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DR. YOUNG'S POEM ON “THE LAST DAY
Yet more, behold ten thousand thunders fall, And sudden vengeance wrap the flaming ball. When Nature sunk, when every bolt was hurl’d, Thou saw'st the boundless ruins of the world.
When guilty Sodom felt the burning rain, And sulphur fell on the devoted plain, The Patriarch thus, the fiery tempest past, With pious horror view'd the desert waste; The restless smoke still waved its curls around, For ever rising from the glowing ground.
But tell me, oh! what heavenly pleasure, tell, To think so greatly, and describe so well! How wast thou pleased the wondrous theme to try, And find the thought of man could rise so high ! Beyond this world the labour to pursue, And open all eternity to view!
But thou art best delighted to rehearse Heaven's holy dictates in exalted verse. O thou hast power the harden'd heart to warm, To grieve, to raise, to terrify, to charm ; To fix the soul on God; to teach the mind To know the dignity of humankind; By stricter rules well-govern'd life to scan, And practise o'er the angel in the man.
T. WARTON, SEN. Madg. Col. Oxon.
TO A LADY,
· WITH THE LAST DAY.'
HERE sacred truths, in lofty numbers told,
Thus did the Muses sing in early times,
Their lyres were tuned to virtuous songs alone,
These purer thoughts, from gross allays refined,
T. TRISTRAM. Pemb. Col. Oxon.
TO THE AUTHOR,
ON HIS * LAST DAY,' AND 'UNIVERSAL PASSION.' AND must it be as thou hast sung, Celestial bard, seraphic Young! Will there no trace, no point be found Of all this spacious, glorious round ? Yon lamps of light, must they decay ? On Nature's self Destruction prey ? Then Fame, the most immortal thing E'en thou canst hope, is on the wing. Shall Newton's system be admired, When time and motion are expired? Shall souls be curious to explore Who ruled an orb, that is no more? Or shall they quote the pictured age, From Pope's and thy corrective page, When Vice and Virtue lose their name In deathless joy or endless shame? While wears away the grand machine, The works of genius shall be seen: Beyond, what laurels can there be For Homer, Horace, Pope, or thee? Through life we chase, with fond pursuit, What mocks our hope, like Sodom's fruit; And, sure, thy plan was well design'd To cure this madness of the mind; First beyond time our thoughts to raise, Then lash our love of transient praise ; In both we own thy doctrine just, And fame's a breath, and men are dust. 1736.
PREFACE. As the occasion of this poem was real, not fictitious, so the method pursued in it was rather imposed by what spontaneously arose in the author's mind on that occasion, than meditated or designed; which will appear very probable from the nature of it; for it differs from the common mode of poetry, which is, from long narrations to draw short morals : here, on the contrary, the narrative is short, and the morality arising from it makes the bulk of the poem. The reason of it is, that the facts mentioned did naturally pour these moral reflections on the thought of the writer.
On Life, Death, and Immortality. TO THE RIGHT HON. ARTHUR ONSLOW, ESQ.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS. Tired Nature's sweet restorer, balmy Sleep! He, like the world, his ready visit pays Where Fortune smiles; the wretched he forsakes; Swift on bis downy pinion flies from woe, And lights on lids unsullied with a tear.