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THE COMPLAINT.

NIGHT IV.

The Christian Triumph.

CONTAINING

OUR ONLY CURE FOR THE FEAR OF DEATH, AND PROPER SENTIMENTS OF HEART ON THAT INESTIMABLE BLESSING,

To the Hon. Mr. Vorke.
A Much indebted Muse, 0 Yorke! intrudes.
Amid the smiles of fortune and of youth,
Thine ear is patient of a serious song.

How deep implanted in the breast of man
The dread of death! I sing its sovereign cure.

Why start at Death? where is he? Death arrived, Is past; not come, or gone; he's never here. Ere hope, sensation fails. Black-boding man Receives, not suffers, Death's tremendous blow. The knell, the shroud, the mattock, and the grave: The deep damp vault, the darkness, and the worm; These are the bugbears of a winter's eve, The terrors of the living, not the dead. Imagination's fool, and Error's wretch, Man makes a death which Nature never made : Then on the point of his own fancy falls, And feels a thousand deaths in fearing one,

But were Death frightful, what has age to fear? If prudent, age should meet the friendly foe, And shelter in his hospitable gloom. I scarce can meet a monument, but holds My younger; every date cries—Come away.' And what recalls me? look the world around, And tell me what; the wisest cannot tell. Should any born of woman give his thought . Full range, on just Dislike's unbounded field; Of things the vanity, of men the flaws; Flaws in the best; the many, flaw all o’er; As leopards spotted, or as Ethiops dark; Vivacious ill; good dying immature; (How immature, Narcissa's marble tells !) And at its death bequeathing endless pain ; His heart, though bold, would sicken at the sight, And spend itself in sighs for future scenes,

But grant to life (and just it is to grant , To lucky life) some perquisites of joy; A time there is when, like a thrice-told tale, Long-rifled life of sweet can yield no more, But, from our comment on the comedy, Pleasing reflections on parts well-sustain'd, Or purposed emendations where we fail'd, Or hopes of plaudits from our candid Judge, When, on their exit, souls are bid unrobe, Toss Fortune back her tinsel and her plume, And drop this mask of flesh behind the scene.

With me that time is come; my world is dead; A new world rises, and new manners reign : Foreign comedians, a spruce band ! arrive, To push me from the scene, or hiss me there. What a pert race starts up! the strangers gaze, And I at them; my neighbour is unknown;

Nor that the worst. Ah me! the dire effect .
Of loitering here, of death defrauded long.
Of old so gracious (and let that suffice)
My very master knows me not.-

Shall I dare say peculiar is my fate?
I've been so long remember'd, I'm forgot.
An object ever pressing dims the sight,
And hides behind its ardour to be seen.
When in his courtiers' ears I pour my plaint,
They drink it as the nectar of the great,
And squeeze my hand,and beg me come to-morrow,
Refusal! canst thou wear a smoother form?

Indulge me, nor conceive I drop my theme. Who cheapens life abates the fear of death. Twice told the period spent on stubborn Troy, Court-favour, yet untaken, I besiege ; Ambition's ill-judged effort to be rich. Alas! ambition makes my little less, Imbittering the possess'd. Why wish for more ? Wishing, of all employments is the worst; Philosophy's reverse, and health's decay! Were I as plump as stall’d Theology, . Wishing would waste me to this shade again. Were I as wealthy as a South Sea dream, Wishing is an expedient to be poor. Wishing, that constant hectic of a fool, Caught at a court, purged off by purer air And simpler diet, gifts of rural life!

Bless'd be that hand divine, which gently laid My heart at rest, beneath this humble shed. The world's a stately bark, on dangerous seas With pleasure seen, but boarded at our peril: Here on a single plank, thrown safe ashore, I hear the tumult of the distant throng,

As that of seas remote, or dying storms!
And meditate on scenes more silent still;
Pursue my theme, and fight the fear of death.
Here, like a shepherd gazing from his hut,
Touching his reed, or leaning on his staff,
Eager Ambition's fiery chase I see;
1 see the circling hunt of noisy men
Burst law's enclosure, leap the mounds of right,
Pursuing and pursued, each other's prey ;
As wolves for rapine, as the fox for wiles,
Till Death, that mighty hunter, earths them all.

Why all this toil for triumphs of an hour ? What though we wade in wealth, or soar in fanie?

Earth's highest station ends in, · Here he lies;' · And · dust to dust' concludes her noblest song.

If this song lives, posterity shall know
One, though in Britain born, with courtiers bred,
Who thought e'en gold might come a day too late;
Nor on his subtle death-bed plann'd his scheme
For future vacancies in church or state
Some avocation deeming it—to die;
Unbit by rage canine of dying rich,
Guilt's blunder! and the loudest laugh of Hell.

O my coëvals! remnants of yourselves !
Poor human ruins tottering o'er the grave!
Shall we, shall aged men, like aged trees,
Strike deeper their vile root, and closer cling,
Still more enamour'd of this wretched soil ?
Shall our pale wither'd hands be still stretch'd out,
Trembling, at once, with eagerness and age ?
With avarice and convulsions, grasping hard ?
Grasping at air! for what has earth beside ?
Man wants but little, nor that little long:
How soon must he resign his very dust,

Which frugal Nature lent him for an hour!
Years unexperienced rush on numerous ills:
And soon as man, expert from time, has found
The key of life, it opes the gates of death.

When in this vale of years I backward look,
And miss such numbers, numbers too, of such
Firmer in health, and greener in their age,
And stricter on their guard, and fitter far
To play life's subtle game, I scarce believe
I still survive. And am I fond of life,
Who scarce can think it possible I live?
Alive by miracle ! or, what is next,
Alive by Mead! if I am still alive,
Who long have buried what gives life to live,
Firmness of nerve, and energy of thought.
Life's lee is not more shallow than impure
And vapid: Sense and Reason show the door,
Call for my bier, and point me to the dust.

O thou great Arbiter of life and death!
Nature's immortal, immaterial Sun!
Whose all-prolific beam late call’d me forth
From darkness, teeming darkness, where I lay
The worm's inferior; and, in rank, beneath
The dust I tread on; high to bear my brow,
To drink the spirit of the golden day,
And triumph in existence; and couldst know
No motive but my bliss; and hast ordain'd
A rise in blessing! with the patriarch's joy,
Thy call I follow to the land unknown;
I trust in thee, and know in whom I trust:
Or life or death is equal; neither weighs ;
All weight in this-0 let me live to Thee !

Though Nature's terrors thus may be repress’d,

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