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Of uncouth shapes, stand his dread Ministers.
Foremost Old Age, his natural ally
And firmest friend; next him Diseases thick,
A motley train; Fever, with cheek of fire;
Consumption wan; Palsy, half warm with life,
And half a clay clod lump; joint-tort'ring Gout,
And ever-gnawing Rheum; Convulsion wild;
Swoln Dropsy; panting Asthma; Apoplex
Full-gorg'd. There too the Pestilence that walks
In darkness, and the Sickness that destroys
At broad noon day. These and a thousand more,
Horrid to tell, attentive wait; and, when
Iy Hcav'n's command Death waves his ebon wand,
Sudden rush forth to execute his purpose,
And scaites desulation o'er the earth.

1 Il-fated Man, for whom such various forms
Cf inis'ry wait, and mark their future prey!
Ah! why all-righteous Father, didst thou make
This creature, Man? why wake th' unconcious Just
To life and wretchedness? O better far
Still had he slept in uncreated night,
If this the lot of being! was it for this
I hy breath divine kindled within his breast
I he vital fame? For this was thy fair image
Stampt on his soul in godlike lineaments?
For this dominion giv'n him absolute
O'er all thy works, only that he might reign .
Supreme in wce! From the blest source of Good
CouldPain and Death proceed? Could such foul ills
Hall from fair Mercy's hands? Far be the thought,
7 he impious thought! God never made a creature
Eut what was good. He made a living Seul:

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The wretched Mortal was the work of Man.
Forth from his Maker's hands he sprung to life,
Fresh with immortal bloom; no pain he knew,
No fear of change, no check to his desires,
Save one command. That one command which stood
'Twixt him and Death, the test of his obedience,
Urg'd on by wanton curiosity,
He broke. There in one moment was undone
The fairest of God's works. The same rash hand,
That pluck'd in evil hour the fatal fruit,
Unbarr'd the gates of Hell, and let loose Sin
And Death, and all the family of Pain.
To prey upon Mankind. Young Nature saw
The monstrous crew, and shook thro' all her frame.
Then filed her new-born lustre, then began
Heaven's cheerful face to low'r then vapours choak'd
The troubled air, and form'd a veil of clouds
To hide ihe willing Sun. The earth convuls'd
With painful throes threw forth a bristly crop
Of thorns and briars; and Insect, Bird, and Beast,
That wont before with admiration fond
To gaze at Man, and fearless crowd around him,
Now fled before his face, shunning in hastc
The infection of his misery. He alone
Who justly might, th' offended Lord of Man,
Turn’d not away his face; he, full of pity,
Forsook not in this uttermost distress
His best lov'd work. That comfort still remain'd
(I hat best, that greatest comfort in affliction)
The countenance of God, and thro’ the gloom :
Shot forth some kindly gleams, to cheer and warm
Th' offender's sinking soul: Hope sent from Heav'n

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Uprais'd his drooping head, and shew'd afar
A happier scene of things; the promis'd Seed
Trampling upon the Serpent's humbled crest;
Death of his sting disarm'd; and the dark grave,
Made pervious to the realms of endless day,
No more the limit but the gate of life.

Cheer'd with the view, Man went to till the ground,
From whence he rose; sentenc'd indeed to toil
As to a punishment, yet (ev'n in wrath,
So merciful is Heav'n) this toil became - -
The solace of his woes, the sweet employ
Of many a live-long hour, and surest guard
Against Disease and Death. Death, tho' denounc'd,
Was yet a distant ill, by feeble arm
Of Age, his sole support, led slowly on.
Not then, as since, the short-liv'd sons of men
Flock'd to his realms in countless multitudes;
Scarce in the course of twice five hundred years,
One solitary ghost went shiv'ring down
To his unpeopled shore. In sober state,
Through the sequcster'd vale of rural life,
The venerable Patriarch guileless held
The tenor of his way; Labour prepar'd
His siin ple fare, and Temp'rance rul'd his board.
Tir'd with his daily toil, at early eve
He sunk to sudden rest; gentle and pure
As breath of evening Zephyr, and as sweet,
Were all his slumbers; with the Sun he rose,
Alert and vigorous as He, to run.
His destin'd course. Thus nerv'd with giant strength
He stemm'd the tide of time, and stood the shock
Of ages rolling harınless o'er his head.

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At life's meridian point arriv'd, he stood,
And, looking round, saw all the valleys fillid .
With nations from his loins; full-well content
To leave his race thus scatter'd o'er the earth,
Along the gentle slope of life's decline
He bent his gradual way, till, full of years,
He dropp'd like mellow fruit into his grave,

Such in the infancy of Time was Man; So calm was life, so impotent was Death! . O had he but preserv'd these few remains,

The shatter'd fragments, of lost happiness,
Snatch'd by the hand of Heav'n from the sad wreck
Of innocence primeval; still had he livid
In ruin great; tho' fall’n, yet not forlorn;
Though mortal, yet-not every where beset
With Death in ev'ry shape! But he, impatient
To be completely wretched, hastes to fill up
The measure of his woes-'Twas Man himself
Brought Death into the world; and Man himself
Gave keenness to his dauts, quicken'd his pace,
And multiply'd destruction on mankind.

First Envy, eldest born of Hell, embrued .
Her hands in blood, and taught the Sons of Men
To make a Death which Nature never made.
And God abhorr’d; with violence rude to break
The thread of life ere half its length was run,
And rob a wretched brother of his being..
With joy Ambition saw, and soon improv'd
The execrable deed. 'Twas not enough
By subtle fraud to snatch a single life,

Puny impiety! whole kingdoms fell • To sate the luse of power: more horrid still,

[graphic]

Uprais'd his drooping head, and shew'd afar
A happier scene of things; the promis'd Seed
Trampling upon the Serpent's humbled crest;
Death of his sting disarm'd; and the dark grave,
Made pervious to the realms of endless day,
No more the limit but the gate of life.

Cheer'd with the view, Man went to till the ground,
From whence he rose; sentenc'd indeed to toil
As to a punishment, yet (ev'n in wrath,
So merciful is Heav'n) this toil became -
The solace of his woes, the sweet employ
Of many a live-long hour, and surest guard
Against Disease and Death. Death, tho' denounc'd,
Was yet a distant ill, by feeble arm
Of Age, his sole support, led slowly on.
Not then, as since, the short-liv'd sons of men
Flock'd to his realms in countless multitudes;
Scarce in the course of twice five hundred years,
One solitary ghost went shiv'ring down
To his unpeopled shore. In sober state, .
Through the sequcster'd vale of rural life,
The venerable Patriarch guileless held
The tenor of his way; Labour prepar'd
His simple fare, and Temp'rance rul'd his board.
Tir'd with his daily toil, at early eve
He sunk to sudden rest; gentle and pure
As breath of evening Zephyr, and as sweet,
Were all his slumbers; with the Sun he rose,
Alert and vigorous as He, to run
His destin'd course. Thus nerv'd with giant strength
He stemm'd the tide of time, and stood the shock
Of ages rolling harınless o'er his head.

[graphic]
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