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What art thou Life? the shadow of a dream;
past and future dwell in thought alone; The present, erë we note its flight, is gone! And all ideal, vain, fantastic seem.
Whence is thy source ? and whether dost thoa
tend? So short thy period, and thy form so frail;
Poor pris'ners, pent in death's surrounding vale, Born but to breathe, to suffer, and to end.
Why shadow ! bring'st thou; on thy raven wing,
Dark trains of grief, and visions of the night,
Rather than graces rob’d in purple light, Elysian flow'rs, and love's unclouded spring? Since sad or gay, whatever be thy theme, Death surely ends, at once, the dreamer and the
A NIGHT-PIECE ON DEATH.
By the blue taper's trembling light,
How deep yon azure dyes the sky!
There pass with melancholy state,
Those graves with bending osier bound, That nameless heave the crumbled ground; Quick to the glancing thought disclose, Where toil and poverty repose.
The flat smoothe stones that bear a name; The chissel's slender help to fame, (Which ere our set of friends decay Their frequent steps may wear away ;) A middle race of mortals own, Men half ambitious, all unknown.
The marble tombs that rise en high, Whose dead in vaulted arches lie, Whosc pillows swell with sculptur'd stones Arms, Angels, epitaphs, and bones, These, all the poor renains of state, Adorn the rich, or praise the great ; Who, while on earth in fame they live, Are senseless of the fame they give.
Ha! while I gaze, pale Cynthia fades, The bursting earth unvails the shades; All slow, and wan, and wrap'd with shouds, They rise in visionary crowds, And all with sober accent cry,. THINK, MORTA , WHAT IT IS TO DIR!
Now from yon black and funereal yew, That bathes the charnel-house with dew, Methinks, I hear a voice begin ; (Ye ravens, cease your croaking dia, Ye tolling clocks, no time resound O'er the long lake and midnight ground !) It sends a peal of hollow groans, Thus speaking from among the bones.
When men my scythe and darts supply, How great a King of fears am I! They view me like the last of things ; They make, and then they dread my stings. Fools! If you less provoke your fears, No more my spectre form appears. Death's but a path that must be trod, If man would ever pass to God: A port of calms, a state to ease From the rough rage of swelling seas.
Why then thy flowing sable stoles, Deep pendant cypress, mourning poles, Loose scarfs to fall athwart thy weeds, Long palls, .drawn hearses, cover'd steeds, And plumes of black, that, as they tread, Nod o'er the 'scutcheons of the dead?
Nor can the parted body know,
Whene'er their suffering years are runs
HYMN TO HUMANITY,
Parent of virtue, if thine ear
Attend not now to sorrow's cryi If now the pity-streaming tear
Should heply on thy cheek be dry; Indulge may votive strain, sweet Humanity!
Come, ever welcome to my breast !