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Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war? The Roman Cæsars, and the Grecian chiefs, The boast of story? Where the hot-brain'd youth Who the tiara at his pleasure tore From kings of all the then discover'd globe; And cry'd, forsooth, because his arm was hamper'd, And had not room enough to do its work? Alas! how slim, dishonourably slim,

And cram'd into a space we blush to name!
Proud royalty! how alter'd in thy looks!
How blank thy features, and how wan thy hue!
Son of the morning! whither art thou gone?
Where hast thou hid thy many-spangled head,
And the majestic menace of thine eyes
Felt from afar? Pliant and powerless now
Like new-born infant bound up in his swathes,
Or victim tumbled flat upon his back,

That throbs beneath the sacrificer's knife.
Mute, must thou bear the strife of little tongues,
And coward insults of the base-born crowd;
That grudge a privilege thou never hadst,
But only hop'd for in the peaceful grave,
Of being unmolested and alone.
Arabia's gums and odoriferous drugs,
And honours by the herald duly paid
In mode and form, ev'n to a very scruple;
Oh cruel irony! these come too late;
And only mock, whom they were meant to honour.
Surely there's not a dungeon-slave that's bury'd
In the high-way, unshrouded and uncoffin'd,
But lies as soft, and sleeps as sound as he.-
Sorry pre-eminence of high descent,
Above the baser-born, to rot in state.

But see! the well-plum'd herse 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! how they're all unfurl'd,
And glittering in the sun; triumphant entries

Of conquerors, and coronation-pomps,
In glory scarce exceed. Great gluts of people
Retard th' unwieldy show; whilst from the case-


And houses' tops, ranks behind ranks close wedg'd
Hang bellying o'er. But tell us, why this waste?
Why this ado in earthing up a carcass
That's fall'n into disgrace, and in the nostril
Smells horrible ?-Ye undertakers, 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! Below 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 laurel'd bard,
Those bold insurers of eternal fame,
Supply their little feeble aids in vain.
The tapering pyramid, the Egyptian's pride,
And wonder of the world! whose spiky top
Has wounded the thick cloud, and long outliv'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 labor of whole ages lumbers down;
A hideous and mis-shapen length of ruins.
Sepulchral columns wrestle but in vain
With all-subduing Time; his cankering hand
With calm deliberate malice wasteth them:
Worn on the edge of days, the brass consumes,
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 sov'reign rule thro' seas of blood;
The oppressive, sturdy man-destroying villains,
Who ravag'd kingdoms, and laid empires waste,
And in a cruel wantonness of power
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 behind thy covert.
Vain thought! to hide them from the general 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


(As if a slave was not a shred of nature,

Trusts only in the well-invented knife ? Of the same common nature with his lord ;)

With study pale, and midnight vigils spent, Now tame and humble, like a child that's whipp'd, The star-surveying sage, close to his eye Shakes hands with dust, and calls the worm his Applies the sight-invigorating tube ; [space, kinsman;

And travelling through the boundless length of Nor pleads his rank and birthright. Under ground Marks well the courses of the far-seen orbs Precedency's a jest; vassal and lord,

That roll with regular confusion there, Grossly familiar, side by side consume.

In ecstacy of thought. But ah! proud man ! When self-esteem, or others' adulation,

Great heights are hazardous to the weak head; Would cunningly persuade us we were something Soon, very soon, thy firmest footing fails; Above the common level of our kind, (tery, And down thou dropp'st into that darksome place, The grave gainsays the smooth-complexion'd flat- Where nor device nor knowledge ever eame. And with blunt truth acquaints us what we are. Here the tongue-warrior lies! disabled now,

Beauty! thou pretty plaything! dear deceit! Disarm’d, dishonour'd, like a wretch that's gagg'd That steals so softly o'er the stripling's heart, And cannot tell his ails to passers by. And gives it a new pulse, unknown before!

