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That toads and serpents of most deadly kind
Compar’d to thee are harmless, Sicknesses
Of ev'ry size and symptom, racking pains,
And bluest plagues are thine! see how the fiend
Profusely scatters the contagion round!
Whilst deep mouth'd slaughter bellowing at her heels,
Wades deep in blood new spilt; yet for to-morrow
Shapes out new work of great uncommon daring,
And inly pines till the dread blow is struck.
But hold! I've gone too far; too much discover'd
My father's nakedness, and nature's shame..
Here let me pause! and drop an honest tear.
One burst of filial duty and condolence,
O'er all those ample deserts Death hath spread,
This chaos of mankind. Ogreat man-eater!
Whose ev'ry day is carnival, not sated yet!
Unheard of epicure without a fellow!
The variest gluttons do not always cram;
Some intervals of abstinence are sought
To edge the appetite ; thou seekest none.
Methinks the countless swarms thou hast devour'd
And thousands that each hour thou gobblest up,
This, less than this, might gorge thee to the full.
But ah! rapacious still, thou gap'st for more ;
Like one, whole days defrauded of his meals,
On whom lank hunger lays his skinny hand,
And whets to keenest eagerness his cravings;
As if Diseases, Massacres, and Poison,
Famine and war, were not thy caterers !
But know that thou must render up thy dead, And with high interest too! they are not thine ; But only in thy keeping for a season,
Till the great promis'd day of restitution; When loud diffusive sound from brazen trump Of strong lung'd cherub shall alarm thy captives, And rouze the long, long sleepers into life, Day-light, and liberty.Then must thy gates fly open, and reveal The mines, that lay long forming under ground, In their dark cells immur'd; but now full ripe, And pure as silver from the crucible, That twice has stood the torture of the fire, And inquisition of the forge. we know, Th’ Illustrious Deliverer of mankind, The Son of God, thee foii'd. Him in thy pow'r : Thou could'st not hold; self-vigorous he rose, And shaking off thy fetters, soon retook Those spoils his voluntary yielding lent. (Sure pledge of our releasement from thy thrall! Twice twenty days he sojourn'd here on earth, And shewed himself alive to chosen witnesses By proofs so strong, that the most slow assenting Had not a scruple left. This having done, He mounted up to heav'n. Methinks I see him Climb the aërial heights, and glide along Athwart the severing clouds; but the faint eye Flung backward in the chace, soon drops its hold, Disabled quite, and jaded with pursuing. Heaven's portals wide expand to let him in; Nor are his friends shut out: as some great prince Not for himself alone procures admission, But for his train: it was his royal will, That where he is, there should his followers be. Death only lies between, a gloomy path!
Made yet more gloomy by our coward fears !
But nor untrod, nor tedious; the fatigue
Will soon go off. Besides, there's no by-road
To bliss. Then why, like ill-condition's children,
Start we at transient hardships in the way
That lead to purer air and softer skies,
And a ne'er setting sun? Fools that we are!..
We wish to be where sweets unwith'ring bloom; .
But strait our wish revoke, and will not go.
So have I seen upon a slimmer'seven,
Fast by the riv'let's brink, the youngster play;
How wishfully he looks to stem the tide!
This moment resolute, next unresolv'd,
At last he dips his foot; but, as he dips,
His fears redouble, and he runs away
From th' inoffensive stream, unmindful now
Of all the flow'rs that paint the further bank,
And smil'd so sweet of late. Thrice welcome Death!
That, after many a painful bleeding step
Conducts us to our home, and lands us safe
On the long wish’d-for shore. Prodigious change!
Our bane turn'd to a blessing! Death disarın'd
Loses his fellness quite; all thanks to him
Who scourg'd the venom out! Sure the last end
Of the good man is peace. How calm his exit!
Night dews fall not more gently to the ground,
Nor weary worn-out winds expire so soft.
Behold him! in the ev'ning-tide of life,
A life well spent, whose early care it was,
His riper years should not upbraid his green:
By unperceiv’d degrees he wears away;
Yet like the sun seems larger at his setting! :.
High in his faith and hopes, look how he reaches
After the prize in view! and, like a bird
That's hamper'd, struggles hard to get away! .
Whilst the glad gates of sight are wide expanded
To let new glories in, the first fair fruits
Of the fast-coming harvest ! Then ! O then!
Each earth-born joy grows vile, or disappears,
Shrunk to a thing of nought. O how lie longs
To have his passport sign'd, and be dismiss'd
'Tis done and now he's happy! the glad soul
Has not a wish uncrown'd. Ev'n the lag flesh
Rests too in hope of meeting once again
Its better half, never to sunder, more.
Nor shall it hope. in vain: the time draws on
When not a single spot of burial-earth,
Whether on land, or in the spacious sea
But must give back its long committed dust
Inviolate: and faithfully shall these
Make up the full account; not the least atom
Embezzled or mislaid of the whole tale.
Each soul shall have a body ready furnish'd ;
And each shall have his own. Hence, ye prophane !
Ask not, how this can be ? sure the same pow'r
That rear'd the piece at first, and took it down,
Can re-assemble the loose scatter'd parts,
And put them as they were. Almighty God
Has done much more; nor is his arm impair'd .
Thro' length of days; and what he can he will:
His faithfulness stands bound to see it done,
When the dread trumpet sounds, the slumbʼring dust,
Not unattentive to the call, shall wake;
And ev'ry joint possess its proper place,
Vith a new elegance of form unknown
o its first state. Nor shall the conscious soul listake its partner; but amidst the crowd ingling its other half, into its arms. hall rush, with all th' impatience of a man What's new come home, who having long been absent, Vith haste runs over every different room, n pain to see the whole. Thrice happy meeting! lor time, nor death, shall ever part them more.
'Tis but a night, a long and moonless night, Ve make the grare our bed, and then are gone,
Thus, at the shut of even, the weary bird eaves the wide air, and in some lonely brake ow'rs down, and dozes till the dawn of day, Then claps his well-fledg’d wings, and bears away.