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Yet die ev’n thus, thus rather perish still, Ye sons of pleasure, by th’ Almighty stricken, Than ever dare (though oft, alas! ye dare) To lift against yourselves the murderous steel, To wrest from God's own hand the sword of Justice, And be your own avengers.--Hold, rash man! Though with anticipating speed thou'st ranged Through every region of delight, nor left One joy to gild the evening of thy days;
Though life seem one uncomfortable void, Guilt at thy heels, before thy face Despair ; Yet gay this scene, and light this load of wo, Compar'd with thy hereafter. Think, O think, And ere thou plung'st into the vast abyss, Pause on the verge awhile, look down and see Thy future mansion-Why, that start of horror ? From thy slack hand why drops th’uplifted steel ? Didst thou not think such vengeance must await The wretch, that with his crimes all fresh about Rushes irreverent, unprepard, uncall’d, [him, Into his Maker's presence, throwing back, With insolent disdain, his choicest gift ?
Live then, while Heaven in pity lends thee life, And think it all too short to wash away, By penitential tears, and deep contrition, The scarlet of thy crimes. So shalt thou find Rest to thy soul, so unappallid shalt meet Death when he comes, not wantonly invite His lingering stroke. Be it thy sole concern With innocence to live, with patience wait Th’appointed hour; too soon that hour will come, Though Nature run her course: but Nature's God, If need require, by thousand various ways, Without thy aid, can shorten that short span,
And quench the lamp of life.-0 when he comes, Rous'd by the cry of wickedness extreme,
To Heaven ascending from some guilty land, Now ripe for vengeance; when he comes array'd In all the terrors of Almighty wrath ; Forth from his bosom plucks his lingering arm, And on the miscreant pours destruction down! Who can abide his coming? Who can bear His whole displeasure ? In no common form Death then appears, but, starting into size Enormous, measures with gigantic stride [round The astonish'd earth, and from his looks throws Unutterable horror and dismay. All Nature lends her aid. Each element Arms in his cause. Ope fly the doors of Heaven, The fountains of the deep their barriers break, Above, below, the rival torrents pour, And drown creation, or in floods of fire Descends a livid cataract, and consumes [peace An impious race. Sometimes, when all seems Wakes the grim Whirlwind, and with rude embrace Sweeps nations to their graves, or in the deep Whelms the proud wooden world; full manya youth Floats on his watery bier, or lies umwept On some sad desert shore.--At dead of night, In sullen silence stalks forth Pestilence: Contagion close behind taints all her steps With poisonous dew ; no smiting hand is seen, No sound is heard : but soon her secret path Is mark'd with desolation ; heaps on heaps Promiscuous drop ; no friend, no refuge near ; All, all is false and treacherous around, All that they touch, or taste, or breathe, is Death.
But ah! what means that ruinous roar? Why fail
These tottering feet?-Earth to its centre feels
Then shed thy comforts o'er me; then put on
ON SEEING THE FIGURE OF DEATH IN A DREAM AVERT, proud Death, thy lifted spear, Nor vaunt the King of Terrors here; Shorn of thy first envenom'd sting, Vain are all terrors thou canst bring : ,
Smite, monster,smite, nor spare thy deepest wound; From Jesse's root our sov’reign balm is found.
When o'er the world's wide misery, Coeval darkness sway'd with thee, Creation shrunk beneath thy frown, And horror mark'd thy ebon crown. Those downcast kingdoms, whelm'd in ruin lie, Smote by the beaming Day-spring from on high
Though, clad in vesture of affright,
Sweet Mercy hath her triumph shown,
No power's left beyond the grave;
MEDITATION ON DEATH.
Of airy pomps, and fleeting joys;
But brittle goods, that break like glass,