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Thro' this opaque of nature, and of foul,
This double night, tranfmit one pitying ray,
To lighten, and to chear. O lead my mind,
(A mind that fain would wander from its woe)
Lead it thro' various scenes of life, and death,
And from each scene the noblest truths inspire.
Nor lefs infpire my conduct, than my fong;
Teach my best reason, reason; my best will
Teach rectitude; and fix my firm refolve
Wisdom to wed, and pay her long arrear:
Nor let the phial of thy vengeance, pour'd
On this devoted head, be pour'd in vain.
The beli ftrikes one.
But from its lofs.
We take no note of time,
To give it then a tongue,
Is wife in man. As if an angel fpoke,
I feel the folemn found. If heard aright,
It is the knell of my departed hours:
Where are they? With the years beyond the flood.
It is the fignal that demands difpatch;
How much is to be done? my hopes and fears
Start up alarm'd, and o'er life's narrow verge
Look down-on what? a fathomless abyss;
A dread eternity! how furely mine!
And can eternity belong to me,
Poor penfioner on the bounties of an hour?
How poor, how rich, how abject, how auguft,
How complicate, how wonderful, is man!
How paffing wonder He, who made him fuch!
Who centred in our make such strange extremes
From diff'rent natures marvelously mixt,
Connection exquifite of diftant worlds!
Diftinguish'd link in Being's endless chain!
Midway from nothing to the Deity!
A beam ethereal fully'd, and absorpt;
Tho' fully'd, and dishonour'd, still divine!
Dim miniature of greatness abfolute !
An heir of glory! a frail child of duft!
Helplefs immortal! infect infinite!
A worm! a god! I tremble at myself.
Our waking dreams are fatal. How I dreamt
Of joys perpetual in perpetual change!
Of stable pleasures on the toffing wave!
Eternal funshine in the ftorms of life!
How richly were my noon-tide trances hung
With gorgeous tapestries of pictur'd joys!
Joy behind joy, in endless perspective!
Till at death's toll, whofe reftlefs iron tongue
Calls daily for his millions at a meal,
Starting I woke, and found myself undone.
Where now my phrenfy's pompous furniture?
The cobweb'd cottage, with its ragged wall.
Of mould'ring mud, is royalty to me!
The fpider's most attenuated thread
Is cord, is cable, to man's tender tie
On earthly blifs; it breaks at ev'ry breeze.
O ye bleft scenes of permanent delight!
Full, above measure! lafting, beyond bound!
A perpetuity of blifs, is blifs.
Could you, fo rich in rapture, fear an end,
That ghaftly thought would drink up all your joy,
And quite unparadise the realms of light.
Safe are you lodg'd above these rolling spheres ;
The baleful influence of whofe giddy dance
Sheds fad viciffitude on all beneath.
Here teems with revolutions every hour,
And rarely for the better; or the beft,
More mortal than the common births of fate.
Each moment has its fickle, emulous
Of time's enormous fcythe, whofe ample sweep
Strikes empires from the root; each moment plays
His little weapon in the narrower sphere
Of sweet domeftic comfort, and cuts down
The faireft bloom of fublunary blifs.
Blifs! fublunary blifs !-Proud words, and vain !
Implicit treason to divine decree!
A bold invafion of the rights of heav'n !
I clafp'd the phantoms, and I found them air..
Oh had I weigh'd it ere my fond embrace!
What darts of agony had mifs'd my heart!
Death! great proprietor of all! 'tis thine
To tread out empire, and to quench the stars.
The fun himself by thy permiffion shines ;
And, one day, thou shalt pluck him from his sphere.. Amid fuch mighty plunder, why exhaust
Thy partial quiver on a mark fo mean?
Why thy peculiar rancour wreck'd on me?
Infatiate archer! could not one fuffice?
Thy shaft flew thrice; and thrice my peace was flain;
And thrice, ere thrice yon moon had fill'd her horn.
O Cynthia! why fo pale? Doft thou lament
Thy wretched neighbour? Grieve to fee thy wheel
Of ceafelefs change outwhirl'd in human life?
How wanes my borrow'd blifs! from fortune's fmile,
Precarious courtfey! not virtue's fure,
Self-given, folar, ray of found delight.
In ev'ry vary'd pofture, place, and hour,
How widow'd ev'ry thought of ev'ry joy!
Thought, bufy thought! too bufy for my peace!
Thro' the dark poftern of time long elaps'd,
Led foftly, by the ftillness of the night,
Led, like a murderer, (and fuch it proves!)
Strays, (wretched rover !) o'er the pleasing past ;
In queft of wretchednefs perverfely ftrays;
And finds all defert now; and meets the ghofts
Of my departed joys a num'rous train!
I rue the riches of my former fate;
Sweet comfort's blafted clufters I lament;
I tremble at the bleffings once fo dear ;
And ev'ry pleafure pains me to the heart.
Yet why complain? or why complain for one?
Hangs out the fun his luftre but for me,
The fingle man? Are angels all befide?
I mourn for millions: 'tis the common lot;
In this fhape, or in that, has fate entail'd
The mother's throes on all of woman born,
Not more the children, than fure heirs of pain.
War, famine, peft, volcano, ftorm, and fire,
Inteftine broils, oppreffion, with her heart
Wrapt up in triple brafs, befiege mankind.
God's image difinherited of day,
Here, plung'd in mines, forgets a fun was made.
There, beings deathless as their haughty lord,
Are hammer'd to the galling oar for life;
And plow the winter's wave, and reap despair.
Some, for hard mafters, broken under arms,
In battle lopt away, with half their limbs,
Beg bitter bread thro' realms their valour fav'd,
If fo the tyrant, or his minion, doom.
Want, and incurable difeafe, (fell pair!)
On hopeless multitudes remorfeless seize
At once; and make a refuge of the grave.
How groaning hospitals eject their dead!
What numbers groan for fad admiffion there!
What numbers, once in fortune's lap high-fed,
Solicit the cold hand of charity!
To fhock us more, folicit it in vain !
Ye filken fons of pleafure! fince in pains
You rue more modifh vifits, vifit here,
And breathe from your debauch: give, and reduce
Surfeit's dominion o'er you: but, so great