Great man of language! whence this mighty change? The grave discredits thee: thy charms expung'd, This dumb despair, and drooping of the head? Thy roses faded, and thy lilies soil'd,

Though strong persuasion hung upon thy lip, What hast thou more to boast of? Will thy lovers And sly insinuation's softer arts Flock round thee now, to gaze and do thee homage! In ambush lay about thy flowing tongue ; Methinks I see thee with thy head low laid,

Alas! how chop-fall'n now! Thick mists and silence Whilst surfeited upon thy damask cheek

Rest, like a weary cloud, upon thy breast The high-fed worm, in lazy volumes rollid,

Unceasing. Ah! where is the listed arm, Riots unscar.d.- For this, was all thy caution ? The strength of action, and the force of words, For this, thy painful labours at thy glass ?

The well-turn'd period, and the well-tun'd voice, T'improve those charms, and keep them in repair, With all the lesser ornaments of phrase ! For which the spoiler thanks thee not ? Foul feeder! Ah! fled for ever, as they ne'er had been ! Coarse fare and carrion please thee full as well, Raz'd from the book of fame : or, more provoking, And leave as keen a relish on the sense.

Perchance some hackney hunger-bitten scribbler Look how the fair one weeps !-the conscious tears Insults thy memory, and blots thy tomb Stand thick as dew-drops on the bells of flow'rs: With long flat narrative, or duller rhymes, Honest effusion! the swoll'n heart in vain

With heavy halting pace that drawl along; Works hard to put a gloss on its distress,

Enough to rouse a dead man into rage, Strength too! thou surly, and less gentle boast And warm with red resentment the wan cheek. Of those that laugh loud at the village ring!

Here the great masters of the healing art, A fit of common sickness pulls thee down

These mighty mock defrauders of the tomb, With greater ease, than e'er thou didst the stripling Spite of their juleps and catholicons, That raslıly dar'd thee to th’unequal fight.

Resign to fate. Proud Æsculapius' son! What groan was that I heard ?-deep groan indeed! Where are thy boasted implements of art, With anguish heavy laden! let me trace it: And all thy well-cramm'd magazines of health: From yonder bed it comes, where the strong man, Nor hill nor vale, as far as ship could go, By stronger arm belabour'd, gasps for breath Nor margin of the gravel-bottom'd brook, Like a hard-hunted beast. How his great heart Escap'd thy rifling hand ;-- from stubborn shrubs Beats thick! his roomy chest by far too scant Thou wrung’st their shy-retiring virtues out, To give the lungs full play.-What now avail And vex'd them in the fire: nor fly, nor insect, The strong-built sinewy limbs, and well-spread Nor writhy snake, escap'd thy deep research. shoulders?

But why this apparatus ? why this cost? See how he tugs for life, and lays about him, Tell us, thou doughty keeper from the grave ! Mad with his pain !-Eager he catches hold Where are thy recipes and cordials now, Of what comes next to hand, and grasps it hard, With the long list of vouchers for thy cures ? Just like a creature drowning ; hideous sight! Alas! thou speakest not. The bold impostor Oh! how his eyes stand out, and stare full ghastly! Looks not more silly, when the cheat's found out. Whilst the distemper's rank and deadly venom Here the lank-sided miser, worst of felons ! Shoots like a burning arrow cross his bowels, Who meanly stole (discreditable shift!) And drinks his marrow up.-Heard you that groan: From back and belly too, their proper cheer, It was his last.-See how the great Goliah,

Eas'd of a tax it irk'd the wretch to pay Just like a child that brawl'd itself to rest, [boaster, To his own carcass, now lies cheaply lodg'd, Lies still. What mean'st thou then, O mighty By clam'rous appetites no longer teasid, To vaunt of nerves of thine? what means the bull, Nor tedious bills of charges and repairs. Unconscious of his strength, to play the coward, But ah! where are his rents, his comings-in? And flee before a feeble thing like man;

Aye! now you've made the rich man poor indeed: That, knowing well the slackness of his arm, Robb'd of his gods, what has he left behind


