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Rest, like a weary cloud, upon thy breast 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 narrative, or duller rhymes With heavy halting pace that drawl along; - Enough to rouze a dead man into rage,
And warm, with red resentment, the wan cheek. E Here the great masters of the healing art,
These mighty mock defrauders of the tomb!
Spite of their juleps and catholicons,
Resign to fate. Proud Æsculapius' son,
Where are thy boasted implements of art,
And all thy well.cram'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 hand! from stubborn shrubs
Thou wrung'st their shy retiring virtues out,
And vex'd them in the fire; nor fly, nor insect,
Nor writhy snake, escap'd thy deep research.
But why this apparatus? why this cost?
Tell us, thuu 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 imposter
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; Eas'd of a tax it irk'd the wretch to pay To his own carcase, now lies cheaply lodg'di By clam'rous appetites no longer teaz'd Nor tedious bills of charges and repairs. But, ah! where are his rents, his comings in? Aye! now you have 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 interest in both worlds, First starv'd in this, then damn'd in that to come,
How shocking must thy summons be, O Death! 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 wall 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 hers! A little longer, yet a little longer, O might she stay to wash away her stains, And fit her for her passage! mournful sight! Her very eyes weep blood: and ev'ry groan She heaves is big with horror: but the foe, Like a staunch murd'rer, steady to his purpose Pursues her close thro' 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.
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 gulph 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,
And every life-string bleeds at thoughts of parting!
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 noisome 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
Whence first they sprang; then might the debauchee
Untrembling mouth the heavens: then might the drunkard
Reel over his full bowl, and when 't is drain'd
Fill up another to the brim, and laugh
At the poor bug-bear death; then night the wretch
That's weary of the world, and tir'd of life,
At once give each inquietude the slip,
By stealing out of being when he pleas'd,
And by what way, whether by hemp or steel;
Death's thousand doors stand open. Who could force
The ill-pleas'd guest to sit out his full time,
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 neighbouring states.
Shall naturen swerving from her earliest dictates,
Self-preservation, fall by her own act?
Forbid it, heaven! let not upon disgust
The shameless hand be foully crimson'd' oʻer
With blood of its own lord. Dreadful attempt!
Just reeking from self-slaughter, in a rage
To rush into the presence of our Judge!
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: this we know,
Duty requires we calowy wait the summons,
Nor dare to stir till Heaven, shall give permission :
Like centries 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 veni’ring on a world unknown,
And plunging headlong in the dark! 't is mad:.-
No frenzy half so desperate as this,
Tell us, yo 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' alarum. 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 law.s
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 swaing.
And there his pamper'd lord! The cup goes round,
And who so artful as to put it by ?
'T is 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
A gentle tear; with mattock in his hand
Digs thro' whole rows of kindred and acquaintance
By far his juniors? scarce a scull's cast up,
But well he knew its owner, and can tell
Some passage of his life. Thus hand in hand
The sot has walk'd with death twice twenty years;
And yet ne'er younker on the green laughs louder,
Or clubs a smuttier tale; when drunkards meet,
None sings a merrier catch, or lends a hand
More willing to his cup. Poor wretch! he minds not, :