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Virtue, like this great rock, ftands firmly brave,
And fcorns the ebb or flow of Fortune's wave;
Unmov'd the ftorms of life can calmly bear,
Collected in itself, and void of fear !
E'en when these rocks and feas fhall pass away,
And that bright orb no longer rule the day,
Virtue shall stand the teft, like gold refin'd,
And beam immortal radiance on the mind
Thro' endless ages gain increafing store
Of light and life, of joy, and active pow'r,
And bloom when time and nature are no more!
ON THE DEATH OF LADY COVENTRY.
HE midnight clock has toll'd; and hark, the bell
Of death beats flow! heard ye the note profound?
It paufes now; and now, with rifing knell,
Flings to the hollow gale it's fullen found.
Yes; Coventry is dead. Attend the ftrain,
Daughters of Albion! ye that, light as air,
So oft have tripp'd in her fantastick train,
With hearts as gay, and faces half as fair
For fhe was fair beyond your brightest bloom;
(This Envy owns, fince now her bloom is fled ;)
Fair as the forms that, wove in Fancy's loom,
Float in light vision round the poet's head.
Whene'er with foft ferenity she fmil'd,
Or caught the orient blush of quick furprize,
How fweetly mutable, how brightly wild,
The liquid luftre darted from her eyes!
Each look, each motion, wak'd a new-born grace,
That o'er her form it's tranfient glory caffe og Some lovelier wonder foon ufurp'd the place,
Chas'd by a charm still lovelier than the laft.
That bell again! It tells us what he is;
On what she was, no more the ftrain prolong :
Luxuriant Fancy paufe! an hour like this,
Demands the tribute of a ferious fong.
Maria claims it from that fable bier,
Where cold and wan the flumb'rer rests her head;
In still small whispers to Reflection's ear,
She breathes the folemn dictates of the dead. O catch the awful notes, and lift them loud!
Proclaim the theme, by fage, by fool rever'd;
Hear it, ye young, ye vain, ye great, ye proud!
Tis Nature speaks, and Nature will be heard.
Yes; ye shall hear, and tremble as you hear,
While, high with health, your hearts exulting leap
E'en in the midst of Pleafure's mad career,
The mental monitor fhall wake and weep!
For fay, than Coventry's propitious ftar,
What brighter planet on your births arofe;
Or gave of Fortune's gifts an ampler share,
In life to lavish, or by death to lose !
Early to lofe; while borne on bufy wing,
Ye fip the nectar of each varying bloom :
Nor fear, while basking in the beams of spring,
The wint'ry ftorm that fweeps you to the tomb.
Think of her fate! revere the heav'nly hand
That led her hence, tho' foon, by steps fo flow;
Long at her couch Death took his patient stand,
And menac'd oft, and oft witheld the blow;
To give Reflection time, with lenient art,
Each fond delufion from her foul to fteal;
Teach her from Folly peaceably to part,
And wean her from a world the lov'd fo well. :
Make then, while yet ye may, your God your friend, ce
And learn with equal eafe to fleep or die!
Nor think the Muse, whofe fober voice ye hear,
Contracts with bigot-frown her fullen brow;
Cafts round Religion's orb the mifts of fear,
Or fhades with horrors, what with fmiles fhould glow
No; fhe would warm you with feraphick fire,
Heirs as ye are of heav'n's eternal day;
Would bid you boldly to that heav'n afpire,
Not fink and lumber in your cells of clay.
Know, ye were form'd to range yon azure field,
In yon etherial founts of blifs to lave;
Force then, fecure in Faith's protecting fhield,
The fting from Death, the vict'ry from the Grave!
Is this the bigot's rant? Away, ye Vain,
Your hopes, your fears in doubt, in dulness steep: Go foothe your fouls in fickness, grief, or pain, With the fad folace of eternal fleep!
Yet will I praise you, triflers as ye are,
More than those preachers of your fav'rite creed,
Who proudly fwell the brazen throat of war,
Who form the phalanx, bid the battle bleed;
Nor wish for more: who conquer, but to die.
Hear, Folly, hear! and triumph in the tale!
Like you they reason, not like you enjoy
The breeze of bliss that fills your filken fail:
On Pleafure's glitt'ring ftream ye gaily, steer.
Your little course to cold Oblivion's fhore;
They dare the ftorm, and thro' th' inclement year,
Stem the rough furge, and brave the torrent's roar.
Is it for glory? That juft Fate denies :
Long muft the warrior moulder in his shroud,
Ere from her trump the heav'n-breath'd accents rise,
That lift the hero from the fighting crowd!.
Is it his grafp of empire to extend?
To curb the fury of infulting foes?
Ambition, ceafe; the idle contest end:
'Tis but a kingdom thou canft win or lofe.
And why muft murder'd myriads lose their all!
(If life be all;) why Defolation lour,
With famifh'd frown, on this affrighted ball,
That thou may'ft flame the meteor of an hour?
Go, wiser ye, that flutter life away,
Crown with the mantling juice the goblet high;
Weave the light dance, with feftive freedom gay,
And live your moment, fince the next ye die!
Yet know, vain fcepticks, know, th' Almighty mind,
Who breath'd on man a portion of his fire,
Bade his free foul, by earth nor time confin'd,
To heav'n, to immortality afpire.
Nor fhall the pile of hope his mercy rear'd,
By vain philofophy be e'er destroy'd :
Eternity, by all or with'd or fear'd,
Shall be, by all, or fuffer'd or enjoy'd!
NOTE, In a book of French verfes, intitled, Oeuvres du Philofophe de fans Souci, and lately reprinted at Berlin by authority, under the title of Poefies Diverses, may be found an Epiftle to Marshal Keith, written profeffedly, against the immortality of the foul. By way of fpecimen of the whole, take the following lines.
De l'avenir, cher Keith, jugeons par le paffè:
Comme avant que je fuffe il n'avoit point pense;
De meme, apres ma mort, quand toutes mes parties
Par la corruption feront aneanties,
Par un meme deftin il ne penfera plus!
Non, rien n'eft plus certain, foyons-en convaincu.
It is to this Epistle, that the latter part of the Elegy alludes.
WHEN, approach'd by the fair dewy fingers of Spring,
Swelling buds open first, and look gay;
When the birds on the boughs by their mates fit and fing,
And are danc'd by the breeze on each spray :
When gently defcending, the rain in soft showers,
With it's moisture refreshes the ground;
And the drops, as they hang on the plants and the flowers,
Like rich gems beam a luftre around :
When the wood-pigeons fit on the branches and coo;
And the cuckoo proclaims with his voice,
That Nature marks this for the feafon to woo,
And for all that can love to rejoice:
In a cottage at night may I spend all my time,
In the fields and the meadows all day,
With a maiden whofe charms are as yet in their prime,
Young as April, and blooming as May!
When the lark with fhrill notes fings aloft in the morn,
May my fairest and I sweetly wake,
View the far diftant hills, which the fun-beams adorn,
Then arife, and our cottage forfake.