Oh cursed just of gold! when for thy sake,
The fool throws up his int'rest 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 walls 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 her's!
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 every groan
She heaves is big with horror: but the foe,
Like a staunch murd'rer, steady to his purpose,
Pursues her close through every 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 gulf 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 were nothing, and nought after death; If when men dy'd, at once they ceas'd to be, Returning to the barren womb of nothing, Whence first they sprung, then might the debauchee Untrembling mouth the heavens:-then might the drunkard

Reel over his full bowl, and, when 'tis drain'd,
Fill up another to the brim, and laugh [wretch
At the poor bugbear Death:-Then might the
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
The ill pleas'd guest to sit out his full time, [force
Or blame him if he goes ?-Sure he does well,
That helps himself as timely as he can,
When able. But if there's 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 nature, swerving from her earliest dictate,
Self-preservation, fall by her own act?
Forbid it, Heaven. Let not, upon disgust,

The shameless hand be foully crimson'd o'er
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 calmly wait the summons,
Nor dare to stir till Heaven shall give permission:
Like sentries 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 vent'ring on a world unknown,
And plunging headlong in the dark;-'tis mad:
No frenzy half so desperate as this.

Tell us, ye dead! will none of you, in pity
To those you left behind, disclose the secret?
Oh! 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 the alarm.—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 laws
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 villageswain,

And there his pamper'd lord.-The cup goes round:
And who so artful as to put it by?

'Tis 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 skull'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 [not,
More willing to his cup.-Poor wretch! he minds
That soon some trusty brother of the trade
Shall do for him what he has done for thousands.
On this side, and on that, men see their friends
Drop off, like leaves in autumn; yet launch out

Into fantastic schemes, which the long livers
In the world's hale and undegen'rate days
Could scarce have leisure for.-Fools that we are!
Never to think of death and of ourselves
At the same time: as if to learn to die
Were no concern of ours.-O more than sottish!
For creatures of a day in gamesome mood,
To frolic on eternity's dread brink
Unapprehensive; when, for aught we know,
The very first swol'n surge shall sweep us in.
Think we, or think we not, time hurries on
With a resistless unremitting stream;
Yet treads more soft than e'er did midnight-thief,
That slides his hand under the miser's pillow,
And carries off his prize.-What is this world?
What but a spacious burial field unwall'd,
Strew'd with death's spoils, the spoils of animals
Savage and tame, and full of dead men's bones?
The very turf on which we tread once liv'd;
And we that live must lend our carcasses
To cover our own offspring: in their turns
They too must cover theirs.-'Tis here all meet,
The shiv'ring Icelander, and sun-burnt Moor;
Men of all climes, that never met before;
And of all creeds, the Jew, the Turk, the Christian.
Here the proud prince, and favourite yet prouder,
His sov'reign's keeper, and the people's scourge,
Are huddled out of sight.-Here lie abash'd
The great negotiators of the earth,
And celebrated masters of the balance,

And jovial youth, of lightsome vacant heart,
Whose every day was made of melody, [shrew,
Hears not the voice of mirth: the shrill-tongu'd
Meek as the turtle-dove, forgets her chiding.
Here are the wise, the generous, and the brave;
The just, the good, the worthless, the profane,
The downright clown, and perfectly well-bred;
The fool, the churl, the scoundrel, and the mean,
The supple statesman, and the patriot stern;
The wrecks of nations, and the spoils of time,
With all the lumber of six thousand years.

Deep read in stratagems, and wiles of courts.
Now vain their treaty-skill.-Death scorns to treat!
Here the o'erloaded slave flings down his burden
From his gall'd shoulders;-and when the cruel

