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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 highway, unshrcaded and uncoffin'd,
But lies as soft, and sleeps as sound as he.
Sorry pre-eminence of high descerit
Above the vulgar, born to rot in state!
But see! the well plum'd hearse comes nodding on
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 mimic sorrow when the heart's not sad,
How rich the trappings, now they ’re all unfurld.
And glitt'ring in the Sun! triumphant ertries
Of conquerors and coronation pomps,
In glory scarce exceed. Great gluts of people
Retard the unweildy shew; whilst from the casements,
And houses' tops, ranks behind ranks close wedg'd
Ilang 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
Sinells horrible? Ye untertakers! tell us,
'Midst all the gorgeous figures you exhibit,
Why is the principal conceal’d, for which
You make this mighty stir? 'Tis wisely done:
What would offend the eye in a good picture,
The Painter casts discreetly into shades.
Proud lineage now how little thou appear'st!
Felow the envy of the private man!
Honor, that meddlesome officious ill,
Pursues thee ev'n 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 laureld bard,
Those bold insurers of eternal 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 ont-liv'd
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:
The labour of whole ages lumbers down,
A hideous and mis-shapen length of ruins..
Sepulchral columns wrestle but in vain
With all-subduing Time; her can'kring hand
With calm deliberate malice wasteth them:
Worn on the edge of days, the brass consumes,
1. 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 soy'reign rule thro' seas of blood;
Th' oppressive, sturdy, man-destroying villains,
A 4 . . .
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 beneath thy covert,
Vain thought! to hide them from the gen’ral scorn,
That haunts and dogs them like an injur'd ghost
Implacable. Here too the petty tyrant,
Whose scant domains geographer ne'er notic'd,
And well for neighb'ring grounds of arm as short:
Who fix'd his iron talons on the poor,
And grip'd them like some lordly beast of prey,
Deaf to the forceful cries of gnawing hunger,
And piteous plaintive voice of misery i.
(As if a slave was not a shred of nature,
Of the same common nature with his lord):
Now tame and humble, like a child that's whipp'd,
Shakes hands with dust, and calls the worm his kinsman
Nor pleads his rank and birthright. Under ground
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
Abɔve the common level of our kind;.
The Grave gainsays the smooth-complexion'd flatt'ry,
And with blunt truth acquaints us what we are.
Beauty! thou pretty plaything! dear deceita
That steals so softly o'er the stripling's heart, we
And gives it a new pulse unknown before!
The Grave discredits thee: thy charms expung'd, '.
Thy roses faded, and thy lilies soild,
What hast thou more to boast of? Will thy lovers
Flock round thee now, to gaze and do 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's
Riots unscar'd. For this was all thy caution?
For this thy painful labours at thy glass,
T'improve those charms, and keep them in repair,
For which the spoiler 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.
Ștrength 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 greater ease than e'er thou didst the stripling
That rashly dar'd thee to the unequal fight,
What groan was that I heard? deep groan indeed!
With anguish heavy laden; let me trace it:
Fom yonder bed it comes, where the strong man
By stronger arm belatourd, 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 shoulderse
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!
O 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,
And drinks his marrow up. Heard you that groan;
It was his fast. See how the great Goliath,
Just like a child that brawl'd itself to rest,
Lies still. What mean'st thou then, O mighty boaster
To vaunt 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 spacey
Marks well the courses of the far-seen orbs,
That roll with regular confusion there;
In extacy of thought. But ah! proud man!
Great heights are hazardous to the weak head:
Soon, very soon, thy firmest footing fails;
And down thou dropp'st into that darksome place,
Where nor device nor knowledge ever came.
Here the tongue-warrior lies! disabled now,
Disarın'd , dishonour'd, like a wretch that's gagg'd,
And cannot tell his ail to passers-by.
Great man of language, whence this mighty change,
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 silence