerless now
Like new-born infant bound up in his swathes,
Or victim tumbled flat upon his back.
A hideous and mis-shapen length of ruins.
Sepulchral columns wrestle but in vain
With all-subduing Time; her cank'ring hand
With calm deliberate malice wasteth them:
Worn on the edge of days, the brass consumes,
The busto moulders, and the deep-cut marble,
Unsteady to the steel, gives up its charge.
Ambition, half convicted of her folly,
Hangs down the head, and reddens at the tale.
Here all the mighty troublers of the earth,
Who swam to sov'reign rule thro' seas of blood;
Th' oppressive, sturdy, man-destroying villains,
Who ravag'd kingdoms, and laid empires waste,
And in a cruel wantonness of pow'r,
Thinn'd states of half their people, and gave up
To want the rest; now, like a storm that's spent,
Lie hush'd, and meanly sneak behind thy covert.
Vain thought! to hide them from the genral scorn
That haunts and dogs them like an injur'dghost
Implacable. Here too, the petty tyrant,
Whose scant domains geographer ne'er notic'd,
And, well for neighb'ring grounds, of arm as
Who fix'd his iron talous on the poor, [short,
And grip'd them like some lordly beast of prey,
Deaf to the forceful cries of gnawing hunger,
And piteous plaintive voice of misery
(As if a slave was not a shred of nature,
Of the same common nature as his lord);
Now tame and humble,like a childthat'swhipp'd,
Shakes hands with dust, and calls the worm his
Nor pleads his rank and birthright. Underground
Precedency's a jest; vassal and lord,
Grossly familiar, side by side consume.
When self-esteem, or others adulation,
Would cunningly persuade us we were something
Above the common level of our kind; [flatt'ry,
The Grave gainsays the smooth complexion'd
And with blunt truth acquaints us what we are.
Beauty! thou pretty plaything! dear deceit!
That steals so softly o'er the stripling's heart,
And gives it a new pulse unknown before!
The grave discredits thee: thy charms expung'd,
Thy roses faded, and thy lilies soil'd,
What hast thou more to boast of? Will thy lovers
Flock round thee now, togazeanddo thee homage?
Methinks I see thee with thy head low-laid;
Whilst surfeited upon thy damask cheek,
The high-fed worm in lazy volumes roll'd,
Riots unscar'd. For this was all thy caution!
For this thy painful labours at thy glass,
Timprove those charms, and keep them in repair,
Forwhichthespoiler thanks thee not? Foul feeder!
Coarse fare and carrion please thee full as well,
And leave as keen a relish on the sense.
Look how the fair one weeps! the conscious tears
Stand thick as dew-drops on the bells of flow'rs:
Honest effusion! the swoln heart in vain
Works hard to put a gloss on its distress.
Strength too! thou surly, and less gentle boast Of those that laugh loud at the village ring! A fit of common sickness pulls thee down, With greaterease than e'er thou didst the stripling That rashly dar'd thee to th' unequal fight. What groan was that I heard? deep groan indeed! With anguish heavy laden! let me trace it ; From yonder bed it comes, where the strong man By stronger arm belabour'd, gasps for breath
Like a hard hunted beast. How his great heart Beats thick! his roomy chest by far too scant To give the lungs full play! what now avail The strong-built sinewy limbs, and well-spread
See how he tugs for life, and lays about him,
Mad with his pain! eager he catches hold
Of what comes next to hand, and grasps it hard,
Just like a creature drowning! hideous sight!
Oh! how his eyes stand out and stare full ghastly!
Whilst the distemper's rank and deadly venom
Shoots like a burning arrow cross his bowels,
Anddrinks his marrow up. Heard you that groan?
It was his last. See how the great Goliath,
Just likea child that brawl'd itself to rest,[boaster!
Lies still. What mean'st thou then, Ổ mighty
Tovaunt of nerves of thine? What means the bull,
Unconscious of his strength, to play the coward,
And flee before a feeble thing like man;
That, knowing well the slackness of his arm,
Trusts only in the well-invented knife!
With study pale, and midnight vigils spent,
The star-surveying sage close to his eye
Applies the sight-invigorating tube;'
And trav'lling thro' the boundless length of space,
Marks well the courses of the far-seen orbs,
That roll with regular confusion there,
In ecstasy of thought. But ah! proud man!
Great heights are hazardous to the weak head!
Soon, very soon, thy firmest footing fails; [place,
And down thou dropp'st into that darksome
Where nor device nor knowledge ever came.
Here the tongue-warrior lies! disabled now, Disarmı'd, dishonor'd, like a wretch that's gagg'd, And cannot tell his ail to passers-by. [change? Great man of language, whence this mighty This dumb despair, and drooping of the head? Though strong persuasion hung upon thy lip, And sly insinuation's softer arts
In ambush lay about thy flowing tongue:
Alas! how chop-fall'n now! thick mists and
Rest, like a weary cloud, upon thy breast [silence
Unceasing. Ah! where is the lifted arm,
The strength of action, and the force of words,
The well-turn'd period, and the well-tun'd voice,
With all the lesser ornaments of phrase?
Ah! fled for ever, as they ne'er had been!
Raz'd from the book of fame, or, more provoking,
Perhaps some hackney, hunger-bitten scribbler
Insults thy memory, and blots thy tomb
With long flat narratives, or duller rhimes
With heavy halting pace that drawl along;
Enough to rouse a dead man into rage,
And warm with red resentment the wan cheek.
Here the great masters of the healing art,
These mighty mock defrauders of the tomb!
Spite of their julaps and catholicons,
Resign to fate. Proud Esculapius' son,
Where are thy boasted implements of art,
And all thy well-cramm'd magazines of health?
