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Thou sun, of this great world both eye and soul,
ye five other wand'ring fires, that move
The earth, and stately tread or lowly creep,
The Miseries of Life.
Ah! little think the gay licentious crowd,
drink the cup
With all the fiercer tortures of the mind,
stand Around the death-bed of their dearest friends, And point the parting anguish. Thought fond man Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills That one incessant struggle render life, One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate, Vice in his high career would stand appallid, And heedless rambling impulse learn to think; The conscious heart of Charity would warm, And her wide wish Benevolence dilate; The social tear would rise, the social sigh ; And into clear perfection, gradual bliss, Refining still, the social passions work.
[Supposed to have been written by Alexander Selkirk during
his solitary abode in the island of Juan Fernandez.]
My right there is none to dispute ;
I am lord of the fowls and the brute.
O solitude, where are the charms
That sages have found in thy face? Better dwell in the midst of alarms
Than reign in this horrible place!
I am out of humanity's reach,
I must finish my journey alone; Never hear the sweet music of speech —
I start at the sound of my own!
The beasts that roam over the plain
My form with indifference see; They are so unacquainted with man
Their tameness is shocking to me!
Society, friendship, and love,
Divinely bestow'd upon man, O, had I the wings of a dove,
How soon would I taste you again!
My sorrows I then might assuage
In the ways of religion and truth ; Might learn from the wisdom of age,
And be cheer'd by the sallies of youth.
Religion ! what treasure untold
Resides in that heavenly word! More precious than silver and gold,
And all that this world can afford.
But the sound of the church-going bell
These valleys and rocks never heard ; Never sigh'd at the sound of a knell,
Or smil'd when a Sabbath appear’d.
Ye winds, that have made me your sport,
Convey to this desolate shore Some cordial endearing report
Of a land I shall visit no more.
My friends, do they now and then send
A wish or a thought after me? 0, tell me I yet have a friend,
Though a friend I am never to see!
How fleet is a glance of the mind!
Compar'd with the speed of its flight, The tempest itself lags behind,
And the swift-winged arrows of light!
When I think of my own native land,
In a moment I seem to be there; But, alas! recollection at hand
Soon hurries me back to despair !
But the sea-fowl is gone to her nest,
The beast is laid down in his lair : Even here is a season of rest;
And I to my cabin repair.