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Streams like the day—who, angel-like, hast shed
Now in their turn assisting, they repay The anxious cares of many and many a day; And now by those he loves relieved, restored, His very wants and weaknesses afford A feeling of enjoyment. In his walks, Leaning on them, how oft he stops and talks, While they look up! Their questions, their replies, Fresh as the welling waters, round him rise, Gladdening his spirit: and, his theme the past, How eloquent he is! His thoughts flow fast; And, while his heart (oh can the heart grow old? False are the tales that in the World are told !)
Swells in his voice, he knows not where to end; Like one discoursing of an absent friend.
But there are moments which he calls his own. Then, never less alone than when alone, Those that he loved so long and sees no more, Loved and still loves--not dead-but gone before, He gathers round him; and revives at will Scenes in his life—that breathe enchantment stillThat come not now at dreary intervals— But where a light as from the Blessed falls, A light such guests bring ever-pure and holyLapping the soul in sweetest melancholy!
-Ah then less willing (nor the choice condemn) To live with others than to think on them!
And now behold him up the hill ascending, Memory and Hope like evening-stars attending; Sustained, excited, till his course is run, By deeds of virtue done or to be done. When on his couch he sinks at length to rest, Those by his counsel saved, his power redressed, Those by the World shunned ever as unblest, At whom the rich man's dog growls from the gate, But whom he sought out, sitting desolate, Come and stand round—the widow with her child, As when she first forgot her tears and smiled! They, who watch by him, see not; but he sees, Sees and exults—Were ever dreams like these? They, who watch by him, hear not; but he hears, And Earth recedes, and Heaven itself appears !
'Tis past! That hand we grasped, alas, in vain!
Then was the drama ended. Not till then,
-When by a good man's grave I muse alone,
But the day is almost spent;
and full of life and circumstance; Where some the paths of Wealth and Power pursue, Of Pleasure some, of Happiness a few;
And, as the sun goes round—a sun not ours-
P. 66, 1. 17.
P. 66, 1. 28. We fly; no resting for the foot we find; “ I have considered,” says Solomon, “ all the works that are under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” But who believes it, till Death tells it us? It is Death alone that can suddenly make man to know himself. He tells the proud and insolent, that they are but abjects, and humbles them at the instant. He takes the account of the rich man, and proves him a beggar, a naked beggar. He holds a glass before the eyes of the most beautiful, and makes them see therein their deformity; and they acknowledge it.
O eloquent, just, and mighty Death! whom none could advise, thou hast persuaded; what none have dared, thou hast done; and whom all the world have flattered, thou only hast cast out and despised: thou hast drawn together all the far-stretched greatness, all the pride, cruelty and ambition of man, and covered it all over with these two narrow words, Hic jacet.