With all his guards and tools of power about him,
Is meditating new unheard-of hardships,
Mocks his short arm,-and quick as thought escapes
Where tyrants vex not, and the weary rest.
Here the warm lover, leaving the cool shade,
The tell-tale echo, and the babbling stream,
(Time out of mind the fav'rite seats of love,)
Fast by his gentle mistress lays him down,
Unblasted by foul tongue.-Here friends and foes
Lie close; unmindful of their former feuds.
The lawn-rob'd prelate and plain presbyter,
Ere while that stood aloof as shy to meet,
Familiar mingle here, like sister streams
That some rude interposing rock has split.
Here is the large-limb'd peasant; here the child
Of a span long, that never saw the sun,
Nor press'd the nipple, strangled in life's porch:
Here is the mother, with her sons and daughters;
The barren wife; the long-demurring maid,
Whose lonely unappropriated sweets
Smil'd like yon knot of cowslips on the cliff,
Not to be come at by the willing hand.
Here are the prude severe, and gay coquette,
The sober widow, and the young green virgin,
Cropp'd like a rose before 'tis fully blown,
Or half its worth disclos'd. Strange medley here!
Here garrulous old age winds up his tale;

Poor man!-how happy once in thy first state! When yet but warm from thy great Maker's hand, He stamp'd thee with his image, and, well pleas'd, Smil'd on his last fair work. Then all was well. Sound was the body, and the soul serene; Like two sweet instruments, ne'er out of tune, That play their several parts.-Nor head, nor heart, Offer'd to ache: nor was there cause they should; For all was pure within: no fell remorse, Nor anxious castings-up of what might be, Alarm'd his peaceful bosom :-summer seas Show not more smooth, when kiss'd by southern Just ready to expire.-Scarce importun'd, [winds The generous soil, with a luxuriant hand, Offer'd the various produce of the year, And every thing most perfect in its kind. Blessed! thrice blessed days!-But ah! how short! Bless'd as the pleasing dreams of holy men; But fugitive, like those, and quickly gone. Oh! slippery state of things.-What sudden turns! What strange vicissitudes in the first leaf Of man's sad history!-To day most happy, And ere to-morrow's sun has set, most abject! How scant the space between these vast extremes! Thus far'd it with our sire:-not long he enjoy'd His paradise!-Scarce had the happy tenant Of the fair spot due time to prove its sweets, Or sum them up, when straight he must be gone, Ne'er to return again.—And must he go? Can nought compound for the first dire offence Of erring man?-Like one that is condemn'd, Fain would he trifle time with idle talk, And parley with his fate.-But 'tis in vain. Not all the lavish odours of the place, Offer'd in incense, can procure his pardon, Or mitigate his doom.-A mighty angel, With flaming sword, forbids his longer stay, And drives the loiterer forth; nor must he take One last and farewell round.-At once he lost His glory and his God.-If mortal now, And sorely maim'd, no wonder.-Man has sinn'd. Sick of his bliss, and bent on new adventures, Evil he would needs try: nor try'd in vain. (Dreadful experiment! destructive measure! Where the worst thing could happen, is success.) Alas! too well he sped:-the good he scorn'd Stalk'd off reluctant, like an ill-us'd ghost, Not to return; or if it did, its visits, Like those of angels, short and far between: Whilst the black dæmon, with his hell-'scap'd train, Admitted once into its better room,



Grew loud and mutinous, nor would be gone;

But know that thou must render up the dead, Lording it o'er the man, who now too late

And with high int’rest too !—They are not thine, Saw the rash error, which he could not mend: But only in thy keeping for a season, An error fatal not to him alone,

Till the great promis'd day of restitution ; But to his future sons, his fortune's heirs,

When loud diffusive sound from brazen trump Inglorious bondage!--Human nature groans Of strong-lung'd cherub, shall alarm thy captives, Beneath a vassalage so vile and cruel,

And rouse the long, long sleepers into life, And its vast body bleeds through ev'ry vein. Day-light, and liberty.