Nor hill, nor vale, as far as ship could go,
Nor margin of the gravel-bottom'd brook,
Escap'd thy rifling hands: from stubborn shrubs
Thou wrung'st their shy retiring virtues out,
And vex'd them in the fire nor fly, nor insect, | By stealing out of being when he pleas'd,
Nor writhy snake, escap'd thy deep research,
But why this apparatus? why this cost?
Tell us thou doughty keeper from the grave!
Where are thy recipes and cordials now,
With the long list of vouchers for thy cures ?
Alas! thou speakest not. The bold impostor
Looks not more silly when the cheat's found out.
Here, the lank-sided miser, worst of felons!
Who meanly stole, discreditable shift!
From back and belly too, their proper cheer;
Es'd of a tax it irk'd the wretch to pay
To his own carcase, now lies cheaply lodg'd,
By clam'rous appetites no longer teas'd,
Nor tedious bills of charges and repairs.
But, ah! where are his rents, his comings in?
Ay! now you've made the rich man poor indeed:
Robb'd of his gods, what has he left behind?
O cursed lust of gold! when for thy sake
The fool throws up his int'rest in both worlds,To rush into the presence of our Judge!
First starv'd in this, then damn'd in that to come.
How shocking must thy summons be, ODeath!
To him that is at ease in his possessions;
Who, counting on long years of pleasure here,
Is quite unfurnish'd for that world to come!
In that dread moment, how the frantic soul
Raves round the walls of her clay tenement,
Runs to each avenue, and shrieks for help,
But shrieks in vain! how wishfully she looks
On all she's leaving, now no longer her's!
A little longer, yet a little longer,
O might she stay to wash away her stains,
And hit her for her passage! mournful sight!
Her very eyes weep blood; and every groan
She heaves is big with horror: but the foc,
Like a staunch murd'rer steady to his purpose,
Pursues her close through ev'ry lane of life,
Nor misses once the track, but presses on;
Till, forc'd at last to the tremendous verge,
At once she sinks to everlasting ruin.
And by what way; whether by hemp or steel:
Death's thousand doors stand open. Who could
The ill-pleas'd guest to sit out his full time, [force
Or blame him if he goes? Sure! he does well
That helps himself as timely as he can,
When able. But if there is an hereafter,
And that there is, conscience uninfluenc'd,
And suffer'd to speak out, tells ev'ry man,
Then must it be an awful thing to die;
More horrid yet to die by one's own hand.
Self-murder! name it not; our island's shame,
That makes her the reproach of neighb'ring states,
Shall nature, swerving from her earliest dictate,
Self-preservation, fall by her own act?
Forbid it, Heav'n! let not upon disgust,
The shameless hand be foully crimson'd o'er
With blood of its own lord. Dreadful attempt !
Just reeking from self-slaughter, in a rage
Sure, 'tis a serious thing to die! my soul!
What a strange moment must it be, when near
Thy journey's end thou hast the gulf in view!
That awful gulf no mortal e'er repass'd
To tell what's doing on the other side!
Nature runs back, and shudders at the sight, [ing?
And ev'ry life-string bleeds at thoughts of part-
For part they must: body and soul must part;
Fond couple! link'd more close than wedded pair.
This wings its way to its Almighty Source,
The witness of its actions, now its judge;
That drops into the dark and noisoine grave,
Like a disabled pitcher, of no use.
If death was nothing, and nought after death;
If, when men died, at once they ceas'd to be,
Returning to the barren womb of nothing, [chee
Whence first they sprung; then might the debau-
Untrembling inouth the heav'ns; then might the
Reel over his full bowl, and when 'tis drain'd
Fill up another to the brim, and laugh [wretch
A the poor bug-bear Death; then might the
That's weary of the world, and tir'd of life,
At once give each inquietude the slip,
As if we challeng'd him to do his worst,
And matter'd not his wrath. Unheard of tortures
Must be reserv'd for such; these herd together;
The common damn'd shun their society,
And look upon themselves as fiends less foul.
Our time is fix'd; and all our days are number'd;
How long, how short, we know not: thiswe know,
Duty requires we calmly wait the summons,
Nor dare to stir till Heav'n shall give permission.
Like sentries that must keep their destin'd stand,
And wait th' appointed hour, till they're reliev'd.
Those only are the brave who keep their ground,
And keep it to the last. To run away
Is but a coward's trick: to run away
From this world's ills, that at the very worst
Will soon blow o'er, thinking to mend ourselves
By boldly vent'ring on a world unknown,
And plunging headlong in the dark; 'tis mad:
No frenzy half so desperate as this.
dead! will none of you in pity
To those you left behind disclose the secret?
O! that some courteous ghost would blab it out,
What 'tis you are, and we must shortly be.
I've heard that souls departed have sometimes
Forewarn'd men of their death: 'twas kindly done
To knock and give th' alarm. But what means
This stinted charity? 'tis but lame kindness
That does its work by halves. Why might you not
Tell us what 'tis to die? Do the strict laws
Of your society forbid your speaking
Upon a point so nice? I'll ask no more;
Sullen like lamps in sepulchres, your shine
Enlightens but yourselves: well-'tis no matter:
A very little time will clear up all,
And make us learn'd as you are, and as close.
Death's shafts fly thick! Here falls the village
And there his pamper'd lord! The cup goes
And who so artful as to put it by?
'Tis long since death had the majority;
Yet, strange! the living lay it not to heart.
See yonder maker of the dead man's bed,
The sexton, hoary-headed chronicle!
Of hard unmeaning face, down which ne'er stole