« PreviousContinue »
HE new-made widow too I've sometimes spied,
Sad fight! flow moving o'er the proftrate dead: Liftless she crawls along in doleful black, While bursts of forrow gush from either eye, Fait-falling down her now untasted cheek. Prone on the lovely grave of the dear man She drops ; while busy meddling memory, In barbarous succession, musters up The past endearments of their fofter hours, Tenacious of its theme. Still, still she thinks She sees him; and, indulging the fond thought, Clings yet more closely to the senseless turf, Nor heeds the passenger who looks that way.
BUT sce! the well plum’d hearse comes nodding on
Stately and now; and properly attended
By the whole fable trade, that painful watch
The fick man's door, and live upon
By letting out their persons by the hour
To mimic sorrow, when the heart's not fad.
How rich the trappings, now they're all unfurld
And glitt'ring in the sun! Triumphant entries
Of conquerors, and coronation pomps,
In glory scarce exceed. Great gluts of people
Retard th' unwieldy shew; whilft from the casements,
And houses tops, ranks behind ranks close wedg'd
Hang bellying o'er. But tell us why this walte:
Why this ado in earthing up a carcafe
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 principle conceal'd, for which
You make this mighty ftir ? 'Tis wisely done :
What would offend the eye in a good picture,
The Painter casts discreetly into shades.
BEAUTY! thou pretty play-thing! dear deceit!
That steals so softly o'er the stripling's heart, And gives it a new pulse unknown before! The grave discredits thee: thy charms expung'd, Thy rofes faded, and thy lilies foil'd, What haft thou more to boast of? Will thy lovers Flock round thee now to gaze and do thee homage! Methinks, I see thee with thy head low laid; Whilft surfeited upon thy damask cheek,
The high-fed worm in lazy volumes roll’a
Riots unscar’d. For this was all thy caution?
For this thy painful labours at thy glass,
T'improve those charms, and keep them in repair,
For which the spoiler thanks thee not? Foul feeder!
Coarse fare and carrion please thee full as well,
And leave as keen a relish on the sense.
Look how the fair one weeps! The conscious tears
Stand thick as dew-drops on the bells of flow'rs.
Honest effusion! the swoln heart in vain
Works hard to put a glofs on its distress.
With study pale, and midnight vigils spent,
The star-furveying fage close to his eye
Applies the fight-invigorating tube;
And trav'ling thro' the boundless length of space
Marks well the courses of the far seen orbs, .
That roll with regular confufion there,
In ecstasy of thought. But ah! proud man!
Great heights are hazardous to the weak head:
Soon, very soon, thy firmest footing fails; .
And down thou drop'it into that darksome place,
Where nor device nor knowledge ever came.
Here the great masters of the healing art,
These mighty mock defrauders of the tomb!
Spite of their juleps and catholicons,
Resign to fate. Proud 'Æsculapius' son,
Where are thy boasted implements of art,
And all thy well-cram'd magazines of health?
Nor hill, nor vale, as far as ship could go,
Nor margin of the gravel-bottom'd brook,
Escap'd thy rifling hand! from stubborn shrubs
Thou wrung'it their fhy retiring virtues out,
And vex'd them in the fire; nor ily, nor infect,
Nor writhy snake escap'd thy deep research.
EATH's fhafts fly thick! Here falls the village
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 scull's caft 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 fings a merrier catch, or lends a hand More willing to his cup. "Poor wretch! he minds not, That foon some trusty brother of the trade Shall do for him what he has done for thousands.
ON THE EXIT OF THE GOOD MAN.
the last end
Of the good man is peace. How calm his exit!
Night dews fall not more gently to the ground,
Nor weary worn-out winds expire so soft.
Behold him in the ev’ning-tide of life,
A life well spent, whose early care it was,
His riper years should not upbraid his green:
By unperceiv'd degrees he wears away;
. Yet, like the fun, seems larger at his setting!
High in his faith and hopes, look how he reaches
After the prize in view; and, like a bird
That's hamper'd, struggles hard to get away!
Whilst the glad gates of fight are wide expanded
To let new glories in, the first fair fruits
Of the fast-coming harvest! Then! O then!
Each earth-born joy grows vile, or disappears,
Shrunk to a thing of rought.
ACH soul shall have a body ready furnish’d;
And each shall have his own. Hence ye prophane!
Ak not, how this can be? Sure the same pow'r
That rear'd the piece at first, and took it down,