What havoc hast thou made, foul monster, Sin! Then must thy gates fly open, and reveal Greatest and first of ills! the fruitful parent

The mines that lay long forming under ground, Of woes of all dimensions!— But for thee

In their dark cells immur'd; but now full ripe,
Sorrow had never been.-All noxious things, And pure as silver from the crucible,
Of vilest nature, other sorts of evils,

That twice has stood the torture of the fire
Are kindly circumscrib'd, and have their bounds. And inquisition of the forge. We know
The fierce volcano, from his burning entrails Th'illustrious deliverer of mankind,
That belches molten stone and globes of fire,

The Son of God, thee foil'd.-Him in thy power Involv'd in pitchy clouds of smoke and stench,

Thou could'st not hold: self-vigorous he rose, Mars the adjacent fields for some leagues round, And, shaking off thy fetters, soon retook And there it stops.—The big-swoln inundation, Those spoils his voluntary yielding lent: Of mischief more diffusive, raving loud,

(Sure pledge of our releasement from thy thrall !) Buries whole tracks of country, threat'ning more; Twice twenty days he sojourn'd here on earth, But that too has jis shore it cannot pass.

And show'd himself alive to chosen witnesses, More dreadful far than these, sin has laid waste, By proofs so strong, that the most slow-assenting Not here and there a country, but a world:

Had not a scruple left. This having done, Dispatching at a wide-extended blow

He mounted up to Heav’n. Methinks I see him Entire mankind; and for their sakes defacing Climb the aerial heights, and glide along A whole creation's beanty with rude hands; Athwart the severing clouds: but the faint eye, Blasting the foodful grain, the loaded branches, Flung backward in the chase, soon drops its hold; And marking all along its way with ruin.

Disabled quite, and jaded with pursuing. Accursed thing!-Oh! where shall fancy find Heaven's portals wide expand to let him in ; A proper naine to call thee by, expressive

Nor are his friends shut out: as some great prince Of all thy horrors ? — Pregnant womb of ills! Not for himself alone procures admission, Of temper so transcendently malign,

But for his train; it was his royal will, That toads and serpents of most deadly kind, That where he is, there should his followers be. Compar'd to thee, are harmless.-Sicknesses Death only lies between !-A gloomy path! Of every size and symptom, racking pains,

Made yet more gloomy by our coward fear: And bluest plagues, are thine !—See how the fiend But nor untrod, nor tedious: the fatigue Profusely scatters the contagion round ! (heels, Will soon go off.—Besides, there's no bye-road Whilst deep-mouth'd slaughter, bellowing at her To bliss.—Then why, like ill-conditiou'd children, Wades deep in blood new-spilt! yet for to-morrow

Start we at transient hardships in the way Slapes out new work of great uncommon daring, That leads to purer air, and softer skies, And inly pines till the dread blow is struck. And a ne'er-setting sun ?- Fools that we are !

But hold! I've gone too far; too much discover'd We wish to be where sweets unwith'ring bloom; My father's nakedness, and nature's shame.

But straight our wish revoke, and will not go. Here let me pause, and drop an honest tear, So have I seen, upon a summer's even, One burst of filial duty and condolence,

Fast by the riv'let's brink, a youngster play: O'er all those ample deserts Death hath spread, How wishfully he looks to stem the tide! This chaos of mankind.-O great man-eater! This moment resolute, next unresolv'd: Whose ev'ry day is carnival, not sated yet!

At last he dips his foot; but as he dips Unheard-of epicure! without a fellow!

His fears redouble, and he runs away The veriest gluttons do not always cram;

From th' inoffensive stream, unmindful now Some intervals of abstinence are sought

Of all the flow'rs that paint the further bank, To edge the appetite: thou seekest none.

And smil'd so sweet of late.—Thrice welcome Death! Methinks the countless swarms thou hast devour'd, That after many a painful bleeding step And thousands that each hour thou gobblest up, Conducts us to our home, and lands us safe This, less than this, might gorge thee to the full. On the long-wish’d-for shore.- Prodigious change! But ah! rapacious still, thou gap'st for more: Our bane turn'd to a blessing !-Death, disarm’d, Like one, whole days defrauded of his meals, Loses his fellness quite: all thanks to him On whom lank hunger lays his skinny hand, Who scourg'd the venom out!-Sure the last end And whets to keenest eagerness his cravings. Of the good man is peace !-How calm his exit! (As if diseases, massacre and poison,

Night-dews fall not more gently to the ground, Famine, and war, were not thy caterers !)

Nor weary worn-out winds expire so soft.


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