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So was she soon exhald, and vanish'd hence;
A short sweet odour, of a vast expense.
She vanish’d, we can scarcely say she died ;
For but a now did heaven and earth divide :
She pass'd serenely with a single breath ;
This moment perfect health, the next was death :
One sigh did her eternal bliss assure;
So little penance needs, when souls are almost pure.
As gentle dreams our waking thoughts pursue ;
Or, one dream pass’d, we slide into a new;.
So close they follow, such wild order keep,
We think ourselves awake, and are asleep :
So softly death succeeded life in her:
She did but dream of heaven, and she was there.
No pains she suffer'd, nor expir'd with noise ;
Her soul was whisper'd out with God's still voice;
As an old friend is beckon'd to a feast,
And treated like a long familiar guest.
He took her as he found, but found her so,
As one in hourly readiness to go :
E'en on that day, in all her trim prepar'd;
As early notice she from heaven had heard,
And some descending courier from above
Had given her timely warning to remove;
Or counsell’d her to dress the nuptial room,
For on that night the bridegroom was to come.
He kept his hour, and found her where she lay
Cloth'd all in white, the livery of the day:
Scarce had she sinn'd in thought, or word, or act;
Unless omissions were to pass for fact:
That hardly death a consequence could draw,
To make her liable to nature's law.
And, that she died, we only have to show
The mortal part of her she left below :
The rest, so smooth, so suddenly she went,
Look'd like translation through the firmament,
Or like the fiery car on the third errand sent.
O happy soul! if thou canst view from high, 340
Where thou art all intelligence, all eye,
If looking up to God, or down to us,
Thou find'st that any way be pervious,
Survey the ruins of thy house, and see
Thy widow'd, and thy orphan family:
Look on thy tender pledges left behind;
And, if thou canst a vacant minute find
From heavenly joys, that interval afford
To thy sad children, and thy mourning lord.
See how they grieve, mistaken in their love, 350
And shed a beam of comfort from above;
Give them, as much as mortal eyes can bear,
A transient view of thy full glories there ;
That they with moderate sorrow may sustain
And mollify their losses in thy gain.
Or else divide the grief; for such thou wert,
That should not all relations bear a part,
It were enough to break a single heart.
Let this suffice: nor thou, great saint, refuse This humble tribute to no vulgar muse: Who, not by cares, or wants, or age depress’d, Stems a wild deluge with a dauntless breast;
And dares to sing thy praises in a clime
Where vice triumphs, and virtue is a crime;
Where e'en to draw the picture of thy mind
Is satire on the most of human kind:
Take it, while yet ’tis praise; before my rage,
Unsafely just, break loose on this bad age;
So bad, that thou thyself hadst no defence
From vice, but barely by departing hence.
Be what, and where thou art: to wish thy place
Were, in the best, presumption more than grace.
Thy relics (such thy works of mercy are)
Have, in this poem, been my holy care.
As earth thy body keeps, thy soul the sky,
So shall this verse preserve thy memory:
For thou shalt make it live, because it sings of thee.
'Twas on a joyless and a gloomy morn,
Wet was the grass, and hung with pearls the thorn:
When Damon, who design’d to pass the day
With hounds and horns, and chase the flying prey,
Rose early from his bed ; but soon he found
The welkin pitch'd with sullen clouds around,
An eastern wind, and dew upon the ground.
Thus while he stood, and sighing did survey
The fields, and curst the ill omens of the day,
He saw Menalcas come with heavy pace;
Wet were his eyes, and cheerless was his face:
He wrung his hands, distracted with his care,
And sent his voice before him from afar.
Return, he cried, return, unhappy swain,
The spungy clouds are fill’d with gathering rain :
The promise of the day not only cross'd,
But e'en the spring, the spring itself is lost.
Amyntas — oh!— he could not speak the rest,
Nor needed, for presaging Damon guess’d.
Equal with heaven young Damon lov'd the boy,
The boast of nature, both his parents' joy.
His graceful form revolving in his mind;
So great a genius, and a soul so kind,
Gave sad assurance that his fears were true;
Too well the envy of the gods he knew :
For when their gifts too lavishly are plac'd,
Soon they repent, and will not make them last.
For sure it was too bountiful a dole,
The mother's features, and the father's soul.
Then thus he cried : The morn bespoke the news :
The morning did her cheerful light diffuse:
But see how suddenly she chang'd her face,
And brought on clouds and rain, the day's disgrace:
Just such, Amyntas, was thy promis'd race.
What charms adorn’d thy youth, where nature
And more than man was given us in a child !
His infancy was ripe : a soul sublime
In years so tender that prevented time:
gave him all at once; then snatch'd away, Ere mortals all his beauties could survey : Just like the flower that buds and withers in a day.
The mother, lovely, though with grief opprest, Reclin’d his dying head upon her breast. The mournful family stood all around ; One groan was heard, one universal sound : All were in floods of tears and endless sorrow
drown'd. So dire a sadness sat on every look, E'en Death repented he had given the stroke. He griev'd his fatal work had been ordain'd, But promis’d length of life to those who yet re
main’d. The mother's and her eldest daughter's grace, It seems,
had brib’d him to prolong their space. The father bore it with undaunted soul, Like one who durst his destiny control : Yet with becoming grief he bore his part, Resign'd his son, but not resign'd his heart. Patient as Job; and may he live to see, Like him, a new increasing family!
Such is my wish, and such my prophecy, For yet, my friend, the beauteous mould remains ;